Home Happenings… 30 Minute Butter Chicken

30 Minute Butter Chicken

I recently tried Butter Chicken for the first time at a local Halal restaurant next door to my work. The sauce was velvety and rich. A meal that definitely sticks to your ribs. It had been a couple of weeks that passed by when a craving for it hit… of course it was on a weekend when I wasn’t at work and could not justify driving to go pick some up. What I could justify was making a plan to put this 30 Minute Butter Chicken on my meal plan for Monday and swing by the store after work to pick up all of the ingredients.

Being a work night I don’t have time to slow cook chicken after work and needed a quick solution. This is where ground chicken was a dinner prep time saver.

The house was filled of the aroma of Indian spices while this simmered. I kept looking at the pot amazed by the amount of sauce this had made. We had enough for three days worth of leftovers and that included some of us going back for a second helping.

Serve the Butter Chicken over steamed rice or with a side of naan and you’ve got a quick, delicious, and comforting dinner on the table in 30 minutes.

30 Minute Butter Chicken

Makes 6 Servings

Stars of the Show:

  • 2 lb ground chicken
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 (6oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 (14oz) can full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • steamed jasmine rice or naan, for serving

And Action:

Heat a large pot over medium heat with 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Once the onion starts to become translucent add the ground chicken until no longer pink.

Add the garlic and ginger, cooking another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the tomato paste, coconut milk, and 1/2 cup water. Stir to combine, bring the sauce to a boil, cook 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Stir in the yogurt and butter, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.

Serve the butter chicken over rice or with naan. Enjoy!

Home Happenings… Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Do you have some overripe bananas? Don’t throw them out! Use them to make these Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins.

Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins are a simple and satisfying grab and go breakfast or portable snack. The oatmeal gives them a hearty texture with a touch of sweetness from the bananas and brown sugar with a pop of tartness of the juicy blueberries.

Whip up a batch on Sunday during your meal prep and enjoy these muffins all week. You can even let yourself hit the snooze button once or twice knowing that breakfast is already waiting for you.

Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins

Stars of the Show:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 and 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar, for topping
  • 2 tbsp oats, for toppping

And Action:

Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper baking cases.

Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.

Add the sugar and the oats, mix well together.

In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and buttermilk together.

Then add the melted butter.

Mash the bananas and mix through the eggs and buttermilk.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients and stir together gently to form a loose batter. Do not overmix.

Add the blueberries and mix through the batter gently.

Divide the batter between the 12 lined muffin cases. Use all of the batter. Each muffin hole will be fairly full.

Mix the brown sugar and oatmeal for the topping. Sprinkle on top of each muffin.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the muffins rise and are a golden brown color and a toothpick when inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes in the tray before transferring to a wire tray to cool completely. Enjoy!

Home Happenings… Philly Cheesesteaks

Philly Cheesesteaks

How can you go wrong with tender ribeye, gooey provolone and caramelized onions in a toasted garlic hoagie roll??? You can’t! Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches are a classic and so comforting. They are popular on the east coast but something I have craved regardless of my geographical location. You don’t have to buy a plane ticket to get your hands on one of these, just get to the closest grocery store and get into the kitchen ASAP!

I can’t say these are authentic but I can guarantee these Philly Cheesesteaks are delicious!

Philly Cheesesteaks

Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ribeye steak, trimmed and thinly sliced (freeze the steak for approximately 45 minutes to make it easier to slice)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 8 slices provolone cheese
  • 4 whole wheat hoagie rolls, sliced 3/4 of the way through
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise

And Action:

In a small bowl stir together the butter and garlic clove. Spread garlic butter onto the cut sides of 4 hoagie roll. Toast the buns in a large skillet on medium heat until golden brown, then set aside.

Add 1 tbsp olive oil to your pan and sauté diced onions until caramelized then transfer to a bowl.
Increase to high heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Spread the steak in an even layer. Let brown for a couple of minutes undisturbed then flip and season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Sauté until the steak is fully cooked through then stir in the caramelized onions.
Divide into 4 even portions and top each with 2 slices of cheese and turn off the heat so the cheese will melt without overcooking the meat.

Spread a thin layer of mayo on the toasted side of each roll. Working with one portion at a time, place a toasted bun over each portion and use a spatula to scrape the cheesy beef into your bun as you flip it over. Serve warm. Enjoy!


