Middlest Does It Herself: Food in Jars

5 Mar

Dudes. There is something significantly gratifying when opening a jar of food that you made and preserved yourself. I bet it’s equivalent to cracking an egg from your own chicken; eating meat from something you caught/hunted; perhaps even the same feeling a mother has while holding her infant after delivery. Okay, the last statement may be a bit dramatic, but opening a jar of preserved food feels pretty damn good.

For many summers I have watched my mom sweat over a stove, turning bulk fruits & veggies into goods that my family enjoyed throughout the whole year. The first time I ate a store-bought pickle was in college when my home-supply ran dry. I have yet to this day have needed to purchase store jam. I told myself that when I “grow up” I’m going to start canning my own food. I dabbled some steps with my mother, mostly helping her make raspberry jam, but never tried doing it independently. The idea of giving botulism to a loved one was absolutely terrifying, so the hobby of preserving was put on my “tomorrow” list. That was until this summer when I decided to finally try out canning completely on my own. Luckily my mother had been anticipating the day when I would start my own preserving, so she saved most of the supplies I needed to start canning. What luck! I started to preserve in July and have been able to can throughout the long winter months thanks to [Pete’s Fruit Market] where I get BULK fruits/veggies ridiculously cheap. Such a good store. Anyway, behold my photos of canned goods thus far!

canning

My Canned Goods: Diced Tomatoes, Stewed Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Salsa, Rosy Rhubarb Jam, Pumpkin Spiced Apple Sauce; Bay-leaf Strawberry Jam, Carrot Habanero Hot Sauce.

Let’s get to the good stuff, friends. Now, I am not a canning expert, but I have learned a few things in my experience so far.

  • Follow the recipe exactly, unless if you are tweaking a recipe safely. Recipes are written so that the jars will seal and preserve properly and safely. Having an appropriate acidity for processing is extremely important.
  • Make sure jars and lids are sterile. For extra precautions, I always store my goods without the rings, for my friend CoraL told me that if anything is wrong with the food (like botulism), the lids will pop off.
  • Hot food goes into hot jars. Always have a kennel of boiling water on the stove for a quick water top-off.

     Tweaking
  • Sugar — Add more or less. Sugar is added for flavor and for stabilization of shape, set, and color. *Not added as a preservative*
  • Insufficient amts of sugar may result in runny, dribbly spreads which can, but not always, be remedied by increasing cooking times and/or by adding more pectin.
  • Salt — Add more or less except for when making fermented canned goods (eg. sauerkraut). Salt is used as flavor only and doesn’t affect spoilage. Salt affects texture and crunch, as salt pulls moisture from food. Use only salts labeled as Kosher, Canning, or Pickling Salt since regular table salt will make brines cloudy.
  • Salsa — May substitute one type of pepper for another, as long as you don’t increase the total amount of peppers used in recipe.
  • Lemon/Lime Juice — May substitute bottled lemon or bottled lime for vinegar. Unless otherwise noted, always stick to bottled citrus juices, since fresh can vary in acidity.
  • Herbs and spices — Feel free to play with the amounts of herbs/spices in a recipe – it won’t adversely affect the recipe’s pH.
  • Vinegar. — OK to substitute one kind of vinegar for another as long as the vinegar chosen is at least 5% acid.
  • Honey — May be substituted for sugar, but it is not a cup-for-cup ratio since honey is more dense than granulated sugar. 

    NEVER TWEAK.

  • Never increase the amt of vegetables. Could push the pH into dangerously low-acid territory.
  • Never decrease the amt of acid, whether vinegar, lime juice, or lemon juice.
  • Never substitute vinegar for bottled lemon or lime juice in a recipe, since vinegar is slightly less acidic than the citruses.
  • Never add more water than a recipe calls for. Could dilute acidity to unsafe levels.
  • Never tweak the amount of salt in a fermented pickle recipe. Too little salt can cause undesirable organisms to grow; too much can kill the beneficial lactic acid bacteria, which is what preserves the food.

Below are the supplies needed for preserving your own food.

Basic canning supplies can be sold as kits at retail stores for approximately $60. 

Canning and Preserving For Dummies

My friend CoraL let me borrow this book, which is a comprehensive resource about canning & preserving. Very nice.

