Sunday, October 14, 2012

Red Lentil Tacos

I LOVE these tacos. I just love them from first to last bite. And I'll always help myself to a second one.

In fact, I will always opt for red lentil tacos instead of meat filled ones. They are spicy, creamy like beans (which lentils are) that just fill the bill when you want a great, healthy taco.

If you like the consistency of refried beans, give these a try.

Red Lentil Tacos                                                   Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup dried red lentils, picked through
4 tbl of chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp paprika
1 tbl ground cumin
3 tsp salt
4 tsp black pepper
2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

8 crunchy taco shells
shredded lettuce
chopped tomato
shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
sour cream
1. In a large saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil; add onion, garlic, and salt and cook until onions begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes.

2. Add lentils and spices to pan. Cook until spices are fragrant and lentils are dry, about 1 minute. Add broth, and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until lentils are tender (and most of the liquid is gone), 25-30 minutes. Uncover lentils and cook until mixture thickens a bit, 6-8 minutes.

3. Spoon 1/4 cup lentil mixture into each taco shell. Top with chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, a teaspoon or two of sour cream, and hot sauce, not necessarily in that order. Get a napkin and a fork, because things are going to get messy.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 101 calories per serving (does not include calories for shells, lettuce, tomato or cheeses)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Espresso Cake Pops

I am not a fan of making cake pops. But I DO like their individual serving size which makes them perfect for a crowd.

I made these for my sisters birthday last week and all her teacher co workers, they loved them!

They bugged her for three days straight asking when she was going to bring more treats to work.

I personally think they are a deliciously coffee infused treat. Not for children. I put a lot of espresso into these, and they give you a good caffeine kick.

Which is exactly why all those teachers loved them. I think you will too.

Espresso Cake Pops                                             makes 50 pops

The Cake
1 box Betty Crocker's Spice Cake
3 eggs
1 1/4 c water
3 tsp instant espresso powder
1/3 c oil
1 oz brandy

8 oz mascarpone cheese
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tbl milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 heaping tbl instant espresso powder

1 large package of chocolate coating (NOT CHOCOLATE CHIPS)
decorative sprinkles

1. Mix the boxed cake mix, eggs, water, oil, brandy and espresso powder according to the package directions. Let cake cool an hour and crumble into small pieces by hand or in food processor.

2. Mix frosting ingredients until smooth and incorporate with the crumbled cake until fully combined. Sprinkle in another heaping tablespoon of espresso powder and mix well.

3. Line a jelly roll pan with wax paper. Scoop  up the cake, a tablespoon at a time, and roll into individual balls, set on wax paper. Repeat until all of the cake is rolled. Freeze cake balls 30 mins to an hour.

4. I do not like the "pops," work that is involved putting them on sticks, but if you would like your pops on a stick keep reading. If not, skip to step 6. 

5. Melt a cup of your chocolate coating according to package directions. Usually it's 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds stir etc...until smooth. Take out your pops from the freezer. Dip the ends of your stick in the chocolate and insert into one pop at a time until each pop has a stick. Re-freeze pops another 15 minutes.

6. Melt a cup of your chocolate coating according to package directions. Usually it's 30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds stir etc...until smooth. Take out your pops from the freezer. Drop a pop into your chocolate one at a time until nicely coated, remove with a candy tool or a slotted spoon, tap to remove excess chocolate back into the melting bowl.

7. Drop each coated pop onto your wax paper, and quickly sprinkle on your toppings while chocolate is still shiny and wet. I used crystal white sprinkles because they reminded me of sugar you put into coffee. 

8. Repeat coating until all pops are covered and decorated, melting more chocolate as needed.Do not refreeze your pops. I have found that doing that makes your pops sweat when they are returned to room temperature.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 146.6 calories per pop  

Un-popped cake pops

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Grilled Butterflied Spicy Lamb

These are a perfect main dish to make any time  It is spicy and juicy and who doesn't love grilled lamb? Anyone? I thought so...


Grilled Butterflied Spicy Lamb Fillets                  serves 4

2 lamb necks
1/4 c oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tbl chili power
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic salt
2 tbl honey

1. Make a paste from the oil, honey and spices. Cut your lamb necks into two pieces and then slice lengthwise almost all the way through (like a hot dog). Coat meat on both sides with spicy paste. Cover and let marinate 2 hours to overnight. 

