Category Archives: Recipes

Easy Cucumber Tomato Salad With Balsamic

Close up of cucumber tomato salad in a bowl

My friends’ with gardens always seem to have an over abundance of tomatoes and cucumbers each summer. Seeing that I do not have a green thumb, I’m always more than willing to help them out. One of my favorite things to make with them is this delicious and easy tomato cucumber salad with feta and balsamic.

It is so good.

After all, how can you go wrong with a fresh cucumber tomato salad with balsamic.

The ingredients are simple:

  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes (preferably vine ripened)
  • Onions (red or another more mild onion)
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh basil
  • Feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper, of course

Ingredients for cucumber tomato salad on a cutting board

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There’s nothing not to love! Unless you are one who doesn’t like feta or onions or basil. If that’s the case, leave it out or swap it with a different ingredient and it will just be a tomato cucumber salad instead of tomato cucumber salad with feta. 😉

You could try these subs:

  • Oregano instead of basil.
  • Freshly grated Parmesan instead of the feta.
  • Apple cider vinegar instead of balsamic.
  • Adding sliced olives.

Isn’t that one of the great things about salads? They are so customizable!

It is also so easy.

You can have this cucumber tomato feta salad with balsamic done in 10 minutes. Honestly, that would probably include the time it takes to wash the dishes. 😉 All it takes is a little bit of cutting and a little pouring and you are done!

cucumber tomato salad with feta with a pink text box

Be sure to make it at least an hour before serving because it tastes best after the flavors are allowed to marinate for a while.

Let talk how to chiffonade basil! I taught my daughter what this meant when making the recipe together this weekend. It’s super easy. You stack the basil leaves on top of each other and then gently roll the pile together (roll from the long side). Next you slice the basil into thin ribbons using a sharp knife. A sharp knife is important, otherwise your basil will end up bruised.

One tool recommendation. A few years ago I received a microplane to use for garlic and ginger and I love it! I makes doing the garlic so easy in the recipe and also makes it paste like.

One more note, I never like to give exact salt amounts because everyone’s tastes are so different. Maybe start with a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon, taste and add more if needed.

I’ve made this salad pretty much always. Both of my girls love it (as long as I’m sure to use a more mild onion). In fact, I used to have to “fight” my oldest for it, when she was 3. It’s just that yummy.

It makes a delicious side dish to go with any grilled meat and wouldn’t it be a great salad for your 4th of July celebration.

I also love to eat this as my lunch (served on a bed of spinach is my favorite) and don’t ever tire of it.

Go make this! I hope you enjoy a yummy cucumber tomato salad with balsamic as much as we do.

Cucumber tomato salad with feta in a bowlYou might also be interested these recipes:

A fun side salad: Garbanzo Bean and Roasted Corn Salad
A main dish salad: Mandarin Salad

Cucumber Tomato Salad with Balsamic

Cucumber Tomato Salad with Balsamic
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 side servings
 
An easy and delicious cucumber tomato salad with feta and balsamic. It comes together in minutes and has lots of flavor.
Ingredients
  • 1 English cucumber or seeded regular cucumber (around 2.5 cups)
  • 3 vine ripened tomatoes (2.5-3 cups)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ cup minced onion (red or mild)
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • fresh basil (1/8 cups lightly packed chiffonade of basil)
  • 4 tablespoons feta cheese
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the cucumber into fourths the long way and then slice. (Be sure to peel if you aren't using an English one.)
  2. Cut the tomatoes into bite sized chunks.
  3. Chiffonade the basil leaves.
  4. Add the garlic, onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, basil, and salt & pepper to the bowl. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
  5. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the top of the dish.
  6. Refrigerate until serving.

Originally published June 2014. Updated May 2020.

cucumber tomato salad with feta in a bowl with white text boxpicture of cucumber tomato salad with green text boxoverhead shot of cucumber tomato salad with feta and balsamic in a bowl

Homemade Naan Recipe

Homemade naan recipe stacked on a plate

We love this delicious, simple homemade naan recipe! My kids frequently request it (and butter chicken).

