Cluster beans (gawar)

A simple, healthy dish made with cluster beans or gawar phali as it’s commonly known in India.

Cluster Beans are a legume, also known as gavar, gawar, or guvar beans, often available in fresh and frozen forms at an Indian grocery store. Not only is it high in fiber, it is said to help with resolving anemia issues and building stronger bones. Why not give this simple recipe a try and add this recipe to your list of side dishes?

Time: 20 minutes Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 300 grams gawar phali / cluster beans
  • 1 small onion, diced fine
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon carrom seeds (ajwain)
  • 2 tomatoes, finely diced
  • 3 pods garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon haldi (turmeric) powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dhania powder (coriander)
  • 2 tablespoon coriander leaves chopped (hari dhania)

Method:

  • In a pan, heat the oil. Add the carrom seeds and let it splutter, and then add the onion, ginger and garlic. Cook till the onions are translucent.
  • Add the tomatoes, chili powder, coriander powder, and turmeric powder. Saute on medium flame, until the tomatoes are mushy.
  • Add salt to taste, one-third cup water, cover and cook on medium flame for about 12 minutes. Remove the lid and sprinkle the coriander leaves.
  • Serve hot with chapatis

Mango custard with fruit

Fruit salad with custard. It was a given that when you went for Goan party, dessert would include a fruit salad with custard. In my home, it’s now a nice option for when the kids want a quick snack. Use low fat milk, let the fruit sweeten the sugar, and now you have a healthy snack or even breakfast option!

Custard, a creamy milk dish, was traditionally made with milk, cream and eggs. Today, the fastest (and eggless way) to make this is by using custard powder. I often buy Brown & Polson’s custard powder, as that’s what I remember my mom and grandma using. It’s easily available in Indian grocery stores and is a quick option for when the kids want something for a snack or a dessert when guests swing by. The addition of milk and a variety of chopped fruits give it a ton of nutritional benefits. For a twist, I will use unsweetened mango pulp for mango-flavored custard. I hope this becomes a regular at your home too.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup custard powder ( I use Brown & Polson vanilla custard powder)
  • 2 cups 1% milk (3 cups milk, if you don’t want to make a mango custard but prefer a vanilla custard)
  • 1 cup unsweetened mango pulp (omit if you just want a vanilla custard and increase milk to a total 3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar ( or reduce it to 1 tablespoon and let the fruit sweetness take centre stage)
  • Fruit for serving – blueberries, chopped banana, apple, grapes, strawberries, pomegranate arils

Method

  • In a bowl, mix 4 tablespoons of the milk with the custard powder to form a smooth plaster and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, boil the remaining fill on medium heat. When the milk reaches boiling point, stir in the sugar and the mango pulp.
  • Turn the heat to low, and add the custard paste and continue stirring until it thickens. The consistency should be almost like a sauce.  You don’t want this to burn so continue stirring until it reaches that consistency.
  • Turn off the heat and cool. Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
  • Serve with fresh fruits like blueberries, chopped strawberries, apples, bananas, grapes and pomegranate arils.

Chickpea Cucumber Salad

A refreshing salad that is healthy and big on taste – perfect as a side salad or grab a bigger portion for a complete meal. This invigorating salad has a zesty taste with a capers, lemon and jalapeno dressing.

Servings: 2 Time: 20 minutes including 10 minutes resting time

Ingredients

  • 1 15 ounce can chick peas, rinsed
  • 1 pound Persian cucumbers
  • 2 medium tomatoes or 16 oz grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, for serving
  • 2/3 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced finely
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1.5 tbsp capers, drained and chopped alternatively 1.5 tbsp finely chopped dill pickles
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  • In a large bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil and honey together. Add in capers, oregano, salt and pepper. Whisk well to combine.
  • Dice the cucumbers and add to the bowl along with tomatoes, onions, jalapeno and parsley. Toss all the ingredients and let sit for 10 minutes, at least before serving.
  • Top with feta cheese before serving.

Mediterranean Flatbread (Za’atar flatbread)

This past summer, we stopped by Abu Dhabi enroute to India. It was a few days of beautiful sights and the most delicious middle eastern food. The Za’atar on tender bread reminded Nilesh of his days growing up in the middle east. He couldn’t stop talking about those flavors even after a month so this afternoon, we stopped by a Lebanese grocery store, picked up some Za’atar spice and gyros bread and used our home grown tomatoes to make some scrumptious Middle Eastern flatbread.

What’s Za’atar? It’s a herb and spice mix that tastes a bit nutty, savory and crunchy. The herb, originally is a herb called hyssop, although in the US, oregano or thyme replace it. The spices are a combination of sumac, coriander seeds and sesame seeds.

Benefits of Za’atar: In some parts of the middle east, there is a belief that Za’atar makes the mind alert and is also used to prevent or eliminate internal parasites. It’s also known to sooth inflammation, boost skin health and build strong bones. No wonder, Lebanese kids are encouraged to have it for breakfast. You can drizzle it over vegetables, avocado on toast, or mix it up with olive oil for use on a pizza/flatbread.

Cook time: 10 mins. Prep time: 5 mins

Servings: 2

For the pizza

  • 2 pitas or naans
  • 1 large tomato cut into half and then sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Za’atar spice mix

Tahini Sauce for drizzle

  • 1/2 cup Tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold water

Method for Tahini sauce:

Blend all ingredients together to form sauce. Add extra water for desired consistency.

Method for pizza: (Oven/ Foodi/ Air fryer options)

  • Preheat Foodi or Air Fryer with air fryer option to 375 degree Farenheit or Oven to 400 degrees
  • Mix Za’atar and olive oil and brush the mix on the pita
  • Layer tomato slices
  • Cook in air fryer or over for 10 mins
  • Remove and drizzle with tahini sauce to serve

Easy, Healthy Granola

Granola is an excellent source of fiber and potassium. It’s a magical, delicious mix of oats, nuts, dried fruits and maple syrup or honey. Not only is it beloved by hikers, it’s good for breakfast, a snack, or when mixed in with yogurt and berries, makes for a delicious desert. But store bought granola can be full of artificial sweeteners. Here is a super easy and yet, very healthy granola recipe. It’s sweetness comes from maple syrup (or honey) and the crunch comes from nuts. Make it your own with your choice of nuts.

Servings: 6 cups of granola

Time: 35 minutes including baking time of about 20-22 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats ( or use gluten free oats)
  • 1.5 cups mixed nuts – almonds, walnuts and pecans (you can use your own combination of nuts – cashews, pistachios taste great)
  • 2/3rd cup maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup olive or coconut oil (I prefer the flavor of coconut oil)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3rd cup dried cranberries (other dried berries, just watch the sugar in those)
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Method:

  • Line a large, rimmed baking sheet or pan with parchment paper while preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts, salt, cinnamon powder.
  • Pour into the mixing bowl the maple syrup(or honey), oil and vanilla essence. Stir to combine so all the oats and nuts are coated.
  • Evenly layer the mix on the baking sheet and place the sheet in the oven. Set the timer for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, remove sheet/pan from oven and stir the granola so that it browns evenly. Put the sheet back in oven and cook for another 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove sheet/pan from oven and cool for an hour, as the granola will further crisp.
  • When cool, mix in the dried cranberry and chocolate chips.
  • It is now ready to be served or store in an air-tight container.
Berry yogurt with granola topping

The best buttercream frosting ever!

