Lemon Chickpea Orzo Skillet

An effortless one skillet vegan recipe filled with sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, chickpeas, spinach, grilled lemon slices, and of course orzo!  Simple, healthy ingredients that come together quickly for a perfect weeknight meal, this Lemon Chickpea Orzo Skillet is a dish that everyone can enjoy!
Continue reading “Lemon Chickpea Orzo Skillet”

Instant Pot Kali Dal

**Original blog posted March 2020.  Updated March 2022**
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 every 2 weeks.

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.

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!

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.

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.

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Brown Rice Skillet

This easy, one pan meal is a hearty and healthy vegetarian meal the whole family can enjoy.  Ready in just 30 minutes, it’s nutrient dense, packed with protein and fiber.  Made with simple ingredients, this Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Brown Rice Skillet is colorful, tasty, and satisfying.
Continue reading “Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Brown Rice Skillet”

Cranberry Balsamic Glazed Turkey Meatballs

Cranberry Balsamic Glazed Turkey Meatballs are sticky, sweet, and moist.  Lean ground turkey is seasoned with parmesan cheese, herbed breadcrumbs, garlic, fresh rosemary, and a little orange zest.  They are then coated with luscious glaze made with cranberry sauce, balsamic vinegar, honey, fresh rosemary, orange juice, and soy sauce.  Mini meatballs are the perfect appetizer for any dinner or holiday party.
Continue reading “Cranberry Balsamic Glazed Turkey Meatballs”

Beet and Butternut Squash Salad

A perfect combination of fall flavors, this salad is perfect for lunch or as a side for dinner.  Roasted beets and butternut squash are served over peppery arugula, tangy feta cheese, earthy walnuts, sweet pomegranate arils.  Tossed in a maple dressing that is easy to make and shake, this beautiful salad is gluten free and nutrient dense!
Continue reading “Beet and Butternut Squash Salad”

Cranberry Apple Quinoa Salad

This Cranberry Apple Quinoa Salad is filled with bursts of sweetness, texture, and nutrients.  The quinoa soaks up a delicious Maple Dressing and the arugula gives just a hint of a peppery note.  What’s best is it’s great to eat for lunch, or have as a side dish.
Continue reading “Cranberry Apple Quinoa Salad”

Quinoa Fiesta Salad

Fresh and beautiful veggies from across the rainbow to make amazing salads are my favorite.  This Quinoa Fiesta Salad is one of my family’s favorites.  As a mom, it makes me happy that the girls are getting so much nutrition in one bowl.  The kids look at the colors and get excited to eat a rainbow and I love that they are enjoying fresh and healthy ingredients!

This salad does triple duty which I love.  A dish which becomes a meatless entree can also serve as a side dish or a salad depending on my mood.  The cherry on top of this recipe is that it takes less than 30 minutes to make and is very forgiving if you need to substitute or leave out ingredients.

HOW DO I MAKE A QUINOA FIESTA SALAD?

1.  Cook the quinoa.  While the quinoa is cooking, you can get the dressing and your other ingredients ready!
2.  Make the Cilantro Lime Dressing.  I love this dressing because it is so light.  If you choose to leave it out as I do for my girls, simply replace it with a drizzle of Olive Oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
3. Combine all of your ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to mix.
4.  Enjoy and get addicted to this salad as much as my family and I are!


Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Sweet Potato and Beet Hash with Fried Eggs

**Original post published Nov. 2020.  Updated Aug. 2021**

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!

Secret Ingredient Brownie Bites

Back to school is all I can think of at the moment.  We’ve made it through the first week successfully so this week, we are adding a challenge – soccer practice.  I’ve got two schools in opposite directions of each other, different timings for both kids, and now practice days.  I’m definitely going to need as many snacks with me as possible.  Easy to eat snacks and as healthy-ish as I can make them for my picky eaters are what I’m looking for.

These secret ingredient brownies are the perfect solution because the girls can’t taste or guess the secret ingredient!  But the girls did approve of them and that is all I need to keep making deceptively delicious foods.  Well, what is the secret ingredient you ask?  BLACK BEANS!  So when I first told the husband about my idea, he was very skeptical.  He loved the black beans idea just wasn’t sure about adding it to a dessert.

But it works!  You can’t taste the black beans at all, courtesy of my blender.  And the addition of the beans gives the brownies a truffle-like consistency.  They also remove the necessity of using flour so these become gluten free!  My favorite part is that I can make these brownie bites in less than 15 minutes!  Yep, ever heard of a baked dessert ready to eat within 15 minutes?  It’s right here and it tastes delicious.

