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! 😉
Mango Cucumber Salsa2
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.

5-minute Tomato Pasta Sauce ~ Meal for Two & Some Chit Chat

5-Minutes Tomato Pasta Sauce1

 

Let’s chat, shall we!? Time to end the lazy slump I’ve been rolling in lately. A lot’s been going on around here and I’m up for a full disclosure now. I did slip the news on Instagram couple of weeks ago but didn’t announce officially on the blog. So here it goes!! Drum-rolls please!!! I am going to LONDON this FALL for a one year postgraduate programme!!!!! WOHOOOO!!!!!!! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!! Sorry for all the yelling but I’m SOOOOO excited for this new chapter of my life to begin. This year has been truly magical so far!

I got the confirmed offer on my admission about a couple months ago but was skeptical on sharing the news as there were so many things to consider and plan for before I decide to accept the offer. Let’s just say I didn’t want to jinx it! I was ecstatic (to say the least) to get into this prestigious college. I was (still am!) over the MOON would be an understatement. I leave in September and there is so much to do. I need to visit my parents, apply for Visa, do the shopping, pack my bags and off I go. Fingers crossed for a smooth sailing!

Now here is a bit of not-so-good-news. Umm… I’m not sure if I’ll be able to continue blogging along with my studies but I’m not going to incessantly worry over something I can’t control. As of now, the only thing I’m sure of is that the programme is going to be very intense and I am going to have to give my 101% attention to it, even if blogging takes a backseat. I AM absolutely ready to prioritize. I love blogging so much therefore I’ll be blogging here as much as I can until September and after that we’ll see how things go. I would love to pop over in between during my stay in London to share my experiences in new country, food related or not. I will definitely try to stay as active as possible on Instagram nonetheless so do follow me there to stay in touch and be my companion on #LondonDiaries! 🙂

*Recipe*

This recipe I am sharing today is bonkers awesome! It is the quickest meal I have ever made (apart from toss-in-all-you-have salads or couscous!). If you can boil the pasta then you can make this recipe. This one here is basically foolproof! The tomato paste (Brand name – Splitz) I used for this quick pasta sauce is made locally in Bangalore and the ingredients list reads – Tomatoes. That’s it! It does not have any funky ingredients I can’t understand or pronounce, just pure tomato goodness without any color or preservative or salt! Too good to be true and but sadly, it is mostly available only in Bangalore. But fret not. You can go ahead and try any other good, organic tomato paste you can find in the store near you.

This packet is definitely going with me everywhere I travel. I guess it’d be a blessing during my soon-to-start student life! What a cheap, no-fuss and delicious meal option with so many possibilities. Add any number of vegetables to this dish to make it more hearty and fulfilling. Just a heaping Tablespoon of this potent tomato paste is enough for one portion. You can tell I’m quite impressed! What can I say, sometimes simple is truly THE BEST! xx

 

5-Minute Tomato Pasta Sauce2

 

Quickest Tomato Pasta Sauce ~ Dinner for Two

Yields: 2 generous servings | Prep time: 2 minutes |Cook time: 15 minutes | Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups macaroni pasta
  • 1 cup pasta water, reserved after boiling
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • Scant 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dry basil herb
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper
  • Shavings of Parmesan cheese
Directions:
  1. Cook pasta as per the package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain the pasta.
  2. In the meantime, heat the pan on a medium-high heat. Add olive oil, garlic and onion and sauté for a minute. Add tomato paste and salt and sauté for about 2-3 minutes, scraping and stirring occasionally. The tomato paste will turn brown and this will enhance the flavors. Mix in basil and pepper and cook for another minute.
  3. Stir in 3/4 cup of reserved pasta water to the tomato paste and magically you’ll get your pasta sauce ready! If you want thinner consistency sauce, add remaining 1/4 cup pasta water too. Stir in the drained pasta. Divide between 2 serving dishes. Top with some shavings of Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Notes:
*You can add vegetables of your choice to make the meal more hearty. Just sauté the vegetables along with garlic and onion before adding tomato paste to the mix. Zucchini, broccoli, eggplant, bell peppers…. sky is the limit!
*You may also top the pasta with capers or olives.
*Use whole wheat or quinoa pasta to make this meal healthier. 
*Use penne or spaghetti pasta instead of macaroni.

Vegetable Whole-Wheat Noodle Bowl ~ For Two

Vegetable Whole-Wheat Noodle Bowl ~ For Two1

 

This peanut butter-flavored dish is a cinch to throw together. So convenient on a weeknight or when you’re just lazy. Just boil a pot of water, saute some vegetables and whisk together some sauces from your pantry. Dinner is served!

