Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What's for Dinner: Mango Smoothies

Fresh mangoes. 
A little sugar (if needed).
Blend it all together at once.
Could it be any easier?

Someone asked me the quantities of each, and knowing me: I just throw in things until it looks/tastes right [except when baking... you can't do that in {most} baking... trust me!].

I'd guess that it was around 3 cups of yogurt, 2 and a half mangoes (I kept eating some... so definitely was not three whole mangoes), and about 3-4 tablespoons of sugar? Personally, I wouldn't have added any sugar but the rest of my family wanted it sweeter (and it will also depend on how ripe your mangoes are).

P.S. This post is a part of my "What's for Dinner" series, where I share what I've been cooking and my recipes. Grab and share my button:

Sunday, July 28, 2013

What's for Dinner: Popcorn Shrimp

I take shrimp [peeled and deveined for your convenience] and season it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Simple and quick.

While I don't add salt to the shrimp if it's being served with a sauce [like my version of the Bang Bang Shrimp], I do find that you will need to add a little bit of salt if you are simply just frying the shrimp for something like popcorn shrimp.

Add in egg and a little milk [amount of both depending on how much shrimp you are working with... just enough to "wet" the shrimp so the breading sticks].

When you are ready to fry them, in a ziploc bag [for convenience and easy cleanup], add in flour [amount depending on how much shrimp you are working with] and season the flour with black pepper, garlic, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Shake well to make sure the flour is thoroughly seasoned.

Add in the shrimp, in batches, to the flour. Shake well.

Fry them until they are golden brown!

Next time, I'll try baking these and seeing how they turn out.
P.S. This post is a part of my "What's for Dinner" series, where I share what I've been cooking and my recipes. Grab and share my button:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

25th Birthday

A quarter of a century old. That's me today.

Where has the time gone and why is it going by so fast?! Sheesh. Can it slow down just a bit? I feel like 2013 just started and it's already more than half over.

Back to the birthday. Did I post here about how I lost a year? Really, I did. For the longest time (or since my last birthday I suppose), I kept thinking I was 23. That's the answer I gave when people asked me, and that's the answer I whole-heartedly believed.

Then my brother's birthday came around in April. And when people asked how old HE was now, I told them 25. After calculating he is 15 months older than me.

Then, he overheard someone asking me. His response? "I'm 26 you goofball!"

Aaah, it couldn't be. That would mean I am was 24... and worse, about to turn 25 in a few short months (today!) How could I really not know how old I was?!

So that brings me to today.

A quarter of a century old. And apparently already effecting my memory. (Just kidding - thank goodness my memory is as sharp as ever. Sometimes too good in remembering unnecessary details).

Sunday, July 21, 2013

What's for Dinner: Pizza Stuffed Bread

Yeah, so definitely not a healthy option today.

Oh well, it happens.

Today, I made a pizza stuffed bread. Another twist on my many takes on the pizza flavors we all love. Who doesn't like Pizza? Actually, one of my aunts doesn't.

A nice crust, ooey-gooey cheese, and the perfect sauce. Yum!

What you need:
  • 1 [Italian] bread
  • Mozzarella cheese, sliced or diced
  • Marinara sauce
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
What I did was:
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut a deep opening on top of the bread, from one end to the other, without cutting the bottom. Open the bread a little so you have room to fill. 
  3. Take several slices of mozzarella cheese and cut them so they fit in the cut space you are filling. Cubes would obviously be easier but slices is what I had to work with today.
  4. Lay the cheese evenly inside the bread, filling the whole length.  Sprinkle with black pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes.  Spoon marinara sauce into the bread then add more of the mozzarella cheese on top.  Sprinkle a little bit more garlic and red pepper flakes on top, then drizzle the bread with extra virgin olive oil.
  5. Bake in your preheated oven until the cheese is fully melted and the bread is brown and crispy on all sides... which took about 13 minutes for me.
  6. Serve warm!
I had fresh basil at home and I meant to top the bread with them, but forgot last minute in a rush to get it to the table for iftari.

P.S. This post is a part of my "What's for Dinner" series, where I share what I've been cooking and my recipes. Grab and share my button:

Friday, July 19, 2013

What's for Dinner: Chipotle Chicken Tenders

Crispy oven fried chipotle chicken tenders was on the menu tonight as part of our iftari.

Easy, delicious, and healthy... oh, and they are baked [not fried]. Just the way I like it!

What I did was:
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Using boneless chicken cubes, or take chicken breast fillets and cut into chunks, I marinated it with: salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, oregano, onion powder and a little milk [preferable buttermilk I suppose, but I used 1% today] to keep it moist and help the breadcrumbs stick. This helped lead to the no oil or no egg in the recipe.
  3. Next, season your [Italian seasoned] breadcrumbs with chipotle chili powder.
  4. Coat each chicken with the breadcrumb mixture before laying them on a lined baking tray. Spray non-stick cooking spray over all the chicken pieces.
  5. Bake in your preheated oven, for about 20 minutes. 
I let the chicken marinate for about two hours before I tossed them in the breadcrumbs... and even the marinade smelled amazing. The milk in the marinade? It definitely helped keep the chicken moist. After baking, the inside was moist and juicy - not tough or dry even after being baked. One of the huge negative aspects of baking chicken is how dry the end result can be a lot of times... but it doesn't have to be bland, dry, or boring.
P.S. This post is a part of my "What's for Dinner" series, where I share what I've been cooking and my recipes. Grab and share my button:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What's for Dinner: Boneless Tandoori Chicken

Today was day eight of Ramadan, and so far, my family has had typical iftari for the most part.

Time for a change, for sure. Or at least something in addition to change it up. Things have been so busy lately, that I haven't cooked much at all.

Today, I made boneless tandoori chicken from scratch, with no help with a tandoori mix like I normally do. I'm trying more and more to cook clean and know exactly what is in the meals we are consuming. While tandoori masala mixes are an easy go-to item in the pantry, my version is just as easy and delicious [and has no oil!].

I used boneless chicken cubes and marinated it with: salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, ginger powder, lemon juice, cumin powder, garam masala, yogurt, and grinded raw papaya [to tenderize]. Cumin and garam masala are things I don't work with very often and was skeptical/unsure of how much to use so I kept it safe: a little goes a long way. Working with about 25-30 cubes, I'd say I used a little less than a teaspoon of garam masala and a little less than half a teaspoon of cumin powder.

This part is optional, but you could also added a little food coloring to give it that tandoori color [again, a little bit goes a long way].

When I was ready to cook them, close to iftari time, I skewered them and put them under the broiler [on high]. Initially for 15 minutes, then take them out and flip all the skewers over, and then back under the broiler for another ten minutes. Just keep an eye on it... you want the charcoal color, but not for them to harden.

This would, of course, work just as well with boned-in meat... I just prefer boneless white meat and tend to cook mostly with that [as is apparent I'm sure].

This chicken would work great in a wrap, alongside rice or other sides... or just with the raita I mentioned back in this post [my favorite!]... whatever you prefer.

P.S. This post is a part of my "What's for Dinner" series, where I share what I've been cooking and my recipes. Grab and share my button:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What's for Dinner: Ice Cream Bars

Oreos. Ice Cream. Hot Fudge. Peanuts. Whip Cream. Each alone, is delicious... so the combination? Absolutely amazing!

As much as I like to make things homemade from scratch, some days are semi-homemade days... where I get help from the store. This time I got a lot of help from the store. As in all I had to do was assemble the dessert. How easy is that? Not too easy: it's a multiple step process with freezing time in between.

For my cousin Shazia's dholki, last Friday, I made these ice cream bars. They are easy to make, and a perfect dessert for a hot summer day.

Here's what you need:
  • 1 package of [Oreo] cookies, crushed
  • 1/2 gallon of [vanilla] ice cream, softened
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar of hot fudge sauce
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of [unsalted] peanuts
  • 1 quart of Cool Whip, room temperature
Putting it together is simple as well:
  1. Layer the bottom of your [9" X 13" preferably] pan with the crushed oreo cookies. To crush mine, I put them in a ziploc bag, let the air out, close it.... and then crush them with a rolling pan.
  2. Next, on top of the cookies, spread your softened ice cream layer. Put your pan in the freezer to let the ice cream layer freeze and set again.
  3. Then, warm up your hot fudge until it turns into liquid. Spread your hot fudge over the ice cream layer.  Technically, I suppose, I should have waited until the hot fudge cooled down before pouring it over the frozen ice cream, but we all know I didn't. I didn't want to have to wait there making sure it was cool enough but not thickening and whatnot. It was going back in the freezer soon enough anyways.
  4. Sprinkle the peanuts on top of the hot fudge.
  5. Finally, add the cool whip on top before returning the pan back to the freezer and letting it freeze. To give mine a decorative touch, I used my decorating kit to add the cool whip layer.
  6. I did this, last minute, as an added touch and added chocolate fudge sauce on top... totally optional as it's a decadent dessert already... but the color pop was nice.

In the future, perhaps, I'll make my own hot fudge and maybe even ice cream (an ice cream maker is on my list of eventual purchases amongst the stand mixer). I also want to make it with frozen yogurt next time, to make it slightly healthier.

Any combination of ice cream flavor, nuts, and toppings [caramel instead of fudge, perhaps?] would work just as well in my opinion... I just used my favorites.

P.S. This post is a part of my "What's for Dinner" series, where I share what I've been cooking and my recipes. Grab and share my button:

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