Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all celebrating today. I love the sentiment behind it, wish I could celebrate with my whole family here today. Last year I made this adorable veggie turkey shaped roll to take to a friends place. This year its just the 3 of us, so made few "fall leaves" for snacking and a mini apple pie for dessert to commemorate the occasion.


Here's how I made the fall leaves snack:

1 pack Pilsbury cresent roll

The pack contained 8 pre cut dough pieces.



Ball up each piece and roll into a circle of 1/4 cm thickness. Use a leaf shape cookie cutter or cut into leaf shape with a sharp knife.












Arrange on a cookie sheet lined with aluminium foil.












Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 10 mins, turning leaves over once in between.












Cool slightly for 5 mins. Then I have topped some with pesto (store bought); others with pizza sauce and rest with softened cream cheese (chives and onion flavored). I sprinkled some finely chopped orange and yellow bell peppers on the cream cheese. Finish off with shredded mozzarella cheese. Broil for 5 mins until mozzarella melts. Serve warm.


Mini Apple Pies:

For this also I went semi home made. Used store bought pie crust. For the filling, I used a recipe my daughter had used at school when in 3rd grade - 2 chopped apples (we did not peel them), 2 heaped tbsp sugar, pinch of salt, dash of all spice mix and 1 tsp lemon juice. Mix it all together.

Cut the pie crust per size needed.
Arrange in the mini pan thats lightly buttered. Prick 3 to 4 times with a fork. Fill the apple mix, piling up slightly in the center to make dome shape. Cover with pie crust cut in strips, arranged in a lattice shape. 
Bake in a pre heated 425F oven for 15 min. Then cover edges with aluminium foil to avoid excess browning and continue baking another 15 mins. Remove and let stand for 1/2 hour before serving. I like to have it a la mode, a slightly warm apple pie with slightly melting vanilla ice cream.







Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Quick after-school tortilla snacks

My kid always comes home from school claiming to be famished and demands to eat right away. If I don't have a snack ready, she'll raid the pantry and ofcourse reach for her saved Halloween candy. In order to avoid too much junking, I usually try to keep a relatively healthy snack ready for her.

These quick tortilla snacks come in handy at such times. Yesterday I made a savory version and a sweet one.

I started with whole grain tortillas. I cut them into wedges and microwaved for 3 mins, turning once after 1.5 mins. This crisps them up like tortilla chips. Then cool on a wire rack.


To make the savory version (Nachos), top with a mix of veggies, beans and cheese of your choice. In the pic below, I topped half with shredded Mexican cheese mix. The other half has black beans (canned), green and orange bell peppers (finely diced), tomatoes (diced), seasoned with little salt, cumin pwd and paprika and then topped with the same cheese. Microwave for 30 to 45 secs till cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Quick Nachos (Savory)
To make the sweet version, top with whipped cream. Sprinkle little all spice mix (or just cinnamon pwd) and garnish with strawberries. 

Sweet Nachos


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sweet and Sour Tofu with Broccoli Rice

Sweet and Sour Tofu; Broccoli Rice
This is the combo we enjoyed over the weekend. The Sweet and Sour Tofu incorporates shallow fried tofu with peppers and onions in a sweet-sour sauce. Broccoli rice is a recipe I first saw on Chitra's Cuisine and its become a family favorite. Its a good way to sneak in broccoli if someone in your family does not like this veggie.

Here's how I made the Sweet and Sour Tofu:

1 package extra firm or firm tofu - drain and wrap in paper towels. Place a heavy weight on top and let it sit for 1/2 hour. Then cut into bit size cubes. Mix 4 tbsp corn flour with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper pwd. Dredge the cubed tofu in this mix and shallow fry in a non stick pan till golden brown.


For the sweet and sour sauce - Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan, Fry about 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions for 5 mins on medium heat. Then add 2 cloves minced garlic and fry another 5 mins. Add 1 cup of thinly sliced peppers (I use a combination of green, red, yellow and orange bell peppers) and fry for 5 more minutes.


In the meanwhile prep the sauce - use the left over corn flour mix. To this add 4 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tsp Sriracha hot sauce (adjust to heat level desired) and 2 tbsp Sweet and Sour Sauce. This sauce is available in regular grocery stores. Add about 1 cup water and mix well,


Pour this sauce into the fried onion/pepper mix and give it one boil.


Pour the sweet and sour sauce out into the serving bowl; add the fried tofu and gently mix to cover tofu with the sauce. Garnish with chopped green onions and chopped roasted peanuts. Serve hot.



This is how I make Broccoli Rice - Bring 1/2 cup water to boil in a pan. Add a big pinch of salt, 1 cup broccoli flowerets and handful of spinach leaves. Cover and cook 5 mins.