Vegetable Whole-wheat Noodle Bowl

Serves:2 | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Total: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

For noodle bowl:

  • 2 nests of whole wheat noodles
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into 2 inch thin strips
  • 1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 small bunch of scallions (spring onions), finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lightly toasted white sesame seeds*, for topping

*You may use toasted peanuts too instead.

For sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • big pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp of hot water (or a little more to achieve a thin yogurt-like consistency of sauce)

Directions:

  1. Boil a medium sized pot of water. Add the whole wheat noodles and cook according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a pan over medium high heat. Add oil and sauté  garlic for about 30 seconds. Add red pepper and broccoli to the pan and sauté for another 5 minutes over medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Whisk together all the ingredients for sauce, adding the hot water in increments at the end. You are going for a thin yogurt-like consistency.
  4. Once the noodles are cooked and drained, toss together the noodles, sautéd vegetables and scallions.
  5. Portion into small bowls and top with a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Skinny Zesty Salad

Skinny Zesty Sala1

 

After hogging lots and lots of sweets and fried stuff during 5 days of festivities in the past week, believe it or not, but my digestive system needed a break. So I am doing a cleanse/detox for few days.

I made this skinny salad for lunch one day and have fallen in love with it since then. It is so versatile, protein-packed and healthy even for people with diet restrictions. Yes! It is suitable for all the vegetarians and vegans out there! A complete meal in itself.

Add any or all of the ingredients mentioned below or whatever you have in your refrigerator. Don’t like uncooked Paneer/tofu? Don’t worry! You can grill it with a bit of olive oil and some seasoning before adding it to your salad or skip it. I once made this with just apple, pear, pomegranate and it was still lip-smacking!

So do your body a favor, give yourself a break from cooking and make this hearty salad! 🙂

Skinny Zesty Sala2

Skinny Zesty Salad

Serves: 2 as a side and 1 as a main-course

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 200 gm Paneer/extra-firm tofu, cut into 2 inch-long thin strips
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped into thin strips
  • 1 small yellow zucchini, cut into semicircles
  • 1 small apple, thin slices
  • 4 Tbsp black olives
  • Bunch of lettuce
  • few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped

For dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1 lemon, or more to taste
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat a small pan on stove and add 1/2 Tbsp oil to it. Add garlic and broccoli florets. Stir fry till cooked, approximately for 4-5 minutes. Be careful not to burn garlic. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients for dressing.
  3. In a medium bowl, add stir-fried garlic and broccoli florets. To this, add prepared paneer/tofu, bell pepper, zucchini, apple and black olives. Pour dressing over it and toss nicely.
  4. In a salad serving bowl, arrange lettuce at the bottom. Add salad on top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately*.

*If serving later, refrigerate the salad and add apple just before serving.

Oven Roasted Asparagus & Potatoes with PeanutButter & Buttermilk Dressing

Oven Roasted Asparagus & Potatoes with PeanutButter & Buttermilk Dressing4
Past 10 days were a blur at our house.. Between Karva Chauth party and my girl gang gathered at the house for the wedding, I hardly had time to squeeze in a blog-post. Those were such good days and in all honesty, I didn’t want them to end! Exciting times filled with fun, laughter and so much joy!! I’m going to cherish the precious memories of this time spent with friends and family forever. Moments like these is what makes our life worthwhile.
Between all the festivities of the past weekend and coming weekend, I am doing a detox of my own with fruits, soups, stir-fries and salads. Gearing up for the next big weekend, you see! You won’t believe how many great recipes I have lined up for you all! But before that enjoy this humble dish which truly deserves a place in your repertoire! 🙂
Oven Roasted Asparagus & Potatoes with PeanutButter & Buttermilk Dressing2
Today’s recipe is simple but totally lip-smacking.
I mean it has potatoes & peanut butter in it so of course! 😉
Just some roasted veggies with healthy yet delicious dressing. Perfect for the ‘touch of cold’ weather we are experiencing here.. It is great as a side dish or as a whole meal in itself.. I had it for dinner and could not finish it entirely. The recipe can easily be doubled, tripled or quadrupled as per your needs. I used regular potatoes but baby potatoes would be amazing too!
Oven Roasted Asparagus & Potatoes with PeanutButter & Buttermilk Dressing3
Roasted Asparagus & Potatoes with Peanut Butter & Buttermilk Dressing
Serves: 2 as a side-dish or 1 as a lunch/dinner
Ingredients:
Roasted vegetables:
  • 4 small potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes or 12 baby potatoes, halved
  • 20 spears of asparagus cut into 5-inch pieces, hard woody ends discarded
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Dressing:

  • 4 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF. Arrange prepared potatoes and asparagus on the baking tray. Sprinkle with oil, salt and pepper and toss together. Let it bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove the asparagus from baking tray and return the tray to oven. Let the potatoes bake for another 15 to 20 minutes till fork-tender.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the dressing.
  3. Serve the roasted vegetables smothered with the dressing.

