Friday, January 27, 2006

Cashew Chicken Curry

The Recipe: A chicken curry reminiscent of London’s curbside curry take-away, one of my very favorite things to go-crazy for in London. (It's been too-too long!) Cashew Chicken Curry is surprisingly healthy and oh-so satisfying. Best of all? It's made with pantry ingredients, check you just might have all the ingredients on hand this very minute!

True Story: One day my neighbor reported that when he and his wife were at the grocery getting ingredients for Cashew Chicken Curry, someone else was also pulling cashews from the shelf. In a flash, they realized they were planning the same supper – because they both were holding the recipe, both had clipped it from the local newspaper!

Cashew Chicken Curry ♥, a one-pot supper reminiscent of London's best take-away curries. Great with beef, too! High Protein. Rave Reviews!

"... So good!" ~ Meryl
"It is SOO GOOD!!" ~ Rass
"... so of the best curries I have ever had!!" ~ Pixie
"The flavors perfectly complemented each other with no one taste overpowering the other. " ~ Lynessa
"[my dad] ... really liked it!" ~ Anonymous
"... fantastic!" ~ Carolyn

Every job has its hazards.

Teachers risk burn-out. Sales folks brave cold calls. Lawyers swallow scorn. Moms and Dads suffer car-pool cut-offs. Even coal-mine canaries have been pink-slipped by technology.

Food writing has its own kitchen quicksand.

You fear that beady eyes and coarse whiskers will appear on the family, friends and neighbors so frequently enlisted as guinea pigs.

You slavishly follow the camera-before-consumption rule, so only leftovers are eaten while actually hot.

You become obsessive-compulsive about roasting chickens with unexpected ingredients (I dunno, how ‘bout Jim Beam?) and vegetables from okra to cabbage and spices from oregano to curry.

Curry? Yes, curried chicken was last year’s food obsession, thanks to an inspirational starter recipe. This CASHEW CHICKEN CURRY is the dozenth version and darned close to the curbside take-aways that make London the curry capital of the world.

As for 2006, anyone for lamb? You know, lamb curry?

ALANNA's TIPS If your family is new to curry or you cook for someone who finds "spicy" sweat-invoking, start off with the smaller amounts of curry powder, cumin and cayenne. That said, don’t be too fearful of the larger amounts for the heat is moderated when the curry is served atop bland rice. Chicken thighs are more flavorful than breasts but only 10% higher in fat. They're my choice, almost every time! In a pinch, peanut butter can be substituted for cashews. Non-fat yogurt and light coconut milk reduce the calories in this dish, so much flavor for so few calories! But the full-fat versions work too, the dish just becomes slightly richer. Either way, so good! Curries improve overnight so don’t hesitate to make ahead or plan for leftovers. I usually serve Cashew Chicken Curry with Oven-Baked Brown Rice. The timing works out perfectly: put the rice in the oven, when it's done, the curry will be too!


Reminiscent of London’s curbside curry take-away
Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Time-to-table: 90 minutes
Makes 11 cups
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 – 3 tablespoons curry powder (see ALANNA’s TIPS)
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound chicken thighs or breasts, cut in bite-size pieces (see TIPS)
  • 29 ounces canned diced tomato
  • 1 pound carrots, diced
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup ground cashews
  • 1 cup nonfat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 8 ounces frozen peas
  • Additional fresh cilantro, for garnish

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven on medium high. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until soft. Stir in the spices and cook briefly. Add the meat in batches, cooking each one through. Add the tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms and cilantro and bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Stop here if you’re cooking ahead.) Stir in remaining ingredients and heat through but do not boil, about 5 minutes.

To serve, sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve over rice.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 177 Calories; 5g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 37mg Cholesterol; 15g Carb; 4g Fiber; 321mg Sodium; 7g Sugar; 18g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 4 & SmartPoints 5 This recipe has been "Alanna-sized" with reductions in fat and portion size and additions of fiber-rich vegetables.
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, people really love this recipe! Sniff, we miss Gourmet!

