Homemade Chicken Shawarma with Yogurt Sauce

I’ve been craving chicken shawarma ever since I first saw The Avengers movie (years ago!)  Since I’m in NY, and the city wasn’t really broken like in the movie, I even looked up the place where the last scene was filmed (when they were all sitting around eating shawarma).  But somehow, I never managed to get there.  I was re-watching the movie again recently and had the same craving again. Then I thought, wait, I know how to cook! Why go out and schlep all the way to midtown when I can make homemade chicken shawarma instead?

So, instead of going out, I went to the Internet and found a NY Times recipe.  This dish is traditionally made on a spit or a rotisserie, but who has a roasting spit in their home? Not me, and certainly not in my tiny kitchen.  The oven works just fine.  If you want, you can roast the chicken first, and then fry it in a pan to make it crispier.  I prefer my chicken moist and tender, so I skipped that step.

You make this dish in two stages. First marinate the chicken, make the yogurt sauce, and let both sit in the fridge. It’s best if it sits overnight, but allow at least an hour so that the flavors have time to blend together.

I put the chicken and the marinade ingredients in a plastic zip lock bag, shook it all up, and rubbed the sauce into the meat.  One less bowl to clean! The yogurt sauce went into a small ramekin.

There are hundreds of different ways to make the sauce: with za’atar or sumac, with dill, mint, basil, mostly mayo, yogurt/mayo, and on and on and on.  I’ve listed several different variations, just pick the one that suits your tastes and the ingredients you have on hand.

I could use za’atar and sumac, but I left them out of the instructions since they are a bit exotic in the US and I try to stick to ingredients that are readily accessible. The lemon zest, salt, and pepper that are in the recipe are a decent substitute for the sumac.  You can combine thyme, sesame seeds, sumac (or lemon pepper), plus salt and make your own za’atar substitute.

If you like, combine the dry ingredients for the marinade together and keep them in a spice jar.  Then, you just have to add fresh lemon juice and you’re ready to cook.

Serve this with a Greek salad, rice, olives, feta, or even (gasp) French fries. Fried or roasted eggplant would be great too.

Homemade Chicken Shawarma

Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: Middle Eastern

one serving

Homemade Chicken Shawarma

Get takeout flavor right in your own kitchen. Homemade chicken shawarma is a meal all by itself.

Ingredients

  • Homemade Shawarma Marinade
  • 1/2 small lemon, juiced (divided, about 2-3 T total; use 2T for the marinade and one for the sauce)
  • 2 T plus 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • generous pinch turmeric (about 1/8 tsp)
  • pinch cinnamon
  • red pepper flakes
  • Chicken
  • 1 chicken thigh (bone-in)
  • 1/2 onion, cut in quarters
  • One pita bread
  • Yogurt Sauce
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 T mayonnaise
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • grating of lemon zest (healthy pinch)
  • small clove minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional Sauce ingredients
  • minced mint
  • z'aatar
  • sumac
  • minced dill
  • tahini
  • chopped cucumber

Instructions

  1. Marinade
  2. Start by making the marinade for the chicken. Pour all the marinade ingredients into a plastic zip lock bag. Mix it all up with a spoon.
  3. Chicken
  4. Add the chicken, close the bag, and shake it, and rub the marinade into the meat. Set in the fridge for at least an hour (preferably overnight).
  5. Sauce
  6. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl or ramekin. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour (or overnight).
  7. Preheat the toaster oven to 425 degrees.
  8. Take the chicken out of the fridge, open the bag, and add the onion. Close the bag and shake to mix it all up.
  9. Grease the toaster oven tray (or a small rimmed baking pan) with the remaining oil. Pour the chicken and marinade onto the pan.
  10. Cook for 30-40 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it sit for a minute or two until it's cool enough to handle. Cut the chicken up (save the bone for soup), and place on the pita.
  11. Drizzle the sauce over the meat and serve.

Notes

Note, the prep time on this includes an hour of marinating time. You don't actually have to work that long!




