Category: Super Simple Recipes

Super Simple Butter Chicken

Super Simple Butter Chicken - Have you tried Butter Chicken before? It is one of the best and easiest to make Indian Recipes. Try it now!

Have you heard of this Indian dish called Butter Chicken?

Well, we have slightly Americanized it, but it still has an amazing flavor! It just is not quite as a spicy base as the more traditional dish – but if you want you CAN add some heat to it.




I tend to make my recipes flexible so people can make some choices with how they want the end product to turn out, but still keep it simple for those who just want to follow the recipe as is, the first time or two. And surprisingly, although many Indian dishes are complex, this one is pretty simple. The biggest lesson I have learned in making it (I first tried it nearly 9 years ago) is to not try so hard to get it perfect.

This is one of our family’s Top 10 Favorite Meals!

Super Simple Butter Chicken - Try this nummy Indian classic made easy today!

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Cookware For Butter Chicken

The cookware for this recipe is simple (which means only a few dishes to wash):

Ingredients For Butter Chicken

This recipe serves a family of 6 to 8 or a smaller family with leftovers.

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  • RiceBasmati Rice is the preferred, but feel free to use what you have on hand. The photos in this post the rice was Jasmine Rice. Read your packaging to cook up 8 servings of rice or more (I love to have leftover rice around the house).
  • 3 lbs chicken – we usually use breast meat but I have tried thigh / dark meat before.
  • 1 cup tomato sauce or one small can of tomato paste with 3/4 cup of water. In the photos for this post, I only had a can of stewed tomatoes when I got the craving to make this, so I used that and it worked fine.
  • 1 stick of butter. There are some recipes out there w/o butter. But its called Butter Chicken, so we use butter!
  • 1 cup of plain or honey yogurt or 1 cup heavy cream. This is such a preference thing. I suggest you make the recipe twice, and decide which you like better!
  • Lemon juice – 2 tbsp – Fresh squeezed is best, but I want simple, so I get bottled lemon juice .
  • Garam Masala – 2 heaping tbsp – Used to be harder to find, but recently I have even found Garam Masala at Walmart!
  • Curry Powder – 1 heaping tbsp – I just love the flavor of curry powder, but we do not want it to overwhelm the garam masala.
  • Chili Powder – 1 heaping tbsp – If you want more heat, substitute some of your chili powder for cayenne powder or diced red hot peppers.
  • Ginger Powder – 1 heaping tbsp – Fresh ginger paste is even better and you can get it from the produce section of most stores. But ginger powder works fine.
  • Minced Garlic – 2 tbsp Minced Garlic
  • Minced Onion (dried) – 2 tbsp Minced Onion
  • Salt and pepper

Directions For Butter Chicken

  1. Cut up your chicken into cubes (more like chunks for me). Blend the Garam Masala, Curry Powder, Chili Powder, and Ginger Powder and 1 tsp of salt in a bowl or jar. Use half of the blend to coat the meat and marinade for at least 15 minutes. You can marinade it all day for a stronger flavor (in the fridge, of course) if you have time!
  2. Start your rice in your smaller pot. Basmati and Jasmine rice take about 20 minutes to cook (but check your package directions to be sure).
  3. Melt the butter on Medium heat and add the rest of the spices in the larger pot. Stir for one minute, then add the chicken. This technique fries the spices a bit and “wakes them up” and makes them more fragrant and flavorful. I know there is an actual name for this, but I forget what it is!
  4. Turn the heat up to medium high and brown the chicken. Takes about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato sauce or paste and water and the lemon juice, then add your minced garlic and minced onion. Stir. You will then want to take the heat down to medium or slightly below medium.
  6. Add a little salt and pepper to your taste. We tend to like 1 tsp added of salt and just a dash or two of pepper. Stir.
  7. Simmer on medium low or slightly above so there is slight bubbling but not popping / splattering for 20 minutes. Food with tomatoes seems to splatter and spit more. Ouch!
  8. Turn off the heat and then stir in the yogurt or cream.
  9. The secret is to have a little left-over or even make this the day before serving. The flavors are so much more intense after sitting in the fridge all night!
  10. Server over the cooked rice. Traditional Indian is to serve it with a bread called Naan. Wow!

Super Simple Butter Chicken

Super Simple Butter Chicken

This is a Butter Chicken recipe. There is a hiccup with Ymmly that says it is vegetarian. However, you could substitute tofu if you did want to make this vegetarian!

