Category Archives: Chicken

Chicken Curry

Chicken Curry 1
Here’s the recipe I promised I’d post to go with the curry powder recipe I posted last time. Once again, here it is holiday time, and unlike most other food blogs this time of year, I’m posting a recipe that doesn’t really have anything to do with the holidays. Or does it? It’s colorful, with lots of red and green– festive holiday colors! And this can be a healthier change of pace between the heavier, high fat holiday meals. Or for afterward, when New Year’s Resolutions kick in. Plus, a good, tasty curry every now and then will help get you through the long winter months to come.

This is a very healthy meal with its variety of vegetables, and even the curry powder may have health benefits. As for what oil to use, ghee is typically used in Indian cooking– it’s butter that’s been clarified by heating it and removing the milk solids. It’s supposed to be a little lower in saturated fat, therefore healthier than butter. But I just used regular butter, which I don’t think is really all that unhealthy used in reasonable amounts. Or you can use olive oil.

This can also be a pretty quick and easy meal to make. It’s not necessary to make your own curry powder, you can use store-bought curry powder and this curry will still be very good. And you don’t need to go through the process of browning the onions– it adds some depth and complexity to the flavor, but you can just cook the onions with the red and green pepper to save time. If you choose not to brown the onions use about half the onion this recipe calls for, because browning the onions really reduces their volume.


  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 3-4 medium to large onions
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 3-4 tablespoons low-fat unflavored yogurt
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2-3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala (optional)
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • Added red pepper to taste
  • Chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons butter, ghee or olive oil
  • 3 cups cooked basmati rice

Serves about 4

Get the rice cooking according to its package directions so it’s ready by the time the curry is. Now get the primary ingredients cut up: dice up the onions, mince up the garlic and ginger, chop the red and green pepper into chunks and cut the chicken into around 1″ cubes:

Chicken Curry Ingredients
Now we’ll brown up the onions. If you want to make a quicker version of this, you can skip this and go on to step 3, and cook the onions with the other vegetables. Heat up two of the tablespoons of butter, ghee or oil in a large pan and cook the diced onions on medium-high heat, constantly stirring, until the moisture starts to cook out of them and they turn brown. This will take about 20 minutes to a half hour. Careful to just brown the onions, not burn them. Here’s what they look like when they’re almost ready:

Browning Onions for Curry
Brown the chicken on medium-high heat with a tablespoon of butter/ghee/oil. I used a separate pan so I could brown the onions at the same time in the other pan, but if you don’t brown the onions you can do all the cooking in one pan. No need to make sure the chicken is cooked completely through– it’ll finish cooking in the curry sauce.

Browning Chicken for Curry
Once the chicken is browned, remove it and cook the peppers (and onions if you’re not browning them) until softened up, adding another tablespoon of butter/ghee/oil if needed. Add the minced garlic and ginger once the peppers have gotten a good head start.

Cooking Curry Vegetables
Deglaze the pan– add a little chicken stock to the pan that the vegetables and chicken cooked in, and use a spoon to scrape up the browned stuff in the pan from the chicken. Do the same to the pan with the onions if you browned them. Combine the cooked vegetables in one pot with the rest of the chicken stock, chicken, can of diced tomatoes, spices and bay leaves. Simmer in an open pot for at least a half hour. Note: I added some garam masala as well because I had it on hand, but if you don’t have it you can just use a little more curry powder instead.

Simmering Chicken Curry
When it’s done simmering, add the lime juice and mix in the yogurt. Add some red pepper if it’s not spicy enough for you. Serve over the rice. Add some fresh chopped cilantro as a garnish if you like. Enjoy!

Chicken Curry 2

Cajun Pasta


My wife ordered something called “Cajun Pasta” from a restaurant once, and she really liked it, so much she asked me to give it a try sometime. She liked my version, and it’s since worked its way into a semi-regular rotation on the weekend meal list.



  • 12 Raw peeled-deveined jumbo shrimp
  • 1 Boneless chicken breast
  • 2 Andouille sausages, or Mexican chorizo
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes or several fresh tomatoes
  • 2 Cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 2-3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 Green pepper
  • 1 Large onion
  • 4-5 Cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • Cajun/Creole seasoning to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 Tsp. thyme
  • 1 Tsp. oregano


Serves 4

Chop up vegetables, cut up chicken and sausage.