 

Homemade Chicken Shawarma Substitutions and Variations

  • Serve with Persian or English cucumbers and fresh tomatoes
  • Top with feta cheese
  • Add chopped dill or mint to the sauce
  • Put za’atar or sumac in the sauce
  • Make the sauce with tahini
  • Serve with a Greek salad (olives, feta, tomatoes, and cucumber)

More Middle Eastern Recipes

Shakshouka for One

Vegetarian Eggplant Sandwich for One Person

Chopped Israeli Salad for One Person

Easy Lentils and Rice Recipe

Tools and Ingredients for Homemade Chicken Shawarma

Norpro 4oz/120ml Porcelain Ramekins, Set of 6

These little ramekins are super-handy in the kitchen. I use them for dips, sauces, mixing up a quick salad dressing, nuts, slices of lemon to squeeze on fish, and olives. Use one for the olives, and another to hold the pits (works for cherries too). Or, you can even use them for spare change.


USimply Season Za’atar

If you want try try actual za’atar, make sure to look carefully at the ingredients. Some of them have wheat (?!?) in them, and others are just thyme (which is the English translation). You want a mixture of sesame seeds, thyme, oregano or marjoram, and sumac. This one delivers what it should. Use it for the yogurt sauce, add it to roasted vegetables or fish, or sprinkle it into olive oil and serve with pita bread.


USimplySeason Sumac

Sumac adds a pop of bright red color, as well as a citrusy, lemon flavor to food. It’s great with hummus, over fish, mixed in salads, or on potatoes. There’s no additives, salt, or other fillers in this jar, just sumac.

 



 

Smoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

The inspiration for this recipe comes from a long-ago birthday dinner at a tiny neighborhood Italian restaurant. The restaurant is now (sadly) closed, but their smoked salmon pasta with tomato cream sauce lives on!

The pasta is bathed in a velvety, slightly pink, tomato sauce with a touch of cream.  It’s delicious and elegant too.  Make a double batch and serve it for company (they’ll think you’ll worked on it all day).

This only requires a little bit of smoked salmon (about a slice or two), so you won’t bust your budget cooking it.  Even better, check to see if your market or deli sells smoked salmon ends. They’re much cheaper, and taste just as good as the fancy slices.  Besides, a beautiful slice hardly matters when you are going to cut it up into small pieces!

If you don’t have any smoked salmon handy, you can use leftover cooked salmon instead. Add it right at the end.  The idea is just to heat it up. You don’t want to overcook it.

To save some time (and get dinner done faster), put the water for the pasta in the pot first, and start bringing it to a boil. While the water is heating up,  chop the onion.  Then get the second pan going with the butter and oil.   Once the water is boiling, add the pasta to the pot.  Finish the sauce in the second pan while the pasta cooks. That way, you have dinner in about 20-25 minutes and nothing sits around getting cold.




Smoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: Italian

one serving

Smoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

Creamy, velvety pasta with smoked salmon. A dish elegant enough for company (but you don't have to share).

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. short pasta
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 T onion, chopped
  • 1/4 C crushed or pureed tomatoes
  • 1/4 C cream
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 or two slices smoked salmon, chopped (about 1/4 C)

Instructions

  1. Fill a saucepan with the water and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook for 5-8 minutes.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter and oil in a small saucepan on medium heat.
  3. Add the chopped onion, and cook until translucent (about five minutes).
  4. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add cream and pepper flakes.
  6. Bring to a simmer until thick (about 5 minutes).
  7. Add the salmon and heat for a minute.
  8. Drain the pasta, and pour into the pot with the sauce. Stir everything together and serve.

 

Smoked Salmon Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce Substitutions and Variations

  • Trade the smoked salmon for leftover cooked salmon.
  • Add a shot of vodka for penne a la vodka with salmon.
  • Try sun-dried tomatoes instead of crushed tomatoes.

