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:

Pomegranate Pistachio Chia Pudding

I was a little late to the wagon on this one.  Everyone was talking about Chia Pudding but I kept putting it off unsure if I would like it or not.  This is where my kids remind me how I preach that they should always try everything once.

Yeah, well.  I should have tried this a long time ago!

A while ago, we went to my sister-in-law Sarika’s place for brunch and one of the things she had made was Chia pudding with fruit and granola.  It was pretty darn good!  So I stopped dragging my feet and decided to make my own at home.

I played around with flavors and the best part is you can pretty much add any fruit and nut to this.  Our favorite so far is the pistachio pomegranate combination.  The sweet, the salty, the creamy and crunchy just have this perfect balance with each other that I cannot get enough of.  It keeps the pudding light enough yet still so healthy!  YUM!

Not only is it delicious, but healthy too!  They are:

  • Rich in omega 3 fatty acids
  • Fiber
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorous
  • Zinc

Try it out and let me know what you think!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Pomegranate Pistachio Chia Pudding!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

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:

Sweet Potato and Beet Hash with Fried Eggs

A couple of months ago, I won our local Farmer’s Market cooking competition and part of my prize was a big box of fresh goodies from the market.  I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited to get fresh veggies and fruits!   I honestly felt like a contestant on Chopped from The Food Network in that I wanted to use all of my produce and come up with a delicious dish.

Well, considering there were so much produce, I’m not sure I would be able to eat more than 3 bites of any dish made from all of the veggies and fruits!  One of my favorites in that box was the beet greens with their beautiful red stems.  I’ve had quite a few people ask me what I use them for and what they can cook out of them.  A definite go to are to cook them down like collard greens but I wanted to do something more creative and decided to add the beet greens to a hash and topping it with an egg made it the perfect breakfast for a busy day or a big, healthy lunch bowl.

The vibrant orange and red colors of the root veggies as they are being cooked, the bold green of the beets…..eeek!  I’m salivating just thinking about this recipe.   The best part is all the nutrition you get in this sustainable hash:

  • high in dietary fiber
  • high in folate
  • good source of potassium
  • good source of non-dairy calcium (the beet greens are)
  • great source of B-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin (these flavonoids have strong anti-cancer and antioxidant properties)

Topping this hash with a fried or hard boiled egg adds a little extra protein though to keep it vegetarian/vegan, you can always replace the egg with a grilled tofu steak.

From my kitchen to yours, enjoy this delicious and healthy Sweet Potato and Beet Hash!

Sweet & Spicy Harvest Bowl

The weather is still pretty warm out but I am mentally ready for fall!  Especially with all the delicious veggies at the Farmer’s Market that are coming out for the season.  The pomegranates, Brussels sprouts, root vegetables and especially all the squash and pumpkins I’m seeing everywhere!  They’re all so beautiful, colorful and oh so yummy!

I was inspired during my last visit to the Farmer’s Market for this recipe.  I used acorn squash because it is mild in flavor and one of the easiest squash to peel and cut.  The beets added beautiful color and flavor (and lots of nutrition!), and crispy brussels sprouts once roasted are the perfect addition for texture in this bowl.

Here are a few other ingredients I used though, I definitely didn’t roast them:

  • Avocado
  • Red Pears
  • Feta
  • Toasted Pecans
  • Quinoa

As for the dressing, I debated whether to add one or not but in the end, I decided a simple squeeze of lime would do justice without taking away from the other flavors.

I was so excited just roasting the veggies because they looked so bright, bold and beautiful!  The spice that I added to balance the sweet of the beets and pears out was smoky chipotle pepper to the veggies that I roasted.

This is one dish that I think is going to come up often on our table through this season!  Make a big batch for a holiday dinner side, a small batch for a lunch or make it a meal for a weeknight!  It’s simple, healthy, delicious, and you get to eat many of your colors!