Cover the chicken pieces liberally in the Cajun/Creole seasoning of your choice– I used Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a pan, get it good and hot, and brown the chicken and sausage. Then add the vegetables and cook until the veggies start to soften up, then we’ll take the cooked meat and veggies off the heat and set aside.

Most other Cajun Pasta recipes online call for adding heavy cream, and I’m sure those versions are really good, but I like to keep it a little lighter with my version (and I didn’t have any heavy cream anyway). So I made a roux, as with the Gumbo/Jambalaya recipe, but using 1/4 cup or a little less of olive oil. Add the olive oil to a pot large enough to finish cooking all the ingredients. Heat the oil on medium heat and gradually add the flour, stirring it in constantly. Since we’re using olive oil, which doesn’t withstand heat as well as butter or peanut oil, don’t cook the roux until it’s browned, we’ll go with a “blond” roux– just cook and stir until it’s the consistency, but not the color, of peanut butter.

When the roux is ready, add the cooked meat and veggies, the tomatoes, and slowly add and stir in the chicken stock. Add the seasonings, including more of the Cajun/Creole seasoning if you like. Simmer for about 20 minutes- 1/2 hour. Add the lime juice when it’s almost done cooking.

Serve over your favorite pasta (I used penne rigate), and add shredded parmesan cheese, and some chopped parsley if you like. Enjoy!


PaellaPaella is a dish originated by Spanish peasants, who used whatever they had on hand that day to make it, with local vegetables and whatever meat they could get hold of– often rabbit. That sense of improvisation makes paella perfect for

Over the years I’ve made many variations on Paella (Haven’t tried a version with rabbit yet, though). Often Paella has a combination of meats, seafood being very prominent. But I’ve made a version that was chicken-only when we had a friend over who was allergic to shellfish. And it would be very easy to make a very good vegetarian Paella, maybe with some eggplant added. So feel free to experiment with your own ingredients!

Pretty much the only constant ingredients when making paella are some type of short-grain rice and saffron. Fun fact about saffron- it’s one of the most expensive, if not the most expensive, spices per pound in the world. But don’t let that discourage you and decide to leave it out– you only use a very small amount. The distinctive bright yellow color and the unique and very distinctive flavor saffron adds to Paella makes it a very key ingredient.

For the rice, I used to use Arborio, the same style used for Risotto, but I recently read that it’s too starchy for Paella– the starchiness of Arborio is what gives Risotto that creamy texture when you stir the Risotto while it’s cooking. So for this recipe I tried a “Calrose” rice. I’ve heard Valencia or Calasparra are better, but they may be hard to find and may require purchasing online.

So for my version these days I’ve settled on a combo of chicken, Mexican Chorizo (I take it out of its casing and roll up little chorizo meatballs), shrimp and mussels. Spanish Chorizo might be a more “authentic” choice but I like the Mexican version. As for vegetables, my version is a little more unothodox– I like adding artichoke hearts, which I don’t think I ever saw in any Paella recipe but I think works in my version. Peas seem to be typical in every other Paella recipe I’ve seen, but peas are one of the few vegetables I’m not really crazy about, so I leave them out. Please feel free to add peas to yours if you like them. I’ve joked my version should really be called “Aella”, because….no P’s! (Sorry, that’s why I don’t write a humor blog).

With its bright colors– the bright yellow from the saffron, the green and red of the peppers and tomatoes, this makes a festive meal for around the holidays. Many families have a “Feast of Seven Fishes” tradition on Christmas Eve– an all-seafood Paella could easily be part of that. Heck, even if you’re looking for something a little different for Christmas dinner. Or this would work for a New Year’s Eve dinner as well. Anytime is Paella time. Enjoy!


  • 1 1/2 cups short grain rice (Calrose or Valencia is good; Arborio will work too)
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 16 jumbo shrimp
  • 2 links Mexican chorizo
  • 1/2 lb. mussels
  • 1 green bell pepper or 1/2 green, 1/2 red pepper
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 15oz. can quartered artichoke hearts
  • 1 bottle of clam juice
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • Juice from 1-2 lemons
  • 1/2 Tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 Tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 Tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2-1 Tsp. Creole-style Seasoning (Like Tony Chachere’s)
  • 1/4 Tsp. Saffron
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil


Special Utensils:

  • I used a heavy-duty iron wok, which actually works really well for making Paella. An authentic paella pan would of course be best, but any deep, wide pot with a heavy-duty bottom would work.


Serves 4-6

Chop chicken into 1″ pieces; take chorizo out of casing and roll into small (1″) meatballs.

