Sunday, November 16, 2014

Roasted Tandoori Chicken and Vegetables with a Tangy Cilantro Dip

A roasted whole chicken is one impressive dish. It gives off a classy, kitchen pro vibe and if you get it right, it is definitely a showstopper. The best part is that it actually isn't that hard to make!

My first attempt at roasting chicken was very interesting. First of all, I found that I connected with the chicken in a weird way. I kept referring to her as a "her" and I just couldn't stop. Needless to say, it was very weird to eat her for dinner.

Besides that, I learned a lot of things about baking chicken, mainly that it isn't hard at all! Don't be scared of a dish that looks complicated. At least give it a try in the comfort of your home, if you fail, no one will even know. And if you don't, well then, you'll have an awesome recipe to add to your repertoire. So here are some tips from my experience-
  • Don't try to lift the baked chicken with or play with the legs. They come off!! Especially if they are well done.
  • You can get by without basting the chicken. Since I marinated the chicken for so long, it was really flavorful!
  • Trussing the chicken is important for appearance and even cooking. But, the twine fell off my chicken during baking and it was still just fine. In the future, I'll remember to tie and double tie the legs in place.
  • Bake the chicken uncovered until it develops a nice roasted color (for me that was 50 min) and then foil it to prevent burning.
  • Don't be afraid to salt the chicken when marinating! This is really important to get a nice flavor.
  • This is a two day process. Make sure to marinate the chicken the night before you bake it!
  • Make sure to read the recipe carefully, I some a lot of tips in it too.
Good luck in the kitchen! :)

Roasted Tandoori Chicken and Vegetables
(Serves 3-4)

1 3lb whole chicken with skin, giblets and neck removed

1 lime
Stalks of 1 bunch cilantro

2 tbs yogurt
1 stick butter, room temperature
Juice of 1 lime
2.5-3 tbs tandoori masala
1 tbs paprika
1 tbs Cajun seasoning
1 tbs dried parsley
1/2 tbs dried rosemary
1 tbs garlic and ginger paste
Salt and pepper 
1 lime

for the vegetables:
3 red potatoes, scrubbed
1 large zucchini
2 or 3 carrots
1 onion
1 tbs olive oil
Following seasonings to taste -
oregano garlic powder Cajun seasoning rosemary paprika black pepper
1 tspn salt

Thoroughly wash and dry the chicken. Make sure to get into the cavity and don't leave any water.

Season it generously with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large bowl that will fit the chicken, beat the softened butter till it is creamy. Then mix all the ingredients of the marinade together.

Generously rub the marinade onto the chicken making sure to get under the skin and in the cavity. Then, leave the chicken in the fridge in a covered bowl overnight.

A couple hours before you bake the chicken, roughly chop all the veggies. Marinade using the rest of the ingredients and leave them in a covered bowl for later use.

One hour before you need to bake the chicken, take it out of the fridge to let it come to room temperature. You don't want to shock the chicken by putting a cold one into a hot oven. Preheat the oven to 400 and prep the chicken.

Stuff it with a lime cut in half and the rinds from the lime juiced for the marinade. Put the stalks of the cilantro from the dip it too. Tie the legs together with twine (more securely than this picture!) and tuck the wings under the body. (Might want to watch a video on this step).

Rub any marinade that may have fallen off overnight back into the chicken and place it into the center of a 9×13 baking dish or roasting pan. Put all the veggies around the chicken and pop the dish into the oven for around 1 and  half hours. The way to tell if the chicken is done is by inserting a thermometer into the deepest part of the thigh without hitting bone and the temperature should read 160. Cover the dish half way with foil to avoid burning the skin.

Once you take the chicken out of the oven, let it rest for 20 minutes before carving or else all the juices will run out. 

Carve and enjoy!

Tangy Cilantro Dip

1 bunch cilantro
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
2 garlic cloves 
Salt and pepper
Water to thin to desired consistency 

This dip can easily be made a day in advance. In fact, it tastes better once the flavors come together as it sits overnight. 

