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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Baked spaghetti


This baked spaghetti is so GOOD, I've been making it since 2001, it's one of those 'go-to' recipes.

Ingredients:
2 medium yellow onions chopped
1 large green pepper chopped
8oz baby Bella mushrooms chopped
10-12 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped (I LOVE garlic so I use a LOT, but you don't have to)
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbs Italian seasoning
28oz can Muir Glen crushed tomatoes with basil
14.5oz Muir Glen diced fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 tbsp fresh cracked pepper
salt to taste
24oz whole wheat spaghetti, cooked, rinsed in cold water
10.5oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup
8oz shredded cheddar cheese
grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top of the spaghetti bake
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup water

Let's cook shall we?
1) Add oil to a large pan, once hot, add onions, cook on medium heat, you don't want the onions to brown,
2) Add green peppers after 6 minutes, cook the onion and green pepper mixture on medium for about 5 minutes
3) Add garlic and cook for 1 minute
4) Add chopped mushrooms,
5) Add Italian seasoning
6) Cook and stir mixture often, the veggies will give off a lot of liquid and you don't want too much liquid or your sauce will be too runny. Once most of the liquid is gone...
7) Add both tomato cans, salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce for 30 minutes on low.
8) Let sauce cool a little before putting everything together
9) Take a large baking dish, spray with olive oil take half of the cooked spaghetti and spread it out
10) Add half of the sauce on top of the cooked spaghetti
11) Sprinkle 4oz of cheddar on top of the sauce
12) repeat the three layers (spaghetti, sauce and cheddar)
13) Add 1/2 cup water to the condensed cream of mushroom soup and mix well (till smooth) add dollops of this mixture to the top and spread it out evenly
14) sprinkle parmesan cheese
15) top with black olives
16) bake for 30 minutes on 350 degrees, till you see bubbling on the edges of the baking dish





Jeera chicken (Patel ground style)



Ingredients (for jeera chicken):
3-4 medium onions, chopped
2-3lbs chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
15 cloves of garlic, 1 inch piece of ginger, 10-12 hot green chili’s: throw these in a small chopper and pulse

1/2 cup of cumin seeds
4tbs oil
5-6 cloves
2-3 pieces of cinnamon
2 tsp ground coriander,

2 tsp ground turmeric,
ground cayenne to taste
3 (14.5oz) cans organic tomatoes
salt, to taste
One bunch fresh cilantro, chopped finely

Directions:
1) Take a large pot and add the oil to it, set it on medium heat
2) Add the cinnamon and cloves as soon as the oil warms up a bit
3) Add all of the cumin seeds, fry till seeds are golden brown

4) Add the onions and fry until golden brown
5) Add the chili’s, garlic and ginger mixture and fry for at least 5 minutes, making sure not to burn the garlic
6) Add the ground turmeric along with the ground coriander and ground cayenne, fry for 4-5 minutes
7) Add the three cans of tomatoes, lower the heat just a little and let this mixture simmer, you want most of the liquid from the tomatoes to evaporate at this point

8) Add the chicken and cilantro, stir to combine...cover your pot, let the chicken simmer on low for about 45 minutes, making sure you give it a good stir every now and then
10) Add salt to taste
Serves: approximately 4-5 people.

Tip: Paneer is a great subsitute for chicken, this dish would taste just as good with paneer

Spicy stuffed buns

Spicy stuffed buns
Ingredients:
2-3 big russet potatoes-cubed
1 medium yellow onion-finely chopped
1 carrot-finely chopped
1/2 cup peas
2-3 cloves garlic
1-2 green chili's very finely chopped
1 tbs canola oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
3 tbs finely chopped cilantro
pinch asafoetida
3-4 pinches turmeric powder
1-2 tsp cayenne powder (or to taste)
salt to taste
1/2 tsp lemon juice (the REAL stuff please...not the bottled stuff)
Directions:
1. On medium heat...in a pot add the canola oil, once the oil is hot add mustard seeds...
2. Once mustard seeds stop popping, add cumin
3. When cumin turns a pretty darker color add asafoetida
4. Add turmeric
5. Immediately add garlic (be careful, don't burn it)
6. Once the garlic is golden add green chilis, cook for 2 minutes
7. Add onions...cook until translucent
8. Next add carrots, peas and potatoes...stir, turn the heat to low, cover
9. After 15 minutes check to see if the potatoes are fully cooked, if not, cover and leave for 5 more minutes, just keep checking, you can always stick a toothpick in the potatoes.
10. Once potatoes are cooked add cayenne, salt, cilantro and lemon juice...let cool completely

Dough (for the bun) ingredients:
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1 package instant yeast
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs sugar
1 1/s tsp salt (or to taste)
some milk to brush on top of the buns for a lovely gloss and color
Directions:
1. In a glass bowl heat milk, water, butter and sugar until warm...add yeast and let sit for 10 minutes (when you stick your finger in the liquid it should feel very warm)...about 110-115 degrees (F).
2. Add flour, olive oil and salt to your stand mixer, make sure you have the dough hook attached...mix the flour, oil and salt.
3. Slowly add the liquid but not at once, let the mixer do the work for you...when a soft dough forms, place the dough on a counter and knead for 5 minutes...pour a little olive oil on the dough place it in a large bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap.