Dice pepper and onion and mince up garlic cloves.

Heat up chicken stock in a separate pan and keep hot, just under a simmer.

Meat and Veggies Cooking

Meat and Veggies Cooking

Add olive oil to pan or wok and heat on high. When good and hot, add chicken and chorizo and stir frequently until the meat is browned.

Add diced pepper and onion and stir until they’ve started to cook through. Add minced garlic and stir until the vegetables are almost cooked through.

Add rice and stir until the rice has been coated with oil and mixed in well.

Pealla Seasonings

In go the saffron and other seasonings

Then add the can of tomatoes, lemon juice, clam juice and seasonings. Stir together, then cover and set on low-medium heat. Check at regular intervals and add the hot chicken stock to the Paella as the rice absorbs the liquid.

Rinse the mussels off with cold water and give them a scrub if you like. Remove the “beards”– the stringy fibers the mussel used to anchor itself. Make sure all mussel shells are tightly closed. If any are open and don’t close immediately with a couple taps against the counter, discard.

10-15 minutes before the rice is finished cooking (about 30 minutes, 40-45 total cooking time), add the shrimp and mussels. Since the rice can’t really be stirred at this point, push the shrimp down and fold into the rice so it’s completely covered. Push the mussels about halfway down into the rice and cover the Paella. Cook or 10 or so more minutes, until the mussel shells have opened. discard any shells that don’t open after cooking.



Jambalaya Gumbo


My version of Jambalaya/Gumbo is one of my favorites to make (and to eat!). I made this with a roux (mix of oil and flour) to thicken it up and give it more flavor, and Jambalaya is typically made without a roux, so this is probably more of a Gumbo. But when I think Gumbo I think of adding okra, of which this has none. And this has tomatoes, which I think makes it Creole, the Cajun version having no tomatoes, I believe. So, Jambalaya or Gumbo? Creole or Cajun style? I don’t know, but I know it sure is good.

Since this is Recipe Options, before I give my recipe I should say there’s no need to stick to it! There’s a lot of variation with Creole/Cajun style meals. They usually all have the “holy trinity” of vegetables: bell pepper, onion and celery. And there’s also a “holy trinity” of herbs I think of as being necessary to Creole/Cajun style– thyme, oregano and bay leaves. And there should be some heat added with cayenne pepper, depending on how spicy you like it. After that, it’s wide open– three types of meat are pretty typical- sausage, chicken and some type of seafood. But if you just have shrimp, it’s a Creole shrimp stew! Or try crab meat instead of shrimp. If you don’t have sausage, I’ve used bacon and that works well. I mentioned tomato vs. no tomato. I also mentioned roux vs. no roux– I’ve made this plenty of times without a roux, and it’s still plenty good– and a lot faster to make. I add a little lime juice to my recipe, and that’s not traditional, but I think it really works with the other ingredients. We like it spicy, so I often add Tabasco sauce,  as well as Jalapeno peppers or whatever peppers I might have on hand- Hungarian, Serrano, Thai-style peppers, etc. Never tried throwing a Habanero pepper in there, but I bet that would be really good. Some recipes call for a shot of Worcestershire sauce– sometimes I add some, sometimes not, depending on what mood I’m in. When it gets to the simmering stage, I’m tasting it and deciding if it needs a little more of this or that. Some dishes call for simplicity, but this is one that really brings out the mad scientist in me.



  • 16 Jumbo Shrimp
  • 2 Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 2-3 Andouille Sausages (Mexican Chorizo works if you can’t find Andouille)
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes or several fresh tomatoes
  • 2-3 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 Bottle Clam Juice (Optional)
  • 1/4 Cup Peanut Oil and/or butter
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 4-5 Cloves Garlic
  • 3-4 Celery Stalks
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • Cayenne Pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 Tsp. Thyme
  • 1 Tsp. Oregano
  • 2-3 Bay Leaves
  • Fresh Parsley


Serves 4

Chop up vegetables and cut up chicken and sausage into not too small pieces. Mince up the garlic into small pieces. Here’s a good article that covers cooking terminology like chopped vs. diced vs. minced. If the shrimp has shells, remove them and you can simmer the shells in the chicken stock for awhile to give the stock more of a seafood flavor. Otherwise, you can add a bottle of clam juice instead. Or do both!


Just about there!

