Chicken Tikka Masala

I think this may be our third recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala on Needs More Butter. So why another one? Yeah, this one’s for the Instant Pot. 


  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (not drained)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast


  1. Saute the onion and yellow pepper in the butter 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, spices, and salt and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and coconut milk and stir.
  4. Add chicken.
  5. Set Instant Pot to Poultry setting and cook.
  6. When cycle is complete, remove chicken and shred.
  7. Use immersion blender to puree sauce and add the shredded chicken back to sauce to toss.
  8. Serve over rice.



Slow Cooker Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

This soup is like a hug. Comforting, warming, cozy. A brief note on my alterations is below the recipe.


1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup wild rice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup half and half*
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Place chicken into a 6-qt slow cooker. Stir in chicken stock, wild rice, garlic, onion, carrots, celery, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours. Add mushrooms during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.

Remove chicken from the slow cooker and shred, using two forks.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Whisk in milk and half and half, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir chicken and milk mixture into the slow cooker. If the soup is too thick, add more half and half as needed until desired consistency is reached.

Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Notes: My family doesn’t enjoy mushrooms whatsoever, so I omitted them. Some commenters noted a lack of flavor, and after a bit of research I figured the mushrooms add umami—and I needed to replace it. Beef broth, fish sauce, and soy sauce were all options, and as it turned out I only had soy sauce in the fridge. It worked wonderfully! I added enough to suit my tastebuds and the flavor was just right. As a final point, the soup does get mushier by the next day but that hasn’t bothered my family.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Very flavorful soup adapted slightly from this recipe. Better than what you will buy at most restaurants.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 – 10oz can red enchilada sauce
1 – 10oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
1 – 15oz can chili beans in mild sauce
1 – 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 – 15 oz can fire-roasted corn, drained
3 & 1/4 cups Swanson Chicken Stock
1/2 t ground cumin
3/4 t paprika
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 & 1/2 t chili powder
4 ounces full fat cream cheese, softened
1 package (8 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
2 cups pre-shredded rotisserie chicken
Toppings: sour cream, avocado, fresh lime, and fresh cilantro


Place a large dutch oven or pot over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Once oil once it is hot and shimmering, add diced onion. Saute, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes. Add in the garlic and stir for another 30 seconds.

Pour in enchilada sauce, the undrained fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained chili beans, drained and rinsed black beans, drained corn, and chicken stock or broth. Stir to combine and increase the heat to high. While it’s heating through to a boil, add in the cumin, paprika, seasoned salt, pepper, and chili powder. Stir again.

Meanwhile, cube the cream cheese into small cubes (it should be very softened — melt in microwave). Once the soup is boiling, stir in the cream cheese. Briskly whisk the soup until the cream cheese completely melts into the soup. Stir in the grated cheddar cheese and stir until melted.

Stir in the rotisserie chicken.
Serve with your favorite toppings such as sour cream (we use fat free), a chopped avocado, fresh lime juice, tortilla strips, fresh chopped cilantro, pico de gallo, guac, etc. — whatever you like best!

Stir Fry Secrets

We do stir frys on the regular, but in the last year or so I’ve learned a couple of secrets that have dramatically upped my stir fry game. Apparently it’s all in the method.

1) Velvet the chicken*–this is the biggest game changer

2) Have everything ready to go, including meat and vegetables chopped and sauce made–I mean, I guess this isn’t really a secret; maybe everyone already does this, but, like starting with a clean kitchen, this tip is money

3) Use one pan–first do your meat (then remove it), then add vegetables in order of cooking time needed, then add the meat back, and finish with your sauce (just long enough to coat everything really)

The nice thing about stir frys is that they are so flexible. This one is my go-to recipe, but it is endlessly changeable depending on what you have (or don’t have) on hand:

*Velvet the chicken–I’m guessing it’s called this because it makes the chicken velvety? I don’t know; I just know this method keeps the chicken from being dry or chewy. I’ll never skip this step if I can help it.

  • 1-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips or cubes
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil

Combine all these ingredients together and then marinate the chicken while you prepare the sauce and vegetables. Meanwhile, bring water to boil in a medium/large saucepan or wok-like pan.

When your sauce is made and vegetables chopped, boil the chicken for three minutes, drain, and set aside.

Prepare the sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I usually leave this out per family preference)
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-Spice
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos (you can also use soy sauce, but since it has a stronger flavor, I’d probably use less)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Combine all these ingredients and set aside.

Prepare the vegetables

Go crazy with whatever you like. I usually use about

  • 1 small head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 1-2 carrots, sliced
  • 1-2 bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced

Put it all together

  • oil
  • vegetables you’ve prepared
  • chicken you’ve velveted
  • sauce you’ve prepared
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or wok (I use the same large pot/skillet/saucepan thing I used earlier for the chicken).
  2. Add the vegetables and sauté until almost tender (usually about 5 minutes for the onions and carrots; I’m usually fairly lazy and throw all in at once, but you could go crazy and add the faster-cooking vegetables later).
  3. Add the chicken back to the pan and then add the sauce.
  4. Toss and let cook for just a couple of minutes to let the flavors blend.
  5. Serve over rice or noodles.

