Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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There is no doubt that Indian cuisine is one of the flavorful and aromatic food out there, I love Indian food as much as I love middle eastern food…I enjoy cooking Indian food and I really love it when the delicious aroma fills up my kitchen, the spices, the texture and the flavor are amazing.

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Tikka Masala was created in Britain by a Pakistani chef and as I heard from many Indian friends that this dish wasn’t known in India before it was created…but all of the spices that was used in the creation of this dish are used in Indian cooking everyday, so I guess for that reason everyone associate it this dish to Indian cuisine.

This is my take on chicken masala that I created, a healthy alternative and easier than the original recipe by using my slow cooker…I wanted to keep the flavors but without having the full fat that in the original or in many recipes that you would find on line, the original recipe has a full fat yogurts and creams… I created mine with low sodium chicken broth and thickened it with Flax seed Milled flour that added texture and amazing nutty flavor that I thought it was beyond delicious.

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Normally this dish is served with rice or with the delicious Indian bread Naan, but I kept my dish simple, light and healthy.

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2-3 LB boneless and skinless chicken thighs or breast cut to bite size pieces.

1 tbsp. ground cardamom

1 1/2 tbsp. mild or hot curry powder

1/2 tbsp. black pepper

1/2 to 1 tbsp. sea salt or to taste

1/2 tbsp. garlic powder

1/2 tbsp. onion powder

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2-3 bay leaves

1 stick of cinnamon

2-3 tbsp. flax seed milled flour or all- purpose flour

1 sliced red bell pepper

1 sliced yellow bell pepper

1 sliced onion

1 cup of low sodium chicken broth or water

In a slow cooker inserted to the unit add, chicken, spice, salt and black pepper.

Add chicken broth, cover and cook on high for 2-4 hours depending on the size of the chicken you are using, stir twice doing the cooking process.

When the timer is close to the last hour, add the flax seed flour and stir until the chicken is completely coated.

Add the sliced onion and bell peppers, stir and cover to cook for the remaining time.

If you are allergic to flax seed or you’re not a fan you could remove it from the recipe, just serve the dish with bread or rice to soak up the delicious juices.

Enjoy!

Birthday and Valentine celebration

Today was a special day for all of us, its my daughter and granddaughter birthday…. it was such a surprise that day for all of us, when our granddaughter decided to be born  few weeks early and on her mother birthday, this kid is always in a hurry……. I just love her…….It is so special to celebrate your birthday with your own kid, at least I think so!

Tomorrow is Valentine’s day and we are combining the celebration tonight, I really don’t like to go out on Valentine’s day anymore….. its a mad house out there and who needs the hassle. Cooking and baking at home is the best way to enjoy my evening than hassling with getting ready to be on time for our reservation and that’s if we even remembered to make one, finding a parking, dealing with so many people waiting to be seated at the restaurant where we can just relax and enjoy our evening in the comfort of our own home… don’t take me wrong I love to go out and enjoy myself but not on a busy day like Valentines day.

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I prepared grilled fish and grilled vegetable’s for dinner and I baked a red velvet cake with girly color frosting….well that was not intentional, I wanted the frosting to be as red as it can be so I could decorate the top with the frosting in the shape of roses but it did not turn the shad that I was looking for, for some reason it was a dark shad of pink, oh well it was delicious and beautiful either way.

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The cake turned out so beautiful and it tasted so good, moist and crumbly at the same time, and the sweetness was just right….ohhhh and get this, it was completely sugar free…. I chose a sugar free strawberry preserve, fat free cream cheese and sugar free powder sugar.. but trust me the flavor is behind the known sugar free meth, it tasted delicious and no one believed it that it was a sugar free cake including the frosting.

I choose a hart shaped pan for this special celebration, I love this pan and I try to use it as much as I can on birthdays and valentines day.

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Happy Valentines everyone.

