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!

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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.

Microwave Chocolate-Nutella Mug-Cake

Microwave Chocolate-Nutella Mug-Cake1

It was a conscious decision to stay-away from this dangerous mug-cake only because of its sheer convenience. I did not need a confirmation that I can make this cake whenever chocolate-cravings hit me.

As all our resolutions come to an end sooner or later, on a particularly depressing morning, I caved in! And it definitely lifted my spirits up instantly! Yaay for broken resolutions! I’m totally hooked to this one and will be definitely trying different versions! 😛

I know there are infinite versions of mug-cakes floating on the web since 2-3 years and I did check out many of them. But I had a few things in mind about how I wanted this cake to be so I ended up making my own version of this sinful dessert. For one wanted this cake to be eggless and a wee-bit healthier so that I don’t feel too much guilty about gobbling it up.

Another criteria was a perfectly soft, moist and fluffy cake. I can’t tolerate dry crumbs. But microwave especially has a tendency to snatch away moisture and make everything dry. So timing here is a key. Do not over-cook it. Check it after 1 minute + 10 seconds. If not done then cook for another 10 to 20 seconds.

It will take you more time to assemble all the ingredients than for it to actually cook! Perfect for unusual cravings or unexpected company! It would be ready in a jiffy! For it to look more posh, make it in a fancy tea-cups/Ramekins and serve it with ice-cream or whipped cream with fresh fruits. Add anything else you want in the batter like chopped nuts, dark/white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, dried fruits, M & Ms, sprinkles… Tini-tiny pieces of delicious surprise in every bite! Pure happiness!

Microwave Chocolate-Nutella Mug-Cake2

Mouth-watering? Read on to find out how it’s done. Be warned ~ it’s addictive!

Microwave Chocolate-Nutella Mug-Cake

Serves: 1 | Prep time: 2 minutes | Cook Time: 1 to 1 1/2 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp powder sugar
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp Nutella
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • M & Ms for topping or 1 Tbsp dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized microwave-safe mug/ramekin add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk with fork until combined.
  2. Add oil, milk, Nutella, vanilla extract and mix with a fork until no lumps remain in the batter.
  3. Sprinkle top of batter with M & Ms or chocolate chips. Microwave on high for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Mine was done in 1 minute + 10 seconds so check at that mark and if it is not cooked through then let cook for another 10 to 20 seconds. Be careful as you don’t want a dry cake. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Skinny Zucchini Boats

Skinny Zucchini Boats5

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

Skinny Zucchini Boats3Skinny Zucchini Boats4

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.

 

Lemony Peas & Mushroom Pasta & My Random Thoughts

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
– Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist

And it really happened to me! Something really tiny, to prove it right. But it did happen and now I have altered perspective.. Of course you would have read about this in the book ‘The Secret’ but it is hard to believe anything till you experience it personally.

Let me come straight to the point and tell you what exactly happened. There is a place close to my house where my friend once saw a snake and after she told me about this incident when ever I used to pass from that place I used to think about a snake crossing my path. I am pretty scared of snakes and I mean who isn’t! So that anticipation, that fear was always there in the back of my mind. I used to imagine about snake coming out of nowhere and crossing my path every single time! It was and is crazy till now! So this thinking continued for around 4-5  months. And on one rainy evening finally my vision came to life! Instead of one I saw two snakes, intertwined with each other, dancing at tunes being played by rain gods. Oh yeah, there it was! In front of my eyes! I stared in bewilderment! I thanked my lucky stars fervently that I was not on foot and was protected by my car. And even till date, whenever I pass by I still think about the snakes crossing my path. You know how human mind works (or at least mine seem to!)… I try not to think about it but it’s there! So much that I have started skipping that area altogether!

So if you are still with me on my randomness (WOW, you are!) let me ask you something.. Is it only me or does it happen with you too? You would want to know why I am writing about it on my blog today?!! As mentioned in my last post I am turning 28 tomorrow and I was just reflecting on what all happened in last year and how I want my life to be in next year.. If our mind and thoughts have power to make it real, why not use it positively? I can constantly think about good things to happen and shape my life accordingly! Isn’t it just genius?!… Things to ponder!

