Ratatouille

The year was 2013, I had been married only a couple of months and was hosting this grand Thanksgiving for my in-laws.  My mother-in-law is vegetarian as am I and so I wanted something special for a veggie dish at the table instead of roasted veggies.

No offense to roasted veggies, I love them.  In fact I eat them all the time and therein lies the problem.  I wanted something “fancy”, something different that I don’t have on any given night.

So I scoured the internet and landed upon this gorgeous picture of Ratatouille and thought, I can make this!   And I did.  It didn’t look so pretty but hey, that’s ok, I hoped it would taste delicious though.  It was bland.  There literally was no flavor profile to it and safe to say, both my mother-in-law and I were disappointed.

She was nice enough to pretend it was good but I couldn’t even do that!

So ever since, I’ve been on a mission to create a Ratatouille that has layers and dimensions of flavor.  Safe to say, I think I found it!

Here’s the secret!

  1. Make a sauce that keeps everyone wanting to lick it off the plate
  2. Season the top of the veggies and not just with salt and pepper!  With actual herbs!
  3. Make enough sauce so that veggies are half drenched in it and the rest will cook in the steam of the boiling sauce in the oven.

I have been playing with the recipe for a while now and when I made the final version, I was satisfied aesthetically.  The question was, would my girls eat the eggplant in it?

Recently, they’ve become very finicky eaters and it can be a real struggle to feed them even their favorite foods sometimes.  But they both ate all the veggies and I couldn’t have been a prouder Mama!

Try this out for your next Holiday dinner, weeknight surprise, or Sunday dinner.  It’s easy to make ahead, stores in the fridge and freezer well and is fairly simple to make!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Ratatouille!

The tools that I used to make this recipe are:

Garlic Herb Pizza Dough

Dough just before it’s smoothed and oiled to set aside so it can rise

Pizza is one food my girls are very picky about.  I know… I was surprised too!  Usually, kids love pizza but my oldest decided she didn’t like pizza after having it at 7 different birthday parties in a span of 1 month.  I get it, I totally do.  I would be tired of it too!

For me, pizza is the ultimate go to with unlimited toppings and variations.  I didn’t want Sanaya to feel an aversion for one of the most loved foods on this planet so I stepped in.  After trying so many different pizzerias, I finally decided to make it at home.

Obviously could not wait to eat this….!

This Garlic Herb Pizza Dough is so delicious and light.  When the dough is rolled out, it’s not too thick and makes for a nice flatbread.  Some days, I will roll it out into 1 large pizza and others, I’ll get the girls involved and have them decorate their own personal pizzas.  Either way, you can’t go wrong with this delicious garlic-y, herb-y pizza dough!

Try it out!  It is so delicious!
From my kitchen to yours, enjoy your pizza party!

Instant Pot Rajma (Kidney Beans)

I feel like almost every culture has their version of beans and rice.  There’s the Latin style with adobo seasoning, the African style flavored with smoked paprika and garlic, Creoles use the “holy trinity” for theirs, Jamaican red beans and rice have coconut milk and scotch bonnet peppers, the Japanese use Adzuki beans with their rice, and the Indians have Rajma Chawal.

Why are red beans and rice so common everywhere?

I don’t know.  But what I do know is they make a complete protein when eaten together so it’s really beneficial to vegetarians and vegans who don’t get their complete proteins from animal protein to feel full.

I never thought Rajma was all that special until my friend Sumit made it one day.  He makes the most amazing Rajma so I never bothered to learn because I could just call him up!  But now he’s moved to a different state and it’s not as readily available so I have tried and tried and tried to perfect my Rajma.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this classic dish of Rajma!

Samosa Puffs

Every Indian household is sure to have samosas for any occasion.  Whether we were visiting relatives or friends, at a wedding, holidays, celebrations of any kind…. well, you get the point!  Samosas everywhere.  When I went off to college, my mom used to make dozens and dozens and put them in large zip top bags that I would freeze and microwave them as I was in the mood for them.

My roommates and friends at college also benefited.  There were many nights sitting in our common room studying over samosas, sharing heartbreaks or girl talk or just hanging out.