Chocolate cake

Chocolate Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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I think Chocolate is one of the most loved sweets on earth, I am not that big of a fan…(I know everyone thinks I am crazy) but let me tell you I surprised myself after I tasted my own creations…this chocolatey cake is one of the best cakes I came up with and everyone agrees with me…

For every birthday at the office I ask everyone what kind of cake should I make! and all of my co-workers agrees on this chocolatey goodness of a cake and I always deliver.

I made this cake for a birthday celebration at the office few weeks ago and the only thing I forgot to do is to take a picture of it after we cut the first piece, I guess we were too excited to eat it….

A lot of the recipes I create I like to keep to myself in my recipe notebook! but I am posting this devilish, delicious and chocolatey cake for everyone who asked for it and because I promised a lot of people that i will, here it is…

preheat oven to 350

Spray two 9 inch cake pans with nonstick baking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper and set a side.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 2/4 tsp baking soda

1/3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp fine salt

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 sticks of butter at room temperature

1 cup warm water

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 large eggs at room temperature

1/8 tsp ground vanilla powder

1 tbsp dry instant coffee

1/2 can of ready made sugar free chocolate frosting

1/2 can ready made sugar free cream cheese frosting

1/4 to 1/2 cup milk

1 cup strawberry preserves

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with flat beater attachment, beat butter and sugar until its creamy, about two minutes.

Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.

Add vanilla extract and vanilla powder.

In a separate bowl sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and instant coffee.

On low speed add the dry ingredients in thirds alternating with the warm water.

Mix well for one minute.

Equally divide the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minuets or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in pans for 15-20 minuets, remove from the pans and cool completely.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment add the chocolate and cream cheese frosting, turn mixer on to low speed and whip for a minute to combine, while the mixer on drizzle the milk slowly and whip for two minutes, stop drizzling the milk once you like the consistency of the frosting,I used about 1/4 of cup.

Trim the top of each cake about an inch and half off (save the trimming for later–check out this post Chocolate birthday cake).

Place one of the cooled chocolate cakes on your serving plate after covering the side of the plate with parchment papers, place the cake upside down having the flat bottom up, add the strawberry preserves and spread evenly, place the second cake on top and spread some of the frosting all over the cake as a first coat.

Chill the cake in the refrigerator for 15 minuets, after the cake is cooled continue frosting it to whatever design you choose.

I did the swirl design by covering the entire cake with the frosting and by using an offset spatula I moved my hand in a halfway turns and that was it… it looked so scrumptious! Carefully remove the parchment papers and wipe the plate with clean damped kitchen towel.

Notes:
For all my cake baking I use bakery aluminum cake pans, they are the best to use for the best results, I don’t use the dark nonstick kinds because I think they don’t bake cakes evenly.

I choose the sugar free frosting so the cake won’t be overly too sweet, if you prefer you could use the regular ones or make your own and that’s what I normally do but I was too lazy to make it from scratch that night so I had to be creative and used up the two halves cans of frosting I had on hand!

Enjoy!

Cheese cake

Cheese Cake

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Tomorrow we are having another birthday celebration at the office so I decided to change the cake for this birthday

I try to get everyone at the office to tell me what are their favorite cakes and I choose one of them to make as a surprise for their birthdays.

Everyone at the office is a chocolate lover, they always asks for my delicious fudge chocolate cake but this time I am surprising everyone with my equally delicious and creamy cheese cake.

My cheese cake is loved by everyone, it is so creamy that it melts in your mouth…and the sweetness is just right.

of course I had to make two types of cheese cakes one with regular sugar for the office and the other one sugar free for my family.

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I decorated both cakes with freshly whipped whipping cream, fresh strawberries and blueberries.

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I glazed the fruits on top of the regular cheese cake with regular strawberry preserve and the sugar free cheese cake with sugar free strawberry preserve.

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Preheat oven 325′

filling

3 packages Philadelphia cream cheese, softened

1 cup of sugar or 2 cups of Splenda

3 eggs room temperature

1/8 tsp. fine salt

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 tbsp. corn starch

Crust

3 cups graham crackers crumbs

2 tbsp. sugar or splenda

1 cup melted butter

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Fruits of your choice rinsed and dried.