The process, I’ve learned, is quite simple. Take hot food & put it into hot, sterile jars. Wipe each jar clean with a warm cloth and secure the sterile lid with a ring. Each recipe tells you what the headspace (using the “bubble popper and measurer” shown above) should be and how long to put the jars in to boiling water. Take jars out and let them rest for 24 hours before storing. You’ll hear popping lids (the “button” in the middle of the lid will stay flat) as the lids seal. And that’s it! It’s so easy. Any jars that don’t “pop”/seal just needs to be refrigerated and eaten within a few weeks or you can attempt to reprocess the item. I have yet to have that problem, luckily.

I have a variety of recipes for my new-found hobby. My mother was so excited that I started jarring my own food that she gave me total access to recipes from her great grandmother. The recipes are so old that they tell you to “remove the pot from fire”. Yes. Fire, folks. I am just so happy I started canning; I do happy dances after each popping sound. Soups and stews taste better with my diced tomatoes. Oatmeal rocks with my jams and jellies. This summer I’m making everything one needs for a kickass bloody; Sundays will rock more than they do now. I love scouring the internet for quirky recipes like Carrot Habanero Hot Sauce and Bay Leaf Strawberry Jam. If it’s a little weird, I want to try it.

Canning takes a lot of preparation and work, but in the end it’s worth it. I have a new found appreciation for any canned good given to me.

Now all I need is to learn how to build a fire, coop my own chickens, and change my own oil so I can move to the mountains and become a self-sufficient diva. Hey, a girl always needs to dream.

Happy preservation, folks!

.x.x.x.x.
Middlest

My 40 Day Challange: Goin’ Vegan!

13 Feb

Being raised as a Roman Catholic, it is tradition to prepare for the coming of Christ forty days before Easter Sunday.  Typically for Lent I will give up a food item or activity to fulfill my Lenten promise.

The contenders were:
Diet Coke, no mo’!
Eliminate weekday drinking.
Going Vegan.

No diet coke is out of the question; I need my liquid caffeine to prevent a 2 o’clock siesta.

Eliminating weekday drinking deemed difficult;  a vegan diet seemed like the easiest choice of the three.  No, not VEGETARIAN…VEGAN.  There is a difference and is explained a litter later in this blog…

Recently, I watched a documentary [Vegucated, if you will]  on the benefits of a vegan lifestyle [love Netflix].  Since I reside on the eastside of Milwaukee, I have become familiar with the term ‘vegan’Not being able to consume animal products, eggs, and dairy deemed challenging to most, yet there are many who make being vegan a part of their identity!

For forty days, I will be calling myself a Lenten Vegan!  That’s right – forty days with NO meat, NO fish, NO cheese, NO dairy, NO eggs [Watch out J. Aniston – I’m ready for your bod now]. I will have to be creative with my cooking and baking, and do some research on Milwaukee dining.  Some online sources say that adapting this lifestyle will be better for my health, the environment, and for animals.

THREE BASIC REASONS FOR GOING VEGAN

  • For My Health

When one eats a plant-based diet, it is believed that they will be consuming less cholesterol and saturated (bad) fats, which in return can prevent diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.  Yes, plant based diets do include whole grains – so I can still have carbohydrates, friends! I will definitely be eating much more veggies, fruits, and whole grains. Talk about having healthy bowel movements! Fortunately I already eat a pretty healthy diet, so increasing my greens and eliminating meat will not be huge issue for me. I just know I will miss my cheese!

  • For the Environment

Apparently, living a vegan lifestyle is better for the planet.  I learned from the documentary that vegan diets produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than meat-based diets.  This is due to the methane gas produced from livestock [when they poop].

  • For the Animals

Factory farms sadden me.

So here we go! Now that this is public, there is no churning back [pun intended. Butter – churning butter – get it?!]

Tips? Concerns? Vegan recipes?  Share below, b!tches.

-Youngest

Bras & John Stamos.

5 Feb

 

For your Tuesday pleasure….A mini convo I had the other day with a lady bitty….

“I’m going let you in on a little secret. See this big Hawaii sweatshirt I am wearing? I used to have another one that had pretty Christmas Hawaiian flowers on it but got rid of it…Anyway; the reason why I am wearing this is because I have decided that I am no longer going to wear a bra around here. I want to relax my boobs. For years I have worn wired bras and the one side has always been irritated. Since I do not have a boy toy to massage it, I will just go without.” – Bitty 

“Well you could always find a boy toy….” – Me

“I don’t have that kind of money to be paying for one. Though it would be very, very nice to have one. You know, I keep buying that Greek Yogurt they advertise yet the man in the commercial never pops up.”   – Bitty

“John Stamos?” – Me

“Whatever his name is. My God he’s dreamy.” – Bitty

 

 

XoXo –

Eldest.

