Monday, January 1, 2018

Curry Stand Chicken Tikka Masala

I've tried a LOT of different tikka masala recipes over the last few months because its one of my favorite dishes.  This is by far my favorite.  Macros for 200g are C10 F8 P49.  Everyone gobbled it up- only wishing I had made more!!

Curry Stand Chicken Tikka Masala
adapted from

1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp curry powder
1-14 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy whipping cream 
2 tsp paprika
1 Tbs. white sugar
4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Cook onion until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic; cook and stir just until fragrant.  Stir cumin, salt, ginger, cayenne, curry, cinnamon and turmeric into onion mixture.  Fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  

Stir tomato sauce into onion mixture, bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 10 minutes, then mix in cream, paprika and sugar.  Bring sauce back to simmer, stirring often until sauce is thickened, 10-15 minutes.  In a separate pan, coated with cooking spray, sear chicken until lightly browned, but still pink inside- about 3 minutes.  Transfer chicken and any juices into sauce. Simmer in sauce until no longer pink, about 30 minutes.  Adjust salt and sugar to taste.  I always serve Indian food with MKC's coconut rice . Sometimes, I even go nuts and get some of Trader Joe's frozen garlic naan- which my kids love- and serve that as well.  

Hot Mexican Street Corn Dip

I made this dip last night for a New Year's Party and it was a huge hit.  Its definitely a BIG indulgence, but so worth it.  Everyone loved it!

Hot Mexican Street Corn Dip

16 oz (2 blocks) light cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used the frozen garlic at Trader Joe's)
2 Tbs. Franks red hot sauce (or other wing sauce)
Juice from one lime (about 2 Tbs)
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese, divided
16 oz. bag frozen corn, thawed (I used TJ's frozen grilled corn)
4 oz. low fat feta cheese
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (leave seeds in for more heat)
2 Tbs. red onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for topping)

Preheat oven to 350.  In a high-powered blender (used my Vitamix) mix the cream cheese, sour cream, garlic, hot sauce, lime juice, and 1 cup of pepper jack.  Blend until fully combined into a sauce.  Scoop into a large bowl and then add remaining ingredients.  Stir to combine. Pour mixture into a prepared baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes (longer if corn isn't thawed), or until hot and bubbly.  Garnish with more cilantro, feta and hot sauce, if desired.  Serve with chips and enjoy!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I made this Soup over the thanksgiving holiday in Georgia and Becky requested is posted here! Below is the recipe as it was posted by my friend in an email. Super easy and yummy!

1 4 oz package wild rice (I may not have used all of this, but once it is cooked add how much looks good to you)
olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups less sodium chicken broth or stock
1 1/2 cups peeled and cubed baking potato
3 cups reduced fat milk
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups chopped roasted chicken (about 2 breasts)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
seasoned salt to taste
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

Heat a little olive oil in a large pot/Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic; saute 3 minutes. Add broth and potato; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until potato is tender.

Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add the milk mixture to the potato mixture; bring to a simmer and simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; add cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in rice, chicken, pepper, and salt. If desired, add seasoning salt and garnish with parsley.

This is the recipe as I made it. I made a number of modifications to the original recipe (which didn't have carrots and celery for example) but one modification people might want to know about is the cheese. The original called for 10 oz. cubed light processed cheese (like Velveeta Light) instead of the cheddar. I made it once with Velveeta and it did give it a rich taste and a smoother texture as it melts much more effectively, but as we usually minimize processed foods I usually substitute it with the shredded cheddar. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Best Stuffing Ever

Image result for stuffing
You guys. This stuffing is the BEST stuffing ever!!! My SIL made it last year and this year it was my turn. And seriously, everyone was raving (both last year and this year). It's take stuffing to a whole new level. 

Best Stuffing Ever

from Linda (my SIL's friend???)

Fresh bread crumbs from one big loaf of French bread (you want this to be high-quality artisan French bread), chopped in 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 cup), divided
6 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 box of mushrooms (fresh, not canned) cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3/4 teaspoon celery seed
3/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
3/4 garlic powder
12-16 oz package of mild or hot Italian sausage (ground)
2 cups Romano cheese, shredded
1/2 can chicken broth (about 7-8 oz)
3 eggs

Sautee 1 stick butter, celery, onion, and garlic. Pour over bread crumbs in a bowl. Sautee 1/2 stick of butter in mushrooms. Add seasonings, parsley, and basil. Then add cheese and mix. Mix eggs and chicken broth in separate bowl and add to mushroom mixture. Pour over bread crumbs and mix. Sautee sausage to release oil, strain, and mix in with bread crumbs. Lightly spray a large casserole dish and pour stuffing in. Cover tightly with foil and store in fridge over night. Bake, covered, at 350 for one hour. Remove foil for last 15 minutes if you'd like a little crunch.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Perfect Pot Roast and Gravy

Image result for pot roast

I was craving pot roast, but was kind of sick of the same old recipe, so I decided to try this one. Holy Moly. It was SO good!!! It was really different, but so, so yummy. I think this will be my new go-to!

