Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pasta with Chicken Meatballs

DD and DD2 both like these chicken meatballs. Teriyaki Pineapple chicken meatballs available at Costco are a handy thing to have on hand for those days when you want a quick meal. These are great as snacks or in a sandwich too. They are available in the prepared food section not in the freezer.

I usually fry them in a little oil and if I am not careful they will disappear even before I get to add them to the dish I am preparing. Anyway they are perfect in Pasta in some spicy tomato sauce. The meatballs are slightly sweet so a spicy sauce goes well with them. They can also be added to Indian style gravies like this one - kheema urundai kuzhambu.

Cook the meatballs. Prepare the sauce and add them in.
Add in the cooked pasta, sprinkle with cheese and it is done.

I am not a big pasta fan but for some reason I was craving for some and the kids are always happy when pasta is on the menu and along with these chicken meatballs nothing can go wrong. If you are interested in making your own meatballs you can use this recipe here - Slighty Sriracha'd turkey meatballs with ginger soy sauce.

Pasta with Chicken Meatballs
Cooking Time:30 minutes
  1. 15-20 chicken meatballs (store bought or home made)
  2. 1 cup finely chopped onions
  3. 3-4 roughly chopped garlic
  4. 1 tbsp pepper sauce
  5. 3-4 very ripe tomatoes chopped fine
  6. 2 tsp black pepper powder
  7. 1/2 tbsp red chili powder
  8. 1 tbsp olive oil
  9. salt to taste
  10. 6-7 oz whole wheat Penne paste
  11. 1/3 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese or Asiago cheese (I used Asiago Cheese)

  1. Heat half the oil in a dutch oven or a wide mouthed pan and add the chicken meatballs and saute till they are heated through and nicely browned on all sides.
  2. While the meatballs are cooking, set a pot to cook the pasta as per the cooking instructions.
  3. Remove the chicken meatballs aside, add the rest of the oil and when hot add the onions and garlic and saute till they are starting to brown on all sides.
  4. Add salt, black pepper powder and red chili powder and give a good mix.
  5. Add in the tomatoes and saute till they are mushy.
  6. Add in the cooked meatballs and let it cook for another 6-8 minutes.
  7. Drain the pasta and add it into the tomato sauce with the cooked meatballs. Cook for another 5-6 minutes.
  8. Add cheese mix and turn off the heat.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spiced Idli with Rajma and Potatoes - Kids Lunch Box

Hello Everyone, Hope all of you are doing good. I try to post at least a couple of recipes a week but could not due to other things taking over. It is supposed to be Spring around here but the temperature tells otherwise. But that is no the reason for the absence of posts.

Now to the recipe of the day,
When I soak beans for making a curry I usually soak about 1/2 cup extra to use it for a quick stir fry for the lunch box or add it to curries to give some extra taste. I was planning to make some idli upma for lunch box but realized there were not as many idlies as I would have liked. It is for these kind of situations that the soaked beans sitting in the fridge comes in handy. The combination of idlies and beans along with the potatoes ended up being a tasty treat. Not much in the way of recipe but an idea that can be expanded upon.

Spiced Idli with Rajma and Potatoes
Cooking Time:20 minutes
  1. 1 cup of cooked Red Kidney Beans (Rajma)
  2. 1 Potato peeled and cut into small cubes
  3. 4-5 day old Idlies
  4. 1/2 cup of finely diced onions
  5. 2 tsp of sambhar powder or slightly less quantity red chili powder or use about 6-8 slit green chilies
  6. Salt to taste
  7. seasonings: mustard and split urad dal - 1/2 tsp and curry leaves
  8. 1 tsp of oil

  1. Cook the red beans and let it drain.
  2. In a wide mouthed pan or kadai heat oil and the urad dal and when it starts to turn brown add the cumin seeds and then the curry leaves.
  3. Add the chopped onions and saute till they get translucent.
  4. Add the potatoes and saute for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle about half a tbsp of water, cover and cook for 5 minutes or so.
  5. Add the sambhar powder and salt half way and give a good mix. Let the potatoes cook completely.
  6. Now add the drained beans and mix it well.
  7. Crumble the idli and add them to the mix and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Check for salt.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Curry flavored Kale and Quinoa cakes

I don't buy Quinoa that much anymore. I much prefer the texture of millets which work well most of the Indian style curries. I still occasionally buy Quinoa hoping to make either Quinoa cakes - the recipe for which we will see today or these tasty Quinoa cutlets or the Quinoa puddingg which is my most favorite way of cooking quinoa. I must have mentioned somewhere I am sure that I am addicted to sugar ;)

I saw the recipe for the Kale and Quinoa Cakes in Wegmans' menu book using their prepackaged or prepared vegetables. Using that as a guide I made it a bit more spicier than the recipe. I steamed most of the vegetables whereas the recipe had called for just diced or raw finely chopped vegetables but raw. It is of course a very simple process to make these Quinoa cakes.

