Autumnal Mulled Cider

Over the past 3 to 4 years I have lived in southern California and now Hawaii, but I am a born and raised Massachusetts girl at heart. I didn’t realize how much I would truly miss the autumn weather, the changing leaves, and all my boots, scarves, and cozy sweaters.

My social media has been filled with pictures of my friends & family enjoying all those fall delights. I know, I know, I get to live in paradise, and the tables will turn when they are shoveling snow and I’m on the beach, but it’s still hard sometimes. (Honestly, I even miss winter too.)

The one way I can get those autumn vibes flowing through me is with seasonal food and drinks. Well, that and my artificial fall leaf wreath and Halloween yard decor from Target. So today I’m sharing my quickest, easiest fix for when I’m missing New England and the crisp October breeze: mulled cider… in the slow cooker!

  • 2 quarts organic apple cider
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup (the real stuff, if you can splurge)
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp whole cloves
  • 1 Tbsp whole allspice
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • rum or whisky (optional)
  1. Put the cider into a slow cooker & stir in the maple syrup. Add the sliced orange.
  2. Using cheese cloth or a coffee filter (my go-to), create a bundle of the cloves, allspice & cinnamon sticks. You can break the sticks in half to make them fit better. Tie the bundle tightly with twine for easy removal. If using a coffee filter, I like to use a toothpick to poke some holes so that the flavor infuses quicker. Place the spice bundle in the cider.
  3. “Cook” on low for at least an hour before serving. Leave it all day on low heat or the warm setting. Serve punchbowl style & add a shot rum or whisky to your glass at your discretion (& my suggestion).


A look at my coffee filter spice bundle for reference

The slow cooker is key for me because it makes it easy to serve and it also doesn’t heat up the house like keeping it on the stovetop all day would. (Very important when October still means 85 degrees and humid.)

I make this constantly in the fall. It’s lovely for long Sundays watching football or waiting for trick-or-treaters. It’s been a staple at my Thanksgivings and Christmases for the past few years. Nothing tastes more like New England in autumn to me than mulled cider.

It’s a wonderful option for family and holiday gatherings because it gives people the option of what kind of liquor to add, if any. Kids can still partake and any non-drinkers at your party will feel like they get to enjoy something special besides sparkling water or soda. If you get one of the big gallon jugs of cider or more, you can keep replenishing the pot if it’s a big group of people.

What’s the first thing you run to make when fall rolls around?

Indian Chicken Lasagna

I have been a little MIA from the blog. My family came out for a week long visit, we had a couple different military balls to attend, and overall it’s been a busy time. The good news is that I have been cooking, and I have like three new recipes waiting to be shared. It was just a matter of having the time and energy to write them out. But I’m back in the swing of things!

So there’s no escaping the reaction the title of this recipe will get. Indian food mixed with Italian food? Uh… what?! The whole time I was making this dish, I kept asking myself if it was crazy. And it was crazy… crazy delicious.


It looks delicious, right?

I love Indian food. Tikka masala and vindaloo and pakora and curry and the rice and the naan… YUM. Unfortunately I have not found a good place here in Hawaii yet (hit me up if you have any leads) so when I am craving those bold, spicy Indian flavors, I have to make it myself.

The base of this recipe comes from having a lot of leftovers from my slow cooker coconut curry chicken. So yeah, the lasagna kind of requires making a recipe before the recipe, but you can always use the chicken (or beef, or lamb, or whatever) tikka masala from your weekend take-out leftovers. Another shortcut option would be to get a really good jarred curry or tikka masala sauce and throw it in the crock-pot with some chicken for a few hours.

**The only thing you have to keep consistent is that before going in the lasagna, the chicken (or whatever protein you choose) needs to be shredded and easy to spread**

  • 2 cups coconut curry chicken (or any leftover Indian chicken in sauce)
  • 12-16 lasagna noodle sheets (avoid the “no boil” noodles, use traditional)
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • fresh parsley for garnish
  1. Make sure the chicken in the sauce is properly shredded & will spread evenly. Boil the lasagna noodles according to package directions & let cool. (The “no boil” noodles need a lot of moisture to cook in the oven & can come out dry/uncooked, so use traditional lasagna sheets.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. In a bowl, stir together the ricotta, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, extra virgin olive oil with a pinch of salt & pepper.
  4. In a 9×13 baking dish, start by spreading 1/3 of the ricotta mixture thinly & evenly over the bottom. Top that with 3 of the lasagna noodles. (If yours come up short, use an extra to fill in the gap. Better to have too many than too little.)
  5. Continue the layers by adding, in this order: 1 cup of the coconut curry chicken, 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, noodles, the remaining ricotta mixture, noodles, the remaining coconut curry chicken, noodles & top it all off with the remaining mozzarella & the parmesan.
  6. Cover with foil & bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil & finish for another 10-15 minutes until the cheese on top is golden brown. Top with fresh chopped parsley.