I wouldn’t count this as a healthy food but it is a good option to straight sweets.  I won’t be making them all the time but often enough to get the girls moving.  Make sure to pack one of these delicious brownie bites in your child’s lunch bag!

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe:

For more snack ideas, check out these recipes:
Popeye Muffins
Almond Cacao Energy Bites
Simple Homemade Crunchy Granola
Lemon Blueberry Mini Loaves

 

Back to School Breakfast on the Go!

Summer is practically over in less than a week for us.  I’m going to miss the lazy mornings, the relaxed schedules, and eating pancakes and french toast for breakfast.  I’m looking forward to having a regular schedule in the mornings but planning them out will take some effort.

If you are looking for easy and healthy breakfasts then you’re in the right place!  I’ve compiled some of our favorite breakfast recipes below.  There are several chia pudding recipes as that has become a family favorite lately.  Others, like the Apple Pie Oatmeal takes 3 minutes in the Instant Pot.  I also like to make Almond Butter Breakfast Bars and Breakfast Oat Muffins over the weekend for on the go days.

If you want to see certain recipes on the blog, leave a comment below.  I would love to create recipes for you!


Almond Coconut Porridge  


Breakfast Soufflé Bites


Breakfast Oat Muffins


Apple Pie Oatmeal


How to make a Nutty Granola


Almond Butter Breakfast Bars


Pomegranate Pistachio Chia Pudding


Fig and Chia Pudding Parfait


Avocado Banana Smoothie


Date Smoothie

Back to School Lunch Ideas

Last year, I had this beautiful plan of meal planning and prepping during the school week.  The goal – to provide as many nutritious and yummy meals as I possibly could for the family.  By May, I gave in to grilled cheese and mac and cheese being on the weekly rotation too often.  I did have a great run of healthy meals most of the year though which empowers me to write another Back to School blog post.  Continue reading “Back to School Lunch Ideas”

Zucchini Moong Dal

As I raise my girls, it has become very important to me that they keep connected to their roots and one of the ways I do this is through food.  Lucky for me, they both love the typical comfort food fare of “Dal Chawal” or Lentils and Rice.  A twist on the traditional Moong Dal Fry, this recipe adds zucchini and is low in calorie but nutrient dense.

Ready in just 15 minutes, this has become my latest go to recipe when I’m tight on time.  Because moong dal cooks very quickly, I don’t soak them for more than 20 minutes.

Nutrition is also very important when I’m serving this dish as a main meal to the girls, and this dish doesn’t disappoint.
1 cup of zucchini moong dal gives you:

  • 156 kcal
  • 8.7 gm protein
  • 7 gm fiber


As to cooking it over the stove versus the instant pot, traditionally, the dal was boiled first then added to the spices.  I love just using one pot to make the whole dish so I usually add the uncooked dal into the spices/gravy mix then cook it in the instant pot.

I hope you get a chance to try out this delicious recipe and enjoy it as much as my family does.

Looking for more lentil/dal recipes?  I’ve got you covered.  Check out some of these amazing dishes:
Sprouted Moong Beans Sabzi Gujarati Style
Spinach Dal 
Instant Pot Kali Dal 
Adai Waffles / Lentil Waffles

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Farmer’s Market Crudites Platter with Hummus Two Ways

One of my favorite times of the year is the spring when the Farmer’s Market starts to get bigger with more and more farmers who start to bring a larger variety of produce and goodies.  I’ve mentioned in the past that I like to make a menu for the week (more so my kids don’t complain they want something else than what is served), but what I haven’t mentioned is how I love going to the Farmer’s Market to do my weekly produce shopping.  Sometimes, I will even tailor some of my dishes to include produce I find at the Market.

Recently, I partnered with our local Farmer’s Market (Danville Farmer’s Market) and I will be creating recipes for them a few times a month in the hopes that I can bring awareness to locally farmed produce at all of our farmer’s market.  Having fresh, organic produce and supporting the local farms is a win-win.

This Spring Crudites Platter is so beautiful, we all had a bit of hard time digging in.  No one wanted to mess it up.  Ah well, our stomachs won that round.  The beauty of this platter is that you are not restricted to the same produce I picked up.  Pick up what your farmer’s market has, just make it colorful.

Here is what I used:

  • Purple Cauliflower (chop these into big chunks)
  • Rainbow Baby Carrots (trim the stems off and save to make pesto – be sustainable!)
  • Radishes
  • Watermelon Radishes (slice these a little thick into rounds to give a beautiful effect)
  • Snap Peas
  • Cucumbers (I sliced these on the diagonal for aesthetics.  Feel free to slice into rounds or sticks to make them easier to serve)
  • Cherry Tomatoes

As for the hummus, I chose purple sweet potato and red beets to be the base of each hummus.  For the Red Beets, I roasted it with garlic, then pulsed it with a little tahini and a few other ingredients.  This is by far one of my favorite variations on hummus.  Paired with all that beautiful produce, it’s perfect!

