Tandoori Chicken

tandoori chicken

This is a great recipe for this time of year–bbq season– but also very good in the oven – and you will want to make this all year long. It’s got great concentrated flavour, and all you have to do is put together a super-easy,  yogurt-based marinade, score your chicken, let it marinate and then bbq or bake it.  The yogurt base tenderizes your chicken and the indian spices make it aromatic and exotic tasting.  Make sure your spices are fresh –  it makes all the difference. You will be making this again and again, so you might as well get some fresh spices.  I like to serve some cucumber raita alongside. (recipe below). You can use any type of chicken pieces you like. I usually use bone-in chicken breast, skinned and cut in two.  You can marinate a big batch of chicken and put half in the freezer — it’s perfect for that. This recipe makes enough marinade for about 5-6 pounds (3 kg) of chicken. It will be a family favourite. Great the next day for lunch on a salad or with rice. TRY!

Tandoori  Chicken Marinade

1 medium onion, grated (or minced in processer)

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp minced  fresh ginger

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander seed

1/2 tsp tumeric (for colour, if you don’t have any, don’t worry about it)

¼ tsp cayenne (more if you like it hot)

1 tsp salt

1 cup plain yogurt

Juice of ½ lemon

[1-3 kgs of chicken pieces]

[½ cup melted butter for basting at the end.]

Mix up ingredients except chicken and  melted butter–feel free to throw it all in the processor or grate and chop and mix by hand.  Remove skin from chicken, and score deeply. Massage marinade into chicken. Best if meat is marinated for 24 hours. (minimum 6 hours)

*divide remaining marinade into freezer containers (1/2 cup each approx) and freeze. You can marinate the chicken and freeze it too -it works out perfectly.  Defrost and use when needed.

Cooking Instructions

If using BBQ

Turn one side of bbq on med-high. Put chicken in a  foil pan. Place it on upper level on side of bbq that is unlit, to create a ‘convect’ affect. Cook until internal temp of 165 F., approx. 30-40 minutes. Remove chicken from pan with tongs and place on direct heat of grill. Baste with butter , turning until nicely charred. Serve with Cucumber Raita.

If using Conventional Oven

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place chicken in roasting pan. Cook until internal temp of 165F. Melt butter. Baste chicken with butter. Turn on broiler, and place chicken under broiler until browned and glistening. Baste again before serving. Serve with Cucumber raita.

mixing up the marinade ingredients

use a cleaver to chop breast in half, then score the meat about 1/2 inch deep

massage marinade into the crevices, and let sit in the fridge to marinate

after baking on top shelf, place on grill, baste with butter until charred nicely

delicious with a salad ( healthy and low fat, low carb)

Cucumber Raita

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup grated cucumber

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (optional)

Grate cucumber and squeeze out liquid with paper towel. Mix into yogurt with cumin and salt.  If you have some  fresh coriander (cilantro) around, add that in too.  Serve with chicken.

Caesar Salad – all the flavour without the FATness

low fat caesar salad

Okay, I know it sounds so boring that I am putting in a recipe for Caesar Salad. Who doesn’t just buy Renee’s dressing? I was left without any salad greens today, and the only lettuce I could buy at our local store was a head of romaine. (60 kms to a Loblaws). So that got me thinking about caesar salad for a change, but since we are trying to watch our carb/fat/sugar intake, I thought this dressing sounded pretty good, and it did turn out to be easy and flavourful, so what the hell. If you are watching your calories, and alot of us are at this time of year — the dreaded bathing suit season — this is a good solution. It can be used as dip for veggies too.  A 6.5 oz serving is 150 calories, that’s almost a cup! A cup of delicious dip when you are starving, hello.

Caesar Salad – Low Fat

adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favourites

Dressing: (makes about 1 cup)

2 hard-boiled eggs

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup low fat cottage cheese

2 kalamata olives, pitted and minced

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp worchestershire sauce (*to make this GF, use GF tamari sauce instead)

salt and pepper to taste


1 medium head of romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

In food processor or blender, combine dressing ingredients, except salt and pepper — puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate. (will keep for several days in fridge).

Wash and dry lettuce, tear into bite-size pieces. Toss with about 1/3 cup of dressing to coat. Sprinkle with grated cheese, add sliced hard-boiled egg. Serve immediately. (serves 4)

simple ingredients

put dressing ingredients into processor

mixed dressing ready to go

Caesar salad

Miso-Glazed Pork Kebabs – great for BBQ

miso glazed pork kebabs

I noticed this recipe in the June 2011 issue of Chatelaine magazine and realized it would be the perfect recipe to finally use ‘miso’. I had never used it before but was eager to find out how to use it and how it tasted. I’m glad I did – this marinade is a perfect introduction to using it. I bought the ‘white’ miso at the health food store – it was in the cooler area where yogurt and that sort of thing was located. You can probably find it at an Asian grocery store as well. Give it a try, if you enjoy Japanese flavours, you’ll really enjoy these – easy, with great flavour and a minimum of ingredients – my favourite way to cook. Give it a whirl.

