i am a pretty boring cook. i make the same things over and over and over again and usually don't step out of the box as far as "types" of food. we eat mexican and italian, but my spice cupboard doesn't really do well with indian or asian or really anything besides things that call for garlic, onion, salt, pepper and the occasionally herbs and chili powder, but this changed for me tonight! i stepped out of box! i filled my spice cupboard a bit fuller and the result was AWESOME! it felt so nice to taste something i had made that didn't taste like EVERYTHING else that i make. the flavor profile was COMPLETELY different and it was refreshing. 
[the man] and i had Chicken Tikka Masala at a street fair on New Years eve and he asked if i could make it. you know me...willing to give anything i try said YES! i used Aarti Sequeira's recipe (adapted of course). I fell in love with her on the Next Food Network Star, but had never tried any of her recipes and now i can't wait to try more!
I served this with Basmati rice and sauteed kale on the bottom (this was just to add some more vegetables to our plate. it would taste better without it, but it was nice to have some greens).


(my changes are in bold)



1 cup plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
3 tablespoons Ginger-Garlic Paste, recipe follows (or 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger and 3 cloves garlic put through a garlic press or finely minced)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, poked with a fork, and cut into large bite-sized chunks

(i had roasted a chicken a few days back and so i used roasted shredded chicken instead of marinating and grilling. this made the recipe easier because my chicken was already cooked. it tasted great as well, but i am sure grilled marinated chicken would just be that much better if you have the time to prepare it that way)

2 teaspoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup Ginger-Garlic Paste, recipe follows (or 6 cloves garlic and 2-inch thumb ginger minced) (because i did not grill and marinade my meat, i didn't make the paste, but rather just used the garlic and minced ginger)
2 serrano peppers, minced (seeds removed if you don't want it spicy) (i used one jalapeno pepper with the seeds removed, it had the perfect amount of spice for me. i couldn't find serranos.)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
8 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 to 2 cups water
Oil, for grilling
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves (optional) (i didn't use the fenugreek leaves)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Minced fresh cilantro, for garnish (garnished with cilantro, but [the man] said he would have preferred it without, i personally liked it.)
Cooked rice, naan, or crusty piece of bread, for serving


For the marinade: In a large bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Marinate at least 30 minutes, or in the refrigerator up to overnight.

For the sauce: When you're ready to make the curry, place a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the Ginger-Garlic Paste and serrano peppers. Saute until lightly browned around the edges. Add the tomato paste and cook until the tomato has darkened in color, about 3 minutes. Add the garam masala and the paprika and saute for about 1 minute to draw out their flavors.

Add the tomatoes, salt, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes. You may need more water depending on how much liquid the tomatoes give off.

Meanwhile, fire up your grill. When it is nice and hot, lightly brush it with oil. Place the chicken on the grill, shaking off some of the excess marinade. Cook until it's charred, about 2 minutes on each side. (Don't worry that the chicken will still be a little uncooked, it finishes cooking in the sauce).

Pour the sauce into a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender, and process until smooth. Pour back into the skillet and bring back up to a boil. Add the chicken and fenugreek leaves, if using. Take the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes (only cooked for about 5 because my chicken didn't need any further cooking). Add the cream and stir through. Garnish with minced fresh cilantro, and serve over rice, with naan, or a crusty piece of bread! 

Ginger-Garlic Paste:

1/2 cup cloves garlic, whole
1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup canola oil

Throw the garlic, ginger, and canola oil in a mini-food processor and let it go until it forms a semi-smooth paste. There will still be tiny little pieces in there, but overall, it should resemble a paste.

Save what you don't use in a small glass jar. It should last in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks. It's a delicious addition to marinades, pasta sauces, stir fry sauces, slow-cooker recipes, gravy etc. We always had a jar of this stuff in our fridge growing up.
(recipe adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aarti-sequeira/chicken-in-creamy-tomato-curry-chicken-tikka-masala-recipe2/index.html)


 when i was young my dad would make this for us. i liked it then, but hadn't had it in years. i bought some bulgur the other day to make some peanut cookies (which were amazing...recipe coming soon) and i couldn't stop thinking about this amazing salad. i was craving the tartness of the lemon with the freshness of the parsley and the coolness of the cucumber along with the sweetness of the tomato. yeah, i wanted it and i wanted it BAD! i broke down and had to make it. i don't remember the recipe my dad used, but i found a recipe by Ina Garten that looked great and so i used that as a guide. (i don't think i have ever had a bad recipe from her). and this one didn't disappoint either.


1 cup bulghur wheat
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup good olive oil
3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (1 bunch) (i didn't have mint, so left it out and it was fine, but would probably be better with it and traditionally it always has mint)
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half (i used diced romas instead)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 chopped avocado (we added this just to give it a bit more substance and a little more healthy fat, it worked really well with the other ingredients)


Place the bulghur in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper; mix well. Season, to taste, and serve or cover and refrigerate. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours.

