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Monday, March 28, 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala


1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
4 long skewers

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 - 1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (remove seeds)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce (you can also use a combo of diced tomatoes & tomato paste)
1 cup heavy cream (fat free half & half also works if you want to reduce the fat!)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, garam masala, black pepper, and ginger. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat a grill for high heat.
Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side. You can also broil the chicken on a cookie sheet covered in foil.

Melt butter/heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, garam masala, paprika, and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

NOTES: Delicious over rice (basmati is the best) and with Naan (Indian bread), which you can find in the deli department of most grocery stores. I found the garam masala at World Market.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sweet Pork Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw

This one came from my friend Angel.  It's a winner!

Cilantro Lime Slaw
1 pkg cole slaw or whole shredded cabbage
1 c. mayonnaise
1 c. cilantro, chopped
1 t. minced garlic
1/4 t. cayenne pepper or a dash of your favorite hot sauce
1/2 t. salt
2 T. lime juice
1/2 t. cumin

Combine all the slaw in a mini food processor or chop and combine yourself.  Mix desired amount of dressing with slaw mix no more than 30 minutes before serving.

Roasted Sweet Pork
6 (approx) lbs. pork butt/shoulder
1 -19 oz. can red enchilada sauce
1 - 20 oz. can Dr. Pepper
2 t. chili powder
1 t. cumin
1 t. salt
1 clove garlic or 1 t. garlic powder
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine all ingredients for pork in your crockpot and cook on low 8 hrs or until meat is tender.  Shred meat.

Serve pork in tortillas topped with slaw and sliced avocados.

Nutty Pasta Sauce with Shrimp

(from Cooking Light)

  • 2  tablespoons  minced fresh cilantro
  • 2  tablespoons  grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 4  tablespoons  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 4  tablespoons  crunchy peanut butter
  • 2  teaspoons  sugar
  • 2  teaspoons  rice vinegar
  • 1/2  teaspoon  hot sauce (or less if you have little people eating this!)
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 2  teaspoons  dark sesame oil
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1  cup  vertically sliced onion
  • 1  red bell pepper, cut into (1/4-inch) strips
  • 2  cups  bagged prewashed spinach
  • 4  cups  hot cooked rigatoni (about 1 1/4 cups uncooked pasta)

Combine first 8 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, and sauté for 3 minutes or until done. Remove shrimp from pan. Add onion and bell pepper to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture, shrimp, and spinach. Reduce heat to medium; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Serve shrimp mixture over pasta.

Thai Chicken Pizza

recipe adapted from Rachael Ray)  This is one of the best pizzas I've ever had!

1 pizza crust (such as Boboli)
1/2 c. plum sauce*
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 1/2 - 2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 red pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
1 T. vegetable oil
2 T. tamari* or soy sauce
1 rounded T. creamy peanut butter
2 t. hot sauce
2 t. grill seasoning (such as McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning)
4 chicken breast cutlets, 1/2 lb total
2 T. honey
2 T. cider or white vinegar
1/4 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
4 green onions, white and green parts chopped
a palmful of chopped cilantro
1/4 c. chopped roasted peanuts

*plum sauce and tamari can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store

Preheat oven to 425.  Top pizza crust with plum sauce, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, then top with cheese & bell pepper.  Bake until golden and bubbly, 15 to 17 min.

In a small bowl, combine the vegetable oil, tamari/soy sauce, and peanut butter with the hot sauce and grill seasoning. Coat the chicken evenly with the mixture and let it stand for 10 minutes.  Preheat a grill pan or nonstick skillte over med-high heat.  Cook the chicken cutlets for 2 - 3 minutes on each side, or until firm.  Slice the chicken into very thin strips.

While the chicken cooks, mix the honey and vinegar in a medium bowl.  Add the cucumber and turn to coat in the dressing.

When the pizza comes out of the oven, top it with the chicken, green onions and cilantro.  Drain the cucumbers and scatter then over the pziza.  Garnish the pizza with peanuts, cut into 8 wedges and serve.

Flank Steak Pinwheels

(from Rachael Ray's 30 min meals)
  • 1 large flank steak, butterflied along the grain
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces Asiago, shredded
  • 8 ounces curly loose spinach leaves, washed, patted dry, stems removed
  • 6 ounces Gorgonzola, crumbled
  • 4 scallions, left whole
  • 8 to 10 wooden skewers, soaked in water
Preheat grill or grill pan to high.
To butterfly the flank steak, start with the meat grain running up and down in front of you. With your knife, begin cutting the meat in half. Essentially, you want a thinner, larger flank steak. Continue cutting the flank steak in half until you reach about 1 inch from completely cutting through. Lay the cut flank steak open and even out the middle so there is not a thicker piece in the center. Or just ask the butcher!
Spread the flank steak out so that the grain is running left to right. Begin layering the flank steak with salt and pepper, the Asiago, then the spinach, the Gorgonzola and scallions. Begin rolling the flank steak tightly and away from you. Evenly insert the skewers 1 to 2 inches along the seam of the pinwheel to hold it together on the grill. Cut in between each skewer but not against the skewer; you want the same amount of meat on either side of each skewer. Grill the pinwheels on each side for about 3 to 4 minutes or until your desired doneness.

