Penne with chicken and tomato dressing

The Penne pasta especially the ridged one, is an excellent sauce-grabber! The hollows of the pasta hold the sauce inside and the ridges on the outside. Done in white sauce, you will lick the cheesiness off your fingers for quite a while!

And adding shredded chicken, makes it all the more juicy.

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What you need :

For the pasta

  • 250 gms pasta
  • 250 gms boneless chicken breast (i always use the frozen!) – cut into 2 inch pieces , marinated for at least 15 mins in lemon juice, ginger garlic paste, salt and chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp corn flour
  • 4 medium size shredded onions
  • 1 cup Cheese spread or grated cheese
  • 1 tbsp mixed herb seasoning/ pepper and chilli flakes
  • 2 cups water

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Chocolate dipped strawberries n bananas

This is one of the fastest desserts I have ever seen or made. Plus a perfect make-ahead-of-time snack..

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And all that is required is a slab of chocolate (I use Morde – about Rs. 125 per half kg), and some fresh fruits. I prefer strawberries and bananas for the sheer color variation it brings to the plate and off course the big chunks it can be cut into.

So, the first and the only step is to melt the chocolate. The double boiler way. Take a big vessel and fill it with water and put chocolate slab in another vessel. Then keep the chocolate slab vessel over the water filled one and heat the water.  Continuously monitor and stir the chocolate. The chocolate melts within a couple of minutes, take it off the heat, or else it starts to burn pretty quickly.

See a quick video here : How to Melt Chocolate in Double Boiler

The other method, the super fast but tricky one,  is to microwave the chocolate slab in a bowl in bursts of 10 seconds, and stirring it between two bursts. This way it gets done in 40-50 seconds. However, if not stirred well, the chocolate burns, leaving a not-so-good burnt smell to the chocolate. But if done with caution, microwave is the best way!

Once the chocolate is melted, the fun part begins.

Line a plate with a butter paper or any greaseproof baking sheet, or even a slight layer of cream/malai just so that the chocolate does not stick to the dish.

Wash the strawberries and cut the leaves, and dice the bananas into 2-3 inch pieces.

Dip the strawberries and bananas in the molten chocolate and place it on the plate.

Freeze for 10 mins, while the chocolate hardens, and it is ready to be served or eaten!

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R

Caution:

Chocolate is an oil based product and as such it does not combine well with water. When melted chocolate contacts water, it will seize (solidify rapidly). It takes very little water to cause this so great care must be taken not to contaminate the chocolate with water. All equipment must be totally dry before use.

Cheesy Baked Bean Tortilla Chips

A perfect starter for a party, which can be made before hand and heated up before serving.

Tortilla chips have become a big favorite these days with all of us. And baked beans and cheese makes a delicious combo with the chips. Simply toss them together, bake them and a fancy starter is all ready to roll!

Ingredients :

1 pack or 200 gms of tortilla chips

1 can of baked beans in tomato sauce

3 Medium sized onions – shredded

250 gm baby corn

3 medium size tomatoes

250 gm unflavored cheese

Salt, Butter, Pepper

oregano/thyme/basil powder – whatever is available

Heat 1 and 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a pan, and saute the onion till translucent.

Cut the baby corn horizontally into thin circular slices and blanch them till tender or simply microwave it for 2 minutes with water. Then mix the babycorn and baked beans in tomato sauce with the onions , tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add salt, pepper and oregano/thyme/basil seasoning whatever available.

Once this filling is ready, lightly grease a glass bakeware with butter.

Spread a layer of of the tortilla chips, and layer it with the beans filling.  And then grated cheese on top.

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Repeat the same one more time to get a two layered mix.

Bake at 170 degree C for about 20 mins till the cheese melts.

Garnish with coriander and serve warm!

R

Vegetable Enchiladas

Vegetable Enchiladas

After coming back from work and yoga on a Wednesday evening, we wanted something zesty and yet again something quick, to fill up our starving stomachs.

Enchiladas seemed perfect, cheesy and melty, with our storage already stocked with some Corn Tortillas. (They are still not available in all stores in Mumbai, but most malls stock it in FoodBazaar, Hypercity etc. )

This time, the trick was to make it look colorful, with the variety of fresh veggies available in the market.

