Better-Than-Takeout Chicken Fried Noodles

For the longest time, I would throw every single Asian cooking sauce from my pantry into stir-fry dishes and hope for the best. For some bizarre reason, I thought that the more different flavors I added (teriyaki, black bean, sriracha, soy sauce–you name it), the more delicious the stir fry would be. Of course, I would always be disappointed by the taste, wondering what was missing from my very random soup of sauces.

I finally just decided to do my research (duh!) into what makes stir fry so delicious, and was pleasantly surprised to find how simple the sauce needs to be. The key is a little bit of sugar, and to make sure your pan/wok is super hot before throwing in all your ingredients. This particular recipe I tested recently from RecipeTin Eats is absolutely fantastic, and easy to customize depending on what you have in your pantry. I whipped up a lazy girl version of it on a random Friday night that I was craving Asian takeout, and it COMPLETELY hit the spot. Taste-wise it was better than takeout, and no bloating or guilt 🙂

Enjoy! I tried the noodles with shrimp as well, but personally preferred the taste with chicken thighs.

Ingredients (serves 2-3)

6 chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces (can easily be swapped out with shrimp)
1 tbsp Canola oil
Noodles of your choice, prepared according to instructions (*The type of noodles you pick makes a big difference to the taste of this dish–my personal favorite is Blue Dragon’s egg noodles. Three rounds of this is perfect for two very hungry adults)
Veggies of your choice–for my lazy, minimal prep version of this, I opted for 3/4 a bag of Broccoli Coleslaw, which includes shredded broccoli, cabbage, and carrots
1 shallot, cut into long pieces
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
1/4 cup of water

The Sauce

1.5 tbsp soy sauce
1.5 tbsp oyster sauce
1.5 tbsp chicken broth
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
Pepper

Recipe

Stir together all the ingredients for the sauce in a separate bowl. Marinate the chicken thigh pieces with 1 tbsp of the stir fry sauce for at least 10 minutes.

Heat Canola oil in a large frying pan or wok. Once it’s on high heat, fry the garlic pieces until it begins to brown. Throw in the chicken and stir for a few minutes until partially cooked. Add the veggies/broccoli slaw/shallots and mix together until the chicken is fully cooked. Make sure the veggies are still a bit crispy and not too soggy. Add the noodles, the remaining stir fry sauce, and water. Stir the mixture with the noodles, remove from heat, and serve immediately.

Boursin & Pesto-Stuffed Chicken Thighs

I faced a rare conundrum the other day: an unopened pack of Boursin cheese that had been sitting pretty in my fridge for several days. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Boursin is this ridiculously delicious brand of creamy, flavor-packed French cheese that goes well with pretty much anything – eggs, crackers, you name it. It’s like goat cheese on crack. While brainstorming recipe ideas for using Boursin in a quick weeknight chicken dinner, I came across this Rachael Ray recipe that looked fabulous, but a bit too time-consuming.

Here’s my speedy version of her recipe, using three key ingredients: Boursin, ready-made pesto, and olive oil. THAT’S IT. Oh, and chicken thighs instead of breast, because they are so much more tender and better at soaking up that delicious garlic flavor 🙂

Ingredients (serves 4) 

12 chicken thighs
1/2 pack of Boursin Garlic & Herb cheese (~2.5 oz)
**the Rachael Ray recipe calls for a full pack, but IMHO half a pack is all you need since the cheese is so rich and flavorful!
3 tbsp pesto
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese to taste
10-12 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Recipe

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the cheese and pesto until nice and creamy. Lay out the chicken thighs on a large baking tray and season with olive oil, and just a touch of salt & pepper. Add a teaspoon of the pesto cheese mixture to the center of the chicken thighs, and fold them over to enclose. Pour any leftover mixture over the thighs. You can then store this in the fridge for a few hours to marinate, or pop directly in the oven.

Bake the chicken thighs for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and add some parmesan cheese, and the cherry tomatoes. Pop back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until the thighs are done cooking. I like to broil them for a few minutes at the very end for a nice browned look!

