Caribbean Chicken

Every week there are two questions I dread… What should I make for lunch for the week and what should I make for dinner? I try to switch it up and make different things but sometimes I just run out of ideas or quite simply I just don’t feel like cooking. Thankfully, I have a binder of organized recipes I have been collecting for quite some time and I am finally putting them to good use. This Caribbean Chicken recipe is one that I ripped out from Food Network Magazine a few years ago and I am sure I will be making it again.

To start I browned boneless skinless chicken thighs that I seasoned with curry powder, allspice, thyme salt and pepper in melted coconut cream that I skimmed off the stop of the coconut milk. Just remember not to shake the coconut milk or you won’t be able to skim this cream off of it.

 

Once the chicken was browned I transferred it to a plate and added onion, garlic, cilantro, a serrano chili and thyme sprigs to my Dutch oven and cooked until the onions began to soften. 

 

I then returned the chicken to the pot along with water and the remaining coconut cream and milk from the can and cooked it covered on medium-low heat, for about 15 minutes until the sauce was thickened and the chicken was cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. And finally, I added in a cup frozen peas and carrots thawed and cooked everything until the pear and carrots were warmed through. I then seasoned it with salt and pepper.

 

And served it with white rice.

 

Caribbean Chicken

Ingredients:

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus 3 sprigs

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, quartered

1 13.5 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (do not shake)

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 Scotch bonnet, habanero or serrano chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed

Cooked white rice for serving

Directions:

Combine the curry powder, allspice, chopped thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a small bowl and use it to season the chicken.

Skim 2 tablespoons of the solid cream off the top of the coconut milk and transfer to a large Dutch oven or pot and melt over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, chili and thyme sprigs to the pot and cook, stirring until the onions are softened. Return the chicken to the pot along with a 1/4 cup of water and the coconut milk along with any remaining coconut cream. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Remove the thyme sprigs and add the peas and carrots and continue cooking until warmed through.

Serve with rice.

Recipe adapted from Food Network

 

Coconut Cinnamon Popsicles

Whenever I go to Target I can never stick to the items that are on my list. Somehow, someway other things creep into my shopping cart. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I just can’t resist walking down random aisles to see what’s available; my favorite though is passing by the end caps to see what items are on clearance. You never know when you can pick up a nice dish, a colorful shower curtain or a cute notebook at a ridiculously low price. That’s how I found the ice pop molds I used to create the Coconut Cinnamon Popsicles I am sharing with you today. I randomly saw them sitting on an end cap for more than 50% off so I figured why not… The deal was too good to pass up and I really liked how the molds sat on the base. Not your typical ice pop mold!
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These ice pops couldn’t be more simpler. In a large bowl I combined cream of coconut, coconut milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon and shredded coconut and mixed them together with my hand mixer until everything was well combined. I then transferred the mixture to a measuring cup to make pouring it into the molds easier (and less messy!) Once that was done I placed them in the freezer overnight so they could harden.
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And the next day I had a delicious (and cold – which is imperative for these final dog days of summer) coconut treat that had a hint of cinnamon! I can’t wait to try out some other flavor combinations with these nifty ice pop molds!
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Coconut Cinnamon Popsicles

Ingredients:

1 13.5 oz. can of coconut milk

1 15oz. can of cream of coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together with a hand mixer until well blended. Transfer the mixture to a measuring cup and pour into ice pop molds.

Freeze until solid, 3-4 hours, preferably overnight

Indian Rice Pudding (Kheer)

There are just some things you can’t resist ordering when you go to certain restaurants; you know you should try something new and exciting but those familiar comforts just always call your name. One of those things for me is a dessert that I always must have when I go to an Indian restaurant: Kheer, i.e. Indian Rice Pudding. It’s more or less like your traditional rice pudding, but, what sets it apart is the addition of cardamom and pistachios. I finally made this delicious treat myself recently when I realized that I had these two key ingredients on hand.