Here are some of the health benefits from this yummy bowl:

  • Low Carb
  • High in Fiber
  • High in Protein
  • Vitamins K, C, A, and B-6
  • Good Source of Iron
  • Good Source of Folate

Well!  What are you waiting for?  You have got to try this out!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Sweet and Spicy Harvest Bowl!

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!

Chickpea and Tomato Soup

This Chickpea and Tomato Soup is healthy, delicious, carb-free and easy to make in less than 30 minutes! All you have to do is chop and simmer the soup until it’s done!  A family favorite, we add this to the rotation in the fall and winter months almost on a weekly basis!
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The girls love this because it is simple, yet flavorful and they have so much fun making it with me (and eating half the ingredients).

Though traditionally mild in flavor, I’ve added fresh and dried herbs as well as a small parmesan rind to bump up the flavor.  You will be amazed at the difference the cheese rind makes.  If you don’t have any, don’t worry … the soup is still delicious!
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To store cheese rinds, simply keep the rinds in a sealable plastic bag and place in the freezer indefinitely.  Pull it out whenever you are ready to use it.  Such a simple and delicious trick!

I did omit the pasta that is usually part of a traditional Italian Chickpea and Tomato Soup because I do serve this with bread on the side.  However, feel free to add in the pasta if your heart and belly desire.  Simply add in 1 cup of any small pasta you have at home (mini macaroni, ditalini, mini shells are some examples you can use).
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From my kitchen to yours, I hope this soup brings as much comfort and warmth to you as it does to my family!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Hummus is one of my all time favorite snacks and the fact that it is so healthy doesn’t hurt.  Rich in protein, fiber, folate, iron and packed with antioxidants, I really can’t feel guilty if I finish off a container of hummus on my own.  Yep, I do that.
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I’ve been playing around with this roasted red pepper hummus recipe for a while now.  I love how pretty and red the color of it is, the smoky and spicy flavor combined with the creamy texture is just perfect!

How do I eat hummus?

  • add it to a MEZZE platter
  • use it as a SPREAD on a sandwich
  • use it to make DEVILED EGGS
  • use it as a base for PIZZA
  • use it as a creamy PASTA SAUCE

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I have a secret ingredient in this roasted red pepper hummus that you’re never going to believe.
TOASTED CASHEWS

I know!  It sounds crazy but the cashews work so well!  They give it a depth of flavor, texture and added protein that is just so delicious!.
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The best part, this recipe literally takes 5 minutes to make in the food processor and there is no effort to put in.
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Try it out.  You won’t be able to stop eating it like me.

If you like this one, here are some other recipes that are simple and delicious:
Roasted Chili Almonds
Spicy Garlic Hummus
Spinach Watermelon Salad with a Basil Vinaigrette
Best Ever Baba Ghanouj
Roasted Masala Chickpeas

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

Homemade Paneer

Paneer is a staple in any Indian household.  It is so versatile, the possibilities are endless.  I’ve marinated it in Roasted Cilantro Mint Chutney and grilled it over the BBQ, you can also grill it and use it as an addition to a salad, make Paneer Cabbage Cups, Matar Paneer, and most famously known Palak Paneer.
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It may sound daunting but making paneer at home is actually very easy.  There’s literally 2 ingredients involved – milk, and an acidic agent to separate the curd.  I like homemade better than store bought because you can choose which type of milk you want (low-fat or full-fat) and there are no preservatives like in the store bought ones.
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How to make paneer at home:
Step 1: Boil the milk
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Step 2: Add in your acidic agent and keep stirring to help the solids separate from the whey
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Step 3: Drain the whey so you have just the solids left over
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Step 4: Rinse the solids to remove smell and taste of acidic agent
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Step 5: Squeeze out excess water and hang the paneer to remove moisture
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Step 6: Mold the paneer into desired shape
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Step 7: Remove the block of paneer from the cheesecloth and use as desired
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Notes:
1. I suggest double lining the cheesecloth so that it is more sturdy and holds the paneer well when draining. This is the cheesecloth that I use and love!
2. Acidic agents that can be used are lemon juice or vinegar.  I’ve found vinegar works better with curdling the solids without leaving behind a tart taste in the paneer
3. Keep the acidic agent close by so you can use it as soon as the milk is ready so it doesn’t boil over.
4. If you need to add more acid, add a teaspoon at a time.  Adding too much can make the paneer rubbery

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you have fun and enjoy making your own paneer!

