Grilled tandoori chicken kebabs

Grilled tandoori chicken kebabs


The best and only way to get the authentic flavor of tandoori is to cook in a tandoor oven and if you’re like me, you don’t have easy access to one. 

What is a tandoor oven you ask? Well, if you’ve every been to an Indian restaurant, chances are you’ve eaten something that was cooked in the tandoor, naan bread, tandoori chicken or seafood. Tandoor is a traditionally bell shaped clay oven that is open at the top. Used in Indian cuisine to get that unique cooked flavor into naan bread, chicken and seafood that is  a very high temperature of 900 degrees F. Not your tradtional type of cooking that we know, meat and seafood are cooked on skewers, where the naan bread is stuck to the side of the oven to cook, that’s how you get that unmistakable char and flavor.

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Bacon Wrapped Chicken Skewers

Bacon wrapped chicken skewers & cookbook giveaway


Chili powder and brown sugar bacon, wrapped around chicken. I don’t know what to say about how good these are, but ‘it’s bacon me crazy!’

Bacon wrapped chicken skewers & cookbook giveaway


This has to be one of the easiest and tastiest appetizers I have made in quite a while. What better way to impart instant flavor into anything than using bacon?

It’s  bacon  me  crazy, recipes that’ll make ’em squeal, is  one  of  the newest  titles from CQ Products. The book is all bacon snacks and appetizers, that’s it. It truly doesn’t get much better than that, because everything is better with bacon, even a cookbook!

This particular recipe they call ‘Squawk & Squeal Wrap-up’s’, is just one of many recipes with a cute pig humor name and this cookbook can be yours in this weeks giveaway! Not only do you win this very cool cookbook, you’ll also get Pie Iron Creations. A very unique cookbook with recipes all about using the classic camp fire pie iron. So if you’re a camper, this one is for you. In fact I would say these 2 cookbooks  go well together. You could have a nice little campfire picnic with all the recipes in these 2 cookbooks.


Ingredients (makes 45 appetizers)                                     print

  • 1-1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 pound bacon strips
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

Directions

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top.
  • Coast rack with cooking spray.
  • Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes.
  • Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes.
  • Cut bacon strips into thirds, wrap each piece around a chicken cube, and slide several onto each skewer.
  • Mix brown sugar and chili powder in a shallow bowl.
  • Coat wrapped chicken pieces in brown sugar mixture and arrange skewers on prepared rack.
  • Bake 30 to 35 minutes until bacon is crisp.
Bacon wrapped chicken skewers & cookbook giveaway

The giveaway runs for 7 days starting Monday 12th May and ends Monday 19th May. Entering is easy using the Rafflecopter widget below, be patient it can take a second for it to load. Sign onto the widget using either your Facebook login or your name and email address (email address will not be published) and once you’ve completed the tasks, you will receive entries to the giveaway. 

Make sure you come back after the contest ends to check the winner displayed on  the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*The winner will be announced Monday 19th May on the Rafflecopter widget above as well as being notified via email. The winner must confirm by sending a return email with their mailing address within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen. The giveaway is open to U.S residents only. 

This promotion is sponsored by C Q Products.

Slow cooked chicken cacciatore

Slow cooked chicken cacciatore


Everyone has their easy 1 pot meal that is their go-to dish, chicken cacciatore is mine. There’s something so comforting seeing this big pot of chicken and tomato sauce bubbling away on the stove.


I’ll admit, I am guilty of periodically ‘tasting’ the sauce, or dipping a piece of crusty bread into it as it cooks, just to test for seasoning you understand.

I like to use bone in, skin on chicken breasts because the bones give extra chicken flavor to the sauce and they can hold up to the long cooking time. What I love about the long cooking time of this dish is the chicken gets so tender that it just falls off the bone, which is a good thing, but you do have to be careful when you are removing the chicken from the sauce to make sure get all the bones out.

Slow cooked chicken cacciatore


The other thing I love about this dish is it is you can add pretty much any ingredients that you like, like sliced bell peppers. You can also omit ingredients. I like to add capers, if you don’t like capers, leave them out, the same thing with the mushrooms.


Another bonus to this dish is you can throw all the ingredients into your crock pot, turn it on low and leave it until dinner time.