Growing up, every birthday party had the most delicious and beautiful homemade cakes. I especially remember a cake in the shape of a multi wagon train with goodies in each wagon, and a checkered cake for my 21st birthday. I am so grateful for such a creative and loving mom. I have tried to replicate that for my kids with every birthday being a themed one. As they’ve grown into teens, the themes are no longer there but they still want homemade cakes. And that’s where this buttercream icing has stood the rest of the time. Adults, kids all love it and I will often use a box cake mix (I love Duncan Hines) to save myself time and focus instead on the shape and decoration. This icing makes the cake out of this world.

Time: 10 mins including prep time

Servings: enough for one 9 inch cake

Ingredients

  • 3 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 1/3rd teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ pounds ( 3 cups or 24 ounces) powdered sugar (confectioner’s), sifted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Method:

  • Soften the butter either in 15 second increments in microwave or by keeping it at room temperature. Butter should be soft but not fully melted. If melted, the frosting will just take a little longer to make.
  • In a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a standing mixer) add the butter, and beat on low speed with the mixer (hand or stand mixer) for 30 seconds until butter is a little fluffy.
  • Slowly add in the sugar to bowl and continue to beat on low speed until the sugar is fully incorporated.
  • Add in vanilla, salt and 3 tablespoons milk and continue to beat until fully incorporated. Turn speed to medium and beat for another 5-6 minutes.
  • If buttercream is too thick, ass in milk one tablespoon at a time to get the desired consistency.
  • You’re now ready to frost your cake and if your family is like mine, they will be standing around to lick the paddles!

Old-Fashioned Overnight Oats

Oats are a nutrient-dense food. Per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a half cup of dry, quick-cooking oats, contains about 150 calories, 5 grams of plant protein, 27 grams of carbs, 4 grams of filling fiber, and a few grams of fat. Oats also contain vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamins, and smaller amounts of calcium and potassium. So, why not add them to your food choices? It’s not only a great option to start your day but an easy to have snack during the day. Avoid those sugar-loaded, ready-made Oatmeal packets and try one of these overnight oat recipes or even the warm oat recipes.

This Healthy Old-Fashioned Overnight Oats Recipe is a delicious breakfast that can be prepared easily and ready for a busy morning. Customize with toppings of your choice and you won’t have a reason to skip a healthy, delicious breakfast no matter how crazy your morning can get!

Overnight nights are an easy, no-cook breakfast that you can prep and keep ready for the entire week. Our favorite toppings are walnuts, almonds, banana, maple syrup, peanut butter and granola. You can also try dark chocolate chips, honey, fresh fruit.

Serving Size: 2

Prep Time: 5 minutes plus 8 hours/overnight

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (or gluten-free oats)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (for vegan – use a plant-based yogurt)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional – but super good for you!)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey or sweetener like agave/stevia)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a large glass container and stir until combined
  2. Cover the container and refrigerate overnight (or atleast 2 hours).
  3. Before serving, give it a stir and add a little more milk, if desired for a thinner consistency. Add toppings and serve!

Jazz up your overnight oats with these other recipes


Apple-cinnamon overnight oats

Overnight oats are delicious, easy to make and not just a perfect way to start the day but also very healthy! Mix, soak, enjoy!! And if you really don’t like them cold, just pop them into your microwave and heat in 30 second increments until the desired temperature is reached and enjoy!

Chopped apples, cinnamon, maple syrup! What’s not to enjoy!!

Prep time : 8 hours including overnight time

Serving size: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened milk, I prefer unsweetened almond but any milk will do
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or plant-based for a vegan recipe)
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (or gluten-free oats)
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey or sweetener like stevia
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract, optional
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Big pinch of cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 a small apple, diced
  • Toppings like nuts, granola, berries, diced apple and banana

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients, except for the toppings in a large glass container and stir until combined
  2. Cover the container and refrigerate overnight (or atleast 2 hours).
  3. Before serving, give it a stir and add a little more milk, if desired for a thinner consistency. Add toppings and serve!

Enjoy! Make a bigger batch and it can stay in the fridge for up to 5 days

Try out some other overnight recipes here:

  1. Old Fashioned Overnight Oats
  2. Tropical Mango, Banana Overnight Oats
  3. Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats

Tropical Mango Banana overnight oats

Tropical mango and banana combine to form this delicious, vegan and gluten-free overnight oatmeal breakfast.

Servings: 2

Time: 5 minutes plus 8 hours (overnight)

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats (or gluten-free oats)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 3/4 cup Mango pulp (no sugar added)
  • 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (for vegan – use a plant-based yogurt)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional – but super good for you!)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey or sweetener like agave/stevia)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 banana mashed
  • Pinch of salt
  • Toppings (optional) – banana slices, mango cubes, other fruits like berries, nuts, coconut flakes

Method

  1. Mash banana in a glass container with a lid
  2. Add the remaining ingredients with the exception of the toppings
  3. Stir, cover and refrigerate overnight
  4. Before serving, give it a quick stir and serve garnished with fresh banana slices and mango cubes and other toppings of your choice

Try these other delicious recipes

  1. Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats
  2. Old Fashioned Overnight Oats
  3. Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats

Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats

These peanut butter banana overnight oats combine all of your favorite flavors to make the most delicious, high-protein breakfast made in under 5 minutes!

Serving Size: 2

Prep time: 5 minutes plus 8 hours (including overnight time)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 2/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats (or gluten-free oats)
  • 1 whole banana, mashed
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter, creamy
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional – but super good for you!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Toppings: Crushed peanuts, banana slices, strawberries, dark chocolate morsels and nuts

Method:

  1. Mash banana in a glass container with a lid
  2. Add the remaining ingredients with the exception of the toppings
  3. Stir, cover and refrigerate overnight
  4. Before serving, give it a quick stir and serve garnished with fresh banana slices, dark chocolate morsels, peanuts and other toppings of your choice

Jazz up your overnight oats with these other recipes


Broccoli Beef

Why get take out when you can quickly dish up a quintessential Chinese takeout dish in minutes? This one-pan, 30-minutes dish is loaded with tender broccoli and nutrition-packed beef cooked in a delicious sauce. Serve over rice for a delicious meal!

Broccoli Beef originates from a Chinese dish called Gai Lan Chao Niu Rounor or Chinese Broccoli Fried Beef. However, early immigrants could not find Gai Lan in the US, and American broccoli became an easy substitute, right around when broccoli was getting more popular in the US too. Given the ability of the broccoli to absorb delicious flavors of the sauce and the tender slices of beef, it’s no wonder it makes its way onto every Chinese restaurant menu.