2. Heat up your grill to medium heat. Oil the rack and grill lamb 22-27 mins, turning halfway through. Get a nice char on these bad boys spicy rub, it tastes delicious.

3. Serve hot and enjoy with a big side of veggies like grilled asparagus or grilled eggplant. 

Calories Calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 170.3 calories per serving

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Apricot Bars

If your tree is brimming with apricots this summer and you need a place to put them. This is an excellent place to start: Apricot bars.

I have always loved raspberry bars and strawberry bars growing up, but they were always made with jam. They never tasted fresh to me. I vowed to never dip into the jelly unless it was for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

This recipe is very simple and you can make a batch in just under an hour.

They go fast! 

Apricot Bars                                                     Makes 16 bars


6 tbl whole wheat flour
6 tbl all purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar (not packed)
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into bits and chilled
1 tbsp fat free Greek yogurt

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. In a food processor or by hand, combine the flours, brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, baking powder and salt and process until combined. Add the butter and yogurt to the flour mixture and pulse/work with your hands until butter is the size of peas and mixture sticks together. 

2. Spray a medium jelly roll pan with release spray (pam) then, turn out your dough, pressing into an even layer.

Bake until evenly browned about 20-22 minutes.  Cool the crust on a metal rack for at least 15 - 20 minutes. 

Prepare the Filling while crust bakes:

6 apricots, depitted, cut into 6ths
1/2 c sugar
juice of one lemon
1 egg

1. Add all the ingredients to a small pot and cook on medium-low for 20 minutes or until apricots break down and begin to thicken. 

2. Whisk egg quickly for 15 seconds, add 1 tbl of hot apricot compote and blend. Add egg mixture to rest of the hot apricots, mix until fully combined. 

Crisp Topping

1 tbl butter
1/4 c oats
1/4 c all purpose flour
1 tbl brown sugar 

1. In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients together in food processor or by hand until crumbly and butter is well blended.


1. Spread the hot apricot compote over the warm crust and sprinkle with crisp.

2. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes or until golden and bubbly. 

3. Cut into bars and serve hot with ice cream or cold for any time :)

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 109 Calories per serving

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Light Tiramisu

Having a group of ladies coming over today, I opted for something light but sophisticated to serve.

For a delicious dessert that is perfect for an adult get together-this is it.

Light Tiramisu                                               Makes 6 servings

1/2 c espresso, room temp
2 tbl rum
1 tbl brandy
2 eggs, room temp
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c mascarpone cheese
8 oz Cool Whip Topping
12-3 inch lady-finger cookies
1 oz bitter-sweet chocolate
unsweetened cocoa (for dusting)
12-3 in lady-finger cookies (Optional)

1. Mix together espresso, rum and brandy, set aside.

2. Separate the eggs. In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft curls form. Beat in 4 tbl of sugar, until egg whites form stiff peaks. Scrape the whites into a small bowl. Wash the mixer and beaters.

3. Beat the egg yolks with 3 tbl of sugar until they stiff and light colored. On low, mix in the mascarpone until mixture is lump free. Mix in Cool Whip, then the egg whites until fully incorporated.

4. In your individual serving dishes, scoop a heaping soup spoonful of the mascarpone cream into the bottom of each dish (using only half of the total mixture).

5. Take your lady fingers, two at a time, and submerge them into the espresso mixture for 5 seconds or until soaked. Squeeze them slightly until they stop dripping and lay over the cream.

6. Shave the bitter-sweet chocolate over the cookies until they are moderately covered. Spoon the remaining cream over the cookies in each serving dish.

7. Top with remaining lady finger cookies, or simply finish each dish with a light dusting of cocoa powder.

Calories calculated using SparkRecipes Calculator: 290 calories per serving.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mom's Fried Chicken

I know. I know. There are probably a million recipes for "Mom's Fried Chicken" out there in that vast sea of the internet, but this is the chicken I grew up with. This is the recipe of warm hearts and tummies.

And in my opinion; is the best, non greasy, perfectly moist, EASIEST fried chicken out there.

Mom's Fried Chicken

2 lbs of FROZEN, boneless chicken pieces, 4-6in long
1 c all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
3 tsp pepper
1 tbl garlic powder
2 tbl onion powder
2 tsp "Pappy's Spice" (Optional, if used reduce salt to 1 tsp)

1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a resealable ziplock bag, mush it around a bit to combine all the spices. Add half the frozen chicken tenders and coat well with flour mixture. Let set for 5 mins.

