Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Best Meal Is...

...the one someone else makes for you!!

Two weeks ago my mom called out of the blue and offered to drive out for the afternoon to spend time with the boys so that I could rest or get some errands done. How awesome!! I went out to certain places that just stink to go to with kids (went to the bike shop and had the tires replaced on my double stroller, leisurely browsed around Barnes and Noble with a Starbucks cup, and lost myself in the two floors of Forever 21).

The greatest part of all is that my mom brought dinner with her!! There is nothing better in my mind than a home cooked meal you didn't have to make. I didn't have to plan it, buy stuff for it, make it, clean it up, or pay for someone else to make it. Therefore it could have been anything, and it would have been delicious!

But my mom is an excellent cook and we have the exact same "taste" when it comes to food so this really WAS delicious!

Two things. 1 - This is a great recipe to experiment with new flavors in your house. Although Biryani is traditionally an Indian dish, I think this recipe tones it down for the American palate so you get some bold new flavors, but not too spicy or overwhelming. Just different. Batman even loved it!

2 - Take the opportunity to build your spice cabinet!!! I always hate when a recipe calls for a spice I don't have, because I know that's an extra $5 on my grocery bill. But then its awesome the next time I make something and the spices are already in my cabinet.

Easy Chicken Biryani (from Cooking Light)
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced ...removing the seeds makes the jalapeno a lot less spicy. Just don't scratch your eye or nose until you've washed your hands :)
  • a 1 inch piece of fresh minced ginger, a few cloves chopped garlic (or don't forget the Dorot cubes if raw ginger/garlic scares you!)
  • Spices: 1 1/2 tsp garam masala, 3/4 tsp ground cumin, salt to taste
  • About 2 plum tomatoes chopped (I'm sure you could sub 1 can diced tomatoes here)
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 14 oz chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds and lime wedges for garnish

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and saute 3 minutes before adding onion and jalapeno. After three more minutes add the ginger, garlic, and spices. Let cook through a few more minutes then add in tomatoes, rice, raisins and broth. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender! Stir in the cilantro, sprinkle with almonds and serve with lime wedges.

My mom also said she sometimes makes everything without the rice, and then spoons the chicken over separately cooked rice. Just a thought! I enjoy having only one pot to clean up myself :) Enjoy!

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