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

Wintry Comfort Food

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Winter Stew Spanish Stew with Roasted Pepper (Chilindron) Milk-Braised Pork Roast

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(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Winter Pesto with Pasta

Winter Pesto, made with spinach and just a touch of basil

Snow Days. Mid-week, they’re life-slowing brakes that kids crave and grown-ups part-welcome, part-dread.

But if snowy days are good for snowboot and sled sales, snow days can also be gentle reminders of why the place we most want to be is called ‘home’ and how little control, really, we exert in our lives.

So give in. Be with the snow.

Once the flakes begin to transform our familiar neighborhoods into other-worlds, stop, watch, listen.

And as the white mantle muffles and then silences, fill a pot with cider, pull out the Monopoly box, dust off that get-around-to-it-soon novel by the bed. Make soup, bake cookies. If you must, clean the basement, organize a closet.

But for a few hours, a day or two at most, your life belongs to the snow.

Soon enough, it will be yours again. The plow will move through, the drive will need shoveling. And life, again, will move full speed.

ALANNA's TIPS WINTER PESTO is a natural with hot pasta. But how about as a pizza topping? Or smeared on steaks sizzled on the grill? Or stirred into scrambled eggs? Or spooned into vegetable soup? Or spread thin on nutty toast? Or tossed with roasted cauliflower? The list is as long as your imagination! Bags of pre-toasted nuts are available now, priced the same or slightly higher. Or toast your own at 400F for 5 – 10 minutes but keep a close eye on the oven for the shift from toast to burnt happens in a blink.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Have a versatile pasta sauce in your repertoire? Send a recipe to e-mail.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time-to-table: 30 minutes
Makes 1½ cups pesto (enough for 1½ pounds pasta)
  • Dried or fresh pasta (2 ounces per serving)

  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • About 5 ounces (4 cups) fresh spinach
  • 1 cup (or more) good grated Parmesan
  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons good olive oil

Bring salted water to a boil. It takes 20 minutes to make the pesto, so time the pasta so it’ll finish cooking then. Drain, return pasta to hot pan.

Blend all pesto ingredients except olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth, cleaning sides occasionally. Add olive oil a tablespoon at a time until pesto achieves consistency of creamy peanut butter.

Toss pesto with hot pasta, about ½ cup for every 8 ounces of pasta.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE (4 side dish servings from ½ cup pesto, 8 ounces pasta) Per Serving: 351Cal; 14g Tot Fat; 43g Carb; 3g Fiber; 247mg Sodium; 61mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 8 points (Pesto only) Per Tablespoon: 67 Cal; 6g Tot Fat; 1g Carb; 1g Fiber; 118mg Sodium; 4mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2 points

More Spinach Recipes

(click a photo for a recipe)
Black Lentils with Tofu Ontario Greens Quick Supper: Italian Sausage with Grapes & Greens

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Quick Cauliflower Soup or Quick Broccoli Soup
One Recipe, Two Soups!

A quick weeknight or lunch-time soup recipe, made with either broccoli or cauliflower and only four more pantry ingredients. This recipe is a dieter's staple, something to make again and again because it's so filling and satisfying yet adds up to just a few calories and for Weight Watchers, just one Weight Watchers point.

Quick Broccoli Soup

"It was fabulous!" ~ Adrienne on A Veggie Venture
"Great, easy recipe, amazing site!" ~ lmassey621
"I ... like or LOVE [your recipes]. This was no exception." ~ Anonymous
"This was great! ... Delicious ...!" ~ Anonymous
"WOW! Talk about a homerun!" ~ Cathy on A Veggie Venture
"This is awesome." ~ Anonymous on A Veggie Venture

And snows shall fly, the big flakes fat and furry.
– Donald Justice, poet

With a few post-holiday pounds settling all too comfortably around our waists, it’s time for a few weeks of more judicious intake. Start with this pair of fast, healthful soups, cooked the same but tasting so different.

