Sticky chicken thighs

Looking for quick dinner ideas? This sticky chicken thighs recipe is one of those. And because I make it in the Ninja Foodi (that has been such a time saver), a healthy and tasty dinner is on the table in under 30 minutes.

Total time: 20 minutes. Serves:4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb bone-in chicken thighs, fat trimmed (can be with or without skin)
  • For the sauce:
    • 1tbsp sesame oil
    • 1 tsp garlic, minced
    • 1tbsp ginger, minced
    • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
    • 4 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp brown sugar
    • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
    • 1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
    • 2 tbsp honey
    • 1/2 tsp sriracha sauce (optional if you dont like it too spicy)

Method

  1. Pour 1 cup water in the Ninja Foodi pot
  2. Place reversible rack in the pot, making sure rack is in the higher position
  3. Arrange chicken thighs , skin side up on the rack. Assemble pressure cooker making sure release valve is in the Seal position
  4. Select Pressure and set to high. Set time to 5 minutes. Select Start/Stop to begin
  5. While chicken is cooking, in a bowl, stir together the ingredients listed under the sauce and set aside
  6. When pressure cooking is complete, quick release the pressure by moving the pressure release valve to the Vent position. Carefully remove lid when the unit has finished releasing the pressure
  7. Gently move the skin to the side and brush both sides of the chicken with the sauce
  8. Close crisping lid. Select Broil and set time to 5 minutes. Select Start/Stop to begin
  9. At 5 minutes, open lid and baste with the two tbsp of sauce that was set side. Close lid, select Broil and set time to another 5 minutes. Select Start/Stop to begin
  10. When cooking is complete, serve chicken topped with spring onions on a bed of rice and with a side of steamed vegetables of stir fried green beans

Spicy Mustard Sauce

A delicious sauce to have on hand – on sandwiches, with roast meat, or just a dipping sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Method:

Whisk ingredients. Serve at room temperature


Healthy Chorizo Burrito Bowl

This Chorizo Burrito Bowl while packed with Mexican flavors, is a healthier than any version you’ll get in a restaurant but still just as delicious! Not only is it healthy, it’s a quick, delicious meal. Home-made chorizo takes center-stage on a bed of Cilantro Lime Rice along with tomato salsa, corn, black beans, lettuce, and so creamy guacamole. Pack it for lunch or get a quick dinner on the table, it’s a guaranteed favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup – Lettuce, shredded
  • 1 tbsp – lime juice
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup – Cooked Chorizo
  • 1 cup – Cooked Black Beans (see linked recipe for home cooked black beans or use canned – just rinse before using)
  • 2 cups – Cilantro Lime Rice
  • 1/4 cup – Queso Fresco cheese (I avoid it to keep it healthier, but use it for the kids)
  • 1/4 cup – Greek yogurt (replacing sour cream with yogurt makes it healthy while providing the same, delicious, creamy flavor
  • 1/4 cup – Pico de Gallo
  • 1/4 cup – Corn Salsa
  • 1/4 cup – Guacamole

In a rush: You can make it easier by using store bought chorizo (I have used V&V Supremo brand when in a pinch), and canned black beans – just rinse it out before using.

Method:

  1.  In a bowl, combine cabbage, lime juice, and salt . Combine and refrigerate until needed
  2. To serve:
    1. Layer each serving bowl with half a cup of the Cilantro Lime rice. Top rice with black beans, Chorizo, lettuce, cheese, yogurt, pico de gallo, corn salsa and guacamole, spreading it evenly across the bowls.
    2. Enjoy!

Note:

  1. If using store-bought chorizo, it will need to be cooked
    • Heat a pan and add 1 tbsp of oil
    • When oil is hot, add 1/2 a chopped onion. Fry onion for 2-3 minutes and then add chorizo.
    • Sauté for 7-8 minutes on a medium flame, stirring and breaking the meat up with the spatula, until it is fully cooked through and meat turns from bright red to reddish-brown

Black Beans

Tender, delicious black beans for just about any dish that calls for black beans like burritos, or a Burrito Bowl or Santa Fe Chicken. Yes, takes longer than beans from a can but so much better for you. Black Beans are full of protein, fiber, folate and magnesium. Cook up a pot and have them ready for soups, salads or just a side.

Servings: 6 cups when cooked

Time – if using a Pressure Cooker: 5 minutes prep time + 25 minutes cook time; if using stove top: 5 mins prep time + 1 hour cook time

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb dried black beans
  • 1 small red onion, diced fine
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 6 cups water

Method:

  • Rinse the black beans twice, throwing out the water after each rinse
  • Pressure Cooker Method:
    • Next day, in a pressure cooker, heat the olive oil
    • When oil is hot, add in the bay leaves. Once leaves splutter, add in the garlic and onions. Stir for a minute and then add in the cumin powder, chili powder, beans along with the water
    • Close the pressure cooker and close steam valve. Set to high pressure for 25 minutes total. Then allow the pot to naturally release steam for 15 minutes
    • To serve, stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Add salt and/or adjust seasonings, if needed
  • Stove Top Method:
    • In a large pan, heat the olive oil
    • When oil is hot, add in the bay leaves. Once leaves splutter, add in the garlic and onions. Stir for a minute and then add in the cumin powder, chili powder, beans along with the water
    • Bring the water to a boil then cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to low. Set timer for an hour and let the beans simmer. After an hour, check the beans – they should be plump and easy to press through with a fork. If still tough, continue to simmer in 5 minute increments until soft. If needed, add a little water.
    • When done, turn off the stove.
    • To serve, stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Add salt and/or adjust seasonings, if needed
  • Beans can be used right away in various recipes like a burrito bowl or Santa Fe Chicken stored in fridge for 5 days or in a well-sealed container in the freezer
Burrito Bowl
Santa Fe Chicken

Mexican pork stew

30 mins to get dinner on the table before ravenous kids burst through the door! All I had on hand was some pork in the fridge. A quick combination of pork, and beans in a tomato broth with some spices that are often used in Mexican recipes, resulted in a hearty stew that we enjoyed on a cold winter’s day.

Serves: 4 Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb Bone-in pork loin – cut into small cubes while keeping the bone – adds flavor. Alternatively, 1 lb pork shoulder, small cubes
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 15.5oz can white beans ( I had cannellini, you can use white kidney or pinto beans)
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt, if desired
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Method:

  • In Pressure cooker:
    • Put oil in pressure cooker
    • When hot, add the onions, garlic and jalapeno. Fry for 2-3 minutes until onion is soft and translucent, stirring occasionally
    • Add the chii powder, cumin powder, smoked paprika, oregano and black pepper powders and stir for a minute
    • Add in the pork pieces and stir to coat the meat with the spices
    • Add in the diced tomatoes, beans and broth
    • Close pressure cooker and pressure cook for 15 minutes
    • When done, let pressure off, remove kid and garnish with the lime juice and cilantro
    • Serve with crusty bread or Mexican Cilantro Lime rice
  • On stove top:
    • In a large, heavy bottom pot, heat oil
    • When hot, add the onions, garlic and jalapeno. Fry for 2-3 minutes until onion is soft and translucent, stirring occasionally
    • Turn flame to medium heat, add the chili powder, cumin powder, smoked paprika, oregano and black pepper powders and stir for a minute
    • Add in the pork pieces and stir to coat the meat with the spices
    • Add in the diced tomatoes, beans and broth
    • Stir, cover and cook on medium-low for about 25 minutes
    • When done, remove from heat and garnish with the lime juice and cilantro
    • Serve with crusty bread or Mexican Cilantro Lime rice

Coconut tilapia curry

While living in Toronto, I was spoilt with some really good Thai restaurants. However, there isn’t a Thai restaurant near us that truly wows us. So, trial and error has got us to a point where we no longer need to drive out to a good Thai restaurant, chez nous kitchen beckons instead! And the best part of most Thai curries is they are easy to whip up allowing me to get a delicious, filling and health dinner to the table in 30 mins or less. And you can make a one-pot meal by adding vegetables to the curry.

Servings: 4 Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 (6 oz) skinless tilapia fillets ( or vegetables like tofu, baby corn, bamboo shoots, if you want to keep this vegetarian)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, small, diced fine
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 4 tbsp red curry paste ( or to taste, depending on the paste you use and spice level)
  • 1 15 oz can of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (if vegetarian, omit fish sauce and brown sugar, and add salt to taste)
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup carrots cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1/4 cup cilantro or basil leaves, for garnish

Method:

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. When oil is hot, add in the onions and ginger. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until the onions turn soft and translucent.
  • Add in the red curry paste and stir for 1-2 minutes
  • Add half of the coconut milk to the pan and stir in, until the coconut milk and the curry paste are well blended. When the milk starts to bubble, add in the remaining coconut milk. Stir well for a minute
  • Add in the fish sauce and brown sugar and bring the curry to a boil
  • Lower the flame, add in the carrots and green peas
  • Stir and then add in the fish
  • Cover and let cook on medium-low flame for 5-6 minutes until the fish is cooked through
  • Remove from flame and garnish with the cilantro/basil leaves
  • Serve with brown rice

Val Papdi – Flat Broad Beans

This Indian winter vegetable is long, flat with a slight curve. The pods are smooth, thick, and pale green, tapering at both ends. Each pod contains 2-4 seeds that are slightly flat. This vegetable is widely used in Indian cuisine and also in Chinese cooking. According to the site tarladalal.com, it is a low calorie, low carb vegetable that is good for weight loss. It’s packed with nutrients and can provide your daily intake of calcium, iron and magnesium. In the US, this bean can be found in the frozen section of an Indian grocery store. Here’s a recipe that is simple and flavorful and can be made in a jiffy when you want a side of greens for your meal.

Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 12oz bag frozen val papdi
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp tamarind pulp (take a small ball of tamarind, add a few spoons of water to it, microwave for 1 minute and when warm to touch, squeeze out the pulp)
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (normal, not sweetened, can use frozen)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan. When oil is hot, add in the mustard and cumin seeds, let them splutter for a minute
  2. Add in the garlic and red chili flakes and let it sizzle for 1 minute
  3. Add in the val papdi, season with salt and turmeric powder, stir well
  4. Cover with a lid and let it cook in its own steam for 12 minutes
  5. Remove the lid and stir in the shredded coconut. Stir for 1-2 minutes
  6. Remove from flame. Serve with hot chapatis or as a side
Picture courtesy Tarladalal.com

Butter Chicken

Finger-licking Butter Chicken! The quintessential Indian dish that is found in New York, London, Sydney and often times, the smallest of Indian restaurants in points in between. Originating in the Indian sub-continent, it is a delicious, creamy, tomato-based curry with spice-infused chicken bites and can be as mild or spicy as you like. It’s simple and finger-licking good! Make it once and you’ll be making it again and again!

Marination:

  • 1 lb boneless chicken cut into bite size cubes
  • 3/4 tsp oil
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp red sweet paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Gravy:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cup red onion finely diced
  • 2 tbsp ginger – finely minced
  • 2 tbsp garlic – finely minced
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 20 cashew nuts
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp whipping cream

Method:

