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Easy Indian cooking…Yay for Chhole!

5 Aug

This dinner is one of my FAVORITES to make mainly because it’s super easy to make, low cost, healthy, and can be made in under 30 minutes!  It’s the perfect weeknight meal and is a great vegetarian dish.  Punjabi Chhole is an Indian dish made of chickpeas and spices. The spice packet can be made by combining spices you may already have but because I’ve yet to master the perfect blend, I purchase the Punjabi Chhole spice packet for $4 at fresh market.

Punjabi Chhole

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 15.5 ounce cans chickpeas
  • 1 15.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 packet Punjabi Chhole spice packet (Arora Creations)
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • cilantro for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat EVOO in large skillet over medium high heat
  2. Add onion and fresh ginger until translucent (about 2 minutes)
  3. Add chickpeas and tomatoes and cook until chickpeas are cooked through (about 5+ minutes)
  4. Add spice packet, tomato sauce, and water and stir to combine
  5. Turn heat to low and let simmer 5 minutes
  6. Garnish with cilantro

Serve with brown rice, naan, or whole wheat pitas. Serves 6.

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Fast & Furious Guacamole

26 Jul

It’s movie night at our house and that means snacks.  I’ll admit I can be a true couch potato so I try to chose healthy snacks.  This “fast and furious” guacamole is simple, super tasty, and healthy!

Fast & Furious Guacamole

Ingredients

  • 1 60z. container plain non-fat Greek yogurt (I like FAGE)
  • 1 large or 2 medium ripe avocados (I’ve used both hass and Florida)
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Mrs. dash table blend

Directions

  1. Drop ingredients into a large bowl
  2. Using a fork, mash/blend/mix to combine
  3. Sprinkle with Mrs. Dash (or other salt seasoning) to taste

Tip: Celery and carrot sticks work as a great alternative to chips with this guacamole.

I heart Blueberry Pancakes

21 Jul

My husband has a bit of a food crush on “food mob.”  I’m not sure how exactly he stumbled upon Chef Niall Harbison but I’m sure glad he did.  One of the recipes he’s easily mastered are the pancakes.  For quite a while, I was into the idea of creating great whole wheat, flax, super healthy pancakes.  While I still enjoy healthified pancakes,every now and then I long for simple, original pancakes.  These are amazing!  The blueberries provide a wonderful surprise sweetness.  The original recipe calls for white chocolate chips.  I think they make the recipe a little too sweet (since syrup is a requirement of my pancakes) and would only add them as an extra special treat for a sweets lover.

Apparently, I’ve also been informed that the pancake base (minus blueberries) can be used as a crepe  batter.  I’m always into a BOGO deal!

Blueberry Pancakes

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 eggs (Egg Substitute)
  • 1/2 cup skim organic milk (may need to add more to achieve desired consistency)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, eggs, and milk.
  2. Whisk until smooth/creamy consistency is achieved (think cake batter)
  3. Add baking powder and combine
  4. Lightly coat large frying pan with nonstick spray
  5. Using a ladle, fill ladle half full to make silver dollar sized pancakes (or bigger if you wish!)
  6. Ladle mix onto pan over medium heat
  7. Let pancakes begin to cook, 1 minute or so, then add blueberries on top
  8. Once edges begin to crisp and batter starts to show bubbles, flip pancake
  9. Cook until lightly golden

Tip: The most difficult part of pancake making is figuring out the right consistency.  Not every time will be the same.  It becomes an art. Sometimes, the batter may be too runny, in which case, adding more flour will fix the issue.  Other times, its too thick, which means adding more milk to fix.  Don’t get discouraged!  It may take a couple of attempts to achieve the perfect blueberry pancake.

Check out the chef’s videos at http://revision3.com/foodmob. I love his no BS attitude toward food (and the slight bits of cursing will catch you off guard)!

Blueberries… so fresh and so cheap cheap!

16 Jul

Blueberries are at the height of their season and are basically being given away in stores right now. I’ve recently seen them for as cheap as $1.50 a pint. Also, keep your eye out for local blueberries (since they are extra yummy). With so many blueberries and so little time, I think this calls for a couple of posts dedicated to this healthy fruit!

Since I’m on a frozen dessert kick, I started my blueberry adventure with these super simple blueberry freezer pops.

Blueberry Banana Freezer Pops

Ingredients

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 medium banana
  • 3/4 cup skim organic milk
  • raw honey

Directions

  1. slice banana into 4 large chunks
  2. combine blueberries, banana, and milk in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth
  3. drizzle with honey and then pulse just to combine
  4. pour into freezer pop molds and freeze 4 hours
  5. enjoy!

More blueberry fun to come…

The color purple – Eggplant Sandwich with quick Basil Aioli

15 Jul

Recently, I was hanging out with a group of friends when the topic of cancer came up. One my friends recently suffered a bout with cancer (he’s free and clear now) and another friend’s father was recently diagnosed with cancer (his prognosis is good). We immediately started to speculate on what could have caused these cancers. Was it the non-organic milk we drank as children? Or maybe it’s all the red meat and potatoes we eat? The conversation quickly shifted to prevention. One thing that stood out to me in our conversation was the quote, “My doctor told me the best things to eat are foods that are purple.” When you first hear this, you might think, HUH? But within seconds I started thinking of purple foods and how I could see these foods being cancer fighters. I recalled that deep red, blue or purple foods are known to be high in antioxidants. This conversation was the inspiration for an Eggplant Sandwich (since I still have the color purple on the brain).

Eggplant Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • grape seed oil
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 3 eggs (or egg substitute equivalent)
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons light mayo
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil
  • sliced tomato, lettuce (for garnish)
  • 8 Arnold Select Sandwich Thins

Directions

  1. Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices and lay flat on wire rack
  2. Sprinkle with kosher salt and let sit for 30min to 1 hour or until water is beading on top of eggplant
  3. Rinse eggplant in cold water and pat dry
  4. Dredge eggplant in flour, then egg, then panko. Shake excess.
  5. Heat large skillet over high heat and lightly coat skillet with grape seed oil
  6. Add eggplant to skillet being careful not to overcrowd pan
  7. Cook until light golden brown color is achieved, approx 4 minutes per side
  8. Remove from pan and pat excess oil
  9. Serve on toasted Arnold Select Sandwich Thin with tomato, lettuce, and basil aioli

For Basil Aioli, whisk to combine mayo, lemon juice and basil.

Serves 8

Enjoy with a glass of red wine and a handful of fresh blueberries for dessert!

Green Tea Mango Frozen Yogurt Pops

14 Jul

Watch out Pinkberry! These Green Tea Mango Frozen Pops are delish, healthy and best of all SUPER EASY! They are perfect for hot Summer days when you crave a cold, skinny treat.

Green Tea Mango Frozen Yogurt Pops

Ingredients

  • 2 5.3 ounce containers of Greek Yogurt with Honey (try Stonyfield Organic Oikos)
  • 2/3 cup Frozen Mango chunks
  • 2 teaspoons Green Tea Powder

Directions

  1. Add Frozen Mango chunks to food processor and pulse until mango is in small bits, set aside
  2. Add containers of yogurt to bowl and mix to combine honey with yogurt until smooth
  3. Add green tea powder and stir to combine
  4. Fold in reserved mango chunks
  5. Pour into Popsicle molds (or paper cups with wooden sticks), tap on counter to eliminate bubbles and freeze at least 4 hours

Makes 4 pops

Tip: I purchased a small tin of powdered green tea for $6 from my local Japanese market. Also, I think these pops would be great with other fruit flavors such as strawberry, blueberry or pineapple.

Ingredient Remix

13 Jul

I HATE to waste food (especially good food). Last night I cooked up Skinny Spinach Calzones and had a little bit of baby bella and mozzarella left over. This was the inspiration for a super quick yummy breakfast.

Scrambeled Egg Sammy with baby bellas and mozzarella

  • 1 egg (or egg substitute), whisked
  • handful of diced baby bella mushrooms
  • handful of shredded part skim mozzarella (or fat free mozzarella)
  • pinch of Mrs. dash (optional)
  • 1 Arnold Select Sandwich Thin (honey wheat)

Spray small pan with cooking spray and heat over medium/high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until color darkens. Add whisked egg and cook through. While egg is cooking, toast sandwich thin. Top sandwich thin with egg/mushroom mix and shredded mozzarella. If you would like it a little bit more salty, add a pinch of Mrs. dash. I personally enjoy the flavors of this breakfast minus salt. Enjoy!

Tip: I keep a bag of Arnold Select Sandwich Thins in the house at all times. They are great for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, at 100 Calories, 1 Gram of Fat and 20% your daily value in Fiber they are a great alternative to bread!