Spicy Pan-Seared Chicken

I have been concentrating on making major improvements in my health. I’m exercising almost everyday and trying to watch what I eat. It’s a daily battle, but it gets a little easier with each passing day.

Tonight I decided to make a super lean meal: chicken, mushrooms and salad. But as healthy as it was, it was also full of flavor.

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Spicy Pan Seared Chicken serves 1 to 2

1 chicken breast (cut in half, lengthwise)
Buffalo sauce
Cayenne pepper
Chili powder
Red pepper flakes
Black pepper
Salt
Canola or vegetable oil

Directions

1. Cut your chicken breast in half, rinse and pat dry.
2. Sprinkle the spices over each side of the chicken.

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3. Put a couple dots of buffalo sauce on one side. Spread evenly with a pastry brush. Repeat on other side.

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4. Heat your oil on a large pan. Once oil is hot, cook your chicken. One chicken breast will take roughly 15 minutes to cook, but this will vary depending on its weight.

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Roasted Red Pepper Lentil Soup

Long time no see, fellow bloggers! I can’t believe how busy I’ve been the last few weeks. Hope you can forgive me. I made this soup a few Mondays ago, but never got around to sharing it with you.

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Roasted Red Pepper Lentil Soup

Ingredients
1/2 cup red lentils
5 baby gold potatoes
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
4 mini red peppers
1 large spoonful of tomato paste
6-8 cups of water or vegetable broth
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes
Parsley

Directions

1. Cut the tops of the red peppers. Remove the seeds and rinse with water. Roll in olive oil and broil in the oven until slightly charred. Remove from heat and set aside.

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2. Boil red lentils in a small to medium sized pot until soft. Lower heat to simmer.
3. Saute onions, carrots, and potatoes in olive oil. Once transparent, mix in the tomato paste. Pour mixture into the pot with the lentils.

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4. Continue to cook another 10 minutes, then add the roasted red peppers and seasonings.
5. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

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I love how creamy this soup was without a single drop of actual cream. It was also very filling and tasty.

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Honey and Beer Glazed Chicken

I haven’t been sticking to my resolution to make weekly meal plans. So like many other nights, I found myself at the grocery store with no list, no plan.

Whenever I find myself in this place, I open my Pinterest app and check my “food to make” board. And viola…a perfect recipe appears. Isn’t technology great?

The original recipes comes from The Beeroness.

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Honey and Beer Glazed Chicken
Ingredients
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup Stout beer (I used Guinness)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large shallot, chopped
2 chicken breasts (sliced in thin halves)
Green onions
1 tbsp canola oil

Directions

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, red and black pepper, beer and mustard. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
2. In a small pan, saute the shallot until translucent.
3. Heat the canola oil on a large pan. Cook one side of the chicken, then flip over. Pour the sauteed shallots over the chicken. Cover the pan and continue to cook on high heat. Half way through, pour a little more of the marinade over the chicken. It should be ready in about 20 minutes.

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Mini Rotini with Zucchini Cream Sauce

Like many of my dinners recently, this recipe is the result of what I had left in my fridge. But despite being thrown together, it was pretty yummy.

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Mini Rotini with Zucchini Cream Sauce
Ingredients
3 small zucchinis
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup half n half
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp cream cheese
Thyme
Salt & pepper
Red pepper flakes
1 tbsp olive oil

Directions
1. Make pasta per package directions.
2. Begin making the zucchini sauce while water for the pasta is boiling.
3. Grate zucchini using the large holes of a cheese grater. Scoop into a sauce pan and cook with olive oil until the zucchini’s water is released. Stir occasionally.

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4. Using the small holes of your cheese grater, grate your garlic cloves and add to the zucchini. Continue cooking for another 1 minute.
5. Add the chicken broth, half n half, cream cheese and seasoning. Cook until the mixture begins to bubble.

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6. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender. Return to heat and boil for another few minutes.

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7. Pour over pasta and enjoy.

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Bonus: Add a tbsp of butter and a little more red pepper flakes.

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What did you make for Meatless Monday?

Kadın Budu Köfte (Fried Meatballs)

Kadın Budu Köfte, translated into English is lady thigh meatball. This is perhaps due to its shape or perhaps to where its going after you eat it. 😉 Whatever the reason, it’s well seasoned, fried, and dipped in cool yogurt. In other words, it’s “çok lezzetli” (very delicious).