 

I like big butts and I cannot lie….

16 Jan

                 Several of the bible study ladies were chattering away about this or that.  While I was getting some water (trying to drink 8 glasses a day which is has been difficult for me to do) I overheard one of them comment that I “looked cute today” (I am wearing a sweater dress). I let them know that the only reason why I was wearing a dress was because all of my pants were dirty or wrinkly and since I loathe ironing and have been too lazy to do laundry, I had to wear a dress. One of the bitty’s stated that if she were “little” like me, she would wear the outfits I wear to work. I shrugged my shoulders admitting I didn’t think I was little and that I have a rather large/wide butt that I got from my mom’s side (well more like my Mom and Grandma but whatever). Another bitty chimed in stating that my “ass was not big” and that my “ass was high and firm which all the boys like” and that she “wished” she had a butt like that. Knowing I’d get a good response from it, I asked her if she wanted a butt like Kim Kardashian’s. The lady made a disgusted face and said “That girl is trash. Everything about her makes me sick. I know they x-rayed her ass. I still think it’s fake, fake, fake.” The bitty then stated as soon as I get to be their age, everything “drops…your ass, your boobs, your face, everything….” She then pointed to her chest stating that her “one boob hangs lower than the other one. It’s like a juggling act over here.”  ….The rest of the bitties giggled quite a bit at that comment  and I just politely sat there, dying inside (naturally).

“Au naturel, baby. That’s how I like them.

Swing low, sweet chariots.” – Creed Bratton

X.x.X

Eldest.

Slow Cooker, Apple Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal

11 Jan

A new year brings on plenty of resolutions. This year I decided that instead of failing at new resolutions, I vowed to focus on maintaining the good habits I kept in 2012 (working out, eating well, letting myself sleep after work). And yes…I did keep the resolutions I always fail at such as cussing less and to stop biting my nails, but let’s face it…I’ve had these resolutions since I was 8 (nails) and my late teens (damn cursing). Those resolutions are inevitably too difficult, so I will just be proud of one good habit: eating well.

Ok. Focus, Meghan (which should be a resolution, but would land on the impossible resolution list). Anyway, I love oats. Love, love, love ’em. I once made a fancy posting about my Toatally Eggscellent Oats, which had held me off until now. Now I have another fancy oats recipe! I found this little gem from “The Yummy Life” (click on the picture above for the link)  and have customized it since then. I have made this recipe 4 times now (one batch is cooking right now) for 3 different people and we have yet to be disappointed.

Behold: Slow Cooker, Apple Cinnamon Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Ingredients.

  • Non-stick spray (oatmeal will stick otherwise!)
  • 2 apples (or pears): peeled (I leave skins on. Fiber, baby!), cored, cut into 1/2″ pieces [approximately 2.5-3 cups chopped]
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk (soy or almond milk)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats (old-fashion oats)
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (maple syrup or other desired sweetener)
  • Optional: 1 1/2 tablespoons butter (I used canola oil twice and nothing the other 2 times. I don’t believe oil of any sorts is necessary)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I never use this, but go ahead!)
  • Optional: Chopped nuts (I’ve used pecans, walnuts, and pistachios in my recipes so far. Pecans have been my favorite.)
  • Optional garnishes: raisins, maple syrup, additional milk or butter. I’ve stirred in blueberries and vanilla. Mmmm…

Directions.

  1. Coat inside of 3 1/2 quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Add all ingredients to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for approximately 3-7 hours (times may vary. My slow cooker took 3-4 hrs).
  3. Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add additional toppings, if desired.

You may store in the refrigerator or the freezer. Excellent! To reheat single servings: 1 cup oatmeal, add 1/3 cup water/milk. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave for another minute, if needed.

There you have it, friends! Enjoy your new oatmeal recipe!

And here’s a printable version (with my babbling, of course) Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal

.x.x.x.x.
Middlest

‘Tis the Season! Sh*t my Residents say….