Fit Food… Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)

Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)

I’m not even going to pretend that I can pronounce Pad Krapow Gai but I lovingly know it as Thai Basil Chicken. Last weekend I was thinking about my brother and how I used to meet him in downtown Portland at this Thai restaurant and how he raved about their Thai Basil Chicken demanding that I don’t even bother looking at the menu and how he would handle ordering dinner for us. This platter was placed in front of us with perfectly browned chicken with pops of green from the Thai basil. I tried a bite with some jasmine rice and followed it with a sip of Thai iced tea. It was love at first bite. I would crave that place and used my brother as company anytime I couldn’t fight it any longer and just had to have it.

I’ve been in Texas for almost 12 years now and haven’t had Thai Basil Chicken since until that memory of my brother had me craving it. My cubicle neighbor at work is an Asian man and I reached out asking if on his way home if he finds himself stopping at an Asian market if he could pick me up some Thai basil. He reached out later that evening and told me his mom grows it, asked how much I needed, and let me know the cost… FREE.99! Haha!

Thai Basil

The next morning at work he came in and walked over to my desk with a plastic cup that his mom put together for me and gave him careful instructions to share with me on how to grow my own from the starter she made. This gesture made a smile spread from ear to ear on my face.

After work I raced to the grocery store and picked up my needed ingredients and put this together immediately. It took me less than 30 minutes to make and all it took was the first bite to take me back to that Thai restaurant sitting there with my brother. Dinner was raved about by everyone in the family including my 11 year old selective eater. Between this and the Keto/Paleo Low Carb Chinese Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry I made the other night I should never have to order takeout again.

Quick side note: I kill plants and have never successful grown anything. Sadly, my starter that my coworker’s mom put together for me has died. Thankfully I can substitute Italian basil when a craving hits and I just have to have this again.

Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)

Makes 4 Servings

Stars of the Show:

  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups thai basil
  • 6 tbsp avocado oil, divided
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 lb chicken breasts, minced
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp apple juice
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

And Action:

Combine soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, apple juice, and brown sugar in a bowl. Set it aside until ready to use.

Heat a wok over medium high heat, add 2-3 tbsp oil. Fry garlic with 2 pinches of salt until fragrant, about 8-10 seconds.
Add the chicken, turn the heat high. Try to break the meat apart and spread it out evenly. Cook uncovered until the bottom gets slightly browned then cook the flip. The total cooking time will be about 5-7 minutes. If you notice too much moisture I recommend removing the chicken from the wok, draining the liquid and then adding the oil and some garlic back in before dumping the chicken back in to finish cooking.
Add the sauce 2 tbsp at a time to the wok until you finish the entire sauce. Keep stir-frying the meat.
Turn off the heat, stir in the basil, the residual heat will wilt the basil leaves a bit. Serve hot with cauliflower rice or steamed rice. I recommend also frying some basil leaves in the oil and sprinkling them on top of the finished dish for that added basil taste and some crunch. Enjoy!

Fit Food… Asian Chicken Salad (Whole30, Keto, and Paleo)

Asian Chicken Salad (Whole30, Keto, and Paleo)

When I took my first bite of this Asian Chicken Salad it instantly took me back to my childhood and going to my favorite restaurant at that time, Rainforest Cafe. I would always order their China Island Chicken Salad. There was something about that sweet and tangy dressing on a bed of fresh and crunchy veggies.

Because I’m following a low carb diet I decided not to include the noodles like their salad does. To be honest, I don’t even miss them. In my opinion, the best part of this salad is the  toasted almonds. I recommend taking the extra couple of minutes to heat the oven up to give them a nice golden brown color.

Asian Chicken Salad

Makes 1 Servings

Stars of the Show:

  • handful of tricolor coleslaw mix
  • 1-2 handfuls of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 4 oz cooked chicken
  • 1 tbsp toasted almonds
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • splash of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • sesame seeds, for garnish, if desired

And Action:

To make the dressing, combine the mayo, vinegar, coconut aminos, and sesame oil in a small bowl, stir well to combine until no more lumps.

On a large plate add the romaine lettuce, coleslaw, chicken, and almonds.

Add the dressing to the salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the salad. Enjoy!