Butter Chicken

I have to be honest…until a few weeks ago I really thought I didn’t like Indian food. Every time someone would suggest an Indian restaurant or an Indian dish, I would be like “oh no, I don’t do Indian!”.  Truth is, I’ve only eaten Indian food cooked by one former friend and she probably wasn’t  a good cook in retrospect lol. I am in love with butter chicken! There! I said it! 🙂

I follow many gluten free bloggers and when Ditch the Wheat posted her Butter Chicken recipe, I was on it!  You can find her dairy free recipe here: Ditch the Wheat/Dairy-free Butter Chicken

I really like using coconut milk. Anytime I can, I will.  So while my variation incorporates this, I do not personally need to shy away from dairy. Also, I make a bigger portion of this dish below, but you can easily cut the recipe in half for less.

Here is my variation which by far is not a traditional butter chicken, which incorporates spices like fenugreek and garam masala, that I do not have access to right now.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts cut up into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup of butter
  • 1 15oz can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1.5 tsp of the following spices:
    Paprika
    Chili powder
    Ground turmeric
    Ground ginger
    Ground coriander
    Cumin
  • 1 tsp of the following spices:
    Onion powder
    Garlic powder
    Cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp  of the following spices:
    Nutmeg
    Cinnamon
  • Salt to taste

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I start with the spice amounts listed above but will add more cayenne pepper, or more cinnamon, etc. as I taste the dish along the way.  Feel free to do the same…this dish is extremely forgiving!

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Start by adding the butter to your pan or dutch oven. I like to use my dutch oven for much of my cooking because it is sturdy and distributes the heat well.  Once the butter starts melting add all your spices at once. It will make a gravy as pictured here:

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Add your chicken and mix it all up, it will look like this picture here…cook on medium low heat until chicken is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.

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Then add all of the coconut milk, it will lighten the dish up substantially. At this point I taste the sauce and add spices accordingly. You may find that you want to add salt at this point too.

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Raise the heat to medium and cook until the sauce reduces and thickens, about another 20 min or so.  It will look like this:

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Serve over rice 🙂

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Xo,

TJ

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“The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking”, Bill Staley & Hayley Mason

Sadly, this is not an OMFG – Blogger Stalking post lol. BUT I did win a contest by knowing probably way too much about Bill & Hayley, which garnered me a lovely preview of their new book “The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking”. You can find their super awesome site, where you will find their blog and tons of recipes, here: The Food Lovers’ Kitchen – Primal Palate. Here is their Facebook page:  The Food Lovers’ Primal Palate – Facebook page!

My wife tells me that when I get my mind wrapped around something, it’s full steam ahead. And that yes, I am a bit of a stalker…sooooo, yea! I peruse Paleo blogs and absorb a shit load pretty consistently.

Bill & Hayley were my first foodie blog introduction into Paleo. I fell in love with their first book Make it Paleo (click the titles to link to Amazon). Their second book, Gather, the Art of Paleo Entertaining, which just hit the shelves in April (I believe), is absolutely beautiful! I love having this book as a reference for entertaining!

This last book, which debuted on June 11th,  The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking: Entire Month of Paleo Meals, is incredible. 75 new recipes and there is a picture for EVERY RECIPE! This is important people! All their books feature a picture of the dish, which I am sure is no easy fete. There is a ton of love poured into these pages! This book should be your let’s-get-started-on-this-paleo-shiznit reference guide. They pack a lot of education here, as well as easy meal planning suggestions, by week, with a tear-out shopping list for each week! Say what? Seriously stupid easy to follow. You cannot fail here!

I made a variation of their breakfast recipe for “Broccoli Casserole”. Instead of using white mushrooms as the recipe called for, I used left over mushroom Marsala from my own steak topping recipe. It already had thyme, garlic & butter in it. I also added tomatoes to the top of it.

Thank you so very much Bill & Hayley! You are a constant source of inspiration in this kitchen 🙂

Here are my pics:

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Before baking!

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Served up deliciousness!

Xo,

TJ

Roasted Cauliflower & Brown Butter Sage Pork

I am lovin’ me some cauliflower lately. It is really much more versatile than I have given it credit for.

This recipe came from a quick, last minute, internet search before I left work, trying to throw together an idea before I got home.

