Spiced Roasted Chicken with Garbanzo Beans and Cherry Tomatoes with Yoghurt Sauce

Have you ever noticed how certain things can trigger different emotions? Maybe you have an outfit that makes you feel amazing so you can walk into a meeting with confidence and authority. Or perhaps you hear an old song on the radio and it brings back fond memories of your first school dance. For me, all my emotions revolve around food. If I’m happy, I eat, if I’m sad, I eat. Even if I’m happy for someone, I make something and go eat with them.  

I have a recipe that brings me utter joy, and a recipe everyone will thank me for. It is a recipe that will save you on a weekday when you don’t have time to cook. It is a recipe that you can cook and take to a potluck or bring to a friend. It is a recipe that the whole family will enjoy.  It is delicious, nutritious and has minimal preparation and cook time. I will not say much more about this recipe but will only relay my emotions about it:  I feel  love that I have found it, joy when eating it, and now happiness that I can pass it along.

Spiced Roasted Chicken with Garbanzo Beans and Cherry Tomatoes with Yoghurt Sauce



Inspired by a recipe from Epicurious

INGREDIENTS:
3-4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1-2 teaspoon ground cumin
cayenne powder to taste
½-1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup lowfat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
4 chicken breast halves with bones or 12 drumsticks (I like to use drumsticks because easier for kids to grab and eat)
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 12-ounce container cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped fresh coriander, divided
Cous Cous, Rice, or Pita to serve with, if desired

PREPARATION:
1. Preheat oven to 450°. Put olive oil, garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne and salt in large bowl and mix. Place chicken inside bowl and mix so it is covered with the mixture. Take out spice covered chicken and place in  roasting tray.
2. Pour chickpeas in same large bowl chicken was in. Put ½ cup coriander in as well and mix around. There should still be a bit of spice inside the bowl to coat the chickpeas. Pour the chickpeas over the chicken in the roasting pan.
3. Put the tomatoes on the chicken and chickpeas in the roasting pan and put in oven at 450F for 30 minutes or until done.
4. While chicken is in oven, put yoghurt in a small bowl and add a ½ – 1 teaspoon of cumin, and cayenne and salt to taste. Add water to thin yogurt to desired consistency. Set aside.
5. If desired, make rice or cous cous or salad to serve with chicken.
6. Take chicken out of oven when done, and sprinkle with remaining coriander. Serve with rice or cous cous or pita and yogurt sauce.
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Spinach and Parmesan Cakes

It was around 11am today when Ry gave me the look.  The “mommy I’m hungry” look. So I proactively inquired before the “mommy I’m hungry tantrum” started.


Me: What would you like to eat?

Ry: Green.

Me: You mean like green beans? (Knowing full well he would NEVER ask for those).

Ry: No, like the color.

Ok. So he wants to eat the color green. Not too bad a request. As much as I just wanted to boil some peas and put them  in a green bowl and give him a green fork to eat them with, I decided instead to be a bit more creative. I mean, it’s not like he asked for Chartreuse or Magenta or something. Green had so many options.

I decided to go with something spinachy since it is green, healthy, and most importantly, I already had it at home.  I finally decided on spinach and parmesan cakes. I had found a version of these on Eating Well but mine are much more flavorful and spicier. The best thing about these is that they are great finger foods for kids and easy to pop in a container for a quick snack or light meal on the go.  After I made these, I did end up putting them on a green plate with a green fork and my little man was very happy.
Spinach and Parmesan Cakes


(Using a 12pc muffin tin, Makes 8 cakes if you fill up to the top, or 12 if you fill up half way)
INGREDIENTS:

·         10 – 12 ounces frozen spinach (I used about 11 cubes of the Waitrose frozen spinach), Thawed and drained
·         1/2 cup cottage cheese (low fat ok if you prefer)
·         3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
·         2 large eggs, beaten
·         2 clove garlic, minced (if you don’t love garlic as much as me, 1 large clove is ok)
·         2 tbsp minced red onion
·         Red chilli pepper flakes
·         ½ tsp cumin
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
PREPARATION:
1.     Preheat oven to 400°F.
2.     In a medium bowl, mix thawed and drained spinach, cottage cheese, Parmesan, eggs, garlic, onion, and all spices. Stir to combine.
3.     Coat the cups of the muffin pan with cooking spray. Divide the spinach mixture among the 8 cups (they will be very full, or 12 cups half way full. (I usually do 12 since I use the smaller portions for feeding the kids).
4.     Bake the spinach cakes until set, about 20 minutes. Let stand in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife and remove from pan. Serve warm, sprinkled with more Parmesan, if desired.

Breakfast Burrito and Salsa

My baby has the most delicious thighs. Little pudgy rolls of yummy goodness. As I pulled him out of his highchair after breakfast today, a piece of strawberry and a couple of cheerios fell out from between his thigh rolls! At first I was amused. But then I silently prayed,  Oh God please don’t let me ever get that fat so that could happen to me.

Truth be told, I did look at the positive side in case I did get in that condition. For example, suppose I had to work through lunch. Instead of starving, I could just lift up my skirt, give my leg a little shake,  and out would pop a pizza and a few fries. Pretty convenient, yes?  But no, the social and health problems would definitely outweigh (haha) any advantages.

So, out of fear of raising the next generation of thunder thighs, I am always challenging myself to find healthy but tasty meals to feed my family.  Breakfast in particular has always been a hard meal for me to cook since I was never much of a breakfast person myself. I never knew what to make. Then one morning, I came up with this breakfast burrito with tomato salsa recipe that is extremely satisfying and my go-to recipe for when I’m stumped on what to cook. It is also versatile, you could eat it for any meal of the day, and it can even be made with store bought salsa if you are in a time crunch. 


Easy Breakfast Burritos with Fresh Tomato Salsa  (Makes 2 Burritos)



INGREDIENTS for Burritos:

2 soft corn or flour tortillas
¾ cup grated cheddar cheese
Prepared tomato salsa (recipe to follow)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Fresh black pepper and salt to taste
Avocado, Sour Cream, Spring Onions for garnish

PREPARATION:

Heat a skillet on high, then coat skillet with cooking spray. Add the eggs, 2-3 tablespoons of salsa, and ¼ cup cheese. Add some fresh black pepper. Scramble all together until eggs scrambled and most of water is evaporated.  About 2 minutes. Keep aside and keep warm.

Heat a clean skillet on high heat, then coat skillet with cooking spray.  Lower heat to medium and add tortilla and flip a couple times,  about 3 seconds per side until tortilla is hot.  Put ¼ cup cheese in a line down middle of tortilla and heat until cheese is melted.  Transfer tortilla to plate.  Immediately add half the egg mixture on top of the melted cheese and fold over both sides of the tortilla so it looks like a burrito. Top with salsa, sour cream, spring onions and avocado slices, or garnish as desired. Repeat whole process using rest of egg mixture and other tortilla.





Fresh Tomato Salsa  (Makes approximately  1 ½ cups prepared salsa)


INGREDIENTS:
3-4 medium tomatoes
1 small piece white onion  (approximately one square inch)
1 small cilantro bunch (stems removed, about ½ cup)
Few sprinkles Garlic powder
2 – 3 slices pickled jalepeno (more or less depending on how spicy you want it)
¼ tsp salt (or to taste)

PREPARATION:   Halve tomatoes and put in food processor (NOT blender)  with the rest of  ingredients. Pulse until desired consistency.  Adjust seasonings to taste.