Servings: 4

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda or tenderize the meat by hammering it with a meat mallet)
  • 1  pound flank steak, cut into 1-inch pieces. (Find the grains of the beef and cut against it. After cutting rinse off the blood and set aside)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper powder
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame or vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup carrot, cut into matchsticks (optional)

Method

  • In a large bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch with water to form a slurry. Add beef to the bowl and toss until the beef is well coated with the cornstarch mix.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining 1 tablespoon of cornstarch along with soya sauce, oyster sauce, pepper and brown sugar. Set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan or wok on medium flame. When hot, add the beef and fry the beef on one side for 30-60 seconds. Flip and fry the beef until it is cooked through another 60 seconds. Transfer the beef to a plate and set aside.
  • Add remaining oil to the pan and when hot, add the diced onions, garlic and ginger and cook for a minute and then add the broccoli florets and carrots. Cook until broccoli is tender, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the beef back to the pan and pour the sauce over. Stir for another minute until the sauce thickens.
  • Turn off the stove and serve with a side of rice or noodles.

Chicken with lemon-caper sauce

A healthy dish that comes together in a flash for a weeknight dinner but with its restaurant- quality look and flavors it’s perfect for when guests stop by. The tart, briny and lemony flavors will have you licking the plate clean. You may want to double up the servings as you will be craving this again the next day!

Dairy and nut free.

Servings:4

Prep time: 4 minutes. Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup flour (whole wheat or all purpose)
  • 4 – 5oz boneless, skinless /skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning (preferably no salt)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp capers, drained
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp cornstarch (mix in a quarter cup of water)

Method

In a plate, mix together the flour, black pepper powder, Italian seasoning. Coat chicken with the flour mixture, and shake off excess.

In a skillet, heat oil, on medium flame. When hot, add garlic, and cook garlic for 30 seconds.

Add the chicken to the pan and cook. After 5 minutes, turn chicken over, and continue cooking until brown on both sides and cooked through for another 5 minutes. Should take about 10 minutes to cook on both sides. Remove from skillet and set aside

Add the chicken broth to the skillet and bring to a boil. Add in the water and the cornstarch slurry (cornstarch water mix). Continue cooking for about 2-3 minutes until the sauce is thickened. Add chicken back to the skillet, cover and simmer for about 2 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in lemon juice, capers and parsley. Turn off the stove. Divide amongst four plates, spooning the sauce over the chicken.

Serve chicken in lemon-caper sauce with a side of beans and mashed potatoes! Yum!!

Kheema – ground turkey, beef or chicken

Kheema is a staple Indian dish and just so versatile. Nilesh, as a bachelor, made a huge pot of kheema and had it with pasta, with chapatis, or rice..he almost always seemed to be having kheema for a meal. Now we also use it in patties, empanadas, shepherd’s pie, and potato chops. Make a large pot and then package it into ziplock bags, frozen for another day and another dish!

This is my mum’s recipe. The secret ingredient which made her dish stand out was the addition of vinegar and sugar! You won’t be disappointed.

Servings:6

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey (or other meat – cooking time for non turkey options will vary )
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced fine
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced fine
  • 2 heaped tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 heaped tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp kasuri methi (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Method:

  • Heat oil in a large pan
  • When oil simmers, add in the chopped onion, garlic and ginger
  • Turn the flame to low and stirring occasionally, let the mix cook 3 minutes until onions are translucent and soft
  • Add spices (except vinegar, salt and sugar) and fry for 1 minute on low flame
  • Add the meat, fry for 5 minutes
  • Add the vinegar, salt, sugar
  • Cook for 15 mins on low flame
  • Sprinkle in kasuri methi and cilantro, stir and cook for another minute
  • Serve hot with chapatis. Use leftovers to make shepherd’s pie or potato chops

Lentils with spinach – dal palak

This nutritional lentil dish packs an additional punch thanks to the addition of spinach. It’s vegetarian, gluten free and low fat giving you all the benefits of lentils (good protein, digestive health, weight loss etc.) and spinach (weight loss, eye health, anticancer and immunity boosting). Have it as a soup, over rice or scoop it up with a chapati.

Servings: 4. Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup toor dal (split pigeon peas or yellow lentils)
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (or olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 5 garlic cloves minced fine
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, diced fined
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups water

Method:

  • Start the instant pot or pressure cooker or ninja foodi in Saute mode
  • Heat the oil/ghee
  • Add in the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and let them splutter for 10 seconds
  • Add garlic, let it splutter for 10 seconds
  • Add chopped tomatoes, spices and fry for 30 seconds
  • Add in the lentils, stir and add in water
  • Close lid of cooker and change mode to pressure cook
  • Pressure cook for 15 minutes
  • Let the pressure release naturally
  • Open the lid and add in the spinach and lime juice. Stir well and let us rest for 3-4 minutes, covered. The spinach will melt
  • Serve as a soup, over rice or with chapatis

Air fryer spicy peanuts

Looking for a quick snack, air fryer roasted peanuts come to the rescue. These roasted peanuts typically accompanied a drinking session, a nice accompaniment to a cold glass of beer or a glass of scotch or lemonade! Often made for parties, you will find yourself mindlessly grabbing a handful while you are busy catching up with someone.

Time:20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw peanuts
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • Smoked paprika or Red chilli powder to taste
  • Salt to taste

Method

  • Preheat air fryer to 350 degree Fahrenheit on air crisp setting
  • In an air fryer safe dish, add oil and chili/paprika and salt
  • Toss the peanuts in and shake to coat it well
  • Put the container in the air fryer and air crisp for 15 mins, shaking the container intermittently
  • After 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 340 degrees and roast for another 5 minutes
  • Remove from air fryer and let cool for a bit before serving
  • Enjoy!

No-bake easy Chocolate Cheesecake with orange liqueur

This Father’s day turned out to be an unusually special one. My dad is visiting from India (the first time we have him here for Father’s day), my mum’s cousin Fr. Allan is visiting and of course, Nilesh. Three fathers in the house – we had to make something special! But after toiling over several dishes for lunch, I wanted a chocolate dessert that would make Nilesh’s day but would also be special and yet, easy.

That’s where this easy, no bake chocolate cheesecake comes in. I didn’t have the ingredients for a pie crust and even without that, everyone said this was finger licking good! And the orange liqueur with a dusting of shaved dark orange chocolate – ooh, heaven!!

Try it – this will be the highlight of every dinner party, and celebration.