2. In a wide, deep frying pan, heat up 1/2 in of vegetable oil on medium heat.

3. Add chicken tenders to the hot oil, leaving a bit of room in between each piece (for turning).

  If you are using chicken BONE IN: Fry 15-10, 15 minutes one side, then flip and cook another 10.
  If you are using chicken BONELESS: Fry 10-15, 10 minutes one side, then flip and cook another 15.

Fry until golden brown of course.

4. Turn down the heat to low and cook chicken an additional 10 minutes to insure they are fully cooked all the way through. You could check each tender with a meat thermometer, but that is impractical for such small pieces. Repeat the process until all chicken is cooked.

5. Drain on paper towels. Serve alongside a fresh spinach salad with pears and Parmesan cheese dressing.

Calories calculated using SparkRecipes Calculator: 189.9 calories per serving, calories do not include oil absorbed during frying.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Vegetable Korma

A delicious, healthy vegetable dish served in a creamy sauce. Add some tofu or paneer (Indian cheese) to bulk up the meal that is a main dish all in itself.

Vegetable Korma                                                                    Serves 2

1/2 c EACH chopped vegetables (cauliflower, green peas, green beans, red bell pepper, corn)
1 c paneer, cubed
3 tbl oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 green chilies, chopped
1/2 tbl ginger powder
1 tbl coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves
1 cup milk or coconut milk
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tsp garam masala

Optional vegetables: cabbage, potatoes, mushrooms, carrots.

1. In a cup mix milk and cornstarch, set aside.
2. In a wok or deep pan add enough oil to shallow fry paneer until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
3. In a saute pan, heat 3 tbl oil over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and heat until they crack. Add all the spices from chilies to bay leaves and stir for 1 minute.
4. Add the vegetables and mix well with the spices. cover and let them cook for about 10 minutes.
5. Mix in the fried paneer. Add the milk/cornstarch mixture and cook until the vegetables are tender.
6. Remove the pan from heat. Mix in garam masala.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 145.6 calories per serving

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Homemade Tortillas (Roti)

Growing up in California, it is very hard to not appreciate the Spanish culture that has sprung up since the 1800's and the massive immigration of families, histories and foods that put in their deep roots.

Tortillas are my favorite staple. Something that I have to have in the kitchen at all times.

I love them as wraps, crunchy chips, crispy tostadas, sprinkled over soup, sopping up sauce from a curry...the uses are limitless.

Being the frugal girl that I am, I decided to finally attempt making these soft bad boys myself. It was a fun and scary evening.

After I had that childlike prideful moment of “look what I made!” I realized how easy these were to make and more flavorsome to boot!

I will definitely be investing in a tortilla press this year. Not that I mind my irregular tortillas, they still taste great.

Homemade Tortillas (Roti)                               Serves 4

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup warm water
1 tbl vegetable oil

1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Stir in water and oil. Turn onto a floured surface; knead 10-12 times, adding flour or water if needed. Let rest for 10 minutes.

2. Divide dough into eight portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 7-in. circle.

3. In a large nonstick skillet lightly coated with cooking spray, cook tortillas over medium heat for 1 minute on each side or until light brown spots appear and they puff up slightly. Remove from the pan and keep warm. Repeat process with the remaining dough.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 258.4 calories per serving.

Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

Another enticing eggplant recipe that can be made quickly for dinner. Under 30 minutes.

Eggplant with Garlic Sauce                                          Serves 2

2 American eggplants/bringals
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbl ginger, minced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 red bell pepper/capsicum
3 tbl vegetable oil
For the sauce:

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbl sugar
1 tbl corn starch
1/2 cup water

1. After cutting eggplant into 2 inch pieces, soak in salted water to prevent eggplant from turning dark.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the sauce ingredients and set aside.
3. Heat up oil in a pan to medium heat, and saute ginger, garlic, green onions, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder for about 1 minutes.
4. Turn heat to low. Drain eggplant well, then add chopped eggplants and bell pepper to saute pan, stir well and let cook, covered for 20 minutes or until eggplant is tender.
5. Add the prepared sauce, and cook another 1 minute. Sauce will thicken quickly.
6. Garnish with fine shredded green onions. Serve with rice.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes calculator: 179.6 calories per serving.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Chai Banana Fritters

If someone asked me earlier what a fritter was, I couldn't tell you. But after going to the fair and seeing people just raving about how yummy they were I decided to try my hand at it.

I had to look it up. Thanks Wikipedia! :A fritter is any kind of food coated in batter and deep-fried.

Ok...sounds like a doughnut...sounds like sweet and sour pork...sounds like fish and chips from a restaurant... I have been eating "fritters" for a long time and didn't even know it!

In my fritter experiment I had some ripening bananas on my shelf so I went with banana fritters. But that sounded too plain so I threw in my favorite spice combo: Chai. I also don't stay restrained to keeping the food whole, as traditional fritters are. I mashed these bananas up for a uniform flavor.

Result: These reminded me a lot of Chinese doughnuts, but better! Chai Banana Fritters melt in your mouth with a fresh taste from the bananas on a sinful backdrop that only fried food gives.

Chai Banana Fritters                                            Serves 4, 4 fritters each
                                                                                                   Time: 20 mins

4 medium ripe bananas (black on the outside and mushy inside is perfect)
1 c flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 chai tea bags, open bags and empty contents
1 tbl sugar
1 teaspoon of salt

Oil for frying
2 tbl sugar for rolling

2 tbl coconut milk+1 tbl flour for added sweetness, roll in coconut shavings.
Caramel sauce, topping
1 tbl hot chili powder

1. Mix dry ingredients in a small cup or bowl.
2. Mash bananas into a pulp; I left mine a bit chunky. Mix four into bananas until you get a thick batter. 
3. Heat vegetable oil in a deep pan or wok (about 2 in) to medium heat. To make sure that your oil is hot, drop a quarter teaspoon from the batter in the oil, when it sizzles your oil is ready.
4. Using a tablespoon or a cookie scoop, scoop batter and drop 3-4 spoonfuls slowly into hot oil. Fry and turn until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
5. Repeat until batter is gone. You will make approximately 10-12 fritters depending on the size spoon you are using. Roll warm doughnuts in sugar or dust with confectioners sugar. 
Serve with your favorite ice-cream or enjoy alone.

Calories Calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 245.1 calories per serving. This calculation is made with the assumption the reader will roll the fritters in sugar, it does not include calories of oil absorbed during frying. 

Chorizo, Bean and Cheese Empanadas with Egg Sofrito

I was torn between making Huevos Rancheros for dinner and making something new. 

So....I made a new version of Huevos Rancheros! Instead of a crispy tortilla, you have a cheesy, spicy empanada insead.

Chorizo, Bean and Cheese Empanadas with Egg Sofrito

Serves four dinners, plus four extra for freezing/lunch

To make the pastry                                                                               

4 c wheat flour
1 tbl sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks (6oz) COLD butter
2/3 c COLD water
2 tbl white vinegar
2 egg

1. Combine flour, sugar, nutmeg, and salt with a whisk. Using your hands or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk vinegar, eggs, and water, slowly add liquid to the dough; kneading gently until combined. Wrap in plastic wrap or a damp towel and place in the fridge until needed.

For the filling
1 c chopped chorizo
2 c cooked pinto beans
1 onion, diced fine
2 green chilies/jalapenos, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp fresh coriander leaves
1/4 lb. of shredded cheddar cheese

1. In a saute pan, add chopped chorizo and dry fry on low. Don't worry about adding oil, as the chorizo will release its own grease and crisp the pieces up nicely; approximately 8 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

2. Add onion, chilies and garlic to remaining chorizo grease, saute on low until onions are soft. Add beans, spices, and a splash of water; let beans fry for 10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan and mashing beans occasionally; adding more water to prevent them from burning.
3. Mash the beans once tender until they resemble thick mashed potatoes. Stir in cheddar cheese, coriander leaves and chorizo. Let mixture cool 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to 1/8″ thick. Cut dough with a large lid or coffee can into 4in or 6in diameter circles. I got 8 empanadas out of this. 4 for dinner, 4 for the freezer :)

I used a teacup saucer to measure

5. Put about 2 tablespoons of filling into the center of each empanada. Fold the dough over each other, making a semicircle, and press the edges with a fork to fully enclose the filling.

