Sunday, January 22, 2017

Curried Egg Skillet

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Growing up, our typical meals at home included chapati, rice, dal and some vegetables in the form of dry or wet curries. Mom often interspersed it with interesting dishes such as an egg skillet which included a layer of sautéed onion and tomato masala, topped with eggs. Simple yet so delicious and fun to cook and eat! I still love making this dish and to make it a complete meal I often add vegetables to the onion-tomato masala. It’s a great way to incorporate leafy greens in your meals.

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Ingredients:
1 medium onion - finely chopped (~1 cup)
2 medium tomatoes - finely chopped (~1.5 cups)
1 cup packed chopped kale (or other greens of your choice - optional)
1 cup peas (or other veggies such as cauliflower, green beans etc. - optional)
5-6 large eggs
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder (not chili seasoning)
1 Tbsp coriander powder
Salt
~1 Tsp butter/oil (I used coconut oil)


This recipe has two steps - Step 1: cooking the onions, tomatoes and other vegetables and Step 2: spreading that mixture, in the pan, topping with eggs and cooking until eggs are done. I like to use as little oil as possible to cook the vegetables since the pan needs oil for greasing later for Step 2. Greasing the pan is not necessary if more oil is used while cooking the veggies, however you can cut that fat down a lot by using barely any oil for cooking the veggies, rinsing the skillet after this step and then using a thin layer of butter/oil for greasing the pan before adding the cooked mixture back into the pan to finish cooking with the eggs.

Step 1: Start by heating a few drops of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until translucent. Add tomatoes and continue cooking until tomatoes are softened. Add turmeric, coriander and red chili powder. Season with salt and mix well. Add kale and peas (or any other vegetables you’re using). Cover and cook stirring occasionally until vegetables are cooked al dente.

Transfer the cooked vegetables to a bowl and rinse the pan to make sure there is no residue which can get burnt during Step 2 of cooking.

Step 2: Grease the pan with oil/butter. Add the vegetable mixture back to the pan and spread it evenly. Crack the eggs over the mixture, season lightly with salt and red chili powder.

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Cook on medium-low heat until the eggs are cooked to your liking. I like to leave the yolks a little soft. If you want the beautiful yellow yolks to be seen on top, do not cover the pan. If you’re okay with the egg white covering the yolks, cover and cook to save some cooking time. I started off cooking uncovered and then lost patience and covered the pan causing some of the yolks to be covered by egg whites.

Let the skillet cool for a few minutes, then slice and serve!

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~Gayatri

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Spaghetti Bolognese with Mushrooms

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In keeping with resolutions to live well, we bring you an easy-to-make dish to fuel your workout sessions. Pasta, in general, is a favorite of runners to “carb-load” in preparation for races, and this bolognese with mushroom sauce is a delicious way to get your fix. Bolognese is a meat-based sauce originally from Italy, and typically contains beef, but here I have substituted lean ground turkey for beef. For vegetarian version, you can use a plant-based protein substitute, such as MorningStar Farms Grillers Crumbles (though these aren’t necessarily “healthier”), paneer, or baked tofu. Also, because I love mushrooms and would eat them with almost any meal if I could, I always put sliced fresh mushrooms in this sauce. For noodles, I used a mix of angel-hair pasta and whole wheat thin spaghetti, but the great thing about a sauce like this is that you can serve it over pretty much any type of noodle you like - even use it for a lasagna!

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Ingredients: (serves 6-8)
1-1.5 lbs ground turkey (or beef)
1 15oz can no-salt-added petite diced tomatoes
8oz can no-salt-added tomato sauce
4oz can tomato paste
8oz mushrooms, sliced
~¼ cup minced onions
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
~1tsp oregano (I used dried, but fresh would be even better)
~1tsp ground thyme
~1tsp ground sage
~1tsp ground marjoram
Salt, pepper to taste


Brown the meat in a pan over med-hi heat (no oil necessary - there will be enough fat from the meat). Add the mushrooms and onions and cook until they are soft and most of the released liquid has cooked off. Season with garlic, oregano, thyme, sage, marjoram, salt, pepper, adjusting quantities to taste. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Turn heat to med-lo and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Serve over noodles and top with grated or shredded Parmesan cheese. Pairs well with a glass of Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon - not recommended before a work-out :-)

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~ Karla

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Healthy Gajar Halwa (Indian Carrot Pudding)

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Gajar halwa is one of my favorite Indian desserts. It’s a pudding made with grated carrots cooked in milk. While those two ingredients sound nutritious, it is important to note that a significant amount of processed sugar typically goes into this dish. However, there’s an easy way to make this dessert much healthier! The recipe below completely substitutes sugar with dates, which have a lower glycemic index than table sugar, thus avoiding blood glucose spikes. It also uses non-fat milk thickened with pureed cashews (in addition to pureed dates), which adds healthy fats and protein to the dish. The most awesome part is that the taste is almost unaltered with these healthy substitutions. If you’re feeling adventurous, you may even add some orange zest like I did to give this healthy dessert a delicious fruity flavor!