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Kadın Budu Köfte
Ingredients
1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion (chopped)
1/4 cup cooked rice
4 eggs
Flour
Köfte bahartı (ingredients below)
Cumin
Salt & pepper
Vegetable oil for frying

Directions

1. Cook 3/4 of the ground beef with the onions, then drain the fat. Be sure to break it up as small possible.
2. Put the raw and cooked ground beef in a large mixing bowl with 1 egg, the rice, and spices. Knead together until well mixed. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

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3. Remove the bowl from the fridge and begin shaping your meatballs. They should look like mini footballs.
4. Put some flour in 1 bowl and beat the remaining 3 eggs in a separate bowl. Dip each köfte in the flour and then egg.

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5. In a pan, heat some vegetable oil. Once the oil is sizzling hot, put in some of the köfte. I cooked mine in batches of 6.

Kadın Budu Köfte is traditionally served cold (prepared as above and then refrigerated and served the next day). But you can also eat it right away, warm. Serve with plain Greek yogurt.

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Köfte Bahartı
Cumin
Paprika
Black pepper
Coriander
Allspice
Hot red pepper
Sodium bicarbonate

Indian Butter Chicken

This might sound strange, but I’ve been craving butter chicken ever since my trip to Dublin, Ireland. My family and I went to an Indian restaurant there with probably the best Indian food I’ve ever tasted.

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Indian Butter Chicken
Adapted from Cooking and Me
Ingredients
1 chicken breast, cubed and cooked
1/2 onion, minced
1 tomato, pureed
1 tbsp of tomato paste or sauce
1 tbsp of butter
Splash of olive oil
1 tsp of minced garlic
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of chilli powder
1 tsp of garam masala (see recipe below)
1 large pinch of ground fenugreek
1 cup of milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
Red pepper flakes to taste

Directions
1. Heat the butter in a pan and add the minced onions. Fry until golden brown.
2. Add the ginger, garlic, coriander, chilli powder, turmeric, and salt. Fry for a minute until fragrant.
3. Add the pureed tomato and tomato paste and cook for 3-4 mins until the mixture bubbles uniformly.
4. Thrown in the fenugreek, milk, and the cubed chicken. Cook covered for 8-10 mins until the chicken is soft.
5. When the chicken is cooked soft, open the lid and cook for a further minute or two.
6. When done, add the garam masala. Give it a good stir, but don’t boil.
7. Adjust salt and remove from fire.
8. Serve hot with rice and plain Green yogurt.

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Garam Masala
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions
1. Mix all ingredients together

Note: This will make a little more garam masala than you need for the recipe. Save it for another time or add to your butter chicken to increase flavor. The red pepper flakes also help to bring out the flavor of the spices.

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Patates Böreği (Potato Pastry)

The Turkish börek is a simple, but delicious and versatile savory pastry. I have tried them with all different kinds of fillings: spinach, lentils, cheese, meat, and potatoes. It’s one of my must-haves when I travel to Turkey.

But I can’t even wait until I visit again to enjoy their flaky goodness…so I settled for my homemade version. Böreks are traditionally made with a dough similar to phyllo, called yufka.

I have yet to try ordering yufka from an online Turkish grocery store so phyllo dough would have to stand in.

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Patates Böreği

Ingredients
Thawed sheets of phyllo dough
6 to 8 baby gold potatoes
Goat cheese crumbles
Salt & pepper
Marjoram
Oregano
Garlic powder
Milk or half n half
Olive oil
egg yolk
Poppy seeds

Directions

1. Boil, drain, and mash the potatoes. Mix in a splash of milk or half n half, goat cheese, and seasonings.
2. In a small bowl, mix a little olive oil and milk. The ratio should be about 3:1.
3. Stack 3 square- shaped sheets in top of each, brushing each with the olive oil mixture before laying on top of the other. The phyllo sheets I buy are rectangles, so I had to cut them down into squares.
4. Spread some of the potato mixture onto the dough. Be gentle, as the dough can easily tear.
5. Fold the dough diagonally at the corners, making a large triangle. Then fold again to make a smaller triangle. Cut in half.
6. Repeat each step until you have as many börek as you desire.
7. Brush the tops with the egg yolk and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
8. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until dough is golden brown.

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