Enjoy!!

Apple Cinnamon Stovetop Oatmeal For One

Apple Cinnamon Stovetop Oatmeal For one1

You don’t need me tell you how to make an oatmeal. I’m sure, you can handle that on your own.

Maybe I need to remind myself how to make oatmeal. Maybe I need to remind myself to make oatmeal at all… and eat it.. for breakfast. Staring at my laptop first thing in the morning, burning my mouth sipping hot coffee does not make breakfast.

I thought if I needed a reminder, you might need it too. So let’s make this healthy stovetop oatmeal with apple and cinnamon. A treat for that special person, YOU!

Apple Cinnamon Stovetop Oatmeal For one2

This oatmeal is perfect for the weather… so comforting and so healthy! Have an exciting weekend!

Apple Cinnamon Stovetop Oatmeal

Serves: 1 | Ready under 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium apple, cored and diced
  • 1 + 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar (more or less as per your liking)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 Tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 3 Tbsp dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. I let the butter get browned a bit and add diced apple. Sprinkle salt, brown sugar, cinnamon and cook for 1-2 minutes till apples soften.
  2. Pour in water, turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Add the oats and reduce the heat a little. Cook stirring occasionally for a minute or till most of the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Turn the heat off. Top with milk, walnuts and cranberries. Stir to combine. Serve immediately, sprinkled with cinnamon/brown sugar.

Baked Orzo with Spinach, Corn & Asparagus

Baked Orzo with Spinach, Corn & Asparagus1
Okay, I have a pattern. On this blog. I write either about desserts or pasta here. I have a proof. But what can I say?! They are two of my favorite things. The weather here is not helping the matters either. This rainy, gloomy weather forces me to switch on the oven almost everyday! It makes me add cinnamon to every sweet stuff I bake so that the house smells like Fall. I am craving soups and wearing cardigan while going out. Gosh, how I am in love with the weather right now!!
You guys know I am all for skinny dishes. But that does not mean I do not like eating overloaded cheesy goodness. In fact, I LOVE it so much but just NEVER make it. I can’t bring myself to add a pound of cheese to any dish knowingly. Period.
Baked Orzo with Spinach, Corn & Asparagus2
This dish here is in no way skinny. But not unusually loaded either. Something in between. A dish I would dive in. It is everything I had hoped and dreamed for in baked pasta. There’re pillows of corn and asparagus throughout. There are decadent, gooey cheese pulls stretching from every forkful. And it is easy. Yes, as easy as this simple mac-n-cheese I know how to make. So make it NOW as there is no reason to keep yourself away from such a bliss.
Baked Orzo with Spinach, Corn & Asparagus
Serves: 2
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Orzo, a rice shaped pasta
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 8-10 spears of asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces, hard/woody ends discarded
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5-6 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tomato pest
  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves, packed, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup Mozzarella cheese, small cubes of 1/2 cm
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp oregano flakes
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF. Boil a pot of water with generous sprinkle of salt. Add Orzo, corn kernels and asparagus to the boiling water. Let it boil for 2 minutes and after that save 1/2 cup of water. Drain Orzo, corn kernels, asparagus and set aside.
  2. Simultaneously heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil to the hot pan and once oil is shimmering, add the shallots, garlic and celery. Cook for 3 minutes or so till shallots turn translucent. Add tomato paste, Orzo, corn kernels, asparagus and cook for 3 more minutes. Off the heat. Immediately mix-in spinach leaves.
  3. Add Parmesan, Mozzarella, salt, pepper, oregano, red chilli flakes, lemon zest and pasta water and mix well.
  4. Transfer mixture to a small oval or 6×6-inch square ovenproof baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then bake for 15 minutes without the foil. (You can change ratio of foil-on to foil-off time as per your preference for crunchy pasta lid.) Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes:

*You can use whole-wheat Orzo or replace Orzo with any other small-sized pasta.
*I used pasta water and did not feel that the dish was lacking in flavor at all. But if you do not like using water then use vegetable stock.