My chicken tikka masala recipe is a must for when you want a new spin…
Flavorful and healthy are not always interchangeable. However, with my Moroccan Chicken recipe it most certainly is. The flavors of the Middle East come alive in this dish and transport you into a world of spice markets and magic carpet rides. Best of all it freezes like a dream and is all made in one pan!
Sometimes, people misconstrue the terms healthy cooking or clean eating with “flavorless” or “lack luster.” But it does not have to be. And mine certainly never is.
It is a rare day in my house that we do not eat healthily. Even our late night snacks (plate fulls of lean nitrate free turkey breast and tomato and cuke slices) tend to be quite delicious and healthy. Let’s be honest, it’s tough to stay healthy and eat clean if your food tastes like overly processed cardboard. So I like to keep things spicy and exciting in our meal plans.
It’s also hard to stay healthy when you are a food blogger and all you do is test delicious recipes. Healthy or not…the calories add up. So my trick is to make sure that I input all my nibbles into MyFitnessPal app. It keeps me sane and in check 🙂
Anyway…Big flavors and loads of spices make my meal plans exciting and easy.
Like this chicken.
Initially my mother in law made this dish. (try and imagine this with the best Russian accent) “Heere Mila trrry this. It iz new dish I saw on Russian televizion. Verry oold recipe, but very seeemple and delicious. They call it Morooocon chicken.” I tasted it. And smiled. It’s my MIL…I am not upsetting her. You wouldn’t either.
I tasted sweetness and stringy chicken and that was it. I so wanted to like it. But it was lackluster. My MIL is an amazing cook and an even better baker. But this for some reason was not hitting the spot. I am thinking it was just a cruddy recipe. It was decent…but it lacked some…SPARKLE. And I…well my dear friends…I have lot’s of sparkles.
Moroccan style chicken
I decided to truly make this a Moroccan style chicken. Concentrating on all the fragrant spices of the region. Moroccan food has a great deal of bright flavors and intoxicating spices.
I happen to love loads of spices. I have made my Moroccan carrots along side this delicious chicken many a time and plates were always wiped clean!
I also wanted this to be something that I can whip up on a weeknight when I did not have much time. And it just so happens to be fall and some of these flavors are reminiscent of pumpkin pie spices.
There you have it folks…this is the CLOSEST I will come to making anything with pumpkin pie spice. Sorry Starbucks I am not buying your pumpkin spice marketing ploy.
After a few tries and adjusting the spices and the cooking times I ended up with a dish that I am proud to call Moroccan. It has all the gorgeous colors and flavors to make our tummies rumble and our eyes gleam. Being the wonderful daughter in law that I am, I brought it over for my MIL to try and she was flattered that I based my recipe on hers (based being the operative word here.) She was instantly a fan. And asked for the recipe…I told her to check the blog 🙂
NEWSFLASH: THIS IS VERY FREEZER FRIENDLY!!! So freezer friendly that it is part of my Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur MAKE AHEAD meal plan!
Preheat the oven to 450-degrees and oil up a medium sized casserole dish. Feel free to use a foil pan for easier cleanup. We are going to start out with some chicken breast and boneless chicken thigh pieces cut up into large bite size pieces.
Place those pieces into a plastic ziplock (don’t mind me, I apparently did not mind doing dishes and used a bowl instead.). Add your turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, minced ginger, minced garlic, salt, pepper, lime juice, balsamic vinegar and cilantro. Toss and combine and let stand for at least 15-20 minutes or even overnight.
In the meantime, slice up some dried prunes and apricots. You do not need to get fancy. Just slice them up so they are similar in size.
Dice up an onion into medium dice. In case you need a reminder, I have a nifty tutorial on how to do that here. Place about 1 tbsp of olive oil into a large pan and add in your onions. Go ahead and let the get nice and sweaty for about 3 minutes.
Now add in the sliced dried fruit, salt and pepper and a cup of water. This is going to do two things. 1. it will hydrate the fruit so they get beautiful and plump. And two it will make the sugars come out of the onions, allowing for an easier and faster caramalization. (note:
I will be doing I have done a demo on how to easily caramelize onions.)
Allow this mixture to boil until all the water is boiled out and the mixture looks like this.
Now, add the chicken to this mixture. Toss to combine, careful as the mixture is hot (you can of course cool the mixture, but I don’t have that sort of time). Place into the oven and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is tender.
***I was bringing this over for dinner to a friend’s house so I actually used a casserole. But for easier clean-up use the sautee pan. ***
Garnish with some extra cilantro. I served this up with my favorite lemon infused couscous and it was a hit.
The best part is that it is super freezer friendly!