Prep time: 10 minutes Chill time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips ( I use Kirklands)
  • 11 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 2 cups whipped topping
  • Optional but it definitely elevates the flavor- 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier Orange & Cognac liqueur and 1/4 cup shaved dark orange chocolate

Method

  • Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave for 45 seconds and then continue hearing in 10 second increments, stirring until chips are melted
  • In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, sugar on medium speed with mixer. Gradually add melted chips, until blended
  • Fold in whipped topping, until blended
  • If using liqueur, pour in and blend
  • Spoon into a pie bowl or if using a prepared crust, spoon into crust
  • Refrigerate until firm
  • Garnish with shaved dark orange chocolate and whipped topping
  • Serve

German Apple Pancakes

We stayed over at our friend Prafulla’s house one weekend and awoke to this delicious aroma wafting from the kitchen. Cinnamon, apples….was that really apple pie for breakfast?? Instead we were greeted by an oversized and very fluffy pancake baked with apple slices and drizzled with Maple syrup. And while it was not apple pie, we werw not disappointed.

This delicious and yet, simple and quick but so special breakfast has become my go to and it was great to see both my dad and Nilesh enjoy it on this Father’s day weekend.

I highly recommend this. It comes together so quickly and you will be asking yourself why you want to make individual American pancakes when this one is so easy and quick!

Servings: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time:20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 large apples (honeycrisp or gala) – peeled or unpeeled, cored and thinly slices
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour (no need to sift)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (or regular milk)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (or regular)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder(or per taste)
  • For serving: Optional: Maple syrup to drizzle and confectioners sugar for dusting

Method

  • Heat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit
  • Take two 9-inch round cake pans and grease evenly with butter
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, buttermilk, flour, salt, sugar, and half the cinnamon powder
  • Layer the apple slices on the bottom of each pan
  • Pour the mix into the two cake pans distributing evenly between the pans
  • Sprinkle remaining cinnamon powder over each pan
  • Put pans in the oven
  • Bake uncovered until puffed and golden brown about 20 – 22 minutes
  • Drizzle maple syrup and dust confectioners sugar
  • Serve!

Dragon Fruit Bowl

For those hot summer days, here’s something to cool you down.

Dragon fruit aka pitaya is a superfruit native to Central America. It is a fantastic source of fiber, magnesium and vitamin C. The perfect fruit to start the day energized or to refresh yourself at the end of a hot day.

Prep: 5 minutes        Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 can (403ml) unsweetened  coconut  milk
  • 1 cup frozen dragon fruit
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • Sweetner of choice, as desired

Method

  • Pour coconut milk into the blender bowl
  • Add in the remaining ingredients
  • Blend 45 seconds
  • Pour into serving containers
  • Add in toppings of your choice like raspberries, almond slices, granola, banana slices, or pineapple chunks
  • Serve

Barbecue pulled pork – slow cooker/ Ninja Foodi /oven

Pulled pork simmered in a tangy, sweet and spicy sauce bringing back memories of a roadtrip  down to Texas where we had the most delicious and moist pulled pork – in the parking lot of a restaurant because of Covid. As we reminisced over the trip, we had to replicate the flavors at home.

Servings: 8 (for 8 sandwiches)

Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 6 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1.5 large onions, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 lbs pork shoulder butt roast
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon  Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon  red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (see notes to make barbecue sauce at home)

Method

  1. Lightly rub the pork with salt and pepper
  2. If using a Ninja Foodi, put on the sear option on high
  3. Pour the oil into the bottom of a slow cooker, dutch oven or the Ninja Foodi
  4. Add the onions, garlic
  5. Add the remaining ingredients including the pork
  6. Cover the container to cook:
    1. Turn on the slow cooker and set for high
    2. For Foodi, switch to slow cooker option and set to high
    3. For oven, preheat to 250F. Cover dutch oven and place in oven
  7. Cook on high for 5-6 hours until the pork shreds easily with a fork
  8. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred the meat using two forks
  9. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker, and stir the meat with the juices in the pot
  10. Serve on hamburger buns with a side of beans, coleslaw and potato salad

Notes:

  • Home made barbeque sauce:
    • Ingredients:
      • 1.5 cups ketchup
      • 2 tablespoon molasses
      • 3 garlic cloves minced
      • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
      • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
      • 1 tablespoon red chilli powder
      • 1  teaspoon black pepper powder
      • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
    • Method
      • Combine ingredients in a pot on the stove. Simmer for 15- 20 minutes until sauce has deepened in color. Store in a tightly covered lid for upto 10 days

Mango Chia Seed Pudding

If you love mango and tropical flavors, this chia pudding is for you. A combination of coconut milk, combined with chia seeds and mango pulp, makes for a delicious pudding that will energize you and fill you up. A great way to start the day or a pick-me-up during the day.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut milk (alternatively, almond or any other milk, or 1/2 cup coconut cream with 1/2 cup milk)
  • 1 cup unsweetened mango pulp
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Toppings: Mango cubes, pineapple, berries, almonds, granola

Method

  • In a large, lidded bowl, mix the mango pulp and almond milk. Stir
  • Add in the chia seeds and maple syrup. Stir with a spoon. Ensure no clumps of chia seeds remain
  • Close with lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight
  • Top with mango chunks, pineapple, berries, granola, or nuts

Try these other chia seed pudding flavors:


Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

This deliciously sinful, chocolate chia seed pudding is for when those chocolate cravings hit or if you want dessert for breakfast without feeling guilty. This calls for only 5 ingredients and you likely have them already.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk (alternatively, any other milk)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Toppings: Berries, almonds, granola

Method

  • In a large, lidded bowl, whisk in the cocoa powder into the almond milk, removing any clumps
  • Add in the chia seeds, vanilla essence and maple syrup. Stir with a spoon. Ensure no clumps of chia seeds remain
  • Close with lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight
  • Top with berries, granola, or nuts

Try these other chia seed pudding flavors:


Matcha Chia Seed Pudding

Sophie loves her matcha boba tea and was very happy when we made a matcha Chia seed pudding. Not only did the matcha powder give it it’s beautiful green color, the matcha flavor was elevated with the use of coconut cream. If you love matcha, this pudding is for you! It will energize you while filling you up.

Why Matcha? Did you know it’s full of antioxidants, can speed up metabolism, and lower bad cholesterol? And of course, chia seeds contain protein, fiber and the good-for-you kind of fat

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Toppings: Berries, almonds, granola

Method

  • In a large, lidded bowl, whisk the matcha powder, coconut cream and almond milk, making sure no clumps remain
  • Add in the chia seeds and maple syrup. Stir with a spoon. Ensure no clumps of chia seeds remain
  • Close with lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight
  • Top with granola, fruit or nuts

Try these other chia seed pudding flavors:


Chia seeds pudding

Something I always struggle with is what to eat as a snack or have ready for breakfast for the kids to grab quickly before school. This chia seed pudding fits the bill – it is a make-ahead, easy and yet healthy breakfast or snack option that is energizing and filling. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. And best of all, it is so good for you.

Chia seeds contain protein, fiber and the good-for-you kind of fat. Soak them in a liquid and you get this smooth, gelatinous pudding texture. Add a little sweetener, a topping of your choice like fruit or granola, and who can resist dessert, and a healthy one at that??!

