Wow, I’m not sure where to start…. except thanks goodness I made it on-time for the Secret Recipe Club this month!
What follows is a “Cliff Note” recap of my recent cooking saga: I fully prepared in advance for my recipe and post, almost a week and a half to be exact. You see, my dearest friend’s birthday is in October and I wanted to make her some homemade goodies for her special day. I was assigned Asiya’s beautiful blog, Chocolate and Chillie’s, and had carefully picked out her Maple Granola to try and send as a gift to my friend.
1. I made the two batches of granola (Maple Granola pictured on the left)
2. I decorated cute little jars and personalized them
3. Staged and took the photos of the granola
4. Shipped the gift (I ate the small remainder of both after photographing and filling the jars…meaning I have no leftovers!)
5. Uploaded the photos….OOPS…I received an ERROR CODE when trying to upload and all of a sudden they were erased from my camera completely. This has never happened before so I was left with no photos to post and no more granola to re-shoot.
6. Freak out mode sets in…ahhhh I dont have photos for the Secret Recipe Club post in two days!
7. Quickly find another recipe that I can whip up with ingredients I had on hand—BUTTER CHICKEN, take photos and write up a new posting
8. Breathe, relax….I made it!
With very little time to spare, I wound up making Asiya’s Low-fat Butter Chicken and it was scrumptious! I decided to experiment with a dairy-free option and changed up a few things based on what I had in my pantry and fridge. I increased the amount of ginger-garlic paste, used dried ground fenugreek seeds in place of the kasuri methi, and swapped out coconut sugar for regular white sugar. I typically use coconut oil as my cooking oil (just my preference) but any neutral oil can be used in it’s place. I also opted to add in a squeeze of lemon juice for a little more acidity, puree the sauce and sprinkle the finishing product with coarsely ground black pepper, mmmm.
I’d say that having to make two recipes this month for the Secret Recipe Club turned out to be a win-win situation I will be making this chicken again and again!
Better-for-You Butter Chicken (adapted from Asiya’s recipe)
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free option, Soy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Nut-free option
For the Chicken Tikka:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (or 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts)
1 cup yogurt (can use plain dairy-free options such as coconut milk yogurt etc if needed)
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp tandoori masala powder
1 tsp kasuri methi or 1/2 tsp ground dried fenugreek seeds
2 tbsp canola oil, coconut oil or other neutral oil
For the Butter Sauce:
2 tbsp coconut oil, canola oil or other neutral oil
one medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp almond flour (if needed to be nut-free, you can omit)
1 Tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp kasuri methi or 1/2 tsp dried ground fenugreek seeds
1/8 tsp sea salt or to taste
2 tsp coconut sugar or sweetener of choice
1/4 cup coconut milk, or greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream (use coconut milk for dairy-free)
1 tbsp butter, ghee, Earth Balance (use Earth Balance for dairy-free)
squeeze of lemon juice, optional but I like the acidity
For the Chicken Tikka:
1. In a small bowl mix together cumin, garam masala, salt, cayenne pepper, tandoori masala and fenugreek/kasuri methi. Rub on both sides of the chicken and refrigerate for at least 30-60 minutes.
2. Line a pan with parchment or foil. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil and ginger garlic paste. Dip each chicken breast into the yogurt mixture. Coat well. Lay on prepared pan.
3. Heat oven to broil and cookl 10-18 minutes or until cooked through (depending on thickness of chicken), flipping them over halfway through. When cooked through, let chicken rest for 5 minutes and then cut into 1 inch cubes.
For the Butter Sauce:
1. Heat the oil a medium sauté pan. Saute onions until soft and translucent. Add ginger-garlic paste and stir for about 1 minute.
2. Add all the remaining ingredients except for the coconut milk/ yogurt/sour cream and butter. Cook on medium heat until thick.
3. Puree sauce in a blender (careful it’s hot!) and return to the pan. If you prefer a more chunky sauce, opt out of this step.
4. Add yogurt.coconut milk/sour cream and butter/Earth Balance. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add a bit more coconut milk if you would like to thin it out.
5. Add the chicken and simmer for a few more minutes until heated through. Serve hot with rice or cooked grain of choice and enjoy!
*Note: If you would like a smooth sauce, puree the onions after they become translucent and then return to the pan. Puree the tomatoes before adding.
For more recipes from this month’s reveal, click the link below!
Orange Chicken (or Beef) is a popular Chinese dish that I don’t usually get to order when eating out. I tend to miss out on the traditional stir-fries and specialties because I ask them to “leave off the sauce” because they typically contain gluten. When I’m in the driver’s seat in my kitchen though, I prefer to prepare dishes that are “off limits” when eating out to jazz up my menu choices…plus, then I won’t feel deprived!