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”

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
  • 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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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
  • Print

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.

Instant Pot Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup is one of my favorite soups.  Especially this instant pot recipe which takes only 4 minutes to cook!  It’s filled with delicious veggies and spices like ancho chile and chipotle powder to build a good depth of flavor.  Perfect for a hectic weeknight or a cold day, this tortilla soup is a great way to use up pantry essentials.  Continue reading “Instant Pot Tortilla Soup”

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

Masala Omelette Yum

These days, I’ve seen and heard friends and family tell me they are working harder than ever, missing meals during the day.  Some are working from home trying to manage homeschool, work and life in general.  Others have a profession that is an essential role to our community right now and are giving so much to us.  While I hope missing meals doesn’t become daily routine, here is a breakfast omelette that will start out anyone’s day on the right foot! Continue reading “Masala Omelette 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!

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!

Berry Bake Yum

Times are trying right now as we adjust to working from home, homeschooling and entertaining children at home and just keeping a normal routine for a minimum of the next month as we battle COVID-19.  The first couple of days at home, my children thought we were on vacation…… well, it kind of is I suppose.  In our household, that also means waking up earlier, knowing the children don’t have to pretend they’re sleeping to avoid going to school (they’re starting early!), and also, wanting to eat whatever they want whenever they want.
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I decided I needed to get an upper hand in this mess and started a frenzy of organizing my pantry and creating my menu.
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Over the years, I’ve learned that my munchkins are creatures of habit and though they would prefer to eschew breakfast in lieu of playing and running around or snacking all day, their bodies tell me different when we go through a tantrum.  This berry bake is loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins, and great flavor, it’s a win-win.
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I put this recipe of a bake together because it can loosely be termed as a breakfast bar and it’s a dump and bake deal.  It’s also really easy because you make a generous amount and refrigerate the rest up to a week and pull them out throughout the week without putting in much effort.  The best part is most of these items may already be in your pantry.
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Completely vegetarian and easily modified to be a vegan recipe if you replace the butter with vegan butter.  You can also substitute frozen berries instead of fresh or any other fruit you have on hand without compromising the integrity of the bars.  Try it out and tell me how you like it.
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From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy!  Be safe, Be healthy!

Ingredients:
1 c almond milk
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 ½ Tbsp butter, melted
1 ½ c Old Fashioned Oats
½ tsp cinnamon powder
1 Tbsp Flaxseed
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1 c mixed berries

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
2. Spray a 10×7 cake pan with nonstick cooking spray
3. Mix all the ingredients and transfer to the pan
4. Bake for 25 minutes, a few minutes longer if you prefer a crunchier bar
5. Cool for 5 minutes and cut into 1″x2″ bars
6. Wrap leftover bars individually in saran wrap and refrigerate up to 1 week.

Enjoy!

Instant Pot Chole Yum

Growing up, one of my favorite North Indian dishes has always been Chole.  Whether we were eating at a wedding, an Indian restaurant, or requesting it as my special birthday dinner, Chole has always been a constant and a comfort in my life.  The aroma of it freshly made in the air, just pulls at you.
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There are so many different versions of making this recipe based on where in North India you are.  Sometimes, even in the same region, recipes differ vastly from home to home.  I prefer mine to have a thick red gravy, which is best achieved I’ve found by adding an abundance of tomatoes (and I really mean A LOT)  and spices.  The best part is that this dish is such a classic, you can never go wrong.  Serve it hot with rice, naan or Bhatura and be prepared to be wowed!
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From my Kitchen to yours, I really hope you enjoy this.