Now, let’s get one thing straight. I’m not naive enough to think this is like what you’d get living in India or at an Indian restaurant but it’s still absolutely amazing and beats anything you can buy at the grocery store. (I’ve tried the premade kind from a large supermarket grocery store and was not impressed 😉 )

plate of cooked homemade naan

I love breads. Naan might top the list for me. I’ve been known on multiple occasion to go to an Indian restaurant and only order naan. On vacation one year, I saw in Indian option in a mall food court. Of course, I had to order naan. I don’t think the poor man could handle the thought of us sitting there eating plain naan and sent out a bowl of chicken curry as well. I didn’t complain about that all!

If you enjoy naan or even if you just enjoy bread, I hope that you’ll make this recipe! It’s perfect with butter chicken or a curry dish. It would also make a great wrap for sandwiches (check out this recipe for an Indian themed chicken sandwich), naan pizza, or even to snack on plain.

homemade naan dough balls resting on a plate

After kneading the dough together, you let it double in size and then divide into balls. Cover with a towel and again let them double in size.

homemade naan rolled out

After that second resting period, get your grill or skillet heating up and start rolling out your naan into circular or oblong shapes! Then then you are able to cook and enjoy this homemade naan recipe!

Garlic also makes a fantastic addition to naan! If garlic is your thing, be sure to turn this into a garlic naan recipe by microplaning or finely mincing some fresh garlic and kneading it into the dough. You can also infuse the butter you brush on top of the naan with garlic – perfection!

 

close up shot of a stack of homemade naan

Homemade Naan Recipe

4.7 from 3 reviews
Homemade Naan Recipe
Serves: 16 pieces
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3½ cups flour
  • Optional - 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 2-4 tablespoons melted butter
Instructions
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit until frothy.
  2. Add milk, baking soda, egg (poke the yoke several times after you add it to the bowl), salt, sugar, and 1 cup of flour.
  3. Add enough of the reminder of the flour to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic.
  4. Cover bowl and let rise until double in size. (Around 1 hour)
  5. If adding garlic, knead into the dough now. (Can also add to just part of the dough)
  6. Divide dough into 16 balls, cover with a towel and allow to double in size. (Around 30 minutes)
  7. Roll each ball into a fairly thin circle.
  8. Preheat grill or skillet (stainless steel or cast iron) to medium high. Make sure it's good and hot.
  9. Before cooking, turn heat to medium low.
  10. To cook, brush one side of naan with butter. Put buttered side down onto grill or skillet. It should bubble up right away. Brush top side with butter. One side will be done in a minute or two.
  11. Watch carefully - you don't want to over cook. When the bottom is golden brown in spots, flip and cook the other side.
  12. When finished, remove and stack on a plate. Cover with a towel to keep warm until all the naan in finished.

stack of simple and delicious homemade naan!

 

 

Easy and delicious naan. One of my favorite breads. You can make it in on the grill or a skillet.

Here it is after being cooked on the grill.

Easy and delicious naan. One of my favorite breads. You can make it in on the grill or a skillet.

This is when it’s cooked in a skillet.

Originally published March 12, 2014

Easy Butter Chicken

Bowl off easy butter chicken on a wooden board

This easy butter chicken recipe is so delicious! It’s my husband’s favorite Indian dish. Indian should probably be in quotation marks, because I’m sure this is a thoroughly Americanized version. But that’s okay, because everyone enjoys it!

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Another plus is that except for one ingredients, you probably already have everything in your kitchen or can grab it inexpensively at your local grocery store. So don’t the list of ingredients scare you! This easy butter chicken recipe is so simple and comes together quickly.

Plate with spices on it

Garam masala, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves.

What’s the one special ingredient? Garam masala. This spice mixture smells amazing. You can find it at an Indian store or even try to make your own blend. You’ll find flavors like cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon in the blend along with others! Doesn’t it sound intriguing?! Of course, it’s also available on Amazon!

You can also use garam masala in this delish appetizer: Indian Layer Dip.

Butter Chicken is a favorite in our house. It is even one of our go to options for company. Most of our guests haven’t had it before but this dish is loved by everyone.

Serve over rice (or cauliflower rice if you prefer). Of course it’s amazing with naan or you can simply have a salad or roasted broccoli to round out the meal.

pot of butter chicken on the stove

The leftovers taste just as amazing as the first day, so this is a meal you could prepare the night before and pull out and gently reheat on the stove while the rice is cooking on a Sunday after church.

Aren’t those types of meals the best?

You will want to be sure to check out this recipe for homemade naan, as well! The prepackaged super market variety doesn’t compare. My kids love it.

Easy Butter Chicken Recipe

A plate of easy butter chicken served over rice

4.5 from 2 reviews
Butter Chicken
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
Sauce
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 T. finely minced garlic or garlic paste
  • 1 T. finely minced ginger or ginger paste
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 2 t. garam masala
  • 1½ t. cumin
  • 1 t. chili powder
  • ¼ cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ cups tomato puree
  • 1½ cups half and half
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 t. salt
  • pepper
Chicken
  • oil
  • 1½ pounds chicken cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 t. garam masala
  • ⅛ t. cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • 1 T. arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • ¼ cup water
  • Cooked rice for serving
Instructions
Sauce
  1. In a large pan saute onions until tender. Add in ginger, garlic, butter, lemon juice, garam masala, cayenne, cumin, chili powder, and bay leaf.
  2. Cook until ginger and garlic are done.
  3. Add tomato puree and stir and heat through.
  4. Add in half and half and yogurt. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust other seasonings if needed.
Chicken
  1. In a skillet heat a small amount of oil and brown chicken.
  2. Add garam masala, cayenne pepper, and a little salt
  3. Add a few spoonfuls of cooked sauce and let the chicken finish cooking.
  4. Add cooked chicken to the sauce mixture.
Finish
  1. Combine and arrowroot powder and water and add to the butter chicken. Cook until the mixture thickens and is heated through.
  2. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Bowl of butter chicken with a gray dish towel in the background

Easy, Delicious Mango Lassi Recipe

Mason jar with a straw filled with a mango lassi

You need to put this mango lassi recipe on your “need to make asap” list!

It’s creamy, refreshing, and super simple to make. This post will tell you how to make a mango lassi. (And let me be honest, it really isn’t that difficult. 🙂 )

It’s no secret that I enjoy Indian food (as evidenced by these recipes: Butter Chicken, Naan, Peas Pilau, Spicy Indian Chicken Sandwich, and Indian Layer Dip). Side tangent: My sister makes amazing Indian food and it’s always fun to eat her cooking when we visit. She makes authentic Indian food – it’s the real deal and exceptional. My “Indian” recipes are Americanized – made simpler and adapted to our life. 😉

I also love yogurt and mangos so when you put all three things together you know it’s going to be a hit! Mango lassi is a wonderful, easy, and healthy treat.

It’s a refreshing drink perfect for breakfast, dessert, or a snack.

(Side story. I can only think of one time I’ve had a mango lassi and not enjoyed it. That time was at an Indian restaurant for my sister’s rehearsal dinner. I’m sure the drink in and of itself was great, but the fact that it was served in glasses hot from the dishwasher made it sub par. So be sure you don’t use warm glasses. 😉 )

This easy mango lassi comes together quickly and is good for you! No refined sugars or added ingredients. My kids enjoy this as much as I do!

This will make 2-3 servings depending on how big you want them. This mango lassi recipes is also super easy to double (or triple)!

Ingredients:

  • Yogurt (I use my homemade yogurt. You could use store bought or even a dairy free yogurt.)
  • Ripe, fresh mangos – peeled and pit removed.
  • Ice cubes: optional depending on your temperature preference
  • Milk (Cow milk or dairy free). If you want a super thick lassi, you can even omit this all together or cut it back.
  • Sweetener. What you use and the quantity is completely up to your and your preferences. You can try sugar, maple syrup, honey, or a tiny bit of stevia.

Now, here’s the recipe! It really is as simple as it seems.
Mangos and a glass filled a mango lassi on a table


Mango Lassi
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups plain yogurt
  • 1 cup chopped mango (1 mango)
  • Honey/maple syrup/sugar to taste (1-3 teaspoons)
  • 3 ice cubes, optional
  • ½ cup milk, optional (may want if you use a really thick yogurt)
Instructions
  1. Place yogurt and mango chunks in the blender. When smooth add sweetener to taste.
  2. Add ice cubes and or milk if using. Blend well so completely smooth.
  3. Serve immediately.

 

How do you make a mango lassi? It would be fun to add berries or pineapple for a twist!

Linking up to these fun parties!

2 glasses of mango lassi and fresh mangos on a wooden table

So good! Easy, Healthy, and Refreshing Mango Lassi. I Love this drink. #mangos #yogurt

Originally published August 22, 2014.

 

 

The Best Healthy Chicken Spaghetti

A glass pan with healthy chicken spaghetti in it

Healthy chicken spaghetti? Is it even possible? If you grew up eating the classic version of this dish, you might find yourself wondering.

Honestly, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I first ate this dish. My siblings were in town visiting and a friend had us over for supper. My brother loved the chicken spaghetti they made. Of course we got the recipe. Her recipe (and I discovered all the typical chicken spaghetti recipes) contains Velveeta and cream of chicken soup.

Cream soups were something my mom never had in the house growing up. In fact, the only time I remember her using cream soup was for beef stroganoff. Velveeta cheese my mom bought once a year to make cheese dip. So neither ingredient have ever been a part of my pantry either.

I decided to try and make this Mexican Spaghetti using ingredients I keep on hand while keeping the recipe almost as simple as the original.

The experiment was a success! This is my recipe for healthy chicken spaghetti without using any velveeta or canned cream soup. Score.

Such a easy meal and it makes a ton – perfect for eating again a day or two later. This would also be a great dish to bring to a church potluck. Serve with salad or veggies of your choice. The most recent time we had it with sauteed zucchini and carrot & celery sticks.

close up of a glass pan filled with baked healthy chicken spaghetti

A couple of comments:

  • Use whatever type of noodles you like – spelt, wheat, brown rice, or gluten free. (These pictures are with brown rice pasta)
  • If you don’t have access to Rotel (a can of diced tomatoes and green chilis), you can make your own! I’ve done it a couple of times. The Humbled Homemaker has instructions here. I like to use some jalapenos and to roast and peel the peppers before I chop them. (I also de-seed the jalapenos)
  • If you or someone in your house doesn’t care for cream cheese, you can’t even tell it’s in the recipe. It just adds a little extra creaminess and depth of flavor. My husband doesn’t like cream cheese and he doesn’t even know it’s in this dish. So be sure to add it!
  • If you don’t have half and half or cream, you can use milk. In these pictures I used 2 cups of whole milk and decreased the stock to 1 cup.
  • Arrowroot. If that’s something that you don’t have on hand, you can substitute cornstarch or try using flour. I’ve even made this with tapioca flour (I used 2 1/2 tablespoons).

Horizontal picture of a pan of baked healthy chicken spaghetti

Healthy Chicken Spaghetti

5.0 from 2 reviews
Chicken Spaghetti (without Velveeta and Canned Soup)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces noodles
  • 1-2 cups diced onion (I used two)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can Rotel or 1 cup homemade (regular or mild)
  • 2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 cup cream or half and half
  • 1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cup diced cooked chicken
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar (can use more)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook noodles to al dente. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet or a soup pot, saute the onions. Add garlic and cook until tender.
  3. Add Rotel, chicken broth, and salt and bring to a simmer.
  4. Mix the arrowroot powder in the cream and stir into mixture in the pan.
  5. Add the cream cheese and gently heat the mixture and stir to melt the cream cheese and let the arrowroot powder thicken.
  6. After thickened, stir in 1 cup of shredded cheese and the chicken.
  7. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Add the cooked noodles to the pot and stir to combine.
  9. Pour into a 9x13 pan (it will be full) and top with the remainder of the cheese.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

This recipe was originally published May 15, 2014. Updated comments and pictures May 2, 2019.

 

A spoon of healthy chicken spaghetti being taking from the baking dishtwo pictures are healthy chicken spaghetti in a 9x13 panscoop of mexican spaghetti being taken from the baking dishChicken Spaghetti without Velveeta or cream of chicken soup! Yay! We love this and the leftovers are awesome.