{Whole30} Coconut Harissa Curry Braised Chicken

Chicken thighs and butternut squash with coconut milk spiced with curry and harissa – super tasty and ohhh  so delicious!

Isn’t it upsetting that nobody from your folks eats your food expect you?? My youngest brother and two of my sisters told me that I have a weird taste buds. Does a sandwich with crispy fried chicken + strawberry jam sounds weird to you? Hmm, how about a cold/room temperature instant noodles paired with chicken nuggets that have been fried hours ago? Chocolate drink (Milo) being mixed with rice and canned corned beef?? The combos are amazing!! Why is everybody telling me that they are weird? Even my friends… whyyy?? C’mon… don’t puke now! We have different taste buds and mine is somehow really unique… Yes, that’s it!! It’s unique, not weird!

Enjoying your food alone feels upsetting, yes. It’s like you want to ask them ‘Hey, what’s wrong with my food?’ Or ‘Is there something wrong with my cooking??’ But sometimes, it’s nice having to eat them all by myself. Hey, I am not selfish. They don’t like the dish I cooked, what can I do??

At some point, you will REALLY ask yourself – ‘This is really good, how come they don’t like it?’ But again, you will come back to the answer ‘we all have different taste buds’. Am I making sense? 

This dish I am sharing now, I enjoyed it ALONE. And I don’t think it’s weird at all. And it doesn’t taste bad. Imagine chicken thighs and butternut squash with coconut milk spiced with curry and harissa. Do you NOW agree that it is super delicious?

This dish is super tasty. The smell of the dish, while I was cooking this, was all over the place and it was so tempting not to even try. I hope you are not doubting the yumminess of the dish – you know I will not share this I didn’t like the dish. Go on, make the dish and you will know that I am telling the truth! 😛

I am sharing this lovely dish at this week’s Fiesta Friday #186 with Alex @ Turks Who Eat and Colleen @ Faith, Hope, Love & Luck, our co-hosts. Also, thanks to the amazing Angie.

Whole30 Coconut Harissa Curry Braised Chicken

Ingredients:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 1 cup butternut squash, cut into ¾ inch cubes
  • ¼ cup homemade harissa
  • 1 tsp curry powder (I used McCormick)
  • 1 ½ can coconut milk
  • 3 handfuls baby spinach

Instructions:

  1. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large pot over high heat, add in olive oil. Add in seasoned chicken thighs, skin side down. Cook 2-3 minutes each side.
  3. Lower the heat to medium. Add in in onions and cook until caramelizes (about 5-8 minutes). Add in garlic and cook for further 2 minutes.
  4. Add in chicken thighs, butternut squash, curry powder, harissa and half of the coconut milk. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Check the squash if it is cooked. If yes, add in the remaining coconut milk and let it boil.
  6. Turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add more harissa if desired. Add in baby spinach and cover until wilted.

Source recipe: Coconut Harissa Curry Braised Chicken  by Table for Two Blog

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S’mores Cookie Bars

Imagine a large graham cookie topped with fluffy marshmallow and chocolate chips. That describes these delicious s’mores cookie bars – perfect with a cup of tea or with a glass of milk.

My brain is like my Google chrome browser that has so many tabs open. That is why my Google browser is my BFF. Apart from the actual happenings in my life that I need to think of, I have been thinking of trying out those recipes I’d love to try waaaay back! But it is overwhelming having all those recipes that I decided to close the tabs instead of minimizing them to go back later on.

I have been thinking of not visiting Instagram or my Facebook page coz I feel that I don’t want to see that much of food photos or recipes. But when my friend sent me few recipes to try, the mood suddenly changed. ‘Wow! That cake looks so divine! I am going to save that recipe!‘ See? I was torn between a cook/baker who gets so enthusiastic when seeing delicious-sounding recipes and a blogger who wants to take a break.

When I want to make something, but I don’t like to get new ingredients, I summon all the ingredients that are close to committing suicide to get out from their hiding place. Well, they are very obedient so they usually come out quickly. And when I realize that they are too many to handle – I get overwhelmed again like ‘Others, please go back to your hiding place. Sorry to summon you all, but I didn’t mean to call everybody out.’