These samosa puffs are a fun twist to the traditional samosas that are usually filled in a cone made of freshly  kneaded dough.  The girls had fun with the flaky pastry and loved that I kept the filling with the traditional potatoes and peas that they are used to.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these delicious Samosa Puffs!

Rainbow Crunch Salad

Bright, crunchy, colorful and easy to assemble with a creamy coconut jalapeño dressing, this salad is a perfect addition to your meal.

Easy to make, this salad has plenty of texture, meets my rainbow requirements, and is quick to pull together for any meal.  A twist on the traditional slaw, the Rainbow Crunch Salad is a healthier version with a low cal coconut jalapeño dressing to finish off a delicious salad.

With school started, life still crazy between Covid, fires, and whatever else you want to throw in there, I want to keep it easy and quick for this salad.  Chopping the veggies doesn’t take very long and the Coconut Jalapeño dressing is blended in less than a minute.

Here’s what you need for the salad:

  • Red Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Colored Bell Peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Edamame
  • Nuts

I’ve used this as a lunch meal, a side salad for fish and chicken dishes, or even a quick afternoon snack if I had some leftovers.

Try it out!  From my kitchen to yours, enjoy!

Methi Thepla

Growing up in a Gujarati household, anywhere we went, you were guaranteed to have theplas packed.  Whether we were traveling by car, plane, train, pretty much any vehicle, Mom would always have a foil packet filled with theplas.  I would always get annoyed that we would be the family opening a packet of “Indian smelling food” but guess what…. I am my mother now.  Quick to make, easy to pack, not much fuss and muss associated with them, and filled with nutrition, they are the perfect snack or meal to have.

Easy to eat anywhere on the go, similar to a thin tortilla, theplas are made by adding fenugreek leaves (methi) to the dough before kneading it.  Instead of water, this dough uses yogurt as a binder making it a healthy and delicious meal or snack.

Fenugreek leaves are an under appreciated green that I have not seen outside of Indian food culture.  Some of the healthy benefits they provide are:

  • lowering blood sugar
  • reducing cholesterol levels
  • reducing inflammation
  • increasing milk production for nursing mothers
  • help with appetite control

Adding in the yogurt to knead the dough helps provide calcium and protein.  I use a multi grain flour to make these and between that, the yogurt, and the fenugreek leaves, 3 of the food groups are already incorporated into these theplas!

Added benefit, “roti” and yogurt is one of the girls’ favorite meals so it’s easy to sneak in different veggies and they’ll gobble it up.

Try out these methi theplas at home and I hope you like them as much as we do!

From my kitchen to yours, enjoy!

Sausage & Zucchini Linguini

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I’m a firm believer in easy meals that are healthy and don’t take much of my time.  This Sausage & Zucchini Linguine is just that.  It literally took me 15 minutes to make (with Aishani in the kitchen “helping” me) and was loved by everyone.
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Here are a few things I like about this pasta dish:

  • Gluten Free (cauliflower based linguine …. so delicious and guilt free!)
  • Ready in 15 minutes!
  • The combination of sausage and spices packs a punch of flavor
  • Bright and colorful veggies
  • Carb Free
  • A little munchkin, who in the name of cooking with me, ate a good amount of my sausage and bell peppers during the cooking process

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Taste Republic has their cauliflower linguine in most grocery stores so go get a pack!  (This is not a paid ad, I just love their pasta).
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From my kitchen to yours, enjoy this fun and easy meal!

Roasted Masala Chickpeas

I’ve been making these chickpeas at home as a healthy snack option so I don’t turn to junk food and my girls have fallen in love with them too.  I initially started them with a basic salt, pepper, olive oil and paprika seasoning.  We love the basic and use them not only for snacking, but in salads, tacos, as a topping for soups (yup), and pretty much in anything I can add it to. Continue reading “Roasted Masala Chickpeas”

Breakfast Oat Muffins

Breakfast is such an important meal for everyone.  It’s been more relaxed for us lately due to the quarantine, but when school restarts, it’s going to get crazy in my house.  With two kids in two different schools that are miles apart and me rushing to make sure both are on time.  Yeah, I can imagine how smooth that is going to be! Continue reading “Breakfast Oat Muffins”