(recipe adapted from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/tabbouleh-recipe/index.html)


yes, i am still here. once again the holidays got the best of me and i just didn't make time to share all of the joy and fun we were having with the rest of the world...sorry! i am sure you were having your own. but our holidays were great, i will write more about that soon, but tonight i am just going to post a few recipes. [the man] and i have decided to start eating "cleaner" and healthier in 2014, so i am trying a lot of new recipes and trying to break out of my normal day to day. it has been really fun and i have tried a few new things that have actually been really really good. it is really nice too, because [the man] is so excited about it. it is our new adventure. (stay tuned for grain grinding, more bread making and possibly yogurt making in the future). and you will probably see a lot more vegetables than before as well. so far i feel really good and it has been fun to try new things and to actually follow a recipe (I HAVE NOT DONE THAT IN...WELL A REALLY REALLY LONG TIME!) i change them up a bit, but actually using one is a new and actually nice change...plus if it tastes bad you can blame it on the person that wrote the recipe. just kidding...well kind of. anyway, enjoy!



i wanted to write this recipe down as i went, but yesterday was a crazy day (i feel like i say that everyday) and i had a kitchen full of dirty dishes, a toddler that wanted my attention and a man that was expecting pot pie when he walked in the door (sound familiar to anyone out there). needless to say, i just did what i could. there isn't really a set recipe, so i will explain how i make this and then you can just go for it! (it tastes a little different every time).

this recipe came about per request from [the man]. he asked if i knew how to make pot pie. "of course" i replied. (no i had actually never made it before, but was confident that it couldn't be that hard) he then went on to explain the type of pot pie he would like, needs this, not that, i want it this way, but not that way...etc. and so i set off on "recipe research". i checked out what spices people used. whether veggies were cooked or not and how, before being placed in the pie. what veggies did people add? how did they make the gravy...and so on. Finally one day i gave it a go and man oh man was it good. i am sure there are better crust recipes (i am dieing to try my friends cream cheese crust, which sounds heavenly!) but as of now i do a classic Crisco crust (butter flavored Crisco, flour, salt and ice water). yes horrible for you, but oh so delicious and all together makes a great, basic, easy, flaky crust. for four ramekins with a top and bottom crust i used a double crust recipe (this makes a very thin top and bottom crust). as you can see below the crust is quite thin and i am by all means not a perfectionist when i comes to crust...if it covers the bottom it is fine with me...it all tastes the same.

1. make your crust (you can leave it refrigerated while you are making your filling.

2. make your filling. this is the time consuming part, but to me it is worth it. i don't like overcooked veggies and i don't want everything to taste the same, so i cook things separately. 

- first, i chop 1 onion and brown it in a saute pan with a little celery salt (this is worth going out and getting just for this recipe, it adds some really great flavor). i then add the carrots and celery (about 1.5 cups of each) and saute just until they become bright in color. i add a bit more celery salt and pepper if needed, just so they are seasoned. i remove this from the heat and chop the chicken into cubes.

- i use 2-3 small breasts. chop and cook. i cooked the chicken in the dutch oven on the stove top and seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder, when it was finished cooking i removed it from the heat and transferred just the chicken to the saute pan (leaving the juice). *remember that this is going to be baking too, so the chicken can be just a little underdone when you remove it from the heat as it will have more time to keep cooking in the oven. i added two cans of chicken stock to the juice and seasoned it with pepper, italian seasoning and thyme (the thyme is key) and a little more garlic powder. i then thickened it with flour to make a gravy and added about  1/4th cup half and half at the very end. add the veggies back in and taste. i didn't need anymore salt (i have a heavy salt hand), but you may need to add a bit more. at this point i usually add 1 cup frozen peas, but totally forgot...oops (i add them in frozen and they cook in the oven and in the hot gravy).

i could eat this just as soup!

3. if you haven't already, roll out your bottom crusts and line your ramekins.

4. fill with your delicious filling.

 5. roll out top crust and cover. poke holes in top, so air can escape.

6. bake at 375 degrees for about 30-45 minutes or until crust browns. (i thought ours could have used a little more time, but we were starving and so i pulled them out just as they started to brown and bubble...they were still delicious. *also bake on a cookie sheet because they do tend to bubble over.

7. remove from oven and let cool. there is nothing HOTTER than pot pie right out of the oven and man can it scorch your tongue! so be careful.


just a few more pictures taken with a camera rather than a phone. :)

if you have any questions, please feel free to ask. sorry this isn't precise, but to me i find the most joy in cooking by creating and experimenting! if you have any questions about the methods used or amounts, i would love to help.




 remember that delicious tri-tip i was telling you about that i made for thanksgiving. well, we love it so much we made it again when my sister was in town. not only is this tri-tip delicious, but it is so easy to make. 

the first night we ate it sliced thinly with couscous and roasted brussel sprouts. the second night we had it sliced in strips as tacos or burritos (it was one of those make whatever you want nights). i had a burrito with a flour tortilla, radishes, cabbage, sourcream, tri-tip (OF COURSE), cheese, and fresh salsa. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! oh man now i want that for dinner tonight too. dang. 

anyway as much as i would love to take credit for this recipe it is not mine. i got it from one of my best friend's mother in law (man does that woman know how to do meat)! 

i know you can't wait to know how to make this so i will stop babbling so you can get one ready to make. 

1. Marinate an UNTRIMMED tri-tip in italian dressing over night. (it works better in a ziploc bag, but i was all out).

2. you are going to bake it uncovered in a roasting pan and i don't know about you, but i hate scrubbing the bottom of pans, so i line mine with tinfoil.

3.  Remove the tri-tip from the marinade. It works best to set it on a brown paper bag, so it dries it off a bit. Coat the tri-tip with Montreal Steak Seasoning along with extra pepper and garlic powder. There is a Spicy Montreal as well that we used for thanksgiving and it was really really good.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 2-3 hours (or until the center is 160 degrees for medium meat). Arrange the tri-tip so the untrimmed side (side with the most fat) is on top.


let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing