Creamy Tomato Spinach Pasta

There are days when I feel like cooking up a storm but then sometimes all I need is a quick fix, a big bowl of my favorite food and of course my favorite show on Netflix! So today I decided to make this 20 minute creamy and delicious cream cheese tomato spinach pasta! πŸ™‚

I kept it simple but you can add any veggies or protein of your choice and you can also make a vegan version of this by using vegan cream cheese!

 

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Ingredients:

  • Pasta (Linguine or Spaghetti) – 4 Oz (Approx)
  • Olive/ Vegetable Oil – 2 Tbs
  • Onion – 1 Small/ Half Medium (Finely chopped)
  • Garlic – 2 to 3 Medium Cloves (Finely chopped)
  • Tomato – 1 1/2 Medium (Roughly chopped)
  • Dried Basil – 1/2 Tsp
  • Black Pepper – 1/4 Tsp
  • Salt – To Taste
  • Red Chili Flakes – 1/2 Tsp
  • Cream Cheese – 2 to 3 Tbs (Room temperature)
  • Fresh Spinach – 1/2 Cup (Roughly chopped)
  • Water – To adjust the consistency of the sauce (About 1/4 Cup)

 

Method:

  1. Cook pasta according to the instructions on the package. Set aside
  2. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat, add onion and garlic. Fry until translucent
  3. Add chopped tomato, dried basil, red chili flakes, salt & pepper and cook till the tomato is mushy
  4. Now add the cream cheese and mix well. Cook for another minute
  5. Add the chopped spinach, cook for about a minute
  6. Check for salt, add more if needed
  7. Adjust the consistency of the sauce by adding water, 2 Tbs at a time. Bring the sauce to boil and the turn off the heat
  8. Toss the cooked pasta in this sauce

 

Serve hot with a glass or two of wine! πŸ˜‰

 

Roasted Red Pepper Sriracha Hummus

After a week of celebration and eating deep fried delicious food it’s time to switch gears and give our tummies a little rest by cooking and eating healthy!

I am a huge of fan of hummus and am always on the look out for different flavor combinations when it comes to hummus mixed with different condiments. My favorites are spicy sriracha or roasted pepper hummus. I found a jar of roasted peppers sitting in my pantry, so today I decided to combine two of my favorite flavors, and the result… finger licking good! πŸ™‚

 

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Ingredients:

  • Cooked Chickpeas – 2 Cups (Rinsed and drained)
  • Roasted Red Bell Pepper – 1
  • Green Chili – 1 (Optional)
  • Pickled Jalapeno – 5 to 6 slices
  • Garlic – 3 cloves (Medium, roughly chopped)
  • Sesame Seeds – 2 Tbs
  • Paprika or Red Chili Powder – 1 Tsp
  • Juice of 1 medium sized Lemon/ Lime
  • Olive Oil – 3 to 4 Tbs
  • Salt – To Taste (I used 2 Tsp)
  • Sriracha – 1 1/2 Tbs
  • Juice/ water from the pickled jalapeno jar – 1/4 Cup

To Garnish:

  • Toasted Pine Nuts – 1 Tbs
  • Pumpkin Seeds – 1/2 Tbs
  • Olive Oil – 1/2 Tbs
  • Paprika/ Red Chili Flakes/ Red Chili Powder – 1/2 Tsp

 

Method:

* I used store bought roasted pepper but if you want to roast it at home it’s super easy. See tips for the method.

  1. In a blender or food processor combine all the ingredients EXCEPT the juice/ water from the jalapeno jar and run the processor to form a coarse paste
  2. Now add the juice and blend again till it reaches the desired consistency (creamy paste)
  3. Check for salt and add more if needed. You can also adjust the consistency by adding an extra tablespoon of olive oil
  4. Transfer into a serving bowl. Drizzle some olive oil and garnish with pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and paprika/ red chili flakes or powder

 

Serve with warm pita bread, chips or any appetizer of your choice! πŸ™‚

 

Tips:

* To roast a bell pepper preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut 1″ strips of the bell pepper. Get rid of the seeds. Place on a baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely before adding it to the food processor.

