Crockpot “Indian” Chicken Stew

Well I told you things were getting busy…I haven’t had time to do much cooking in the last week or so. Thank God for the weekend.

I’m gonna be straight with you. The only thing Indian about this stew is a couple spices. Throw in garam masala and curry powder and voila, something’s Indian. If you’re worried about it being too spicy, don’t – there’s no chilies in here. The curry powder won’t hurt you, I promise. Let me tell you, this stew smelled fantastic as it cooked, and it’s really a very basic dump-it-all-in slow cooker recipe. Gotta love those!

slow cooker indian chicken stew

Crockpot Indian Stew

(adapted from Better Homes & Garden’s The Ultimate Low-Cal Cookbook)

Ingredients

  • approximately 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.5) oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 (14.5) oz cans garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1.5 – 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

After cutting your chicken into nice little pieces, add that, the onion, the curry powder, the garam masala, the ginger, the garlic, the salt, and the pepper to your crockpot. Toss well to coat the chicken in all that good stuff. Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, broth, and add bay leaf.

Cover and cook for 8-10 hours (LOW heat) or 4-5 hours (HIGH heat). About 10 minutes before serving, discard bay leaf and stir in spinach and lime juice. Serve over basmati rice or with naan.

Notes

The end result was totally delicious, but I will say that there seemed to be a bunch of excess liquid for a stew, so I drained a little bit of that.

This was a pretty perfect meal for us – tons of protein, per V’s dietary demands, and low-cal to boot. The naan felt like a decadent treat after a few days of pretty strict eating. Which is not to say that I wouldn’t kill for a bowl of Chocolate Shoppe ice cream right now, because I definitely would. Like, in a heartbeat.

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Healthy, Quick Chicken Fried Rice

It’s been a hell of a week, and it’s only Wednesday morning! Hoping things will calm down at least a little after today. I do not like rushing home and having 12 tasks to accomplish – I much prefer coming home, watching last night’s Daily Show, cooking dinner, and reading. But I suppose it can’t always be like that.

Anyway! This meal is perfect for busy weeknights. It will be ready faster than Chang Jiang can deliver to fried rice to your house!

chicken fried rice

Chicken Fried Rice

(adapted from Skinny Mom)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • approximately 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup peas and carrots, frozen (I used frozen peas and fresh carrots, diced)
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 or 2 eggs, depending on how you like it
  • 3 tbsp sesame or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

Directions

Before anything else, start the brown rice in your rice cooker. Get a rice cooker if you don’t have one!!

Pour the oil into a pan on medium heat. Cut chicken breasts into 1/2-inch pieces and add to the pan. While they cook in there, if you’re going to use fresh carrots, now’s the time to start chopping them. If you’re using both frozen peas and carrots, start chopping the onion.

Once the chicken looks mostly cooked, add in the vegetables and garlic. Stir well until the veggies are softened and the onions are clear. Crack the egg(s) into the skillet and scramble into the rest of the ingredients.

Once eggs have scrambled sufficiently, add in the cooked brown rice and pour soy sauce over the whole thing. Mix very very well.

Notes

The original source recipe calls for four cups cooked brown rice rather than two – and only a 1/2 pound of chicken. I found that to be a pretty crazy rice:chicken ratio for a dish that is trying to be healthy, so I kind of reversed the proportions. You could get by with even less rice than I used if you wanted to.

The frozen vs. fresh carrots are just a time/preference thing. I only had fresh ones so it was a simple call for me, but you could cut down on the prep time by using frozen.

Happy eating!

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Makhani (Butter Chicken)

Butter chicken is up there with palak paneer as one of the most Indian-newb-friendly dishes. It generally isn’t that spicy, and in this recipe, really isn’t spicy at all – obviously you can tweak it to suit your preferences. The name sounds decadent, like it would just be dripping in gobs of butter, but the butter:chicken ratio here is actually very restrained.

I should probably also use the “admittedly inauthentic” disclaimer here too, as I did with my chicken tikka masala. This is definitely not the traditional way of making chicken makhani – it is the cheater version. This one’s for all my fellow cheaters out there.

butter chicken

Chicken Makhani (Butter Chicken)

(adapted from Canadian Family)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • approximately 2 or 2.5 lbs skinless, bone-in chicken drumsticks or thighs
  • about 2 paratha or naan per person

Directions

Melt the butter in the microwave and pour into your slow cooker. Add all the remaining ingredients except chicken; stir to combine into a smooth gravy.

If desired, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken pieces to the slow cooker and make sure they are all coated well with the gravy.

Cook on HIGH for 2.5 hours or on LOW for 5 hours. As it gets close to finishing, cook your bread of choice according to its package directions (some are best in the oven, like naan, while paratha is definitely better on the stove).

Notes

It’s seriously as simple as that! I love this recipe because while I like to use my crockpot, I often don’t really have it together enough in the mornings to get everything necessary for a recipe all assembled and into the crockpot before I have to leave for work. Because this only takes 2.5 hours, and I get home around 4:30, I can have dinner ready by 7:00 as there is virtually no prep time.

As I mentioned, this is not spicy whatsoever, but if you wanted to kick it up a notch you could add some diced green or red chilies into the gravy.

Also, just an FYI: this is a MESSY dinner. You need a lot of napkins. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake

My source for this recipe claims that it’s a great “pre-marathon meal”. I really can’t speak to that…I can just tell you that this is yummy. This is exactly what I mean when I say “classy comfort food”. There’s nothing sexy or sophisticated about chicken and spinach pasta bake, but it hits the spot.

chicken spinach pasta bake

Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake

(adapted from Bitchin Camero)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb small pasta (shells, elbows, rotini)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/8 cup white wine
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set a large saucepan of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions, or slightly less. Drain and set aside. While the pasta cooks, you can chop up the spinach.

Dice up your chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Pour olive oil into a skillet over medium heat and brown the chicken for 5-10 minutes. Add garlic and stir for a few minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Add salt, spinach, and white wine to the skillet and stir for 3-5 more minutes or until the spinach begins to wilt. Pour your drained pasta into the skillet and mix well to combine everything. Now pour it all into a medium-sized casserole dish or a 9×9 pan*. (The one I used was kind of a weird size, about 10×10, but worked okay for this recipe.) Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top and bake for about 25 minutes, give or take.

Notes

*The casserole dish. I halved this recipe from what it was originally because it called for four chicken breasts and I only had two. If you used the original amounts, a 9×13 pan would probably work just fine. The only ingredient I didn’t halve was the mozzarella cheese…because I love melty mozzarella cheese…and I felt 2 cups was just right, regardless 🙂

Enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Sorry for the long absence – I’m sure you’ve been just devastated 😉

In the colder months, I make a lot of soups. I’ve already given you my beloved lasagna soup recipe. I also have a great one for minestrone. Tonight, we do chicken tortilla soup. Super simple, super fast, super yummy.

chicken tortilla soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

(adapted from Eat Drink Love)

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 of a large yellow onion, diced
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 oz corn (canned or frozen)
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • broken-up tortilla chips

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Toss in the diced onion and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Add black beans and corn, then each of the spices. Stir to coat.

Meanwhile, dice your chicken breasts into small pieces. Alternatively, you could use already-cooked rotisserie chicken and shred it; that would probably be more “authentic” but I chose to dice it and cook it in a pan separately.

Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth (really doesn’t matter which – I ended up mixing some of both because of what I had already open/handy) as well as the diced tomatoes. Add in the chicken, however you’ve chosen to prepare it. Stir it all well, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

When the time is up, serve the soup in bowls and garnish with broken tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream – whatever floats your boat.

Notes

I (approximately) doubled the spice measurements from the original recipe and honestly, still found it a bit too bland. So go nuts with the chili powder, the cayenne pepper, the paprika.

I’m aware the photo is absolutely terrible, and I said I’d get better, not worse…the trouble is I can’t find the uploader thingmajig for my camera so I’m stuck using my iPhone. SOMEDAY, it will get better. 🙂