The only trick is to cook the Quinoa nice and fluffy without making it a soggy mess. Not to worry I have the exact way to cook quinoa. The original recipe had used what is called diced Mirepoix and also eggs. I skipped the eggs and added just carrots and beans. Peas, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and if you like it celery are all vegetables that could be added to the mix. While these quinoa cakes are perfect as a snack, they are filling enough for lunch or dinner.

Prepare the vegetables for steaming. I used my trusty old pressure cooker.
Cook the quinoa as per instructions. In a food processor or chop the steamed vegetables along with the onions and green chilies.
Proceed with chopping the rest of the vegetables.
Blanch the kale and squeeze the water out and chop it using the food processor. Add the spice powders,oil and salt to the cooked quinoa.
Add the mashed vegetables and shredded kale leaves and mix it into the quinoa.
Shape the quinoa cakes by taking a ball and patting in the palm of the hand to flatten a little bit.
Place the shaped quinoa cakes on a greased baking sheet and bake in a 350F oven for about 40 minutes till set and slightly brown on the outside.

Kale and Quinoa Cakes
Preparation Time:30 minutes
Baking Time:40 minutes
  1. 1 cup of Quinoa (any color you prefer, I used white)
  2. 1 bunch Kale (makes about 1- 1 1/2 cups when blanched and shredded)
  3. 1 Potato
  4. 2 cups of chopped green beans and carrots combined
  5. 5-6 green chilies
  6. 1/2 onion
  7. 1/2 tbsp curry powder or any masala powder
  8. 1/2 tbsp red chili powder
  9. 2 tbsp olive oil
  10. salt to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cook the quinoa nice and fluffy as per directions. Meanwhile steam the green beans and carrots and potato in a pressure cooker/steamer.
  3. Once the veggies are cooked squeeze the water out, peel the potato and using a food processor or chopper chop the potatoes along with onions and green chilies. Set aside.
  4. Blanch the kale in steaming water and squeeze out the water. Run through the food processor/chopper to chop into smaller pieces.
  5. Add the spice powders ,salt and olive oil to the cooked quinoa along with the chopped vegetables and mix well.
  6. Take a small handful of the quinoa mixture, first making a round ball and then patting with the palm of the hand to flatten it a bit.
  7. Place the shaped patties on to a greased baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes till it is firm.
Serve with any sauce on the side.
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Monday, March 16, 2015

Apple - Banana Bread with roasted almonds

What do you do when you have over ripe bananas? I prefer bananas that are just starting to turn ripe. The slightly more ripe ones make their way into a smoothie but ones that have gone completely black on the outside is certainly not my thing. Don't get me wrong they are edible, sweet and good. So I save them in the fridge till they can be put to good use like this awesome banana bread.

I have another recipe here for banana bread using oil which is good in its own right but I also like this one I am going to present today. I am not going to be flip about using too much butter, but butter in baking does have its own taste and texture and nothing quite replaces it. 6 tbsp of butter for 2 cups of flour does not seem much IMO. Whatever rocks your boat go for it.

There are people who do not eat breakfast. I simply cannot go without because my stomach makes loud unpleasant noises so loud that I feel people in the next office/cubicle might be able to hear it. Though I do not like eating super sweet stuff like store bought muffins which taste more sweet than cupcakes, dough nuts or sugary cereals. I like all of these as during the day or evening snacks. Anyway but around here these are good things to have on hand for a quick breakfast because love them and they are easy on the go stuff to eat. Primarily to take control of the sugar, I started baking muffins and breads using whole wheat flour and with less sugar.

This Apple Banana bread is just one of those things, with nuts, fruits, flour and just enough sugar that it falls into a perfect breakfast category.

Other recipes for Banana Bread on the blog,
  1. Banana Bread with Olive Oil
  2. Nutella Banana Bread

Mash the bananas, measure and set aside. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda and nuts.
Whisk/Beat the eggs till nice and fluffy. Add the sugar.
Add butter and milk and beat a bit more to incorporate into the eggs.
Add the mashed bananas and the egg mixture to the flour.
Using a spatula mix together the wet and dry so all the flour is moistened. Do not overmix.
Bake in a 350 F preheated oven for 55 minutes till a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool and slice.