It looks like lasagna, it tastes like Indian cuisine. Maybe it’s wrong to call it lasagna? Maybe it’s more of a casserole? I’m not sure. This is a rare recipe that I threw together on a wild whim and ended up surprising myself. (Thank goodness I had the instinct to write down measurements as I went.)

Unlike most recipes I come up with, this isn’t one I urge people to get up and try right away. It’s more in the vein of an interesting use for your leftovers. Here’s the scenario I found myself in: It’s two days later, the curry chicken is sitting in the fridge and you just aren’t feeling it anymore. Oh hey, you have those lasagna noodles that have been hanging out in the pantry, why not? Boom, a whole new dish.

Again, the key here is some shredded, saucy chicken. If you need to stretch it a little more to hit 2 full cups, add a little tomato sauce. Really, that’s the only difference between this and normal lasagna… the meaty sauce. In theory, this could work with chicken in enchilada sauce, or sesame sauce, or buffalo sauce.


Ricotta mixture + {insert your chicken here}

The possibilities are endless, and it really gives new life to the leftovers and (added bonus) 1-2 servings of chicken becomes a meal for 4-6 people.

Part of me thinks maybe this recipe was a little too unrefined and improvised to share here, but when I tasted it, I couldn’t help myself. It was so fun and delicious and different that I had to put it out here. I don’t expect it to be my most popular dish, since it kind of requires the extra step in the beginning and I prefer making things easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy for you all… but hey. No harm in letting you decide for yourself if you are ready for Indian chicken lasagna.

On The Side: Slow Cooker Garlic Smashed Potatoes

My second side dish idea this week is a slow cooker recipe. I LOVE the slow cooker. You dump it all in, forget about it and come back to something delicious. You can set it up before work on a weekday or get dinner prep out the way on a weekend so you can relax.

The theme of these sides is easy-peasy. By making “smashed” potatoes instead of mashed, you don’t have to bother with a mixer or a lot of manual labor. The slow cooker makes the potatoes so incredibly soft, they practically fall apart.


In a few hours, magic’s going to happen

Plus, mashed potatoes aren’t that hard to screw up! If they aren’t super smooth and fluffy, they are kind of a bummer. This technique is more rustic (that word cooks use for not-so-pretty) and a lot easier to get just right. It’s also a crowd-pleaser. The only side dish that my friends & family have requested of me more is the last one I’ll be sharing in a couple days! Garlic smashed potatoes are a very, very close second.

Note that this recipe makes four decent-sized portions, it’s not going to make an overwhelming amount. Double up if you want to feed a crowd or have a bunch of leftovers!

  • 2lb red potatoes, quartered
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onion (white & light green, reserve tops for garnish)
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp half & half
  • salt & pepper
  1. Grease the inside of the slow cooker. Add the quartered potatoes, butter, garlic, green onions, thyme, rosemary & sage. Stir gently to evenly distribute. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8, until potatoes are extremely soft and easy to smash.
  2. Reduce the slow cookers heat to the warming setting (or low) and add the sour cream, half & half, and salt and pepper to taste. Using a large spatula or potato masher, smash the potatoes until all ingredients are well incorporated. If you need more moisture, stir in more half & half by the 1/2 Tbsp until you reach your desired consistency. Garnish optionally with sliced green onion tops & a dollop of sour cream.

I do like mashed potatoes, very mush so, but for me, some dishes need a little more texture. For example, I love making this with fried chicken. It’s perfect alongside barbecue too, with some greens or slaw.

Of course, you could always whip these up with a mixer if your family prefers that. But maybe give it a shot. I’ve had people look at them like I was just being lazy, but when they eat them, they love that there’s actually something to chew on.