  1. Preparing the chicken:
    1. Marinate the chicken: In a Ziploc bag (or a container), mix all the ingredients mentioned under marination above with the exception of the chicken. When it is mixed well, add in the chicken and massage the marinate into the chicken. Cover/Close Ziploc and keep overnight in the fridge or 48 hours. The longer it rests, the more tender. I often buy chicken, cut it up and divide it between different marinades and freeze it for when needed
    2. Grill or cook the chicken:
      • In Air Fryer / Ninja Foodi: Pre-heat the Foodi with the basket for 5 minutes. Spray the basket with a little oil. Add the chicken pieces in a single layer making sure they aren’t touching. Spray the top of the chicken pieces with oil. Air Crisp on high for 360°F for 5 minutes. Then flip the pieces and continue on Air Crisp for another 3-5 minutes until the internal temperature is at least 165°F. Remove and place on a cooling rack/plate
      • On Stove Top: Add 1 tsp butter to a pan. When heated, add the chicken and marinade to the pan. Don’t overcrowd the chicken. Fry on high flame until liquid evaporates and chicken is cooked through.
  2. Prepare the gravy:
    • In a blender, make a smooth puree of the cashews and tomato paste and set aside
    • In a wide pan, heat the butter. Sauté the cardamom and clove till the cloves splutter and cardamom plumps up, and add in the onions
    • Sauté the onions for 2-3 minutes and add in the ginger and garlic. Continue to sauté the mix for 2-3 minutes on medium flame. The onions should be soft and translucent
    • Now add in the cashew, tomato puree and stir. Fry this mix on medium-low flame for 2-3 minutes
    • Add the chili powder, coriander powder, salt and sugar and continue to fry this mix until the puree starts to thicken and leave the sides of the vessel
    • Add the milk and continue to stir to form a gravy (Add more milk if a thinner consistency is desired)
    • Simmer for 4-5 minutes on a low flame
    • Add in the chicken and simmer for 4-5 minutes
    • Add in the garam masala and the kasuri methi and stir. Simmer for 2-3 minutes
    • Switch off the stove and pour in the cream and let it rest. No need to stir it in
    • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with naan or rice
Grilled chicken pieces

Delicious, easy Mussels

This mussels recipe is an all time favorite. When you have guests over, it’s a quick, delicious and elegant-looking dish that’s inexpensive to serve up. Add in a side of garlic bread to sop up that oooh, so delicious broth! A perfect meal for a weeknight dinner, or a date night in or when guests stop by.

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs black mussels
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes (or 1/2 if less spicy desired)
  • 1.5 cups dry, white wine
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt, to taste
  • large pinch of Spanish saffron

Method:

  1. Clean the mussels – Inspect each one carefully and discard any that are broken or if partially open, tap the shell and if it doesn’t close, discard. In a bowl, rinse the remaining mussels with cold water, replacing the water 3-4 times. If the mussels have beards, the hairy thing at the end of the mussels, snip it off
  2. In a large vessel with lid, heat 2 tbsp olive oil
  3. When hot, add in the red onion and garlic. Stir on medium flame for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent
  4. Add in the tomatoes, pepper powder, red pepper flakes, sugar and salt. Stir for 3-4 minutes
  5. Add in the wine and bring to a boil
  6. Add the mussels, cover and steam for 3 minutes
  7. Remove the lid and stir gently, so that the mussels are heated evenly. Cover and continue to steam for 3 minutes
  8. Stir in the parsley, oregano, lemon juice, and saffron. Adjust seasoning to taste
  9. Serve right away in a bowl with a side of garlic bread or any crusty bread to soak up the broth

Burmese Khao Suey

A curried noodle soup in an aromatic coconut milk broth combined with chicken, and varied condiments make for one hearty and comforting meal! If there’s one food the kids want when they go to Aunty Marilyn’s house is this delicious Khao Suey. This dish is said to have originated in Burma, now called Myanmar, and is said to have come to East India with people who migrated during World War II. It is widely served in Myanmar, Laos, and Norther Thailand. The dish has a few different versions and is also spelled differently like khaosay, khao soi, etc. If you like Indian or Thai food, you will enjoy this dish.