More Pasta Recipes

Pasta alla Norma with Eggplant

Summer Pasta with Green Olives and Feta Cheese

Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Spaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce




Cold Leftover Steak Salad with Goat Cheese and Red Wine Vinaigrette

Ever get stumped by what to do with leftover steak?  Steaks aren’t sold for one person, generally. The portions are too big!  It’s not enough for another steak dinner, and too much to toss without guilt.

You could make a steak sandwich, or try something a bit different and toss it into a steak salad. Add some veggies, goat cheese, and a homemade red wine vinaigrette and you’ve got a delicious dinner without any cooking.  Cold leftover steak salad is the perfect solution for hot summer days when the thought of turning on the stove is too much to bear.

This recipe is inspired by a steak salad on Food Network.  I liked the basic idea, but wasn’t about to buy three kinds of greens, extra red onions, or bleu cheese (since bleu cheese and I don’t get along).  I used just one kind of lettuce (green leaf) instead and swapped the bleu cheese for herbed goat cheese.

This is best with leftover steak (since it’s already cold), but you can pan fry a small piece if you want and let it rest (or chill in the fridge) while you do something else. Use the rest for a steak sandwich or in a stir fry.




 

Cold Leftover Steak Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Category: dinner

Cuisine: American

one serving

Cold Leftover Steak Salad

A great way to use up leftover steak. It's also a good way to get dinner fast, or on a hot day, without cooking anything.

Ingredients

    Salad
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups green leaf lettuce (or mixed greens)
  • 2-3 campari tomatoes, cut in wedges (or 4-6 cherry tomatoes)
  • sliced cucumber (about 1/4 cup)
  • one or two mini bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 oz. herbed goat cheese
  • 1/4 lb. leftover cooked steak, sliced thin
    Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing
  • 2T red wine vinegar
  • 2 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4C olive oil

Instructions

  1. Add the greens, tomatoes, cucumber, and bell pepper to a medium-size bowl.
  2. Toss everything together.
  3. Add the goat cheese and the steak.
  4. Put the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, garlic, and salt and pepper in a small bowl or ramekin. Whisk together with a fork. Slowly add the oil, and mix everything together.
  5. Pour over the salad.

Notes

If you don't have leftover steak, pan fry it with salt, pepper, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Cook for 5-8 minutes until desired doneness (depending on how thick the steak is).

Cold Leftover Steak Salad Substitutions and Variations

  • Add a bit of Dijon mustard to the vinaigrette
  • Go for the bleu cheese if you like it
  • Use a handful of mixed greens (or make the entire salad with them)
  • Add half a sliced scallion
  • Saute some shallots and add them to the dressing

More Salad Recipes

Chicken Caprese Salad Panini Sandwich

Vegetarian Eggplant Sandwich for One Person

Chopped Israeli Salad for One Person

Mixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

 




Chicken and Mushroom Skillet Recipe

If you’re hungry, chicken thighs are a great answer to the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?”  You can get this chicken and mushroom skillet recipe from walk in the door from work to ready to eat in about half an hour.

And, it only requires one pot! Less clean up is a good thing, in my book.  You don’t have to marinate the chicken, or leave it overnight, or fuss with it.  Pan fry the chicken, slice the mushrooms, onions, and garlic, and let it simmer.

There’s no separate gravy to prepare either.  It creates its own sauce right in the pan.

The funny thing is, I “invented” (or thought I’d invented) this recipe one night from ingredients I had lying around.  It turns out that it’s nearly identical to a recipe in one of Jacques Pépin’s cookbooks.  I don’t pretend to be his equal, but if you’re going to “borrow” an idea from someone, start at the top!

Although, I will say that his recipe requires two pots and mine only needs one.  Yes, I do count the washing up necessary to make something (it makes a difference when you don’t have a dishwasher).

Serve the chicken with rice or crusty bread to sop up the sauce. The vegetables in the photo were just some frozen mixed vegetables that I microwaved with salt and lemon pepper.




Chicken and Mushroom Skillet Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: French

one

Chicken and Mushroom Skillet Recipe

A quick one pot chicken dish with mushrooms, onions, and garlic.

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken thigh, bone-in
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • 2 tsp flour
  • 1/3 C chopped onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2-3 sliced mushrooms (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 C chicken broth (plus one or 2 T if needed)
  • pinch dried thyme

Instructions

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a small skillet on medium heat.
  3. Put the chicken in the pan and cook five minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook another five minutes.
  4. Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Sprinkle everything with the flour and stir to distribute it evenly.
  5. Pour the chicken broth into the pan and sprinkle the thyme over the chicken and vegetables.
  6. Cover the pot and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Remove the chicken and set it on a plate. Stir the remaining vegetables and scrape up the brown bits at the bottom. If it's too dry, add another tablespoon or two of chicken broth. This should deglaze the pan and create a sauce. Cook for another few minutes until the sauce thickens.
  8. Pour the mushroom sauce over the chicken.

Chicken and Mushroom Skillet Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • stir a splash of dry white wine into the sauce (or use the wine instead of the chicken broth)
  • add 1/3 cup of frozen broccoli to the mushroom mixture
  • cut up the chicken and serve it over noodles
  • add some sliced bell peppers

More Chicken and Mushroom Recipes

Crispy Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Quick Chicken Mango Stir Fry Recipe

Chicken Thigh Recipe with Peaches and Ginger

Single Serving Chicken Recipe with Tarragon and Mushrooms




Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

This recipe makes me smile whenever I make it.  You may wonder what’s so funny about linguine with garlic and olive oil?  Nothing really, it just reminds me of a friend.

This friend does not cook. At all.  I don’t think she’s ever used her oven.  I was at her house one day and I was hungry. Nobody else wanted anything, so I started poking around in her fridge and cupboards (with permission).

I found some dried pasta, bouillon cubes, some olive oil, and a can of parmesan cheese. So, I made the “shelf stable” version of this recipe.  They all looked at me as if I had walked on water or parted the seas!

It is, of course, much better if you have higher quality ingredients at hand.  Here at home, I used fresh linguine, homemade chicken broth, and freshly grated parmesan cheese, along with high quality olive oil.

You can do it that way, the shelf stable way, or somewhere in-between.  I won’t judge.

 


Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Italian

one serving

Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

A simple, weeknight dinner you can make even if your cupboards are nearly bare! It can be fancy (fresh pasta), or simple and basic (shelf stable ingredients). Great for those, what the heck do I eat for dinner nights. A lot of flavor without a lot of effort.

Ingredients

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2T olive oil
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 lb. linguine or spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Add the oil to a small frying pan. Put the garlic in the pan and cook over medium heat. until it turns slightly golden. Don't burn it! Stir it every once in a while, then turn off the heat and set it aside.
  2. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the salt.
  3. If you are using dried pasta, add it, then stir it (to keep it from sticking).
  4. Cook for 5-8 minutes until it's al dente (soft, but not mushy).
  5. If you have fresh pasta, add it, stir, and watch carefully. The pasta is cooked when the water returns to a boil (a minute or two).
  6. Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot.
  7. Add the chicken broth and turn the heat back on to medium. Let the pasta/broth mixture simmer for a few minutes until most of the broth is absorbed.
  8. Take the garlic/oil mixture you set aside and add that to the pasta pot. Using a spoon and a fork, toss the whole thing together, like a salad.
  9. Remove to a plate and serve, topped with black pepper and grated cheese.

Substitutions and Variations for Linguine with Garlic and Olive Oil

  • Make it more substantial with some cooked chicken or cooked shrimp
  • Top it with some red pepper flakes
  • Add a bit of lemon zest
  • Use some anchovies (if you like them)
  • Top with freshly toasted breadcrumbs




 

More Pasta Recipes

Pasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

Summer Pasta with Green Olives and Feta Cheese

Spaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce

Pistachio Pesto Pasta Recipe

Chicken Chili Verde Recipe

Two of my friends have been raving about this chicken chili verde recipe for years.  I finally decided to try it myself, and they were right.

