Mango Cucumber Salsa

Mango Cucumber Salsa1
Hi! Trying to compensate my absence with back to back posts. I need to blog all the summer recipes I’ve made before the rainy season officially starts and I am really lagging behind. I thought at least I’ll give you this mango salsa recipe before mango season is ends. This salsa is a perfect accompaniment to your chips and a great side to grilled chicken or lamb chops.
I don’t remember how many bowls of this sunshine I have devoured this summer. It is my absolute favorite. I eat chips just so that I can have salsa (or any other dips/condiment for that matter!!) and end up having it by spoonfuls in lieu of chips! I have a couple of peaches sitting in my fridge, waiting to be used up & I most certainly plan of turning them in to this salsa sans cucumber this evening (with mint of course!).
Enjoy& be patient.
Weekend is almost here! 😉
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Mango Cucumber Salsa:
Serves: 2 | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 0 minute | Total time: 5 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded & finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 ripe mango, sliced, pitted & finely chopped (about 1 1/4 cup)
  • Salt & freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade (can be subbed with coriander leaves)
  • Juice from 1 lemon

Don’t know what is basil chiffonade? – Pioneer woman tells you here!

Directions:

Toss all of the ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve (about 3-4 hours max otherwise it turns mushy). Serve with your favorite chips or a meat of choice.

Strawberry Jalapeño Salsa

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This salsa is so so good. I made it the other night when few friends came over and I knew after the first bite that I had a winner. Thankfully I had clicked few pics beforehand (food blogger problems!) so I decided to make it a post.

Actually, it is quite silly of me to be presenting this as a recipe with strict measurements because, really, you can just chop, drop and taste as you go! So consider this as a rough guideline. You may substitute orange juice in the recipe with lime or make it using pineapple instead of strawberries. Summer on your plate!

 

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This recipe here works so perfectly and you can use it on chicken, fish, meats, tacos, bruschetta, or just scoop it up with chips! Pretty versatile. Bring it to a pot-luck or a party and I bet no one has had it before! It is sweet, tangy, spicy and has a lot going on. Strawberries are in abundance right now, so go for it!

Brighten up your Monday with this simple yet cracking dish!
Have a great week ahead! 🙂

 

Strawberry Jalapeño Salsa2

 

Strawberry Jalapeño Salsa

Serves: 3-4 | Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • Zest and juice from 1 medium orange
  • Around 20 fresh strawberries, chopped into small even dice
  • Fresh cracked black peppers
  • Handful of cilantro, rinsed and finely chopped

Directions:

In a large bowl, let onion, jalapeño, orange juice and zest steep till you prepare strawberries.
Add strawberries, pepper, cilantro and toss. Chill until ready to serve.

Note: Don’t make this much more than an hour or so before serving. Like all salsas, it will wilt and the fruit may get a little mushy. An hour is the optical amount of time for the flavors to meld and the juices to start flowing. Longer than that salsa will slowly start to lose its fresh appearance.

Cucumber Dill Refrigerator Pickles

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This post was supposed to happen last weekend. But life happened, I fell sick and it took me a week to recover so here I am again with the list of never-ending excuses! But I’m sure you guys understand. Anyways… Let’s get on with the post. You’ve waited long enough!

You would think that I am a little late with this particular post.. Summer is the time for pickling. But don’t you worry… I’ve got this covered for ya! This refrigerator pickle can be made any time of the year. As long as you get cucumbers and fresh dill! And if you’re in super-cold parts of the world, then dill seeds would work perfectly too! Don’t like cucumbers? (As if it’s even possible!!), use jalapeno peppers, beetroots*, carrots* or red peppers. They would be equally delicious if not more!

*These vegetables will need 30-60 seconds of quick blanching in boiling water before they can be pickled for better flavor-absorption.

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This was my first time making pickles. Little veggies in jars with vinegar. So much happiness!! I was quite nervous and excited at the same time, so I started reading a lot on the subject (In short, I Googled a lot!) before taking the plunge. I suggest you do the same. It’s a whole new world! Thankfully I was not canning. Made just a small batch considering small size of my refrigerator. It turned out to be pretty easy! Nothing to be afraid of.. So rinse away some glass jars and ease our way in this new world of quick pickles.

The only place you’ll struggle is waiting before digging in. Yes, 48 crucial hours before you can munch on these. Have patience and this too shall pass! 🙂

I short-listed 2 recipes online. Both seemed easy and great but different in terms of the usage of vinegar. I like my pickles tart hence I used the recipe calling for more vinegar. The changes I made are, I used fresh dill instead of dill seeds and added some sugar to the brine and that is how I liked it. You can click on the link below to check the original recipe. I would try the second recipe next time around. It will please those who thinks there is ridiculous amount of vinegar used in my recipe below. 😉 The link for less vinegary recipe is at the end of the post.

Enjoy! Happy Weekend!

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Cucumber Dill Refrigerator Pickles

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn

Yields: 2 pints

Ingredients:

  • 600 gm / 1.5 pounds cucumbers (Around 3 medium sized)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp pickling salt (I used sea salt)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled (2 per jar)
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes per jar
  • 10-12 sprigs of fresh dill per jar
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns per jar

Directions:

  1. Wash and cut the cucumbers. Leave the skin on but wash thoroughly to ensure that there’s no dirt on them. Cut them in either slices or spears.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring vinegar, water, pickling salt and sugar to a simmer. Once simmering, remove from heat.
  3. Divide the spices and dill sprigs among 2 or 3 clean glass jars. The number of jars depend upon the size of the jar you’re using.
  4. Add the sliced cucumbers and pack tightly. Do not pack very hard to bruise the cucumbers. Pour warm brine in each jar, leaving approximately 1/2-inch headspace.
  5. Tap jars gently on countertop to dislodge any trapped air-bubbles. Apply lids and let jars cool to room temperature. Place jars in refrigerator and let them sit for at least 48-hours before eating. Pickles will last for up to 1 month at least.

You may also want to try: Refrigerator Dill Pickle from Annie’s eats

Caprese Skewers & Spinach Walnut Pesto

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So I made some Caprese skewers.. They are so dang cute! Of course there is absolutely no need of a recipe to make them. It’s just cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and Mozzarella cheese on thrown together on a stick seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. That simple! Making these is a child’s play and they’ll rock any party! It can be served as an appetizer or as a last course with favorite cocktail or wine! 😉

I served these skewers with spinach walnut pesto.. Hmm… seems interesting?! Require a recipe for another quick pesto? Then read on.. I have told time and again that pesto is my fave. It is so versatile. I made a big enough batch for only 2 of us in the house and served it with these skewers, made dinner with some spaghetti, threw some in my breakfast omelet and made some grilled cheese for lunch. Phew!

So let’s get down to the recipe business!

Caprese Skewers:

Ingredients:

  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • fresh Mozzarella balls
  • basil leaves
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, as per taste

Directions:

Skewer the cherry tomatoes alternating with basil leaves and Mozzarella balls. Once they are all skewered, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and serve alongside spinach walnut pesto.

Spinach Walnut Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups spinach leaves
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted or untoasted (I’m lazy & used untoasted)
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup olive oil to begin with, add more as and if required

Directions:

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor till smooth puree is formed. Add more olive oil as and if required. Store in an air-tight container and refrigerate up to 4-5 days.

Spaghetti with Spinach Walnut Pesto

Grilled Cheese

Skinny Zucchini Boats

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My favorite vegetable of all-time! Such a versatile little thing… So much to create and experiment with! It was about time to get more creative and make these beautiful zucchini boats… Stuffed… Stuffed with cottage cheese filling and freshly prepared Marinara sauce! Oh yeah… you’re in for a treat!

Like I always say.. very easy and quick to prepare and perfect as a side or main course!

There are two parts to this dish – 1> filling and 2>fresh marinara sauce

Shucking the zucchini is lots of fun! If using medium sized zucchini then you can part them in middle and then divide them in half, lengthwise. If using smaller zucchinis then just divide them lengthwise. After this zucchinis are hollowed-out and stuffed with the prepared filling and topped with Marinara sauce. All the elements here are raw so it all comes together in no time! Bake them and they are ready to be gobbled!