6. If making ahead, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and keep refrigerated up to 2 days. When ready to bake: brush with an egg wash or milk. Bake the empanadas for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Keep in the oven to warm.

Sauce and Egg

1/2 onion, diced
1 green chili, chopped
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
2 small tomatoes chopped or 1/2 can chopped tomatoes

1. Clean out the same saute pan. Drizzle a little oil and add onions and chilies; softening the onions on medium heat. Once translucent, add the tomatoes and the juice the tomatoes are packed in. If you are using fresh tomatoes, chop them first, then add. Note: that fresh tomatoes will take longer to cook as canned tomatoes are already cooked to begin with. Add cumin and salt, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt to taste if needed.

2. Crack 4 eggs slowly on top of the sauce. Cover with a lid and let cook for 3-5 minutes or until whites are cooked and yolk is set (I like mine a little runny, like poached eggs).



To Serve

On a plate, place 1-2 warm empanadas. Top with sauce and one egg. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, salt and pepper.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 545.2 calories per serving

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Spinach and Pistachio Kofta

A crunchy take on the soft and tender fried paneer. This is a classic recipe that I have seen many bloggers retell since there is not much to the recipe. 

I added spinach since paneer is a cheese and I LOVE spinach and cheese combinations. 

And, I added Pistachios after I saw a few bloggers adding ground almonds and peanuts to their recipes. I figured pistachios are a soft nut like the other two and it sounded right together with cheese and spinach.

The combination of all three ingredients went so well together. The gravy was rich and the added crunch of the pistachios with the soft paneer was simply sublime.

I am so happy with this recipe. Not only is it filling, but it's healthy too!

I am most pleased because this recipe leaves a lot of room to come back and play with different flavor combinations to make another (different), healthy dinner, delicious.

Spinach and Pistachio Koftas                                       Serves 4

For Koftas

1 package of paneer, crumbled
1/2 c frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 tbl finely chopped pistachios
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp Kitchen King
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tbl flour
2 tbl fine breadcrumbs (optional)
Oil for frying

1. Crumble the paneer on a wide plate, top with remaining ingredients, except breadcrumbs and oil; mix until combined.

2. Take a handful of mix at a time and create 5-8 balls, formed tightly. Roll in breadcrumbs if desired.  As I tried both techniques, breadcrumbs and without, and the balls tasted the same either way. The only difference is, the ones coated in crumbs were much more uniform in color.

3. Heat up a wok or fryer and deep fry koftas for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.  

For Curry

2 tbls oil Oil
3 whole cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon or 1 in stick
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 onion, chopped
1/2 can chopped tomatoes or 2 whole tomatoes chopped
1 tbl salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp Kitchen king
1/2 tsp Garam masala
3/4 c milk (I used 1% fat) 
1 tbl chopped pistachios (Garnish)

1. In a wide saute pan, heat up the oil and add the cumin seeds, cloves and cinnamon, let cook on medium until aromatic and cumin seeds begin to pop. 

2. Fry the onion and garlic until onions are tender and slightly brown. Coat well with the sweet spices.

3. Add the tomatoes and the remaining spices; mix well. Let vegetables cook for 5 minutes or until tomatoes fall apart. 

4. Slowly add the milk to the curry until thoroughly mixed. Add the fried koftas, coat in the curry sauce; cover and let simmer on low for 10 minutes. Curry will thicken quickly, add more milk to reach desired consistency. 


5. Serve koftas and curry over herbed rice, garnish with chopped pistachios. 

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes calculator: 158.5 calories per serving. This count does not include calories included if eaten with rice or oil absorbed while frying. The calculation was also made with the assumption the reader is using breadcrumbs.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Aloo Paratha Wrapped Lamb Rolls

This post is inspired by a myriad of blogs I was reading today. I wanted to make something different with my lamb shoulder. Not lamb curry...not Moroccan lamb..etc, we've all seen those posts. I wanted but what?

I searched around and behold; this wonderful video by Chef Mark Miller. A yummy, beautiful Lamb Wrapped in a Pueblo Flat bread.

It sounded delicious, but I didn't have all the ingredients he required. You chefs!

Here is my version of Mark's lamb recipe IDEA, but instead of a soft flat bread, I made a : potato stuffed, pan fried, flat bread- also known popularly as aloo paratha.

The aloo paratha wrapped lamb was simply delicious. I will be making this again. It turned out perfect and was very filling, with a crunchy outer layer and tender spiced lamb inside. Perfect for taking on a picnic or a garden party where everyone is outside. 

Aloo Paratha Wrapped Lamb Rolls
                                                                                   Serves 4
                                                                                   Time: 3 hours


1-2 lb Lamb Shoulder, loin, or boneless chops; fat trimmed, sliced into 4 rounds
1/2 lemon, juice
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp honey
1 tbl olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Pre-heat the oven to 450F/230C. Trim as much fat from the lamb as possible. Lamb fat is 'gamey' and doesn't do much to add flavor so you are better off with a nice lean cut of meat. Cut it into 1.25cm thick rounds.

2. Measure a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to wrap lamb slices and place in a roasting tin. Arrange the pieces of meat in the center of the foil.

3. Next, using the tip of a sharp knife, make incisions in the lamb and insert the pieces of sliced garlic, distributing them as evenly as possible. Make a paste out of the remaining ingredients and rub all over lamb slices.

4. Let sit for 30 minutes to marinate. Roast lamb for 30 minutes or until a crust forms. Fold up the foil to make a parcel, place the roasting pan back in the oven and cook at 300F/150C for 1-2 hours.

Begin making Aloo Paratha a half hour before ready to serve.


1 large boiled potato, peeled and mashed
1/2 onion, shredded
1/4 c coriander leaves
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
Other half of lemon, juice

1. Mix the mashed potato, onion, spices and lemon until combined.

Paratha Dough

2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp pepper 
water as needed
2 tbl butter or oil

1. Mix the flour and spices evenly with a whisk, add water slowly, mixing as you go until a dough forms. Knead the dough with your fist until it becomes soft, about 6 turns or 5 minutes.

Assembling Aloo Paratha Lamb Rolls

1. Remove cooked lamb from the oven, set aside on a rack for 5 minutes to cool and juices to drain off. Divide the Paratha dough into eight balls. Roll each ball one at a time, into a 1/4 in thick circle. 

2. Add some of the potato mixture and top with another rolled circle. Sprinkle with more flour and roll the sandwiched dough very thin, enough where you can see the filling slightly through the dough; careful not to break the 'skin' as I did in this pic.

3. Fold each lamb slice in the dough, and fold gently underneath to hide the seams. 

Prepared Lamb rolls

4. Heat a skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter on medium-low heat. Place the lamb rolls seam side down first and cook until dough becomes deep golden brown, flip and cook again until crispy and brown. This is not like original parathas because you will only be cooking one side of the dough, so you have to make sure the outside is cooked low and long enough to cook the dough inside touching the lamb. Sorry no pic of this step. 

5. Serve lamb rolls with a simple red onion salad and yogurt sprinkled with salt and pepper.  


Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes calculator: 568.8 Calories per serving.

Peach Cinnamon Rolls

A fresh swirl of peach in every cinnamon soft bite.

1/4 c sugar
3-4 small peaches, skins removed

3/4 cup milk
1/3 c melted butter
2 1/2 teaspoon yeast
1/3 c sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 1/2-4 c wheat flour
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup natural sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg, fresh grated or ground


1. Chop up peaches, throw out the pits, and cook in a saucepan over med-low with sugar for 10 minutes or until peaches are soft and fall apart. Set aside to cool.

2. Heat milk (either in a sauce pan or microwave) until milk begins to simmer- add butter. Let cool until at warm temperature (about 120˚).
3. In a deep bowl, add milk mixture, yeast, and sugar. Let sit for five minutes to let the yeast do it's work. Add 3 1/2 cups of flour, salt, eggs, 2 tablespoons of the cooled peaches- mix until combined. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time until the dough forms a nice ball and pulls away from the bowl. Turn out the dough onto a clean surface and knead the dough until smooth and elastic- at least eight minutes.
4. Grab a clean separate bowl, lightly spray the dough with cooking oil and place in a warm draft free spot until dough has doubled in size (around an hour and a half.)
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 10 by 14 rectangle.

6. Rub room temperature butter over entire surface and cover with sugar and spice mixture. Top with cooled peaches-reserve 2 tablespoons of peaches for glaze.
7. Carefully roll the dough into a log, some peach filling may want to fall out, just tuck it back in. Cut into 12-16 1 inch thick pieces. Place pieces, cut side down in a sprayed 9x13in pan. Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for another hour or until rolls are the size you like.