Ingredients

  • Rice - Basmati Rice is the preferred
  • Chicken - 3lbs
  • Tomato sauce - 1 cup OR one small can of tomato paste with 3/4 cup of water
  • Butter - 1 stick
  • Plain or honey yogurt - 1 cup OR 1 cup heavy cream
  • Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
  • Garam Masala - 2 heaping tbsp
  • Curry Powder - 1 heaping tbsp
  • Chili Powder - 1 heaping tbsp
  • Ginger Powder - 1 heaping tbsp
  • Minced Garlic - 2 tbsp
  • Minced Onion (dried) - 2 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut up your chicken into cubes (more like chunks for me). Blend the Garam Masala, Curry Powder, Chili Powder, and Ginger Powder and 1 tsp of salt in a bowl or jar. Use half of the blend to coat the meat and marinade for at least 15 minutes. You can marinade it all day for a stronger flavor (in the fridge, of course) if you have time!
  2. Start your rice in your smaller pot. Basmati rice takes about 20 minutes to cook (but check your package directions to be sure).
  3. Melt the butter on Medium heat and add the rest of the spices in the larger pot. Stir for one minute, then add the chicken. This technique fries the spices a bit and "wakes them up" and makes them more fragrant and flavorful. I know there is an actual name for this, but I forget what it is!
  4. Turn the heat up to medium high and brown the chicken. Takes about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato sauce or paste and water and the lemon juice, then add your minced garlic and minced onion. Stir. You will then want to take the heat down to medium or slightly below medium.
  6. Add a little salt and pepper to your taste. We tend to like 1 tsp added of salt and just a dash or two of pepper. Stir.
  7. Simmer on medium low or slightly above so there is slight bubbling but not popping / splattering for 20 minutes. Food with tomatoes seems to splatter and spit more. Ouch!
  8. Turn off the heat and then stir in the yogurt or cream.
  9. The secret is to have a little left-over or even make this the day before serving. The flavors are so much more intense after sitting in the fridge all night!
  10. Server over the cooked rice. Traditional Indian is to serve it with a bread called Naan.
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Super Simple Strawberry Chicken Salad

Want to get healthier this summer? Try this Super Simple Strawberry Chicken Salad and have dinner ready in 20 minutes!I remember the first time I tried a Strawberry Chicken Salad. I was at a Red Robin Restaurant of all places.

Since then, variations of the Strawberry Chicken salad have popped up at many restaurants and all over Pinterest. I picked and choose what I really liked (and did not) and came up with a simple recipe that I can put together in 20 minutes or so, is super healthy, and the total ingredients are reasonably priced.

Now, I do things a little differently here at ASimpleLifeToo. I like things short, sweet and simple… so I am going to get right into the recipe!




Strawberry Chicken Salad Ingredients:

1 lb of chicken

4 – 6 cups of baby spinach

2 small avocados

21/2 cups of strawberries

1 cup frozen corn off of the cob

1 cup of your favorite nuts

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

pinch of salt and pepper

Strawberry Chicken Salad Instructions:

Step 1 – Chop up chicken and saute for about 10 minutes (with a sprinkle of salt and pepper). Place on a platter.

Step 2 – Chop up the strawberries and the avocados and place on the platter with the chicken.

Step 3 – Thaw corn or cook for a minute and place on platter.

Step 4 – Place 1 cup of nuts on the platter or you can saute them for a couple of minutes in oil or butter.

Step 5 – Blend 1/2 cup of the strawberries with the oil, vinegar, and pinch of salt and pepper.

See how easy that is. And it tastes wonderful!

My goal this Spring and Summer is to help my family get healthier and loose some weight. I plan on making salads a minimum of 5 times per week.

Here are a couple of hot cookbooks that focus on making healthy and flavorful salads:

 

Super Simple Strawberry Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of chicken
  • 4 - 6 cups of baby spinach
  • 2 small avocados
  • 21/2 cups of strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen corn off of the cob
  • 1 cup of your favorite nuts
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Chop up chicken and saute for about 10 minutes (with a sprinkle of salt and pepper). Place on a platter.
  2. Chop up the strawberries and the avocados and place on the platter with the chicken.
  3. Thaw corn or cook for a minute and place on platter.
  4. Place 1 cup of nuts on the platter or you can saute them for a couple of minutes in oil or butter.
  5. Blend 1/2 cup of the strawberries with the oil, vinegar, and pinch of salt and pepper.
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Teach Your Children To Cook: Melt In Your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies

Teach Children To Cook Pumpkin CookiesThere are SO MANY amazing recipes available on the web today, but how many help and encourage you to make meals and memories with your children?

I mean, what are the holidays for? Are they not to make spend time with your family? To create Traditions? To pass down your favorite crafts, recipes, techniques, stories and more to your children?

This year we decided to try a few traditional holiday recipes from Better Homes and Gardens, modify them to suit our family, and teach the girls how to make them.