19 Dec

So I walked into the office this morning and was greeted by several members of bible study. Here is what happened during my five minute conversation with them:

“Hi Ali!!!! How are you?” – Bitties

“Heeeeeey!!!! Oh I’m just fine. How are you kids?” – Me

The small talk continued on for a few minutes and then….

“Soooooo Ali…How’s your love life?” – Bitty

Shrugs shoulders. “Uh, it’s there. I mean…” – Me

“….Well she would obviously look radiant if she had someone in her life.” – Man bitty

This is the same man bitty that gave me shit a couple weeks ago about me never being in a good mood. Anyhoo, I gave him a fake smile/I want to destroy you right now look before I sweetly said….

“Oh Bitty (I said his name, I did not call him bitty)… I ALWAYS look radiant though.” – Me

I then slapped him on the back with my fake smile still on my face. The lady bitties laugh hysterically and tell him that I “really got him.” A lady bitty grew serious, telling me that I did not need a love but told me that I should get a cat to be my companion. Apparently my “Jim from The Office” look kind of gave how I was feeling away.  Another lady bitty told the other lady bitty that was “absurd” and that I needed to be married for “at least 10 years” before getting a cat. She then looked at me, smiled with excitement and told me as soon as I have a “lover” they will rent the clubhouse and celebrate. I shook my head taking this brief convo in. Not going to lie, I do not understand how a cat could replace a “lover” especially since I am not a cat lover to begin with…Hmmmm….

|I mean I could see this being me…Minus the cats….|

 

P.S.: Aaaaaand I was just told by a man bitty that he “f*cking hated me” and my boss just kicked him out of the office for also saying other sassy things about people in the clubhouse. The sad part of this, I don’t know what I did. I mean if I did something to make him f*cking hate me then perhaps this would all would make sense. But nonetheless as Charlie Harper would say in Two and Half Men…”Hmmmm.”

 

 

 ‘Tis the season bitches. #OmgThisJustDidNotHappen #IAmLaughingAndNotCryingWhichIsNeat #DoesThisMeanIHaveAHeartOfCoal

XxX, 

Eldest

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Quinoa Salsa

29 Nov

No Soup for You!

Just kidding, friends. I am no soup Nazi. I am a believer in sharing recipes that are souper. Soup for everyone!

Summer has ended and the best parts of Autumn are behind us. Now Wisconsin is in this weird purgatory season filled with cold days and freezing nights, and neither leaves nor snow are on the ground. To keep my blues in check until snow hits the ground, I like to dedicate many suppers to soup. I have been waiting months to finally try this soup and The Roasted Red Pepper Soup was well worth the wait. A few tricks I learned while tackling this recipe will make my next cooking session much more time friendly and hopefully a lot less messy. Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Quinoa Salsa. Whole Living.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Quinoa Salsa. Courtesy of Whole Living

Serves 4-6

Ingredients.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 4 red belled peppers; roasted, peeled and quartered. [I made this soup twice. Guilty. The first time with solely red peppers and the second with mixed peppers (green, red, yellow, and orange) and it was fuggin’ delicious. Yep. I’m bringing “fuggin'” back, ya’ll. This was a bit spicier than the red pepper soup. Mama likey.]
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • coarse salt

Quinoa Salsa

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (Cooks just like rice: 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water. Boil water, add quinoa, turn heat to low ((or remove from heat)), keep covered until quinoa splits open and absorbs water)
  • 1/4 small red onion, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
  • lime wedges, for serving

Directions.

Roasted red peppers. There are two ways to do this. I’ll list both ways!

Roasting a red pepper with gas stove

First way: Using a gas stove

  1. Char peppers over flame of a gas stove, turning until blackened and blistering.
  2. Transfer to bowl, cover with a plate and let stand until cool
  3. Scrape off skins with paring knife and clean with paper towel,
  4. Remove stems ribs and seeds.

I personally don’t like this. I bet it would be a convenient way if I were to use a gas grill. Roasting peppers individually on the stove was not appealing to my time crunch, therefore I scoured the internet for a more productive way to achieve roasted peppers. I came across a helpful video and the directions are below.

