Aah for aaloo.. With a side of chicken

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So I thought I would make tandoori chicken with a side of Indian spiced potatoes.

Have you ever had a meal where the side overshadows the main dish?

Despite the fact that the tandoori chicken was as good as always, and MYT always loves my tandoori chicken, he couldn’t get enough of the potatoes.

And I have to agree, they were well cooked, well seasoned, and just so scrumptious.

With a good Indian puri or paratha, it would be a stellar main dish, easy simple and good to eat 🙂

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After two strikes, I finally swing it out of the park…

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Today was the first full day that both MTT and I had off from work and I was very much looking forward to a lazy day just enjoying each others’ company…and…in my head this includes three awesome meals that I would make and lots of excitement on the part of MTT.

There were more than a few wrinkles in this plan…

First, my creativity interfered with breakfast. I decided to make eggs over easy served on toast with melted cheddar. That alone would have been fine. But somehow my head thought “I have guacamole in the fridge, MTT loves guacamole, maybe I can spread some on one of the pieces of toast and that will elevate the meal. Big mistake. Huge. I learned from MTT that guacamole is not a spread, and the idea was just a little weird.

Strike one.

For lunch, I thought, ok, play it safe. He loves chicken Caesar salad, so just make a wrap. Except my chicken was very cold from the fridge so I warmed it in the microwave. Apparently, that made for a wilted salad and the combo of warm chicken and cold Caesar dressing turned MTT‘s stomach so much that he couldn’t really eat his meal and was too turned off to let me make him something else.

Strike two.

Add to that a little funk in MTT‘s mood due to a chronic issue in our relationship that we usually just ignore but occasionally cannot…this day is just not going the way I envisioned.

My one last chance to do one thing right on this day was dinner. I think, Mexican. It’s the one thing that MTT will always like.

So I make fajita style chicken and veggies (that I had been marinating since noon) served with flavored rice, with many condiments, MTT loves condiments. Salsa verde, pico de gallo, sour cream.

At least dinner was a hit.

I even did dishes to try to score some brownie points. I don’t think I got brownie points but at least I tried.

And I made vanilla milkshakes for dessert from Edy’s slow churned ice cream and skim milk…delicious for a “diet dessert”

Since the day ended with a slight improvement, I hold out hope that tomorrow will be better. 🙂

“Honey, I’m home!”

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My grandmother only went to school through the third grade…then she learned how to manage a household. And, in that very traditional, Indian way, my grandparents made a life together. But their life saw many changes…drastic changes…both in the community and at home. Their eldest child, a daughter, went to medical school. She became a doctor. Then she became a wife and ultimately my mother. That’s a lot of growth in the span of a generation.

My mother was always a working mom. But, somehow she managed to keep many of her traditional roles. One of which was always making sure there was something to eat at home. My mom would call me from the hospital when I came home from school to tell me what snacks were prepared. I always had dinner and instructions on how to heat it. And, in a lot of ways, that’s how my mom showed she was still taking care of me the way her mother took care of her. (checking homework was strictly the jurisdiction of my dad. My mom did not get involved with it after she taught me 7×7=47)

With that background, I forged forward with my life. I always wanted to be a doctor and that’s what I became. But now I realize what my mother must have dealt with. I love my job. And I believe it’s way more than a job. But sometimes I have such a similar urge to my mom, to have snacks and meals ready at home, waiting, to show how much I care about life at home.

So, on the occasions when I’m home first, and I have time to keep things ready, I get so excited. I love having a meal ready and waiting for MTT. So, today while he was working and I was off, I asked him what he’d want for a late lunch. He wanted an easy to prepare salad…and it’s not the difficulty of what I’m making so much as the fact that I’m making it…so a simple southwest flavored chicken salad with avocados, cherry tomatoes, bacon bits and tortilla strips with a side of corn bread may not be a “I slaved all day in the kitchen” kind of meal…but that it’s here waiting for MTT gives me immense joy. Plus, he likes all things southwest. The shredded cheese in it can’t hurt either 😉

See one… Do one…

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There is a saying in the field of medicine… “See one, do one, teach one…”

Last week in clinic, one of my co-residents brought a chicken drumstick for lunch. The comedy was in the fact she left the bone in the Tupperware on our conference table all afternoon. And no one else moved it until someone came in to take photos for our hospital’s website… My friend promptly exclaimed “Move the chicken bone!”

Even with that, I sat by a fragrant chicken bone for the better part of the afternoon and since then I’d been craving chicken drumsticks …

I finally caved in and made them myself at home. “See one…do one” 🙂

With a side of onion rings for MTT as seen in the photograph 🙂

Who knows who will inspire the next meal…or who will be inspired by my chicken leg!

Inspired by WordPress…Slow Cooked Honey Sesame Chicken

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On one of the blogs I follow, I came across this recipe….it instantly caught my eye because I love Chinese food and I love my sow cooker.

I decided to try my hand at it today…with some modifications to allow for the ingredients I had on hand. I also liked the idea of something sweet and spicy so about an hour into the cook time I added brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. I may have overdone it a little bit on the brown sugar but the result was pretty delightful.

I felt a little guilty making this because MTT isn’t a huge fan of Chinese food but he managed to eat enough of it to fill his belly 🙂 Also, I told myself if I make this today, I will make one of his favorites, enchiladas, tomorrow 😉

The Colonel Ain’t Got Nothin’ on Me

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After an epic fail this afternoon with cheese balls, (Dill Overdone), we needed a sure-fire win for dinner.