Now let's put it all together shall we?
1. Divide the dough into 4" balls
2. Roll each ball out into a 7" round
3. Spoon the filling in the middle
4. Gather all sides together at the top, press together to seal
5. Place seam side down on baking sheet
6. Repeat
7. Now cover the the buns with a large kitchen towel, place the baking sheet in a warm place...I just place it in my oven (COOL OVEN!!!)
8. After about an hour your buns will double in size, carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven
9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
*When handing the buns please don't drop the baking sheet on the counter or they will DE-PUFF!*
10. Gently, brush milk on the buns (any pressure will once again "de-puff" the dough)
11. Bake 25-35 minutes...once the buns are golden brown on top, remove from the oven...
12. EAT!! :)

*you will have extra dough or filling...I freeze extras.

Super easy karahi chicken

Karahi chicken
This chicken is so easy to make, and tastes really good, especially if you enjoy spicy food.

Ingredients:
1lb chicken breast-cut into strips
1-1/4 cup chicken broth
2tbs canola oil
1 bunch green onions-chopped
5 cloves garlic-cut into thin strips
1tsp grated ginger root
1tsp crushed dried red chilis
2tsp lemon juice (optional)
2tbs cilantro-finely chopped
2tbs finely chopped mint
1 14oz tomato can

Directions:
1) Add 2tbs oil to a pot
2) Add crushed red pepper flakes (once the oil is hot)
3) Immediately add garlic, don't burn it!
4) Add ginger, saute for about 30 seconds
5) Add green onions saute until soft
6) Add chicken
7) When the chicken turns white, add tomato can and chicken broth
8) Add cilantro, mint and salt (and optional lemon juice)
9) Let simmer till sauce thickens

*Serve with roti's and rice
*I added ground cayenne and ground corianader to this recipe (to taste)

Chicken scampi (Olive Garden style)

Chicken Scampi
Chicken:
2 chicken breasts flattened using a meat mallet, cut into nugget sized peices
1 egg
1 1/2 cups Breadcrumbs (I make my own using whole wheat bread)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Some olive oil for shallow frying
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 green bell pepper sliced
1/2 red bell pepper sliced
1/2 small red onion sliced thinly

Scampi sauce:
1 tbs butter
2 tbs very finely chopped garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 white wine
1 cup chicken broth
white sauce (recipe follows)

White sauce:
3/4 cup hot milk
1/2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
1/2 lb angel hair pasta, cooked al dente

Directions:
Chicken:
1) Add two slices of bread in a food processor and pulse till you get fine breadcrumbs, add Italian seasoning and pulse a few more times, place breadcrumbs in a medium sized bowl
2) Whisk the egg in a small bowl, add salt and pepper to taste
3) Add 4-5 chicken pieces into the egg
4) Place the egg drenched chicken into the breadcrumb bowl (coat each piece with breadcrumbs), then transfer to a rack or plate, do this to all the chicken pieces
5) In a large frying pan add a few tablespoons of olive oil (just a tiny bit we're not deep frying) and place 4-5 pieces of chicken into the pan, "fry" about 2 minutes per side, place on paper towel
6) Add green pepper, red pepper and red onion to the pan and saute, set aside


Scampi sauce:
1) Heat butter in a pan
2) Add garlic
3) Add red pepper flakes
4) Add Italian seasoning
5) TAKE THE PAN OFF THE HEAT, add the wine, return to cooking surface and simmer 5 minutes
6) Add chicken broth
7) Add white sauce
8) Let the sauce cook for about 30 minutes on low heat

White sauce:
1) Heat butter in a sauce pan
2) Add 2 tbs flour and cook for two minutes
3) Add hot milk and whisk

Serve:
1) Place angel hair on a plate
2) Place a few chicken pieces on top
3) Add pepper and onions
4) Spoon scampi sauce over everything!

Spicy Indo-Chinese goodness!

