Chef Benja's Noms.
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Chili Hygge Masala
Turned a boilerplate chili into something super cozy, a healthy recipe for fall and winter warmup. The secret: garam masala.
Cube and marinate six chicken thighs in a single serve of plain greek yogurt with about a tablespoon each of garam masala and ground cumin, and a half tbsp of ground cinnamon. Couple hours, or overnight.
Later... Chop one yellow onion and three bell peppers into one-inch squares. Heat a pot on medium, a little vegetable oil, sautee them 'til soft.
Plop in the chicken, brown it up. Stir often. Throw in a cinnamon stick.
Add in a tiny can of tomato paste and a big 28 oz can of fire-roasted, diced tomatoes. Add more masala, cumin, and cinnamon - don't overdo the cinnamon.
Last step: one can each of cannellini, black, and pinto beans. Wait 'til it's warm, then test to make sure the masala is what you're tasting, the cumin makes it feel like chili, and the cinnamon gives Christmas. Lower heat and add some water if it dries out. Salt and pepper to taste.
Top with sharp cheddar, a dollop of yogurt, and fresh cilantro leaves.
Teriyaki Chicken Rice Skillet
A crowd-pleasing minimal rice bake. A hearty family favorite.
Lightly marinate four boneless, skin-on chicken thighs in Kikkoman teriyaki sauce and mirin for an hour or two. (Do not skip that mirin)
Preheat the oven to 350. Throw half a sliced yellow onion in a dry skillet over medium high heat, cook until browned and soft, and remove.
Add a little vegetable oil. Cook the thighs skin down over medium, moving around until brown, five minutes. Flip them for another 5 minutes, then bench them on a plate.
Add a cup of sushi rice to the skillet. Get it browned and covered with oil and fat, then pour in two cups of chicken stock. Scrape, stir, and simmer.
Nestle the chicken thighs on top of the rice, cover up, and bake for 35 minutes. When it comes out, let it rest on the counter for about ten.
Remove the chicken thighs, carefully slice into chopstick-friendly strips, then gently put the thighs back as close to whole as possible.
Top with sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds.
Benja's Easy Chicken Soup
Chicken soup for the sick soul. This can be made in a ten minute walk through a grocery store and a handful of easy steps.
Throw a carton of chicken stock into a good-sized pot and heat over medium heat. Tear up one breast and one leg from a rotisserie chicken and throw them in.
Crack open a can of new potatoes, a can of peas, and a can of whole kernel corn. Shake in garlic powder, sea salt, and cracked pepper to taste. Let it simmer for ten minutes, stirring once in a while.
Throw in a can of cannellini beans and some spinach. Simmer until everything is warm and wilted, and serve it up.
Cranberry Chocolate Trail Mix
Taking a stab at a good, healthy trail mix to eat on an Adirondack mountainside. Delicious energy.
Grab a Hershey's Special Dark chocolate bar -- the big ones, XL, 4.25 oz. Chop it diagonally across the scores both ways. Big, rough chunks. Rustic.
Throw it in a bowl, and chase it with a half cup of sweetened dried cranberries. Then add in a cup of roasted, unsalted cashew pieces (buy the halves and pieces, or roughly chop 'em if they're whole).
Finish it off with a half cup of roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds.
Toss it all up. Make it pretty: store in a big mason jar on the counter.