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Simple yet Delicious; Convenient yet Healthy

chicken-squah-receipeIn food preparation we often equate simple with bland, and convenient with unhealthy. Today I want to share with you my meal for the week that is both simple and delicious, AND convenient and healthy.

Let’s start with simple: very few ingredients. However, the outcome tastes like it came from an Indian restaurant.

Convenient: I’m using a ready-made sauce as one key ingredient. You might say, “wait a minute! You always advocate cooking from scratch and avoiding processed foods. How can this be healthy?”

True, I am a huge advocate for cooking from scratch and avoiding processed foods. However, today I wanted to showcase an example of a meal where easy can also be delicious, and where convenient can also be healthful. In this case, in choosing my sauce, I made sure that I recognized ALL of the ingredients on the label as WHOLE FOODS. In other words, I could have potentially bought each one of the ingredients at the grocery store and made the sauce myself. There is not a single ingredient that sounds like it belongs in a chemistry lab.

tikka-masalaI also checked where the sauce was made. This one is made in the UK. What that tells me is that their ingredients are unlikely to be Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) because the European Union has banned GMOs. Therefore, I’m feeling pretty good in my convenient choice.

If you’re going to buy something processed, you MUST read the ingredients list and be sure at the very least you recognize every single ingredient as something you could buy at the grocery store. That’s the bare minimum.

Here’s how to make it:

The menu:

Chicken Tikka Masala
Roasted butternut squash
Roasted onions and garlic

Prep time: about 15 minutes
Stove-top time: about 20 minutes
Oven time: about 1 hour

Butternut squash:

squash-onionsCouldn’t be simpler. Preheat the oven to 375*. Halve the butternut squash lengthwise and place in a baking dish. Ideally, place face down (not like in the picture) and add a little bit of water to the pan to keep it moist. If it gets too dry, it gets leathery on the outside and it’s hard to cut.

Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes until you prick it with a fork and it’s soft. Pull out of the oven, peel the skin off, discard the seeds and core, and roughly cut up into bite-sized pieces. By this point everything else will be ready, so you’ll be ready to serve dinner.

Roasted onions and garlic:

Peel and chop 1 large onion and 4-5 cloves garlic. I simply sliced mine relatively thin. Put in an oven-safe bowl, sprinkle salt, pepper and a pinch of rosemary. Drizzle with avocado oil (one of the best oils for cooking) and put in the oven along with the butternut squash. Toss every so often so the top layer doesn’t burn. Pull them out of the oven when they’re translucent. About 25 minutes.

chickenChicken Tikka Massala:

1/2 large onion
2-3 cloves garlic
2-3 chicken breasts
1 cup of tikka masala sauce – this one was Patkas brand which I like because it’s made in the UK which guarantees none of the ingredients are GMO. I also recognize all of the ingredients as real food.

Peel and chop the onion and garlic. In a medium pan sauté the onion in about 1 tbsp avocado oil for 2-3 minutes; add the garlic. In the  meantime cube the chicken and then add to the pan. Toss to sauté for 2-3 minutes and add the sauce. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked through.

Now pair everything together in a bowl or plate, and voila!

4 Responses to “Simple yet Delicious; Convenient yet Healthy”

  1. Jeff Robbins says:

    Hi Morella,
    Looks great.. where did you buy the Tikka Masala sauce?

    • Hi Jeff, here in the Burlington area I’ve seen it at City Market and Healthy Living. Folks outside VT might find it at Whole Foods or stores like that.

      • Brittany Riley says:

        I actually saw this at Hannafords in the Indian foods section! I was skeptical when I saw it, but now I’ll have to try! Thanks Morella

  2. Penny Perry says:

    These look great. I love Tikka Masala, but have always made it from scratch which is a long process so I do not make it often. I will definitely try this recipe.