I make this Chia seed pudding with simple ingredients. And then top it with granola (at time of eating) or layer it with fruit for a grab-when-you-need option. I have found that 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to 1/4 cup of milk is the ideal ratio.

Once you have this, it may soon be a go-to, so check out the links below to other chia-seed pudding options.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups light coconut milk or almond milk (or cow’s milk)
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1.5 tablespoon maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)

Toppings

  • Berries
  • Granola or chopped nuts
  • Chopped fresh mango or pineapple
  • Coconut flakes

Method

  • In a lidded container, pour in the milk. Stir in the chia seeds. Cover the container and shake well to combine. Wait for 2-3 minutes and then stir well with a spoon making sure to break any clumps
  • Add in the vanilla essence and maple syrup, and stir
  • Cover with a tight light and let set in fridge overnight or at least 2 hours
  • When serving, top with your favorite fruit, nuts or granola, and enjoy!

Other Chia Seed Pudding recipes:


Mushroom, Spinach and Black Bean Quesadillas

When you want a healthy and yet quick meal or a snack on-the-go, these quesadillas are a great option. A mix of spinach, corn, mushrooms, black beans, onions, and creamy avocado makes for a filling, delicious vegetarian meal. And if you’re craving meat, just add some shredded chicken to the mix.

Servings: 4 quesadillas Cook and prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 large Red Onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper flakes
  • 8 oz Baby Bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups fresh Spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen Corn
  • 1/2 cup cooked Black Beans
  • 2 large Avocados, removed from shell and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • 4 medium Tortillas (I use whole wheat although flour tortillas are usually tastier but less healthy)
  • Salt to taste
  • Salsa, for serving
  • 2 cups shredded chicken, optional (for when you want a non-vegetarian option)

Method:

  • In a pan, heat the Olive oil
  • When oil is hot and shimmering, add in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir and add in the onions, stir occasionally while the onions turn translucent.
  • Add in the sliced mushrooms. Fry the mix, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and caramelized, and the water from the mushrooms in the pan has dissipated – approximately 3-4 minutes
  • Add in the spinach, black beans and corn. Cook till spinach has wilted. Sprinkle salt, stir and keep aside
  • Lay out the four tortillas on plates
  • Cover a half of each tortilla by distributing the 1 cup of cheese across the tortillas
  • Distribute equally the spinach, corn, black beans, and mushroom mix over the cheese
  • Layer the mix with equal amounts of avocado slices and sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese evenly over it, as well
  • Fold tortilla into half by pressing the empty half of the tortilla over the toppings
  • Heat a medium/large size skillet. When skillet is hot, place the folded tortilla in the skillet. Cook on both sides for a total of 4 mins, flipping half-way through
  • Before serving, cut the quesadillas into 3 equal sizes
  • Serve hot with a side of salsa
  • Enjoy!

Tuvar Dal (Pigeon-Pea lentils)

While growing up, dal, or lentils, was a staple part of a meal. Tuvar dal, moong daal, chana dal, it didn’t matter. There were so many different recipes, and all were so nutritious and delicious. When you were sick, you had a simple dal soup, and on occasions, you had some more complex recipes. This recipe is a staple in our home. It’s flavorful and can be just had with rice. On some days, the perfect accompaniment to dal and rice is fried fish, stuffed with red masala…..but more on that fried fish later!

Prep time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup tuvar/tur dal rinsed
  • 3/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large tomato, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • .5 tsp red chili powder
  • .5 tsp garam masala powder
  • .5 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • Salt, to taste
  • Optional: 1 tsp lime juice

Method:

  • In a pressure cooker, or Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot (both on sear setting) heat oil
  • When oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds, they will splutter
  • Add in the onion, ginger and garlic and fry for 2 minutes until onions are soft and translucent
  • Add in the tomato and fry for 2 minutes
  • Add in the dry powders and stir for another minute
  • Add in the dal and 2.5 cups of water along with the salt
  • Put the pressure cooker lid on (for Foodi or Instant Pot, turn setting to Pressure cook and put timer to 16 minutes)
  • Pressure cook for 16 minutes
  • When done, wait until the lid can be safely removed. You can change the consistency of the daal by adding more water
  • Stir in the cilantro leaves (and lime juice, if using) and serve with rice or chapatis

Mango Pineapple Salsa

Sweet, tangy, healthy, fresh mango, pineapple salsa will have you dreaming of the tropics with a single bite. This salsa is the perfect make-ahead appetizer or a topping for fish, tacos, grilled chicken or pork. Best of all, it comes together in minutes.

We often make salsa for fish tacos or as a quick snack for when the kids come home from school. This mango and pineapple salsa brings vision of glorious summer days. I sometimes add a dash of Tagin, a Mexican seasoning available in ethnic grocery stores, and just dig in with a spoon – why waste calories on chips?!!

Prep: 10 minutes Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups diced Pineapple
  • 2 cups diced Mangoes (see notes on chopping a mango easily)
  • 1 small Red Pepper
  • 1/2 small Red Onion, diced fine
  • 1 Jalapeno, diced fine (deseed if you don’t like it too spicy)
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh Lime juice
  • 1 tsp salt

Method:

  • In a bowl, mix all ingredients well
  • Serve with tortilla chips or over tacos, chicken, fish…. or just grab a spoon and dig in
  • Refrigerate to keep fresh up to two days

How to chop a mango easily:

  1. Wash and dry the mango
  2. Place the mango upright on a cutting board, supporting it with your non-dominant hand
  3. Hold a sharp knife in your other hands
  4. Cut the thickest (widest) side of the mango, cutting from top to bottom as close to the pit as you can
  5. Repeat on the other side
  6. These sides are called “cheeks” – so you end up with two cheeks and a pit that still has a bit of flesh around it
  7. Use a knife to make lengthwise and crosswise cuts in each cheek, being careful to avoid cutting through the skin. Now, press the skin side of the mango cheek to turn it inside out, to resemble a porcupine. Scoop out the cubes off the skin using a knife or skin
  8. Peel the skin of the remaining middle piece and using a paring knife, cut as close to the pit as possible. Cut the remaining fruit flesh into cubes
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Sesame Garlic Bok Choy

A delicious, crisp vegetable that comes together in minutes. Bok Choy, a Chinese cabbage, can be braised, stir-fried or roasted. You can eat all of it, which reduces prep work. It has a crisp texture with a slightly nutty flavor.

Bok choy is 90% water, negligible fat and full of vitamins A, C and beta carotene. Pair it with soy sauce, sesame seeds, chili flakes, ginger and garlic, and you have a flavorful side on the table.

Sometimes bok choy is harvested when not yet mature and sold as baby bok choy. It’s usually 3-6 inches in length, sweeter and can be cooked whole.

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb baby Bok Choy (quartered or halved)
  • 1 small White Onion (diced fine)
  • 2 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp Sesame Seeds
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 5 large Garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tsp Ginger (minced)

Method:

To clean Boy Choy: Under running water, rub off any dirt from the leaves and especially at the bottom of the stalks. Chop the boy choy into quarters or halves. Place them in a bowl until you are ready to cook.