Miso Glazed Pork Kebabs

slightly adapted from Chatelaine magazine

2 tbsp miso paste

2 tbsp dry sherry

2 tbsp maple syrup or honey

1 tsp freshly grated ginger (or more if you love ginger)

1 tsp olive oil

1 lb (500 g) pork tenderloin, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 yellow, orange or red pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks

1 onion, cut into 1 inch chunks

Whisk together miso, sherry, maple syrup, ginger and oil in bowl.  Add pork tenderloin chunks to marinade and let stand for 15 minutes. If using wooden skewers, soak  skewers in water at least 20 minutes to prevent burning.   Preheat bbq to med-high. Thread pork, onions and peppers onto skewers.  Brush skewers with remaining marinade.  Oil grill, and bbq skewers, turning every few minutes, until pork is cooked through– about 10 minutes.  Delicious!

white miso paste

mix up marinade ingredients

prep your ingredients, can do ahead of time

thread your skewers, some plain for PICKY people

with a salad, perfect for 17 day diet, or low carb diet

Roasted Asparagus: the best way to enjoy it!

roasted asparagus as a side dish to a summer bbq meal

If you don’t roast your asparagus, you really must start. I have converted asparagus haters by roasting it. It’s easy and so good, I can’t imagine going back to steaming it.  I’m not going to say much more about it, just follow along and make it– you will love it.

Roasted Asparagus

1 lb asparagus

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

freshly ground pepper

zest of one  lemon

Preheat oven to 400 F. Wash asparagus and snap off the ends. If the stalks are thick, give them a quick peel. (This makes them nice and tender).  Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil.  Use your hands to roll it back and forth to make sure they are coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and grate lemon zest over top. Place in oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until tender. Enjoy!!

* can be done on the bbq in an aluminum pan, high heat, upper shelf with opposite side burners on, (one side lit only). Close cover while cooking.

* also tastes great with parmesan cheese and if you have any leftovers, throw them in your salad the next day.

purple asparagus, who knew?

peeled asparagus

add some grated lemon zest

ready for the oven or bbq


Healthy Salad with Creamy Japanese Dressing

Notice how I titled it, “Healthy” salad? I did so because there are so many salads that are extremely fattening and high in carbohydrates –but this one really is very healthy with steamed veggies, sauteed peppers,  feta, and toasted almonds. You can add whatever you like — bean sprouts and some red onion would be nice – some roasted red peppers would add great flavour and perk up the colour as well. I put this together with what I had on hand, and so should you. The creamy Japanese dressing ties this salad in nicely with the previous post, “Ginger Soya Glazed Salmon Skewers”.

Vegetable salad with Creamy Japanese Dressing


Healthy Vegetable Salad

1 head boston lettuce

2 cups baby spinach

2 cups broccoli, cooked until tendercrisp

2 cups cauliflower, cooked until tendercrisp

1/2 yellow or red pepper, sliced

1/4 cup feta cheese, diced

2 Tbsp toasted sliced almonds

1/2 cup Creamy Japanese Dressing (see recipe below)

Cook broccoli and cauliflower in boiling water until tendercrisp, about 5 minutes. Immerse in a bowl of ice water. Cool, drain.  Saute pepper strips for 2-3 minutes in a tsp of butter or oil.  Remove from heat. Toss lettuce in a bowl with dressing. Place on platter. Surround lettuce with cauliflower, broccoli and sauteed peppers. Sprinkle feta and toasted almonds on top. Drizzle a little more dressing on vegetables.

Creamy Japanese dressing, vegetables and salad

Creamy Japanese Dressing

adapted from Chatelaine magazine

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 Tbsp ketchup

2 Tbsp mayonaisse

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

1/2 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously.  Serve over salad greens. Refrigerate remainder. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Ginger-Soya Salmon Skewers

ginger soya salmon skewers with salad

This is a great way to make salmon now that we have our bbq’s fired up for the season. Make sure your grill is well greased — fish notoriously sticks and can turn into a mess. This marinade works well with salmon filets as well and you can cook them up in the oven (400F for 10-15 mins) all through the year. The marinade is super easy and can be made up ahead of time, then throw it on your fish to marinate an hour before cooking. The skewers cook up really quickly and served with a salad makes a healthy and satisfying dinner.  This recipe is delicious enough to serve to company and makes a great addition to your dinner repetoire.

* I served this with a big salad made with a variety of vegetables and a Creamy Japanese Dressing to tie the flavours together. Recipe to follow.

Salmon Skewers

1 1/2 pounds skinless salmon filet, sliced into  1/4 inch thick strips (against the grain)

1 Tbsp sesame seeds

8 wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 15 minutes

Ginger-Soya Marinade

adapted from The Gourmet Prescription

3 Tbsp soya sauce or tamari (check label to verify gluten free if necessary)

1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Mix all ingredients. Place salmon strips in a non-reactive container and pour marinade over. Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Skewer salmon strips by weaving onto wooden skewers, about 2 strips per skewer.

Transfer marinade to a small saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes.

Spray grill with Pam.  Heat BBQ to 400 F.   Place skewers on grill and cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn carefully. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cook for another minutes. Remove from grill.  Serve with heated marinade.

Everyone can spoon a tablespoon or so of the marinade over their salmon skewers.

skewers on the grill, sprinkled with sesame seedssalmon skewers with healthy salad with creamy japanese dressing


skewers on the grill, sprinkled with sesame seeds

salmon skewers with healthy salad with creamy japanese dressing