Thursday, January 14, 2016

Greek Yogurt Cheesecake

No, you're not dreaming. Yes, you read that right.

A Cheesecake with GREEK YOGURT. Cheesecake is one of my most favourite desserts ever (next to maybe a good Tiramisu) and I had the opportunity to make this for my family over Christmas break. It's rich, creamy with half the amount of cream cheese that regular cheesecake calls for.  I served it up with a homemade berry sauce. I'm not saying it a low calorie dessert but it does have less cream cheese and more greek yogurt which is pretty rich in protein so you can indulge in an extra piece without feeling too guilty hahaha!! I would insist you get 2% or full fat greek yogurt as opposed to non-fat because you need the fat for a rich cheesecake.


 { This makes one 8x8 tray. All ingredients  need to be at room temperature. This makes for a really smooth batter.}

-  1 14oz brick of cream cheese
-  1 cup full fat plain greek yogurt
-  1 cup graham crackers crushed (by hand or food processor)
-  1/2 stick of butter melted.
-  2 tsp vanilla extract
-  1/3 cup granulated sugar
-  2 eggs


1.  Preheat oven to 325 F.

2.  Combine melted butter and crushed graham crackers and press down the bottom of a parchment lined 8x8 brownie pan.

3.  Bake for 20 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature.

4.  Raise oven temperature to 350F .

5.  Meanwhile, with an electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar, cream cheese, greek yogurt and vanilla.

6.  Pour the batter on top of the cooled crust and bake for 40-45 minutes in a water bath.

Water bath- Place the cheesecake tray in a larger roasting tray and pour some boiling water about an inch or so in the larger roasting tray. This will evenly cook the cheesecake.

7.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely to room temperature before chilling in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours.

Berry Sauce --

-  1 cup frozen berry mixture
-  1/2 tsp lemon zest
-  juice of half a lemon
-  1 tsp cornstarch for thickening
-  2 Tbsp sugar

1.  In a small saucepan, cook the frozen berries, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar. Let it come to a gentle boil.

2.  Simmer for 5 minutes. Add cornstarch to thicken and simmer another 5 minutes.

3.  Puree into a sauce.

4.  Serve on top of cheesecake.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Zucchini Potato Latkes

I made this during the summer of 2015 when zucchini was in abundance and I wanted new ways to use them. I made this one day for a simple weekend lunch and it was a hit with all three of us.
Traditional latkes are made only with potatoes.. this version that includes zucchini is a healthier alternative of getting added veggies and reducing carbs.


-  1 large potato - shredded
-  2 meduim size zucchini- shredded
-  1 bunch scallions chopped finely
-  1 egg
-  1/4 cup wheat flour
-   1/2 tsp garlic poweder
-   1/2 tsp salt and pepper
-   Vegetable oil to pan fry.


1.  Wring out all the water from the shredded zucchini and potato. Add salt and pepper and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then squeeze out the excess water. You want this to be fairly dry or the patties wont hold shape while frying.

2.  Add a beaten egg, scallions, and flour and combine till you can make patties.

3.  Form patties with hand and pan fry them 2-3  at a time in some vegetable oil. 

Flip them over after 3-4 minutes and fry on the other side till they are a nice, golden colour.

Serve hot with ketchup or hot sauce or as-is.

Quinoa Chili

Happy New Year 2016 to my readers!  <3

I've been trying to experiment with more quinoa dishes lately and I came across a slow cooker version of this Quinoa Chili recipe from a friend. I own a slow cooker but almost never use it because I find it makes everything mushy. Plus I have time to make meals on stovetop so that's my preferred method.

This chili came together in 10 minutes prep work and about 30 minutes total cook time. So pretty simple, healthy and you will go back for seconds and thirds.


-  1 cup uncooked quinoa
-  1 can black beans
-  2 cups assorted chopped veggies- butternut squash, red pepper,  carrots, frozen corn, onion
-  1 can fire roasted tomatoes
-  1Tbsp chili powder
-  1tsp ground cumin
-  1tsp fajita seasoning from packet (optional)
-  1/4 tsp garlic paste
-  Vegetable broth


1.  In a small pot, cook one cup of quinoa in vegetable broth or water according to package directions.  Allow to cool.

2.  In a large soup pot, sautee the onion, garlic,  carrots, red peppers, butternut squash and all the seasonings for 10 minutes until the veggies are slightly soft. The butternut squash will still be raw but it's ok.

3.  Add the can tomatoes, black beans, and about 3-4 cups of water and cover and simmer on low till the butternut squash is cooked.. another 10 minutes.

4.  Add the cooked quinoa and corn and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.  Dried oregano will also be great at this point.