Ingredients:
1 c dried chickpeas, washed and soaked overnight (at least 4 hours)
1 ½ c water
1 Tbsp Olive or Avocado Oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1″ ginger, grated
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
3 med-large tomatoes, finely chopped
1 ¾ c tomato sauce
2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 tsp coriander powder
1 Tbsp Chole Masala
1 tsp aamchur (dry mango) powder
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
2-3 bay leaves
½ tsp peppercorns
1″ cinnamon stick
cilantro to garnish

Directions:
1. Start the instant pot on sauté mode.  Add oil and let it heat up.
2. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.  Add in the cinnamon stick, peppercorns and bay leaf.  Sauté for 30 seconds.
3. Add ginger and garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.
4. Add in the onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes until they turn translucent and start shrinking.
5. Add in the tomatoes, cayenne pepper, coriander powder, chole masala, and salt.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes start softening.  Add in the tomato sauce and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
6. Drain the water from the chickpeas and add them to the instant pot.  Mix well with the gravy and cook for 2-3 minutes.
7. Add in the water and mix well.  Turn off the instant pot, cover with vent to sealing position and change setting to manual/pressure cook for 40 minutes.
8.  When the instant pot beeps, do a 20 minute NPR (natural pressure release).  If the pin has not dropped at this point, release the pressure and open the instant pot.
9.  Change setting to sauté, add in the aamchur powder and let boil for 3-5 minutes.  Taste and adjust for salt.
10. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot with rice, naan or bhature.

Enjoy!

Lentil Barley Soup Yum

A few years back, when I was sick, my husband brought home a veggie barley soup by Wolfgang Puck.  I fell in love instantly and now, it’s the first one I want when I’m feeling a little under the weather or even in the mood for some comfort soup.  There’s a heartiness about it without the fuss of heaviness to it.  As much as I love Chef Puck’s soup, I wanted to create my version at home.
For a couple of winters, I tried several variations but was never satisfied with it because none of them measured up to Chef Puck’s soup.  Well, how can anything really?  Anyways, I kept at it and I think I’ve found a great version that works for me.  I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as I do.
I found all of the produce at the farmer’s market, making it more sustainable, organic, and healthy (c’mon, we all know there’s more sodium in a can of anything….no matter how delicious it tastes!).
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I just love having fresh veggies, and for me, the more the better!  Added benefit, when my daughter was cooking this with me, she said, “Mamma, we’re eating the rainbow!”  Made me so proud as I’m trying to teach her to eat her colors to get a variety of nutrients.  Score 1 for Mom!
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If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll figure out that I’m a barley addict!  But really, what’s not to love?  It’s high in protein, high in fiber and has so much nutrition!
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So… what are you waiting for?!  Try out this delicious goodness and enjoy some comfort with rainbows and barley like me.

Ingredients:
½ c pearl barley
½ c green lentils
½ med onion, diced
1 med carrot, diced
3 ribs of celery, diced
½ zucchini, diced
½ yellow squash, diced
1 potato, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 bay leaf
1/3 c tomato sauce
4 c low sodium veggie broth
1 c water
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
pepper to taste
cilantro to garnish

Directions:
In a deep pot, heat olive oil and sauté onions until they are browned.  Add in garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds to let the aroma bloom.  Add in all the veggies and sauté for a few minutes until the veggies are tender.  Mix in the spices and bay leaf.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add in the tomato sauce and mix well.  Cook for 3-5 minutes.  Add the barley, lentils, veggie broth, water, salt and pepper.  Mix well and cook covered for 30 minutes.  Taste and season with more salt and pepper if necessary.
Serve with a slice of garlic bread and enjoy!

