Semi-Homemade

By now you guys know I’m obsessed with easy cooking at home.  And again, easy doesn’t mean bland or mediocre but simple good ingredients and knowledge of the cooking method resulting in a meal prepared in a couple hours. Using store bought sauces makes the creation of food at home way easy, with no chopping and dicing – well that’s according to what you are making.

Take spaghetti and pasta sauce, historically one of the easiest meals to make. We’ve seen commercials where the busy mom rushes home to spend time with her family while having to prepare and serve dinner before the seven o’clock news.  To the rescue is a store bought jar of pasta sauce saving dinner with its fast prep time and delicious flavor the entire family can enjoy.  When I make spaghetti and pasta sauce at home I use a jar of pasta sauce as a base rather than the main sauce.  Adding fresh tomatoes or crushed San Marzano tomatoes from the can, basil, garlic, cheese rind and pepper flakes for kick.  Simmer for 30-45 minutes and serve – no one knows that it’s semi-homemade. I tell you the semi-homemade cooking takes much out of the prep work and cook time.

This quick way of cooking up a meal is not limited to pasta sauces; I made  Chicken in African Peanut Sauce using an African Peanut Sauce I bought fromWholefoods.

Nafis African Peanut Sauce is the name given to the 8 ounce jar of sauce that’s dull gold in color with a piece of burlap on its lids and a bright red tie around the neck of the bottle.  Made with all-natural ingredients and inspired by West African cooking and traditions, they say never to judge a book by its cover but I instantly knew this sauce would be a semi-homemade gift from heaven.

Like my pasta sauce I used the store bought African peanut sauce as a base for my stew.  Nafis products are well known for their hot sauces made with habanero peppers, so before cooking I tasted it to see just how spicy it was.  Funny for me, I wanted it to have more kick to it, I added just one chipotle in adobo sauce (I have it in the freezer for cooking days as this one).  I used chicken legs but any other dark meat will be perfect for this hearty stew.

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I loved how the stew came out, thick and rich.  Yesterday I ate it with couscous, today I had it over a salad.  OMG, I’m so making it again and sending a bottle of this sauce to my ma in Trinidad to try out.

  • 10 pieces of chicken legs, cleaned and seasoned with salt and black pepper
  • 8 oz of warm chicken stock
  • 8 oz of Nafis African Peanut Sauce
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. of peanut butter
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 Tbsp. of ginger, minced
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 green onion stalks, small chop
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. of sugar
  • 1 chipotle in Adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 small habanero pepper
  • Parsley, for garnish
  • Vegetable oil

On high heat, add enough oil to coat the bottom of a large sauté pan.  Once hot and in batches of 4 or 5 pieces, brown the chicken legs evenly on all sides and set aside.  To the pan, sweat the onions lifting the burnt pieces off the bottom of the pan, cook for 1 minute before adding the garlic, ginger and green onions.  Cook for another minute then add the entire 8oz jar of peanut sauce, stock, peanut butter, chipotle pepper, thyme, habanero, 1 ½ tsp of salt, ½ tsp of black pepper and 1 Tbsp. of sugar.  Last, Place the chicken back in the pan and bring to a boil before reducing to a low simmer.  Cook covered for about 30 minutes total.  After the first 15 minutes I turn the legs so every inch gets coated in the sauce then allow cooking for another 15mins until done.  Taste for more seasonings if desired.

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Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with parsley.

Enjoy!

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