Chicken and Black Bean Empanadas


Roasted chicken (about 2 to 3 cups shredded - I use rotisserie chicken)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1/2 cup shredded pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar
1/2 cup prepared salsa
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crusts
1 egg, beaten with water, if desired, for egg wash


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, black beans, both cheeses, salsa, cilantro, and cumin. Mix well to combine.

Pour chicken filling into pie crust, then top with 2nd crust and crimp edges. Brush with egg wash and place into preheated oven. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

You may have extra filling, so you can make another smaller version or use the filling for quesdillas!

Bruschetta with Goat Cheese, Garlic and Tomatoes

This recipe is from Panera Bread's website and is a winning appetizer.

1/2 medium Baguette
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces soft, fresh goat cheese, such as Montrachet
2 Tablespoons fresh basil or mint, chopped (I've made it without and it is still good.)

Preheat the oven or grill to 400 degrees F.
Slice the bread on a 45-degree bias into 1/2 inch sections.
Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil, and toast on baking sheets in the oven, or grill, until both sides are golden brown, about 5 minutes per side.
Reduce oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine garlic, tomatoes and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread goat cheese over toasts and arrange on baking sheet.
Spoon tomato-garlic mixture onto toasts, dividing equally.
Bake until heated through, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with basil or mint. Serve immediately.

Bruschetta with Peach Salsa and Melted Brie

2 cups chopped peaches or nectarines
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 Tbsp sugar
Dash of red pepper
4 oz chilled brie cheese cut into 24 pieces
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 French baguette cut into 24 slices

Combine first seven ingedients and set aside. Preheat broiler. Arrange bread slices in an even layer on a baking sheet. Top each bread with 1 piece of cheese; broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts and bread is toasted. Remove pan from oven. Top each bread slice with about 1 1/2 Tbsp salsa and serve immediately.

Thai Chicken with Rice Noodles in Peanut Sauce

At our house we call this "that Thai Chicken thing that Alex likes so much". It is probably my favorite recipe. Ever.

Ingredients: 1 carrot or 10 baby carrots, julienned
1 1/3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
2/3 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into small cubes
10 oz. uncooked rice noodles
6 tablespoons sliced green onions
6 tablespoons chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

1. Slice carrots lengthwise into thin strips.
2. Combine 2/3 cup broth, peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, honey, pepper, and garlic; stir with a whisk until smooth.
3. Place chicken in a large saucepan; add 2/3 cups broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes or until chicken is done. Add carrots and peanut sauce to pan and cook about 5 minutes or until carrots are crisp-tender. Toss with cooked noodles in a large bowl. Sprinkle with onions and peanuts.

NOTES: Rice noodles can be found in the Asian section of some grocery stores (also sometimes called "Stir Fry Noodles"). I also find them in Asian markets and have been told they can be found in some health food stores. To cook them, boil a pot of water. Remove from heat and add noodles. Cover and steam for 10 - 15 minute or until noodles are tender. Rinse and add to recipe.

Avocado Dip

Juice of half lime
1/2 tsp. cumin
Handful of chopped cilantro
1/4 cup Italian dressing
2-3 avocados, diced
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 med. sweet onion, finely diced
1 jalapeño pepper (no seeds), finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
4 oz feta cheese

Combine lime juice, cumin, cilantro, and dressing. Set aside. Chop everything else except the feta.

Marinade for Flank Steak (Grilled)

Credit for this goes to my neighbor, Laura Wiltz.

1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 t. celery salt
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. minced garlic 
2 green onions sliced
Black Pepper to taste (about 5-6 twists of my grinder)

Lay Flank Steak Flat and put in a Gallon Zip Lock. Pour in Marinade. Allow to marinade 2 hours at room temp, turning occasionally. Many times I've marinaded it overnight in fridge and it's great! Enjoy!

