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Indian Butter Chicken

We blog about this recipe here.

Indian Butter Chicken

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Sauté onion until soft and translucent. Stir in butter, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, 1 teaspoon garam masala, cumin, turmeric, and chili powder. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in half-and-half and yogurt. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, and season with 1 teaspoon garam masala and cayenne. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce, and simmer until liquid has reduced, and chicken is no longer pink. Stir cooked chicken into sauce.  Simmer for about 5 minutes longer.  

Serve over rice.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.

Butter, Eggs, Apples, Avocados & Rotisserie Chicken

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Yes, we’ve all heard it by now.  On Monday Amazon/Whole Foods will lower the prices on organic butter, eggs, apples, avocados – and rotisserie chicken and “responsibly farmed” salmon – but they’re not delivering – yet – by drone (thank god)!

Here’s the BigLittleMeals take on how to best take advantage of this deal (yes, there’s just a teeny bit of jadedness in our use of the word “deal!”)  We’re going to pass on the salmon, since we’re still very very confused about farmed seafood.  Happy to know we’re not alone in that – see the article we posted in Food for Thought.

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Use your butter, eggs, and apples to make German Apple Pancakes – for breakfast OR dessert.  The recipe comes from our Boulder Bestie, Danielle.  Danielle’s been considered part of our family since she and our daughter Sara were UC Santa Cruz roommates….a long time ago.  This is Danielle’s grandmother’s recipe; we’ve adapted it just a bit.

Avocados are almost all you need for this quick and easy guacamole from T-lish – the affectionate name for Tacolicious, Sara & Joe’s restaurant group.  If you’re making it several hours before enjoying it, here’s a helpful look at how to keep guacamole green.

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Guacamole Wannabees

Then we suggest you use some diced up rotisserie chicken and some shredded cabbage with the guacamole in a taco – or  use your organic eggs and diced chicken in our Breakfast Lunch and Dinner Fried Rice.

Baked German Apple Pancakes

  • Servings: 2-3
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This recipe is easily made Super Simple by omitting the apples.   Just heat the 2 T of butter in the skillet, add the egg/flour mixture to the hot skillet, pop it in the oven, bake as stated, and serve with the lemon sauce. We love it that way too!


  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 c whole milk
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 tart apple, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • an additional 4T melted butter and 2T lemon juice mixed together to pour over the baked pancake
  • powdered sugar – to dust on pancake just before serving.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix together flour and salt in a medium bowl.  In another small bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together until frothy and light.  Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture, just to blend.  Do not overbeat.

In a 10″ cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the apples and brown sugar and saute until the apples are tender, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with the nutmeg.

Pour the egg/flour batter over the apples and place the pan in the oven.  Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Danielle’s grandmother, Margaret, warns that you must not be tempted to look at the pancake in the oven before the 20 minutes are up! Remove from the oven and drizzle with about half of the melted butter and lemon juice mixture; then dust generously with powdered sugar. Serve immediately – directly from the skillet – and pass the extra butter and lemon mixture around at the table.

Brought to you by Danielle in Boulder and

D-lish T-lish Guacamole

  • Servings: makes about 2 cups
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If you’re making this for just one or two, the recipe is easily cut in half. Adapted from Tacolicious by Sara Deseran


  • 2 c gently mashed avocados (about 4 big ones)
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 T diced yellow onion
  • 1 T minced jalapeno (use your judgment)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 T fresh lime juice
  • 2 T chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Place the avocado in a bowl and add the garlic, onion, jalapeno, cumin, lime juice, cilantro and salt.  Smash everything with a fork – but don’t oversmash; you want it a little chunky.[/recipe-directions]

Don’t save the guac just for chips.  Make a taco with your leftover rotisserie chicken and some shredded cabbage.  Yum. Recipe brought to you by Tacolicious and

Mealworms Are No Longer Just for Fishing (or Chickens)

The mealworm, which is actually the larval stage of the darkling beetle, has come back into my life (picture credit

In an earlier Andy’s Corner I wrote that my father’s all-consuming passion for fishing was the source of some of my most vivid childhood memories. So it shouldn’t be surprising that I feel pretty comfortable handling mealworms.