When I was assigned Karen’s Kitchen Stories this month for the Secret Recipe Club, I was drooling over all her homemade bread recipes… but I admit, I was intimidated to try and de-glutenize them while staying true to the original recipe. After reading that Karen participates in Wok Wednesdays, I was sold on both her Velvet Chicken and Orange Chicken recipes! I’ve always been intrigued with the way Chinese restaurants prepare their meats, I never could achieve the same texture or tenderness when using a wok…until now!
I opted to cook an un-fried version of Orange Chicken to lighten up the dish a bit (you know, so I could have more of it!). Taking cues from Karen’s Velvet Chicken post, I used the water velveting technique instead of the oil one…. woohoo! The result was very tender chicken! Turns out you can also prepare other proteins in the same way — beef, pork, shrimp — so I will have to try my hand at that soon.
I made a few adjustments to the orange sauce by subbing coconut aminos for the soy sauce, adding a bit of ginger, using honey instead of brown sugar and using crushed red pepper flakes in place of the cayenne. I also chose to use coconut oil for sauteeing and tapioca starch instead of cornstarch, but either works in this dish! I served the chicken with brown rice sprinkled with green onion and sauteed broccoli, carrots and onions — a balanced, healthy and yummy meal!
Lightened up Orange Chicken (adapted from Karen’s recipe)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free
For the Chicken
1 Tbsp tapioca starch (or cornstarch)
1 Tbsp canola oil or other neutral oil
1-2 tsp minced ginger
Cooked brown or white rice, or quinoa
- In a large bowl, marinate the chicken in the combined soy sauce, vinegar, oil, starch and egg whites for about 20-30 minutes at room temperature.
- Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl, whisk and set aside.
- Saute the garlic and ginger in 1 tsp of oil in a saucepan for about a minute until fragrant, add the above sauce, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the starch/water mixture and stir until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat, and cover to keep warm.
- In a 2-quart saucepan, bring one quart of water and 1 tbsp oil to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and add the chicken to the simmering water, stirring to prevent the pieces of chicken from clumping together. Cook until the chicken is opaque, but not cooked through, about 1 minute. Drain the chicken in a colander
- In a wok or large sauce pan over high heat, swirl the remaining tablespoon of oil into the wok. Add the chicken and saute for three minutes or until cooked through. Re-stir the sauce mixture and pour half over the chicken. Stir fry, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Toss with remaining sauce.
- Serve immediately with steamed rice/quinoa and sauteed veggies if desired!
Yes, yes…YES! Fall is here! The breeze is cool, the morning air is crisp and I was able to break out a jacket this week! With Fall being my absolute favorite time of year, I was ready to jump in the kitchen and whip up some “comfort food”.
Warming you to the core, this white turkey chili is packed with flavor, a bit of heat (if desired). protein and fiber. I garnished my bowl with a large scoop of guacamole, baby spinach (for some extra greens), and a squeeze of lime juice…and I was cuddled up on the couch with a huge grin on my face. Needless to say, I am quite the happy camper
Here’s to soup season!
Feel free to garnish your bowl with shredded cheese and/or sour cream/Greek yogurt (if you are not dairy-free), or crush a few tortilla chips over your dish for a little crunch if that makes you happy! This chili keeps well and would be a delicious option for get togethers or Monday night football.
White Turkey Chili
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Corn-free, Dairy-free
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, coconut oil, butter, or ghee (use oil for dairy free)
1 1/4 lbs ground turkey (beef or chicken or cubed chicken breast can be subbed)
1 medium onion, diced
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2 anaheim or poblano peppers, deveined, deseeded and diced
1 jalapeño, deveined, deseeded and diced
2-3 tsp ground cumin
1-2 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp fajita seasoning
2 Tbsp coconut flour (or other gluten-free flour like arrowroot to help thicken broth)
2 cups low-sodium or homemade chicken broth or stock
4 oz diced green chilis (I used canned)
16 oz sliced mushrooms
2 cups cooked white navy or cannelini beans (if using canned, rinse well and drain)
juice from 1 lime + more for serving
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1-2 tsp hot sauce or 1/4-1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper to taste (only if you prefer a little kick)
sea salt and pepper to taste
diced avocado or guacamole for serving
leafy greens for wilting (optional) – spinach, kale, collards
shredded cheese (optional, omit for dairy-free)
1. In a medium soup pot or Dutch oven, heat oil/butter over medium-high heat. Add meat and cook for 5-7 minutes until starting to brown, stirring occasionally.
2. Add onions, garlic, both peppers and seasonings to the pan and cook until onions are soft, stirring often, for about 4-5 minutes.