Ingredients (4 servings)                                                              print

  • 2 1/2  tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 bone-in, skin on chicken breasts or thighs if you prefer
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces mushrooms of your choice
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
  • 3/4 cup white wine * see note
  • 1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained ** see note
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (plus 1 tablespoon more for garnish)

Directions

  1. Season the chicken breasts, both sides, with salt and pepper.
  2. In a dutch oven or large soup pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the chicken breasts skin side down and cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes each.
  4. Remove the chicken breasts from the pan and set a side.
  5. Lower the heat to medium.
  6. Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and add mushrooms and onions.
  7. Sauté until softened, about 7 minutes, stirring often.
  8. Add the garlic, stir to combine and cook for 2 more minutes.
  9. Add a small pinch of salt and pepper.
  10. Add the wine and cook until it has reduced slightly.
  11. Add the tomatoes, the capers and chopped basil, stir to combine.
  12. Add the chicken breasts and make sure they well submerged.
  13. At this stage you can either cook everything in the same pan, or you can transfer everything to a slow cooker.
  14. If you are cooking in the pan, simmer over low heat for 2 hours.
  15. If you are using a slow cooker cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  16. Serve garnished with fresh basil, chopped.
* Chicken or vegetable broth can be substituted for the wine.

** If you are not a fan of capers you can use green olives, or use neither.


Slow cooked chicken cacciatore

Slow cooked chicken cacciatore

                                   
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Chicken tostada salad

Chicken tostada salad



What I love about making a salad is they are so versatile, you can add just about anything you feel like eating. The same goes for this tostada salad. 

This salad starts with flour tortillas. To get the ‘fluted’ shape to hold the salad, I brushed the tortillas with olive oil on both sides. Then using a muffin pan, I turned it upside down and pressed the tortillas into the wells. Make sure to get the bottom of the tortilla nice and flat so it will stand. I tried doing this with corn tortillas and just couldn’t make it work. No matter how soft I made them they always broke.  A 12 muffin pan will only hold 2 tortillas at a time, so you’ll need to bake them in batches.

Chicken tostada salad

As far as toppings go, as I said you can really add anything you like. The toppings I used were easy corn salsa. To that I added 2 tablespoons of black beans. Iceberg lettuce , avocado and a Mexican crema dressing.
Chicken tostada salad

Chicken tostada salad                       print

(4 servings)        
   
Ingredients                                              

  • 4 each- 5 inch flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for brushing on tortillas)
  • Boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bit size pieces

For the chicken seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • Pinch ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

For the toppings

  • Corn salsa (recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons canned black beans, drained
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped

For the dressing

  • 4 tablespoons Mexican crema
  • 2 teaspoons Chipotle tabasco sauce
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Small pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Brush each tortilla with oil on both sides.
  3. Using a muffin tin turned upside down, press the tortillas into a shell shape in between the muffin cups.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool.
  5. Prepare salsa.
  6. In a small mixing bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and stir until combined. Set aside.
  7. Sprinkle the chicken seasoning to the chicken and mix well.
  8. In a large sauté pan add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat over medium heat.
  9. Sauté chicken until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
  10. Take a cooled tostada shell and add the iceberg lettuce.
  11. Add the cooked chicken, then the corn salsa and drizzle with the crema dressing.
  12. Serve with your favorite toppings, cheese, sour cream, avocado.

Chicken tostada salad

Chicken tostada salad

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Easy chicken meatballs


Easy chicken meatballs
I love all meatballs, beef, pork, turkey, but I have to say, these chicken meatballs are so moist and full of flavor, they may just be my new favorite. 

It’s not always easy to find ground chicken in the supermarket, so to make it easier, I developed this recipe to make meatballs in the food processor. No need for mixing with your hands. All the ingredients go in to the food processor, pulse (not too long or the meat will be tough) and there you have it. 

Easy chicken meatballs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

For the meatballs (makes 18 meatballs)

 Ingredients                              metric conversion                       print recipe
  • 2 cups white bread, torn into small pieces (I used Ciabatta) * see note
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 ounces pancetta, diced small
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Directions
  1. In a bowl, add the milk and the bread. Mix until the bread is submerged into the milk. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add the pancetta and cook until it starts to look a little crispy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the onions and cook until softened. 
  4. Add the grated garlic and cook for 1 minute taking care not to burn the garlic. 
  5. Add the tomato pasted and stir to combine, cook for 1 minute.
  6. Transfer the onion mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool.
  7. Setup your food processor. 
  8. Remove the bread from the milk, squeeze out excess and add the bread to the food processor. Discard the leftover milk.
  9. Into the food processor with the bread, add the cooled onion mixture, chicken breast, egg, Parmesan cheese and basil. 
  10. Pulse only until the mixture comes together. Do not over mix or the meat will get gummy.
  11. Scoop 1 tablespoon of the meat into your hand and roll into a ball, place on a baking sheet. Repeat until you have as many meatballs on the sheet pan as you want to make.
  12. You can either freeze the rest of the meat, keep it in the fridge for 3 days or make the rest of the meatballs and they will keep in the fridge for 3 days.
  13. Roast the meatballs for 20-25 minutes or until browned. Do not overcook.
*For a gluten free option, you could use 2 cups of instant oatmeal instead of bread.