Adai Waffles / Lentil Waffles

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of my friend Janani. I’ve mentioned her in a few recipes, especially the Greek Inspired Crepes and Instant Pot Kali Dal. She and I met when we were both about 7 months pregnant with our first child at an Indian store where the owner introduced us. We have been pretty close friends since and shared many recipes during our play dates and this one is inspired by her.wp-1592520709205.jpg
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When Aishani was a few months old, I remember Janani came over for a play date with her eldest. She brought over this batter and asked if I had veggies she could use. I was extremely curious as Sanaya was in a picky phase (honestly, I feel both my kids have always been in a picky phase!).wp-1592520709227.jpg

She explained what Adai is and I was instantly fascinated. Basically, it is a batter made out of 4 different lentils and a little bit of rice, soaked, ground, and cooked over the stove with veggies similar to a dosa or crepe fashion. So with one meal, I’m getting protein, fiber, non-dairy calcium, folic acid, and plenty of vitamins and minerals from the veggies. Seriously, major mom win! My kids love it and eat it with yogurt and it’s a family hit.wp-1592520709178.jpg

The basic batter recipe is Janani’s. I’ve never tried to change it because it’s perfect and it works. I did play around with it and turned the Adai crepes into waffles. It’s something fun for the kids; they get a kick out of eating waffles for lunch or dinner and I know it’s one of the healthiest waffles around! The texture keeps well and tastes so soft and fluffy. It’s really delicious.wp-1592520709677.jpg

For the girls, I served this with yogurt as that’s their favorite way of eating Adai. For the hubby and I, we had a topping of masala salsa on top which tasted amazing and completed this dish for us!

From our kitchen to yours, we hope you love these Adai Waffles!


Adai Waffles

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A savory lentil waffle filled with veggies that is healthy and delicious.

Notes:

1. The ratio of all the lentils and rice is always 1:1. Whether you want to make a lesser amount or more, the ratio before soaking will remain the same.

2. It is important to soak these lentils at least 4 hours. Soaking lentils helps remove the phytic acid which impairs the absorption of nutrients such iron, zinc and calcium.

3. If you make extra, and want to keep it for future use, you can store in the freezer. Just be sure to keep the batter plain without adding any of the ingredients as it will ruin when you thaw it out. Stores well up to 3 months in the freezer. Stores well up to 3 days in the fridge.

4. Parboiled or Idli rice works great for this recipe. If you don’t have it, regular jasmine rice works, but just be aware that when it is ground, you will get a bit of a grainy texture.

5. It is important to shred the veggies to help them and the lentils cook through properly. If the veggies are chopped and chunky, the lentils may not cook through completely (I speak from experience).

6. Use any veggies you have in your fridge. I’ve listed our favorites below.

Ingredients:

For the batter:

½ c toor / toovar dal

½ c urad dal

½ c chana dal

½ c red masoor dal

½ c idli rice / parboiled rice

1-2 dried red chilies

For the Waffles:

1 zucchini, shredded

1 large carrot, shredded

½ c broccoli, shredded

1″ ginger knob, shredded

1 tsp hing (asafoetida)

1 tsp salt

For the Masala Salsa:

½ c onions, chopped finely

1 tomato, chopped finely

1 serrano pepper, chopped finely (for a less spicy option, take out the seeds and ribs)

¼ c cilantro, chopped finely

1 lemon, juiced

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp chaat masala

Directions:

For the Masala Salsa:

1. Mix all of the ingredients tog⁸ether in a bowl and set aside to use for topping.

For the Adai Batter:

1. Soak each of the lentils and rice separately in water at least for 4 hours, preferably overnight.

2. Once they are soaked, add rice (drained of water) and red chilies to a blender with 3 Tbsp water. Blend to a thick batter.

3. Transfer to a bowl and repeat process with the lentils. If you want to combine them and blend them, that works also. Add water a little at a time so the batter is not too thin.

4. Mix this batter with the rice batter.

This batter is your base. You can make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge or freezer and use as needed.