Boneless chicken thighs are always a hit…that, coupled with a little spicy yogurt marinade, followed by a drench in breadcrumbs, can only lead to sheer magic in my oven.

Granted, this concoction isn’t as crunchy as fried chicken. But, it is a whole lot healthier. And the fact that the chicken has a little kick to it more than makes up for the fact that it isn’t fried.

I served this to MTT with sour cream smashed potatoes. His only request was next time to have some gravy also.

All-in-all, I’m very satisfied with how this meal turned out.

My next dilemma is what to do with 2 small leftover pieces…I will attempt to repurpose them…much like a recent episode of “chopped” where all the box ingredients are leftovers 🙂

Dinner by MTT

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I was on call on Friday, and scheduled to get home late. Usually on days like that, we order in or eat leftovers. Imagine my surprise when I text MTT to tell him I will be coming home soon and he replies “ok I’m cooking”. In my head I think this means he is reheating the porkchops and stuffing I had pre-prepared or he was making a phone call for delivery.

However, when I walk up the stairs to our apartment, I can smell something fragrant from the hallway that instantly tells me that porkchops are not for dinner.

I walk in and there is indeed reheated stuffing, but also something cooking on the stove.

MTT will not tell me how he made the orange sauce for the chicken, or what flavor profile he was going for. The result was a semi-Indian flavored chicken curry that I can only call “Chicken Tikka Light”….similar flavors, less creamy/heavy, and just a little bit different in a way you can’t put your finger on.

The other thing I can’t put my finger on is how he made it. MTT is not known for his cooking skills, and his forays into the kitchen are few and far between. And although he claims anything I would make is better than what he would make, the fact that he tries, that he goes into the kitchen to cook for us at all, warms my heart. And sometimes burns it too. Can we say heartburn? 🙂

And…I am back. New year new recipes!

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It has been a while!

But, it’s a new year, and now we are 3 months away from the wedding.

Time for new, healthy recipes!

For Christmas, MTT bought me a KitchenAid stand mixer! Now, this is something I’ve wanted for a looong time. I mean, I have even previously wanted to get married just to register just to get a stand mixer.

So, I decided for a light, Saturday lunch, why not Chicken Souvlaki pitas with home-made, fat-free tzatziki that used my stand mixer??

I warmed up pitas in the oven while I grilled chicken breast tenderloins marinated in some red wine vinegar, Mediterranean spices and lemon juice. Meanwhile, I made a tomato-olive-feta-onion salad. The tzatziki was made by using the whip attachment on my stand mixer to mix up diced cucumber, fat free Greek yogurt, dill, oregano and garlic.

I served a warm pita dressed with tzatziki and the tomato salad, topped with grilled chicken.

This meal was a little prep-heavy…but the joy of using my new stand mixer made it all worth while…that, and the response when I served MTT. He loves tzatziki so much that I was nervous to make a healthy version for fear it would not live up to the condiment he so fondly and often craves…luckily he enjoyed it!

He enjoyed it so much, that he said he’d even eat it on a Tuesday without the chicken ( I don’t cook or eat meat on Tuesday for religious reasons). Coming from my carnivorous MTT, that is truly praise!

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Worth All the Dirty Dishes: A South Asian Adventure

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Two days ago, I decided it was time to go back to my Indian roots. So, I mixed up a malai marinade (yogurt and spices) in a bowl, added some chicken breast tenderloins, and put the covered bowl away in the fridge for two days.

Yesterday, I thought fondly of the chicken marinating in my fridge and started the next step of preparation: I soaked some rice in water.

Today, I was finally ready to make my meal.

Indian cooking is very simple, though it can require some preparation. Over the years, I’ve watched my mom make quite a few meals like this. Sure, you can marinate chicken right before you cook it and boil rice without the pre-soak. But when you plan ahead you can really elevate the meal.

The Indian tradition of yogurt marinades was referenced recently in Top Chef Masters when the acclaimed chefs were asked to contribute to an Indian Buffet…without the proper ingredients of course. Anyway, the eliminated contestant actually made an “Indian-Spiced Chicken” whose most salient critique was “it wasn’t marinated in yogurt….one of the strengths of Indian cooking is using a yogurt marinade always makes Indian chicken so tender and flavorful…” I felt a sense of pride at that critique; as the most frequently cooked meat in my kitchen, I relish the idea of making chicken soft and tasty.

The perfect accompaniments to this malai chicken is a nice spicy rice pilaf and MTT’s favorite: raita.

Raita is a yogurt side spiced with roasted cumin and other items per personal preference. Today’s went with dill and paprika. I also added tons of grated cucumber like my mom always did when I was little. MTT loves raita. So much so that the man can out away almost an entire container-full. In fact, we discovered his lactose intolerance through his love for raita, because he needs to down a lactaid before he can eat it to his heart’s content.

I served this meal with some lightly sautéed red onions and lemon…a very Indian thing to do indeed.

As we ate dinner, I looked over to MTT and said… “I’m sorry about all the dishes tonight…”. Like a good sport, MTT replied “This food is worth it!”

I asked if he wanted some Rooh Aftza for dessert (more on this later…but suffice it to say it’s a very Indian, summery drink). MTT replied “no, tonight is more of a frappucino kind of night…there are so many dishes, might as well use the blender too!”

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