Roasted red peppers using the oven

Second way: Using the oven/broiler

  1. Preheat oven to 500º
  2. Cut red peppers into halves, discarding seeds and ribs
  3. Coat red peppers lightly with canola oil/cooking spray and place onto a cookie sheet
  4. When the oven is ready, place peppers into oven for 30-45 minutes. I blasted the broiler for the last 10 minutes to get the skins nice and bubbly.
  5. Remove from oven and cover the top of the cookie sheet with an additional cookie sheet. This allows steam to loosen the skins.
  6. Once peppers are at room temperature, remove skins with a paring knife.
  7. Cut skinless peppers into quarters or slices.

Sure, the oven way takes a bit more time, but I can do other things while those suckers are cooking. Productive time trumps wasted time, friends. And I count hovering over a stove turning peppers as wasted time. Ok. Next step!

Soup.

  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes; cook until tender, 6-8 minutes
  3. Add roasted red peppers and chicken stock
  4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Let cool slightly, then pureé in a blender/processor until smooth
  6. Season with salt

Quinoa Salsa.

  1. In a small bowl, mix together cooked quinoa, red onion, avocado, and cilantro
  2. Season with salt

To serve, lade soup into bowls, top with quinoa salsa, and squeeze with lime.

Nutrition Facts.165 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 3 mg cholesterol. 17 g carbs. 78 mg sodium, 5 g protein. 5 g fiber

The local grocery store I go to had buckets of red peppers for $2, so I (of course) bought a bucket that contained 16 red bell peppers. ha. I tripled this batch of soup because 1. red peppers get pricey and 2. roasting and peeling takes a lot of time. I am glad I did because I have a large container of soup in the freezer just waiting to cure my pre-winter blues at my discretion. Roasted red pepper soup. So. Freaking. Good.

.x.x.x.x.
Middlest

Happy Monday.

26 Nov

It is Monday. It is the Monday after Thanksgiving. I am battling a rather nasty cold that I feel I got while being at home for five days (worth it, I love being at home). I am on a lot of drugs so I can attempt to feel like a million bucks today. They appear to be working. This afternoon, I had an old bitty stop in to visit with me.

“Hi, there dear. How are you? How was your weekend?” – G

“Hey there, G. I’m fine. My weekend was great.  Just got in yesterday.”  – Me

{Insert several seconds of awkward staring at one another}

“You look different.” – G

“Yea?” – Me

“Yea. It looks like you just had sex over the weekend.” – G

“Uhhhh…” – Me (I had gotten my hair done over the weekend so I was not expecting to hear that…)

“Your skin is very clear and smooth. Your eyes are glossy and you seem more “mellow” than usual.” – G

“…Or it could be that I have a cold and am on a lot of drugs at the moment.” – Me

“Oh.Well there you go. You now have a “back-up” to look the way you do right now if you don’t get sex over the weekend.” – G

 …..

Game over. I’m done for the day.

xXx.

Eldest

Sh*t my residents say….

14 Nov

“Look, why do we, as a society, hate old people so much?” – Michael Scott
” Because they’re lame.” – Creed Bratton

{So not true…}

I walk in this morning with two of my residents who were also heading to the clubhouse for “bible study” (FYI -They rarely talk about the bible and are more intrigued about talking about things like Viagra (which is $10 a pop at the VA), homosexuality, and one’s color). One of the ladies said something funny so naturally I chuckled. The man bitty in charge of bible study look shocked that I was laughing and muttered to someone why I was so happy today. Of course I heard this (I may have small ears but I try not to miss much) and told him that I was most of the time in a good mood at work. Man bitty gave me a “WTF” look and said that he never sees this “good mood” from me. He then laughed and joked to his pals in bible study saying that I “must have had a great date last night.” Of course I wasn’t going to let him win this little argument we had going on. I corrected myself, explaining that 85% of the time I was in a good mood. He nodded, stating (again) that he rarely sees this. I then politely told him the other 15% of the time when I am “crabby” was when the bible study group and line dancers were here at the clubhouse. His mouth dropped. I smiled sweetly. The two ladies that I walked in began to laugh hysterically.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I feel that today is going to be a good day.

Liz Lemon Rocks. < – – You should click this. Made my day. Thanks cousin Dave for always doing this.

xX,

Eldest.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

1 Nov

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

“Oh my Catholic God. This is so good.” Nom, nom, nom. “I lurve leftovers…Hmmm…maybe I should blog about this.”