Recipe Source: Williams-Sonoma Baking Essentials - (with some modifications)
Apple Banana Bread with almonds
Preparation Time:20 minutes
Baking Time:55 minutes
  1. 2 cups of unbleached white whole wheat flour
  2. 2 bananas mashed - about 3/4 cups
  3. 1/4 + 1/3 cups unsweetened apple sauce (skip apple sauce and use 1 1/3 cups of mashed bananas) - (see **)
  4. 2 tsp baking powder
  5. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  6. couple of pinches of nutmeg
  7. 1 tbsp grated orange jest (skipped this)
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 1/4 cups of coarsely chopped roasted unsalted almonds
  10. a little less than 3/4 cups of raw sugar or 3/4 packed brown sugar
  11. 6 tbsp of unsalted butter (bring to room temperature)
  12. 1/2 cup whole milk (use just enough to moisten the batter)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. ** Mash the bananas, measure and set aside. I got 3/4 cups of bananas. For the rest I added Apple sauce. Gave the bread a soft and moist texture. So use all bananas or a combination based on preference.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, crushed almonds and orange jest if using in a mixing bowl.
  4. Using a egg beater or hand whisk, whisk the egg till it is nice and fluffy.
  5. Add butter, sugar and run the beater a bit longer so they mix well.
  6. Get a 9 x 5 inch rectangular loaf pan ready by greasing the pan with butter and dust with flour if needed (I did not).
  7. Add the whisked ingredients, mashed bananas and apple sauce in batches to the flour and with a spatula make sure the mix is moistened. Add as much milk to moisten the batter. Use only as much as needed. Do not over mix.
  8. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top.
  9. Bake for 55 minutes till a skewer or tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a rack before slicing.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Turkey in a Pita

Tomorrow is an important day, a day like it comes only once in a century. It is of course Pi day because the calendar matches the mathematical digits represented in Pi. It will be 3/14/15 which is the numerical value of Π. I hear lot of people bakes pie to commemorate the day and here I am with a blog post made with pita, how appropriate ;)

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yeah! Yeah!. Where is the time you say? Breakfast does not have to be elaborate but if it is filling and tasty who can say no! It is also gives enough energy to keep you going till lunch time. The bread aisle in the grocery store these days is loaded with all kinds of breads including naans, flat breads, pita breads and what not. Make them with your bread of choice or drop the bread altogether and make a meal of just the scrambled eggs and that works great too.

Scrambled eggs always remind me of my time in the hostel when I was in high school. Eggs were considered extra and the mess boys took down the account of the number of eggs we ate and the payment was usually settled at the end of the month. The reason I can't forget those scrambled eggs, because I still consider them among the tastiest. Nothing fancy, just onions and bright red chili powder made these simple scrambled eggs something special altogether.

On weekends when I am either late to make breakfast or not overly enthusiastic and lazing around DH makes scrambled eggs especially when we have some pita bread read to go. These scrambled eggs in a rolled up warm tortilla will be good too. I had some smoked turkey which we had picked up from the grocery store the previous day and the decision to add it to the scrambled eggs was a good one. If you'd rather not add turkey to your eggs, diced mushrooms or broccoli cut into small pieces can be used.

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Turkey in a Pita
Preparation Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time:15 minutes
  1. 4 Eggs
  2. 1/2 cup diced red onions or shallots
  3. 5-6 green chilies cut into rounds and shaken to remove the seeds that fall out
  4. 1 tsp black pepper powder
  5. 5-6 strips of smoked turkey cut into small dices
  6. salt to taste
  7. 2 tsp of oil
  8. 4 pita pockets
  9. sliced cucumbers
  10. sliced tomatoes
  1. In a wide mouthed pan or saute pan, heat oil and when hot add the onions and green chilies and saute till the onions start to turn brown.
  2. Add the diced turkey and let cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Beat the eggs till it is nice and frothy, add the pepper powder to it.
  4. Pour the beaten eggs to the onion mixture and with a spatuala keep stirring till the eggs are completely cooked.
  5. Warm the pita pockets in a toaster oven or on a stove. Cut the pita on one side in half to expose the pockets, add in the sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and fill the pocket with the scrambled eggs.

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