Perfect Pot Roast and Gravy
by Mel's Kitchen Café



  • 3 to 5 pound chuck roast, trimmed of extra fat
  • Coarse, kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 to 2 large yellow onions, sliced in thick rings
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 to 7 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2- or 3-inch pieces


  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 to 4 cups juices/drippings from roast


  1. Season the roast on all sides with a few pinches of salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot and rippling. Add the roast, and brown on all sides, about 1-2 minutes per side.
  3. Place the onions in the bottom of a 7-or 8-quart slow cooker, toss the smashed garlic on top, and transfer the roast to sit on top of the onions and garlic.
  4. In the same skillet, reduce the heat to medium and add the tomato sauce, scraping up the yummy browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, allspice, thyme, salt and pepper (use less salt and pepper if you used regular beef broth and not low-sodium). Add the bay leaf.
  5. Pour the mixture over the roast. All slow cooker sizes are different but it helps if the meat is mostly covered with liquid (or at least the liquid comes up nearly to the top of the meat).
  6. Nestle the carrots around the roast.
  7. Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours until the meat is very tender.
  8. Transfer the meat, carrots, and onions to a platter and tent with foil.
  9. Remove the bay leaf and pour the drippings/juice from the slow cooker into a large measuring cup (or into a fat separator if you want to pour off excess fat).
  10. For the gravy, melt the butter in a medium pot until sizzling. Stir in the flour and cook for 30 seconds or so. Whisking vigorously and constantly (no lumps in our gravy!), gradually add 3 to 4 cups of the pot roast juices, until the desired consistency of gravy is reached.
  11. Continue stirring quickly while the gravy comes to a simmer. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  12. Serve immediately with the pot roast and vegetables (and mashed potatoes, of course!).

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Slow Cooker Taco Chicken

This was AMAZING. It was better than any taco chicken I've ever made. It's going to be my new go-to. YUMMERIFIC!

Super easy Slow Cooker Tacos from Our Best Bites

Slow Cooker Taco ChickenRecipe adapted by Our Best Bites
2-2 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing (I used Olive Garden)
1 packet Ranch dressing
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
6-8 cloves smashed garlic (don’t worry about actually chopping it…unless you want to…)
1 tablespoon dehydrated onion
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
Chipotle Tabasco Sauce to taste (optional)
Place all the ingredients except for the lime, salt, and Tabasco sauce in your slow cooker and cook for 5-6 hours on LOW or until the chicken shreds easily with a fork. When done, shred the chicken with two forks and sprinkle with lime juice. Taste and season with salt and Chipotle Tabasco Sauce (it’s smokey and a little milder than the original Tabasco Sauce, so it’s perfect here) to taste. Serves 8-10.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Turkey Chili

Wow, this was SO good. I seriously ate for 3 days straight. And it makes a ton. Next time I might halve it.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Turkey Chili
Recipe by Our Best Bites
Note: This recipe makes a very large batch of chili (about 4 quarts).  It freezes beautifully, so I like to make the recipe and then freeze half for another night.  You can certainly halve the recipe as well, which I recommend if you have a small slow cooker.
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced (any color)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 bell pepper, diced
1-2 jalapenos, minced (take seeds out unless you like heat)
20 ounces ground turkey breast
8 ounces mushrooms, minced (about 2 heaping cups)
2 teaspoons cumin
2  teaspoons kosher salt
½  teaspoons pepper
1  teaspoon oregano
1  teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2  teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes*
1 28 ounce can tomatoes (not drained)
2 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
32 ounces beef broth (one box/carton)
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (make sure you’re not using pumpkin pie filling 🙂
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
*”Sweet potatoes” and “yams” are often sold interchangeably depending on what part of the country you live in.  Just buy whichever one is orange 🙂
optional: sour cream, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro or green onion, and fresh lime juice for serving
Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat.  Add 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil and add onion, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapenos.  Saute for about 5 minutes, until veggies are tender and fragrant.  Add to slow cooker.
In same skillet, heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil.  Add turkey and mushrooms and stir to combine.  Sprinkle in cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder and smoked paprika.  (note: the meat will taste very seasoned when done.  Keep in mind these seasonings are not to flavor just the meat, they will season the entire pot of chili, so they are intentionally strong!)  Add turkey mixture to slow cooker.
Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beans, broth, pumpkin, cinnamon, and cocoa powder to slow cooker and stir til combine.  Place lid on pot and cook for  4-6 hours on high, or 8-10 on low.   Slow-cookers vary greatly in temperature and cooking times, but really, the important thing to note is if the sweet potatoes are tender.
When done, turn off heat and let chili sit with lid off for 10-15 minutes to thicken.  Season with additional salt to taste before serving.  If desired, serve with sour cream, sliced avocados, and a small squirt of fresh lime juice, and any other toppings desired.
Yields: About 4 quarts (16 cups)