Here is the recipe source: Inside a British Mum’s Kitchen, Pork Chops in Brown Butter with Crispy Sage Leaves from the Garden

I used what I had…which was a pork loin that I cut into medallions. I roasted the cauliflower by placing a piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and brushing it with some duck fat. Cut up a whole head of cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Lay the cut side flat on the baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with some salt and pepper, then brush some more duck fat over the pieces. Bake on 400 for 20 minutes or so. I like mine really crispy, nearly burnt, so baking time is a personal preference here; just keep an eye on it.

I didn’t follow the British Mum’s recipe to a tee.  I omitted the fennel seeds and white wine.

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Before 🙂

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After 🙂

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Seasoned and ready to cook!

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Cooking in the deliciousness that is butter!

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All done!

Xo,

TJ

Vietnamese Vermicelli ala Rachael Ray

There aren’t too many pics in this post because I was not the chef. My lovely wife made this orgasmic meal for me because we’ve been craving Vietnamese food and well, can’t trust the broths/sauces/etc. at places I can’t ask questions.

Here is the recipe source: Rachael Ray Mag – Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Glazed Pork

Of course, we use gluten free products in the ingredients and we don’t use vegetable oil.  Substitute as you see fit!

Here’s our dish:

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Xo,

TJ

Brazilian Cheese Bread Rolls/Muffins

I have a friend of a friend (don’t we all?) on Facebook who is also gluten free and turned me on to Brazilian cheese bread, aka Pao de Queijo.

WTF? Why haven’t I had this before???  It is ridiculous!

Here is the recipe I followed: Pao de Queijo – All Recipes

1/2 cup  butter, I used Kerry Gold brand – double yum!

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup milk or soy milk

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups tapioca flour

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375

Pour butter, water, milk, and salt into a large saucepan, and place over high heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat immediately, and stir in tapioca flour and garlic until smooth. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes.

Stir the cheese and egg into the tapioca mixture until well combined, the mixture will be chunky like cottage cheese. This was tough lol it took some elbow power!

Drop rounded, 1/4 cup-sized balls of the mixture onto an un-greased baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

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This was the first batch, stirred by hand. Like I said…ridiculous! So delicious! Tasted like a GF version of Red Lobster’s cheesy rolls!

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The second batch I left out the garlic, used the stand mixer to mix the ingredients, and baked them in muffin tins. Just like popovers! Very airy!

I am trying this dough as pizza crust next!

Xo,

TJ

Mushroom Marsala Steak Topping

Oh my yum…this recipe I’m about to share is simple and ridiculously delicious. It’s a mushroom, parsley, garlic, with marsala wine, explosion in your mouth lol We use it to top our steaks when we need a little something extra.

Here’s the recipe; remember that I don’t cook exact when making meals (baking is another thing all together, I am baking’s bitch lol) I tried to put measurements to what I throw together:

2 tablespoons of rendered duck fat

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons of butter

4 cloves of fresh minced garlic

1 pound fresh mushrooms

3 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoons of dried thyme

1 cup of dry Marsala wine

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this is the duck fat I use 🙂

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Saute mushrooms in duck fat

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Add wine then spices and herbs

Add butter and cook down

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DELICIOUS over steak 🙂

The “Bread Bitch” has been conquered!

I did it! I was successful in making some yummy white bread! So delicious!

I used Gluten Free – Jenny‘s adapted recipe found here: Gluten Free Soft White Bread

SUPER EASY, AND SUPER TASTY! Here are the ingredients and directions taken from Jenny’s post:

  • 1 1/4 cups warm (110 degrees) organic milk
  • 4 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 3 tbsp Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups white rice flour
  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup sweet rice flour (plus a little more for the pan)
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husks
  • 3 organic eggs
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup melted Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil

Whisk together the milk, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let sit until the yeast has proofed (almost double in size with a head of foam about 1 inch thick), 5 – 10 minutes.

Grease a loaf pan with oil or butter. Sprinkle in some sweet rice flour, coat the pan, and tap out the excess.

Whisk the rice flour, tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, psyllium husks, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Add the proofed yeast mixture, eggs, and oil, and whisk until smooth and lump free. Batter will be runny, almost cake like.  Pour into the prepared pan, cover with a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft free environment for 20 or 25 minutes or until the batter comes almost to the top of the pan.  Do not let batter rise over the pan.

Preheat the oven to 375 while the bread is rising.