Simply, blend all the ingredients together and thin the mixture with water to your desired consistency. Make sure to taste for seasoning.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Quinoa Crusted Chicken Parmesan with Cheesy Zucchini Rice

Here is the story of my life... I try to lose some weight, I start working out, I eat healthy for a couple days. And then bam! I make something crazy fat like this delicious chicken parmesan with cheesy zucchini rice. All that work down the drain.

Does this happen to you too? I can't help it... I'm just too much of a foodie!

My excuse this week was that I breaded the chicken parmesan with quinoa. It's no secret that quinoa is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. So, I have to say, it was a pretty good excuse.

I've only made chicken parmesan the traditional way before, breaded with bread crumbs. But today, I tried something new so that I could incorporate more of this amazing food into our lives. I breaded the chicken with quinoa. The result was quite amazing - the combination of a crunchy, flavorful crust with marinara sauce and cheese on top of succulent chicken was like a match made in heaven. The quinoa and italian seasoning really added flavor that is just lacking with breadcrumbs. Once you've tried it with quinoa, there's no going back!

The cheesy zucchini rice is pure comfort food. It was an excellent side dish for this recipe but I'm sure I'll make it again when I'm just craving a delicious, quick meal (hopefully after a long workout).

Good luck in the kitchen!

Quinoa Crusted Chicken Parmesan
(adapted from Damn Delicious
Serves 2-4

3 large or 4 medium chicken breasts
1 cup dry quinoa
1 1/2 cup water or chicken broth 
1 1/2 tablespoon italian seasoning, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup marinara sauce
1/4 cup basil leaves, chiffonade
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray. 

In a large saucepan of 1 1/2 cups water or broth, cook quinoa according to package instructions. If using water, season lightly with salt. Stir in half of the Italian seasoning. 

Pound the chicken out 1/4 - 1/2 inch thickness. Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. 

Set up your work station with flour, quinoa, and beaten eggs. Season every step with salt and pepper and the rest of the seasoning. Working in batches, dredge chicken in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in the quinoa mixture, pressing to coat. 

Place chicken onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Top with cheeses and marinara. Place into oven and bake until cheeses have melted, about 5 more minutes. 

Serve immediately, garnished with basil, if desired.

Cheesy Zucchini Rice

1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 medium or 2 small zucchini, grated on a box grater or with a food processor (no need to peel beforehand)
1 cup shredded mexican blend cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 tablespoons milk, if needed

In a medium saucepan, combine the rice and chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and let the rice simmer for 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove the rice from the heat and stir in the grated zucchini, cheese, and garlic powder. Add salt and pepper to taste (don't skip this step - I needed at least 1/4 teaspoon of salt to boost the flavor). Add a tablespoon or so of milk to adjust the texture if needed. Serve warm.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Black Bean and Quinoa Veggie Burgers

I'm not a meat person. I don't like to cook it, I don't like to smell it, and I definitely don't like to eat it. 

That's why I'm always looking for vegetarian dishes that are just as filling, healthy, and of course, delicious. And these black bean and quinoa veggie burgers definitely hit the spot.

After I made these quinoa masala dosas last week, I had a lot of quinoa on hand and I wanted to find the perfect recipe to use it up.  Quinoa is so versatile. It can be had simply fluffed as a substitute for rice, and then it can also be used in wonderful dishes such as these burgers.

Three ingredients in the burgers, eggs, oat flour, and quinoa, help the patties hold together. This was the first time a vegetarian burger of mine held shape! I was really impressed. The patties were huge and not even a crumble fell off.

In regards to the flavor, it was divine. No store bought veggie burger can compare. Definitely let the mixture sit over night for the flavors to merge and come together. The corn gave the perfect crunch and the cumin gave it a unique flavor. All in all, a wonderful, healthy, and vegetarian treat.

