Keith and I were literally laughing so hard that we were crying. It’s amazing what you can find on the internet! The other night he was scrolling through Facebook when he came across an excerpt from a 1954 Home Economics high school textbook entitled, “How to Be a Good Wife.” I’ll just cut to the chase and let you know that this book did not include a chapter on how to dump-and-bake butter chicken in less than 10 minutes!?
My, oh my, how times have changed. Just for laughs, I will share a few of our favorite instructions from the 1954 Home Ec textbook (you can see the full excerpt here):
- Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so that you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.
- Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair, and if necessary change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.
- Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.
- Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.
Let’s just say that by 1954 standards, I am failing miserably as a wife!
In reality, Keith typically walks into a house that is littered with toys on the floor, full of noise (thanks to boys wrestling in the living room or fighting over which show they watch on TV), and a wife who is dressed in yoga pants (or worse yet, pajamas), as she frantically tries to get dinner on the table. Backpacks are likely strewn across the counter, crumbs from the day’s breakfast are still on the kitchen floor, and there are at least a few dishes left in the sink that haven’t quite made their way to the dishwasher.
But here’s the thing. It’s 2017 (!!!)…not 1954. Keith knows that I love him, and he even thinks that I’m a pretty good wife…in spite of all of my flaws. I’m doing my best to raise our 3 boys to be good human beings, and I actually do get a homemade dinner on the table most nights. Our meals might not be fancy, and they might be dump-and-bake casseroles that cook entirely in one dish (with only 10 minutes of prep), but they still taste delicious!
This butter chicken and rice is one of my latest weeknight accomplishments. I borrowed the basic flavors and ingredients from a classic Indian butter chicken dish, but I made it into an easy casserole that requires none of my attention. Just dump…and bake! That means that I have more time to clean up the toys, freshen up, and calm the children before my husband walks in the door…making me look the part of the “Good Wife.”? Or, it just gives me time to sit and take a deep breath while pouring a glass of wine. But hey! I’ll pour Keith a glass of wine too when he walks in the door, and that certainly qualifies me as a “good wife,” right?! Right.
- 1 (13.66 ounce) can coconut milk
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ginger powder
- ½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
- 1 ½ lbs. skinless, boneless chicken (thigh or breast meat); sliced into tenders or diced into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- In the prepared dish (or in a separate microwave-safe bowl), whisk together the coconut milk, tomato paste, chicken broth, garlic, garam masala, curry powder, chili powder, ginger, salt and pepper until a smooth sauce forms. Since the coconut milk is solid at room temperature, you will need to put the bowl (or dish) in the microwave to warm the mixture in order to be able to whisk it into a smooth sauce. Microwave the sauce in 1-minute intervals, whisking after each minute, until the coconut milk is melted and the sauce is completely smooth. This takes about 2 minutes total. Stir in the onion, rice, and chicken.
- Cover the baking dish tightly with foil.
- After about 45 minutes, remove the foil, stir the mixture, and check to see if the rice is done. Cover, and return to the oven to finish baking until the rice is completely cooked through. The sauce will become thick and the rice will be tender when the dish is done. This usually takes between 50-55 minutes total, but I like to check it and stir it about every 5 minutes towards the end.
- Garnish with cilantro before serving.
Cooking Just for Two? Cut the ingredients in half and bake in an 8 or 9-inch square baking dish.