Speaking of texture, the green onions contribute to that as well. It’s just one more unexpected little crunch in there. I like chives too, but since I was using the onion bottoms cooked into the potatoes, why waste the tops? It ties it all together.

This is also become my Thanksgiving potato dish. I love that I can free up stove space by making them in the slow cooker. Using red potatoes and leaving the skin on saves prep time too. It’s also one less platter or bowl to clean up, because when I set up my “buffet”, I keep the potatoes in the crockpot on warm.

Alright everyone, I’ll be traveling soon, so make sure to follow my instagram for some more foodie adventures. I’ll be back with a sweet new recipe in a couple weeks. See you then!

Recipe Redux: Coconut Curry Chicken

First off, I want to thank everyone who’s reads, follows and support this little blog of mine. I started this to stay motivated to keep cooking and try new recipes. The fact that I now have a rapidly growing social media following and all this amazing feedback from family, friends and strangers alike is un-be-lievable. It’s encouraging and humbling. I’m just so glad you like me, you really like me!

My last post was a milestone: my 50th post! Not bad, since I only started this project last January. Do you remember what my first post was? Well, if you don’t, I’ll give you a hint. It’s in the title. Coconut curry chicken.

I’m trying to start a little weekly ritual of making dinner for some of my girl friends who also had their significant others deploy recently. When I am cooking for other people, I feel like it’s not really the time for experiments. I like to do recipes that are tried and true, but after making them so many times, they tend to change and evolve a bit.

It’s been the better part of a year that I have been working on this blog. It’s not really a surprise that time and experience have improved my cooking, so I want to do some posts where I go back and revamp some of my older recipes, ones that you folks may have missed way back when.

I’m not saying the originals aren’t any good. In the case of the coconut curry chicken, I actually just added onto it, making it a little more complex.

For reference, here is my first blog recipe. I didn’t really talk much back in the old days, huh? I guess I’m getting less shy.

And here is the version 2.0!

Yields about 6 servings.

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • 4 celery stalks, sliced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced into thin strips
  • 3 tsp garam masala*, divided
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 13.5 oz coconut milk
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
  • salt & pepper to season
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the shallot and garlic, stirring for about a minute until fragrant. Add onion, celery, carrot and peppers. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly tender.
  2. Add 2 tsp garam masala, curry, cayenne and a dash of salt and pepper to the saucepan and stir for 1 minute until vegetables are well coated. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the coconut milk and tomato paste. Cover and simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Put the chicken into a slow cooker, and season with remaining tsp of garam masala, and a dash of salt and pepper. Pour the sauce and veggies over the chicken, and cook on low for 4 hours. Serve over rice with an optional garnish of fresh parsley or cilantro.

*If you are having trouble finding garam masala at the store, you can make your own. I have used this recipe when I was in a pinch.

I love to break out my slow cooker when fall rolls in, even though it is still in the high 70’s where I live. I just can’t control my New England roots. No joke, October 1st I was loading all this into the cooker while sipping a hard apple cider, pretending the palm trees were changing colors.


Not the prettiest when it’s cooking, but it smells fantastic

For the record, this recipe does not have a strong coconut flavor. The coconut milk thickens the sauce in place of something like heavy cream and adds a subtle sweetness. Actually, if you took the chicken out of this dish, it would be vegan/vegetarian.

Again, there is nothing wrong with my first post. Consider that the express version. This new take definitely has more prep involved with all the extra vegetables. Try out whichever way works for you! I’m just a sucker for all the great produce still available here in California. I get so happy seeing all the colorful veggies sizzling together in the pan.


It’s the little things

I’m excited to revisit some more recipes with everyone! Time to get back to work, browse through my blog and see what else I can come up with. Hopefully I’ll be back soon with another recipe!

My Favorite Kitchen Toys, Part 1

I’m going to start off with my most prized kitchen possession, my Kitchenaid mixer. Every homecook and baker I talk to has this or wants this. My family gave me one for Christmas this year and I honestly don’t think a gift has been more exciting since my mom got me a Furby and a Tamagotchi in the late nineties. There’s something magical about them.