3. Add coconut flour and stir to coat vegetables and meat.
4. Pour in the chicken broth and then add in the mushrooms, green chilis and beans and stir. Let cook for 5 minutes until mushrooms start to cook through.
5. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes to let the flavors meld. Stir in lime juice and cilantro. Let cook for an additional couple minutes. Season with salt and pepper and hot sauce/cayenne (if using) to taste.
6. If adding greens, place in soup pot and let cook for until wilted (2 minutes for spinach, 5-7 for more hearty greens).
7. Serve in bowls and garnish with guacamole or avocado, a squeeze of lime and/or shredded cheese or crushed chips. Enjoy!
Serves about 4-6
Whew! I made it and posted on time! Ok, that was just a little side note for myself…I have been internet-less over the past month after moving to a new apartment so I’m quite thrilled to be “connected” again. Plus, I am just in time for another Secret Recipe Club reveal!
This month, I was assigned Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen and I couldn’t wait to decide to get in the kitchen. Bobbi is a family-loving foodie with a powerful weight loss success story and a long list of delicious recipes that make my mouth water. I immediately knew what I wanted to make. With a name like “Redneck Eggs Benedict”, I couldn’t resist! I love eggs, potatoes and bacon, and the fact that I hadn’t posted a breakfast recipe in awhile made this a win-win in my book.
I decided to use sweet potatoes over the white variety for a little color and added sweetness. I made these grain-free by using coconut flour in lieu of regular gluten-free all purpose flour, which worked out well! Being from Texas, I have an affinity for food with a little spice or a bit of a kick so I also revved up the spice in the potato hash cakes/patties by adding a southwest chipotle spice blend. I also decided to lighten up the sauce and made a quick and easy “faux Hollandaise” by using a combination of Greek yogurt, mayo, dijon, Franks Hot Sauce, tumeric and a smidge of coconut oil. I decided to eliminate the egg yolks altogether so no cooking was required. I decreased the amount of bacon by half and chose to crumble it on top along with the green onions for a garnish…mmmm!
This dish was DELISH! It was filling, very satisfying and had a lovely amount of spice and flavor. While the lightened up Hollandaise may not taste like the traditional version, it is very yummy and you can use it over sauteed veggies, potatoes, asparagus, rice or chicken Thanks to Bobbi for the inspiration!
It’s confession time though: I was talking on the phone mid-poach and I left the eggs in the water for a minute or two too long….so they weren’t “perfect” if you like a really runny yolk BUT the sauce combined with the slightly runny center was still very, very yummy!
Redneck Eggs Benedict (lightly adapted from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Refined Sugar-Free, Dairy-free option
For the Sweet Potato Cake:
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and grated (or could use russet)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp coconut flour (for grain-free) OR 1/3 all-purpose gluten-free flour (use more as needed to bind cakes)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, copped
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2-3 tsp Southwest Chipotle salt-free seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 green onions, greens only only chopped for garnish
1 Tbsp coconut oil, for cooking (or butter, ghee, Earth Balance)
For the Lightened up Hot “Faux Hollandaise Sauce”
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt or use plain non-dairy yogurt for dairy-free
1/3 cup mayonaise, homemade mayo or Vegenaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more
1 tsp dijon mustard (optional, I just like the taste)
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil or Earth Balance (for dairy-free) or butter/ghee or a combo (I used coconut oil)
pinch of tumeric (for color, optional)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Hot sauce (I used Franks Red Hot) to taste, I used 1 tablespoon
4 slices bacon
8 poached eggs (step by step instructions from Smitten Kitchen)
Sweet or Smoked Paprika for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Rinse shredded potatoes in cold water and squeeze water out. Pat dry with paper towels. Place potatoes in a large bowl and add the onion, coconut flour, thyme, chipotle seasoning, parsley, salt, pepper, and egg. Mix well and set aside.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon until crispy. Crumble and set aside.
4. Heat 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Form potato mixture into 8 patties, carefully place them in the heated skillet (4 at a time). Press down with spatula to make sure the patty is firm. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the patty is golden brown. Carefully turn the potato cake with a wide spatula and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the cakes and place them on a baking sheet in a single layer in the oven to keep warm. Repeat for the other 4 patties.
5. Poach eggs, place on paper towel while you prepare the Hollandaise.
6. To make the faux Hollandaise, whisk together yogurt, mayo, mustard, hot sauce and lemon juice in a small bowl until combined. Stir in the melted coconut oil/butter/Earth Balance and whisk well. Season with salt, pepper and more hot sauce if desired.
7. To serve, lay two potato cakes on a plate. Top each cake with a poached egg and pour Hollandaise sauce over the top. Garnish with crumbled bacon, chopped green onions and a sprinkle of paprika. Enjoy while hot!
Serves 4 for a full meal (2 potato cakes each) or 8 small