4 tbsp. strawberry or any other flavor of your favorite preserve.

2-3 tbsp. of water

2- 4 cups of fresh whipped cream

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Crust

In a large bowl or food processer combine graham crackers crumbs with sugar or Splenda, add melted butter.

With clean hands work the crumbs with the butter until all coated.

If you are using the food processor just pules it few times until butter and crumbs come together and well mixed.

Press the crumbs onto a bottom of 9 inch springform pan making sure to push up the crumbs to the sides of the pan.

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Bake for 4-5 minutes, cool completely.

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Filling

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater, mix cream cheese with the sugar, sour cream, salt, corn starch and vanilla for few minutes until its smooth.

Add eggs one at a time mixing on low speed until all combines, mix on high for about two minutes.

Pour mixture over the cooled crust.

Bake for 55 minutes or until the center is set, turn off the oven and leave the cake in with the door adjure for about an hour, this insures the top of the cake wont have any cracks.

Cool the cake for about an hour on cooling rack, refrigerate for two hours or overnight.

With offset spatula carefully loosen the side of the cake away from the pan, remove the spring and slide the cake on to your serving platter.

Add the water to the strawberry preserve to loosen it, heat in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir until all combined.

I don’t like to strain my preserves, I love the flavor of the actual preserves and I like the looks of the fruit chunks on the top of the fresh fruits, but you could strain it with fine mesh strainer if you prefer.

Add whipped cream and fresh fruits according to your decorating skills or desire.

With pastry brush glaze the fruit with the preserve, refrigerate for few hours before serving.

Tips: If your oven door does not stay open on its own use a thick wooden spoon to hold it from closing.

If you forget to take out your cream cheese and eggs hours before you start making your cake, put the eggs in warm water for ten minutes.. unwrap the cream cheese from the packaging and microwave for 20-30 seconds…

Enjoy!

Roasted Fish With White Wine Sauce

Fish

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Tonight dinner was on the healthy side. Roasted Whitiing fish fillets with my signature white wine reduced sauce.Also served with this delicious fish and sauce was roasted cauliflower, carrots, red potato, onion and tomato.

Baked Chicken

Baked chicken

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Chicken is an accessible and cost effective ingredient to use in making any dish for weeknights dinners, well most of the time!  My husband is a big fan of chicken, so you will find us having chicken few times a week, and that could get boring.

Not sure why I came up with this dish.  I had chicken breasts, started cutting it to bites sizes while thinking about what to make, and after standing there and looking at it for few minutes, I opened the coppered and saw a bag of seasoned croutons and a can of mushroom soup and I said ok this would do and let us try it, why not right?  Collected the rest of the ingredient as you could see below and as they say, the rest is history!

This dish actually came out tasty; it is full of flavor, hearty and sticks to your rips kind of dish.

.1 can 10 ½ oz cream of mushroom soup

.1 bag 5 oz seasoned croutons

.1 tbsp poultry seasonings

.1 cup frozen mixed vegetable

.¾-cup sour cream

.1-cup water or chicken broth

.1 tbsp. salt

.½ tbsp. black pepper

.2 ½ lbs. chicken cut to bites size

.2 tbsp. fresh parsley

.½ tbsp. curry powder

.2-cups milk

.2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400

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In a large mixing bowl whisk cream of mushroom soup, milk, water or chicken broth, and sour cream until all combined.

In 9 x13 baking pan, with clean hands mix Chicken with poultry seasoning, vegetable, salt, black pepper, curry powder, and olive oil until chicken covered with the seasoning and vegetable distributed evenly.  Add cream of mushroom mix, croutons and mix well with clean hands making sure the croutons well distributed evenly in the pan.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken fully cooked. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

TIP: Always wash your chicken; never cook directly from the package that comes in without washing it.

Bean Stew

Bean stew

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Bean stew is one of the most famous dishes in the middle east, especially Lebanon. Its a hearty and healthy dish served mostly doing the cold winter days.

Bean stew always served with white rice, green onion, green olives and fresh lemon juice, its one of my kids favorite meal.