8. Preheat the oven to 350˚ and bake 20-25 minutes until cinnamon rolls are golden in color. Let cool slightly then slather on your favorite cream cheese glaze mixed with remaining cooked peaches.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 262 calories per roll (out of 12)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Vegetable Pot Pie

Quick and easy dinner to make for your loved ones or just for you and leftovers!

Vegetable Pot Pie

Pie crust
1/4 c butter, cold
2 c flour
1/4 tsp salt

1/4 c (half a stick) of butter
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (optional, can also use fennel or cumin seeds)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 med carrot, diced
1 med potato, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 leek, sliced in half and sliced in pieces
1/2 c peas
1/2 c green beans
2 tsp parsley
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 c white wine
1 c vegetable broth
3 tbl flour
1/2 c milk

1. Make your pie crust by combining butter, flour and salt until crumbly. Add just enough water to mix and form a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge while you make the filling.

2. Pre-heat oven to 350F.  In a saute pan, melt butter and add seeds. Let the seeds pop and when you smell the aroma add the onion, carrot, potato, leek, garlic and onion all at once. Saute on low and let the vegetables sweat for five to ten minutes or until onions are translucent.

3. Mix in parsley. thyme, pepper, and salt. Add wine, peas, green beans, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and let simmer until liquid is reduced by half- carrots and potatoes should now be tender.

4. Add flour and mix until all the liquid is absorbed, add more flour if necessary. Stir in milk and combine to create your gravy. Turn off heat and let stand for 5 mins.

5. In a 9 in pie plate or individual oven proof dishes, ladle mixture evenly into each one. Take out your pie crust and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Cut out a shape slightly larger than the pan(s) you are using. Roll crust on top of the prepared pan(s), prick with fork to create vents for steam.

6. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Eggplant Rice

This is a simply simple recipe to mix up your regular rice routine.

I have become a really big fan of eggplant recently now that I know how to use it. Before it was this scary purple vegetable (which was strange in itself) that no one I knew would eat regularly. Now I buy 2-3 every shopping trip, I can't imagine not eating them!

The eggplant cooks down into a sort of tender blob that tastes perfect with the flavorful rice.

Added bonus- it's a sneaky way to eat your veggies.

Eggplant Rice                                                 Serves 4


1 c Basmati rice
1 1/2 c water
salt to taste

Eggplant mixture

1 tbl oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 cloves
3 green chilies, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tomato, chopped
1 American eggplant, diced into cubes
1 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg, ground
2 tsp coriander powder
salt to taste
coriander/cilantro leaves (garnish)

1. Cook the rice in the microwave on med-med/high for 15-18 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. meanwhile make the eggplant mixture.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil then add the mustard seeds and cloves. Let them heat up until they pop and you can smell their aromas. Add the onions and chilies, fry until onions are soft and slightly pink in color.
3. Mix in the garlic and ginger paste, cook for another minute stirring occasionally.
4. Add the remaining spices, tomato and eggplant to the pan, mix well and cover with a lid. Let vegetables cook, stirring occasionally until eggplant is soft and tomato has broken down.
5. Add the cooked rice to the pan, mix to combine evenly, cover with the lid. Keep rice hot in the pan until ready to serve.
6. Garnish with fresh coriander/cilantro leaves if desired.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 104.7 calories per 1 cup serving

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Leek and Chickpea Curry

I have never had leeks before. I bought them just for that fact. 

If YOU have never had leeks before, then I think you will be pleasantly surprised at their taste and, in this curry. You never can go wrong making a curry out of the vegetables you have on hand.

The flavors meld. They compliment.

If you are thinking 'curry,' that must be spicy! It's only as spicy as you want it to be. I like things with a good kick, but also have deep flavors that keep your tongue busy with each bite as it recognizes all the spices you add. A curry combines these two food loves in one.

Curry doesn't mean just spicy. It means a lot of things. But, as it was explained to me, curry usually is defined as anything cooked with water. Read this interesting wiki definition if you want to get some more ideas. Think about it this way. If you like to curl up with a warm bowl of soup on a chilly day, a curry gives you just that.

This will be my first of many curries I hope to post on this blog. I won't post about regular curries; that you can Google, but the ones I put my own spin on.

Leek and Chickpea Curry                                        serves 4

2 tbl vegetable oil or ghee
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 in ginger, peeled and chopped
2 leeks, trimmed. Here is a helpful video how to prepare leeks for us beginners
2 c cooked chickpeas, 1 can
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
1 tsp EACH ground cumin, ground coriander, salt, garam masala, tumeric
1 tbl EACH chili powder, Kitchen King (available in Indian, Punjabi, Pakistani stores)- KK is optional
1/2 can chopped tomatoes
1/2 can coconut milk
coriander/cilantro, fresh, chopped

1. In a saute pan, heat the oil and on low saute onion, garlic, ginger and leeks for 5 minutes, letting leeks and onions sweat.
2. When leeks and onions are tender, add all the spices listed, mix well and let cook another 5 minutes.
3. Add chopped potato, tomatoes, coconut milk and one cup of water. Mix well. Bring to a boil and let simmer on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary.
4. Garnish with fresh coriander, serve with wheat tortillas, wheat pita bread or rice.

Calories calculated with Sparkrecipes calculator: 241 calories per serving. *Does not include calories of anything served alongside (tortilla/rice)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Quick Apple Cheese Danish

I made this danish on a whim after craving something sweet that would also use up my purchase of too many apples and puff pastry. Result of my whim? LOVE! I simply love this recipe over and over again. I have made this danish about four times now in the last two months. It's addicting. REALLY addicting. 

If you love: Lemon, Cheese, Apples, Cinnamon, or Pastry, this danish will hit the spot in a fraction of the time it would take to make a complicated old fashioned one. 

As for the 'cheese' part of this danish, there are two kinds hidden in here, cream cheese and cheddar. I got the idea of adding the cheddar because I recently heard some people love a slice of apple pie with melted cheddar cheese on top! This is not 'cheesy' in that way, but sweet and tart from the baked apples and lemon. 

Quick Apple Cheese Danish                                   Makes 8 slices
1/2 package of puff pastry (8oz/250g)
1/2 c cream cheese
1 whole lemon, small
4 tbl granulated sugar
1-2 apples, any kind-the more tart, the better
2 oz? cheddar cheese (I measured by eye and used a piece the size of my thumb, thus the '?')
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon + a dash
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg + a dash
1 tbl white flour for dusting
1 egg

1.  Pre heat the oven to 420F or 220C OR whatever your Puff Pastry Package says to bake at! Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil. Take out your puff pastry out of the refrigerator and leave on the counter to soften while you make the filling.

Put 1/2 cup of cream cheese in a bowl, mix in 2 tbl of sugar, and zest of entire lemon. Cut lemon and add juice of one half, save the other half for later. Grate the cheddar cheese and join with the cream cheese, add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Combine until mixture is creamy and soft. Salt to taste.

 2. Cut your apples in half and core; I like to cut a 'V' shape out, it's quickest. Then peel the skin and slice to make arches, rainbows, semi-circle, crescents, etc...  I do not recommend you peel first then core, as the apple will be slippery and you may hurt yourself.

3. Place slices in a container, cover with remaining 2 tbl of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix and set aside. You can add the juice of the other half of your lemon if you want. Set aside.

4. Sprinkle flour on the work space and roll out puff pastry into a roughly 15x10 rectangle. I rolled my puff pastry the length of my cookie sheet and then as wide as it would go. I mean, you're smart people, you can figure it out without using a ruler. Just eyeball it. Don't make it complicated.

5. Using your thumb, start from the side and mark in on the left then right, measure down and mark on both sides of the pastry, cut a diagonal obtuse angle and remove. I scored a little to make my angles as even as possible. You want to end up with sort of a head in the center.

Then using your thumb again for measurement, cut diagonal lines all the way down the pastry. You can cut off the tips of longer braids, but that is just wasteful and the pastry looks good no matter what.

6. Carefully spread your filling down the middle of the pastry and layer the apple slices on top.

Now, Braid! 
Fold down the top pastry flap, then fold one side over the filling, alternating each side to make a pretty braid.

7. Move your danish carefully to your prepared pan. Mix an egg and give the whole thing an egg wash to make it golden brown. Bake 20-25 minutes.

8. Enjoy warm for breakfast or as dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 282 calories per slice