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Ingredients: (Makes ~2.5 cups)
5-6 large carrots, finely grated
~10 dates, pitted
¼ cup raw cashews
½ tsp cardamom powder
2-3 cups milk (I used nonfat - use non-dairy milk for a vegan option)
Raisins, chopped cashews - optional
1 Tbsp orange zest - optional
1-2 tsp ghee (or coconut oil)
 
Soak the dates and cashews in about 1½ cups of milk for 3-4 hours. You can cut down the time considerably by heating the milk with the dates and cashews until it just starts boiling. Puree the dates and cashews with the milk. The dates are the only sweetener in this recipe (other than the natural sweetness of the cashews), so use more/less dates per your taste. The pureed cashews act as thickener, allowing the use of nonfat milk, while adding some protein to the dessert.
 
Heat ghee in a non-stick pan over medium heat. If using raisins, chopped cashews, use 2 tsp ghee, if not, 1 tsp is enough as long as you’re cooking in a non-stick pan. Once the ghee is warm, add the raisins and cashew, and stir until slightly toasted. Add the grated carrots and stir to mix well. Let it cook for ~5 min stirring occasionally. Add cardamom powder, orange zest and the date-cashew milk, stir, cover and let it cook for another 5 minutes. Keep stirring and adding more milk as needed until the carrots are soft. This halwa shouldn’t be too dry, but also not runny, so cook until most of the milk is absorbed. Let cool a bit and serve garnished with more raisins, cashews if desired.
 
~Gayatri
 
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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Buckwheat and Black Bean Veggie Patty

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Happy New Year, readers!We’d like to start the new year by renewing the resolution to live well - that means working out more, sleeping better, and of course eating healthier! So, it’s only apt to start 2017 with a delicious and healthy recipe - something that you can make ahead and freeze, so you always have a nutritious option on hand whenever hungry. A veggie patty with buckwheat and black beans as a base has excellent texture and can be paired with any vegetables and seasoned with your favorite spices. I added most veggies that I had on hand - carrots, beets and mushrooms. I also added some boiled potatoes for extra binding instead of breadcrumbs/oats.

I’m sure you are aware of the amazing nutritional benefits of most of these ingredients, but in case you’re not into buckwheat yet, I’d strongly recommend trying it. The roasted buckwheat groats work best as they don’t get sticky when cooked (boiled, just like rice). They are hardy and have somewhat of a nutty flavor, they’re rich in minerals and a good source of fiber. More information can be found here.



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Ingredients: (Makes ~20 patties)
1½ cups cooked buckwheat groats
2 Tbsp chopped pecans/walnuts
1½ cups cooked black beans (or one 15 oz can), mashed
2 medium red potatoes, boiled and chopped
2 medium beets, boiled/roasted, peeled and finely chopped
4 oz mushrooms (any variety), finely chopped
1-2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1” ginger, grated
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp paprika
Salt to taste
½ tsp coconut oil + more for pan frying the patties

Heat ½ tsp of coconut oil over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and stir for a few seconds until fragrant. Add mushrooms and carrots, add turmeric powder and season with salt. Cover and cook stirring occasionally until all the liquid released by the mushrooms has evaporated.

In a large bowl mix the cooked buckwheat, black beans, potatoes, beets, pecans and the carrot & mushroom mixture. Season with salt and paprika. Mix well until everything comes together. I find it best to mix by hand, mashing the ingredients as you go.

Make small patties about ½” thick by rolling the mixture between your palms, or roll out the mixture on a parchment covered cookie sheet and cut circles using a cookie cutter or a glass. Keep re-rolling the mixture and making patties until all of it is used.


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The patties are now ready to be pan fried or frozen to be used later. To freeze the patties, arrange them in a single layer on a plate/cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Freeze them covered for an hour, and then transfer to an airtight container. The patties don’t need to be defrosted before cooking.

To cook the patties, add a couple drops of coconut oil to a nonstick pan over medium heat. Gently transfer a couple patties to the pan, cover and cook until browned on the bottom. Flip the patties (adding more oil if needed), and cook covered until the other side is browned. Although I haven't done this yet, if you're cooking a big batch, you could bake them on a greased baking pan at 375 F until browned, flipping them as necessary.

