Tuesday, January 24, 2012

30 Day Eat-In Challenge

As many of you know, my new year's resolution was to avoid fast food restaurants and eat more at home. However, I didn't anticipate that I would eat at home for 30 days. Not only did I have fun exploring new recipes (courtesy of pinterest.com), but I saved money. I am definitely one of those people that enjoyed going out to eat because of the social aspect; however, the solution is hosting potlucks with friends or inviting them over to eat when you make something simply irresistible. I thought I would share some of the recipes that helped me with my 30 Day Eat-In Challenge.

For all of the recipes I put the ingredients that I used, not the ingredients and amounts on the recipe. I put my own little spin on the recipe based on personal taste and availability of ingredients. Under each picture, I have provided the URL for the recipe where you can find the directions for preparing and cooking. If you have any questions just let me know.

I made two Tikka Masala recipes:
Picture 1: Tikka Masala with rice and naan
Ingredients I used:
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used low-fat yogurt from Whole Foods)
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger (not freshly grated)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • 1/8 teaspoon tumeric
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
-The Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fine diced onion (if I was redoing this recipe I would put more onions in)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 whole serrano pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
And then I followed the directions from the original recipe. URL is under picture (picture 1). I served mine with 90 second basmati rice and Whole Foods Naan bread.

Slow-cooked Tikka Masala
This was my favorite of the two Tikka Masalas.
 Recipe from http://themealplanner.blogspot.com/2009/07/slow-cooker-chicken-tikka-masala.html

  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I used low-fat yogurt from Whole Foods)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cumn
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Chicken Breasts (there was plenty of marinade for probably 5 chicken breasts, but I wasn't sure how well I would like the recipe, so I didn't want a lot of leftover. However, I loved the recipe.)
  • 1 can 28 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 1 can 6 oz tomato paste
  • 3 tsp of ginger (I did not use fresh grated)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp curry + 1 Tbsp lemon juice (I didn't have tikka paste, so I just substituted these ingredients)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
-Added to crockpot later

  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
*I followed the directions exactly, except for the following steps: I marinaded my chicken in the refrigerator for about 50 hours. I did not broil my chicken but rather cooked it in a skillet on the stove (so I skipped all of the broiling directions). I cooked my chicken on high for about 6.5 hours in the crockpot.

Moroccan Chicken and Sweet Potato Fries
Moroccan Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries. Recipe from http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/moroccan_spiced_grilled_chicken_breasts/

Sweet Potato Fries
  • Sweet Potato(es) 
  • Spanish Paprika
  • Thyme
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Pepper
  • Non-Stick Spray (I use Pam Original)
  1. I place a piece of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet. 
  2. I then cover the foil with cooking spray (you just need to lightly coat it).
  3.  I then cut sweet potatoes with slicer into julienne slices (I use a slicer). Remember the thinner you slice them the quicker the will cook.
  4. I then place fries on foil on a single layer.
  5. Then I spray the fries with cooking spray (this will allow spices to stick to fries)
  6. I then shake paprika, thyme, cayenne pepper, and pepper over the fries to my preferred taste.
  7. Then I place in the oven at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. 
  8. After 10 minutes I then stir them and place them back in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
  9. Then they are ready to eat...yum!
Moroccan Chicken
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilatro
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts (there was enough marinade for one or two more chicken breasts)
-Directions: I followed the directions exactly like the recipe except I did not use a grill; instead, I cooked the chicken in a skillet on the stove. I let my chicken marinade overnight as well (approximately 12 hours).

General Tso Chicken
General Tso Chicken.
Recipe from http://traceysculinaryadventures.blogspot.com/2009/07/general-tsos-chicken.html
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 4 1/2 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 6-8 spring green onions, chopped (I didn't put this in because I didn't have any, but I love them)
  • 3 tablespoon of ginger (I didn't use fresh grated)
-Directions: I followed the directions from the recipe exactly.

Spiced Butternut and Chickpea Stew

Received from http://www.sheerluxe.com/lucas-hollweg-spiced-butternut-and-chickpea-stew.aspx?s=1
*I deviated from the ingredients from the original recipe quite a bit*

  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced (I roughly diced)
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 15 saffron threads
  • 1 tsp of mild chili powder 
  • 1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes (suppose to be 2 cm and I wish I did that)
  • 1 (14 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 oz) can chopped plum tomatoes (I couldn't find chopped so I had to dice them myself)
  • juice of one orange
  • 500 ml (18 fl oz) chicken stock
  • pepper
  • 5 bulging handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • 2 handfuls of coriander leaves (I didn't use these because I didn't have any)
-Directions: I followed the directions exactly from the recipe.

Spaghetti Squash and Chicken Lasagna 
First layer: Sauce; Second layer: Spaghetti Squash; Third layer: Cooked Chicken

Right before it was put in the oven

Finished product. It didn't maintain a lasagna form but I served it with oven roasted zucchini

  • I cut a spaghetti squash cut in half. I placed it in a casserole dish that had about 1 inch of water.
  • Bake squash for approximately 40 minutes @ 425 degrees.
  • Which squash is baking, cook chicken breasts (2) in skillet on stove until done.
  • Used a fork to scrap the inside of the squash.
  • I put the sauce on the bottom of a new smaller squash dish.
  • Place the first layer of spaghetti squash and chicken in dish (Repeat this step).
  • Place sauce on top of spaghetti squash and add parmesan cheese.
  • Bake until warmed and cheese is melted at @ 425 degrees.

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