Bake the bread for 30 – 40 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool in the pan then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Here are some pics:

Ingredients

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Proofing

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Rising (I did let it rise to the top, and over! Not on purpose but yea, because I’m a mindless baker lol)

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DONE 🙂

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Me giving the thumbs up! And Romeo waiting for his bite lol

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He approves!

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Breakfast with TOAST…YAY

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Please be sure to link back to Jenny’s post and let her know what you think if you decide to try this recipe!

Xo,

TJ

Thinking about going full paleo….

While I’m cutting out gluten, and we have officially broken up, I’m still feeling rundown and crappy most days.  I wake up incredibly tired, with aches and pains.  I don’t have my arms falling asleep every night but I still have a very restless experience, relying on Ambien most nights. I sit my fat ass in a chair at the computer all day for work. I just feel dumpy, lethargic, slow, no energy and sucky most days.

Yesterday I was all over the Paleo Parents blog.  Stacy freakin’ rocks! What an inspiration! She put it all out there…and I mean ALL lol. It’s really funny how we chose to see ourselves and those close to us. I was going through Stacy’s blog post with my wife and I said “I look like that! My belly hangs like that!” and her response was complete denial of this fact. Granted, I’m only 167 lbs, but I have a gut, I’m only 5 feet tall. Most of my friends have one too and we have ALL struggled to get healthier. Getting healthier cannot only mean eating right. I have hidden behind this for too long; so have my friends. You have to have some level of physical exertion + eating better to be successful. Especially when you weigh as much as I have in the past (240 at my highest), and do now, and as much as many around me do!  We are ALL in denial on some level. Stacy fucking did it! And she was 336 lbs when she started…and now she looks amazing but more importantly she FEELS amazing!

The running joke is that I am allergic to the e word…exercise lol. Well, guess what? In order to FEEL better part of what I have to do is get off my lazy, fat ass and just do the damn thing.  Don’t get offended that I call myself a fat ass! It’s TRUTH! Remember, I don’t coddle! Not even with myself…a spade is a spade is a spade. If you complain to me, I will tell it like it is.  My main intention is to FEEL GREAT most days. By doing so I know I will lose weight in the process…it’s common sense.

I know that I have emotional highs from eating sugar and carbs. It’s like a drug…I guess from everything I have read, it really IS a drug to our bodies and minds. I am addicted to Coke Zero. I call it crack in a can, SMH. I go days without drinking water sometimes…so gross, right? So I know purging and detoxing this stuff is going to be necessary at some point in this process. I’m just not looking forward to the withdrawal 😦

What prompted all this BEFORE I obsessed about and aptly stalked the Paleo Parents blog? Well, we try to eat “paleo like” quite often. If I could just get over my fucking bread obsession we’d be pretty successful at it, I think.  Sunday’s dinner consisted of a great steak, grilled with scallions. Simple! It’s one of our favorite go to meals.

I let the steaks come to room temp, drizzle a little coconut oil on them, season with garlic, black pepper, sea salt, paprika, white pepper, and ground mustard, and we grill them, depending on how thick, for about 5 minutes a side. Wonderfully medium 🙂 The grilled scallions are seasoned with a little salt and pepper.

Here are some pics:

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I think we can do this paleo stuff and be successful!  I need to remind myself to take baby steps so I don’t set myself up for failure. I will make that damn white bread first however!

Xo,

TJ

 

YES! SUCCESS! Chocolate chip banana bread conquered!

This weekend I bought all the items needed to conquer banana bread.

I used this awesome recipe by Gluten Free-Jenny: Gluten Free Best Ever Banana Bread

Now…I never eat banana bread without chocolate chips. It’s just not the same kinda dessert like, satisfying experience, for me if it doesn’t have chocolate in it.  Well guess what I forgot?

This is me sulking in the kitchen Sunday morning (Don’t you love the pub height chair I use as a stool in my kitchen? They made these cabinets for amazons I tell ya! I’m only 5 feet tall!!).  My wife laughed at me, took the picture, and then went all the way to the supermarket (that’s just across the street! lol) to get me chocolate chips. She says I should tell everyone that I’m spoiled and not try to hide it hahaha

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I quickly set out to beat this bread bitch!

Now this picture requires a correction. In my haste, I left the white rice flour in the pic BUT it’s not for this recipe…not included at all.  I was overly eager as you can tell. Notice the empty ramekin? That was for chocolate chips.

