Sunday, November 30, 2014

Roasted Almond, Pine Nuts & Ricotta Stuffed Kidney Beans Meatballs

Roasted Almond, Pine Nuts & Ricotta Stuffed Kidney Beans Meatballs

I got tired of eating Dr. Praeger's burger patties. I wanted to make something from scratch and not just warm up a frozen dinner. I had dry kidney beans at home, so I put them in a slow cooker last night and thought I'd try making either meatballs or  burger patties. I have these with onions and yogurt on the side. Or you if like extra spicy sauce, you can try Sirachi or chili garlic sauce!

1 15 oz. (425g) can of kidney beans
1-2 green chilis
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp grated ginger
1-2 tsp red chili powder
salt to taste
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup roasted sliced almonds & pine nuts
1 cucumber
1 tomato

Mash the kidney beans first.
Then add green chili, garlic powder, ginger, red chili powder, cumin seeds, salt and lemon juice. Mix together.
Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Take some of the mixture in your hand and press flat.
 Place about 1 tbsp of the ricotta, almond & pine nut mixture in the center. And press the sides around the ricotta filling and roll into a ball.

If the mixture is not firm and you are having a hard time rolling the balls, try adding a baked potato to the mixture and then roll into a ball.

Once all the meatballs are rolled, dip in breadcrumbs and bake in the oven 350 degrees until golden brown (about 15-20 minutes).

Another alternative is heat oil in a pan. Dip the meatballs in flour and fry.

To plate, I used cucumber slices, tomato slices, cilantro and leftover almonds and pine nuts to garnish with some sirachi sauce. Here's the finished look!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Indian-Spiced Tofu & Vegetable Stir-Fry

Indian-Spiced Tofu & Vegetable Stir-Fry

One of the key ingredients in many of indian-spiced recipes is garam masala, as you might have noticed. You might wonder, what is garam masala? Garam masala (Hindi: गरम मसालाgaram ("hot") and masala (a mixture of spices) is a blend of ground spices common in North Indian and other South Asian cuisines. The composition of garam masala differs regionally, with many recipes across India according to regional and personal taste. The components of the mix are toasted, then ground together.

A typical Indian version of garam masala contains:

  • black and white peppercorns
  • cloves
  • Cinnamon or cassia bark
  • Nutmeg and mace
  • black and green cardamom pods
  • Tej patta

   Rama Rau, Santha (June 1969). The Cooking of India (Foods of the World). USA: Time Life Education. 

Anyway, I think its the best thing ever because it combines a lot of my favorite spices and adds so much flavor! Before I used to have to find a indian grocery store to get garam masala, but now its available at a lot of supermarkets. I've seen it at ShopRite and Stop&Shop. Here's another recipe using garam masala, I hope you like it! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp grated ginger
2 green chili peppers
1-2 onions, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1/4 cauliflower
extra firm tofu
4 oz can of unsalted tomato sauce (100% tomato)
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric powder
1-2 tsp red chili powder depending on spice preference
freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste
Servings: 4-5

First, heat the pan with olive oil. Add cumin seeds and let cook for 1-2 minutes until darker in color. Then, add garlic, ginger, and green chili. Cook for 2 minutes or until the garlic appears golden brown.

In a separate pan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower  to the water and boil until tender.

Add tofu and cook for 5 minutes.
Then, add onions and green pepper  and cook for another 3 minutes.
Now, add cauliflower and peas.

Add turmeric, red chili powder, garam masala, salt, and a little bit of black pepper. You can substitute paprika for red chili powder, but it might not be as spicy. Stir so the powders are well mixed.

Add 4 oz. tomato sauce and mix well.

And this is what it looks like after its done!

This tasted so good alone! I had it with arugula and tomatoes on the side. Also, some plain yogurt.
I was trying to avoid carbs, otherwise you can also pair with naan, tortillas, add it to your salad, or rice!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Tomato with Beet & Cabbage Risotto

Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Tomato with Beet & Cabbage Risotto

I made this for dinner tonight, and it was really good! I went out with my friends for lunch one day and my friend had ordered risotto, she got a plate of pink risotto. It inspired me to make this tonight. I also decided to add some cabbage and onions. I paired the beet & cabbage risotto with goat cheese I had in the fridge and it was delicious! Here's the recipe for both the stuffed tomato & risotto.

Stuffed tomato or red peppers:
4-5 small vine tomatoes, 4 red peppers
2 cups spinach
2 cups Ricotta cheese
1 cup Cottage cheese
1-2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp basil flakes/2-3 fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste

Wash the peppers/tomatoes, whatever you decide to use.

