A few weeks ago I caught myself telling a friend "I never bake chicken unless it is a whole chicken" and as the words were leaving my lips I wondered: but why not?
So I went out and bought skinless, boneless chicken breast at the halal butcher that I love (New Mid East, on Bank near Alta Vista, Ottawa ON) and came back home to make my ideal marinade. 

I wanted to have a spicy flavour-intense chicken that I could put in a salad or a sandwich or a pizza, with the knowledge that it could carry the entire meal. This chicken in a salad doesn't need much of a dressing: just a squeeze of  lemon and a sprinkle of salt is enough! 


Beware supertasters: this is a spicy marinade. Reduce quantities of Spicy paprika and/or Hot cayenne for a milder marinade.

It must have been a success because I have only made it twice and have already received requests for the marinade recipe, so here it is.

Ingredients

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  • 6 chicken breasts, cut into smaller strips
  • 2 teaspoons smoked spicy paprika
  • 2 teaspoons hot cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground cumin seeds
  • 4 garlic gloves, finely minced or crushed
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • splash of olive oil (to moisten)


Method

  1. Cut chicken breast into even strips. I made 2 to 3 strips with each of mine.
  2. In a large bowl, add spices to the chicken.
  3. Add minced or crushed garlic and salt.
  4. Splash olive oil, enough to moisten the spices but not so much that you have a pool of oil.
  5. Mix and rub spice mix with hands. Make sure all the chicken is coated and rubbed and that the garlic and salt is evenly distributed.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinate at least an hour. I left mine out on the counter because I was using it within the hour and because I find that meat cooks better when it is room temperature.
  7. Bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes. Ovens do vary so it is preferable to go with intuition. You want your chicken thoroughly cooked by not overcooked. Am I being super obvious right now? Like I said, I don't have a habit of cooking chicken breast!
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Here is an example of a pizza I made with that chicken! 


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Mixed and marinating.


Post by: Andi
 
 
When my mother-in-law came to visit a few years ago, there was only ONE dish I wanted to learn how to make: Red Lentil Soup. This is a traditional soup so simple to make you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. This is also the perfect intro dish for anyone who doesn't love pulses or has never given them a real chance.

Cooking hack: For a purely vegetarian dish, substitute chicken broth/cubes for water, and salt to taste.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of dried red lentils
  • 7 cups of chicken broth (or cubes in proportional amounts to 7 cups of water)
  • 1 medium-large onion, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 table spoons of olive oil
  • 2 table spoons of white rice, uncooked (I used basmati rice)
  • lemon to serve

Method

Post by: Andi
Wash lentils in cold water. Do this a few times until the water is relatively clear.

In a large pot, heat olive oil. Sauté minced onions until transparent. 
Add lentils and stir. 
Add broth (or water), bay leaves and bring to a boil. 
Add rice, stir and simmer partly covered on minimum until lentils and rice have almost completely dissolved, approximately 25 minutes. 
Stir occasionally while simmering to prevent sticking, as the soup will thicken.

The rice must be so over cooked that it is almost unnoticeable. Its purpose is to give the soup a creamy texture.

Serve with a spritz of fresh lemon.