I’m not sad to see summer go. I’m a fall girl through and through, and while I like barbecues, picnics, road trips and vacations, I also like routine, order, meal plans, and cooler weather. I think my kids crave that stuff, too, which is why everyone marched out the door with great enthusiasm this morning as they made their way to separate schools for the first time.
Ben is walking ten minutes west to high school this year, while Jackson heads seven minutes east to their elementary school. They have different start times, come home times, and won’t see each other throughout the day. Despite the vast differences in their personalities they are incredibly close, and I think family dinner will become even more important this year as it will be their time to connect with each other, as much as it is our time to chat with both of them.
Rob and I refinished our dining room table last month, a project that took us two weeks too long. We’re quite thrilled with the results, and although the hunt for chairs has been more challenging then expected, we definitely like our new place for dinner. While we were without a table, we ate outside, on the floor, and near the sofa, and when we finally found our way back to the dining room, everyone ignored what was being served and commented on how nice it was to have a regular family meal again. That’s when it really hit home that having dinner together each night means as much to them as it does to me, and if we’ve done anything right in the past fourteen years, I think it just might be that.
Last night, we resumed our regular dinner routine, which includes one kid clearing and cleaning the table while the other sweeps the floor and assists with loading the dishwasher, and it was a mostly silent task as everyone was full from devouring the dinner you see above. I took a classic chicken tikka masala dish and turned it into a grill-friendly meal to be served alongside golden, turmeric rice, homemade naan, and chili lime corn on the cob. It was the perfect way to bridge the gap between summer and fall, making use of seasonal ingredients and cooking methods, while using warm flavours generally reserved for hearty dishes typically synonymous with autumn.
The kids lapped up their meal, pouring sauce over everything on their plate, corn included. The leftovers even found their way into Jackson’s lunchbox sandwich this morning, as he smeared the remaining sauce over slices of baguette before topping them with chicken and cheese (I’m not convinced the cheese belonged there with the Indian spices but who am I to judge – he was making his own lunch!!).
While the recipe may not seem weeknight dinner friendly, it really is. The meat can be plopped into the marinade the night before it’s needed, and the sauce can be made on the weekend and stored in the fridge until served. Those two make-ahead steps definitely deems this suitable for those weeknights that seems a little hurried, which, when it’s fall, is pretty much every night of the week.
Chicken Tikka Masala Kebabs
For the marinade:
- 1 cup Greek-style yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 6 3-5oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" chunks
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
To make the marinade, combine yogurt, lemon juice, oil, cumin, garam masala, cayenne, salt, pepper, ginger, and garlic. Whisk well, stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, if desired.
When ready to cook, prepare your grill for high heat. Thread the chicken onto soaked wooden or metal skewers and discard the marinade. Grill until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic for 30 seconds. Season with cumin, paprika and garam masala. Add the tomato sauce and cream, reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pot, and simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Check seasonings and add salt, if desired.
Place the cooked kebabs on a platter and garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve with warm sauce on the side, or alternatively, spoon the sauce over the kebabs just before serving.
Adapted from All Recipes