Other recipes you might enjoy:


Roasted heirloom tomato sauce

Spaghetti squash and chicken meatballs

Spaghetti squash and chicken meatballs
I have a friend who is currently on a low carb diet and she’s finding it difficult to satisfy her carb cravings. If you’ve ever been on a low carb diet, you’ll know that it’s not easy to find low carb replacements that leave you feeling satisfied. I remember years ago when I tried the Atkins diet, I always finished my meals craving the texture of carbs. This is where spaghetti squash comes in. 


Spaghetti squash

If you’re not familiar with spaghetti squash, it’s very unique.  It’s a fibrous vegetable and when it’s cooks,  the fibers separate and turn into  spaghetti-like strands. They come out easy by just scraping with a fork. You are left with tender spaghetti that just feels like real spaghetti when you are eating it, so you can trick your brain that you are eating real carbs.

Chicken meatballs


Onto the meatballs. These meatballs are soft, light and moist. I make them in the food processor because they don’t sell ground chicken at my local supermarket and all the mixing is done by the food processor instead of by hand. You must be careful NOT to over process the meat or it will turn very gummy and slimey and the meatballs wont form. You are looking for the texture like the picture above. But don’t dispair if this does happen (and this happened to me the on the first recipe test), I turned it into a meatloaf and served the same way I would the meatballs, it still tasted delicious. I also bake these meatballs instead of frying them, I just think they are better that way and of course healthier. You can substitute ground turkey, or beef if you prefer.

Chicken meatballs


I normally serve my meatballs with a marinara sauce, but because I used spaghetti squash, I wanted a lighter sauce. So I roasted Kumato tomatoes and turned them into a quick sauce that is light and perfect for this dish. You can also use Roma tomatoes.

Roasted tomatoes



Preheat oven to 375 degrees

For the meatballs (makes 18 meatballs)

 Ingredients                              metric conversion                         print recipe
  • 2 cups white bread, torn into small pieces (I used Ciabatta)
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 ounces pancetta, diced small
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped


Directions
  1. In a bowl, add the milk and the bread. Mix until the bread is submerged into the milk. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan. Add the pancetta and cook until it starts to look a little crispy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the onions and cook until softened. 
  4. Add the grated garlic and cook for 1 minute taking care not to burn the garlic. 
  5. Add the tomato pasted and stir to combine, cook for 1 minute.
  6. Transfer the onion mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool.
  7. Setup your food processor. 
  8. Remove the bread from the milk, squeeze out excess and add the bread to the food processor. Discard the leftover milk.
  9. Into the food processor with the bread, add the cooled onion mixture, chicken breast, egg, Parmesan cheese and basil. 
  10. Pulse only until the mixture comes together. Do not over mix or the meat will get gummy.
  11. Scoop 1 tablespoon of the meat into your hand and roll into a ball, place on a baking sheet. Repeat until you have as many meatballs on the sheet pan as you want to make.
  12. You can either freeze the rest of the meat, keep it in the fridge for 3 days or make the rest of the meatballs and they will keep in the fridge for 3 days.
  13. Roast the meatballs for 20-25 minutes or until browned. Do not overcook.


For the spaghetti squash

Ingredients
  • 1-3 pound spaghetti squash, halved and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper


Directions
  1. Place both halves of the spaghetti squash, flesh side up onto a baking sheet.
  2. Brush with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  3. Roast on the middle shelf for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the strands come away easily with a fork.

For the Kumato tomato sauce
Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of Kumato tomatoes, cut in half (you can also use Roma)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Dried basil
  • 1 clove garlic


Directions

  1. On a baking sheet, arrange the tomatoes skin side down.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with salt, pepper and dried basil.
  3. Roast in the shelf below the spaghetti squash for 35 to 40 minutes, or until you see the tomatoes brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove all the skins, they should come off very easily, put the flesh into a bowl and discard the skins.
  6. In a medium saucepan, add the olive oil and heat over very low heat.
  7. Add the garlic clove. It should not sizzle, cooking the garlic just enough to infuse the oil, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of dried basil into the oil and cook until you can smell it.
  8. Add the tomato flesh to the saucepan and stir to combine. Raise heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened..
  9. Using an immersion blender, blend the tomatoes until smooth. Or blend in batches in a blender. Set aside.
Spaghetti squash and chicken meatballs.


Party appetizers

Party appetizers

It’s that time of the year. Cocktail parties, get togethers, impromptu visits from family and friends, make sure you have something to nibble on while you serve drinks.