For the Waffles:

1. In a bowl, add 1½ c Adai batter, hing and salt. Mix well.

2. Fold in the shredded veggies. If the batter is too thick, add in water, 1 Tbsp at a time, but don’t make the batter too thin and runny.

3. Heat the waffle maker on high and spray both sides with cooking spray.

4. Using a ladle, pour the batter into the waffle maker and spread across. Close the waffle maker and seal or flip and let it cook as a regular waffle.

5. Remove the waffle and repeat the process for the remaining batter.

6. To serve, spoon some of the masala salsa on top of the waffles and serve hot!

Serve with masala salsa, yogurt, mango pickle or all 3!

Enjoy!

Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas Curry

When Sanaya, my eldest, was about 3 years old, we had gone to Pankaj’s cousin’s house for a play date.  Sanaya and her cousin Aarya are besties.  They’re only 2 months apart in age and our families have gone through the journey of parenting together since we were pregnant.

Anyways, this story is from a time when Sanaya was very picky about food, especially Indian food.  Though I feel like in her short life, she’s either been picky or a proper foodie.  Kids!
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My sister-in-law, Aarya’s mother had made a black eyed peas curry.  I remember growing up my mom making this often so I got excited but nervous also.  Will Saanu eat it?  Will she like it?  I’m hoping she likes it because I’m really trying to get the girls to have an appreciation for Indian food.
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Surprisingly, and luckily, she loved it and for once, ate most of her food without a fuss.  I felt like I found a magical key.  Since then, this is one recipe I make often for the girls, especially when I’m in a pinch as it takes less than 30 minutes to make.
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These black eyed peas are perfect for a weeknight meal.  Not only are they delicious and quick to make, they are also rich in fiber, protein and non-dairy calcium.
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Notes:
I soak them at the beginning of meal prep.  If you don’t want to soak them, simply increase the cook time from 12 minutes to 20.

You can store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

For Stovetop: Soak black eyed peas for at least 1 hour.  Then boil them in 4 cups of water for 45 minutes.  Drain and add to spices as indicated in step 5.  Add only 1 c water and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

For Slow Cooker:  Follow directions below and cook on low for 6 hours.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this Dal (Lentil)!


Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas Curry

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

1 c dried black eyed peas, soaked

1 onion, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1″ ginger knob, grated

1 bay leaf

1 tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp turmeric

2 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp salt

2 c water for cooking

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp hing (asafoetida)

Directions:

1. Set Instant pot to saute mode.  Add oil and let heat.

2. Add cumin seeds and hing.

3. When the cumin seeds start to splutter, add in onions, ginger and garlic.  Saute for 3-5 minutes, until the onions are tender and translucent.

4. Add in the tomatoes and spices and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the oil starts separating from the tomatoes.

5. Drain the water from the black eyed peas and add to the instant pot.  Add the 2 c water and mix well.

6. Cover instant pot and set vent to sealing postion.

7. Change setting to manual/pressure cook mode and set timer for 12 minutes.

8. When the timer goes off, let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure.

9. Add lemon juice and give a quick stir before serving.

Serve with Naan or Rice.

The Best Veggie Quesadillas

There’s no wrong way to make a quesadilla.  It’s one of those foods that can be served as a quick weeknight meal, an after school snack, bite sized as a party app; filled with just cheese, grilled veggies, or shredded meat! The possibilities are endless.
Continue reading “The Best Veggie Quesadillas”

Popeye Muffins Yum

Popeye muffins are one of the girls’ favorites.  I started making these when the girls were too young to eat leafy greens but old enough to eat more than pureed meals.  They were an instant hit then, and luckily they still are now.  Vibrant green, sweet and soft…. you can’t go wrong with these!

Continue reading “Popeye Muffins Yum

Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Rainy days always inspire a bowl of soup from my kitchen.  This particular stew is inspired from my love of including rainbows in my food.  Even better, it’s a one pot meal that’s easy to make with staple ingredients already in your pantry/fridge. Continue reading “Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Rainy days always inspire a bowl of soup from my kitchen.  This particular stew is inspired from my love of including rainbows in my food.  Even better, it’s a one pot meal that’s easy to make with staple ingredients already in your pantry/fridge. Continue reading “Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Apple Pie Oatmeal Yum

I really had to find a way to sell eating oatmeal to my kids.  We went through a phase where they loved oatmeal then, for the past 6 months, just the name would send them running in fear as if I was punishing them.