While these make excellent burgers, you can add them to any vegetarian dish such as pasta or salads as a delicious source of protein.


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~Gayatri

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Garlic Toast

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One of the best parts of any Italian dish is the deliciously buttery, garlicky, toasty bread that usually comes with it. Actually, it might be THE best part. Excuse me, waiter? Just wrap my dinner to go...I’m still nomming on the bread! But who wants to wait to go to a restaurant just to enjoy some garlic bread? Granted, if it’s the super fancy kind with fresh cloves of garlic and house-made bread… However, you can easily make simple garlic toast at home, and given that this recipe only calls for 4 ingredients (3 if you don’t care much for parsley), you might already have everything you need!


Ingredients:
1 loaf French bread (or other bread of choice)
Butter (or margarine, or olive oil)
Garlic powder
Parsley flakes (I used dried parsley flakes, but freshly chopped parsley would be even better)


Heat oven to 350°F.

Slice the bread into 1 inch thick slices. Generously spread butter or margarine (or brush with oil, as pictured) on one side of the slices. Liberally season with garlic powder, and then dust with parsley flakes. Place non-seasoned side down on a baking pan (no need to grease the pan, but you can line with foil or parchment paper if you wish).


Bake 10-15 minutes, depending on your preferred level of crispiness. When cool enough to handle, serve with your main dish (if you can restrain yourself from sampling!).


If you happen to have leftovers, refrigerate them in an airtight container. You can reheat them in a microwave (~5-10 seconds), but reheating in an oven will result in crispier toast. Enjoy!

~Karla

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Savory Dill Cakes (Shepu Vadi)

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Leafy greens are a good source of iron & calcium among other nutrients. I’m a big fan of most leafy vegetables, but they may not be everyone’s favorite. However one can always find ways to sneak them into various dishes. One such nutrient packed delicious snack is dill cakes. Dill (which is known as “shepu” in Marathi language) is used in India not just as an herb for flavoring, but also as a main ingredient in a lot of dishes. The dill cakes (or shepu vadi) can be served several ways - steamed, pan fried or deep fried. Steaming and then deep frying is a very common version, but to reduce the fat content, I prefer steaming and then pan frying if I really want the crispiness. The basic ingredients are dill and chickpea flour. Beyond that, spices and add-ins such as sesame seeds, caraway seeds (ajwain) etc. can be added based on taste preference.




Ingredients:
1 cup packed chopped fresh dill
~1 cup chickpea flour (besan) - sifted
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
~1 inch grated ginger (or to taste) - could use ginger powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp toasted sesame - optional
Salt to taste
1 small green chili - optional
½ tsp jaggery - optional
Water
Oil (optional for pan frying)


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In a bowl or large plate, mix all ingredients except water. Add water a couple teaspoons at a time to make a thick dough.


Roll the dough into a log. Bring water to boil, place the dill roll in a steamer and steam for 15-20 minutes, until completely cooked. You can check by inserting a knife or toothpick - once cooked, there should be hardly any crumbs sticking to the knife/toothpick. I also like to line the steamer with lettuce/cabbage leaves to prevent the dough from sticking to the steamer. Parchment paper could be used for the same, or you can grease the base of the steamer with some oil.


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Once slightly cooled, slice the steamed roll ~¼“ thick. These steamed dill cakes are ready to serve as is if you’d like the healthiest option. To make them even more delicious and add a nice crisp, I like to pan fry the slices with a few drops of oil until golden brown on both sides. Whichever way you choose, the taste won’t disappoint you!




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~Gayatri

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Mushroom Asparagus Quiche

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What can I say about quiche that hasn’t already been said? It’s an easy-to-make dish, it can be customized however you like, and, with its filling of eggs, milk (or cream), and cheese, it is substantial enough to satisfy just about anyone. You can get super creative with assembling the various ingredients and produce works of art, but even fledgeling foodies can prepare a quiche that looks and tastes delicious. Here's a simple dice-and-dump recipe for a hearty breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

 

Ingredients: (serves 6-8)
~8 asparagus spears
~4oz mushrooms
4 eggs
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
~1 cup + 3 TBSP shredded cheddar cheese
~2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Pepper, salt, paprika to taste
1 pie crust


Heat oven to 350°F.

Beat eggs in a bowl. Add milk and spices and mix well. Finely chop the asparagus and mushrooms.

 

Toss the chopped mushroom and asparagus with 1 cup of shredded cheese. Place pie crust in a 9” pie pan, spread veggie-cheese mixture into the pie crust, then pour in the egg-milk mixture. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top.

Bake 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the quiche cool for 5-10 minutes, then dig in!

 

~ Karla

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