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And WAH-LA…they appeared 🙂

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Here is Jenny’s recipe:

  • 1/2 cup organic butter, softened
  • 4 medium ripe organic bananas
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 cup Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Sugar
  • 2 tsp Simply Organic Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional, I didn’t use) – I also didn’t use nuts, but added chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 5 x 9 inch loaf pan.
Mash bananas in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream your butter with sugar.  Add in eggs, vanilla and mashed bananas.

In a separate bowl, combine flours, ground flax, salt and baking powder.
Add dry ingredients (about a 1/4 cup at a time) to the wet and beat until combined.

If you add nuts, gently fold them in at the end.
Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

SO NOW AFTER POSTING THIS HERE I REALIZE THAT I BAKED THE BREAD ON 375, NOT 350 😦 I’m telling ya, I’m terrible at this baking shit! But it didn’t affect it, or at least I don’t think it did.

Here are my pics:

Mix the wet ingredients

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Then mix the dry ingredients
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This one needs an explanation…I pour half of the batter into the pan and then I take the chocolate chips and chuck them at it one by one…like “BAM”, “POW”, “TAKE THAT”! It’s kinda like a superhero thing…I know, I have issues.

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Then I add the rest of the batter and once again, beat it down with chocolate chips!

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And then, magically, from the depths of my despair…THIS BEAUTY CAME OUT OF THE OVEN! I cooked it about 1 hour and 15 min total.

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Success!

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I did it, I did it, I did it hooray! (OK, my kid is 12, but we loved some shit outta Dora!)

The one thing I would do differently next time is to NOT add the layer of chocolate chips in the middle. It wasn’t necessary and I think it baked a little weird from that level down to the bottom of the pan…seemed more chewy, maybe too much moisture? Not sure! But it tastes amazing!

Thank you Jenny! I’m so happy you found me and suggested your recipes. Next one I’m trying is your Gluten Free Soft White Bread!

Xo,
TJ

Puerto Rican Picadillo & Platanos Dulce

I’m excited to share a recipe of my own…yay!

Picadillo is a stuffing like meat and veggie mix that is very flavorful. It is typically a ground beef dish but I can see this easily translating to ground turkey, although I’ve never tried it that way. Our favorite way to eat it is over some white rice with a side of sweet plantains, otherwise known as platanos dulce. I have graduated to jasmine rice and culturally adapted to our mixed Spanish/Asian household lol

One major flavor component to this dish is the use of a base for all our stews, soups, beans, etc. in Puerto Rican cooking called sofrito. It’s really quite simple to make and store (I freeze it in small containers and pull out only as much as I anticipate using that week).

Here is my sofrito recipe:

1 large spanish onion (yellow onion), chopped

2 bunches of cilantro, trimmed of most stems

8 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1 red bell pepper, de-seed and chopped

2 green bell peppers, de-seed and chopped

3 plum tomatoes, chopped (I like to squeeze my tomatoes (haha that’s what she said) and get out most of the liquid/seeds before chopping)

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp black pepper

You take all of this, throw it in the blender, and mix it all up.

It will look like this:

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Then I freeze it and use it as needed 🙂

Here is my picadillo recipe. You will notice that the sofrito and this recipe have some of the same ingredients BUT it just tastes different when you put it together this way:

1 lb. ground beef

1 small white onion, diced

½ of a green pepper, diced

½ of a red pepper, diced

1 can of diced tomatoes, drained

1 tsp dried oregano

4 cloves chopped garlic

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

½ container of whole Spanish Manzanilla olives with pimento (or I like to buy this packet and I drain it and use it all: Olives Stuffed with Minced Pimentos

1 tbsp of capers, drained

½ cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish

3 tbsp of sofrito

1 can tomato sauce, 8 oz

Directions:

  1. Brown your ground beef and drain all excess liquid
  2. Add all spices and veggies, mix well
  3. Add the can of tomato sauce, cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 15 minutes until the peppers and onions have softened
  4. Add cilantro and cook for another 5 minutes
  5. Add additional salt and pepper to taste

Here are my pics:

Step 1 & 2

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Step 3

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I did not take a pic of it in the pan after it cooked, sorry.

Served over rice with a side of plantains (the plantains are ripe and I fry them in a shallow pan in coconut oil):

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Enjoy!

Xo,
TJ