Ideally, this should be made with Hatch chiles.  Unfortunately, while New York is a wonderland of food, fresh Hatch chiles are a bit scarce.  So, I had to make do with the canned variety.  If you can get them fresh, by all means use them! Instead of regular canned tomatoes, I used tomatoes mixed with green chiles.

There are no beans, just chicken, peppers, a few spices, and chicken broth. It’s not too spicy, and easy to put together. The hardest part is waiting for it to simmer!




Chicken Chile Verde Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Mexican

one serving

Chicken Chile Verde Recipe

Chicken chili verde with cumin and oregano.

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large chicken thigh, cut up into pieces
  • 1 tsp flour
  • generous pinch cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 can green chiles (4 oz can)
  • 1 can tomatoes with green chiles (10 oz can)
  • 1 C water
  • 2 T chicken broth
  • 1/2 small fresh jalapeño pepper
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium size saucepan.
  2. Add the onions and saute for two or three minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  3. Put the chicken in the pan and cook until it browns (about 3-5 minutes).
  4. Add the flour, and stir to coat the chicken.
  5. Add the cumin and oregano and stir.
  6. Add the can of chile, the can of tomatoes with green chiles, the water, the chicken broth, and the jalapeño pepper.
  7. Season with salt and black pepper.
  8. Turn the heat to low and simmer for an hour.

Notes

This is one generous dinner serving or enough for dinner one night and lunch later.

Substitutions and Variations for Chicken Chili Verde Recipe

  • Line a bowl with tortilla chips, add the chili and top with shredded cheese
  • Use pork and/or beef instead of chicken
  • Add a potato (peeled and cut into chunks) to the chili
  • Try some fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • Go for the Hatch chiles if you can get them (remove the stems and boil them for ten minutes first)

Tools and Ingredients for Chicken Chili Verde


Ro-tel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies – 10 oz

This can is just the right size for this recipe. No leftovers! It’s not too spicy (I think it comes in hotter versions too) and adds a lot of flavor.  You can also use it to make cheese dip.


Old El Paso Chopped Chiles 4.5 oz Can

Amazon only sells this single can to Prime members (or if you have access to their fresh service), but if you do, then go for it. They’ve got the Hatch chiles too, but you have to buy an awful lot of them at once!

More Chicken and Chili Recipes

Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Egg Chili Cheese Burrito Recipe

Small Batch Spicy Stovetop Chili Recipe

Chili Garlic Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

 




Stir Fry Chicken with Peanut Sauce

Why go out for chicken stir fry when you can make it easily at home?  This Thai-inspired stir fry chicken with peanut sauce recipe is ready in about 15 or 20 minutes. You get chicken, crisp-fried veggies, and a creamy peanut sauce over it all. 

It’s just enough for one person. I made it with rice stick noodles, but you can use plain rice or brown rice if you prefer.  I first tried a completely different recipe, from a usually reliable source, but I found it just lacked flavor. 

This one has peanuts (naturally), honey, hoisin sauce, and a generous squirt of lime.  The lime brightens up the flavor, and the honey adds a hint of sweetness.

I used freshly ground peanut butter (the sort of peanut butter they sell at health food stores), but the kind in the jar is fine too.  If you use the freshly-ground peanut butter you may need to add more oil. That will make it easier to mix the ingredients together. It should spread easily and you should be able to toss it over the cooked chicken and the vegetables.




Use whatever vegetables you have on hand, such as:  bell pepper, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, sugar snap peas, or onions.  You can mix and match to suit your own taste.  Whatever you use, you’ll need about 1 1/2  cups.

If you’re making regular rice, start that first.  The rice stick noodles cook like pasta, just faster.  Bring the water to a boil and then cook the noodles about three minutes.

For the rest of the recipe, make the sauce first.  Then cook the chicken.  Once the chicken is done, set that aside and cook the vegetables.  Put the chicken back in the pan, and then add the sauce. Don’t let the sauce cook too much, just enough to heat everything up.

You can speed up the process by using mixed frozen veggies (not the bell peppers though, they tend to get soggy). That way, you save time cooking and chopping.