Cut the tops off and take out the contents (seeds) from the inside and clean it out. Once done, you're ready for some stuffing!

In a bowl, add ricotta & cottage cheese, chopped spinach, salt, black pepper, crushed red peppers and mix together.

Once mixed well, you're ready to stuff the tomatoes/peppers!
Pre-heat the oven to 350° F. 

Stuff & put in the oven for 10-15  minutes.
While this was baking, I made the beet & cabbage risotto. See recipe below.

Beet & Cabbage Risotto paired with goat cheese:
2 cups grated beets
1 cup grated cabbage
1 cup arborio rice
1 red/yellow onion
3 cups vegetable stock
3 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2-1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste

First, melt butter for 1-2 minutes. Add the onions and cook until tender.

Next, add the grated beets & cabbage. Cook for 3-5 minutes.

Add the arborio rice. Then add the vegetable stock and bring to boil. Season with salt, black pepper, basil leaves, and balsamic vinegar. Cook until there barely any water left.

To plate, I topped the stuffed tomato with arugula surrounded by alfalfa sprouts.
I garnished the risotto with cilantro and goat cheese!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cherry tomatoes, Mozzarella, Spinach, Pepper Bites

Cherry tomatoes, Mozzarella, Spinach, Pepper Bites

These are great for an afternoon snack or as appetizers for a party! Simple and delicious :)

5 cherry tomatoes
10 spinach leaves
2 cloves minced garlic
1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar
10 mozzarella balls/cheese
1 red/orange pepper cut into cubes
10 toothpicks

Assemble on a toothpick like shown in the picture above:
First the pepper
Then half of a mozzarella ball
The other half of the mozzarella
Half of a cherry tomato

In a mini pan, add 2 tbsp olive oil and add the minced garlic. Stir until golden brown in color. Once cool, wait 2 minutes, sprinkle the garlic using a spoon onto the bites.

And sprinkle some balsamic vinegar on top!

Stuffed Poblano Pepper Fiesta

Stuffed Poblano Pepper Fiesta

I love mexican food! This recipe (without the rice) can be really healthy and used for many diets out there. This is because there is no use of  tortillas or tacos so there are less carbs. This is similar to chili rellanos which has cheese inside the chili pepper. However, I also stuff it with black beans in order to add more protein in my diet and veggies to make it more filling!

1 poblano pepper
1 onion
1/2 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, red/red pepper)
1 can black beans
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1 avocado
1/4 cup sour cream
1 avocado
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup salsa
1 tsp olive oil 
1/2 cup rice (optional)
salt to taste

First, get a bowl and mix black beans, red chili powder/crushed red pepper flakes, salt, lemon juice. Set aside to stuff the pepper.

Cut the poblano pepper in the middle and broil on low in the oven. Leave in oven for 5-10 minutes until the skin of the pepper darkens. 

Let it cool after taking it out and slowly remove the outer skin of the pepper. 

Stuff the pepper, with black beans, mixed vegetables, and cheese. Close the flap of the pepper. Set aside. 

Optional step if you want to fry the pepper and have a more chile rellanos taste: 
Separate the egg yolk and egg white.
Whisk the egg yolk in a bowl until lightened in color
In a separate bowl, using a stand mixer, whisk the egg white for 1-2 minutes. 
Take the egg yolk and put it into the egg white bowl and fold until mixed together.
Dip the stuffed pepper into egg mixture.
Heat oil in a pan on low-medium heat. Fry the pepper. Cook one side of the pepper until golden brown then flip the pepper to the other side and cook until golden brown.
Remove from the oil and set aside.

Boil 2-3 cups of water. Add 1/2 cup of rice to the boiling water and cook for 10-15 mins. Drain the rice. 

Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp olive oil, 2 tbsp onions minced, 1 tsp lemon juice and mix together. 

To plate, place the kale on the bottom of the plate then the stuffed pepper on top. Add black beans, guacamole, sour cream, salsa and rice on the side! :) 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Garlic Soup

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Garlic Soup

Fall time is soup time!

I can not get enough of soup when it gets cold out. Roasted red pepper soup is super easy and doesn't take very long to make. It's one of my favorites because all you really is mainly red pepper and some stock. Ok, I lied you do need more than that, here are the rest of the ingredients:

3 red peppers
4-5 garlic cloves
2 basil leaves or 1 tsp basil flakes
1 green chili
3 cups of vegetable stock
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste
Servings: 2-3

Wash the red peppers and take the seeds out. Coat the other side (the skin of the pepper) with olive oil. Place the peppers and garlic on parchment paper and broil on low. Check the oven every 2 minutes. Roast the peppers and garlic until the skin blackens (check the picture below to see what it should look like)

Then, using tongs place the red peppers into a plastic bag for 10 minutes to steam. 
Peel the black skin off the peppers.

In a blender, add the garlic, green chili, red peppers, and vegetable stock and puree the mixture. Once done, empty the contents into a pan.

Add basil, salt, and black pepper to the mixture. 
Stir the soup, if its too thick either add more vegetable stock or some water. 
Then add heavy whipping cream (optional). If you don't like the creamy taste, then you can skip adding the whipping cream. Remember if you add more water or vegetable stock, you might need to add more salt. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Chickpea Patties with Cucumber Coconut Chutney

Chickpea Patties with Cucumber Coconut Chutney

1 lb 13 oz. (822 g) can chickpeas
2 green chilis or 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp garam masala (optional)
1 tsp paprika or red chili powder
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp grated ginger
1 red onion minced
1/4 cup cilantro
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste

Add all of the ingredients listed above in a bowl and mash the mixture

The mixture should appear more uniform so it is easy to make the patties. Take about 1/4 cup of mixture to make each patty. You can also make them bigger if you want to use it as a burger patty.

Before preparing these patties, preheat the oven to 400°F. 
I was able to make about 15 patties from the 1 lb 13 oz. can of chickpeas! Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Broil for a golden brown look afterwards for 10 minutes.

After placing the chickpea patties in the oven, I decided to make some cucumber coconut chutney to dip the patties in and it turned out quite well. All I did was place the following ingredients in a food processor & blend:
1 cucumber cut in cubes
1/2 green chili
3 tbsp coconut
1/4 cup plain or greek yogurt
salt to taste

To plate, place spinach on the bottom, then place the chickpea patties on top. Pour some chutney on top and garnish with onions, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and pomegranate!

An alternative to the cucumber coconut chutney is guacamole. I tried that before as well, and it was amazing! I like making these patties because its so versatile and I have plenty of leftovers! On a busy day, I can just add hot sauce and either use it as a burger patty or add it to my salad.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Avocado Egg Pizza

Avocado Egg Pizza

Simple & Delicious!

This is one of my favorites! I love avocados and this is a great recipe for breakfast,  lunch, or a mid-day snack. I get a lot of compliments on this one and I wanted to share this with all you avocado lovers out there! Hope you enjoy it! 

1 tortilla
1 egg
1 haas avocado
1 green chili or jalapeño pepper (optional- for some extra spicy flavor!)
1-2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

Avocado spread:
Cut the avocados in half. Spoon out the pit and scoop out the avocado into a bowl. Add lemon juice, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes,green chili, and olive oil. Mash the contents until the mixture looks spreadable.

Next, bake the tortilla in a toaster oven/oven so it becomes firm to use it as a pizza crust. Leave in the oven for 5 minutes at 400-450°F or a little more if necessary. Take it out once ready and set aside.

Make a fried egg in a pan and you're ready to make the pizza!

Spread the avocado mixture evenly on the baked tortilla. Place the fried egg on top and sprinkle feta cheese and cilantro!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Creamed Spinach with Tofu and Chickpeas

Creamed Spinach with tofu and chickpeas

More Spinach, please!
A 100 g (3.5 oz) of raw spinach has so many benefits to offer! Just 3.6 g carbs (sugars 0.4 g, dietary fiber 2.2 g), fat 0.4 g, and 3 g protein. It is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C,vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, and iron! It has a high nutritional value and it tastes so good! I try to incorporate into salads, soups, and snacks! Instead of munching on potatoes chips, have you tried just adding olive oil and garlic to the spinach leaves and baking them in the oven for crunchy delicious spinach chips? You definitely have to try it sometime if you haven't! Anyway, today my grandma brought home these fresh spinach leaves and I decided to make my all time favorite spicy creamed spinach with paneer (fresh cheese) and chickpeas. I hope you try it, its delicious!

2 10-oz. bags of fresh/frozen spinach
2 tbsp unsalted butter or 2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion (yellow/red)
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 cup extra firm tofu or paneer
1 cup chickpeas
2-3 green chilis
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tsp red chili powder/paprika
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tomato or 8-10 cherry tomatoes
1 tsp cumin seeds/powder
Servings: 4-6

First, sautee the garlic and cinnamon sticks for 2 minutes, then add the onions and cook until slightly golden brown. Add the green chilis and cherry tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes. 

In a separate pan, add the spinach and cover with water and cook for 5-8 minutes. Drain the spinach.

Transfer the contents (sauteed onion, tomato, garlic, ginger and the spinach) into a blender. Add 1/2 cup water and 3/4 cup plain yogurt ( you can substitute greek yogurt or even milk). You can also use a food processor to puree the mixture. Set aside.

Return to the skillet, add 1 tsp olive oil, cumin seeds and cook until the cumin seeds appear darker in color. Then, add red chili powder/paprika and 1 tsp turmeric. Add in the tofu/paneer and chickpeas and stir. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and garam masala to taste.

Now, add the contents from the blender/food processor to the skillet with chickpeas and tofu/paneer. Cook for 8-10 minutes over medium heat. If the gravy is too thick, add some water if necessary.
Serve alone or with naan, rice, quinoa, or whatever else you prefer :)

                                                                           Bon Appétit!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Spinach Noodle Soup with Poached Egg

Spinach Noodle Soup with Poached Egg

 I made this for brunch today and it was so good!!Being vegetarian, I learned that I was lacking protein in my diet. One way to make up for it was by eating eggs in the morning! I got tired of eating boiled eggs, fried eggs, scrambled eggs everyday though. I needed to spice things up, so I thought I'd make some soup add some garlic, ginger, sirachi, and put something here it is:

1 egg
2 cups of vegetable stock
thai rice noodles or a healthier alternative is shirataki noodles
1 clove garlic
2 tsp ginger grated
1/4 cup spinach
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sirachi sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (optional)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt according to taste
some cilantro for garnish
Servings: 1

Heat up 2 pans with atleast 8 cups of water

In the first pan, add atleast 8 cups of water in a pan or enough to cover the noodles. Bring to a boil. Then add the noodles of choice and let boil for 6-10 minutes. Drain the noodles.
In the other pan, poach the egg. Add 1 tsp salt to water and 2 tsp white vinegar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Crack the eggs into simmering water and cook for 3 minutes if you like the yolk runny or 6-8 minutes if you like the yolk firmer. Use a spoon to take the eggs out and set aside.

Add garlic, ginger, and black pepper to the pan and cook for about a minute or until the garlic is golden brown.

Add 2 cups of vegetable stock. Let simmer for about a minute then add the following and stir:
1 tbsp sirachi sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (optional)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt according to taste
Cook for another 5-8 minutes

Place spinach around the serving bowl, then add the noodles and stock, place the poached egg on top and garnish with cilantro.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Potatoes, Mushroom, Sweet peas in Cashew Curry

Potatoes, Mushroom, Sweet peas in Cashew Curry

Cashew Curry:
1/4 cup unsalted cashews
1 cup water
1-2 green chilis
1 onion
1 tbsp ginger
2 tsp paprika/red chili powder
2 tsp garam masala/curry powder
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 potato
1/4 cup green peas
1/4 cup mushrooms
Servings: 1-2

First, soak the cashews in cold water for 30 minutes.
Cook the potato in the microwave.

During that time, sautee cumin in olive oil for 1 minute or until they appear darker in color, then add onions, ginger, and green chili. Sautee for 6-8 mins.
Take the mixture (onions, chili, and garlic) and put in a blender. Add the cashews and 1/2 cup of water and blend the gravy.

Now, add the cooked potato (cut into cubes), green peas, and mushrooms in the same pan used to sautee the onions, chili, and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the blended gravy to the pan.
Add salt, black pepper, paprika, and curry powder/garam masala. Cook for 10 minutes.
If the gravy is too thick, add more water. Remember if you add more water, you might need to adjust the salt and spices as well!

Top with cilantro or parsley before serving
Pair with naan, whole wheat roti, rice, or quinoa

About me


My name is Shikha and I'm a twenty-something-year old from CT. You should know that I’m totally obsessed with food. I first started cooking after I finished 6 years of college. I had gained about 30 pounds during that time and I was shocked! I knew I needed to change my lifestyle and I started cooking healthy food. Being a vegetarian really limited my options at the dining halls at school. It was either grilled cheese, pizza, pasta, or the salad bar everyday, so boring! After graduation I started looking up recipes and trying new things. I'm so happy I made this change because I really developed a passion for cooking!  I love garnishing, plating, and photographing food! I hope you enjoy some of my posts and thanks for stopping by!