Eat as many as you want as they are pretty light and low-cal! 😉Skinny Zucchini Boats1Skinny Zucchini Boats2

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Skinny Zucchini Boats

Yields: 8 zucchini boats | Serves: 2 for lunch/dinner and 4 as side-dish

Ingredients:

Marinara Sauce:

  • 4-5 tomatoes, blanched, skin peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Skinny Zucchini Boats:

  • 2 medium zucchinis, halved and cut lengthwise
  • 100 gm cottage cheese, grated
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, diced
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

For Marinara sauce: 

  • In a small pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and saute garlic. Be careful not to burn.
  • Add tomatoes, bay leaf, chili flakes, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaf and mash tomatoes nicely. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

For Skinny Zucchini Boats:

  • Preheat oven to 200 C/400 F. After cutting zucchini in half lengthwise, use a spoon or melon baller to scoop out flesh, leaving 1/4″ thick. Discard the flesh or use it in your next veggie recipe.
  • In a small bowl, mix together cottage cheese, red bell pepper, parsley, chilli flakes, salt and pepper.
  • Place scooped out side up on the baking sheet and season it with salt and pepper. With spoon, fill each hollowed-out zucchini with about 2 Tbsp of cottage cheese stuffing and press firmly. Top it generously with marinara sauce.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or till zucchini is cooked through. Serve hot!

*Cheese-lovers don’t be disappointed! ~ Top zucchini boats with mix of grated Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese before baking. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or till cheese melts completely.
*Basil-lovers can replace parsley with basil leaves, both in filling and Marinara sauce.

 

Skinny Beetroot Hummus

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I’m a huge fan of hummus and can’t get enough! I can have it for all three meals of my day. Oh-yeah! 🙂

A quick, low-fat, protein-packed and super-easy home-made hummus! A pink hummus! As a dear friend quoted ‘If I could I would cover my life in pink!’ I would too!

The hummus gets its pink color from the addition of a boiled beetroot. If you are not a big fan of beetroot, still add it as I promise you won’t be able to taste it at all! It’s sooo good!!!

I stirred in lemon zest to finished hummus and it went a notch up! It became truly Ah-mah-‘zing’ actually!!!

Cheese-lovers can add Parmesan cheese (to be added during blending) to this lovely appetizer but I wanted to keep it low-fat so I skipped it.

So let’s blend-blend!

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Skinny Beetroot Hummus

Serves: 4 | Stays fresh for 3-4 days, refrigerated in airtight container

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight, boiled and drained
  • 1 medium beetroot, peeled, boiled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp Tahini
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt, to taste
  • zest from 1 lemon

Directions:

Add boiled chickpeas to the blender jar. Add garlic cloves, tahini and 2 Tbsp olive oil to jar and blend.

Add 1 Tbsp lemon juice and salt and blend again.

Add beetroot pieces and remaining lemon juice and olive oil to blender and blend till smooth and creamy.

Stir in lemon zest, transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

*Soak chickpeas overnight. If short on time, soak them in just boiled water for at least 3-4 hrs. It will take a bit long to cook but will do the job.
*I used pressure cooker for boiling chickpeas and beetroot both. I boiled them separately.

Accompaniment options: Pita bread, Nachos or Tortilla chips, My Skinny Carrot Sticks, veggie crudites or simply a spread on toast! Sky is the limit actually!! 😉

Skinny Carrot Sticks

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Healthy snacking… It should be a way of life. Little indulgences are okay during breakfast or lunch time. But not acceptable during evening bites. This topic is written and read and discussed over and over again.. But who follows all that anyway?!

I have my weaknesses… I know them… So let’s go over the culprits. I love french fries.. I adore potato wedges.. & oh.. forgot potato chips.. So the common thread is potato! Yup.. I love my potato ~ deep fried! Nothing beats that. But after trying the baked versions of all these potato treats, I’m sold! They taste every bit as delicious and not one bit skinny! So they have become party favorites at our house.. I still indulge in these fried treats when it is junk food day which does not happen regularly so it’s fine.

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So on a lazy Sunday afternoon, instead of my favorite baked potatoes, I made these carrot sticks. Really crispy, low-fat and dee-lish! Carrot sticks covered with dry thyme, salt, black pepper & onion powder and thankfully not smothered in too much oil! Just a bit… Yaay!! 😀

And yeah, going along the skinny way I served them with light mayonnaise.

Feel free to use potatoes or sweet potatoes instead of carrots.

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Skinny Carrot Sticks

Serves: 2 or 1 😉

Ingredients:

  • 300 gm carrots, peeled and cut into 1-cm thick fries (about 4 medium sized)
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp dry thyme
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • freshly cracked black pepper, a pinch
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp light mayonnaise (I used American Garden’s)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F. Toss all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing and turning halfway.

Serve them hot with mayonnaise.

*For even crispier sticks, throw in 1/2 Tbsp bread crumbs also to the mix.
*Feel free to add whatever you like to your mayonnaise.
*Feel free to use potatoes or sweet potatoes instead of carrots.