There is one “problem” though with this recipe. The kitchen still smells so good after you finish dinner that you want to eat it again.

Chicken Peanut Sauce Stir Fry Recipe (Single Serving)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Thai

one serving

Chicken Peanut Sauce Stir Fry Recipe (Single Serving)

An easy Thai-inspired recipe for chicken with peanut sauce.

Ingredients

  • Sauce
  • 2 T peanut butter
  • (1 tsp canola oil, if necessary)
  • 1 T plus 1 1/2 tsp (or four and a half teaspoons, if that's easier) soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • Chicken
  • 1 chicken thigh
  • 1 T canola oil
  • salt and pepper (easy on the salt, the soy sauce is salty)
  • Veggies
  • 1 1/2 C vegetables, cut up (such as broccoli, bell pepper, snap peas, mushrooms, or cauliflower)

Instructions

  1. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. If you use natural, grainy peanut butter, add some extra canola oil to make it easier to spread and mix together.
  2. Heat the oil in a small frying pan.
  3. Cut up the chicken into strips (you can use a boneless thigh or cut the meat off the bone)*
  4. Cook the chicken for a couple of minutes and then set it aside.
  5. Add the veggies and cook for 3-5 minutes. I like to put the broccoli and cauliflower in first, then save the peppers for last (so they retain some crunch).
  6. Put the chicken back in the pan.
  7. Add the sauce and mix everything together until the chicken and vegetables are thoroughly coated.
  8. Cook until the chicken is reheated.
  9. Serve with rice or rice noodles.

Notes

I tend to use bone-in thighs, cut the meat off the bone, and let the bone cook for a while after the chicken is done. Then I save it for homemade broth.

Substitutions and Variations for Stir Fry Chicken with Peanut Sauce

  • Add some slivers of garlic and fresh ginger to the chicken when you cook it.
  • Make it spicier with sriracha or cayenne flakes.
  • Let the chicken cool, toss fresh, raw veggies in a bowl (use double the amount),  and eat it cold as a salad.
  • Skip the chicken, and just make it with the sauce, veggies, and rice stick noodles

More Chicken Recipes for One

Sichuan Chinese Chicken and Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

Chili Citrus Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Indian Royal Chicken Cooked in Yogurt

Single Serving Asian Chicken Salad with Cabbage Recipe

 




 

Indian Royal Chicken Cooked in Yogurt

The beauty of this Indian royal chicken cooked in yogurt recipe is that it’s delicious and can be made fairly quickly.  You can just serve it with naan or make some rice to help soak up the sauce.  I have adapted this from Madhur Joffrey’s recipe.  Her recipe is for four people, my version is dinner for one person.

I made a few other minor changes as well.  The original recipe calls for both dried and fresh coriander.  I don’t generally have fresh coriander (and if I did, it would spoil), so I used a bit more dried instead. 

She also says to use cardamon pods.  I keep thinking about buying them, but then I remember they  break my “no hard to get ingredients” rule.  So, I leave them out.  One day, I will have to try it with the cardamon, though! If you can get them easily and want to use them, you’ll need two. Add them with the cloves and cinnamon. Make sure to remove all of the whole spices before serving. You don’t want to crunch down on a clove.

Finally, I used black raisins instead of golden raisins, because that’s what I had.

I had sliced almonds, but you can substitute slivered, or blanched if that’s easier.  You might even use whole ones, or throw them in the mini-chopper to chop them up.

There’s also a fun bit of chemistry here.  When you add the raisins to the hot pan, they plump up and revert back to grapes!