Johnson Outboard bigbear
Big Bear Lake, Calif. circa 1954. I’m in the back of the boat with my father. My sister Helen is in front and her friend Rosemarie is in the middle. More than likely a container of mealworms is also aboard.

These little us larvae (they’re not really “worms”) are considered great bait. According to Eating the Wild :

[The mealworm’s] distinctive yellow color, articulated exoskeleton, and a size ranging from one-half inch to one inch in length is a familiar sight at bait shops across the lower 48 states. Mealworms are excellent fish bait, and second only to crickets as food for reptiles, birds, shrews, and some fish kept as pets.

…They are inexpensive, hold to a small #6 to #10 hook well, and drive bluegill, pumpkin seed, perch, and even small largemouth bass wild.

My dad always had a box of mealworms in his workshop and they accompanied us on our frequent fishing excursions to nearby lakes. With all due modesty, I can say that I became quite an expert at skewering them on my hook so they wouldn’t come off when casting – a rare skill amongst kids my age.

As I moved into my teen years and developed other interests (like sports and girls) mealworms were no longer a part of my life, although I did think about them briefly a few years ago when in an Andy’s Corner I wrote about where we get local eggs. I discovered that freeze-dried mealworms were highly prized by chickens. But that was only a passing flicker of interest.

Mealworms came back to mind in a big way just a couple of weeks ago. While perusing Food Dive, one of my favorite websites devoted to food industry issues, I came across the following byline: Ynsect plans US insect farm and partners with Ardent Mills. I was curious about why Ardent Mills, purportedly the largest supplier of flour in North America, would be interested in insect farms.

One of Ynsect’s state-of-the-art mealworm farms.

I learned that my little six-legged yellow friends can be used for purposes other than being impaled on sharp hooks to attract fish or being freeze-dried to be fed to chickens. Ynsect is a French company that “transforms [mealworms] into high-performance natural protein solutions for pets, fish, plants, and human beings“. Here’s an excerpt from FoodDive‘s post (Dec. 13, 2022):

Last May, research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found mealworm protein performed as well as whey protein following a workout…[Editor’s note: the reference is to human, not chicken, workouts.]

[furthermore] …insect protein has the same amount of protein as a kilogram of beef, but uses 90% less land and 50% fewer resources. It also produces 200 times less greenhouse gas.

Edible mealworms. Photo from the Canadian Cattlemen website.

When I told our foodie daughter Sara about my discoveries regarding edible mealworms she was underwhelmed, to say the least. She didn’t actually say “that news is so yesterday,” but she may as well have.

Monica Martinez, founder of Don Bugito, which produces spicy roasted mealworms (photo from the PBS web article:Food Rebel: Monica Martinez“)

She pointed out that Mosto (the tequila and mezcal bar in San Francisco that Sara co-owns) at one time had Spicy Bugitos (aka roasted mealworms) on its menu. The roasted mealworms were sourced from the Don Bugito company which has a facility in San Mateo. Sara has even visited the facility and got to know the founder, Monica Martinez.

On the Don Bugito website you will find Martinez’s explanation by for why she started her business:

Don Bugito’s inspiration comes directly from my cultural heritage. Growing up in Mexico exposed me to the culturally rich traditions of eating edible insects and their use as “power foods”.

Empowered by this ancestral food and their healthy, sustainable and nutritional qualities, I embarked on the journey of sharing with the world a little taste of my culture by creating a set of “power” snacks for everyone to enjoy!

Calling mealworms a “power food” is no exaggeration. According to Wikipedia, not only do mealworm larvae rival beef in potassium, copper, sodium, selenium, iron and zinc, they contain essential linoleic acids (which supposedly help fight cancer) and have greater vitamin content by weight compared to beef.

