Mahi Mahi with Garlic Lemon Sauce

If I gave my youngest Fish and Couscous everyday for the rest of her life, I wouldn’t hear a single complaint.  She loves it that much and we usually have it on the menu biweekly.  The Garlic Lemon Sauce is absolutely finger licking delicious!  Paired with a flaky and tender Mahi Mahi, well, you will also be adding this fish to your rotation.

Everyone says eating fish is healthy and to incorporate it more in your diet.  But why?  Here are few good reasons why:

  • Fish are high in Omega-3 fatty acids which help lower cholesterol and heart disease
  • Rich in Iron
  • Rich in Vit. B which promotes healthy brain function
  • Rich in Potassium which promotes a healthy heart


Fish can be tricky to cook sometimes because it is very easy to overcook leading to a tough meat (trust me, I’ve done this on many occasions).  A few tricks I rely on to serve the best flaky fish are:

  • Be sure your filtes are about 6-7oz each, with at least 1-inch thickness. If your portions are thin or too small, they’ll tend to overcook.
  • Always pat dry excess moisture from the fish; this step is super important, as it affects how well your fish will brown. A paper towel works wonders
  • Buy fresh or quick-frozen, high quality fish… wild is best, and will provide best flavor.

Don’t know what to serve your delicious Mahi Mahi with?  Check out some of these dishes:
Quinoa, Brown Rice and Black Beans
Fresco Carpaccio

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Mahi Mahi with Lemon Garlic Sauce!

Here are the tools I used:

Popeye Muffins Yum

**Updated Feb 2021.  Originally published May 2020**

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

Rosemary Caprese Skewers with a Balsamic Glaze

These skewers are by far one of my favorite snacks!  Often times, if I am hosting a party, they usually make an appearance.  The best part, my girls love to eat them too (minus the basil and glaze)!  Super easy to assemble, healthy, and 5 simple ingredients.  You really can’t beat that!

For the skewers, I kept the Basil in the caprese, but the addition of rosemary gives it a little boost.  Rosemary can be strong which is why just the hint from the skewers is perfect here.  Bite sized, creamy mozzarella, tangy grape tomatoes, sharp basil, the sweet balsamic glaze finished off by fresh rosemary is definitely going to be one of the best foods I eat today!

Making the balsamic glaze is pretty simple too!  I used to be nervous about making the glaze because it seemed too daunting.  Then one day, I figured, I’ll try it and see what happens.  I can’t believe I was ever so nervous!  Literally I’m boiling balsamic vinegar with a little brown sugar and that’s pretty much it!   Oh.My.God. It tastes so good, I could drizzle this glaze on pretty much anything!

So what are you waiting for?  Try out these delicious skewers and impress your guests with a fancy-ish appetizer!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these Rosemary Caprese Skewers with a Balsamic Glaze.

Avocado Wedges with Sriracha Crema

⁄Crunchy on the outside, creamy and buttery on the inside, these avocado wedges are the perfect snack.  They are remarkably tasty, easy to make, and impressed my 5 and 4 year olds.  Honestly though, anything that is breaded and fried is an automatic win in my book.  I’ve had these in tacos too and seriously, they are delicious.

HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT AVOCADO FOR THIS RECIPE?
Personally, I like to use avocados that have just turned ripe.  They’re still a little firm but ripe enough to be creamy when eaten.  A good scale to use is if they are good enough to use for Guacamole then they are too soft to use for these wedges.  You don’t want the wedges to melt and loose structure because they are too ripe.

AIR FRYER vs BAKING
I used an air fryer for this recipe because it gives the crispy exterior that you would see when deep frying.  If you don’t have an air fryer, baking is just as good but beware that it will take a little longer to cook them.  I have given instructions for both in the recipe card.