Barley Bowl

We’ve recently started eating more barley during meal times and use it as a go to for most of the week.  When I’m cooking the barley, the aroma that wafts out just makes your mouth water.  Then you bite into the nutty flavor and it’s a home run for me.   Plus, it’s really healthy so I don’t feel guilty about eating a little extra (as I tend to do).  It’s high in dietary fiber, a good source of protein, it’s low in sodium, and is a really good grain to eat if you’re trying to lose weight.
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This recipe was born of out sheer laziness.  Nope.  Not kidding.  I had been running errands all day, doing what seems like an indefinite load of laundry for the girls, and just wasn’t in the mood to cook (a rare moment).
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I’ve also been obsessed with sweet potatoes lately.  I’m not sure why… maybe it’s a slow developing discovery that I love them whether steamed, roasted or bbq’d?  Anyways, of course then I decided I wanted to put the sweet potatoes and the barley together.
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I figured on adding avocado because, who doesn’t add avocado to everything?  But I was still missing one more thing.  As I was getting started prepping, it hit me.  Caramelized Onions!  I discovered the joy of eating these a couple of Thanksgivings ago, and I keep wondering, what was I doing with my life?! Of course, since I was trying to keep this to a healthy dish, I used EVOO but it does taste so heavenly with butter.  If you want to use butter, just swap out the EVOO for equal measurement of butter.
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Little by little, I started putting this bowl together without having a real sense of direction and now, my husband wants it in the rotation weekly!  Score for me!
I added a chimichurri dressing to this to give it a little pizzazz and some chia seeds at the end (originially for presentation but, hey! the added Omega 3, fiber, and protein helps).
Check out the recipe below, try it out and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

1 med red onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 sprigs Rosemary
1 c pearl barley
4 c veggie broth (optional, 2 c broth & 2 c white wine)
1 large sweet potato, 1″ cubes
1 lg yellow onion, ½” slices
1 lg avocado, cubed
1 Tbsp Chia seeds
2 tsp paprika
salt to taste
pepper to taste
3 Tbsp EVOO

For the Chimichurri:
1 bunch cilantro
2 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp lime juice
3 Tbsp EVOO
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried red chili flakes
Salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 serrano pepper (optional for more heat)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425ºF .  Place sweet potato on baking sheet, add 1 Tbsp EVOO, salt, pepper and paprika.  Mix well and bake for 25 minutes.
In a shallow pot, heat 1 Tbsp EVOO.  Add onions and cook until they are browned.  Add in the barley and cook until it’s golden red in color.  Add in the garlic, rosemary, broth, salt and pepper.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, cover and cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes.  Turn off the heat and pick out the rosemary stems.
While the barley is cooking, in another pan, heat 1 Tbsp EVOO and add the yellow onions.  add some salt to taste and mix well.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes, while mixing the onions around every 5 minutes.
For the chimichurri, put all the ingredients in a small food processor or blender and blen everything until it becomes a smooth dressing.

For assembly:
Line a wide bowl with a cup of the cooked barley.  Add in the sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, avocado, and chimichurri.  Sprinkle some chia seeds on top and enjoy!

Polenta & Veggie Pot Pie

I love rainy days!  All I want to do is curl up with a blanket in front of the fireplace, read a book with a cup of chai in my hand.  That probably won’t happen till my kids are off to school.

In the meantime, I decided to put together a hearty stew that warms you from your fingers to your toes.  I took the stew a little further and decided to put a spin on it.  I made cute pot pies but instead of the traditional pastry shell, I used polenta and cheese for the crust.  It tasted so delicious, the creamy polenta and the melted cheese just got all of us, especially my daughter hooked!

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I have these cute little Le Creuset cocottes that I got as a gift from our close friends a few years ago and thought my 2.5 year old will get a kick out of eating from it.  And boy was I right!  She insisted on eating her leftovers the next day from these adorable pots!  I was just happy she loved the stew as much as the cocottes!

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I hope these warm you up on a cold rainy (or snowy) day like it did us!