Just like my approach to cars, color is most important. I went with aqua sky (yes that’s the real color name). I wanted something that was classic, but not the obvious red, white or black. I try and hide most of my toys away when I am not using them, but my mixer is always displayed where everyone can see it. It’s the kitchen equivalent to an Andy Warhol screen print. Bold, modern but classicly designed and a piece of pop culture.

Beyond the beauty, it’s changed my baking life. I’ve made bread, bagels, pizza dough, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, all these things that were so scary to me, all from scratch. I need to start investing in some fun attachments. Or if anyone from Kitchenaid happens to see this, send some my way, I’d love to review them! (Wink wink)

They can be pricey, but they are worth every penny. I have the 5 quart artisan mixer and it generally retails for around $279. The accessories aren’t cheap either, hence me not having any yet. There’s meat grinders, an ice cream maker, a spiralizer and more. I have my eye on one of the pasta attachments. I would love to make all my own pasta from scratch some day.

My mixer is my current favorite, but a close second is the first big kitchen toy I ever got: my slow cooker. I got my first one five or six years ago, but now I have two. Such a lifesaver at thanksgiving to have mashed potatoes in one and mulled cider in the other. I actually might do a whole post in the future on slow cooker cocktails, they are so great for parties, particularly at the holidays.

When I was living in Massachusetts, it was my tradition every year on the first really chilly weekend of the fall to get my slow cooker out and make chicken cacciatore. From that day until spring I would use it pretty much bi-weekly. I would love getting snowed in during the winter so I could watch movies and use my slow cooker.

A few recipes I’ve shared so far on my blog have utilized it. I make pulled buffalo chicken for a number of different dishes often and my very first post, coconut curry chicken, is also done in the slow cooker. I love making big batches of pasta sauce that I can jar, soups and stews, mashed potatoes, chili, you can do so much. Of course the red meat eaters out there use it for pot roasts and beef stews. Honestly the possibilities are endless.

I moved to California last Septemeber and have had to adjust to autumn and winter tempatures being in the 70s. Not complaining, but it was weird to not see leaves changing and walking past houses with Christmas lights when I was wearing shorts. But I still got my slow cooker out and made my chicken cacciatore to force the feeling of the seasons into my home.

I like to slow cook on lazy weekends, but it can also be a real time saver for a busy family. Throw everything in, set it on low and forget about for a few hours. The only hard part is resisting the urge to open the lid to smell and taste along the way. There’s also one for every budget. They can range from $20 to hundreds of dollars. I think I remember my first one being around $100, for a large 6.5 quart Cuisinart, which has held up beautifully over a number of years and a lot use. I lucked out and inherited my second, smaller cooker for free from my sister when she was cleaning out her kitchen. Score!

Of course fancy gadgets aren’t going to make you a good cook, it’s about what you do with them. But it certainly helps out the execution of meals when you have quality equipment. It’s fun too. I get so pumped whenever I get a new kitchen toy to play with. Unfortunately (but fortunately for my wallet) I only have so much space left in my kitchen, but look out for a couple more posts featuring my other cooking essentials in the future!

Part 3: Buffalo Chicken Dip

It’s crunch time, y’all. There’s a only two days to decide what you are serving up for the Super Bowl. I hope you at least you know who you are rooting for. My heart is always with the Patriots, but for now… Go Panthers!

Do not cave in and order in a bunch of generic chicken wings! I’ve gone through two easy and delicious buffalo alternatives and here’s my third. If you follow my Instagram or Twitter (@thepickygourmet, wink wink) you may have seen this dish when I made it for the games a couple weeks ago. Drumroll, please.

Buffalo chicken dip! What’s a football game without some form of chips and dip? I put this out for the Pats vs Broncos and it was gone before halftime. And the best part is, this might be the easiest of all my wing-less ideas. Besides the base of the shredded buffalo chicken we’ve used in all these recipes, there are only three ingredients.

Refresher on the chicken one more time: three chicken breasts, a dry ranch seasoning packet, a sprinkle of garlic and buffalo sauce to coat the chicken completely. Into the slow cooker for 3-4 hours on high or 6-7 on low, until it can be shredded with a fork. I swear, I make a batch of this every couple weeks for one thing or another. If you want to make an extra large batch, do it. You can totally freeze this and have it on hand for a quick meal in the future. But for now, here’s what you need for dip:

8 oz cream cheese block
6 oz blue cheese crumbles
2 cups shredded buffalo chicken
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

So yeah, consider this two birds with one stone. You’ll be satisfying the buffalo chicken lovers and the cheese lovers. You’ll probably won’t be impressing any vegan cross-fit enthusiasts though.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. I use a 9×9 aluminum pan because it’s easy clean up and if you are traveling to a party you don’t have to worry about getting your bakeware back at the end of the day. Take the cream cheese block and start thinly slicing it, about an 1/8 of an inch thick, like you would a stick of butter. Arrange the slices evenly over the bottom of the pan, leaving a little space between them. Sprinkle on the blue cheese crumbles, again as evenly as possible, filling in those gaps.

A lot of buffalo dip recipes call for blue cheese or ranch dressing. Forget that! It’s all about the fresh crumbles. The flavor is better and it makes for a thick, decadent dip.

Next add the buffalo chicken. I sound like a broken record, but keep it even and layer it thick. Top it all off with the shredded cheddar and bake for 20 minutes, or until the top starts to become bubbly and slightly browned. Let this cool for about 5 minutes before digging in and serve with tortilla chips and celery stalks. Better yet, get that friend who doesn’t like cooking to bring those to party.

So this concludes the very first Picky Gourmet theme week! Wings are one of my favorite things, but I encourage you to do something different from everyone else for the big game. I’ve shown you simple but crowd pleasing ways to use buffalo chicken: nachos, stuffed potatoes and ooey-gooey, cheesy dip. I hope you try one (or all!) of these out, and most importantly, have FUN!

{follow me on twitter & instagram: @thepickygourmet}

Part 2: Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Potatoes

Ding, ding! Time for round two.

Last time we talked about nachos, which is ideal for a party and feeding a bunch of people. But let’s say you are having a more intimate Super Bowl gathering, or maybe you are just staying in with the family. Here’s another option: Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Potatoes!

I am not advertising these as skins, because I like to leave some of the potato in there. These babies are hefty and filling, so if it’s just you and a couple of your loved ones, these are great. Grab some chips from the store and make some fresh homemade salsa for a lighter option, and that’s all you are going to need on game day.

In the first part of this buffalo extravaganza, I talked about making the shredded chicken in the slow cooker with 3 breasts, a ranch packet, a little garlic, buffalo sauce, cooked until you can pull it apart with a fork. We are using the same thing here. If you have made the chicken ahead of time and frozen it, thaw it and make sure it’s at least room tempature. So the ingredients you need are:

  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 8 tsp (approx 1.3 oz) extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 Tbsp (4 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 cups shredded buffalo chicken (depending on potato size)
  • 8 Tbsp (4 oz) blue cheese crumbles
  • 3 green onions, chopped, or fresh parsley
  • salt & pepper to season

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and pierce the potatoes and put them in the oven on a baking sheet for about 45 minutes, or until they are soft and cooked through. This can take a while, but be patient because and undercooked potato is going to ruin the whole dish. They need to rest and cool, so it’s a good idea to start this step early and put the potatoes aside if you have extra time.

Once the potatoes are cooked and cool, reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Cut them in half and use a small spoon to scoop out the middle, leaving about a quarter inch of potato. They will look like delicious little row boats. Place them cut side up on the baking sheet (use some foil for easier clean up)’ season with salt and pepper, and drizzle each potato with a tsp of olive oil. Put them in the oven for about 5 minutes to reheat and let the oil start to crisp up the skin.

Take them out of the oven and sprinkle each potato with a Tbsp of Parmesan cheese, then fill each potato with warm shredded buffalo chicken. You want them completely filled, but not spilling over the edge. Use a spoon to pack the chicken down if you have to. Then top each one with a Tbsp of blue cheese crumbles. Cook for another 5 minutes until the cheese is soft and starting to melt. Serve sprinkled with chopped green onion or fresh parsley.

If you want to be crazy, you could definitely add some chopped bacon or maybe some chopped red onion, whatever you want really, on top of the potatoes. Some people, might want some sour cream or blue cheese dressing on the side, but honestly the melted blue cheese crumbles add enough flavor and creaminess in my opinion.

You can eat these with a fork and knife if you are feeling proper, but football games are about finger foods, and it’s fun to just pick these suckers up and dive right in. These can also be a great weeknight dinner along side a nice green salad though. Surprisingly, they hold up really well as leftovers. If you don’t eat them all, put the rest tupperware and microwave them for about 2 minutes the next day.

Alright guys, two down and one more to go! My last buffalo recipe will be up in a couple days, plenty of time for you to decide what you are making for Super Bowl Sunday.

{follow me on twitter & instagram: @thepickygourmet}

Part 1: Buffalo Chicken Nachos

It’s almost time for the Super Bowl! I’m still excited for game day, even though my beloved Patriots didn’t make it this year. (I live in CA, but grew up in MA.)

Super Bowl Sunday is the best excuse to pig out, and it’s never complete without buffalo chicken! I love all things buffalo. The standard game plan is to just order 100 chicken wings and call it a day, but over the next few days I’m going to share my favorite ways to serve buffalo chicken for a party.

All of these ideas start the same way, with the slow cooker. I use 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, a packet of dry ranch dressing, a little minced garlic and enough buffalo sauce to completely coat the chicken. I use store bought buffalo sauce most of the time, but if you want to make your own, it’s equal parts hot sauce and butter. Then it’s either 3-4 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low, until the chicken can be easily shredded with a fork.

You could actually double up on everything and save some of this shredded chicken in the freezer for a quick meal in the future. I love doing food prep days on weekend and freezing things to save time on weekday nights, but that’s a whole other post for another day!

Now we have our delicious shredded Buffalo chicken all set to go. First game day dish we are going to tackle: Nachos! Like wings, nachos has to be one of the most popular foods for football games, so it only makes sense to get these guys together. Here’s how I do it.

  • bag of tortilla chips
  • 2 cups shredded buffalo chicken
  • 8 oz shredded Italian or pizza cheese blend
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced (optional)
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and begin assembly. I like to use a 9×13 disposable aluminum pan to make clean up extra easy at the end of the day. Also when you are chopping the fresh toppings, they can all end up in one bowl like a salsa to make things easier. Just keep the green onions to the side.

The biggest thing about nachos is you have to layer them. Don’t just dump it all on top! Nothing is worse than having half of your chips be sad and naked at the bottom of the pan.

Start with half of the chips and top with 3 oz of the cheese and 1 cup of the buffalo chicken. Next add half of the chopped red onion, tomato and the optional jalapeño (if you want some extra heat), making sure everything is spread out evenly. Then pile on the rest of the chips, another 3 oz of cheese, and the last of the chicken, tomato, onion and jalapeño. Finally, the last 2 oz of the cheese goes on. Bake this for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the edges of the chips start to brown. Finish it off with some fresh green onion over the whole thing.

I like to serve these up with some blue cheese dressing and sour cream on the side for dipping. I personally think blue cheese is the superior choice for a buffalo chicken dipping sauce, but I know there are some ranch fans out there. Do what makes you happy!

If these nachos don’t do it for you, check back in this week for some more ideas for using that shredded buffalo chicken.

{follow me on twitter & instagram: @thepickygourmet}

Coconut Curry Chicken

This is a simple and delicious approach to Indian food that’s not intimidating and doesn’t come with a long list of ingredients. This recipe can be on the spicy side, so feel free to omit the cayenne or cut back on curry for a milder dish. The sauce is prepared on the stovetop before being added to the slow cooker, so it’s easy to taste as you go and adjust it to your liking. My husband and I love spice and he was wild about this dish.

Yields about 6 servings.

  • 2 lbs (approx. 8 pieces) boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 13.5 oz coconut milk
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • salt
  • pepper
  • green onions or fresh parsley (optional)
  1. Cut the chicken thighs into chunks and place them in a slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Cook the onions and celery, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes until onions become translucent.
  3. Add garam masala, curry, cayenne and a dash of salt and pepper to the saucepan and stir for 1 minute until vegetables are well coated. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the coconut milk and tomato paste.
  4. Once sauce is well blended, pour over the chicken and stir to coat completely. Cook on low for 4 hours. Serve chicken and sauce over white or jasmine rice. Sprinkle with chopped green onions or chopped parsley if you want.

The chicken and sauce hold up very well for leftovers. I’d suggest making rice fresh per serving instead of combining and refrigerating all together.

Happy cooking!

{follow me on twitter & instagram: @thepickygourmet}