Here are 4 easy appetizers that will satisfy everyone’s palette:




Teriyaki chicken skewers


Teriyaki chicken skewers

Ingredients (10 servings)      metric conversion            print recipe

  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger (about a 1-inch piece)
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon mirin
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pound thin boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 10 6-inch bamboo skewers (soak in water for 30 minutes)
  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, over low heat the sesame oil.
  2. Cook the ginger and garlic, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the soy sauce, mirin, orange juice, vinegar and brown sugar.
  4. Whisk the cornstarch into 1/2 cup water until dissolved, add to the soy sauce mixture in the pan.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat slightly, simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a bowl and cool. * (see note)
  7. Cut the chicken into strips about 1/2 inch wide by 4 inches long.
  8. Weave the chicken onto the skewers, folding it back and forth to create a wavy look.    * (see note)
  9. Preheat broiler to high.
  10. Transfer a little of the teriyaki sauce into a separate bowl. 
  11. Brush the chicken skewers with teriyaki sauce on all sides using the separate sauce. This is so you are not dipping a brush that has touched raw chicken back into the sauce you will serve for dipping. Discard any of the sauce that has come in contact with raw chicken.
  12. Cover the exposed part of the wooden skewers with foil to prevent burning, broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until browned. Turn and repeat.
  13. Remove from oven and brush one more time with leftover sauce.
  14. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with teriyaki sauce for dipping.
Teriyaki sauce can be made in advance and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Chicken skewers can be made up to this point and refrigerated, covered for up to 6 hours.
Gingered pear, brie and pecan tartlets

Gingered pear, brie and pecan tartlets

Ingredients (10 servings)    metric conversion         print recipe 

  • 8 ounces brie
  • 30 pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons fine sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 Bosc pear
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 10 frozen phyllo cups, defrosted


Directions

  1. Place brie in the freezer for 45 minutes to 1 hour until very firm.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Spread pecans on baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, or until toasted, keep your eye on them.
  4. Set aside.
  5. In a small saucepan, combine lemon juice, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 cup water and ginger.
  6. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Cut pear into 1/4-inch cubes, removing core and stem. 
  9. Stir pear cubes into hot lemon mixture.
  10. Cool to room temperature, transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.
  11. Remove brie from freezer, cut off the rind and cut the cheese into 1/4-inch cubes.
  12. Drain the liquid from the pears and stir in the brie cubes.
  13. Reserve in the fridge until ready to assemble the tarts.
  14. To assemble the tartlets: Preheat broiler.
  15. Cover a baking sheet to foil.
  16. Place phyllo cups on baking sheet and put a rounded teaspoon full of the pear and brie mixture in each shell.
  17. Broil the tarts for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned on top.
  18. Top each tart with 3 pecans.


Beet and goat cheese endive

Ingredients (10 servings)        metric conversion        print recipe

  • 1 large beet
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 3 medium heads endive
  • 3 ounces goat cheese, finely crumbled


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lay a piece of foil on a baking sheet, place beet in the center and fold the foil around the beet, pour int 3 to 4 tablespoons water and seal the foil.
  3. Roast the beet for 35 to 45 minutes our until tender.
  4. Remove the beet from the oven and allow to cool, then peel. * (see note)
  5. Spread the almonds onto a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes, keep an eye on them.
  6. Allow almond to cool, roughly chop and set aside.
  7. Cut the beet into 1/4-inch thick slices then into 1/4-inch sticks.
  8. Lay strips of beets down center of each endive leaf.
  9. Sprinkle the goat cheese over all the endive and beets and top with chopped almonds.

Beet can be prepared up to this point and stored in fridge, wrapped for 2 to 3 days.

Mango tequila shooters with chili-lime shrimp

Mango tequila shooters with chili-lime shrimp

Ingredients (10 servings)       metric conversion         print recipe

For the mango shooters

  • 6 ounces frozen mango cubes, defrosted
  • 6 ounces from pineapple cubes, defrosted
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 5 medium limes)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup tequila (optional)


For the shrimp

  • 1 bunch scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 Serrano chillies, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, plus zest of 1 lime (about medium 5 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus 2 tablespoons for sautéing)
  • 20 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
  • 20 toothpicks

Directions

  1. In a food processor, puree mangoes, pineapples, lime juice, cilantro, bell pepper and salt, puree until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate covered for 2 to 3 hours.
  3. In a food processor, puree scallions, chillies, cilantro, sea salt, lime juice, lime zest and olive oil, puree until smooth.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to cook shrimp.
  5. When mango is chilled, add the shrimp to the marinade and marinade for no more than 10 minutes or the lime with start to ‘cook’ the shrimp.
  6. Remove mango puree from the fridge and stir in tequila is using.
  7. Divide between 10 shot glasses.
  8. In a saute pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  9. Saute the shrimp for 2 minutes each side, transfer to a plate.
  10. Skewer each shrimp with a toothpick and place 1 on each shot glass. Serve.
Party appetizers