ARE THESE HEALTHY IF THEY’RE FRIED?
Yes they are because they’re air fried!  And avocados are definitely healthier than traditional potato wedges.  Don’t get me wrong, I love potatoes in all its many glorious forms but I do love a healthy alternative any day.  Here are some of the many nutritional benefits to these Avocado Fries:

  • Provides about 5 gm protein per serving
  • Almost ¼ of your DRI Fiber
  • About a third of your Folic Acid DRI
  • Almost ¼ Vit. K requirements
  • Great source of potassium, phosphorous, Vit. A, and Vit. B6

So what are you waiting for?!  Try these incredibly delicious Avocado Fries and fall in love with a new way of eating fries!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Almond Butter Breakfast Bars

It’s going on week 2 of my New Year’s Resolution of trying to eat healthier and so far, the first half of the first week did not go well.  Part of the problem is a new school schedule with the girls but the other part is me not taking accountability of the changing timetable and doing something right away.  A couple of days passed before I realized I needed to up my game quick and couldn’t wait for the weekend so came along the decision to make these delicious Almond Butter Breakfast Bars.

I love these bars because they are filling, healthy, and quick to make.  You can absolutely substitute peanut butter for the almond butter or even sun butter if you have a family member allergic to nuts.  I did use almond flour in this recipe which you can substitute for any flour of your choice.  And to make them vegan – simple, substitute the honey for agave.  That’s the best part of this recipe – it’s versatility.

Here are some great nutrition benefits of these delicious bars:

  • Great source of protein at 7.25gm in each serving
  • Provides 20% of your DRI Iron
  • Great source of Fiber and Vit. E
  • Healthy option for a grab and go breakfast that is nutrient dense rather than carb dense

So, what are you waiting for?  You have got to try these delicious bars.  Let me know what you think!  From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these delicious Almond Butter Breakfast Bars!

Here are the tools I used:

 

Middle Eastern Vegan Protein Bowl

Looking for a healthy way to get protein without compromising flavor?  Well, you’ve come to the right place.  This Vegan Protein Bowl has hints of spicy, tangy, herby, and definitely brings a Middle Eastern vibe in each bite!

Simple to make and ready in just 30 minutes, you have got to try this delicious bowl.  So let me tell you a little bit about the ingredients I chose.  For my grain, I used quinoa because it packs more of a protein punch but you can definitely use any other grain.  Bulgur or Farro would be excellent substitutes to keep in line with the Middle Eastern food theme.

For added protein and crunch, I used garbanzo beans.  I love snacking on these so I actually made double the amount and the girls ended up eating most of them!

As to the veggies, I used a few different ones as I wanted to get the colors in.  To give it some warmth, I roasted the cauliflower with the garbanzos and to keep a cool factor, I made a salad of tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, and fresh herbs.

So it’s not just what ingredients I use but how much nutrition this delicious bowl provides.  In addition to almost 20 gm of protein, you are also getting:

  • Half of your daily recommended intake (DRI) of Fiber
  • 40% of DRI Iron
  • More than the recommended intake of Folic Acid
  • Meeting at least 20-50% of most of your Vitamins and Minerals DRI

The best part of making this recipe is that even though there are several different steps and techniques, you can multitask and get them all done at once without chaos in the kitchen!   Roast your veggies, while your quinoa cooks and you are making the Avocado Salsa!  So simple and easy!

Last but not least, I added a hummus dressing to pull it altogether.  I love making my own dressings and there is no way I would leave one out of a bowl this delicious.  And to be honest, I really think the hummus dressing really marries all the flavors together so perfectly.  So what are you waiting for?!  Try this recipe out and let me know what you think.  Leave a comment below, give it a star rating, or tag me on Facebook or Instagram!

From my kitchen to yours, I really hope you enjoy this delicious Middle Eastern Vegan Protein Bowl!

Here are the tools I used:

21 Healthy Recipes to Kick Start the New Year

The holidays this year have been as non-traditional as possible but that hasn’t kept many of us from cooking and baking our favorite foods.  I have definitely been doing my share of baking, cooking and eating massive amounts of desserts, drinks, and carbs.  As always, this leads me to making New Year’s resolutions which have standards that are set too high.  Instead of setting impossible standards and going on an extreme diet, one of my resolutions is to eat healthy, nutrient dense foods.  Less processed, more home made where I can control the ingredients, especially the salt and sugar.