Here we go – graham crackers, marshmallows and some leftover chocolate chips (whaaaat??) – an excuse to finally make these S’more Cookie Bars. And finally, one tab is closing! What a relief! 

I love anything s’mores. Imagine a large graham cookie topped with fluffy marshmallow and chocolate chips. So it’s like a giant cookie with something close to a cake texture. Hmm, a large soft cookie? Yeah, something like that! (Sorry, guys, I am very bad at describing mostly anything. I only know how to describe ‘hunger’ and I know you know that, too.)

The source recipe used marshmallow creme, but as I said, I want to use whatever that’s very close to dying. These came out little soft (very fragile, let’s say), but these can be placed in the fridge before enjoying.

I am taking these with me at this week’s amazing Fiesta Friday #185 with our lovely host, Angie. Our co-hosts this week are Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes and Suzanne @ A Pug in the Kitchen.

S'mores Cookie Bars

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 ½ cup marshmallows*
  • ½ cup chocolate semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare a 9×9 (or 8×8) baking pan lined with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, add butter and sugar, and until fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  3. Add in egg and vanilla, and beat until incorporated.
  4. Add in baking soda, salt, flour and graham cracker crumbs. Mix until dough forms.
  5. Take out about ¾ of the dough and press onto the prepared baking pan.
  6. Above the dough, add in marshmallow and chocolate chips.
  7. Press the remaining dough over the marshmallows and chocolate chips.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted on the dough comes out clean.
  9. Cool completely before cutting and serving.**

Notes:

*½ cup marshmallow cream can be used instead of marshmallows

**This came a little soft, so I placed it in the fridge to firm a bit before cutting and enjoying. 

Source recipe: S’mores Cookie Bars by Something Swanky

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{Whole30} Balsamic Roasted Chicken and Veggies

Chicken thighs and veggies coated in balsamic vinegar and other spices you may already have on hand, roasted to perfection! Huge batch can be made ahead and reheated the next day/meal. 

Grocery shopping should be one of the happiest moments in a foodie’s life and grocery day should be labeled as ‘Oh! It’s a happy day!’ day. The ‘Oh! It’s a happy day!’ day turned out to be my ‘Oh! What a nightmare!’ day! I used to spend a lot of money on food, especially when my brain saved my Mom’s line “You don’t have to refrain from spending when it comes to food.” And yeah, for years, that’s what I did! Thanks, Mom! 

My feeling before when planning to go to the grocery store was 500% happy, but now it’s more like 5% happy that I am going to a happy place, 5% feeling anxious that I MIGHT spend much on unnecessary stuff and 90% I KNOW that I will get unnecessary stuff! Don’t ask how I know the percentage – I just know!

I was trying to convince myself that I am trying to eat healthier and eating more clean food than dirt can be a bit pricey. But again I realized that even if I eat dirt, I still spend a LOT! At the moment of receiving my salary, I have so many plans to buy (well, most of them… FOOD!) The truth is, I DON’T HAVE BUDGET FOR FOOD! I never did!

 

I just buy whatever I want! But as people say ‘you don’t always get what you want’.

Soooo…. I am teaching myself now how to limit my expenses when it comes to food! Sorry, Mom. I have to. I know you’ll be proud of me up there. Wish me luck!

I bought 8 pcs of chicken thighs, not-so-expensive sweet potatoes, mushrooms and I used the remaining bell peppers I have. I had balsamic vinegar and the rest of the ingredients so I had a chance to make this superb meal. The other four pieces chicken thighs were kept for another dish. I kept half of this dish for another day so this can be made ahead and reheated the next day/meal. See? I am learning…

What are you up to this weekend? For sure, I’ll spend some quality time with my kitchen. Right now, I am happy to be co-hosting Fiesta Friday # 184 with the talented and creative Petra @ Food Eat Love. And of course, this party is not possible without our Amazing Angie. Please click on the image below and take the time to visit, will ya?

fiesta-friday-2016 (1)

I hope you will love this dish and I am thrilled to know that balsamic vinegar is also Whole30 approved. So exciting!