That’s it! SO incredibly easy with virtually zero prep time, but so many complex flavors, thanks to the Boursin cheese. I’ve already made this twice (once for guests), and they’re a huge hit!

Tandoori Chicken Tacos

Here it is! My recipe for tandoori chicken tacos, which I guarantee is probably the easiest, no-fuss recipe you’ll find out there. My mother-in-law makes these all the time in the summer (with a more legit tandoori marinade) and they are so so scrumptious that I needed to figure out how to make a lazy girl version for myself. Enjoy, and leave a comment if you plan on trying these at home! You won’t regret it 🙂

Ingredients (serves 2)
*As with all cooking, I usually just eyeball/adjust these ingredients to taste, but here’s my best estimate for measurements

6 chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 an onion, sliced into long pieces
6 flour tortillas
1 teaspoon Canola oil

For the marinade:
1 tablespoon plain or Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
Red chilli powder to taste (I like mine spicy, so 1 teaspoon)
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Canola oil

For garnishing:
*Completely customizable, but here’s how I like mine!

2 avocados, sliced into long pieces
Greek yogurt
Montamore cheese (sweet, creamy, and tangy!)
Cholula Hot Sauce

Recipe

Mix the marinade ingredients into a large bowl. Fold in the chicken thighs, mix well, and let marinate for at least a few hours in the fridge (the longer, the better!). While the chicken marinates, you can prep the other ingredients so that your taco bar is ready to go as soon as the chicken is prepared.

Heat 1 teaspoon of Canola oil on a large saucepan on medium to high heat. Fry the onions until they’re slightly brown and caramelized, and set aside on a separate plate. In the same oil, fry the chicken thighs until brown on each side (this will take a few minutes), add any additional chilli powder (for a bolder look and taste), and then lower the heat and cover until the chicken is cooked fully. Once the chicken thighs are cooked, add in the caramelized onions and mix. You should have a nice creamy chicken mixture with not too much gravy. If your gravy appears thin, then cover and cook for longer.

To serve: Add a spoonful of the chicken mixture to your flour tortilla and garnish with a few avocado slices, a teaspoon of Greek yogurt, cheeeeese, and a generous helping of that amazing Cholula Hot Sauce. Ready, set, DEVOUR. And then repeat until your belly is full 🙂 The perfect weeknight dinner for your Taco Tuesdays!

Quick & Easy Salmon Zoodle Bowls

I’ve been on a health kick recently, but with all my recent travels and the start of wedding season, it’s been tough to stick to a steady routine and diet. So many decadent distractions everywhere! That’s why I love super simple recipes that are easy to whip up in the kitchen, but still good for you. Salmon is my go-to protein for weeknight dinners, and I’ve recently been pairing it with a little bit of pesto, garlic, tomatoes and zucchini noodles. So light, refreshing, and packed with a ton of flavor.

Here’s my recipe for Salmon Zoodle Bowls – everything you dreamed of for those busy weeknights. What are some of your tips and tricks for eating healthy with a busy schedule? I’d love to hear from you!

When you’re off your blogging game and Instagram Story is the best picture you have…

Ingredients (serves 2) 

1.5 tbsp olive oil
4 zucchinis – washed, peeled and spiralized into noodles
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cloves of garlic, diced
2 small salmon fillets, cut into three pieces each and marinaded in a little bit of olive oil, s&p and the diced garlic
1/2 a tomato, diced
2-3 tsp of pesto, depending on your taste
Grated parmesan cheese

Recipe

First, prep your zoodles. Lightly fry the spiralized zucchini noodles in 1 tbsp olive oil and garnish with salt & pepper and any other spices to your liking. I usually add some onion powder and parsley flakes, but you can also add red chilli flakes for an added kick. This should only take a few minutes – avoid frying for too long, or the zoodles will become mushy and let out moisture. Keep em’ crispy! Once this is done, arrange the zoodles in a bowl.

Next up, take your salmon pieces (already marinaded in olive oil, s&p and garlic) and lightly pan-fry them for a few minutes on each side in half a tbsp of olive oil. As you’re frying them, drop in the diced tomatoes and add pesto over the salmon pieces. Stir this mixture so that the pesto combines with the tomatoes and coats the salmon. Cover until the salmon pieces are completely cooked (this should taken around 5-10 minutes longer depending how thick the salmon pieces are).

Spoon the salmon, pesto and tomato mixture over your zoodles. Garnish with fresh parmesan cheese, freshly cracked pepper and a little more pesto if you please. Enjoy! Guilt-free and delicious.

Authentic Thai Green Curry – straight from Chiang Mai!

Even though we’re in the thick of winter here in Chicago, my mind is still in beautiful Thailand. My husband and I recently got back from an incredible adventure to Thailand & Cambodia (blog post coming soon) and my heart still aches for the beautiful people, culture, and FOOD of Southeast Asia. It continues to be my absolute favorite part of the world.

One of our favorite memories of the trip was a half-day cooking class in Chiang Mai through Zabb-E-Lee Cooking School. We had such a great time exploring Thai markets, picking up fresh ingredients (still can’t get over the fragrance of kaffir lime), and then spending a few hours in a gorgeous outdoor, bohemian-style kitchen whipping up over six dishes. Such a delightful experience for a couple who loves to cook together.

I’m excited to share the recipe from our culinary adventures for Zabb-E-Lee’s chicken green curry. It was absolutely delicious and SO easy to make (well, once all the spices were ground up). I made it once at home too with store-bought green curry paste, and it was still pretty damn good. Obviously not as fragrant and fresh as the Chiang Mai version, but still a great recipe to quickly whip up when you’re craving some curry. Got my hubby hooked on Thai food now. Enjoy!

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Starting off the day picking fresh ingredients from the market with our awesome instructor

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Literally the cutest space for our cooking class. So boho chic! 

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So proud of our culinary creations!

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Silky smooth green curry. Nothing like that fresh taste of coconut cream and kaffir lime. 

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My version at home – more veggies, low fat coconut milk, and store bought green curry paste. Sorry for the poor picture quality – alas, not much natural lighting in Chicago right now. Still delicious, and SO easy to make! 

Thai Green Chicken Curry (recipe adapted from Zabb-E-Lee Cooking School)

Ingredients (serves 3-4) 

2 tbsp canola oil
6 chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can coconut cream (highly recommend the Aroy-D brand)
1.5 tbsp green curry paste* (I used the Thai Kitchen brand, but see below for the recipe to make this from scratch)
1 eggplant, cut into squares
1 zucchini, cut into squares
Handful of green beans (per your liking)
2 tbsp sweet basil
3 leaves kaffir lime leaf, torn in half
1 tbsp pea eggplant (optional – I didn’t use this)
2 red chilis, sliced diagonally
2 tsp palm sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce

Recipe

Let the oil heat on a wok or non-stick pan on medium high. Stir the green curry paste for a few minutes until fragrant and the oil surfaces. Add the chicken thighs and stir until fully cooked. Gradually add the coconut milk and add in the eggplant, zucchini, and green beans. Cover and let simmer. When the veggies are cooked, add palm sugar, fish sauce, sweet basil, kaffir lime, and red chilis. THAT’S IT – you’re done! Enjoy with rice or noodles.

*Green Curry Paste (from Zabb-E-Lee’s cookbook)

Ingredients

10 fresh green chilies, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp galangal finely chopped
1 tbsp lemongrass, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 shallots, sliced
1 tsp kaffir lime ride, finely sliced
1 tbsp coriander roots, chopped
1 tsp fresh turmeric or turmeric powder
1 tsp shrimp paste (this is the secret sauce!)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp roasted coriander seeds
1/2 tsp roasted cumin
1 tsp ginger

Directions

Combine coriander seeds, cumin, black pepper in a mortar, pound well. Add chilies and salt to the mixture and continue pounding. Add remaining ingredients (except for the shrimp paste) and pound again. After everything is smooth, add the shrimp paste and continue pounding until the mixture is a smooth paste.