To help “reboot” our bodies and cleanse it of the all the heavy (and mostly unhealthy) foods eaten over the holidays, I’ve compiled a list of 21 Healthy Recipes to Kick Start the New Year.  It is my sincere hope that this list will help you eat healthier without having to sacrifice great taste.  Welcome to 2021 everyone!

Breakfast Oat Muffins

An easy make ahead, these delicious oat muffins are versatile and fun to make with kids.  Grab one on your way to work, school, or your home office!

Almond Coconut Porridge

A delicious porridge that you can make ahead the night before and add so many healthy toppings to, this Almond Coconut Porridge is the perfect healthy start to your day!

Apple Pie Oatmeal

Steel cut oats cooked with apples and cinnamon to give you a creamy apple pie taste are one of our favorite types of oats.  Try them out and you will want a bowl of this Apple Pie Oatmeal over and over again!

Breakfast Soufflé Bites

These easy egg bites filled with fresh and healthy veggies.  Perfect to make ahead, freeze and reheat for busy mornings.

Sweet Potato and Beet Hash with Fried Eggs

A superfood dish that can be used for breakfast or brunch, this delicious meal is the perfect start to any day.  Packed with fiber, non-dairy calcium, beets help fight inflammation, detox the body, and boost energy!

Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad

The perfect winter salad that keeps you full, nourished and packs a punch with a variety of flavors and textures, this Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad is a great lunch or dinner option!

Rainbow Fajita Bowl

Filled with colorful and fresh veggies, this healthy bowl is low on carbs and calories but provides a good source of nutrition.

Paneer Cabbage Cups

A fun healthy option with a bit of Indian fusion, these Paneer Cabbage Cups are light and filling.

Adai Waffles / Lentil Waffles

Who says waffles have to be for breakfast only?  Or that they have to be sweet?  These savory lentil waffles are filled with 4 different types of lentils and lots of veggies.  Have a couple with a side of Masala Salsa or Chutney, you can’t go wrong!

15 minute Masala Pasta

Make a batch of this pasta sauce filled with veggies and delicious spices to freeze and use for any meal.  Combine it with your gluten free or fresh pasta and you will have a veggie loaded pasta that even fussy kids will eat in less than 15 minutes!

Fresco Carpaccio

A light and healthy salad, this Carpaccio is very simple to make and disappears just as quickly!  A great afternoon snack or side salad, you must try this!

Tomato Avocado Cucumber Salad

Packed with protein, healthy fats, and fresh fruit, this delicious salad is perfect to take to work or have on the side with a meal!

Microgreens Salad

A nutrient-dense salad that is light to eat and will make you wanting more, it’s very simple and quick to put together.

Roasted Masala Chickpeas

A healthy snack that will keep you going when you have munchies in the afternoon.  Store these in an air tight container and enjoy whenever your tummy desires!

Roasted Chili Almonds

Another great snack to have or one to add to a cheese board, these Roasted Chili Almonds take only 5 minutes to make.  Store in an airtight container and enjoy for up to 2 weeks.

Rainbow Lentil Stew

This stew is filled with fresh, colorful veggies that are packed with nutrition and flavor.  You can make it in a dutch oven or slow cooker and enjoy it for one of the many rainy days ahead this winter and spring.

Sweet & Spicy Harvest Bowl

Just as it’s name implies, there are plenty of sweet and spicy notes in this bowl.  Beets, brussels sprouts, acorn squash, and pears over a bed of quinoa is just the beginning of the deliciousness here.  The veggies are roasted with chipotle powder to give it hints of spicy and smoky that bring together the perfect amount of pepper.

Spinach Dal

On a consistent rotation in our home, this Spinach Dal has becoming popular.  Taking only 10 minutes to make, you can’t go wrong with this delicious Indian lentil dish.

Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash

This Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash is filled with fruits and veggies and topped with a delicious Apple Cider Vinaigrette, every bite will burst with a multitude of flavors.

Easy Chicken Ramen with GF Noodles

For those rainy nights, this Ramen is the perfect way to cuddle up and enjoy a warm broth filled with veggies and gluten free fresh pasta noodles.  The best part, it takes less than 30 minutes to make!