So, what does any desperate mother do?  Change the name, feed the same food, and take the win.  Seriously, I love this game where they think they won, and I know I definitely did!
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When I first started making steel cut oats, it was a dump and turn on the machine type deal.  You can absolutely still do that with this recipe instead of roasting the oats.  I just love to do that because it gives it a little more of a nutty flavor and aroma.  We are all busy these days and need more time so if you don’t have enough to roast the oats, don’t worry – the oatmeal will still taste just as great.  (Side note, I do not roast the oats in the slow cooker as it takes forever to heat up – at least for me – and I don’t have the patience for that).

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I love this recipe because it is so easy to make and you can batch cook it so it lasts you for a few days.  Let’s face it, life is crazy for a lot of us, between working from home, homeschooling children and just trying to keep sane.  My favorite method of cooking this recipe is either in a slow cooker or an instant pot as you don’t have to spend so much time watching over it.  It is therapeutic to just stand over the stove and stir it until it cooks (as I practice to zone out the kids bickering who will get a certain spoon or sit in a specific spot).
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I’ve made it all three ways so I know it turns out delicious regardless of your method of cooking.  The ratios below are for 4-6 servings.  You can double or triple the amount without any change in flavor and store it in the fridge for 2-3 days.  Just add a little milk or water when you are reheating it to loosen it up a bit.
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From my kitchen to yours, I hope you and your family enjoy this apple pie oatmeal!

Ingredients:
2 apples, peeled, cored and diced (reserve ½ apple, chopped for topping)
2 c almond milk
1 c water
1 c steel cut oats
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 tsp cinnamon powder
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 Tbsp EVOO or Avo Oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ c chopped walnuts

Directions:
For Instant Pot:
Set to sauté mode and heat up oil.  Add the oats and roast for 3-5 minutes.  Add in the apples and mix for 1 minute.  Add in the remaining ingredients and cover instant pot with vent in sealing position.  Change setting to pressure cook or manual and set time for 5 minutes.  When the instant pot beeps, do a 20 minute NPR (natural pressure release).  Release the steam left in the vent and open up the instant pot.  Add remaining apples and walnuts for topping and enjoy hot!

For Slow Cooker:
Spray the inside of your slow cooker with a little cooking spray to prevent burning and sticking.
Mix all ingredients and cover overnight.  Set a delay start for 4 hours with a cooking time for 4 hours on high heat.  Remove cover and stir to combine evenly.  Serve hot with toppings and enjoy!

For Stovetop:
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add in the oil.  Add the oats and roast for 3-5 minutes.  Add in the apples and mix for 1 minute.Add in the remaining ingredients and stir continuously for the first 3-5 minutes until the oats start thickening.  Cook for 35 minutes, stirring frequently.  As they start to become creamy and thick, you may want to lower the heat.  Once they are cooked, remove from heat and let them rest for about 5 minutes.  Serve hot with toppings and enjoy!

Greek Inspired Crepes Yum

This recipe is one of my favorites.  I learned it almost 4 years ago in Arizona.  We had gone for the weekend to hang out with Pankaj’s friends from college.  It was Sunday morning and we decided to do a fun brunch.  Rupal (our friend who we went to visit) suggested we make Greek Crepes.  OMG have I been hooked on them since! I don’t know about her, but I know I definitely stumbled through this one, pretending I knew what I was doing when in fact, all I knew how to do was make the crepes.  The Greek part was literally Greek to me. Continue reading “Greek Inspired Crepes Yum