To cook: In a large skillet, heat the sesame oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 10 seconds. Add in the onions, and ginger and cook over high heat until fragrant, 20 seconds. Add the bok choy and stir-fry until the leaves start to wilt, 2 minutes. Add in the soy sauce and sesame seeds. Stir for about 20 seconds. Remove the bok choy from the heat and serve.


Blueberry Oat Vegan Smoothie

You are guaranteed to be pleasantly surprised with this oat-filled smoothie. Raw oats are safe to eat. They aid weight-loss and improve heart and gut health. It makes a smoothie heartier and more filling. Blueberries are a nutritional powerhouse, full of anti-oxidants.

Interestingly when Nilesh’s cholesterol numbers went up, one of the ways to manage that was with regular oatmeal for breakfast.

Ingredients


1 cup cold almond milk
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats, dry
1 cup blueberries
1 tbsp maple syrup

Method

Fill a blender with all the above mentioned ingredients.
Blend…sluuurp!!


Mediterranean Chickpea and eggplant

The Mediterranean diet focuses heavily on nuts, fish, fruits and vegetables resulting in lower inflammation and better heart health. When we visited Greece, we enjoyed the salads, vegetarian dishes and pan-seared aardines. Even the simple tomato just seemed a lot more delicious. This chickpea and eggplant dish aims to bring back those memories. It includes eggplant, known for its vitamins and antioxidants with chickpeas, which keep you full longer because it’s full of fiber. The combination of those two in a simple tomato sauce is luscious and hearty.

Servings: 4

Time to cook including prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups eggplant (1 large), chopped into chunks
  • 1.5 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper powder
  • 2 Cups chick peas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup parsley chopped

Method

  • In a large frying pan, heat oil
  • Add onions and fry until translucent
  • Turn flame to medium heat
  • Add garlic and fry for a minute
  • Turn heat to low
  • Add in the chili powder, nutmeg powder, pepper powder, cumin powder. Give it a stir
  • Add in the tomatoes, tomato sauce and eggplant. Cover the pan and on low flame, cook till eggplant is soft, about 10 minutes
  • Add in the chickpeas. Sprinkle salt and stir gently. Cook another minute.
  • Sprinkle the parsley and turn off the stove
  • Serve with a side of couscous or a salad

Healthy Almond, Peanut-butter Chocolate Bars

A no-bake, vegan and gluten-free snack that is full of protein, and healthy fat. Have one of these as a snack, for breakfast, after a workout , or when you are on the run.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup plant-based vanilla protein powder (I use Orgain)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or Agave or honey)
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips ( or regular chocolate, if you don’t need a vegan recipe)

Method

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the peanut butter, almond flour, protein powder, and maple syrup, until well blended
  2. Line a 8×8 glass bowl with parchment paper
  3. Pour the mix into a glass container, spreading it evenly
  4. In a microwaveable bowl, mix in the chocolate chips and coconut oil, and melt in 10 second increments, till fully melted – about 30 seconds
  5. Pour the melted chocolate over the mix spreading evenly
  6. Refrigerate for 2 hours to set before cutting into cubes / bars to serve

Salmon with  Tamarind- Mushroom- Red Pepper Sauce

This aromatic, sweet and tangy sauce complements salmon. Not only is it a healthy, quick and easy dinner option, it is an elegant  meal for when you have company.

Serves:4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb skin-on, boneless salmon filet
  • 8oz baby bella mushrooms, diced into small pieces
  • 1 large red pepper, diced into small pieces
  • 1/4 large red pepper, cut into thin red strips
  • 2 stems green onions, diced fine
  • 1 tbsp ginger, diced fine
  • 1 tbsp garlic, diced fine
  • 2 tbsp size chunks of seedless tamarind (see method below)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • For the fish before grilling or pan frying
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
    • 1 tbsp vegetable oil (2 tbsp if frying)

Method

  1. To make tamarind, soya and fish sauce mix:
    • Take a large marble sized piece of seedless tamarind
    • Put tamarind into a microwave safe bowl and add in 1/4 cup warm water. Heat for a minute in the microwave. Rest for 2 minutes. Then mash the pulp with the back of a spoon, forcing it through a strainer . Scrape off the paste that is on the underside of the strainer. Discard the solids left in the strainer
    • To the tamarind mix in the bowl, add fish sauce, soya sauce, sugar and blend well till sugar dissolves
  2. For the mushroom – red pepper sauce
    • Dice mushrooms and red pepper into small pieces
    • In a wok, heat oil
    • When hot, add in the garlic, stir fry for 30 seconds and add in the ginger
    • Stir fry for 30 seconds
    • Add in the mushrooms and stir fry for 3-4 minutes until the water from the mushrooms dry out
    • Add in the tamarind, fish sauce mix and stir fry for 1 minute
    • Add in the green onions, and diced red pepper and stir fry for another minute
    • Remove from heat and set aside
  3. Fish
    • To cook in Ninja Foodi: 
      • Place water into Ninja Foodi pot. Season salmon with salt and pepper on both sides, no oil, on rack, making sure the rack is in the higher position.
      • Assemble pressure lead, making sure the pressure release valve is in the SEAL position
      • Select PRESSURE and set to HIGH. Set time to 2 minutes. Select START/STOP to begin
      • When pressure cooking is complete, quick release the pressure by moving the pressure cooker valve to the VENT position. Carefully remove lid when pressure is released
      • Gently pat salmon dry with paper towel, then close with crisping lid
      • Select BROIL and set time to 7 minutes. Select START/STOP to begin, check for doneness after 5 minutes
    • To grill on a regular grill:
      • While the sauce is cooking, marinate the fish with oil, salt and pepper. Rub mixture on both sides of fish. Heat grill to 450 degree F. When hot, grill the salmon skin side down over direct heat with the lid closed, for about 4-5 minutes and then turn the salmon over, close the lid and another 4-5 minutes
    • To pan fry:
      • Rub salt on both sides of the fish. Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add fish, skin side down and fry for about 4 minutes on each side
  4. Serving
    • Serve fish while hot, with the Mushroom-Red Pepper sauce spooned over it, garnished with red pepper slivers and cilantro. It can be accompanied by vegetables like bok choi or broccoli as well as steamed rice

Thai yellow curry

This mild, yet complex Thai curry impresses with its pleasant and interesting flavors.

When we have guests, Thai or Mexican dishes are usually our go-to. Quick, flavorful, and enjoyed by most, it’s definitely faster to pull together than Indian food. When we do make Thai dishes, curries take center-stage and this yellow curry, is a mildly spicy delicious alternative to the ubiquitous red curry.

This curry can be made in advance, I prefer to, as I find it tastes even better. It has lots of sauce and can be re-heated very easily.