So I’ll stop talking now about random stuff (Finally!!!). I sincerely thank you for being there in front of the screen and I love you for reading this post (longest till date!). I really do! 🙂

 It’s my birthday week so I am cooking all of my favorite things and you all know how much I LOVE pasta! So I made this simple pasta dish with peas and mushroom.

Lemony Peas & Mushroom Pasta1

I used Conchiglie pasta in this recipe but you can use any other short pastas you have like Fusilli, Orecchiette or Farfalle.

Peas have been mildly blanched so you get the crunchy texture. Tad bit of Cheddar is added to make it perfectly cheesy. Addition of lemon zest just takes it to another level! It is light, buttery and perfect for quick lunch/dinner.

Lemony Peas & Mushroom Pasta2

Lemony Peas & Mushroom Pasta

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup Conchiglie
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, diced
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp grated Cheddar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • fresh parsley, chopped finely, optional

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta as per the manufacturer’s instruction. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Pour the remaining pasta water over the peas in colander so that peas will get blanched and pasta will get drained. If you want more tender peas then add them to the pasta pot 1-2 minutes left of cooking time.
  2. Heat the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan and add minced garlic. Saute it for about a minute, then add mushrooms and saute it for 4-5 minutes until tender.
  3. Add onion powder, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Then add 1/4 cup of pasta water and cooked pasta and peas to the pan. Add little more pasta water if required. Turn off the heat.
  4. Finish it off with grated Cheddar and lemon zest. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

Skinny Basil Veggie Kebabs with Corn Salad

Skinny Basil Veggie Kebobs with Corn Salad4

This week is going to be fun, though I will have to wait for the weekend for really good stuff to begin. I am celebrating my 28th birthday this Friday! I think birthdays should be a month-long celebration but we are all time-pressed in life! Not that it’s any excuse to ignore the small joys life brings our way but sadly, that’s the cruel reality!

Still nothing can slow down the excitement which is coursing through me! Another year has passed by and this year I am feeling more grown-up than ever! It is true that at the moment I am amongst the mayhem in my life as career transition and so much more is happening. Life is a mess right now.. nonetheless a beautiful mess!

Let’s leave it at that and talk about our today’s recipe. It is a very simple yet delicious way to include so many veggies in your dinner. A light yet filling. I made this last week for dinner and it was so gratifying to get to eat it between the all-week ice-cream madness happening in the house!

Skinny Basil Veggie Kebobs with Corn Salad1

Skinny Basil Veggie Kebobs with Corn Salad2

Skinny Basil Veggie Kebobs with Corn Salad3

It was kind of cleaning-my-refrigerator day so whatever I had on hand I put that under the marinade and I was glad I did! You can also throw in whatever you have at home. Button mushrooms would be a great addition! I prepared the marinade the night before so the flavors were super-intense. But you can do this at least 4 hours before grill time. It makes a super-quick week-night dinner!

I don’t own a grill so I used my convection oven which came with rotisserie. Veggies could not get charred at all in the oven but they cooked perfectly. Nice and juicy! But if you own one (needless to say in that case, I’m totally J), it will make a great recipe for a BBQ party and the veggies will char beautifully!

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Skinny Basil Veggie Kebabs with Corn Salad

Serves: 2-3

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:

Marinade:

1 and 1/2 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup yogurt (I used home-made)
4-5 cloves of garlic
salt and freshly cracked pepper, as per taste
1 tsp garam masala powder
dash of lemon juice

Kebabs:

1 zucchini (medium sized)
1 bell pepper (I used yellow)
1 large red onion
1 large tomato (de~seeded)
200 gm cottage cheese

Corn Salad:

1 cup boiled sweet corn
1 small cucumber, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dry basil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp yogurt

Directions:

  1. At least 4 hours before, blend all the ingredients for marinade to a smooth puree. Adjust the seasoning as per your taste. Cut veggies into 1″ cubes and toss with marinade in a bowl. Cover it and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  2. When ready, light grill. Using the wood or skewers, insert the veggies. Place on grill and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes till the veggies are uniformly charred.  *I don’t have grill so I used rotisserie function of my convection oven and cooked as per the instruction manual. Hence the char was missing but kebabs were cooked beautifully.
  3. While veggies cook, mix the ingredients for corn salad in a bowl and toss thoroughly.
  4. Serve skewers topped with remaining marinade (if any) alongside the corn salad.