Royal Chicken Cooked in Yogurt

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Indian

one serving

Royal Chicken Cooked in Yogurt

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • pinch salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander, plus a generous pinch
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 chicken thigh
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/4 inch stick cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tsp blanched, slivered almonds
  • 1 1/2 tsp raisins

Instructions

  1. Put the yogurt in a small bowl.  Add the salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and cayenne.  Mix that all up until it’s smooth and set it aside while you prepare the chicken and the rest of the recipe.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper
  3. Turn the heat on a burner to medium-high.  Add the oil to a large skillet and heat.  Once the oil is hot, add the cloves, cinnamon, (cardamon pods if using) and the bay leaf.  Stir that together.  Add the chicken thigh and brown it on both sides for about 2-3 minutes per side.
  4. Once it’s brown, remove the chicken and place it in a small bowl.
  5. Now add the almonds and raisins to the pan and stir them up.  Keep an eye on it because the almonds will turn brown quickly and the raisins will magically transform back into grapes. Once they do, add the chicken back to the pan along with the yogurt mixture.
  6. Stir that to combine everything.  Increase the heat and bring the chicken/yogurt mixture to a simmer (not quite boiling).  Stir when you add the chicken and yogurt and again after about 10 minutes. Cover, turn the the heat down to low and cook for another 10 minutes (twenty minutes total).
  7. Take the cover off, increase the heat slightly, and cook down the sauce until it thickens.  Remove the whole spices (cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamon pods if you used them, and bay leaf) and discard them before serving.

Substitutions and Variations for Indian Royal Chicken Cooked in Yogurt

  • try it with ghee (clarified butter) instead of oil, sliced onions, and ginger paste (full recipe here)
  • add potatoes, curry leaves, tamarind paste, and coconut milk (recipe here)
  • make it Hyderabadi style with tomatoes, cashews, red chilis, saffron and turmeric

More Chicken Recipes for One Person

Easy Chicken Curry Recipe

Chili Garlic Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Crispy Lemon Chicken Thigh Recipe for One

Quick Chicken Mango Stir Fry Recipe

 




Pasta with Olives Tomatoes and Capers or Puttanesca

In a hurry for dinner?  Pasta is your friend.  This pasta dish with olives, tomatoes, and capers (or pasta puttanesca) has a slightly racy name.  Nobody really knows why.  One theory says the dish was popular with the ladies of the evening because it was easy to cook and the ingredients were cheap.  Another says that the sauce’s aroma helped lure in customers.

Whatever the reason, it certainly is budget friendly and you can make it in about 20 minutes.

Whoever is responsible created a dish that’s packed with flavor.  There’s pungent little bits of garlic, slightly briny capers, and Niçoise olives. 

Capers, in case you don’t know, are the buds of a Mediterranean plant that are picked and then pickled (try to say that three times fast).  I always thought Niçoise  olives were a variety, but I found out today that they’re really called Le Calletier.  Niçoise is just the method of curing them.

I adapted this recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. They suggested using whole canned tomatoes, and then squeezing them out and chopping them up.  That’s too messy for me. You can use crushed tomatoes, purée, or even tomato sauce in a pinch.

Traditionally, this recipe also includes anchovies.  However, I am a fish wimp. The strongest fish flavor I like is salmon.  Also, anchovies were $32 a pound.  Nope. Not happening. Nuh uh.

The other great thing about pasta puttanesca is that you can use canned tomatoes, jarred capers, dry pasta, and spices you probably already have sitting on your shelf.

Save the rest of the tomatoes for pasta alla norma.

The rest of the capers will keep indefinitely in the fridge once opened.  They’re great with smoked salmon, lemon, and dill for a weekend brunch.




 

Pasta Olives Tomatoes Capers or Puttanesca

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Italian

one serving

Pasta Olives Tomatoes Capers or Puttanesca

Pungent, earthy, and ready in minutes, this pasta puttanesca goes great with a full-bodied red wine. Pour yourself a glass and enjoy a great meal.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 lb spaghetti, linguine or long, dried pasta (about the diameter of a quarter)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 can (use half of the 15 oz size if you can find it), otherwise 1/4 of a 28 oz can pureed tomatoes
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • pinch dried red pepper flakes
  • 2T black Niçoise olives
  • 1T drained capers
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

Instructions

  1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a wide saucepan (or a Dutch oven)
  2. Add a pinch of salt and the spaghetti; cook the pasta until al dente (tender, but not mushy). Drain right away and transfer to a small pasta plate or bowl.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, combine the tomatoes and the olive oil in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil.
  4. Once the tomato/oil mixture is boiling, individually add the oregano, pepper flakes, olives, capers, and garlic. Stir after each additional ingredient.
  5. Turn the heat down a bit and keep cooking the sauce until it thickens. Adding a bit of the pasta water will help thicken it.
  6. Pour the sauce over the pasta and serve. A chunk of crusty bread will help sop up the sauce.