That was my conversation to myself about 10 minutes ago. I still have the savory taste of Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala in my mouth (and the warmth of the spices in my chest) so I deemed this to be the best time to write all about it. Yes, a recipe is involved. And no, I did not make the recipe up myself. Click on the above picture for a link to the blogger who was genius enough to concoct this recipe.

I found this gem on Pinterest, which ultimately led me to the aforementioned blogger. I had this recipe printed (click here for the recipe straight out of my cookbook! —> Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala) for almost 6 months before attempting it. It was partly because I found the recipe when it was nearing Spring, which is when my slow-cooker begins its hibernation. Another reason is because I wanted to wait to cook it for guests who loves Indian food. Hey, I’m all for the encouragement of people’s taste buds to explore new cuisines…I just don’t want them to explore when my ego is on the line. First-time recipes can be tricky. YaknowwhatImean? And then there’s time: the chicken needs to bathe in a marinade overnight. I rarely plan meals ahead of time to marinate something. Anyway, the stars lined up and I told myself, “Self…it’s time to attempt Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala.”

Time to shut up, Middlest, and get to the good stuff. Do not be discouraged by the ingredient list. A lot of spices are listed more than once because they’re used at different times during the cooking process. It’s super easy; pinky promise! The recipe below is what I did. My tweaks are highlighted in italics.

This is a 2 step process…just like a folk dance. Let’s dance!

STEP ONE:
Ingredients for Chicken Tikka.

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6-8 chicken thighs, skin on; bone-in. (I used a whole damn roasting chicken: thighs, wings, breasts & discarded the skin)

Directions.

  1. Stir all ingredients except chicken into the bottom of a large plastic container.
  2. Add the chicken and coat the chicken completely with the marinade, cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.

STEP TWO:
Ingredients for Masala.

Ingredients.

  • 1 can 28 oz. diced tomatoes. I used my own canned diced tomatoes. NBD.
  • 1 can 5.5 oz tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp garam masala (Whole Foods has this for $2.99)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, grated (store your ginger in the freezer for easy grating)
  • 1 tbsp tikka paste…you could use mild curry paste instead, but then also add about a tbsp of lemon juice. <– I used red curry paste and forgot the lemon juice. Whoops!

    Plus:

    • 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp garam masala
    • Salt
    • 1 cup cream <—nope. I used yogurt.
    • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped. I used about 1-2 cups of this stuff. I love fresh cilantro!

    Directions.

    1. Turn oven to broil.
    2. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a rack over top.
    3. Take the chicken out of the marinade (discard the marinade – That’s wasteful…I poured the marinade all over the chicken) and place on the baking rack.
    4. Place under the broiler about 6-10 inches from the heating element and broil on each side about 10 minutes until browned. You do not need to cook the chicken all the way through, friends. That’s what the slow-cooker is for.
    5. Meanwhile, in a pan over medium high heat, add about a tsp or two of oil.
      1. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes to soften.
      2. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for a few more minutes until the mixture is nice and fragrant.
      3. Place the mixture into your crockpot.
        1. To that, add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, garam masala, tikka paste, cumin, chili powder and coriander.
        2. Stir together.
        3. When the chicken is done broiling, add them straight to the slow cooker. (I de-boned the chicken at this time. I never feel like working for my food once it is on my plate)
        4. Stir chicken into the masala (sauce). Slow cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low 6-8 hours.
        5. Before serving stir in 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala and salt.
        6. Stir in the cream (yogurt) and fresh cilantro.

    6. Serve the chicken tikka masala sauce over rice.

    Meghan’s Rice.

    1. Using a rice maker (Godsent), add 1 cup of brown rice to 2 cups of water. Turn the rice cooker on. Wow. That was easy.
    2. Once rice cooker turns to “warm” mode, add a tablespoon of olive oil (or thyme-infused olive oil if you’re me) and a half cup of fresh cilantro.

    The only thing I regret is not picking up Naan for this meal. Pretzel bread was used for this recipe (thanks to Whole Foods), which was a nice substitute. The recipe could easily forgo the bread, but I think that scooping up the sauce with a piece of bread is a lot sexier than licking my bowl clean with my tongue.

    And that’s it. The recipe is delicious and a great way to curb your Indian Cuisine cravings until the next time you’re at your favorite Indian restaurant. My Milwaukee fave is: Maharaja on Farwell.

    Happy Eating! Nom, nom, nom…

    .x.x.x.x.
    Middlest.