Cardamom Bread

It wouldn't be a Swedish blog without some Swedish Cardamom bread.  I have the best memories of coming home from school to smell this baking in the oven.  I love eating this with butter, or even better - toasted for breakfast!  Thanks to my friend Marny Danz for contributing her recipe:

Makes 4 loaves.
2 c. milk
2 slightly beaten eggs at room temperature
½ c. butter (1 stick)
1 ½ tsp. ground cardamom
1 c. sugar 7-8 c. flour (I use King Arthur’s bread flour)
1 Tbs. salt
A few Tbs. of melted butter
3 pkg. yeast
Pearl sugar
¼ c. lukewarm water
Slivered almonds

Scald the milk (heat until there are bubbles around the edges). Then turn off the heat and add ½ cup butter, sugar and salt. Mix and cool to lukewarm. Soften yeast in lukewarm water. Add yeast to cooled milk mixture. Add eggs and cardamom. Stir or mix in 6 cups flour and then knead the rest of the flour in (just as much as you need until it is elastic and smooth – about 8-10 minutes of kneading). Grease a large bowl. Put the dough in the bowl and then turn the dough over so the top has some of whatever you used to grease (Crisco or margarine) on it. Cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place until double in size (usually takes approximately 1 ½ hours). Punch down and form into four braided loaves (tuck ends of braids under each end of each loaf). Grease four 9X5 bread pans and place a loaf in each pan. Melt butter and brush on loaves. Sprinkle with pearl sugar and slivered almonds. Cover with cloth. Let rise until double (they should fill the pans-1 hour or more). Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes (may be a little less time if you have dark pans – cook until they are golden brown). Cool a few minutes and then take out of pans and cool on racks completely before bagging.

Outback Steakhouse Chopped Blue Cheese Salad Recipe

Thanks to my friend Jennifer Bruining for finding this tasty recipe online.

Candied cinnamon pecans:
1/3 cup pecans sliced-lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons butter, melted

3 cups chopped butter or bibb lettuce
3 cups chopped red leaf lettuce
3 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
1 green onion, chopped

Blue cheese vinaigrette dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Slice each pecan half into at least three lengthwise pieces.
Combine the cinnamon and brown sugar.
Toss the pecans with the melted butter, then with the cinnamon/sugar mixture, making sure to coat them all evenly.
Put the nuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 5 to 8 minutes, until sugar is caramelized. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and slide the pecans off of the parchment to cool.
Chop all of the lettuce into small bite-sized pieces; and rinse them with cool water.
Slice the green onion.

Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients.
Place the chopped lettuce into a serving bowl large enough to allow you to toss the salad.
Add the vinaigrette and toss thoroughly.
Sprinkle with the chopped onion.

Pannekoeken (Dutch Pancakes)

My Dutch friend Michelle Knight contributed this family favorite.  It's not Swedish, but the Dutch & Swedes have a lot in common, especially when it comes to pancakes!

1. Fork together 1 cup flour and 2 tsp baking powder
2. Add 1 cup water
3. Add 3 eggs
4. Add 3/4 milk.
5. Add 2 tbsp melted butter

Heat a medium size non stick frying pan with butter on medium heat. Pour about 1/3 to 1/2 cup batter to cover the bottom of the pan. Using a non stick type spatula, flip over when the top of the batter loses its runny look. Makes about 7-8 crepy pancakes. Serve with butter and sugar, fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar (a favorite), jam, fresh fruit, cheese, or the conventional syrup. Enjoy!

Blackened Baja Tilapia Tacos

1/4 c. reduced-fat sour cream
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
2 T. fresh lime juice
1 jalepeño, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 t. paprika
1 1/2 t. brown sugar
1 t. dried oregano
3/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground red pepper
4 - 6 oz. tilapia fillets
1 T. canola or olive oil
8 - 6" flour tortillas (or corn, but they fall apart easier)
1/2 ripe peeled avocado, thinly sliced OR fresh guacamole 4 lime wedges shredded red cabbage

1. Process first 4 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.
2. Combine paprika and next 6 ingredients (through red pepper); sprinkly evenly over fish. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desire degree of doneness.
3. Warm tortillas. Divide fish, sour cream sauce and avocado over tortillas. Top with red cabbage. Serve with lime wedges.

cal: 362 fat: 13.6g protein: 37g. carb: 27g fiber 4.7g chol: 79 mg

Pork Chops with (Michigan!) Dried Cherries

1/4 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. ground allspice
1/4 t. ground cloves
4 boneless loin pork chops
1 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
1/4 c. red wine
1/4 c. chicken broth
1/3 c. finely chopped red onion
1/3 c. dried cherries
1 - 2" strip lemon peel
2 T. minced fresh ginger
1 t. brown sugar
1/2 t. chopped fresh thyme (or dried thyme)
1/2 T. balsamic vinegar
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

1. Mix the flour, 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 t. pepper, allspice and cloves in a bowl.
2. Add the pork chops and coat well.
3. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a skillet.
4. Add the pork chops. Cook for 7 to 8 min or until cooked through, turning once
5. Remove the pork chops to a platter and keep warm.
6. Add the red wine, chicken broth, red onion, dried cherries, lemon peel, ginger, brown sugar, thyme, balsamic vinegar, 1/4 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper to the pan drippings in the skillet.
7. Cook over high heat for 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.
8. Discard the lemon peel. Pour sauce over the pork chops. Serve over rice or egg noodles.