*You can make this recipe vegan – by replacing yogurt with soy yogurt in marinade, replacing cottage cheese with tofu and in corn salad, omit mayonnaise and use soy yogurt instead.

 

Zesty Lemon Ice-cream with Blueberry Swirl

Zesty Lemon Ice-cream with Blueberry Swirl1

I have a declaration to make. This is by far THE best ice-cream I have ever made! Seriously!!! It’s so good that I could not believe this was made by me at home without the use of ice-cream maker. It came out so perfect, it was definitely to die for!

It was tart, light, refreshing, tangy, sweet, velvety… Lick-your-bowl good if you still don’t get what I mean! Everything you want your lemon ice-cream to be and more!

This ice-cream definitely screams SUMMER!

We are making this one little bit differently than how we were doing with our previous ice-creams. First, we need to make lemon curd for the base and then fold it in with whipped cream. That’s it!

Lemon curd is wonderful and super easy to make. It is so versatile that apart from using it in this ice-cream, you can use this as a filling for your tarts, pies and cakes or simply as a spread for your scones!

We are going to cook the lemon curd in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water aka double boiler. It will only take about 3-4 minutes to cook.

I have scaled down the recipe to make ice-cream for just 2 people. I have been whipping ice-cream daily so you can understand why I would do this! But I regretted my decision as soon as I had its first bite.. It was heavenly! And I wanted more!! 😦

So let’s get down to the business!

Zesty Lemon Ice-cream with Blueberry Swirl2

Zesty Lemon Ice-cream with Blueberry Swirl

Yields: around 6 scoops

Ingredients:

  • 1 small egg
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice, sieved so that it is free from pulp
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup fresh medium fat cream (40%), chilled
  • 2 Tbsp blueberry compote

Directions:

  1. In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the egg, sugar and lemon juice until blended. Cook, stirring constantly (to prevent from curdling), until the mixture becomes thick. This will take about 3-4 minutes to cook.
  2. Remove from heat and immediately pass the mixture through the sieve to remove any extra lumps. Whisk in butter and lemon zest. Let cool. It will continue to thicken as it cools down further. Freeze it till cream is ready.
  3. Whip the fresh cream till soft peaks form. Gently fold in the chilled lemon curd. If it is too tart for you then add more cream as per your taste.
  4. In a small airtight container, spoon in half the mixture and top it with blueberry compote, top with rest of the mixture and freeze for 4-5 hours before serving. Serve it topped with fresh blueberries and dig in!

*Tips: Lemon curd has to be made with fresh lemons. Juice lemons at room temperature to get more juice and strain the juice to remove any pulp from it. While grating the zest from the lemon, be sure not to remove pith (white membrane) from the lemon as it is very bitter tasting. Cold lemons are much easier to zest. You can use a zester or fine grater for this. Do this just before using as the zest will lose moisture if it sits out too long.

Lemon curd recipe scaled down and barely adapted from Joy Of Baking

Spinach, Corn & Egg Strata

Spinach,corn & egg Strata2

Today, I bring you a no-hassle, breakfast recipe.. Great for a weekday when everything is so crazy that breakfast is the last thing on your mind and even greater for your laid-back weekend as it takes pretty much zero-effort to whip it up!

Treat your dad on Father’s day morning with this and I am sure he would be really pleased!

You just throw all the ingredients together the night before but to be honest, I love how undemanding yet flavorful this dish is! The recipe makes two hefty portions and let me warn you, we were full after eating only half! So truly a great brunch option! 😉

Spinach,corn & egg Strata1

Spinach, Corn & Egg Strata

Prep time: 10 mins | Bake time: 45 mins | Total time: 55 mins

Ingredients:

  • 4 pieces bread
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup corn kernels
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano powder
  • salt and pepper as per taste
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. The night before, tear up bread into small pieces and slice up the spinach. Place in 2-4″ ramekins. Top with corn kernels. Whisk together eggs, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour over bread and spinach. Top with cheese and cover with cling film. Place in refrigerator overnight.
  2. In the morning, preheat oven to 375 F/180 C. Remove cling film and cover each ramekin with aluminium foil. Place on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove aluminium foil and continue to bake uncovered for another 20-25 minutes or until egg mixture has set and strata has puffed. Serve warm.

Recipe adapted from Naturally Ella