This recipe from BHG, the Melt In Your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies, was so easy for the girls to make. Your children will enjoy making and eating them!

We added cream cheese frosting, halved the recipe, increased the pumpkin, and used whole wheat flour (but you don’t have to). The BHG site includes a video if you want some extra help.

Teach Children To Cook Pumpkin Cookies

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Equipment Used

I teach the children to gather all of the needed equipment at the beginning of making a recipe. For this cookie recipe, we used:

Ingredients

I like to make recipes flexible. I comment here and there with a few modifications and suggestions.

Cookies: 

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, soften butter (in the microwave for 30 seconds for ease, or have left the butter out overnight).
  3. Add organic cane sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. We also added 1/2 tsp of cardamom for a unique taste, but you can leave it out if you don’t have that on hand.
  4. Stir until combined, scraping bowl occasionally.
  5. Add egg and vanilla; stir until combined.
  6. Stir in pumpkin.
  7. Stir in flour.
  8. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons, 2 inches apart on lined cookie sheets.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
  10. For the frosting, soften butter and the cream cheese (again, in the microwave for 30 seconds or have the butter left out overnight. Cream cheese is usually soft enough to mix w/o softening).
  11. Stir in vanilla and pumpkin.
  12. Stir in powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time. Keep adding sugar until the frosting is thick, not runny.
  13. Wait until cookies are cooled before frosting. Use about one heaping teaspoon of frosting per cookie.

I would love to hear about your favorite cookie recipes to make with your children!

Want to start with the basics and teach your children to cook? Check out: Teach Your Children To Cook – The Simple, Healthy, Cheap Way: For Ages 7+ With Parent Supervision and follow the 16 incremental lessons to give your children a good cooking foundation and give them a beginning repertoire of recipes that they can use to contribute to the family meals.

Better Homes and Gardens is one of my favorite magazines. Click here to subscribe to Better Homes and Gardens.

 

Simple, Healthy, Cheap! Recipe: Bean Burritos

Another recipe from "How To Feed Your Family For $60 A Week: Spanish Week"
Another recipe from “How To Feed Your Family For $60 A Week: Spanish Week”

There aren’t many meals that I can think of that are as inexpensive as bean burritos, especially if you are making your own tortillas (although I confess that I am not). If you add some lettuce and tomato, or other veggies, they are a super healthy meal, also. The addition of cheese does increase the cost a bit, but I have a hard time enjoying them without the cheese. So without further commentary, here is the super simple recipe.

Ingredients

  • 8 to 10 Tortillas
  • 4 cups beans (cooked) – black, pinta or combine them
  • Salt, pepper, chili powder
  • Shredded cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Tomatoes and/or Salsa

Instructions

  1. If using dried beans, cook according to package directions.
  2. Take the beans and add salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Assemble burritos – 1 tortilla + 1/4 to 1/2 cup beans + a pinch or two of cheese + a pinch or two of lettuce + tomatoes and/or salsa.

Yes, they are really that quick and simple. We have a couple of children that like them with ketchup! These are the kinds of meals that we have in our monthly meal rotation. You could also add re-fried beans and/or Spanish rice as either a side dish or add them directly into the burrito.

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Simple, Healthy, Cheap! Recipe: Breakfast Burritos

Another recipe in the "Feed A Family For Less Than $60" Spanish Week Series"
Another recipe in the “Feed A Family For Less Than $60″ Spanish Week Series”


First of all, they might be called Breakfast Burritos, but they can be eaten any time of day. We usually have them for lunch. In fact, we have these for lunch on average of once per week – they are inexpensive, filing, relatively healthy, and a family favorite. So here is our family’s recipe for Breakfast Burritos.

Ingredients

  • 8 to 10 Tortillas
  • 6 cups Hash-browns
  • 10 to 12 pieces Turkey bacon or Turkey sausage
  • 6 to 8 Eggs
  • Condiments: Salsa, ketchup

Instructions

  1. Add oil to medium heat and cook hash-browns until cooked / browned.
  2. In another pan, start cooking the turkey bacon or sausage until cooked through.
  3. When hash-frowns or bacon/sausage is done, remove from pan and cook eggs (scrambled).
  4. Heat tortillas if you would like.
  5. Make the burritos by putting 1 – 2 pieces of bacon or sausage, a couple of tablespoons of hash-browns, a couple of tablespoons of eggs into a tortilla and add condiments.

Seriously, this recipe is that easy! Some variations include adding fresh tomatoes or avocados, adding southwestern seasoning, adding cheese or using diced potatoes instead of hash-browns.

What is your favorite, comforting, easy to make recipe?