Cool slightly and puree. Then heat 2 tsp oil and fry sliced onions for 5 mins on medium heat. Add 1 clove mined garlic and fry another 5 mins. Add finely chopped red bell pepper and fry 2-3 mins.


Now add the pureed broccoli/spinach and fry 5 mins. Add 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tsp Sriracha hot sauce and 1 cup cooked rice. Mix lightly. Check seasonings and add salt and pepper as needed, and a pinch of sugar. Fry for 5 mins.


Serve Broccoli rice with a wedge of lemon.




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pan roasted Stuffed Mushrooms



Pan roasted stuffed mushrooms make for a great appetizer or side dish. Here's how I make them:

1 pack baby bella mushrooms - Wipe them with a damp paper towel. Remove stems and make a hollow in each. I use the tip of my peeler/parer for this.


Stuffing - I start with a mix of quinoa and brown rice. This is a ready-made mix from Seeds of Change that I purchased at Costco. It is lightly flavored with garlic and only needs to be microwaved for 90 secs to prep. I used just 2 to 4 tbsp of this in the pic below. To it I added some breadcrumbs, shredded mozarella cheese, finely chopped green onions and little salt and pepper. I did end up with some leftover stuffing, but it tastes delicious just by itself too.


Gently fill this stuffing in the mushroom hollows. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a non-stick pan. Place the stuffed mushrooms (open side up) on the pan and roast on medium heat for 5 mins till the underside darkens in color.


Flip over with tongs and cook for a min or 2 till the stuffing gets slightly browned and crusty.


Serve warm.


These Pan roasted Stuffed Mushrooms go to the Mushrooms event at Mayuri's Jikoni. This series of event was started by Nayna of Citrus Spice.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pasta Muffins



This is a great after-school snack, often requested by my daughter.

Here's how I make these pasta muffins:

2 cups cooked pasta (any small pasta will work, I have used macaroni in above pic, whole grain pasta also works well)

Salt, black pepper pwd and Italian seasoning mix to taste

Handful of finely chopped veggies - I have used onion, tomato, yellow and orange bell pepper and spinach to make it colorful

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup bread crumbs

Olive oil

Cook the pasta till al dente per package instructions. Drain. Mix in the cheese (save a little to top the muffins if desired), salt, pepper, seasoning and veggies.


Brush muffin tray with olive oil. Spread some bread crumbs.


Fill each cup with the pasta mixture.


Top with the reserved mozzarella cheese,


Generously layer bread crumbs on top of that and drizzle with olive oil.


Bake at 350F for 20 to 30 mins till tops are slightly browned. Allow to cool for 10 mins before serving. Sprinkle some red pepper flakes while serving for a slight kick.


These Pasta Muffins to go the Kids Delight - Pizza/Pasta/Noodle Event at Chef Mireille's East West Realm . This event is created by Srivalli of Kid's Delight.



Monday, November 17, 2014

Dhakai Paratha (Layered Paratha)




Few weeks back my 11 yr old saw these layered parathas in a restaurant and was tempted to have them. But she had already ordered another dish. So she was keen on trying them at home. Over this weekend, she googled for the recipe and with little help from me, made them and clicked pictures. I am so proud of her!

Here's how we made them:

We used regular roti dough made with wheat flour. Roll out a piece of dough ball into a thin circle about 10 inches in diameter. Smear with a teaspoon oil. Dust a little flour. Pleat the roti as in picture below, pressing gently as you fold.


Then roll the pleated roti.


Press gently between palms to flatten. To keep the folds separate, pull the flattened roti out ever so gently. Now roll into a 6 inch slightly thickish roti. Us a gentle hand while rolling.



Roast on tava using few drops of oil until brown spots appear on those sides. 


Serve warm topped with a dollop of ghee/butter of desired. This layered paratha goes well with onion-tomato based curries like mutter paneer. We had it with palak paneer and raita.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Quick Pumpkin Muffins (Eggless)



This recipe is from the Relish food mag that came with our newspaper. Its unbelievable simple, yummy and eggless ofcourse.

1 15 oz pack of yellow cake mix
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
7 oz semi sweet mini chocolate morsels

For the icing - 4 oz softened cream cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk

To make the muffins, mix the cake mix and pumpkin puree. Whisk for a min. Batter will be thick. Add the chocolate morsels. Mix well. Use a 12 cup muffin tray lined with paper muffin liners and bake in a pre heated 350F oven for about 20 mins until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

To make the icing, mix the cream cheese, sugar and milk. Allow the muffins to cool to room temperature before spreading the icing.
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