Quick Red Coconut Curry Noodles

Mel’s Kitchen Cafe somehow convinced me to make this dish last night. I’ve avoiding learning to make my favorite foods—yes, it is absurd—so I can enjoy them at my favorite restaurants. Dumb. Glad the tides are turning. Next time I’d like to try this Thai Coconut Curry, which is a little different. I have a few cooking notes down below, but the quick take is that this tasted really great on a Saturday night and I will make it again with tweaks.


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
1 tablespoon oil
2 cans light or regular coconut milk
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cups sweet Thai chili sauce
2 ¼ cups chicken broth
1 (13.5 ounce) package rice noodles (about ¼-inch wide)
1 yellow onion, sliced into thin half moons
2 red peppers, cored and sliced thinly
1 cup broccoli slaw or thinly sliced matchstick carrots
1 teaspoon salt to taste


In a large pot over medium heat, scoop the cream off the top of each can of coconut and put it in the pot. (If using light coconut milk, there won’t be cream to use, so use the 1 tablespoon oil called for in the recipe). The cream will be used as the “fat” instead of oil or butter. Along with the cream, add the curry paste and ginger. Let this simmer, stirring constantly, for about one minute.

Add the chicken and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes. Add the coconut milk, sweet Thai chili sauce, cilantro, and chicken broth. Bring this to a simmer.

Add the red pepper, broccoli slaw (or carrots) and rice noodles and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking to the bottom, for about 5-8 minutes. The noodles will thicken and plump up as they absorb the liquid. The mixture will be slightly soupy when the noodles are finished cooking.

Take the pot off the heat and let the noodles sit for about 5 minutes. The mixture will continue to thicken. Garnish with more cilantro, if desired.

**Two cans of regular coconut milk is a little much for me. The creaminess, the fat content, the weight of it in my stomach veers over the edge just slightly, so next time I might try the light coconut milk cans or simply reduce the amount I’m using. I skipped the red peppers for the sake of my non-pepper loving family members and I doubled the amount of broccoli slaw. This works, but I’m craving more veggies. This recipe can definitely handle chunky vegetables. Some commenters noted they added fish sauce at the end, and other doubled the amount of red curry paste. Both seem like potential good ideas to me. I wanted more of a spice kick, but again, for my child in particular, I didn’t want too much heat. Really yummy recipe, the smells flooded my house with happiness. But I think I can do a bit better next time.

Apple Cider Braised Chicken and Fall Veggies


I found and saved this recipe on Facebook a few weeks ago. Finding again and then cooking from a recipe on FB? I don’t even know. So I’m putting it here on NMB, and I can have it for always.

This smelled amazing and hit all the right notes. You know a recipe is a keeper when the kids ask for more vegetables and then even after two helpings go pick at the pan for their favorites (garlic! celery!).

This didn’t cook in the time the original recipe said it would (maybe I had too many vegetables?), so I’m going to post it here just like I made it. It’s a little fussy with moving from one pot to two, but not overly so, I don’t think.


  • 9-10 chicken drumsticks
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1-inch squares
  • 3 medium potatoes, chopped into 1-inch squares (next time I’ll probably double the potatoes–they were a favorite)
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cup apple cider or spiced apple cider (I used plain apple juice because that’s what I had)
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled (I’ll use more next time, another favorite)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. Start by chopping and peeling all the veggies and setting them aside. This doesn’t actually have to be done first, but I bet you’ll be happier getting it out of the way.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Next, heat coconut oil in a large dutch oven or oven safe pot with lid. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
  4. Add garlic and chicken to the oil and let chicken cook on each side for about 3 minutes at medium/high heat. Remove and add 1/4 cup cider to the pan to deglaze. Using something soft like a spatula, stir to remove any stuck bits from the pan. After a minute or so, add chicken back in, then cover with veggies and sage, a sprinkle of salt, 1 cup of cider, and cover. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
  5. Now at this point, my chicken wasn’t nearly done, so I moved the drumsticks to a 9×13 glass pan and put the chicken and the veggies (now separated) back into the oven for about 15 minutes. If your chicken is done with the initial bake, great. Proceed to step 6.
  6. Scoop out all the chicken and veggies. There should be some of the cider and fat left in the pot. If its thick, you can use is straight up as gravy. If it’s still too thin, add some of the vegetables back in to the liquid and use an immersion blender to thicken into a gravy to serve atop chicken and veggies.
  7. Plate chicken with veggies, add a drizzle of cider gravy, and enjoy.

Crispy Chicken with White Wine Pan Sauce

Taken from Good Housekeeping magazine and served to friends tonight, this dish is a winner. That pan sauce…yum!

2 t olive oil
2.5lb chicken thighs
3/4 t salt, divided
2 medium shallots, chopped
2/3 C white wine
1/4 t dried rosemary
3 T sour cream
1/2 C chicken broth

In a 12-inch skillet, heat olive oil on medium high. Season chicken thighs with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, skin sides down, 6-8 minutes or until browned. Transfer to foil-lined baking sheet, skin sides up. Bake in 450 F oven 15 minutes or until cooked through.

To same skillet on medium, add shallots. Cook 2 minutes. Add white wine and rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Simmer 2 minutes, scraping up browned bits. Whisk in sour cream and chicken broth. Serve chicken with sauce, garnish with snipped chives.