All of this and saving the environment too! How could you not want to munch on them?

Even if the thought of mealworms gracing your dinner plate makes you a bit squeamish, keep in mind that they are small and lack a definitive or strong taste. More precisely, according to, roasted mealworms “have a rich nutty flavor and taste, and have hints of almond and macadamia nuts when baked into foods or eaten straight out of the pack.”

As a public service, especially to help those uninitiated in the insect cuisine scene, I am including a recipe that I found on the UC Davis Magazine website for some tasty mealworm brownies. The Department of Entomology offers these brownies every year on Picnic Day “for daring brownie-lovers to test their tasting limits.”

One of my new year’s resolutions is to actually try this recipe in 2023. If you get to it before I do let me know how it turns out. And if you would prefer something else, you might try the recipe for Mealworm Toffee + Chocolate Chip Cookies posted on Don Bugito’s blog.

Mealworm brownies. Photo from

Mealworm Brownies

  • Servings: makes 16 2-inch squares
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Adapted from the UC Davis Department of Entomology which offers this dessert every year on “Picnic Day.” The BigLittleMeals kitchen has yet to test this recipe; let us know how it turns out for you.

  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1 C white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 C toasted mealworms

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Stir in sugar, eggs and vanilla.

In another bowl, mix cocoa, flour, salt and baking powder. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture. Fold in mealworms. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.

The Chickens Are Molting!

January was an especially bad month around here – not because of the pandemic or because of drought or fires or power shut-offs – or even because of the lingering political malaise.

It’s because we didn’t have eggs from Sandy and Stacey’s backyard hens.

Being in a pandemic-induced foul (fowl?) mood, I was inclined to march over to these normally-sweet hens and reprimand them. How could they possibly do this to us?! Don’t they know that everyone is feeling pretty grumpy at the moment – and we don’t need unexpected food shortages? Don’t they know that we don’t like to buy eggs at the grocery store? Don’t they know that we can barely get through breakfast without an egg – or two?

I guess creatures are behaving more normally than we humans are at the moment. Molting is a natural yearly occurrence for hens. And – in Andy’s Corner today – you’ll learn that hens aren’t the only ones enduring this yucky “clucky” experience. And, just so you know, I’m pretty sure my beloved Pecker never molted.

When the days grow shorter and chillier, chickens need to replace their old, scruffy feathers with new, tight, shiny ones to protect them from winter’s cold and rain and snow. Doing this requires lots of protein from their body; producing eggs also requires lots of protein. During a molt the hen’s body directs all the protein toward feather production, so egg production ceases. Interesting, huh?


Learning about that made me wonder why we can buy eggs in the grocery store all year long. Do commercially-raised hens not molt? The answer is a little complex and not all that appetizing. Here’s a good article from the University of Kentucky about it. Suffice it to say that commercial egg producers carefully regulate the light and temperature and food to control and shorten their hens’ molting.

According to the blog found on, bird owners know that the “mood” or “personality” of their bird — whether it be a chicken, parrot or darling starling — can change dramatically during molt. The birds often retreat to quiet spaces, reduce their activity and just want to be left alone.

Maybe the pandemic is bringing out a molt in us!

The pandemic – and vaccines – also have an interesting tie-in to eggs. Apparently 82% of flu vaccines are egg based – and are produced from hens kept in highly secure – even secret – locations. According to CNN, every day hundreds of thousands of eggs are transported to vaccine-makers where the virus is then grown in the eggs.

Rest assured, COVID vaccines are not egg-based. At least a shortage of eggs due to molting is not something that will interrupt our COVID vaccinations! Thank goodness for little things.