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To begin, I combined a cup of cooked basmati rice with whole milk in a medium-sized saucepan and brought it to a boil. Following that I lowered the heat and simmered the rice and milk until the mixture began to thicken. Next I added in heavy cream, coconut milk, sugar and cardamom and cooked it on medium heat until the mixture began to thicken once again. I then removed the pan from the heat and stirred in pistachios.

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I then transferred the mixture to a dish and placed a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface. After letting it cool for a few minutes I then placed it in the refrigerator.

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Once it was cool I enjoyed a bowl of it and was in heaven. It tasted just like the Kheer I am used to having at my favorite Indian restaurants.

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Indian Rice Pudding

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked long grain or basmati rice

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/3 cup unsalted pistachios, chopped

Directions:

1. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, combined the cooked rice and milk. Heat until the mixture begins to boil. Decrease the heat to low and cook at a simmer until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring frequently, approximately 5 minutes.

2. Increase the heat to medium, add the heavy cream, coconut milk, sugar and cardamom and continue to cook until the mixture just begins to thicken again, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Use a whisk to help prevent the cardamom from clumping.

3. Once the mixture begins to thicken, remove from the heat and stir in the pistachios. Transfer the mixture to a glass dish and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Roasted Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup

The temperatures have begun to drop and it’s the perfect excuse to make warm and hearty soups, albeit I made this soup last week on a rainy day, which as we all know is also a perfect day for soup. I’ve actually made this soup a few times before after coming across it on a fellow blogger’s blog last year, but, this was the first time that I made the soup by roasting a whole butternut squash as opposed to the prepackaged chopped ones you sometimes see in the produce area and as crazy as it sounds, it made such a difference in the flavor.

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Luckily the butternut squash wasn’t as difficult to slice as the pumpkins were for the homemade puree I made. Granted the two slices weren’t perfectly equal but they were close enough. After I sliced them I cleaned out all of the pulp and seeds and placed the two halves on a baking sheet and drizzled them with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. I roasted them in a 425 F preheated oven for just shy of an hour, until they were fork tender.

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Along with the butternut squash I also roasted a large sweet potato which I peeled and cubed, the roasting time for the potato was considerably less, about 20 minutes. Once the butternut squashed cooled I removed the peel and chopped it into cubes as well. Of course I couldn’t help but trying a piece and it was absolutely delish. Roasting vegetables really brings out their inner sweetness.

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I then gathered all of the ingredients I needed for the soup along with the squash and sweet potato; 2 diced onions, minced ginger, coconut milk and vegetable stock.

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Now on to making the actual soup… I began by sautéing the onion and ginger until the onions were translucent. I then added in the cubed squash and sweet potato and finally the vegetable stock. Once I brought it to a boil over medium heat I reduced the heat to low and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes.

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And finally using a handheld blender (immersion blender) I pureed the soup until it was smooth and then stirred in the coconut milk.

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I cannot say enough good things about this soup… There is sweetness from roasting the squash and the sweet potato and a hint of ginger that makes this soup so delicious. Another plus, it’s great for many who follow different types of diets… Its vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and all around healthy. Even those of you who are not keen on veggies will find this soup tasty!

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Roasted Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup – adapted from here

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash sliced in half and pulp and seeds removed

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

2 medium-sized onions, peeled and diced

2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced

4 cups vegetable stock

3/4 cup coconut milk

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

2. Drizzle olive oil over squash and sweet potato; add a pinch of salt and pepper. Place squash cut side down onto a baking sheet. On another baking sheet lay out the sweet potatoes. Cook the sweet potatoes for about 20 minutes, or until fork tender. Cook the squash for about 50 minutes, once again until fork tender. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.

3. In a large pot, heat a tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and ginger and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.

4. Remove the peel from the squash and roughly cut it into large cubes and add it to the pot with the onions and ginger along with the sweet potato.

5. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes, making sure the squash is tender.

6. Using a handheld blender, puree the soup. Add the coconut milk and stir.