CHANA MASALA

When I was growing up, I always thought cooking Indian food was complicated. I’d always watch my mom and be amazed at how she never used anything to measure and essentially just ‘eyeballed’ it. All the different spices. All the different vegetables. And of course, all the different ways to cook it! Since then, I’ve learned the basics but I’ve also realized there’s no ‘right’ way to cook Indian food. It all comes from experimenting, smelling and tasting to adjust to your perfect dish.

Once kitchen staple we absolutely need to have is a mortar and pestle. The way it just crushes and grinds ingredients together…the flavours are literally infused into one another! You can buy one at any home store and IKEA even sells it. But beware, one stop at IKEA and I’ll be leaving with a whole cart full of things.

When I put together this recipe, I wanted something simple to follow. Nothing too crazy. This dish is so easy to make on any weeknight and the ingredients are super easy to find! My rotis may not be round but this dish is the bomb!! 🙂

CHANA MASALA

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS: 


  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 green chili, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp of canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • ¼ tsp of turmeric
  • ½ tsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 15oz cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

DIRECTIONS


  1. Grind the ginger, garlic and fresh green chili in a mortar and pestle until a paste has developed
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large fry pan. Add in chopped onions and cook until golden brown.
  3. Add in ginger,garlic and chili paste. Stir until combined. Add in fresh tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir and cook for 8 minutes. Thick sauce will develop.
  4. Add in the remaining spices (turmeric, chili powder, cumin, garam masala) and salt. Simmer for a minute or two.
  5. Add in the chickpeas. Cook for another 5 minutes. Top with fresh cilantro.
  6. Enjoy with some piping hot rotis,some fluffy naan and of course some basmati rice 😀

Chana Masala

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ONE POT CHICKEN & MUSHROOM PASTA

Who doesn’t love a one pot wonder? While grocery shopping this past weekend, I quickly put this recipe together. Comfort food was what I wanted. Something homey, creamy and fabulous all in one pot. I mean come on! Who wants to dirty unnecessary dishes?? Definitely not me. I don’t even like washing the dishes once I’m done cooking or baking! After some thought, I put my vision into action and made it for my family for our weekly Sunday dinner. They were happy (as usual) 😉 It’s pretty much chicken and mushrooms in a creamy sauce topped with peas and of course, crispy bacon. Need I say more?

One Pot Chicken & Mushroom

ONE POT CHICKEN & MUSHROOM PASTA

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


  • 4 strips of bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 6 chicken thighs, skin off
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 10 medium mushrooms (halved if large)
  • 3 shallots, peeled and halved
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • ½ cup of heavy cream (33%)
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of pepper
  • 1 tsp of oregano
  • ½ tsp of parsley
  • ¼ tsp of mint
  • 4 cups of egg noodles
  • ½ cup of peas

DIRECTIONS:


  1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon until just crisp. Remove bacon and set aside
  2. Remove any access oil from the pot. Add in 2 tbsp of butter and cook chicken (sprinkled with salt & pepper) until just cooked, flipping once. Chicken will finish cooking with the pasta. Set aside.
  3. Add the remaining tbsp of butter. Add in the garlic, mushrooms and shallots. Cook until liquid from mushrooms has evaporated.
  4. Add in the chicken broth, heavy cream, oregano, parsley, mint and salt & pepper.
  5. Add in the chicken and bring to a boil until sauce has thickened. Add in the egg noodles and simmer until cooked.
  6. Add in cooked bacon and peas. Serve with garlic bread and Enjoy 🙂

CHILLI PANEER

Paneer is so common in South Asian dishes especially in Indian dishes. I’ve heard that you can make paneer at home but sometimes I can’t be bothered, since it’s relatively cheap to buy in stores 🙂 This chilli paneer was absolutely delicious! I started off by cubing the paneer into bite sized pieces and lightly pan fried them. I then combined the spices and formed a sauce for the paneer and literally just combined it together…that’s how easy it was 🙂

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CHILLI PANEER

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


  • 1 14 ounce pkg of paneer (cut into ¼ inch pieces)
  • 5 tbsp of canola oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 green chilli, such as Serrano, minced
  • 1 tbsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • ½ tsp of sugar
  • 2 green onions for garnishing

DIRECTIONS:


  1. In a medium fry pan over medium heat, heat 3 tbsp of oil. Fry the paneer in batches until golden brown on each side. Once cooked, remove and set aside on a plate lined with paper towel.
  2. Put the remaining oil into the fry pan and reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic, green chili, salt and pepper. Stir for about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and sugar. Stir until just combined. Add in the cooked paneer with about a spoonful of water. Cover the fry pan and cook for another 5 minutes or until there is no water left.
  4. Remove from the heat and garnish with green onions and Enjoy! 🙂

PAV BHAJI

Pav Bhaji has been one of my favourite Indian food dishes of all time! You could say that it’s an Indian vegetarian version of a Sloppy Joe. It’s this amazing one-pot meal. Which is essentially a vegetable curry served on a hot buttery dinner roll. Since all of the vegetables are mashed up, its a great way to get your kids to eat their veggies! 

