Best Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

Murgh Makhani Indian Butter Chicken plated

Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani) is an enormously popular dish that you will find served in practically every Indian restaurant around the world.  Tender chicken in a rich and creamy sauce with bold flavors that are vibrant and complex. This recipe from Cook’s Illustrated uses the broiler to imitate the deep charring produced by a tandoor oven and has a perfect balance of spices including garam masala, coriander, cumin, and black pepper. The serrano chile adds just enough heat, but if you want the dish even hotter, mince, and add the ribs and seeds from the chile. Serve with Basmati Rice and warm Naan bread

Download Best Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani) recipe


4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled, divided

1 onion, chopped fine

5 garlic cloves, minced

4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon pepper

1 ½ cups water

½ cup tomato paste

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons table salt, divided

1 cup heavy cream

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided

1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and serrano and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is softened and onion begins to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garam masala, coriander, cumin, and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.

2. Add water and tomato paste and whisk until no lumps of tomato paste remain. Add sugar and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to boil. Off heat, stir in cream. Using immersion blender or blender, process until smooth, 30 to 60 seconds. Return sauce to simmer over medium heat and whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter. 

3. Remove saucepan from heat and cover to keep warm. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 4 days; gently reheat sauce before adding hot chicken.)

4. Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Combine chicken, yogurt, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in bowl and toss well to coat. Using tongs, transfer chicken to wire rack set in aluminum foil—lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil until chicken is evenly charred on both sides and registers 175 degrees, 16 to 20 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through broiling. 

5. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes. While chicken rests, warm sauce over medium-low heat. Cut chicken into ¾-inch chunks and stir into sauce. Stir in 2 tablespoons cilantro and season with salt to taste. Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro, and serve with rice and/or naan.

Easy Elegant Thanksgiving Pumpkin Tart

Easy Elegant Thanksgiving Pumpkin Tart

I tried this recipe from Milk Street last year and it was a big hit at Thanksgiving. Using a tart pan produces an elegant presentation for traditional pumpkin pie. They started with their fuss-free pie dough, made easily in the food processor, and it can be prepped and frozen for up to a month ahead. For their filling, they use canned 100% pumpkin puree, but they intensified the flavor by giving it a quick sauté with dark brown sugar. This simmers off excess moisture and lends caramel flavors to the mixture. The addition of crème fraîche gave the filling tang and richness that other dairy products couldn’t match. Serve with your favorite whipped cream topping.

Download Easy Elegant Thanksgiving Pumpkin Tart recipe

For the pie dough:

3 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (159 grams) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons sugar

⅛ teaspoon table salt

10 tablespoons salted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces, chilled

2 tablespoons sour cream

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the water and cornstarch. Microwave until set, 30 to 40 seconds, stirring halfway through. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  1. Once the cornstarch mixture has chilled, in a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt and process until mixed, about 5 seconds. Add the chilled cornstarch mixture and pulse until uniformly ground, about 5 pulses. Add the butter and sour cream and process until the dough comes together and begins to collect around the blade, 20 to 30 seconds. Pat the dough into a 4-inch disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 48 hours.
  1. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the middle position. On a well-floured counter, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle.
  1. Hang the dough over the rolling pin and transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Gently ease the dough into the pan by lifting the edges while pressing down into the corners of the pan. Trim the edges, leaving a ½-inch overhang, then tuck the overhang under itself so the dough is flush with the rim of the pan. Crimp the dough with your fingers or the tines of a fork, then chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  1. Line the chilled shell with foil and fill with pie weights, then place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake on the lowest rack until the edges are light golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Remove the foil and weights, then bake until the bottom just begins to color, another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce to 325°F.

For the Pumpkin filling:

1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree

149 grams (¾ cup packed) dark brown sugar

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

¼ cup bourbon

8 -ounce container (1 cup) crème fraîche

3 large eggs

⅛ teaspoon table salt

  1. While the crust bakes, in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, combine the pumpkin, sugar, and pumpkin spice. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thickened, dark and leaves a film on the pan, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a 2-cup liquid measuring cup (the yield should be 1½ cups). Add the bourbon to the skillet, set over medium-low and scrape up any browned bits; add to the pumpkin mixture.
  2. In a food processor, combine the pumpkin-bourbon mixture and crème fraiche; process until smooth. Scrape down the bowl, add the eggs and salt, then process until smooth, about 1 minute.
  3. Pour the filling into the warm crust, smoothing the top. Bake on the baking sheet on the middle rack until the edges start to puff and crack and the center sets, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool the tart in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Remove the outer metal ring to serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

World's Best Chocolate Layer Cake with Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream

Worlds Best Dark Chocolate Layer Cake

This is probably my most requested cake and after trying it, you'll understand why! It's an easy recipe, but it's worth finding the best Dutch processed cocoa powder. It's terrific with fluffy vanilla buttercream (we call it a tuxedo cake) or for chocolate lovers, go ahead and frost with your favorite Chocolate frosting (or use this recipe - Decadent Chocolate Frosting)

Download Cook Like James Tender and Moist Chocolate Layer Cake Vanilla Buttercream

2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour (Gold Medal or Pillsbury)

1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar

3/4 cups (88.5 g) Valrhona or Droste dark Dutch processed cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (240 g) buttermilk at room temperature

1 cup (236.6 g) brewed coffee (or 1 cup hot water mixed with 2 teaspoons espresso powder)

1/2 cup (100 g) vegetable oil

3 large eggs at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray, line with parchment paper, and spray again. Set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
  3. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, coffee or hot water, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  5. Divide the batter between the two pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.
  6. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  7. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use.

Easy Vanilla Buttercream

20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 ½ cups (10 ounces) Confectioners' sugar

⅛ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add sugar and salt and mix on medium-low speed until most of sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl; add cream and vanilla and whip on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.

Worlds Best Dark Chocolate Layer Cake Slice

Easy Drop Meatballs In Marinara Sauce

Drop Meatballs in Marinara Sauce Spaghetti


This quick and easy meatball recipe from Cook’s Country utilizes a few shortcuts that make it an easy recipe for weeknight cooking.  Their technique of simmering the meatballs in the tomato sauce in the ambient heat of the oven cooks them evenly without requiring stirring all while infusing the sauce with great flavor. Using saltines in place of fresh bread gets rid of some of the moisture, making the meatballs less gummy. Perfect over spaghetti.





22 square saltines

1 cup milk

2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

NOTE: You can use a #16 portion scoop to form the meatballs. To make shaping easier, wet your hands slightly. The recipe yields enough sauce for 2 pounds of pasta. To serve, toss the pasta with some sauce and top it with the meatballs.



  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Place saltines in large zipper-lock bag, seal bag, and crush saltines fine with rolling pin (you should have 1 cup). Combine saltines and milk in large bowl and let sit for 5 minutes for saltines to soften. Mash with fork until smooth paste forms.
  2. Add beef, Parmesan, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper to saltine mixture and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Divide meat mixture into 24 scant ¼-cup portions. Roll portions between your wet hands to form balls. Transfer to plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. (Meatballs can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)


  1. Combine oil and garlic in large Dutch oven. Cook over low heat until garlic is soft and golden on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and 1 teaspoon salt. Nestle meatballs into sauce. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat.
  2. Cover and bake until meatballs are cooked through and tender, about 40 minutes. Let cool, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Gently stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Drop Meatballs in Marinara Sauce


Best Decadent Fluffy Chocolate Frosting

Best Decadent Fluffy Chocolate Frosting

Best Decadent Fluffy Chocolate Frosting

This frosting may be made with milk, semisweet, or bittersweet chocolate.  Cool the chocolate to between 85 and 100 degrees before adding it to the butter mixture.

3 sticks unsalted butter , softened (60 to 65 degrees)

1 ½ cups confectioners' sugar (4 ounces)

½  cup Dutch-processed cocoa 

1/8 tsp salt 

1/2 cup light corn syrup 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

8 ounces chocolate BAR - milk, semisweet, bittersweet, melted and cooled slightly - Lindt or Ghirardelli

In food processor, process butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add corn syrup and vanilla and process until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape sides of bowl, then add chocolate and pulse until smooth and creamy, 10 to 15 seconds.

Summer Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Summer Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Download Summer Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

One of my favorite summer strawberry recipes from Cooks Country magazine. The recipe comes together in stages, starting with a traditional graham cracker crust, a creamy cheesecake center, and a mousse-like strawberry topping resulting in a light, delicious, and portable summer dessert.



9 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces

½ cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar

¾ cup (3 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


1 ½ pounds cream cheese

1 cup (7 ounces) sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


6 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled (1 heaping cup), plus 6 hulled strawberries

½ cup (3 1/2 ounces) plus 2 teaspoons sugar

2 cups sour cream

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Make foil sling for 13 by 9-inch baking pan by folding 2 long sheets of aluminum foil; first sheet should be 13 inches wide, and second sheet should be 9 inches wide. Lay sheets of foil in pan perpendicular to each other, with extra foil hanging over edges of pan. Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing foil flush to pan. Spray with vegetable oil spray.


1. Process cracker pieces and sugar in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add flour and salt and pulse to combine, about 2 pulses. Add melted butter and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened, about 10 pulses.

2. Using your hands, press crumb mixture evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Using bottom of dry measuring cup, firmly pack crust into pan. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.


1. In clean, dry processor bowl, process cream cheese and sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With processor running, add eggs, one at a time, until just incorporated, about 30 seconds total. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add vanilla and process to combine, about 10 seconds. Pour cream cheese mixture over cooled crust. Bake until center is almost set but still jiggles slightly when pan is shaken, about 45 minutes.


1. Meanwhile, in clean, dry processor bowl, process 6 ounces strawberries and ½ cup sugar until pureed, about 30 seconds. Stir strawberry puree and sour cream in bowl until combined.

2. Remove cheesecake from oven. Pour strawberry mixture over cheesecake (cheesecake layer should be completely covered). Return pan to oven and bake until topping is just set, about 15 minutes.

3. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cheesecake cool completely, about 2 hours. Refrigerate until cold and set, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Slice the remaining 6 strawberries thin and gently toss with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar in bowl. Using foil overhang, lift cheesecake out of pan. Cut into 24 squares. Garnish each square with 1 strawberry slice and serve.

Summer Strawberry Cheesecake Bars plate