Guidance:

  • Protein Option: This dish tastes amazing with boneless chicken but  I used bone-in chicken thighs to get the richness that comes from cooking meat with bones. You can also add tofu, carrots and other vegetables for a vegetarian version
  • Noodles option: Egg noodles are typically served with khao soi but I have used angel hair noodles and also ramen, and they worked great
  • Speed-to-table: You can use store bought fried garlic and fried onions
  • Condiments: Condiments amp up the flavor. Fried garlic, fried onion, roasted peanuts, lemon wedges, and cilantro are the most popular accompaniments. Sliced boiled eggs, jalapenos, finely sliced red onions, and green onions are other options

Servings: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20-35 minutes (depending on using the pressure cooker/stove top and boneless or bone-in chicken thighs)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 cups red onions finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger minced
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 lbs bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (if using boneless chicken, cut into bite size cubes)
  • 1 can (14oz) coconut milk
  • 3 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp soya sauce
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp gram flour
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 8oz noodles – angel hair pasta

For garnishes:

  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 5 garlic cloves, cut into fine slices
  • 3 inches ginger, cut into fine long slices
  • 2 limes cut into wedges
  • 4 eggs boiled and cut into quarters
  • 2 spring onions chopped finely
  • 1 cup fried onions or 1 large red onion cut into fine, long slices and
  • 1 tbsp oil if preparing the fried onions and garlic at home

Method – Ninja Foodi / Instant Pot:

  1. Pre-heat the Ninja Food/ Instant Pot by selecting the Sauté function
  2. Add the sesame oil. When hot, add the onions, garlic and ginger, sautéing it, until the onions are soft and translucent – about 4-6 minutes
  3. Stir in the coriander powder, red chili powder and turmeric. Stir for about a minute
  4. Add in the chicken and lightly fry it, stirring for about a minute
  5. Add in the coconut milk, fish sauce, soya sauce, and the broth. Stir for a minute
  6. Now cancel the Sauté option and turn on the Pressure Cook option
  7. Close and Pressure Cook for 10 minutes. If using boneless chicken, pressure cook for 3 minutes
  8. While chicken is cooking, make the noodles, following the instructions on the noodles box. Prepare noodles and keep aside
  9. In parallel, while the soup is cooking, prepare the fried onion and friend garlic garnishes: In a pan, heat the 1 tbsp oil and fry the garlic until crisp and golden on very low flame. Remove and set aside. Add the onions to the pan, fry until crisp and golden. Remove and set aside
  10. Take a bowl and mix in the gram flour and water to create a fine paste, removing any lumps
  11. When time is up for the chicken, release the pressure, remove lid and turn back the sauté option. Stir in the gram flour mix to thicken up the soup, cooking for 1 minute
  12. Serve in bowls, squeeze in lime juice and add your choice of garnishes

Method – Stove Top:

  1. In a medium saucepan, add the sesame oil. When hot, add the onions, garlic and ginger, sautéing it, until the onions are soft and translucent – about 4-6 minutes
  2. Stir in the coriander powder, red chili powder and turmeric. Stir for about a minute
  3. Add in the chicken and lightly fry it, stirring for about 2-3 minutes
  4. Add in the coconut milk, fish sauce, soya sauce, and the broth. Simmer for 5 minutes if using boneless chicken cubes or for 30 minutes (covered) if using bone-in skinless chicken thighs
  5. While the chicken is cooking, cook the noodles following the recipe on the noodle box, until al dente
  6. In parallel, while the soup is cooking, prepare the fried onion and friend garlic garnishes: In a pan, heat the 1 tbsp oil and fry the garlic until crisp and golden. Remove and set aside. Add the thinly sliced onions to the pan and fry until crisp. Remove and set aside
  7. Take a bowl and mix in the gram flour and water to create a fine paste, removing any lumps
  8. When the soup is ready, stir in the gram flour mix to thicken up the soup, cooking for 1 minute
  9. Serve in bowls, squeeze in lime juice and add your choice of garnishes