Michael Moore Inspired Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

Deborah and I saw Michael Moore's movie, "Where to Invade Next," last week. It was pretty good. In one segment, Moore visits a French school lunchroom where it is quite normal for the children to eat a five course, chef prepared meal that includes fine cheeses and elaborate desserts they can order off a menu. For lunch!

In French schools, lunch is integrated with the childrens' education, teaching them about good nutrition as well as French cuisine. When the children were shown pictures of the abominal food served in American school lunchrooms, they rejected it out of hand.

Anyway, that scene in the film gave me an idea. Deborah and I have been trying to improve our nutrition, especially since returning from our fortnight of tropical vacation, where we ate excessive amounts of tasty but fattening food.

"For date night, we should pick a recipe from a cookbook and make it," I suggested.

"That sounds fun," Deborah said.

Last night we perused the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and landed on a recipe for a basil chicken with coconut curry sauce. Tonight, we prepared it. It was pretty easy and turned out great. Our only critique was that it needed lemon juice, which was not part of the original recipe. We added it to half the batch and it definitely should be an add on.

If we can stick with this recipe cooking idea, I think we'll get to be pretty good cooks over time.

1. Cut up about 4 half chicken breasts into one inch cubes.
2. Toss chicken in a bowl with a spice mixture of salt, pepper, chili powder, and curry powder, with the latter being about half the total mixture. Chill this for an hour or two to let the spices flavor the meat.
3. Sautee a chopped large red onion, six minced garlic cloves, and a diced jalapeno pepper (or poblano for less heat) in a TBSP of olive oil for two to three minutes on medium high heat, then remove.
4. Sautee the chicken in olive oil until cooked, then remove.
5. Mix a TBSP of corn starch (optional if you prefer a soupier curry sauce) with a 14 oz can of coconut milk in a small bowl.
6. Add the coconut milk mixture to a large skillet and heat slowly until it starts to bubble and thicken.
7. Add the cooked chicken and onion/garlic/pepper to the coconut milk and stir.
8. Add a few leaves of fresh basil, a tsp or so of minced ginger root, and a splash of lemon juice to the concoction and simmer for a few minutes to let flavors blend.

That's it. Eat straight or over rice or noodles. It takes under 30 minutes to prepare, not including the 1-2 hours of chillin' the chicken with the spices (Step 2).

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