Ingredients:
½ onion, chopped finely
1c cubed butternut squash
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
¼c AP flour
2Tbsp tomato paste
2Tbsp cayenne pepper
1tsp smoked paprika
1tsp cumin powder
¼tsp oregano
½tsp salt (or to taste)
¼tsp ground black pepper
2c veggie broth
1Tbsp Sriracha sauce
¼c milk
2Tbsp EVOO

For the Polenta:
2c Veggie Broth
2c milk
1c Polenta
¼tsp salt
¼tsp pepper
3Tbsp Butter
3oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400ºF.

In a nonstick pan, over medium heat, add EVOO.  Once the oil is heated, add onions and sauté for a couple of minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.  Now add the butternut squash and for about 10 minutes or until it becomes tender.  Make sure you don’t over cook it as the squash can get a mushy texture.  Add in all the dry spices and mix well.  Cook with the spices for a 1-2 minutes so they bloom and flavor the squash.  Now, sprinkle in the flour.  Stir for about 3 minutes so the flour cooks.  If the flour doesn’t cook through, you’ll be able to taste a raw, gritty flavor which is so unappetizing.  Add the veggie broth, tomato paste, and Sriracha, raise to a simmer and cook until it has thickened.  Once it has thickened, add in the milk and black beans.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust for salt.

Spoon the mixture into 4 individual baking dishes or one pie pan and place on a baking sheet with a 2 inch lip.

For the polenta, add the veggie broth and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and whisk in the polenta slowly.  If you add it all at once, the polenta will be lumpy and not cook through.  Keep stirring until the polenta thickens, approximately 10-12 minutes.  Add in the butter and season with salt and pepper.  Spoon the polenta over the pot pie filling and top with cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 18-20 minutes or until the polenta is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
Remove from oven, garnish with fresh parsley and let it warm you to your toes as you dig in to this deliciousness!

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Palak Paneer

Palak paneer is one of my husband’s favorite dishes, and recently becoming one of my daughter’s favorite dishes too.  This is a win-win recipe for me because it’s full of iron. calcium, protein, and fiber.  The fact that my toddler will gobble it up…. score for Mom!
Here’s my quick and easy version.  Hope you enjoy it!

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Blanching spinach is pretty easy (though I have to admit, I was intimidated the first time I heard of the process).  Simply dunk the spinach leaves in boiling water for about 3 minutes and using a slotted spoon (so there’s not much excess hot water tagging along with the spinach), pull out the spinach and again dunk them in a bowl of ice water.  This blanching process cooks the spinach without wilting it and keeping intact it’s beautiful, vibrant green color.  Pretty cool, huh!

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Tomatoes and onions are part of most Indian dishes. I love using this duo to test out various spice combinations for new or upgraded recipes!

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Ingredients:
For the Spinach Puree:
9 oz fresh spinach
1-2 green chilies (depending on your spice level)
3 garlic cloves
½” ginger knob
3c boiling water

For the Gravy:
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small tomato, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
½tsp cumin seeds
¼tsp turmeric powder
½tsp cayenne pepper
½tsp garam masala
pinch of hing
1 bay leaf
7oz paneer, cubed
1Tbsp EVOO
Salt to taste

Directions:
For the Spinach Pureé:
Blanch the spinach and make sure to drain it of any excess water.  Add it to the blender with garlic cloves, ginger, and green chilies.  Blend to a smooth puree and set aside.

For the gravy:
In a nonstick pot, heat oil and add cumin seeds.  Once they start to splutter, add the hing (asafoetida) and bay leaf, and sauté for 30 seconds.  Add the onions and sauté until they are lightly golden.  Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Make sure you don’t brown the garlic as the aroma and the taste will cook off.  Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until the water starts to separate.  At this point, add in cayenne pepper, garam masala and turmeric and mix well.  Add in the spinach puree and mix well.  Add in the salt and mix well.  Cook for about 8-10 minutes to make sure the spinach is cooked, and the gravy thickens.  Add in the paneer and mix well.  Cook for 2 minutes so the paneer cubes can become softer.

Serve hot with Naan or Rice.  Enjoy!