Ingredients :

  • 2 large onions chopped
  • 1 carrot sliced vertically
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 8-10 baby corns vertically sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/4 cup spring onions
  • 1 small tomato thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • 2-3 corn tortillas
  • Oil for cooking, butter for baking
  • Salt as per taste
  • Pepper, basil, thyme, some sea salt and chilli flakes/powder for flavor

I use and swear by the Kirkland Signature USDA Organic No-Salt Seasoning (http://www.amazon.com/Kirkland-Signature-Organic-No-Salt-Seasoning/dp/B002W5SDEQ) which we always ask our friends and relatives in the US to get for us. But otherwise, even the seasoning packet which comes with Dominoes Pizza works well for flavoring.

In a skillet, heat some oil and saute the onions. After about 3-4 minutes add the shredded cabbage,  carrot slices and baby corn verticals. Put a lid on the skillet ad let this cook for about 5 minutes.

In another bowl mix the sweet corn and green peas and add some water and microwave it for 3 minutes or steam for about 5 minutes, and then drain the water and add it to the veggies in the skillet.

Add some salt, and the seasonings as per taste, mix it well and put the lid back on for about 2-3 more minutes.

The filling is ready.

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Take a medium sized glass baking dish and lightly line it with butter.

Place one tortilla on the dish and layer it with vegetable filling and sprinkle some cheese on top. Repeat with another layer of tortilla, veggies, tomato slices, and then a generous layer of cheese. Sprinkle some coriander and it is ready to bake.

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Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C and bake the enchiladas. Normally it takes about 10 minutes once the oven is heated, but be careful to not let the cheese particles on the sides of the baking dish to burn. (It still tastes amazingly crisp, but looks a little odd)

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Done! Easy enchiladas are ready to be eaten.

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Bon-apetit!

Cheers,

R

Easy Stuffed Mushrooms

There are a trillion ways to make stuffed mushrooms. But i have tried this one several times, and its my favorite way to make mushrooms now.

It fits into your mouth and you can enjoy the creaminess and distinct flavor of mushrooms for a long time.

For the stuffing :

Clean and scrub the mushrooms under running water and then rip out the stems. A very easy way to get out the stem, is hold the it in your fingers and gently twist it. It will come out neat and clear and plus there will be a hollow in the mushroom which will hold the filling.

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Line the mushrooms in a shallow pan, drizzle with some oil and cook it for about 5-6 minutes, turning them upside down after 2-3 minutes.

The mushrooms tend to shrink, and remember to not overcook it. Cooking it just a little to get the juices flowing.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tsp oil in a skillet. Saute the chopped onions, steamed sweet corn and chopped mushroom stems. Once the mixture is well cooked, add some salt, chilli powder, 1 tablespoon of flavored cheese, I prefer the Amul Cheesespread – the garlic or the pepper spread.  Mix well and keep aside. The stuffing is ready.

Remove the mushrooms from the pan and fill them with the stuffing. And not just fill, go overboard and put a big scoop on each of the mushrooms. Dont worry, the cheese will hold it together!

Preheat the oven to 180 degree C and line a baking dish with some butter. Only a very little will do coz the mushrooms release water while cooking and it wont stick to the baking dish.

Place the stuffed mushrooms on the baking dish and bake it for 7-8 minutes. Again be careful, else the mushrooms will get dry and flaky. Soft, tender  but cooked mushrooms are the best! You can also place a slice of black olives on them before serving. Like here :

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Tada! Stuffed mushrooms are done, and they will disappear before you know it.

Cheers,

R

Button pizzas

I got my brand new oven in the afternoon, and even though I did not have lot of things stocked, I had to make something!!

So I delved into the refrigerator to see what I had. All the ingredients were right there, including the mini pizza bases by a stroke of luck.

For the topping :

2 onions chopped

2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon dried powdered basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1 tablespoon tomato ketchup

oil for cooking, Butter for baking

Salt to taste

Red chilli flakes 1/2 teaspoon

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The making of it :

Heat some oil in a pan and saute the onions, tomatoes till 50% cooked. Sprinkle some dried basil and ground pepper and salt to taste and mix well.

Then take it off the stove and mix in the tomato ketchup and the chilli flakes (or even red chilli powder).

The topping is ready.

Then lightly grease the baking pan with some butter and place the pizza breads on it. Evenly distribute the topping on the pizza base with grated cheese on top.

Bake it for 20 mins at 200 degrees C.

Be extremely careful with the pan, its SUPER hot.

Note of caution : The normal microwave mittens are not enough and heat seeps in through the cloth to your fingers.

Delicious mini-pizzas are with easiest ingredients are ready to roll!

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Cheers!

R