More Pasta Recipes

Pasta with Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Chicken Sausage

Pistachio Pesto Pasta Recipe

Penne with Feta Cheese, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Olives

Spaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce




Goat Cheese Caramelized Onion Pizza

Sometimes, meals are carefully planned. Other times, it’s pure serendipity. I spotted goat cheese on sale at the market and grabbed some. When I got home, I remembered I had some leftover pizza dough in the fridge. I decided to put them together and make a goat cheese caramelized onion pizza.

You can approach this recipe two different ways.  If you make the crust yourself (not hard, but it does take time), it’s a weekend meal. Buy the crust pre-made (you can get it at grocery stores or even your local pizzeria), and it’s a 30 minute meal. So, dinner in half an hour!

I made my own crust (following Smitten Kitchen’s easy recipe), but if you’re in a rush, you don’t have to. By the way, she says to roll out the crust, but I find it works better if I just place it on the baking sheet and gently press outward from the center with my fingers. 

If you do make the dough, it makes enough for one generous dinner serving, or two lunch servings.  It will keep in the fridge for several days, so you don’t have to eat it all at once.  Take it out and let the dough come to room temperature before you start working with it.




Cooking, of course,  is often a process of taking what you already know about food and flavors, doing a bit of research (in cookbooks or online) and combining bits of ideas and techniques.  I often find myself taking bits and pieces from two or three recipes and putting them back together in different ways.

In this case, I started with the pizza crust recipe I already had. Then I added the goat cheese. I took the caramelized onions and the bell pepper from one recipe, the spinach from a second, and the garlic oil from a third.   You can always mix and match to suit your own taste, or the ingredients you have on hand (see more in the Substitutions and Variations section).

Also, I don’t normally post “in progress” photos, but the pizza looked so good I couldn’t resist!

goat cheese caramelized onion pizza_1

 

Goat Cheese Caramelized Onion Pizza

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Category: entree

Cuisine: Italian

one serving

Goat Cheese Caramelized Onion Pizza

With a pre-bought crust, this is dinner in thirty minutes. Just a bit of chopping and cooking the onions.

Ingredients

  • Pizza crust (either pre-made or purchased).
  • 4 T olive oil (divided)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion. sliced
  • 1/4 C sliced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 C goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 C fresh spinach
  • 1-2 tsp semolina or cream of wheat

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven as high as it will go.
  2. Mix half the olive oil and the chopped garlic together in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining olive oil in a saucepan. Cook the onions on low heat, until they soften and caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add the bell pepper, cook stirring for thirty seconds or so. Then add the spinach for another 30 seconds.
  4. Sprinkle the semolina on a pizza stone (if you have one), or a baking sheet. This will help keep the dough from sticking.
  5. Put the pizza dough on the baking sheet. Using your fingers, push the dough out from the center, to form a circle.
  6. Brush about half the garlic/oil mixture over the crust.
  7. Add the cooked vegetables and the goat cheese. Brush the remaining garlic/oil mixture over the top.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes.

Notes

The pre-made dough in the store is usually enough for two, so use half.

Substitutions and Variations for Goat Cheese Caramelized Onion Pizza

  • Use roasted red peppers instead of fresh
  • Try a splash of balsamic vinegar
  • Add sliced mushrooms and basil
  • Substitute arugula for the spinach
  • Toss in some sun-dried tomatoes

More Pizza Recipes

White Pizza Recipe Without Ricotta

Homemade Tortilla Crust Pizza

More Spinach Recipes

Spinach and Egg Frittata for One Person

Spaghetti with Spinach and Lemon Cream Sauce