5.  Turn off heat and ladle the chili into a bowl. Garnish with dollop of sour cream, or greek yogurt. And some cheese :).

We ate these with avacados last night and a dash of hot sauce for extra spice.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Homemade Gnocchi

It's been a longtime dream of mine to make homemade gnocchi. From Scratch. I've seen it made multiple times on TV and it didn't look too hard. Then again, those TV food people make it look so easy. 
Except, it really was that easy. 
I followed Giada's recipe for making gnocchi for no particular reason. I have several of her recipes on my Pinterest board so I just went with it.
While the end result didn't turn out quite as pillowy and soft as I would have liked, it made for a really tasty first attempt.

-  1 russet potato
-  1/2 tsp salt
-  1/2 tsp pepper
-  1 egg
-  1/4 cup flour
-  parmesan to taste
-  2 sprigs rosemary chopped fine
-  1/2 cup butter melted (for the sauce)

1.  Cook the butter over a medium flame in a large skillet for a few minutes and add the rosemary.  Set aside to add finished gnocchi later.

2.  Pierce potato with a fork and cook all the way through in a microwave or in a pot of water. Cut the potato in half and scoop out all the flesh leaving the skin behind. 

3.  Dump on the countertop and add an egg, salt and the flour and gently knead till the dough comes together.

4.  Portion the dough into medium sized balls and roll it out into a long thin rope. 

5.  Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into one inch pieces and cook in large pot of salted boiling water until the gnocchi rises to the surface, about one minute.

6.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to the butter/rosemary sauce and toss and serve.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Black Bean Soup

The inspiration for this dish came from an open can of black beans sitting in my fridge. And two sides of Chipotle black beans I'd gotten the previous week that was still good but was not being consumed.  My 3 yo has gone from willingly eating black beans to just glancing on them and carefully removing them from the plate.  So what do you do when you have random leftover stuff? YOU MAKE SOUP!!

This seriously cannot be any easier. 4 steps.

1.  In a large pot, sautee onions, celery, Black beans, and a tomato.

2.  Add seasoning- some chilli powder, oregano, salt and pepper.  Add some spicy stuff if you like. I didn't because I wanted it to be kid friendly. 

3.  Add a couple cups of water and let the whole thing simmer for 15 minutes. 

4. Turn off heat. Allow to cool. Blend to desired consistency.


<<<Where's the Easy Button??>>>

I also had a ripe avacado sitting in my fruit bowl so I did the next logical and made gauc. Can't have guac without chips. There you go! Lunch is ready!

Update- The kid ate it. He didn't lap it up and ask for seconds, but it went in. I'll leave it at that.

Green Beans Paruppusili

This is a simple South Indian side dish that is every mom's dream- combines veggies and protein (paruppu- lentils).  It's basically cooked green beans combined with a lentil "crumble". If your family loves green beans and you're not inclined to make a separate dal or protein dish, this work great with rasam or kozhambu served with rice.


-  1 pound of chopped green beans. Fresh is best, stay away from frozen.
-  1/3 cup toor+moong dal soaked.
-  2 dried red chillies
-  1 tbsp grated fresh coconut (optional)
-  1/2 tsp cumin or curry powder
-  a pinch of hing
-   tadka- urad dal, mustard seeds and curry leaves


-  Let the dal soak in water for an hour.
-  Grind it up coarsely with red chillies and a bit of salt and the hing
-  Add a tablespoon oil to a hot skillet and cook the green beans till al dente. Add the ground up dal mixture and let it continue to cook to completion.
-  Season with a bit of salt and grated coconut as desired.
-  Tadka with appropriate ingredients and mix.

A very similar preparation can also be used with cabbage, broccoli.

Grilled flatbread homemade pizza

I was on a pizza kick -  bang in the middle of summer - when it was too hot to even look at my oven. So, I went about searching a grilled pizza recipe. Pinterest, as usual, had tons. I found a basic recipe here. It worked great. I left the dough out in my backyard under the blazing Texas sun and it rose beautifully. 

Next, I lightly floured my work surface, kneaded the dough just a little bit and rolled it out to about 1/2 or 1/4 inch thick. Be warned, you will need to keep flouring your dough as you roll it out or it will stick. 

Keep your toppings ready in little bowls so you're not scrambling when the dough is done. There's no messing around when you're around a grill because things can easily go from gorgeous grill marks to EWWWW it's burnt in seconds. Yeah, I've been there.

Slap the pizza dough on a screaming hot stovetop grill pan and brush with some olive oil and cook it on both sides, about 3-4 minutes. Flip the dough once you see bubbles form like the last picture. Cook on other side for another 3-4 minutes and then add sauce, toppings and cheese and cover the grill pan with foil or another large pan. Turn OFF the heat. If you leave the heat running, the bottom side of the dough will burn. The residual heat is enough to just melt the cheese. 

Top with fresh herbs and DEVOUR!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Summer Corn Chowder

If you like fresh corn, you will LOVE this soup. "Chowder" soup seemed intimidating to me in the beginning.. I was thinking several ingredients, lots of steps, babysitting and stirring the soup constantly. NOT AT ALL. This soup screams summer with every mouthful. I mean who thinks of soup in the summer? But I'm telling ya, this soup with a piece of grilled bread (or leftover pizza dough in my case ;)  ) is amazing and hearty and surprisingly light for a chowder. So give this a try if you have tons of corn from your farmers market, if you are lucky enough to have a garden that is producing these sweet, golden kernels.


-  2 ears of fresh corn or 1 package frozen corn.
-  2 Tbsp butter
-  1/2 onion chopped
-  2 Tbsp All purpose flour
-  1/2 tsp garlic minced or paste
-  4 cups water or vegetable broth or a combination
-  4 small yukon gold potatoes cut in small pieces
-  1/2 tsp dried thyme or oregano
-  salt and pepper
-  2 Tbsp half and half
-  2 scallions finely chopped
-  grated cheddar for garnish
-  fresh parsley chopped


1.  Melt the butter in a large soup pot, and add the flour. Whisk until the flour is cooked about 2 minutes.

2.  Add the onions, corn, potatoes and garlic and sautee on medium heat for 10 minutes until onion is sweating. Add couple of teaspoons of olive oil if the mixture seems too dry.

3. Add all the liquid (stock+water) along with salt, pepper and dried herbs and let it simmer for 20 minutes. The potatoes and corn should be cooked through.

4.  Blend about half the mixture till creamy and stir it in with the other half back in the pot. Add scallions and fresh parsley. More black pepper if desired.

5.  Lastly add the half and half for that extra creaminess. Garnish with chopped parsley and a bit of grated cheddar.

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash- Italian style

I discovered my love for spaghetti squash last Fall (I know, it's the following summer and getting around to blog just now). I'd heard the amazing benefits of this vegetable - one thing being that its low in calories (1 cup = 30 calories) but incredibly satisfying when combined with a variety of flavours. I experimented with two variations of the stuffed squash- Italian and Mexican.  For Italian , think lasagna ingredients (no pasta here obviously) and throw all that into the mix. 

I didn't add spinach but it would be great in this dish.


-  1/2 cup ricotta cheese 
-  1/4 cup red onion chopped
-  1/2 tsp garlic chopped
-  1/2 cup cooked quinoa
-  marinara sauce
-  1/2 cup peas
-  bunch of cherry tomatoes 
-  1 tsp dried oregano (fresh if in season)
-  1/2 tsp dried basil   (fresh if in season)
-  mozzarella cheese to top.


1.  First, roast the whole squash in a 400F oven for 30-40 minutes. When it's cooled, cut it lengthwise and scoop out all the inner seeds.

2.  In a large sautee pan, sautee the onions, garlic, tomatoes,  herbs, peas, ricotta and quinoa. Add the marinara and some salt and mix for 10 minutes. Tomatoes do not have to cook down. 

3.  Spoon the filling into the squash.

4.  Top with as much or little mozzarella as you like and bake at 375F for 15 minutes till cheese is melty and bubbly.

Cranberry Thokku (Spicy South indian pickle)

Thokku is a South indian jelly like condiment made usually with tomatoes. It can also be made with tart granny smith apples. During the Fall when cranberries are EVERYWHERE (including bodywash and candles), I thought why not make the same with these wonderful, tart berries. My recipe is a spinoff from various other blogs and is a bit less spicy.


1 bag of fresh cranberries
1 tsp mustard seeds1/2 tsp asofetida
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chilli powder (cayenne)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
5-6 curry leaves
1/2 tsp sesame oil 


1.  In a large saucepan (with a lid), add the oil and when it's hot, add mustard seeds and curry leaves.

2.  Add the bag of cranberries along with all other spices and keep stirring till everything is evenly coated and mixed nicely.

3.  On medium-high heat, let the cranberries start cooking down. Keep the lid on at this point but mix occassionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.  This will take a good 20 minutes at least.

4.  When the whole thing has reduced down to almost a jam or paste like consistency turn off the heat and let it cool.

5. Finally add the sesame oil and mix into the final thokku.

It tastes great with dosa, chapattis, or my favourite- yogurt rice.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...