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Saag Murghi

2 Nov

Please excuse my attempt to put an Indian title on this recipe.  The inspiration dish is saag paneer and I believe that means “spinach with cheese” or something close to that.  🙂  I know that saag means spinach.  So, “saag murghi” as it were, came from a quick google: “indian word for chicken.”  Murghi=chicken.  Probably.

I made this up to satisfy my saag paneer craving, but I needed it to be higher in protein, lower in fat, and potentially dairy free.  I am using the chicken as a replacement for the paneer cheese.  With the turmeric seasoning, it really does come close. 

This is so good.  Aarti knew what she was doing and if you don’t care about elimination/fat content, make hers.  But if you are trying to eat cleaner, up your protein, and watch your fat intake, I think this is a great rewrite.  I have made it many times.  Just finally getting around to blogging it after my crazybusy year moving from Hawaii to the UK while trying to keep five kids alive.  

Saag Murghi

1/2 pound chopped cooked chicken breast
1/2 tsp turmeric 
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp water

2 pounds (32 oz) frozen spinach
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 1-inch “thumb” minced ginger
4 cloves minced garlic
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional but yummy)
1/2 tsp garam masala (recipe below)
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

full fat plain yogurt – or – cream cheese
ghee or butter

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the water, turmeric, and salt.  Add the chicken and toss to coat.  Set aside. 
  • Thaw spinach in microwave.  Pour into colander to allow to drain a little bit while you are prepping the onions…but you don’t need to squeeze it dry.  
  • In a large skillet over medium heat saute the onions, ginger, garlic and jalapeno.  NB:  1.  Saute the mixture for 15-20 minutes until the onions are toffee-coloured.  This is the base of the dish and is worth the wait.  2. Do not burn the garlic.  There is no recovering from burnt garlic.  If you feel like the mixture is drying out, add a few tablespoons of water. 
  • Add the garam masala, coriander and cumin.  Sprinkle more water to keep from burning, cook spices 3-5 more minutes to release the flavors. 
  • Add the spinach and stir well. Add salt and pepper.  Once it is heated through evenly, add in the seasoned chicken pieces.  Cook until everything is warmed evenly.  
  • Stir in 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup of yogurt (or my preference: cream cheese).  *Be careful with the yogurt, it can curdle if the pan is too hot.
  • If you are wanting to count your macros a little more carefully, omit the butter, and add the cream cheese/yogurt separately: as a measured topping for your own portion.  I am counting fat right now, so no butter and I put my cream cheese on top by measured teaspoons, as shown in the picture.
  • Serve over rice, with naan, or you can eat this as a one-dish meal.  
  • Serves 4-6.

1.  A *very* basic Garam Masala can be quickly mixed together with equal parts ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, and ground cloves.
2.  Avoid really dry chicken breast if possible.  “Moister” chicken is closer to the texture of paneer.  (Don’t tell me not to say the word moist.  I don’t get that aversion at all.)  
3.  If you want the saag to be “dippier” I recommend adding a good bit of butter…maybe 3-4 tablespoons. But then you’d have to tell MFP.
4.  Honestly, the more cream cheese and butter you stir into this the better.  But your MFP macro table will not indicate this.
5.  Kala Jeera.  This recipe tastes AMAZING with Kala Jeera stirred in with the spices.  I left it out of this recipe because it can be hard to find.  Another name for this is “whole cumin seed.”  But, if you see it in your spice aisle, grab it.  Add a teaspoon of it when you are sautéing the onions, you are another step closer to being in a restaurant.  


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P.S.  I would be completely confident hosting an Indian food dinner party with this saag, and the three recipes below.  The meat dishes can be prepared ahead and reheated on the day of the gathering.



Do you have a favorite Indian dish you make at home?  Please share with me in the comments. 🙂


Best Barbecue Sauce

7 Jan

One of the first blogs we started following when we began our primal journey was SonofGrok. He had witty posts and tasty recipes, but sadly he is no longer blogging. I’m pretty sure, however, his Zesty Barbecue Sauce recipe will remain. I’ve used it several times and it never disappoints! Last week it proved to be a winner for all company so I just had to share it with you. SonofGrok could definitely bottle this. I would buy it!  You WON’T miss the sugar.  


1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, finely diced
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 to 1 1/2 cups of beef stock
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (I’ve also used red wine vinegar or pomegranate vinegar in a pinch)
1 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp chili powder


Heat oil in sauce pan, sauté onion and garlic. Add spices, tomato paste, mustard, and vinegar. Combine until fragrant. Slowly add beef stock, constantly mixing until you reach your desired consistency. Simmer for 15-20 minutes to allow flavors to combine. Tastes great right from the pan, but even better if you make it ahead and refrigerate for a day or two. You can also run it through a food processor once cooled if you prefer a smoother consistency. Go ahead and make a double batch!

I recently served mine with beef brisket, but it’s ideal for so many dishes. Try it with simple pulled pork, fresh roast chicken, on burgers, as a sweet potato fries dip, or with ground beef for a new twist on spaghetti squash and meat sauce. If you prefer a vinegar based barbecue sauce, try our Eastern Carolina sauce.

Happy Fall!



the base before the broth is added


This is the first time I am going for a blog repost.  We are not using much of our personal social media for self-promotion.  But I really want to bring a selection of gems back to life.  We have published 171 posts (wow!) here in the last 5 years…and some of them definitely deserve a re-look.  

Also, we’ve picked up many new followers who may have not seen some of our old content…  I (Leigh) am still trying to decide whether or not to use social media to direct traffic over here.  That seems to be the blogger-thing to do; however, we risk becoming just more “white noise” people scroll past.  

Hamburger Helper…

13 Dec

…helps hamburger help her.  Remember that?  Am I showing my age?

So it’s 5:30 pm.  You just remembered that you have to feed your family, again.  You haven’t thought about what to eat, but somehow you feel guilty throwing frozen fish sticks and a bag of cheetos at them.  You have that frozen brick of ground beef burning a hole in your freezer.

I have your answer.  This is the pinch-hit you need on your repetoire when you are very low on the gaf-meter, but not low enough to call for pizza.

This is the easiest one-pot meal you can make and you don’t even need one of those insta machines to do it. You have everything you need in your freezer and fridge right now.


1 chopped onion
1 hunk of ground meat (I use 2 lbs, but we have 7 eaters)
1 bag of frozen kale (approx 1 fresh bunch per pound of meat)**
Cheese.  Lots of shredded cheese.
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.    
Cumin + Curry powder (1 tbsp each, per pound of meat)

Get out a big pot. Sauté the onion in a few tbsps of oil.  Add the ground beef and kale.  (If beef is frozen, you’ll want to defrost it in the mike for a few minutes.)  Brown the beef.  Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin and curry…stir frequently until it’s all cooked.  Stir in a large handful of shredded cheese. 

Notes: Honestly you can pick any spice here…you can be pretty creative.  This is a great time to try out one of those spice combos they’ve come out with: Rogan Josh, Ras-el-Hanout, Southwestern Ranch, etc.  Anything will be good.
Season heavily: about a tablespoon of spice per pound of meat.
Bowl it up, and top with as much cheese as you like.

**I buy fresh chopped kale in the salad section, and freeze it for smoothies or “Hamburger Helper” night.  It is about 5 cups.


 Bam.  Just fed the family…took 14 minutes.  Eating healthy does not mean you also have to be creative every night, too.  This is a skeleton of a recipe…consider topping it with a fried egg,  or using the leftovers in a breakfast scramble, in egg cupcakes, or throw it in a couple cups of bone broth for a filling soup.   For another easy grab-the-hamburger dinner, check out these Creamy Curry Meatballs.  



If you have these five ingredients….


And these spices needing to be used up…

Then dinner’s almost done.


Keeping it real over here, 

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