Instant Pot Kali Dal Yum

Kali dal is a very popular Punjabi dish and one of those comfort food meals that my husband has grown up with.  It has also become one of Sanaya’s favorite comfort foods too so of course I had to find a way to perfect this recipe for both of them.  I would say this recipe rotates in our house at least ever 2 weeks.
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I love it for its nutritional content, loaded with protein, fiber and low in carbs and calories.  With all the rainy days we’ve had recently, this is one recipe I can’t pass up.  An easy, one-pot meal, this goes great with naan or rice.
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Yep, I put a ton of jalapeños as a garnish.  Traditionally, it’s cilantro. But, it actually tasted good with the extra jalapeños on top!
A while back, we had a potluck and playdate with my friend Janani and her family.  I don’t remember what I made, but I do remember that both my husband and I fought for the last bite of her dal.  It was A-MA-ZING!  It had a burst of flavor to it that we were both impressed and he actually said it was one of the best dals he has had in his life…. that’s huge coming from a Punjabi!
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Most recipes of this specific dal have a basic of three spices, and I’ve found pretty simple in flavor.  Works great for many but Janani’s recipe just had this burst of flavor, you didn’t want to stop eating it.
I begged her for her recipe, tried making it and failed.  I tried a few more times to the point my hubby was actually sick of seeing dal…….oops.  So I went to Janani’s house, had her tell me exactly what to do while I made it with her watching over me.  I’ve been using her recipe ever since, however, I did make a few changes to it.  I know, I know, why?  I changed a little of the technique on which ingredients she cooks in what order, and changed the ratio on some of the basic spices but they are all there.  The changed version is what I have listed below but if you’re interested in her original version, message me and I will send it to you.
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When I talked to Janani about her recipe, that’s when I figured out it’s the spices and the amount of tomatoes that she uses which give the dal its integrity in flavor.  You really need to try out this recipe.  It’s so delicious!
If you don’t have an instant pot, follow the same instructions for a slow cooker and set slow cooker time for 8 hours.

From my kitchen to yours, I really hope you enjoy this one!

Ingredients:
1 c black gram lentils (sabut urad dal)
¼ c dry kidney beans
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 med onion, finely chopped
1 ½ Tbsp grated ginger or ginger paste
1 ½ Tbsp garlic, minced
½ tsp asafoetida (hing)
1 tsp coriander powder
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you want it)
½ tsp dry mango powder (aamchur)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Avocado Oil or EVOO
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ghee (use oil to make this vegan)
cilantro to garnish

Directions:
Mix the lentils and kidney beans together, wash them 2-3 times then leave water in to soak while you prepare the gravy.
Set instant pot to sauté mode.  Add oil and let heat up.  Add hing and let it bloom for 30 seconds.  Add in the onions and sauté 5-7 minutes until translucent.  Add in 1 Tbsp each of ginger and garlic.  Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add in the tomatoes, coriander powder, dry mango powder, cayenne pepper and ½ tsp of salt.  Mix well and cook for 8-10 minutes until the tomatoes have mostly melted and the spices have cooked through.
Drain the water from the lentils/beans.  Add them to the gravy along with remaining ½ Tbsp of ginger and garlic, and ½ tsp of salt.  Mix well, and cook for another 3-5 minutes.  Add 3 cups water and cover the instant pot lid with vent in sealing position.  Turn off the instant pot and change setting to pressure cook or manual setting.  Set time for 40 minutes.  When the time is done, release the pressure, open the lid and mix the dal.
On med heat, in a small pan, heat ghee.  When it’s melted and heated, add in cumin seeds and garam masala.  Let them splutter and bloom for 30 seconds then add to the dal.  Mix everything and change setting on instant pot to sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Serve hot with rice or naan.  Enjoy!

