family life

Chicken Tuesday

I should really buy a freezer. I’m pretty sure I would save a few bucks for this one reason: I would go to the grocery store less. And when I know that we’re really settled in a place, not wasting electrical energy storing foodstuffs while we travel the world, I will buy one.

Or I could just send the hubby to the supermarket, because he’s the King of “Get in, Get out” for any retail establishment.

About one fourth the freezer space of my refrigerator, at any given time, would be the box of discount chicken I find at the discount grocer. I think in this box, I purchase a side of salt, and possibly a few other preservatives, so I’m not recommending it, but it’s less expensive and definitely more moist.

Chicken is North America’s favourite food, for a reason. It tastes great. It is easy to dress. A guest on the entertaining Podcast, The Splendid Table, commented that chicken is the ultimate blank pallet. That bird can absorb so many different flavours, and it suits them all.

I would own a few chickens myself if my town allowed it. I’d entice the neighbor with free eggs if he humoured the extra noise (in addition to the already extra noise of kids in the middle of the day). Of course, I wouldn’t slaughter these chickens for Tuesday Chicken, I’d just have laying hens.

This might be one of the most difficult blogs to write: food blog about chicken. Everyone has a default chicken recipe in the back of their minds, even if it is to pick up that rotisserie for $8 at the front of the local supermarket.

There are so many chicken recipes, the mind whirls at deciding on a favourite. So I choose the one I really used nearly every Tuesday all of last winter: Butter Chicken.

When once I was entirely unfamiliar with flavours of Indian food, I actually expected the bird to be slathered in butter…which does sound appetizing though, doesn’t it?

Christopher Columbus tried to find the NorthWest passage to India for a reason: spices. Any Indian dish has a lot of spice. For the kiddos, the notion might be incomprehensible…a guarantee plate wastage on Tuesday nights, so start them with sample sizes. And to be kind, turn down the spice proportions if required, and they will do fine. In my family, trouble lies in serving tomatoes, not spices.

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Chop an onion. Slice off his ends, peel and slice him down the middle. Lay him flat and slice sideways, then chop, chop, chop (not nearly as fast as those TV chefs) but throw him in the electric frying pan with a little oil and chopped garlic cloves (the more the merrier) and you have the beginning of every great meal.

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Prep your garam masala…Or buy it from the store. I didn’t have cardamom this eve, but no one but me will notice. A solid tablespoon of the mix will do.

Make your own garam masala:

Mix 1 TBS ground cumin

1 ½ tsp ground coriander

1 ½ tsp ground cardamom

1 ½ tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp ground nutmeg

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Throw in a couple cans of peeled and chopped tomatoes. 1-15 ounce can tomato sauce is sufficient, but I like adding more veggies (or fruit!) to dinner.

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Mix in 3 cups of heavy cream….No, you don’t have to do that. The only reason I included it this night was merely because it still sat in the fridge from the birthday party cake a week ago. Otherwise, use that skim milk, evaporated milk, mix dry milk powder with water: whatever you’ve got will work (you’re cooking for your less than ethnically-aware family; unless of course, you’re Indian). Flavour is always enhanced with cream though.

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Add a dump of salt, aka 2 tsps.

Apparently, food photography is not my thing as this likes like could also be in a medical textbook as an open wound.

Just cause it says, add salt, though, doesn’t mean you have to add it. No matter the recipe, no one has to add salt, though a little bit emphasizes the natural flavor. I haven’t taken that dietary suggestion to heart yet: low sodium. Having said that, I am generally unaccustomed to high sodium foods from boxes. Because I rarely buy them, and when I purchase a take-out pizza, I find the salt intake overwhelming.

Let this sauce simmer while you pull out the chicken breasts.

Bake a few chicken breasts in oven till cooked through. Add more flavor by covering them with tandoori masala if you’ve bought out the spice aisle. Cut them into bite-sized chunks and add them to the sauce to soak.

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Whoa, what is this? Don’t see this too often….

My five year old and I like our brussel sprouts, sautéed in olive oil and garlic. I had a few green beans awaiting their turn, so I snipped their ends and tossed them into the pan too. If they’re not cooking fast enough, add a Tablespoon or two of water and cover the pan momentarily. Cover it too long and you’ll have mush. Hang out in the kitchen, no one at my house likes mush.

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Who needs two carb offerings? Store bought naan bread, warmed ever-so-briefly in the oven at 200 degrees is a pleasant side to sop up all that sauce.

I had one of the girls take a pic of me cooking this meal. Did it last week too. Couldn’t upload it… there is  exposing your deep, dark thoughts for the world to see, I’m generally okay with that. And then there’s show someone a pic of you at 5 pm in black sweatpants, plum Lululemon shirt, pigtails, and glasses….that is too much. Have I painted enough of a picture of Real Mom to still qualify as real mom?

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Dinner is served! Let’s give thanks for our flavourful feathered friends.

(What’s for dessert? Oh let’s be serious, we all know what’s for dessert this time of year: brought to us by the neighbours, via our begging, costumed children: sample-sized chocolate bars still piled high in the pantry).

Again, serve this every Tuesday for a few weeks and this recipe will be firmly implanted in the Google of your mind, and the kids will soon learn to love it too.

One thought on “Chicken Tuesday

  1. The food all looks delicious. And I do love the way you word things. You can make food taste good without even tasting it. It all makes me smile.

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