Indo-Chinese Chilli Chicken
1lb cubed chicken breast
6-7 dried red chilis
1 green bell pepper
1 medium onion cubed, petals separated
1/4 cup Green onions slice at an angle
1/4 cup celery finely chopped 
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
1 egg
3tbs very finely chopped ginger
3tbs very finely chopped garlic
Whole or half cashews
3 tbs cornstarch
1 tbs sesame seed oil
chili garlic paste
2 cups chicken/ vegetable broth 
Soy sauce, to taste
1 tsp sugar
oil for frying

Directions:
1) Sprinkle 2 tbs cornstarch, add a pinch of pepper, 1 egg in a bowl and mix
2) Fry chicken pieces in a deep fryer (or shallow fry), set aside
3) In a large wok, add sesame oil make sure the oil is HOT
4) Add dried red chilis and saute for 30 seconds
5) Add garlic and ginger, saute for 1 minute, making sure you don't burn the garlic
6) Add cashews, saute for 30 seconds
7) Add onions, green bell peppers, green onions and celery, saute
8) Add black pepper, soy sauce and chili garlic paste
9) Add sugar, salt and chicken/vegetable broth
10) Let simmer, then add chicken
11) Make a slurry of cornstarch and water, add a few teaspoons to the wok
12) Let simmer for a minute or two, if you want the sauce thicker add cornstarch mixture a little at a time.
*This chicken is great with fried rice (pictured: brown fried rice). OR by itself

Skewered chicken tikka with quinoa pulao

Ingredients for chicken tikka
2 chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
green pepper (half) cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium onion cut into bite sized pieces
grape tomatoes, about 2 per skewer
1 jar Pataks Tikka Masala Curry Paste
3/4 cup plain yogurt
wooden skewers

Directions:
1) take two glass bowls
2) add Patak's Tikka Masala Paste to one bowl and mix 3/4 cup of yogurt, this is your marinade
3) take about 1/3 of the marinade and add to the empty bowl, leave the rest (2/3) in the original bowl
4) add chicken to the bowl with the most marinade, mix and coat well
5) add the veggies to the bowl with the least marinade, mix and coat well
6) cover each bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for AT LEAST 5-6 hours
7) take a skewer and alternate veggies and chicken
8) place skewers on grill till cooked through

Quinoa Pulao
Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
salt to taste
1tbs oil
half of a medium onion chopped
4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
1tsp cumin powder
1 medium potato cut into small cubes
1/2 cup green peas
handful cashews
cayenne powder, to taste
1/4tsp turmeric powder
lemon juice to taste

Directions:
1) cook quinoa (as per directions)
2) once quinoa is completely cooled it is ready to be transformed into a pulao
3) add oil to a pan
4) once oil is hot add cumin powder
5) add garlic and saute
6) add onions when garlic is cooked, cook till translucent, add cashews
7) add cubed potatoes and cover, make sure you cut the potatoes into small cubes to ensure fast and even cooking
8) once potatoes are cooked add peas
9) add turmeric powder
10) add quinoa, salt and cayenne pepper
11) mix well and add lemon juice before serving

Frontega panini (Panera Bread style)

Frontega Chicken Panini (à la Panera Bread)
This Panini tastes so close to the original it’s scary.

Ingredients:
3-4 chicken breasts
2 cups chicken broth
3 tbsp. Liquid Smoke
3 tbsp. salt
Focaccia bread (I used tomato basil focaccia)
Mozzarella slices
Sliced tomatoes
Sliced red onion
Chopped basil (fresh)
Chipotle mayo (recipe follows)

Directions:
1) Place chicken, broth, liquid smoke and salt in a slow cooker and cook on high for AT LEAST 4 hours!
2) Once the 4 hours are up, remove chicken from broth and “pull” apart
3) Cut focaccia bread in half, slice each half…
4) Smear chipotle mayo on the bottom, place cheese on top, sprinkle basil, add chicken, tomatoes and onions
5) Place the top half on the bottom and grill in a Panini press or sandwich maker until you see nice grill marks.
6) Cut each half in half…enjoy with chips!

Chipotle Mayo
½ cup mayo
1 can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce

Directions:
In a food processor combine mayo, 1 tbsp. adobo sauce, 2 chilies and process till smooth, put in an airtight container and store in fridge.

Creamy chana masala with tandoori roti


Ingredients:
3 cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained and washed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 large onion chopped
3-4 garlic cloves very finely minced
1 tbsp. ginger paste
1 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 cloves
2 tbsp. ground cumin
1/4 water
3 tbsp. Badshah Chana Masala
salt to taste
3 tbsp. cayenne (add less for less heat)
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
pinch sugar


Directions:
1) Heat oil and butter in a pan
2) Add cinnamon stick and cloves
3) add onions when you see bubbles forming around the cinnamon stick
4) cook onions on medium to medium high heat till translucent
5) add garlic and ginger...saute for a minute
6) add cumin and saute
7) add tomato can
8) add Badshah Chana Masala
9) add cayenne and salt
10) add chickpeas and water
11) cover and simmer on the lowest heat for 30 minutes, stir every now and then
12) add cream and sugar
13) cook another 10 minutes on low...and serve

Tandoori roti recipe:

Southwest chicken salad (Red Robin style)

"How about a Big Salad?...It’s a salad, only bigger, with lots of stuff in it..."

Ingredients:
1 bag (your choice) salad (Dole)
2 chicken breasts
4 tbsp finely diced red onions
1/4 cup red bell peppers diced
1/4 cup green bell peppers diced
1/4 cup black beans rinsed and drained
1 pkg Grill Mates Chipotle Pepper Marinade
20 sliced jar jalapenos (pickled)
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup crunchy tortilla strips (Texas toast-Chili Lime)
Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch (add as much or as little as you want)
1 large avocado (don't cut until the salad is ready to serve)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 cup water plus more for jalapeno coins batter
1/2 cup oil for frying
3 tbsp oil for chicken marinade
2-3 coffee filters (to place fried jalapeno coins on)
1 large zip lock bag

Jalapeno coins:
1) place 1/2 cup flour in a shallow bowl
2) add paprika
3) add enough water to make a batter (slightly thinner than pancake batter)
4) place oil in a shallow pan...heat (medium)
5) throw all of the jalapenos in the batter and carefully place them in the oil...fry until golden brown (making sure you flip them after about 2 minutes)
6) put the fried 'coins' on coffee filters (I think coffee filters 'suck up' more oil than regular paper towels)
7) set aside

Chicken:
1) add Grill Mates chipotle pepper marinade, 1/4 cup water and 3 tbsp oil in a zip lock bag
2) place 2 chicken breasts in the bag...take the air out and 'massage' the marinade into the chicken...this will mix everything together
3) put the zip lock bag in the fridge and marinate for at least 3 hours (make sure you put the zip lock bag on a shallow plate or bowl, just in case it leaks-BLEK!)
4) after 3 (plus) hours either grill the chicken, bake it or pan fry chicken with a tiny bit of oil...once cooked, put chicken breasts in foil and let 'sit for about 15 minutes
5) cube chicken after 15 minutes

Salad:
1) in a large bowl add peppers, onions, black beans, cheese, tortilla strips, salad bag and ranch dressing...toss everything

Serving:
1) place tossed salad on a plate (divide equally not 2 or 3 plates)
2) add chicken
3) top with avocado
4) place jalapeno coins around the plate

SERVES 2-3

Super Easy Layered Dessert


Layered dessert
This is a scrumptious dessert my aunt used to make whenever I visited her in Georgia, about 15 years ago. From the first time I put this dessert in my mouth I could not get enough of it. It is SO easy to make, but tastes like a million bucks! Recently, I have seen this recipe in magazines...they call it "Tiramisu dessert". This one's for you Meena foi :)

Ingredients:
1 box cinnamon graham crackers
1 Jell-O (instant) vanilla pudding mix (fat-free or sugar-free, your choice)
8oz tub thawed Cool Whip
1 tub chocolate frosting

Directions:
1) Make the pudding (follow directions on the box)
2) Once the pudding has set FOLD about half of the Cool Whip into the pudding, once mixed add the rest of the Cool Whip and fold it in
3) Place the pudding/Cool Whip mixture in the fridge
4) Line a 8x11.5 baking dish with one layer of cinnamon graham crackers
5) Add a layer of pudding/Cool Whip mix (spread evenly)
6) Repeat steps 4 and 5
7) The very last (top) layer should be crackers
8) Place the tub of frosting in the microwave for about 30 seconds...you don't want to liquefy it...PLEASE make sure you remove the foil seal BEFORE putting the frosting in the microwave
9) Pour about half a cup of frosting on the graham cracker layer and spread with a butter knife. (I don't like a thick layer of frosting but if you're a chocolate lover go ahead and add more)
10) Cover the baking dish with Saran wrap...then foil.
11) Place the baking dish in the refrigerator...the dessert will be ready to eat the NEXT day, the graham crackers will be nice and soft.

Five Fruit Salad

Healthy five fruit salad
This salad is super healthy and super yummy!

Ingredients:
1 tbs grated orange rind
1 cup fresh orange sections
1 cup fresh blackberries
1 cup fresh strawberries halved
1 cup seedless green or red grapes
1 cup cubed fresh pear
OPTIONAL: 1/8 tsp ground cloves
OPTIONAL: fresh mint sprigs
OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Directions:
1) Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl
2) mix all the fruits well
3) Take two or three mint leaves and crush them between your fingers...add to the mix
4) Cover and chill at least two hours
5) Garnish with mint leaves before serving