Tandoori Gobi (Cauliflower) Zucchini Boats 

A fun fusion dish that is filled with the traditional Tandoori flavor.  Roasted in the oven then broiled, the cauliflower give hints of the charred smoky flavor combined with the Tandoori marinade.  Serve it with a side of cooling Mint-y Pomegranate Raita and be prepared to have your taste buds take a trip to India!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this list of healthy recipes to kick start your New Year!  I’m going to be adding more to continue our journey of healthy eating.  In the meantime, tag me when you make a recipe of mine on Facebook or Instagram or feel free to leave a comment below.  Let me know what recipes you would like to see also.

I wish all of you a Happy New Year filled with lots of healthy eating (and a little not so healthy eating).

~Sapna

Herb Roasted Acorn Squash with Pomegranates and Pistachios

my foodgawker gallery

This fall and winter season I have been obsessed with acorn squash and pomegranates.  It only made sense that I find a way to combine the two together.  The girls love the rainbow shape this takes on when cut so I wanted to create something fun for them too.

The great thing about acorn squash is that it is a little sweet naturally but it will still take on any flavor you give it.  If you haven’t tried them yet, I made some Fire Roasted Poblano Tacos recently with acorn squash part of the filling.  It took on the spices really well so I wanted to go on the opposite spectrum this time and season it with something a little more mild.

I chose mostly fresh herbs that would bring out the more earthy flavors.  To help give it a little crust, I also added a little Parmesan.

Anyways, here are a few fun nutrition facts about acorn squash:

  • A nutrient dense food, acorn squash is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber yet is comparatively low in saturated fat, sugar and salt.
  • Great source of phytonutrients, particularly carotenoids which have antioxidant properties.
  • Acorn squash is a starchy fruit, however, because it is so nutrient dense, there’s a good balance to eating this squash. The high fiber content slows down digestion which helps you stay full longer and slows down the release of glucose in your blood.  This process helps in maintaining weight and stabilizing your blood sugar.

So now that you know about my favorite squash this season, let’s move on to my favorite fruit of the season.

Pomegranates!

  • Pomegranates are known as one of the healthiest fruits on Earth!
  • High in fiber (7gms in 1 cup of arils), they also contain an impressive amount of protein (3gm in 1 cup of arils), and 16% of DRI of Folate (also in 1 cup of arils)
  • A great source of antioxidants which help with anti-inflammatory properties.
  • they improve exercise performance by delaying fatigue and increasing blood flow.

Basically, this is one healthy dish that you can have this winter season and enjoy every bite of it!  Try it out and tag me on Instagram @bitofspice146.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Herb Roasted Acorn Squash with Pomegranates and Pistachios.

Here are the tools I used to make this dish:

 

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
Yum
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
  • Print

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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Yum

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”

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

Spinach Dal Yum

Both the girls need their dal (lentils) at least once a week and I love it!  It makes me so happy that they turn to Indian food for comfort and norm.  I try to vary out the dals that I feed them so they get a variety of nutrients and flavors and I get to rotate my lentils. Continue reading “Spinach Dal 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!

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

Chicken Pot Pie

Updated Jan 4, 2020 from the original post published Sept, 2015.

Chicken pot pie is a family favorite in this household.  My kids have been asking for this almost biweekly for the past couple of months.  It makes me so happy that they would love eating my pot pie (though I secretly think it’s mostly because the name has “pie” in it).  I have included in the recipe notes to make this recipe vegetarian and vegan so try it out and let me know what you think!

A hack that I have been known to use on occasion is buying rotisserie chicken, shredding it up and using that instead of baking my own.  This simply cuts down on the time involved to make the pot pie.  If you choose to go this route, remember to buy an herb roasted or seasoned chicken so that there is added flavor.  You can also make these in individual ramekins to personalize them by adding chicken to those who want it and keeping it vegetarian for those who prefer not.

Making chicken pot pie on a busy weeknight may not be ideal but it you can totally make and assemble the pie over the weekend and simply bake it during any weeknight.  Storage is easy as it can last in the fridge up to 5 days.  So what are you waiting for?  Make this your next meal and feel the comfort of home!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Chicken Pot Pie!

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe: