Monthly Archives: July 2016

Chicken Tikka Masala.

Gluten-free | Soy-free | Nut-free | Clean-eating option

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So I’m realizing that we eat a lot of variations on chicken and rice in our house. We have several curry versions, the NYC street cart version, and a few comfort food versions from my semi-homemade days, just off the top of my head.

This is the I-used-to-live-near-an-awesome-Indian-restaurant-but-I-don’t-anymore-but-I-really-don’t-need-to-leave-the-house-anymore-for-delicious-Indian-takeout version. It’s one of my husband’s favorite meals ever. And my favorite part about it–besides how delicious it is–is that odds are good you have all of the ingredients in your spice cabinet! I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to blog it!

Chicken Tikka Masala

Adapted from here

Marinade:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I use lowfat Greek yogurt)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • up to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • up to 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips

Masala:

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 8 oz. can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 cup cream

Rice:**

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  1. For the marinade, combine all ingredients except chicken in a medium bowl. Add chicken and toss until coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least a couple hours (I usually do overnight).
  2. Grill chicken (original way) or cook under a broiler on high on a broiler pan (my lazy easy way). Discard marinade.
  3. Meanwhile, for the masala, melt butter in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add jalapeno and garlic and saute one minute or until fragrant. Season with spices and salt and stir to toast spices.
  4. Add tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on medium-low until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Begin cooking rice (below). Add grilled (broiled) chicken and simmer 10 minutes.
  5. Rice: bring water to boil. Add remaining ingredients, cover, and reduce heat. Cook 15 minutes, fluff, and serve topped with tikka masala.

**A couple notes about the rice: first of all, yes, I know that Basmati rice is best suited. However, I find Jasmine more economical and versatile, if less authentic. If you want a clean eating version, use brown rice and cook 45 minutes instead of 15.

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Summer Reading Party!

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The idea for this came about at the end of the school year, when moms everywhere were scrambling to think of ways to keep our kids from killing each other and forgetting everything they’d just learned. My friend Chrissy, who also can’t contain herself when it comes to planning her kids’ birthday parties, found a printable Summer Reading Bingo sheet and shared it on Facebook with a caption to the effect of, “There’s a Reading Party on here. Anyone want to join us?”

We did.

We got a couple other crafty moms together, found a date, and the Book Club Party was born.

With The BFG film coming out, and with many of these 2nd-through-4th-graders reading it or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the first time, we decided on a Roald Dahl party. Kids read either (or both) of the books, and had to have at least one Bingo on their sheet to gain entry. (My rising 2nd grader took that part very seriously.)

Chrissy had some decorations left over from her daughter’s Willy Wonka birthday party a year ago, so we were able to keep this really low-budget, low-effort operation. I also restrained myself and only printed out 5 quotes from the 2 books to put on the wall.

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You can download a Willy Wonka font for free here.

None of us got a shot of the food, but here was the theme menu:

  • Snozzberries (berries)
  • Treats dipped in the Chocolate River (fondue)
  • Miniature Wonka bars (free printable wrapped around Hershey Nuggets) IMG_9779
  • Frobscottle (vanilla ice cream and raspberry sorbet with green-dyed ginger ale poured over the top–I might use Sprite next time so it’s sweeter) IMG_9796
  • I tried to think of a non-messy way to serve “Human Beans,” but couldn’t come up with anything. Then my friend Wendy mentioned crunchy roasted chickpeas would be delicious. So consider that.

Activity 1: we made dream jars from the BFG (out on the lanai to contain the glitter).

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Activity 2: Juicing Violet Beauregard. I got the idea from here. I bought a few of the bluest splash balls I could find at Target, filled a punch bowl with water and a few drops of blue food coloring, and positioned a couple buckets at another end of the yard. The teams took turns filling their splash balls with “juice” running across the grass to squeeze them into their bucket. The team with the fullest bucket at the end of 3 minutes won.

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We then attempted an activity involving catching “dreams” (water balloons) in those same buckets (yes, the connection was tenuous at best; it’s hard to think of literary-based water games, trust me), but had an injury when someone missed, so I won’t recommend that one.

Then we turned on the sprinklers and just let the kids run! Because kids need unstructured play time too.

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The party was a success! It was fun to share the joy of some of our favorite childhood books with our kids, and let them share these literary experiences with their friends.

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