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Simple, Healthy, Cheap! Recipe: Haystacks

Haystacks Recipe
One of the free recipes in the “Feed A Family For Less Than $60 A Week: Spanish Week” Menu


I originally learned this recipe from a frugal family of 12. They especially like to serve this to guests, as it is easy to make, allows people put their own combinations together to suite their own tastes, and is inexpensive.

Ingredients

  • Tortilla Chips (2 bags)
  • 2 tbl oil
  • 1 onion (optional)
  • 1 lb ground meat
  • 8 to 10 cups cooked beans (black, pinta or 1/2 and 1/2)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chili powder
  • cheese
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • salsa
  • ranch dressing

Instructions

  1. If you went for the optional onion, dice it, then heat oil on medium and saute the onion for a few minutes.
  2. Add the 1 lb ground meat and brown it over medium heat.
  3. Add the 8 to 10 cups cooked beans and stir. Add salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste.
  4. Cook until meat is cooked and beans are hot.
  5. Shred lettuce, dice tomatoes, shred cheese, set out salsa, ranch dressing, and tortillas.
  6. Serve by setting a base of tortillas on a plate. Add a scoop or two of the meat and bean mixture. Top as wanted with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, ranch, etc…
  7. Should make 3 meals for a family of 5. Stretch to 4 meals by serving Spanish rice and/or re-fried beans as side dishes.

Let me know your favorite Simple, Healthy, Cheap Mexican recipe.

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Simple, Healthy, Cheap Recipes: Caribbean Fish Curry

When you think of the Caribbean and food, what items come to mind? Coconuts, mangoes, fish? I am sure there will be many other things that come to mind, but for this Simple, Healthy, Cheap! Caribbean inspired recipe, these 3 ingredients play center stage.

Ingredients: 

Oil

1 to 3 Tbs curry powder or paste – curry pastes are generally spicier than powder

2 tsp salt

1 to 3 tsp ginger – more means more spice / heat

3 cloves garlic

2 cups coconut milk

2 cups water (optional – fish broth)

4 Tbs fish sauce (optional)

2 Tbs sugar

1 mango, diced

1 cup mixed veggies like peas and carrots

1 to 1 1/2 lbs white fish, cut into chunks

2 cups rice (6 cups when cooked)

Instructions: 

1) Cook rice according to rice instructions.

2) Heat oil in a large pot or wok.

3) Add all spices and salt (garlic, ginger, curry powder or paste) and sauté for 30 seconds.

4) Add coconut milk and water – bring to a low boil.

5) Add diced mangoes, veggies and then the fish. Return to a simmer

6) Cook about 10 minutes, making sure the fish is cooked through.

7) Serve curry over the rice in bowls, more rice than curry.

Should make 10 to 12 servings.

I hope you enjoy this frugal recipe.

See this recipe on “Try A New Recipe Tuesday” from Home to 4 Kiddos.

If you want to save money on books with Caribbean or Frugal Recipes, search Ebates for coupons from your favorite book retailers for $$$ off of products and get up to 10% cash back on your purchases.

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Simple, Healthy, Cheap Recipes: Jamaican Meat And Veggie Pie

 

Welcome to Caribbean Week here on A Simple Life Too! This recipe is inspired by a vacation we had many years ago to Jamaica, while I was still working outside the home and before we had our children. One of my favorite foods while I was there was these Jamaican seasoned veggie (and sometimes meat) patties / pies. They had so much flavor, they filled us up, and purchasing them local, they were only about $1.00 or $2.00 each. My recipe is an easier variation, turning the recipe into a pot pie, vs. making the individual pockets.

Ingredients for the Meat Pie:

1 full (top and bottom) savory whole wheat pie crust – here is a link to a good recipe

2 – 3 Tbs oil

Curry powder or curry paste – 2 to 3 Tbs – depending on spiciness / heat desired and taste. Note that curry pastes are usually spicier / hotter than the powders.

Thyme – 2tsp

Garlic – 3 – 4 crushed cloves

Ginger – 1 – 3 tsp – depending on spiciness / heat tolerance

Salt – 2 tsp

1 cup diced onion

1 lb ground meat – using ground turkey sausage adds flavor

4 cups cabbage

2 cups mixed veggies like diced carrots and peas

2 eggs

Instructions:

1) Make up your pie crust and set aside

2) In a large pan, pot, or wok, heat up your oil.

3) Add all the seasonings / spices and stir for 30 seconds.

4) Add the diced onion and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes until onion is translucent.

5) Add the ground meat and cook until browned.

6) Add the cabbage and veggies and cook just until the cabbage starts cooking down.