Conventional diet wisdom says to avoid snacks between meals. Instead, I leave snacks on the counter for the taking – a measured amount of healthful foods, that is. In winter, you’d find carrot sticks or almonds, in summer blueberries or chunks of cantaloupe.

Lately, however, I’ve fallen for crunchy, spicy croutons, a slice’s worth in a small bowl, ready for the grabbing.

HOMEMADE CROUTONS Cut whole-grain bread into cubes and toss with salt and spices such as oregano, thyme, sage or whatever smells good. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350F for 30 minutes, longer if needed, turning once or twice. Transfer to freezer bags for storage.

ALANNA's TIPS This soup is so simple and yet it's full of flavor and texture. It's filling and satisfying. For Weight Watchers, it tastes more like four points than just one or two, especially the cauliflower soup. The soup cooks more quickly when the broth is heated beforehand. But if you’re in no hurry, skip this step. Do be careful when puréeing the hot mixture. If you put too much into the blender or food processor at once, it’ll blow sky high. Watch for subtly flavored Turkish bay leaves the next time you’re out.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite soup recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Become a Kitchen Parade fan on Facebook!


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time-to-table: 25 minutes
Makes 6 cups
  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 2 dried bay leaves, optional
  • 1 head cauliflower OR 1 pound of broccoli crowns and stems, chopped into small pieces (or frozen cauliflower or broccoli)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat broth to a boil in microwave.

Meanwhile, heat a large pot on medium high. Heat olive oil, then add the onion and bay leaves, stirring to coat with fat. Cook until onions begin to soften and turn gold, stirring often.

Add cauliflower or broccoli, stirring to coat with oil and onion flavor. Let cook, turning occasionally for 1 - 2 minutes. Stir in hot broth. Cover and cook for 5 – 10 minutes or until the vegetables are fully cooked. Remove the bay leaves.

Transfer a third of the hot mixture (see ALANNA’s TIPS) to a food processor or blender. Purée until smooth while continuing to cook the rest. Repeat with another third, then the final third.

Season to taste and serve topped with a small spoon of low-fat sour cream or croutons. Or both!

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Cup: 72 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 645mg Sodium; 10g Carb; 3g Fiber; 4g Sugar; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 1 & PointsPlus 2

LATER NOTES With the cauliflower version, sometimes, I skip the blender step and just roughly mash the cooked cauliflower with a fork. For a little more zip, try the Spicy Cauliflower Soup from A Veggie Venture. I now use Homemade Vegetable Bouillon for the liquid portion of this soup. From my experience with No-Cream Creamy Cauliflower Soup, I think you could substitute water for stock, resulting in a creamy-white color.

Quick Cauliflower Soup

Quick Cauliflower Soup

This is such a versatile recipe, all broccoli, all cauliflower or, from a tip from a reader, a combination of broccoli and cauliflower! The soup doesn't TASTE plain but it does look plain so if aesthetics are important, be sure to plan ahead for something to garnish the top. I happen to love the look of flat layers of cauliflower, cooked until just soft and then removed before puréeing the soup.

More Broccoli Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Power Food Broccoli Salad Smashed Potatoes & Broccoli Casserole Grilled Vegetables in Foil
~ more broccoli recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ Perfect Pan-Fried Broccoli ~
~ Broccoli & Tomato Thai Curry ~
~ Broccoli, Potato & Cheddar Soup ~
~ more broccoli recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

More Cauliflower Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Cauliflower Salad with Fresh Herbs Cauliflower Risotto Lighter Mashed 'Potatoes' (Cauliflower Mashed 'Potatoes')
~ more cauliflower recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ Cauliflower Spanish 'Rice' ~
~ Roasted Cauliflower ~
~ Creamy Cauliflower Gratin ~
~ more cauliflower recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

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~ Homemade Croutons ~