Balsamic Roasted Chicken and Veggies

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into squares
  • 1 medium sized onion, quartered
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • Parsley, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Prepare a baking dish enough to accommodate the chicken and veggies.
  2. In a bowl, mix balsamic vinegar, oil, garlic powder, minced garlic, dried oregano and dried thyme. Add in chicken and sweet potatoes and give it a good mix. Add the coated chicken pieces and sweet potatoes in the baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.
  3. Add in the mushrooms, bell pepper and onion to the bowl with the vinegar mixture. Mix to coat. (You can add little vinegar & olive oil, if necessary). Add these veggies to the baking dish with chicken and sweet potatoes and bake for additional 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sweet potatoes are tender.
  4. If desired, you can also broil the chicken and veggies to darken the color a bit. Add chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Source recipe: One Pan Balsamic Roasted Chicken and Vegetables by Yammie’s Noshery

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Nilagang Baka (Filipino Beef Soup) – The quick and easy way

This is one of the popular Filipino recipes called Nilagang Baka (literally translates to “boiled beef”). Traditionally, the beef and veggies are simmered in an hour or so, but this can be done quickly. The quickest way to enjoy this soup is to cut the beef and veggies smaller. This turned out pretty delicious and so perfect with a cup or two of white rice.

Nilagang Baka

If you know me well, you know I can do meal planning for the whole day. Even I have other work to do, or my mind is very busy with something else, I could still a space for meal planning.

It was a not-so-busy day at work and I had all day for meal planning for the entire week. I have listed down all the ingredients I needed to buy. On my way home, ready to pass by the grocery store, I’ve thought of a different meal to prepare for dinner – this quick and easy nilagang baka, which is kind of Filipino beef soup. What happened to the plan? Scheduled for another time. 😀

I have posted a recipe of this before using a pressure cooker, but I want something else that’s faster than the pressure cooker. I know that the traditional way of cooking this is by using a large cut of meat (yeah, 1.5 inch cube is large for me) and boil until tender for about an hour or so. I don’t think I can wait that long. Cooking after doing the groceries on a work day? I think that’s too exhausting. So I’ve thought of making everything smaller – from the cut of beef to the veggies. Instead of using a larger cut of veggies, I cut them smaller and even used corn kernels instead of corn on the cob. This resulted in about 20 minutes meal (cutting of beef and veggies not included, but you know you can buy pre-cut beef & veggies if you’d like).

Nilagang Baka 2

I am very much delighted to share this with my friends at Fiesta Friday # 183. Our hosts this week are Sarah and Shinta. Thanks ladies and Angie.

Nilagang Baka (Filipino Beef Soup) - The quick and easy way

Ingredients:

  • cooking oil
  • 3/4 cup ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 3/4 cup onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 250g beef, cut into small cubes (about 3/4 inch)
  • 1 cup sweet potatoes, cut into cubes (about 3/4 inch)
  • 2 long green chili
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn, drained
  • 3 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 1/2 – 2 beef cubes*
  • 3-4 cups (750 ml – 1 liter water)*
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Fish sauce, optional

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add in cooking oil until hot.
  2. Add in onions and tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add in ginger and beef cubes (start with 1 cube, then you can add more later)
  4. Add in beef and cook until no longer pink.
  5. Add sweet potatoes, green chili and 3 cups water. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender. (The time sweet potatoes are cooked, the beef will be cooked as well if you get a tender cut of beef)
  6. Do a taste test and check if the water is enough for you. Add a half or another whole beef cube and water, if necessary. Also, it’s time to season your soup with salt and pepper.
  7. Add corn kernels and cook for about 2 minutes.
  8. Turn off the heat and add spinach and put the lid on until the spinach is wilted.
  9. Serve while hot with fish sauce or with freshly squeezed lime/lemon/calamansi.

Note: Depending on your liking, you can control how many beef cubes you’d like or  how many ml water. You can also use beef broth instead of beef cubes and water.

 

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