One of the major things that I’ve learned while making this dish is the use of butter. Butter plays an essential role in this dish! My family has been making pav bhaji for years and they’ve always used canola oil. I on the other hand, have found that by replacing the oil with butter, you’ll end up with a more richer and creamier dish 🙂

You can totally make this using premade store bought mix (all you need to do is add the veggies). But I would totally make this from scratch! Trust me, not only will your dish be more flavourful but you’ll also feel good about making it on your own 🙂

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PAV BHAJI

  • Servings: 5 People
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


  • 3 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • ¼ head of cauliflower (chopped)
  • 5 tbsp of butter
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 5 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp of ginger (grated)
  • 1 green chili – I use Serrano (minced)
  • 2 long eggplants or 1 eggplant (cubed)
  • 3 tomatoes (cubed)
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 12 dinner rolls
  • butter
  • 1 small red onion (chopped)
  • ¼ cup cilantro (chopped)

DIRECTIONS:


  1. Boil water in a large pot.Once the water has boiled, add the potatoes and cauliflower. Simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain, mash and set aside
  2. In the large pot, over medium heat, add 4 tbsp of butter and onions. Saute for about 8-10 minutes
  3. Add in garlic, ginger, green chili and eggplants. Cover and cook until soft 10-12 minutes. Stir every couple of minutes.
  4. Add in tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for another 5 minutes
  5. Add in the ground cumin, garam masala, ground turmeric, chili powder, salt and the mashed potato/cauliflower mixture. Cook for 10 minutes or until soft.
  6. Remove pot from heat and add in the remaining tbsp of butter. Mash the mixture until the consistency is like mashed potatoes.
  7. Cut the dinner rolls in half and toast until golden brown. Spread generously with butter. Add a layer of the pav bhaji. Top with some red onion and cilantro
  8. Enjoy! 🙂

 

HOT DOG MUMMIES

These hot dog mummies are the perfect snack to have on Halloween! And trust me, they are super super easy to make 🙂

To make these cute mummies, you will need a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and 8 hot dogs. I used chicken hot dogs as I do not eat pork or beef but any type of hot dog will do! Cut each hot dog lengthwise halfway up to form legs. Then make two more cuts for the arms. Repeat this for all of the hot dogs. Next, open up a can of the crescent rolls and cut each rectangle into 8-10 long strips. Start wrapping the dough around the hot dogs and make it look like bandages. Once all of the hot dogs are wrapped, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350°F for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Once the mummies have finished baking, you can use ketchup or mustard to give them the eyes!

Not only do these mummies look really cool, but they are seriously tasty. The dough gets super crispy around the edges and the hot dog stays nice and juicy on the inside 🙂

Hot Dog Mummies

CRISPY BUTTERMILK CHICKEN STRIPS

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My boyfriend and I were walking through the frozen foods section at our local Costco and we saw some chicken strips on sale. I immediately went in and reached for a bag! As I looked more closely to the labels on the bag and noticed the word ‘18% meat protein’. My first thought was…’Shouldn’t this be 100%’? I then turned it around and started looking at the ingredients. To my surprise, I found a whole bunch of ingredients that I could not pronounce let alone even understand. I literally threw the bag back into its rightful spot and started looking around at other products that contained this certain ‘meat protein’. And sure enough, there were more! Of course after seeing this, my boyfriend started going off on a tangent about conspiracy theories. 😉

The whole drive home I kept thinking about the ingredients I saw listed. I then knew that I would never be buying these products ever again! It was time for some homemade chicken strips 😀

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The ingredients needed are pretty basic and can be found most households. Chicken (breast or thighs), buttermilk, sweet paprika, salt, pepper, sugar, Italian seasoning, basil, garlic powder and of course Corn Flakes to get the best crunch without having to deep fry the strip 🙂

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CRISPY BUTTERMILK CHICKEN STRIPS

  • Servings: 25 Strips
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


Buttermilk Mixture:
– 4 chicken breasts (or 5 boneless chicken thighs) cut into ½ inch strips
– 1 cup of buttermilk
– 2 tbsp of sweet paprika
– 2 tbsp of sugar
– 1 tbsp of salt
– 2 tsp of pepper

Corn Flake Mixture:
– 4 cups of Corn Flakes (crushed to your desire)
– 1 tbsp of garlic powder
– 2 tbsp of Italian seasoning
– 2 tbsp of basil
– 1 tsp of salt
– ½ tsp of pepper

DIRECTIONS:


1) Place the chicken strips into a freezer bag. Add the buttermilk, sweet paprika, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix until well coated. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or ideally overnight for the best flavour.
2) Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
3) Place the Corn Flake mixture in a dish. Remove the chicken strips from the buttermilk mixture and coat evenly in the Corn Flake mixture.
4) Arrange the strips on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
5) Bake strips for 8 to 9 minutes then flip the strips. Continue baking the strips for another 8 minutes.
6) Serve with your favourite dipping sauce and ENJOY! 😀
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BAKED JALAPEÑO POPPERS

FullSizeRender (34)I absolutely LOVE jalapeño poppers! I started making these yummy peppers back when I started home ec in grade 6. I remember how I came home after making these in school and immediately I wanted to make them for my family. That night, my mom and I made these and wow! They were polished clean instantly! Since they are seeded, there isn’t as much heat as there would be if they were whole peppers. I’m constantly modifying this recipe as I’ve made it so many times. Sometimes I’ll add in more or less cheese. Sometimes I’ll use breadcrumbs instead of panko but I’ve finally narrowed it down this! A couple of years ago, my mom asked me to make this as a side for our Sunday family dinner. A part of me didn’t want to as filling the peppers always took me a long time. But then I thought to myself, why not just use a piping bag to fill them?! By doing this, the time it now took to fill these was less than a quarter of the original time! The other great thing I love about these is how they are baked! Now you can have more of these without feeling guilty 🙂

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BAKED JALAPEÑO POPPERS

  • Servings: 30 Servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


– 15 jalapeño peppers (seeded and halved)
– 1 tbsp of olive oil
– 1 small red onion (chopped)
– 7-8 cloves of garlic (minced)
– 1 tsp of salt
– ½ tsp of pepper
– 1 package of cream cheese
– ½ cup of parmesan cheese
– 2 egg whites
– 1-1½ cups of panko
– 2 tbsp of dried oregano
– 2 tbsp of dried tarragon
– 2 tbsp of dried parsely

DIRECTIONS:


1) Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
2) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3) In a small fry pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent.
4) Transfer into a small bowl. Add the cream cheese, ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until the cream cheese has melted.
5) Fill the pepper halves with the cream cheese filling. (I found that a piping bag made this much more easier than using a spoon.)
6) In a large bowl, combine the panko, remaining parmesan cheese, oregano, tarragon and parsely.
7) Add the egg whites into a small bowl and whisk until frothy.
8) Dip the pepper halves 1 at a time into the egg whites and then coat with the panko mixture.
9) Place peppers cut side up on the prepared baking sheet.
10) Bake peppers for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
11) Enjoy!! 😀

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OLIVE GARDEN CHICKEN GNOCCHI SOUP

After going to Olive Garden and having a long awaited Godfather marathon with my boyfriend this weekend, I decided to make a copycat recipe of the Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup! I love how rich and creamy the soup is. It’s super easy and quick to make! It also freezes pretty well so you can always make a big batch and freeze half of it for later 🙂

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The vegetables used in this recipe are pretty basic…onions, carrots, celery and spinach. Since I am allergic to the pesticides sprayed on fruits and vegetables, I either buy organic or cook down whatever I am eating. For this recipe, I just cooked the carrots and celery a bit longer than everything else

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OLIVE GARDEN CHICKEN GNOCCHI SOUP

  • Servings: 6-8 People
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


– ¼ cup of butter
– 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
– 1 cup of finely chopped onions
– ½ cup of finely chopped celery
– 1 cup of finely shredded carrots
– 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
– ¼ cup of flour
– 4 cups of half and half
– 2 (14 ounce) cans of chicken broth (I used 1 and a half for a thicker soup)
– ½ tsp of salt
– ½ tsp of dried thyme
– ½ tsp of dried parsley flakes
– 1 cup of finely chopped spinach leaves
– 1 cup of diced roasted chicken
– 1 package of gnocchi (if frozen, prepare as per the directions on package)

DIRECTIONS:


1) In a large pot, melt the butter and oil over medium heat.
2) Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook until golden brown
3) Whisk in the flour and cook for approximately 1 minute
4) Whisk in 1 cup of half and half. Bring to a simmer and while whisking add in the remaining half and half 1 cup at a time. Simmer until thickened
5) Whisk in the chicken broth. Continue simmering over medium/ low heat
6) Add the salt, thyme, parsely, spinach, chicken and gnocchi
7) Simmer for about 8-10 minutes
8) Enjoy! 🙂

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MUSHROOM LASAGNA

Growing up lasagna was one of my most favourite dishes! My grandma always made meat lasagna with the traditional red sauce and used Ricotta cheese. My mother on the other hand made beef and spinach lasagna with the traditional red sauce but used Mozzarella cheese.

As I’ve stopped eating beef and pork, I would always make turkey lasagna but the meat would always be dry. I then thought why not make a lasagna twist??! Why not have a cream sauce than a tomato based sauce? Why not make a vegetarian mushroom lasagna?!

I then started brainstorming different ingredients to put into the lasagna. Of course there would be lots and lots of mushrooms!! Portobello, crimini, porcini and last but not least the white mushrooms! IMG_1153

Next came the cheese! Instead of the typical Ricotta cheese I decided to use Parmesan, Gouda and Gruyere. All three of these cheeses would give such an amazing amount of flavour 🙂 There would of course be fresh basil, parsley, garlic and red onions and of course lots and lots of white wine 😉 My boyfriend also decided to come over and help me put this masterpiece together and I must say it came out pretty rich, creamy and tasty!!

MUSHROOM LASAGNA

  • Servings: 6-8 People
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


– 2 large Portobello mushrooms (washed, gills removed and thinly sliced)
– 1 pound of white mushrooms (washed and thinly sliced)
– ½ pound of crimini mushrooms (washed and thinly sliced)
– 1 ounce of dried porcini mushrooms
– ¼ cup of olive oil
– Salt & pepper
– ½ cup of water
– 1 red onion (finely chopped)
– 7 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
– ½ cup of white wine
– 3 tbsp of butter
– 3 tbsp of flour
– 3 ½ cup of milk
-¼ cup of fresh chopped basil
– ¼ cup of fresh chopped parsley
– 9-12 no bake lasagna noodles
– 1 ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese
– 1 cup of grated Gouda cheese
– 1 cup of grated Gruyere cheese

DIRECTIONS:


1) Roast the portobello mushrooms. Heat oven to 425ºF. Toss the portobello mushrooms with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 30 minutes. Transfer into a large bowl once roasted and set aside.
2) Microwave the water and porcini mushrooms for 1 minute. Let mushrooms sit until softened. Finely chop the mushrooms and reserve the liquids.
3) In a large pot over medium heat, heat olive oil and add onions, salt and pepper. After 6-8 minutes add the chopped white, crimini, porcini mushrooms along with 5 chopped cloves of garlic & salt and pepper.
4) Once the mushrooms have cooked (8-10 minutes) add in the white wine, roasted onions and portobello mushrooms, stirring until the liquid has evaporated, 2-3 minutes.
5) Stir in the butter and allow to melt. Add the flour, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Gradually add in the milk and porcini liquid. While stirring, bring to a simmer. Add in the basil and parsley (reserve some of the basil and parsley for the topping.
6) Pour some boiling water into a baking dish. Add the lasagna noodles into the water. After 2 minutes remove the noodles and discard the water.IMG_1156
7) Toss together the 3 grated cheeses. Spread some of the mushroom mixture over the bottom of the pan. Arrange 3 noodles on top of the mixture. Spread a third the mushroom mixture evenly over the noodles. Then sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Repeat the layering of the noodles, mushroom mixture and cheese 2 more times.
8) Cook the dish in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. In the last 5 minutes add the garlic, basil and parsley over the cheese topping.
9) Broil the lasagna for the next 3-4 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown.
10) Let cool 15 minutes before serving and ENJOY! 🙂

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CRISPY SRIRACHA CHICKEN NUGGETS

Who doesn’t love crispy chicken nuggets? My favourite chicken nuggets growing up (and still) are the McDonalds chicken nuggets! But I do feel guilty about eating the deep fried nuggets from McDonalds. This nugget recipe cooks the nuggets by baking them..not frying them so you can eat as many as you like guilt free 🙂
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CRISPY SRIRACHA CHICKEN NUGGETS

  • Servings: 75-80 pieces
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:


– 3 chicken breasts (cut into desired pieces)FullSizeRender (15)
– ¼ cup of mayo
– 3 tbsp of ketchup
– 2 tbsp of sriracha sauce
– salt & pepper
– olive oil

Breading
– 1 cup panko
– 3 tbsp of tarragon
– 1 tsp of garlic powder
– 1 tsp of paprika
– ½ tsp of black pepper
– 4 tbsp of Italian seasoning
– 1 tsp of Cayenne pepper
– 1 tsp of poultry seasoning
– ¾ cup of breadcrumbs

DIRECTIONS:

FullSizeRender (13)1) Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
2) Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
3) In a large bowl, combine the breading ingredients.
4) In a medium bowl combine the mayo, ketchup, sriracha sauce and salt & pepper.
5) Dip the cut up chicken into the sriracha sauce mixture then dip into the breading mixture.
6) Add the breaded chicken pieces onto the baking sheets.
7) Sprinkle with some olive oil.
8) Bake for 10 minutes. Flip the nuggets and bake for 6-8 minutes.
9) Enjoy with either ketchup or ranch dressing 😀

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