Tag: dinnertime

A Family Meal that Packs a Light, Flavorful Punch

Many people aspire to eat light meals that satisfy hunger pangs without creating feelings of fullness. Some may assume light meals must be lacking flavor, but the following recipe for “Silken Chicken” from Madhur Jaffrey’s “Quick & Easy Indian Cooking” (Chronicle Books) is light and packs that familiar flavorful punch that endears Indian cuisine to millions of people across the globe.

Silken Chicken

Serves 2 to 4

For marinating the chicken:

4 boned, skinned chicken breast halves (about 11/4 pounds)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon homemade garam masala (see below)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground roasted cumin seeds (see below)

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed to a pulp

1/2 teaspoon peeled, finely grated fresh ginger

For sprinkling over the chicken:

Salt as needed

Freshly ground black pepper

A little homemade garam masala

A little ground roasted cumin seed

A little cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon dried mint flakes

Generous squeezes of fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to its highest temperature and arrange a shelf in the top third of the oven.

Cut 3 diagonal slits across the top of each piece of chicken breast, being careful not to cut all the way through and also not to go to the edge. Prick the chicken pieces with the sharp point of a small knife. Put them in a single layer in a large baking dish and rub both sides with the salt and lemon juice. Leave for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the cream with the garam masala, cayenne, cumin seeds, paprika, garlic, and ginger in a bowl. Stir this mixture well and pour it over the chicken. Rub it into the meat and leave for 10 minutes.

Lift the chicken pieces up (most of the marinade will cling to them) and place them down in a single layer in a shallow baking pan lined with aluminum foil. On top of each, sprinkle a little salt, black pepper, garam masala, ground roasted cumin seed, cayenne, dried mint, and lemon juice. Put into the top third of the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is just white all the way through. Serve immediately, minted side up.

Garam Masala

1 tablespoon cardamom seeds

1 2-inch cinnamon stick

1/3 of one nutmeg

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon black cumin seeds

1 teaspoon whole cloves

Place ingredients into a clean coffee or spice grinder and ground to a powder.

To make ground roasted cumin seeds:

Put 4 to 5 tablespoons of the whole seeds into a small cast-iron frying pan and set over medium heat. Stir the seeds and roast them over dry heat until they turn a few shades darker and emit a wonderful roasted aroma. Wait for them to cool slightly and then grind them in a clean coffee or spice grinder. Store in a tightly closed jar.


5 Simple Tips to Get Dinner on the Table

The challenge working parents face in maintaining work-life balance is often compared to a juggling act. Finding time together, especially on weeknights when family schedules tend to be hectic, is no small task.

But finding time together, particularly at the dinner table, can pay a host of dividends. According to the Family Dinner Project, studies have linked regular family dinners with higher grade-point averages and self-esteem in children, as well as lower rates of obesity and eating disorders in both children and adolescents.

Cook, writer, activist and mother of two Katie Workman knows full well how difficult it can be to make nightly dinners together part of a family’s routine. But Workman, whose latest book, “Dinner Solved!” (Workman Publishing), provides 100 family-friendly recipes and variations to ensure that everyone at the table is happy, relishes the opportunity to help others make family dinners a fun part of their nightly routines.

“Many of us put so much pressure on ourselves when it comes to family meals,” says Workman. “But when we ease up on that pressure, dinner actually seems to happen more often, and the meals are a lot more fun.”

To help even the busiest moms and dads find time for family dinners, Workman offers the following tips so parents can produce weeknight meals the whole family can enjoy.

1. Less is more

Don’t make yourself crazy trying to master a recipe with an endless ingredient list on a Wednesday night. Weeknight meals don’t have to be perfect or exotic. Even the simplest recipes can make for delicious meals.

2. Change it up

Skip those time-consuming, last-minute trips to the grocery store for missing ingredients by replacing them with something similar that you already have on hand.

3. Elevate your meal from simple to sophisticated

Pairing weeknight meals with the perfect wine can elevate midweek meatballs to something more memorable. Versatile and budget-friendly, Greystone Cellars® wines are approachable and easy to drink. Since 1995, Markham Vineyards has been producing a small amount of Greystone Cellars wines exclusively for the Culinary Institute of America, which receives a portion of the proceeds for each Greystone Cellars bottle sold. Befitting their connection to the CIA, Greystone Cellars wines enhance any meal, making them ideal options for cooks whose weekly meal schedule includes pasta, pork chops and everything in between.

4. Get a head start on prep work

Whenever possible, reduce the stress of weeknight meals by doing some of your meal prep long before dinnertime. Chop veggies for the week on Sunday nights or take a few minutes each morning to gather ingredients for that night’s meal.

5. Make it a family affair

Make weeknight meals more fun by involving the whole family. Parents can let the kids peel carrots or measure rice or perform other age-appropriate activities.

Nightly family dinners help families build stronger bonds, and weeknight meals need not be lavish undertakings. Learn more about Greystone Cellars wines at www.greystonecellars.com.

Delicious and easy-to-prepare, this recipe for “Maple-Barbecue Pork Meatballs” from Katie Workman’s “Dinner Solved!” makes the perfect weeknight family meal. Pile them on rice or couscous or quinoa with a few extra spoonfuls of barbecue sauce for an easy and different weeknight dinner.

Maple-Barbecue Pork Meatballs

Serves 6

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup barbecue sauce, plus more for dipping if you like

1/2 cup grated peeled apple

1/3 cup minced onion

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Kosher or coarse salt, to taste

1 tablespoon maple syrup

11/2 pounds ground pork

1. Preheat the oven to 375┬░F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.

2. Combine the bread crumbs, barbecue sauce, apple, onion, egg, and salt in a large bowl. Add the maple syrup and stir to blend. Add the pork and combine well using your hands, but try not to squeeze the mixture too much. Form 1-inch-round meatballs and place them on the baking sheet.

3. Bake the meatballs until cooked through, 16 to 20 minutes. Serve hot, with extra barbecue sauce on the side.