Holiday Gift Guide: For Food Lovers

Happy post-Thanksgiving holiday bliss, everyone! Just like most of you reading this post, I spent an embarrassing amount of time this weekend online, scouring websites for the best Black Friday/Cyber Monday fashion/tech/everything deals. While perusing all the amazing sales (sorry, credit card), I came across a ton of super cute gift ideas that would be so perfect for food lovers, cooks, hosts & hostesses, so I decided to put together a little gift guide for my readers. These gifts range from cookbooks to barware to kitchen items and even Indian-themed foodie gifts, so I hope you enjoy! I own about half these items and certainly wouldn’t mind owning the rest…hint hint, nudge nudge 🙂

All product links below

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SHOP: Date Night In Cookbook, Anthropologie || Cast Iron Fondue Set, Crate and Barrel || Sabyasachi Print Round Tray, Pottery Barn || Atlas Marcato Red Pasta Machine, Sur La Table || Flavors of America Salt Collection, Uncommon Goods || Traditional Indian Copper Dinner Set, Amazon || ‘Cravings’ 5-Piece Cheese Board & Utensil Set, Nordstrom || Handwoven Macrame Runner, Anthropologie || Glencairn Whiskey Glasses, Crate and Barrel || On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, Amazon

Moroccan Feast: Slow-Cooked Lamb & Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Chicago’s bout of unseasonably warm fall weather is finally over, which means it’s time for some major winter hibernation in the Gupta household. And with that, comes some delicious, wintery slow-cooking of course. Last Sunday, hubby and I decided to try this Moroccan Lamb recipe from Epicurious and it was absolutely scrumptious. Flavorful, comforting and not as complicated as I would’ve figured–especially if you have a Crockpot on hand. We’ve always been a little hesitant to prepare lamb, but after this, can’t wait to try out some more lamb or goat recipes!

We paired the lamb with some couscous and this Roasted Cauliflower and Arugula Salad with Sumac Dressing from Finecooking.com, which is hands down THE most amazing salad I’ve ever tasted. The combination of roasted cauliflower, spices and feta is absolutely perfect. Definitely going to be a regular in our household.

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The lamb simmering away in a sauce of tomatoes, chickpeas, chicken broth, and dried apricots. Right before we transferred the mixture to a Crockpot for two hours of slow cooking. 

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Roasted cauliflower and arugula salad with sumac dressing from Finecooking.com 

Here’s our version of Epicurious’ Slow-Cooked Lamb recipe – more spice, and we used a Crockpot to get more tender lamb. Enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 6) 

3 tbsp cumin and coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala (optional, but adds more flavor & spice to the original recipe) 
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp cayenne pepper or red chili pepper (the original recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon, but it wasn’t nearly enough spice for us so we added more)
2.5 pounds leg of lamb, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
4 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 can of chickpeas, drained
1 cup dried apricots
2 tomatoes, diced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp grated lemon peel
Fresh cilantro and mint leaves for garnishing

Recipe 

Marinate the the lamb in cumin & coriander powder, salt & pepper, fennel seeds, and 1 tsp of cayenne pepper or red chili powder. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil on a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the lamb pieces in batches until they’re browned on all sides. Add more oil as necessary. Transfer the lamb to a new bowl as they’re done browning – each batch should take around 7-10 minutes.

Fry the onions and tomato paste in the skillet until the onions soften. Add the chicken broth, chickpeas, apricots, tomatoes, cinnamon sticks, garam masala, ginger, and lemon pool and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. At this point, you can add in the lamb pieces, bring to a boil, cover and cook for an hour OR you can now turn to a Crockpot.

If you’re using a Crockpot: Transfer the sauce to your slow-cooker and add in the lamb pieces. Cook on high for 2-2.5 hours, until the lamb is tender. At this point, you can add more spices and salt depending on your taste. Once you’re satisfied with the tenderness of the meat, remove your Crockpot from heat (keep warm) and let the sauce thicken. Garnish with cilantro and mint leaves and serve with couscous or rice. Voila – you’re done! Sit back and enjoy.