For the Purple Sweet Potato, I baked it in the oven then pulsed it with tahini as well.  Though the idea behind both hummus’ are the same, the flavor profile differ vastly.  Yet both are addicting.

I hope you have a chance to make a beautiful Spring Crudites Platter like this for your next gathering.  I promise you will love it.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

If you are looking for more delicious recipes, check these out:
Roasted Masala Chickpeas
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Spicy Garlic Hummus
Crispy Chickpeas and Sweet Potato Tacos

One Pan Baked Salmon and Rainbow Veggies

This one pan salmon is perfect for a busy weeknight meal.  Ready in 15 minutes, it’s a nutritious meal the whole family will enjoy!

I love the idea of using just one pot or a pan.  Not only is cleanup easy but you don’t spend forever in the kitchen cooking after a long hard day of work.  Don’t get me wrong, the kitchen is my happy place.  But weeknights are crazy when the kids are hungry and don’t have the patience to wait for me to cook an elaborate dinner.

My favorite part is that the girls eat the rainbow veggies I add on the side.  The colors look so pretty and the girls love their rainbows as much as I do.  Chopping the veggies and seasoning them doesn’t take very long and adding that glaze on the salmon with a little honey and mustard mix is perfect to brighten up the salmon.

I kept the seasoning for the veggies pretty simple – salt, pepper, and a little dried oregano.  Why?  Because I want the salmon to shine too.  The veggies have their color that attracts you to them so the salmon should have something too, right?  The glaze is very easy to make.  Just mix a little dijon mustard, honey, garlic, and of course fresh squeezed lemon juice.  Brush it on to the salmon and voila!  All that is left to do is bake!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this easy and delicious One Pan Salmon with Rainbow Veggies!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Springtime Lentil Salad

Spring is almost here.  I can feel it in the air and I’m so excited!  It’s one of my favorite seasons when all the flowers bloom, the grass is luscious green, and the weather is perfect!  This amazing lentil salad is a nod to that feeling and to welcome spring in my life because I cannot wait a moment longer.

Perfectly cooked, tender lentils, crisp and juicy bell peppers, fresh mint, sweet pomegranates, sharp onions, the crunchy cucumbers all drizzled with a fresh basil vinaigrette.  How can you say no to that?  While the lentils are cooking, you can chop the veggies and make the vinaigrette so all you have to do is toss the salad together when the lentils are done.  Make this on the weekend as part of your meal prep, have it for lunch, or even serve it for dinner as a side.  It’s so versatile, quick, easy, and delicious.

Not only does this wonderful lentil salad taste good and is quick to make, it is packed with protein and nutrients.  Check it out:

  • Great source of protein – 13 gm per serving
  • 23% DRI of Fiber
  • 30% DRI of Iron
  • 24% DRI of Phosphorous
  • 77% DRI of Vit. C
  • 127% DRI of Folic Acid
  • 60% DRI of Vit. K

In addition to how nutrient dense this salad is and delicious it is to gobble up, I love how versatile it is.  Add in some goat cheese for a little decadence, change out the mint to parsley if the mint is too strong for you, add in a few more veggies for more crunch or even toss in some nuts if you please.

So… try out this delicious Springtime Lentil Salad and welcome the new season with me!

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe:

 

Brussels Sprouts Grain Bowl

If you have been following me then you know how much I love my bowls.  Experimenting with different flavor profiles, playing around with new dressings, and oftentimes using whatever vegetables are left in the fridge waiting to be saved from their last moments are the best part of creating my new bowl.

My brussels sprouts were facing a similar fate as mentioned above.  I had enough left that I could create a whole new dish with just them, but so few that I didn’t want to waste them either.  Grain bowls are perfect for these types of situations especially if you are using a variety of different ingredients.

This one turned out so delicious that I actually went out and bought more brussels sprouts even though I am trying to move on to spring veggies!  We’ve now had this bowl 4 times in the last 2 weeks and no one in my household minds – in fact, they love it !

I added in some sweet potato for a little starch, sweetness, and fiber, and avocado for protein.  As for the dressing, keeping it simple was the best route.  I made a honey dijon dressing that worked wonders.  The tang from the dijon and the sweet honey are a perfect balance to the bowl.

So…what are you waiting for?  Try this delicious Brussels Sprouts Grain Bowl and become a fan too!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

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: