Coconut Chicken Curry

February in Portland always fools us with its sunny, springlike days. Then, just as you think it’s safe to go outside, the cold winds knock you down. I was able to sneak away to the beach last weekend, and returned to a husband and daughter who appear to have caught the flu. Let me tell you, not having the flu while everyone else in your house does, is almost as bad as all that. They seem to be on the mend, and as a way to stay clear of their germs, I spent some time creating comfort food. I’m not sure they loved it, but I sure found it comforting.

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If you’re still in the wintery season where you are, you need this in your life.

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Keep in mind that I am still without a stove or kitchen, so I made this in my life-saving skillet.

This could easily be turned into a vegetarian or vegan dish. I’m thinking of trying it with cauliflower, green onions, maybe some chickpeas. Once you get the curry sauce to your taste, you can build it however you like.

Coconut Chicken Curry

Ingredients
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 sweet onion, diced
1 delicata or butternut squash, diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 can (15oz) pumpkin puree
2 cups low-sodium broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 Teaspoon ground ginger
2 Teaspoons tumeric
2 Teaspoons coriander
2 Teaspoons curry powder
1/8 Teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Rice or pasta to serve alongside

Directions
Heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet (or Dutch oven) over high heat. Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch pieces and cook until browned on all sides. Remove and set aside.
Reduce heat and add remaining 1 T olive oil to pan. Add diced onion, diced squash and ginger powder. Cook for a few minutes until the onion and squash is soft. Add pressed garlic and cook for another couple minutes.
Add tomatoes and pumpkin puree. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until puree is lightly browned.
Add broth, coconut milk, tumeric, coriander, curry and cayenne. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add chicken and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Stir in cilantro.
Serve with rice or pasta, and a glass of red wine.

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Creamy tomato basil pasta

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While many people across the country are enjoying outdoor BBQs today, I’m melting butter, sautéing garlic and onions, in preparation for our indoor Memorial Day comfort food dinner. My hair is frizzy after being caught in a rainstorm while out gathering ingredients. I’m shivering in a sweater and fuzzy socks. The furnace is blowing warm air. My dogs are content to curl up and sleep. Does this resonate with you right now? No? Then you don’t live in the great northwest!

I hope your Monday is bright!

If you’re looking for some carbolisciousness this week, make this comforting pasta dish. You won’t be sorry.

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Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta

Chop 4 cloves of garlic until they’re diced. Chop 1 whole sweet onion into small pieces. Sauté in 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter over medium-high heat for a couple minutes. Add 30 ounces of your favorite tomato sauce to the mix, sprinkle with a few shakes of salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, boil 1 lb of fettuccine, or your favorite pasta, and drain. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in 1 cup half and half, some grated parmesan cheese and chopped basil leaves. Serve warm sprinkled with additional parmesan, a green salad, and a loaf of crunchy artisan bread, and you’ve got a quick and easy weekday meal for 4-6.