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 10 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast (optional if vegan, see note)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can Thai yellow curry paste or the paste made with this recipe
  • 3 kefir lime leaves
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce (alternatively, 3 tbsp lime juice if vegan)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 can bamboo shoots
  • 1 medium sized Chinese eggplant, cut into thin long slices
  • 3 tbsp green peas
  • 1/2 medium red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 large red potato (or white) cut into small cubes
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced fine
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped roughly
  • 1/4 red pepper strips, cut into thin strips for garnish
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

Method

  • Slice chicken breast into thin, long slices ( 3 inch long, 1 inch wide and 1/4 inch thick)
  • Heat oil in a large frying pan or wok
  • Add in the onion, and stir fry for 2 minutes
  • Reduce heat to medium. Add in the yellow curry paste and stir fry for 1 minute
  • Add in the potato cubes and stir fry on low flame for 2 minutes
  • Add in half the can of the coconut milk, stir to dissolve the paste in the coconut milk and bring to a boil
  • Add the remaining cup of coconut milk, raise the heat to medium and let it cook for 10 minutes. You will start to see the oil from the coconut milk raise to the top
  • Tear the lime leaves to halves and add to the sauce. Cook for another 2 minutes, the sauce will thicken
  • Add chicken and egg plant into the sauce, turn heat to maximum, cook for a minute
  • Add 1/2 cup water and let the curry boil for a minute
  • Add fish sauce and sugar and turn heat to medium. Stir for 2 minutes
  • Add in bamboo shoots, red pepper strips and cook for 2 minutes
  • Add in the peas and 3/4 of the chopped cilantro
  • Stir fry for 2 minutes
  • Serve hot, topped with remaining cilantro leaves and a few red pepper strips with a side of rice

Peach Cobbler Dump Cake

This is one of the easiest desserts you can make and I guarantee, it will be a hit. This super-simple, 4-ingredient peach cobbler is always polished off at parties. So much so, I’ve not been able to take a good picture of it, it’s usually gone before I get to a picture. 

The work involves taking the ingredients and dumping it into a container and then baking or slow cooking it. Viola, dessert is ready!! I hope you find it wonderful too.

The difference between a cobbler and a dump cake is that the latter uses cake mix while the cobbler uses pie crust.

Prep time: 5 minutes, Cook times vary based on method below

Servings: 10

Ingredients

  • 2 (15oz each) cans sliced peaches in pear juice (I avoid the ones in syrup)
  • 1 (15.25oz) yellow cake mix package
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon powder

Method

  • Slow cooker method
    • Empty cans of peaches including the juice into the bottom of the slow cooker container
    • Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the peaches
    • Sprinkle the cinnamon powder evenly over the dry cake mix
    • Pour butter evenly over the cake/cinnamon mix
    • Layer paper towels over the rim of the slow cooker so it absorbs the steam. You may need to change the paper towel
    • Then cover and cook on high for 2 hours or 4 hours on low
    • Serve warm with a big dollop of icecream
  • Oven method
    • Pre-heat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Empty cans of peaches including the juice into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish
    • Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the peaches
    • Sprinkle the cinnamon powder evenly  over the dry cake mix
    • Pour butter evenly over the cake/cinnamon mix
    • Place dish in oven
    • Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the cobbler is golden on the top
    • Serve warm with a big dollop of icecream

Jaya’s caramel sauce

Easy instructions for a clean-ingredient, simple yet finger-licking made-at-home caramel sauce.

I have fond memories of my classmate Jaya – two braids with blue-ribbons – the school-house color. She was simple, beautiful and fun-loving. It’s been decades since we met but thanks to Facebook, it’s wonderful to watch how our lives have panned out. She now lives in Singapore and is always rustling up these delicious looking dishes for her family. When she posted this clean, corn syrup free, simple caramel sauce, I had to give it a try. I will never buy caramel sauce again…. P.s. my kids licked the bowl clean!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup half and half milk
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  • In a small thick bottomed vessel, mix all the ingredients together
  • Bring to a boil
  • Turn off stove, cool and store in an air-tight jar
  • Serve at room temperature over ice-crean, drizzle it over desserts or just steal a teaspoon full and lick it clean! Yum!!


Thai yellow curry paste

Made from scratch, this recipe beats canned curry pastes. When time is not of the essence, prepare this paste and then make a delicious Thai curry. Serve it over rice and then enjoy the afternoon siesta!

Ingredients:

  • 14 dried thai chilis
  • 2 tbsp fresh turmeric root, grated (or 2 tsp turmeric powder)
  • 2 tbsp galangal or ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 cup cilantro stems
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 6 kefir lime leaves or 1 tsp grated lime
  • 6 large garlic cloves, diced fined
  • 4 small shallots peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper powder
  • 2 lemon grass stalks, bottom half only, chopped
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste, omit if vegetarian
  • 1 tsp oil, set aside for later

Method:

  • With a mortar and pestle or in a blender, mix all the ingredients (except oil)together. Grind until you have a smooth paste
  • In a frying pan, heat the oil and on low flame , slowly cook the paste for about 3 minutes
  • Use to make a Thai yellow curry

Tropical Mango Boba Smoothie

Transport yourself to the tropics with a sweet, refreshing mango pineapple smoothie served over chewy boba pearls.

Bubble tea originated in Taiwan, a concoction of tea with chewy tapioca balls i.e. Boba. Over the last couple of years, we have seen a rise in Boba cafes offering boba tea and boba smoothies. My kids LOVE it and a smoothie with tapioca balls is just the thing that has them smiling from ear to ear. Anyone else find that food is usually the one thing that can put a grumpy teen into a good mood??

And here’s an idea: we did a Boba-themed birthday party and it was a hit with the tween/teen crowd….see pic below. You can make other smoothies and drop in the boba.

A lot of grocery stores now carry tapioca balls and of the ones I’ve tried, the one I like the most is WuFuYuan -tapioca pearls. (It is usually cheaper in an Asian store than Amazon). The pearls from this brand consistently turn out like the cafe-bought boba and the kids like the flavor.

Servings: 4 Total time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup boba (see note below in cooking boba)
  • 2 cups unsweetened mango pulp (usually available in the Indian grocery store much cheaper!)
  • 2 cups of pineapple chunks
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 10 ice cubes

Method

  • Cooking Boba
    • Follow the instructions that come with the dry tapioca pearls (the ones I buy require me to cook the pearls in boiling water for 3 minutes, switch off flame, cover and leave for 3 minutes, then drain water and soak the cooked boba in cold water till ready to use. If your boba comes unflavored, after cooking soak it in a combination of honey and water to sweeten it)
  • Making the smoothie
    • Combine mango pulp, pineapple chunks, coconut milk and ice cubes in a blender and blend until smooth
  • To serve, drop in 3 spoons of boba (drain off the water) into the bottom of a glass and then pour the smoothie over it. Use a wide straw to slurp up the boba along with the smoothie
  • Enjoy!!









Vino Dosh – The Portuguese version of Pork Vindaloo

One of my favorite dishes – hot and spicy Vindaloo is a Goan dish that my mom made for parties, a special Sunday meal or festivals. The original Portuguese version is anything but spicy but nevertheless this “meat in garlic marinade” packs a punch of flavor. The longer it marinates, the better it tastes. Make this in the Ninja Foodi, Instant Pot or in the oven.

Ingredients:

  • Prior to cooking – 3-4 days ahead
    • 3 pounds pork shoulder (boneless) – chopped into 1.5-inch cubes
    • 10 cloves of garlic – peeled and minced fine
    • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1 cup red wine
    • 10 whole cloves
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 1 tsp red chili flakes
    • 2 tbsp black pepper powder
    • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • When ready to cook:
    • 1 large onion chopped into quarters
    • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    • 2 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Prepare the marinade:
    1. In a bowl, whisk the red wine vinegar, red wine, garlic, cloves, bay leaves, chili flakes, black pepper, and thyme
    2. Pour the marinade into a resealable plastic bag
    3. Add the pork to the bag, massage the marinade into the pork, squeeze out the excess air and seal the bag
    4. Marinate in the fridge for 3-4 days, turning occasionally. Each time, massage the pork gently in the bag
  2. Ready to cook – in the Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot
    1. Press the sauté button and add in the olive oil
    2. When oil is hot, add the onion and the pork (minus the marinade) and stir-fry for about 4 minutes, browning the meat on all sides
    3. Add the marinade, close using the pressure cooker
    4. Secure the pressure cooker valve, select the pressure cooker option and cook for 25 minutes on high pressure
    5. Naturally release the pressure
    6. Open the lid, and select the sauté button
    7. Stir in the all purpose flour, slowly to avoid lumps
    8. Cook for 5-8 minutes until it thickens to a stew-like consistency
    9. Serve with Hawaiian bread
  3. Ready to cook – in the oven:
    1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees F
    2. In a Dutch pan, heat the oil
    3. Add onion and pork pieces (minus marinade) and stir-fry for about 4 minutes, browning the meat on all sides
    4. Add the marinade and bring to a simmer
    5. Add in the flour, slowly, stirring to avoid lumps
    6. Cover with oven-safe lid and put the dish in the oven
    7. Cook for 1.5 hours – the meat should be tender to a fork
    8. Remove from oven, remove the bay leaves and thyme springs and discard
    9. Serve with Hawaiian bread

Chipotle Black Beans

To soak or not to soak? The kids want to take burritos to school and I don’t have time to soak beans. Sure I can make it without beans but beans add a lot more protein and nutrition. What to do? A no-soak option gives me delicious, smoky beans within an hour.

The options below include the method if you did soak your beans overnight.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry black beans
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp crushed chipotle pepper with sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, for garnish
  • Optional garnish: red onions, avocado

Method

  • Wash the beans and remove any debris
  • Put beans and 2 cups water in a pressure cooker-safe container and pressure cook on high for 30 mins and slow release for 15 minutes
  • If you did soak your beans for atleast 6 hours, pressure cook beans for 15 minutes
  • Garnish with cilantro

No bake peanut butter cheesecake

We love desserts in this home. Chocolate is a favorite but just about anything goes. So, quick desserts are always welcome.

Around Thanksgiving, Sean enthusiastically announced he was competing in the youth ministry’s pie competition. I am a good baker but haven’t tried many pies. After some debate, we agreed on no-bake pies and here is one of those. And this one, won a prize! Yay!!

Give it a shot, it’s easy and quick and best of all, finger-licking good!

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 1 package (14.3 oz) Oreo cookies
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

For the filling

  • 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 16oz regular cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 package (10oz) snack size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped

For the toppings

  • 8 snack sized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped
  • 2 tbsp caramel sauce (I used this recipe)
  • 2 tbsp chocolate sauce

Method:

  1. Take the package of Oreo cookies and grind into a fine crumb using a food processor. Transfer to a mixing bowl
  2. Melt butter in microwave in a small bowl, about 35 seconds
  3. Pour the melted butter over the cookie crumbs and stir until the crumbs are well coated
  4. Press the crumbs into a pie plate pressing firmly into the bottom and up on the sides to create a thick crust
  5. Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the filling

Prepare the filling

  1. Pour the heavy whipping cream into a bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the heavy cream at medium speed until the cream starts to thicken. Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue beating at high speed until stiff peaks form. Set the whipped cream aside
  2. In another bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until it’s completely smooth. Then add the peanut butter and beat with the mixer until well combined
  3. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating until smooth
  4. Slowly fold in the whipped cream until it’s incorporated, then add the chopped peanut butter cups and continue mixing until well combined. Pour the filling into the prepared crust, spreading evenly
  5. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours minimum

Serve: Decorate with toppings and serve


Mexican chicken casserole

How do I get easy, and healthy meals on the table on a weeknight? Mexican, Thai, Chinese are usually my go to dishes. This Mexican Chicken casserole dish is a multi-purpose one. I either roast a chicken on the weekend or buy one from Costco. Make this dish using rotisserie chicken and you can have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. And best part, use the left overs for burritos and quesadillas in the lunch box the next day!!

Servings: 4

Time including prep time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic, finely minced
  • 4 Cups chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1 cup green peppers, diced
  • 1/2 cup red peppers, diced
  • 1 cup black beans (can or soak overnight and cook first)
  • 1 cup corn
  • 2.5 cups salsa (medium or spicy)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder ( optional)
  • 1.5 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese (or Mexican blend)

Garnish

  • 1 cup sour cream (I use Greek Yogurt as a healthier alternative)
  • Guacamole
  • Green onions

Method:

  • Heat Ninja Foodie on Sear function
  • Add oil
  • When hot, add in the onion and garlic
  • Stir fry for a minute
  • Add in the green peppers and red peppers, stir for another minute
  • Switch off Foodi
  • Add in the beans, chicken, corn, salsa, cumin and chili powder. Mix well
  • Sprinkle the cheese on the top of the mix
  • Close the lid of the Foodi and turn on the Bake function. Bake at 350F for 5 mins or until cheese is melted
  • When done, turn off the Foodi
  • Serve garnished with onions, sour cream and guacamole. Optionally, serve with a side of Mexican rice or in a tortilla as a burrito.

Sauteed Spinach with oranges and almonds

Sauteed spinach gets a nice twist with the addition of garlic, orange segments and almonds. Another easy, healthy, quick week night option that takes less than 10 minutes to get to the table. And you won’t regret this approach to getting greens into your diet!

Servings: 4

Prep time: 2 minutes Cook time: 4 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound baby spinach leaves, washed
  • 2 big garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 small navel orange, peeled, and each segment cut into three
  • 4 almonds slivered
  • Salt, to taste

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan
  2. When oil is hot, add the chili flakes and garlic, let sizzle for about 30 seconds
  3. Add the spinach in heaping batches, stirring as you go
  4. Add in the orange and almond slivers
  5. Toss till all spinach has wilted about 3 minutes
  6. Add salt, if needed, and according to taste
  7. Serve hot