Heat up the peanut oil (or peanut oil and butter, or 100% butter) on medium-low heat in a large pot and add the flour a little at a time, stirring constantly. Keep adding flour until the mix of oil and flour (the roux) has a paste-like consistency. Keep stirring, stirring until the roux is a nice medium reddish-brown color, the color of peanut butter or an old penny. This will take about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. To stop stirring for too long is to burn the roux.

chix-veg-rouxWhile stirring the roux, I like to cook the chicken and vegetables (and the sausage if it’s uncooked, but not the garlic yet) with a little oil in a separate skillet. Then, when the roux is done, add the chicken, sausage, vegetables and garlic, and stir some more, letting it all cook a little more and blend.


Simmering away nicely…

Start adding the chicken stock (don’t forget to remove the shells if you added them), a little at a time, until it’s mixed in and has a good stew-like consistency, not too thick or too thin. The chicken stock should be hot or at least warmed up before it’s added to the roux in order to mix properly. Now add the tomatoes, herbs and spices (all the rest of the ingredients besides the parsley, shrimp and lime juice), and let it all simmer for about 1/2 hour-45 minutes.

Add the shrimp at about the last minute of simmering. You want to cook the shrimp until it’s just turned translucent. Shrimp should not be overcooked- you don’t want tough, rubbery shrimp! You can make the jambalaya/gumbo for the next day, and that’s fine– some say it’s even better the next day, when the flavors have had a chance to blend together. Just don’t add the shrimp until you heat it up again the next day.

When it’s done simmering, mix in the lime juice, serve over rice and garnish with fresh diced parsley if you like. Enjoy!




Garlic and Soy Sauce Marinated Grilled Chicken

Garlic and Soy Sauce Marinated Grilled Chicken

Garlic and Soy Sauce Marinated Grilled Chicken

Wanted to grill something this past weekend. But we didn’t have much in the house and this is the season when all the yard work makes every weekend minute precious– no time in the schedule for a last-minute grocery store run. Let’s see what we have…hmmm, some boneless chicken breasts. OK, but how to season them…a spice rub? Nahh, done that many times. Maybe some kind of marinade, but what kind exactly? What to make, what to make… finally decided on a quasi-Asian style marinade. Only had a few hours to marinate it, but it turned out great! For a side dish I made some fried rice with ingredients I had on hand– that’s what’s in the background of the pic above. The rice turned out really good too– I’ll make a separate post on the fried rice next week.


  • 4 Chicken Breasts, Boneless or better yet, Bone-in. Dark meat such as chicken thighs work really well for this recipe too.
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Peanut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Mirin (Rice Vinegar)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Fine-Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1 Whole Head of Garlic


Special Utensils:

  • Meat Thermometer
  • Garlic Press (optional)


Serves 4

Separate the cloves from the head of garlic and remove the skins. Dice up the garlic, or better yet, crush the cloves in a garlic press. Mix the garlic with the rest of the marinade ingredients. Marinate the chicken for at least several hours, preferably overnight.

As always, heat up enough charcoal to cover half the grill, and either burn some of your favorite hardwood down to coals or soak some wood chips for smoking. What I’ve been doing lately is lighting the charcoal in a chimney starter, then pouring out the coals onto the bottom of the grill when they’re good and ignited (but before they’re covered in gray ash, meaning they’re ready for cooking). I put some pieces of wood on the charcoal so it has a chance to catch fire, burn down to coals and be ready for cooking when the charcoal’s ready. the slightly quicker, easier method is to briefly soak wood chips, and throw the chips on the charcoal when it’s ready for cooking. I used apple wood, and it worked really well with this recipe.

Here’s a tip for cooking marinated meats when the coals and the smoking wood are ready– I tried this with the chicken, and it worked nicely. Usually you want to cook the meat on the hot side of the grill first to get a nice sear on the outside, then move to the cooler side of the grill to finish cooking. This works great if you used a dry rub, or you’re cooking some nice steaks seasoned only with a little salt and pepper. But if you take marinated meat directly from the marinade to the hot side of the grill it will drip on the coals and create a sooty smoke that may give the meat an off-taste. Also, it’ll be hard to get a good sear on the wet marinated meat right away. Works better to cook on the cooler side of the grill first– put down a drip pan or some foil to catch the excess marinade. Use the meat thermometer and when the chicken is close to temperature, move to the hot side of the grill to brown both sides of the chicken last. Cook to 165 degrees, let the chicken rest for a few minutes, serve and enjoy!