Hungry on Halloween


I find Halloween pretty scary but unlike others my reasons are a little different. Halloween tends to deliver colder temperatures and that means I start getting confined to the indoors. The gray months of winter lay listlessly ahead and I find myself sinking low in winter doldrums.   The days continue to get shorter and I find myself struggling with layers of clothing. I initiate the much dreaded activity of my household – I take out our neatly packed winter clothes and order my boys to try them on to get an idea of what all shopping needs to be done. They absolutely detest this task – they groan and moan, whine and repine, protest and object, but I don’t budge or bend. This year my youngest son commented that, I, hands down win the honor of the scariest creature around Halloween and mind you, he was only half joking. After the clothes are sorted in different piles and a shopping list is made, I drag the boys to the mall to get over shopping.  On these occasions, my husband suddenly develops flu symptom even though no flu cases are discovered in the vicinity of 100 miles, and decides to rest while watching football.

Halloween also brings end to my kids’ fall sport activities and we face a long winter with two boys with unbounded energy. This year Halloween is even scarier as only last week my mom returned to India, transferring all the daily household duties to me. Over the weekend, I found myself in the kitchen going over the contents of my kitchen fridge and mulling over the lunch menu instead of going for my routine hour-long walk. Bags of candies were lying around and I was tempted to skip cooking and declare it a chocolate day; my kids gave me carte blanche, but my husband being a spoil sport demanded a proper meal.  I didn’t want to spend the whole day in kitchen as I was donning the chef’s hat after a long time, and decided to go with quick but appealing spicy chicken sandwich. The temperature had dropped drastically on Sunday and some sort of soup was in order. I found few stray potatoes and a carton of chicken broth in the pantry and cooked  a creamy potato soup.

Chicken Sandwich

6 Chicken cutlets

4 tbsp all-purpose flour/Maida

4 tbsp thin sooji

2 tbsp + 1 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp black pepper

Salt to taste

2 tbsp Red Hot Sauce- I  used Frank’s

  1. Season chicken cutlets liberally with salt,1tsp black pepper and 1 tsp cayenne pepper.
  2. In a bowl mix 2 tbsp red hot sauce with 4 tbsp water.
  3. In a large bowl mix flour ,thin sooji, cayenne pepper and salt. You can skip the sooji and  use just flour or  bread crumbs or  a mixture of two. Add 2 tbps cayenne pepper and 1 tsp of black pepper.
  4. Heat  a cast iron skillet over medium high and add 2 tbsp oil.
  5. Dip cutlets one a time into flour mixture, shake off excess flour. Dip it into hot sauce mixture and dip again into the flour mixture coating all the sides well. Repeat the process for all the cutlets.
  6. Place 3 cutlets on the skillet, cover and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until the cutlets are cooked through. Add more oil and cook the remaining cutlets.

Onion-Pepper topping

  1. Heat oil in a skillet and sauté onions and peppers seasoning them with salt, cayenne pepper and a pinch of sugar. You can add mushrooms, carrots, cabbage or any other vegetables that you fancy.

 To Assemble

  1. Spread Mayo on 2 sliced of bread.  I used French bread – any rustic bread such as Ciabatta will work well.
  2. Keep cutlet on one slice and onion-pepper mixture on the other. Sprinkle any other seasonings of choice or like me squeeze some Sriracha sauce on the chicken for extra heat.
  3. Add cheese , lettuce if desired and enjoy.

Potato Soup

1 garlic clove minced

1 tbsp chopped onion

4 small russet potatoes Peeled and cubed. Red potatoes work well too.

2 cups chicken broth/vegetable broth

1 cup milk/half and half/cream. I used 2% milk.

  1. Heat oil in a sauce pan and sauté garlic and onions.
  2. Add potatoes and cover them with water. Cover the sauce pan and cook till potatoes are tender.
  3. Drain the potatoes , reserve the water.
  4. Mash potatoes and add  to the reserved water.
  5. Add chicken broth, salt, pepper and simmer.
  6. Add milk and warm the soup for few minutes on a low heat. You could skip the broth  for half and half for a richer soup; for a vegan entry substitute vegetable stock  for  milk and chicken broth.



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