* You can also roast the pepper on a stove top using a cast iron pan.

 

 

Taco-licious!

I absolutely love making Tacos and I love experimenting with them too! After indulging in carb heavy meals over the weekend I decided to make a low-carb version of tacos with a twist! Crispy Thai Black Pepper & Garlic Β Paneer with veggies on Lettuce Tacos for the win! πŸ˜€

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Ingredients:

  • Lettuce Leaves – About 10 to 15
  • Ice Cubes – 10

To marinade the Paneer/ Tofu:

  • Paneer – 12 Oz/ 340 Grams (You can replace the paneer with Tofu)
  • Soy Sauce (Low sodium) – 2 Tbs
  • Garlic – 2 Large cloves (Minced)
  • Rice Vinegar – 1 1/2 Tsp
  • Black Pepper (Freshly Ground) – 2 Tsp
  • Red Chili Sauce – 1 Tbs

Vegetables:

  • Oil – 1 Tbs
  • Onion – 1 Small or Half Medium (Thinly sliced)
  • Garlic – 4 to 5 cloves (Finely chopped or crushed)
  • Carrots – 1 Cup (Diced)
  • Broccoli – 1/2 Cup (Diced)
  • Bell Pepper – 1 Medium (Diced)

Sauce:

  • Soy Sauce (Low Sodium) – 2 Tbs
  • Red Chili Sauce or Sriracha – 1 Tbs
  • Rice Vinegar – 1 Tsp
  • Black Pepper – 1 Tsp
  • Corn Starch – 1 Tbs
  • Vegetable Broth – 1/2 Cup
  • Water – If required (To adjust the consistency of the sauce)

 

To Garnish:

  • Fresh Coriander/ Cilantro – 2 Tbs
  • Green Onion – 1 (Finely Chopped)
  • Sriracha – 1 Tbs or more (As required)

 

 

Method:

  1. Gently tear the lettuce leaves and place them on a plate of ice cubes and set aside
  2. Place the slab of Paneer in a bowl & add boiling water to it and let it sit for about 2 minutes. Remove the slab and pat it with a paper towel to remove some moisture
  3. Cut the paneer into cubes and put the in a bowl or a zip-lock bag. Put all the ingredients from the marinade section and gently mix till all the paneer pieces are covered in the marinade. Marinate for about 15 minutes
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place all the marinated pieces of paneer on the parchment paper in one layer
  5. Bake the paneer for 15 minutes, gently turn the pieces over and bake for another 10 minutes
  6. Remove from the oven and keep aside
  7. Now while the paneer is cooking in the oven you can make the vegetable sauce
  8. In a separate bowl mix all the ingredients listed under the sauce section and keep aside
  9. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion & garlic and fry until the onion turns translucent. Add all the chopped vegetables except bell pepper and fry for another 2-3 minutes
  10. Now add the prepared sauce and mix well. Cook until the sauce turns thick, now add the bell pepper and cook for another 2 minutes
  11. Add water by tablespoons if required to get the desired consistency. Let it cook for about 2 minutes and then turn off the heat

 

Assemble the Tacos:

  1. Gently place the lettuce leaves on a plate. I cut the leaves round to make them look like flour Tacos πŸ˜‰
  2. Pour the vegetable sauce and place the crispy paneer pieces
  3. Sprinkle some coriander/ cilantro, green onion & sriracha over it
  4. Fold it like a Taco and enjoy! πŸ™‚

 

Tips:

  1. You can use any vegetables of your choice like mushrooms, corn, peas etc.
  2. Make the meal #vegan by replacing the paneer with tofu

 

 

 

Chutney-licious!

When I was growing up chutneys and pickles were an important part of our meals. My Aai (Mom) made the most amazing pickles and chutneys at home and since then I have been a huge fan.

While I would pick tangy and spicy raw mango pickle over roasted peanut chutney any day, my husband cannot live without this chutney! I try to make a fresh batch every 2-3 weeks and my MIL sends us a special batch of her signature chutney occasionally.

After several attempts I finally hit the right note with this simple and delicious spicy “Shengdanyachi Chutney” or Roasted Peanut Chutney.

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Ingredients:

  • Raw Peanuts – 3 Cups
  • Whole Dry Red Chilies – 4 to 5 (or as per your heat threshold)
  • Garlic – 4 to 5 Pods
  • Cumin Seeds (Jeera) – 1 Tsp
  • Turmeric Powder – 1 Tsp
  • Red Chili Powder –Β 1 Tsp (Optional)
  • Salt – 1 Tsp (Or to Taste)

 

Method:

  1. Dry roast the peanuts on medium heat in a pan or skillet until the skin starts falling off and the peanuts get black spots on them. Stir occasionally (Approx 20-25 minutes)
  2. Take the peanuts off the heat and let them cool completely
  3. Once cold, rub the peanuts between your hands to loosen the skin, try to remove all of it
  4. Dust or blow the skin off
  5. Now put the peanuts in the jar of a grinder. Add rest of the ingredients
  6. Grind until it forms a grainy powder and everything is combined well
  7. Do not over grind else it will star releasing oil and turn into paste and you will get peanut butter
  8. Adjust salt to taste
  9. Store in an airtight container. Consume within 2-3 weeks

 

Enjoy with piping hot rotis and ghee! πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

Snack Attack!

If you know me then you know that Tea-time is my favorite time of the day and a yummy snack with Chaii is a must-have. Usually we have cookies, banana or tapioca chips with our tea. But today I decided to make something different, healthy and fresh, so Baked Falafel Bites came to the rescue! πŸ˜€

 

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Ingredients:

  • Cooked Chickpeas – 1 Can (15 Oz.) or 2 Cups (Rinsed and drained)
  • Fresh Chives – 2 Tbs (Roughly chopped) (Optional)
  • Green Chili – 1 (Optional)
  • Garlic – 3 Cloves (Medium, roughly chopped)
  • Cilantro/ Coriander – 1/2 Cup
  • Toasted Sesame – 2 Tbs
  • Olive Oil – 3 Tbs
  • Almond Flour/ Almond Meal – 1/2 Cup
  • Cumin Powder – 1 Tsp
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper – To Taste
  • Red Chili Flakes – To Garnish

 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper
  2. In a blender or food processor combine all the ingredients except Red Chili Flakes and puree until smooth
  3. The mixture should be thick and slightly wet
  4. Now using a tablespoon (dip the spoon in some water) shape the mixture into small patties or bite size pieces and place them evenly apart on the prepared baking sheet
  5. Bake the falafel for about 25 to 30 minutes, flipping them halfway or/ until they turn golden brown
  6. Remove from the oven and let them cool for about 2 minutes. Top each falafel with a teaspoon of Yogurt sauce (See Tips) and red chili flakes. Serve immediately.

 

Enjoy with a cup of hot Chaii! πŸ™‚

 

Tips:

For the Yogurt sauce simple whisk together 1 Cup plain yogurt or sour cream or Greek Yogurt, 1 Tsp cumin powder, 1 Tbs lemon juice, Salt and Pepper

 

 

My Thai Adventure!

I religiously follow a couple of bloggers on Instagram, WordPress, Facebook etc… A lot of my recipes are often inspired by or adapted from the recipes of these wonderful bloggers. This morning while I was randomly browsing through @pinchofyum’s blog, I came across this delicious looking plate of Pad Thai Noodles and I instantly decided to make some for myself! πŸ˜€

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Ingredients:

For the Pad Thai
  • Stir-Fry Rice Noodles – 6 to 7 Oz Β (Approx. half a box)
  • Sunflower Oil – 2 Tbs
  • White or Yellow Onion – 1 Small or 1/2 Medium (Thinly Sliced)
  • Green Chili – 1 (Optional)
  • Sweet Corn – 1/4 Cup (Fresh or Frozen)
  • Green Bell Pepper – 1 (Thinly Sliced, Use any color of your choice)
  • Spinach – 6 to 8 Leaves
  • Egg – 1 (Lightly beaten)
  • Roasted Peanuts – 1/4 cup (Chopped)
  • Salt & Pepper – To Taste
  • Fresh herbs – Β½ cup (Cilantro, Green Onions, and Basil – Chopped)
For the Sauce
  • Fish Sauce – 2 to 3 Tbs
  • Chicken/ Vegetable broth – 3 Tbs
  • Rice Vinegar or White Vinegar – 2 TbsΒ 
  • Low Sodium Soy Sauce – 1 Tbs
  • Chili Paste – 1/2 Tbs (Like Sambal Oelek, I usedΒ Ching’s Schezwan Chutney)
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Method:
  1. Place or soak the uncooked noodles in a bowl of hot water for about 15-16 minutes. Drain them and set aside OR Cook according to the instructions mentioned on the package
  2. Chop all the vegetables and set aside
  3. Stir in the sauce ingredients in a jar, measuring cup or a bowl
  4. Heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the veggies and stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until tender-crisp. Do not overcook else they’ll get soggy
  5. Now add the noodles to the hot pan and stir fry for a minute, gently toss. Add the sauce and stir fry for another minute or two, until the sauce sticks and coats noodles well
  6. Push the noodles aside to one side of the pan and pour the beaten egg into the pan and let it sit for about 30 seconds approx
  7. Now toss everything together and let the egg mixture stick to the noodles. Everything will start getting a little sticky. Add salt & pepper to taste and mix well
  8. Remove from heat. Stir in the peanuts and herbsΒ 

Serve hot with a dash of lemon or lime juice! πŸ™‚

 

Tips:

  1. Add any vegetables or protein of your choice
  2. Reduce the amount of Chili Paste if you are sensitive to spice or heat

 

Healthy Bowl Of Goodness!

Packed with vegetables, beans and tons of flavor, this Vegetarian Chili is super easy to make and is ready in no time! This is the best one-pot meal I have ever put together! If you choose the ingredients carefully this recipe can be vegan too, just avoid dairy and chicken broth. So fix yourself a batch of this Vegetarian Chili today! πŸ˜€

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Ingredients:

  • Olive Oil – 2 Tbs
  • Red Onion – 1 Small or 1/2 Medium (Chopped)
  • Garlic – 3 Medium or 2 Large Cloves (Minced)
  • Green Chili – 1 (Finely Chopped) – Optional
  • Cumin Powder – 1 Tsp
  • Coriander Powder – 1 Tsp
  • Red Chili Powder – 1/2 Tsp
  • Bay Leaf – 1 Small
  • Quinoa – 1/4 Cup (Uncooked)
  • Black Beans – 1 Can (Rinsed and drained)
  • Corn – 1 Cup (Uncooked)
  • Green Bell Pepper – 1 Small or 1/2 Medium (Chopped)
  • Tomato – 1 Large (Chopped)
  • Low Sodium Vegetable Broth/ Chicken Broth – 2 Cups (1/2 Cup more if required)
  • Salt and Pepper – To Taste
  • Cilantro/ Coriander – To Garnish
  • Lime/ Lemon – To Taste

 

Method:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, green chili and fry for 2-3 minutes
  2. Add bay leaf, cumin, coriander and red chili powder
  3. Cook and stir occasionally until onion is tender (About 5-7 minutes), then add the quinoa, black beans, corn and green bell pepper
  4. Add the chopped tomato. Season with salt & pepper and mix well
  5. Now pour the vegetable/ chicken broth. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and cook for another 30 minutes or until the quinoa and veggies are cooked through
  6. Add more veg/ chicken broth if required
  7. Season with cilantro, lime/ lemon and serve hot! πŸ™‚

 

Happy Friday people! πŸ™‚

 

Tips:

  1. You can also add a Tsp of oregano with cumin and coriander
  2. You can replace the veg/ chicken broth with stock cubes
  3. Add a Tsp/ Tbs of butter and/or sour cream before serving
  4. For extra goodness add a Tbs of Basil Pesto