Veggie Pasta Sauce Yum

When my kids were younger, I had a bit of a hard time getting them to eat certain vegetables.  Even today, my oldest will not eat any type of leafy green because it’s a “salad” and she doesn’t eat salads apparently.  My youngest pretty much copies her Sissy and does whatever she says.  Sanaya loves spinach….. if it’s cooked down into a saag, blended into her Popeye muffins or hidden in this veggie sauce.
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This recipe came into being when Aishani was new to eating foods at about almost 1 year old.  Sanaya used to love pasta and Aishani liked it because she was all about finger foods and rotini was big enough for her to hold in her cute little pudgy hands.  Added benefit, I can make a batch, freeze it for future use on a last minute day.
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I load this pasta sauce up with onions, carrots, bell peppers, spinach, and frozen mixed veggies.  I also add tons of spices including turmeric, especially in the winter which is rich in it’s anti-inflammatory properties.  It’s such a healthy pasta sauce and my wonderful kids don’t even notice further than it being a red pasta sauce.  Try it out…. trick your kids or even spouse and see if they notice the difference!
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From my kitchen to yours, Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 med onion, chopped finely
1 bell pepper, chopped finely
1 carrot, chopped finely
¼ c frozen mixed veggies
¼ c spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar (about 1½ pounds) your favorite pasta sauce
¼ tsp ajwain (carom seeds)
¼ tsp haldi (turmeric)
½ tsp lal mirch (cayenne pepper)
¾ tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp Avocado (or Olive) Oil
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Directions:
In a deep pot, heat oil on medium flame.  Add in the carom seeds.  When they splutter, add in the onions and sauté until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.  Add in garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.  Add in the turmeric, and let it bloom for about 30 seconds.
Once the turmeric has mixed in well, add in all the veggies except the spinach, spices, salt and pepper.  Mix well and cook for about 10 minutes or until they are tender.  Finally add in the spinach and sauce and cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly.
Turn the flame off and with a hand blender, blend the veggies into the sauce.  You should get a chunky consistency though if you prefer a more smooth texture, you can blend in a blender.  If it’s too thick, add 1 Tbsp of water at a time until you achieve your desired consistency.
Taste and adjust for salt.

Serve with your favorite pasta!

Avocado Roti Yum

My youngest is in love with Roti.  Give her roti and yogurt and she will happily eat it all day.  Unfortunately, there’s not much nutrition in plain rotis (well, some fiber I suppose and lots of carbs.  And they do taste really good).  So I’ve been coming up with ways to make roti that will satisfy her roti cravings as well as make me happy that I’m feeding her something nutritious.
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These avocado rotis are one of my better creations I think.  The girls loved the green color of the roti, there was just a hint of avocado in it without overpowering it, and even if the girls didn’t eat any sabzi (veggies) on the side, at least they were still getting some in their roti.
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Wait….avocado is a fruit – what veggies are you talking about? Yes it is, but there’s a secret ingredient in here that no one suspected.  Drumroll please……..
Spinach! Yep, not even my husband figured out there was spinach in these rotis.  I actually had been struggling with this recipe for a while because I had the flavor profile down but they wouldn’t stay green once I added the flour to the avocados and a certain ratio was necessary otherwise, it would change the essence of the roti.  I happened to also be making spinach dal – another favorite of my youngest – and thought, why not add some spinach to the roti dough.   Worth a shot.  And what a shot let me tell you.  It gave the green color I was looking for, added some extra fiber and calcium.  Like I said, win-win!
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Try it and tell me what you think!

Ingredients:
1 ripe avocado
2 c fresh spinach
2 c multigrain flour
¾ tsp salt
½ lemon, juiced
2 – 3 cloves garlic
½ tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
½ tsp jeera powder (cumin powder)
½ green chili (or to taste)*
1 Tbsp Avocado Oil
¼ c water

Directions:
In a food processor, add avocado, spinach, salt, lemon juice, garlic, jeera, jeera powder, green chili, and water.  Blend on high to get a smooth and creamy texture.
Combine the puree and the flour in a bowl and knead into a soft dough.  You can add a little extra flour if the dough feels too wet.
Roll into a ball and lightly cover with a little oil.  Cover and let stand for 10-15 minutes.
When you are ready to make the roti, preheat a flat skillet n med-high heat.
Divide the dough into equal sized golf balls.
Lightly dust a wooden board or your counter with dry flour and roll out a dough ball into about 5″ diameter.
Place the roti on the preheated skillet and continue the process with the remaining dough balls.
The roti on the skillet will start bubbling within approximately 20-30 seconds.  Flip it over once so both sides are par cooked.  At this point, remove from skillet with a pair of tongs and grill directly on the flame so that it puffs up like a balloon.
Remove from heat, apply a small amount of ghee on it and serve hot with sabzi or dal (or yogurt).

From my kitchen to yours, I really hope you enjoy this one.