Just as I was immersed in my research about molting, my friend Susan sent me a favorite recipe which came from her Granny. Susan promised me that everyone she’d ever served this cake to loved it. Now Susan and I go way WAY back, having grown up together on little South Shields Street acreages in Fort Collins, Colorado, back when South Shields Street was still country. I know she raised Jersey cows (Susan reports she milked four cows twice a day!) but maybe Susan and her mom and Granny didn’t raise chickens, because her cake recipe has no eggs. I was sure Susan had just left out that seemingly-crucial cake ingredient, but when I did some checking I found those egg-less cakes used to be called “Depression” or “War” cakes, since they were baked a lot during times when eggs were either expensive or hard to find (or maybe it was November in Colorado and – like all smart hens – they were molting!).

The cake is delicious as is – and also perfect for anyone who is vegan, but it’s February and Sandy and Stacey’s hens are back on my good side. I may even try Granny’s cake with an egg added and do a taste test.

If your local hens are molting and breakfast is looking grim, we suggest Overnight Steel Cut Oats, Ginger Scones, Andy’s Biscuits, and Deb’s Granola. But if you’re craving dessert – and have no eggs – well, Granny’s Applesauce Cake will be your go-to.

Granny’s Applesauce Cake

Granny's Applesauce Cake

The recipe can easily be doubled.  If doubling, use a greased and floured bundt pan and bake for about 1 hour +  or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  If you want to be fancier, put whole pecans in the bottom of the bundt pan so that when the cake is removed from the pan, the top is decorated with pecans.  And, yes, there are no eggs in it.

  • 1/3 c butter, softened (I used 1/2 c to keep it simple) (to make this vegan, simply substitute oil for the butter)
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c sweetened (or unsweetened) applesauce; use unsweetened if you’re keeping sugar at a minimum
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves (I used 1/4 tsp, since I’m not a big fan of cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (optional)
  • 2 c chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts work well)
  • 1 c raisins
  • whipped cream or ice cream for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter and flour an 8″ cake pan.

Beat the butter and sugar together with a hand mixer.  Stir in the applesauce and vanilla.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.  Stir that into the applesauce mix and then stir in the nuts and raisins.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Recipe brought to you by Susan in Fort Collins, and Andy and Ann.

Chicken Fried Chicken

Chicken Fried Chicken

very slightly adapted from

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp Diamond kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper (or a little less, if you’re not a black pepper fan)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • Oil for frying
  • Cream gravy for serving (see below)

Pound the breasts until they are 1/4 inch thick

Mix together the flour with the salt, black pepper, and cayenne and place on a plate. Whisk together the eggs with the buttermilk. Lightly sprinkle the breasts with salt and pepper then dredge each into the flour. Dip the flour-coated breasts into the eggs and then dredge in the flour again. Place the breaded chicken breasts on a sheet pan.

Heat up the oven to 200°F. In a large heavy skillet, such as a cast-iron skillet, on medium-high heat up an inch of oil to 350°F, about 5 minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the temperature by sticking a wooden spoon into the oil. If it bubbles around the spoon, it should be ready for frying.

Working in batches, gently lower each breast into the oil and cook for 2 minutes per side, or until lightly browned, turning once. Drain on a paper towel and place in the oven while you fry the remaining breasts.

Serve with cream gravy.

Cream Gravy:

  • 2 T pan drippings, bacon grease, or vegetable oil
  • 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c whole milk
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Diamond kosher salt

Combine the fat with flour in a hot skillet, continuously stirring, cook on medium for a couple of minutes until a roux is formed.

Add milk slowly to the skillet, and mix with roux using either a whisk or wooden spoon (be sure and press out any lumps). Turn heat to low and continue stirring until mixture is thickened, a couple more minutes. Add the pepper and salt then taste and adjust seasonings.

If the gravy is too thick, you can thin it by adding either more milk or water a tablespoon at a time. Goes great with mashed potatoes, fried chicken, biscuits, chicken fried steak, grits, vegetables, rice or anything else you can imagine.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.

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