7) Pull of the heat and let cool for 15 – 20 minutes. If there is more than 1/2 cup liquid (from the cabbage cooking down) you may want to pour the excess off.

8) Roll out pie crust in to a deep dish pie pan or 9X9 or similar casserole dish.

9) Stir the eggs into the mixture, then pour the mixture into the casserole dish.

10) Cook at 400 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes (check it about 35 minutes and test the pie crust for complete cook).

11) Let cool 15 minutes, then serve. Should make 10 to 12 servings.

For the Veggie Only Variation:

Substitute 1 cup of veggies and 1 cup of cabbage for the 1lb of meat.

I hope you enjoy this frugal recipe.

If you want to save on books with Jamaican or Frugal Recipes, search Ebates for coupons from your favorite book retailers for $$$ off of products and get up to 10% cash back on your purchases.

Disclosure: Some links in this post may be affiliate links.

Simple, Healthy, Cheap! Recipe: Vietnamese Chicken Pho Soup

Asian Soup
Free Recipe!

This Asian soup is full of flavor, nutrition and it is very inexpensive to prepare for a large family. It is also very soothing and filling – one of our family favorites.

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1 ½ lbs chicken

  • 2 Tbs oil – olive, coconut, grapeseed

  • 8 – 10 cups water – optional to add chicken bullion / substitute chicken broth

  • 2 Tbs honey

  • 2 Tbs fish sauce

  • 1 Tbs Chinese 5 Spice

  • 14 oz rice noodles

  • 1 cup cabbage

  • ½ cup shredded carrot

  • cilantro for garnish

  • lime for garnish

  • sweet chile sauce for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Dice the 1 to 1 ½ lbs chicken.

  2. Add the 2 Tbs oil and chicken to a large pot and sauté / brown for about 10 minutes.

  3. Add the 8 to 10 cups water and bring to a boil.

  4. While waiting for the water to boil, chop the 1 cup cabbage and shred the carrots for 1/2 cup.

  5. Add the honey, fish sauce, and 5 spice to the pot.

  6. Add the chopped / shredded veggies to the pot – cook for 10 minutes.

  7. Add the rice noodles to the pot. Check the instructions on the noodles. Some rice noodles cook in 3 minutes and some take 15.

  8. Serve with garnishes.

 

This should last a family of 4 – 5 two meals.

What is your favorite Asian recipe?

Want more Asian inspired recipes? Here are some quality Asian cookbooks:

 

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Feed A Family For Less Than $60 Per Week: Asian Week


I love Chinese Buffets. It is a weakness of mine. However, even though the price of a buffet usually ends up less than a sit down restaurant, we still don’t eat at one very often. So, I decided to do my own week long Chinese Buffet, making a different Asian dish each night and having leftovers for lunch. The challenge is to use similar ingredients and keep the budget under $60 for the week!

Asian Week Menu:

  • Orange Chicken, Rice & Veggies
  • Pho (a Vietnamese soup)
  • Green Thai Chicken Curry with Pineapple & Carrots, & Rice
  • Pad Thai
  • Lettuce Wraps + Pho
  • Sesame Peanut Chicken Noodles
  • Fried Rice

Note: Our breakfasts were American – we ate oatmeal (x3), grits (x3), and waffles (x1), eggs with some of the hot cereal days (x3)

Shopping List:

  • Orange chicken (frozen, much better than what I can make from scratch) – $6.95
  • Fresh veggies – cabbage, onion, romaine lettuce, shredded carrots – $5.75
  • Fresh herbs / Spices – ginger root, cilantro, garlic – $1.60
  • Lime juice – $.80
  • 2.2 lbs rice noodles – $2.75
  • 3 lbs chicken breasts – $6.95
  • Fish sauce – $2.00
  • Thai Chile Sauce – $2.00
  • Curry paste – $4.95
  • Sesame oil – $3.00
  • 2 cans coconut milk – $3.00
  • 1 can pineapple – $1.40
  • Tamarind concentrate – $2.65
  • Rice Vinegar – $3.25
  • Soy Sauce – $4.00
  • Ground turkey – $2.65
  • Water chestnuts – $.75
  • Grits – $2.40
  • Eggs – $1.75

Note: We got most of our Asian ingredients from an Asian Market. They get imports that are usually less expensive than similar items in the American stores.

Pantry List:

These are items we purchase throughout the year in bulk and usually have on hand.

  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Oatmeal
  • Baking Powder
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Oil
  • Peanut Butter

Curious about my recipes? Follow my blog and I will post them over the next couple of weeks.

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Not sure what your budget for your groceries even is each week? You Need A Budget!

Here are some HOT Asian Cookbooks to inspire!