Black Bean and Quinoa Veggie Burgers
adapted from The Foodie Physician
(makes 8 patties)

2 (15 oz) cans black beans
1/2 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup quinoa
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tsp salt, divided
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large egg
2/3 cup corn
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup oat flour (can be made by grinding rolled oats)

burger buns
thousand island dressing

Place the quinoa in a small saucepan along with 1 cup of water.  Bring the water to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and cover the pan.  Cook 10-15 minutes until the water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked.  Remove from heat.  

Heat the oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic.  Season them with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and sauté until onions are softened, 5-6 minutes.  Place the mixture into a large bowl.  

Add approximately 1½ cans of black beans to the bowl and using a potato masher or fork, mash all of the ingredients together until a pasty mixture forms. 

Stir in the tomato paste, egg, corn, cilantro, pepper, cumin and ½ teaspoon salt.  

Stir in the cooked quinoa and both oats and oat flour until evenly distributed.

Form the mixture into 8 equal patties, compacting them well with your hands as you form them.  Place the patties on a baking sheet, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a few hours or overnight. 

When ready to eat, heat a little bit of olive oil in a nonstick pan and fry the patties for 4-5 minutes on both sides or until golden brown. Alternatively you can bake the patties, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and place the patties on the sheet.  Cook 10-12 minutes until the patties are golden brown and crispy, then carefully flip the over and cook another 10 minutes. 


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Quinoa Masala Dosa with Potato Curry

Quinoa is a superfood - one of the healthiest foods in the world. It is a complete protein, and contains so many nutrients, fiber, magnesium, and folate to name a few. Though it isn't a grain, it can be used as a cereal grain. What I'm confused about is why more people don't incorporate this amazing food into their diets. I'm ready to make the change myself. In my opinion, quinoa is like the healthier, fitter, better looking cousin of rice. 

Today I'm sharing a very popular Indian recipe in which I've substituted rice with quinoa to make a healthier version of the dish - quinoa masala dosa! My husband, who is actually Indian, said it was pretty darn authentic, even though I substituted the entire grain! I have to say, it was really delicious.

  • This time, I've only substituted half the rice with quinoa. To go the whole way, just use 1 1/4 cup of quinoa and leave out the rice.
  • Serve this delicious dish with sambar and red chutney. 
Try it out and let me know how it goes!

Quinoa Masala Dosa with Potato Curry
Makes 8-10 large dosas

1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup urad dal
1/2 cup rice
1/8 cup chana dal
5-7 fenugreek seeds
salt to taste

Potato Curry-
2-3 potatoes
1 green chili
1 onion
salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp chana dal
1 tbsp urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
a few curry leaves
2 tbsp oil or ghee
some water

Soak all of the dosa ingredients except salt in a large bowl filled with water for 6 hours or overnight.

Wash them and grind them in a blender with a little water to get a fine batter. Make sure to strain the batter and regrind the chunky bits, you don't want any little pieces or chunks. It has to be ultra smooth.

Add salt and water to get the consistency you want, somewhere between pancake batter and crepe batter. Let it ferment for 5 hours if you want, but this step is not necessary.

To make the curry-

Boil the potatoes or cook them in a pressure cooker till completely soft and cooked through. Peel and chop into small pieces and mash them (leave it a little chunky for texture)

Heat oil and add the chana dal and urad dal.

When they start changing color, add the mustard seeds, cumin sees, curry leaves, and turmeric.

Add green chili and onions and fry till translucent.

Add potatoes, around 1/4-1/2 cup of water, and salt. Cook covered for 5 minutes and turn off the heat.

To assemble-

Heat a large nonstick pan on medium heat and brush it with an onion and some oil.

Ladle a 1/3 cup full of the batter in the center of the pan and swirl or use the back of a wide spoon in a circular motion to spread it into a thin, even dosa. If you didn't use oil before, spoon oil around the edges of the dosa now.

Cook for 2-3 minutes until the bottom of the crepe is golden brown. On top, spread red chutney and  the potato curry. Close it and serve! Enjoy!

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