Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Super Easy Milk Powder Barfi

An addictive yet easy recipe to make Barfi (Sweet Fudge) using FIVE ingredients. A great addition to any celebration, this Milk Powder Barfi is a keeper!  



Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 


Barely any time left for Diwali and here is a super delish and easy recipe to make to celebrate. This recipe of Milk Powder Barfi uses ONLY FIVE ingredients and comes together rather quickly. 

To understand what the sweet is, barfi is any kind of sweet fudge. Made from a variety of ingredients, milk is the most popular ingredient used to make barfi. Coconut, bottle gourd, besan, nuts or various lentils are also used to make different kinds of barfi recipes. 

Diwali is the perfect time to enjoy Indian sweets. The celebration that continues for a week is enjoyed with a lot of grandeur in most parts if the country. Unique sweet and savory recipes are prepared, lights are lit, homes are decorated and everyone adorns pretty clothes to celebrate. 

Food forms a LARGE part of the celebration and LOTS of sweets are made. While there are some traditional recipes that are prepared, certain new recipes that are quick and easy appeal to many folks. Keeping that in mind, here is an easy to make addictive barfi recipe. 



How to make Milk Powder Barfi?

Milk barfi is a family favorite and I make it pretty often. However, it does take quite some time to thicken the milk and convert it to barfi. An easy way to make a quick version of the same recipe is to use milk powder. The powdered form enables making the recipe in under 30 minutes, and the taste is almost like the milk version! 

To make this recipe all you need is five pantry essentials, a handful of add-ins and 30 minutes. The process is super simple; mix everything, cook everything and make pieces using the dough. 

This recipe is simpler than a lot of other recipes that need a specific consistency of sugar syrup. Here, we are only looking for the sugar to melt. This makes the recipe really easy compared to many fudge recipes. 



Tips to make Milk Powder Barfi

This recipe is super easy. However, keeping a few things in mind will help make it perfectly. 

Avoid any lumps from forming at all the stages. From the step of adding milk powder to ghee to the step of mixing in sugar. If the mixture turns lumpy, turn the flame to the lowest level and break them all before proceeding to the next step. Else the lumps will get hard and spoil the texture of the barfi.

Maintain the flame at medium to ensure the mixture does not stick to the pan. Using a non-stick pan works best for this recipe. 

Cook the mixture only till it comes together as a ball. Do not over cook else the barfi will turn chewy. 



Variations

I added a handful of nuts, saffron and cardamom to the barfi. If you like you can add other ingredients like chocolate, rose syrup, mango puree too. It makes the barfi taste great and have plenty of variations. 

Another common variation to the recipe is to add condensed milk to the barfi. This gives the barfi a richer texture than sugar and is a great idea too. Skip the sugar and adjust the time if you decide to use condensed milk. 

Following these easy tips will definitely help make perfectly melt in the mouth barfis. They are perfect to bring to a Diwali party or just enjoy them through the festive season. Not just Diwali, these barfis are great for all celebrations throughout the year! 



If you like Indian sweets, here are some really easy sweets that you can try this Diwali: 

Ingredients

Milk Powder 2 1/2 cups
Ghee 1/4 cup
Milk 3/4 cup
Sugar 1/4 cup
Slivered Nuts 1/4 cup; I used almonds, cashews and pistachios
Saffron a pinch



Method

In a thick bottom pan heat milk and ghee. Once hot, turn the flame to low and slowly add in the milk powder. Mix well to avoid any lumps.

Add the sugar and stir continuously till it comes together. The sugar will begin to dissolve. Keep mixing to keep lumps away.

In about 10 minutes, the mixture will thicken and finally form a dough. As the ghee starts to separate add in cardamom powder and saffron and mix. 

Transfer the dough to a plate lined with parchment paper or ghee. Using a spatula make the top layer smooth and add the slivered nuts. Press them down gently and let the barfi cool for a couple of hours.

Using a sharp knife cut squares and store in an airtight container. The barfi can be refrigerated for up to 10 days. 





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Thursday, October 10, 2019

One Pot Pasta in Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

Creamy Pumpkin Sauce and Pasta - An easy to make 30 minute dinner. One pot, a handful of easy to find pantry essentials and Vegan friendly too!  

This post sponsored by Rachael Ray Cookware. All opinions are mine alone.



Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

Fall is here and I am ready to embrace all the flavors for the season. PUMPKIN, the star of the days to come is a favorite in our household. We love using pumpkin in quite a few recipes ranging from appetizers and mains to drinks and desserts. 



Pastas are one of our go-to meals for weeknights. These recipes come together  easily. Plus, there are plenty of variations to whip up a new combinations using varied sauces, pastas, proteins and vegetables. And, most importantly; everyone here LOVES pasta and a side of toasted bread! 


If you love making pastas but are limiting yourself to just the regular sauces like red, white and green; you DEFINITELY need this recipe. A creamy pasta made using pumpkin puree, this orange pasta is a keeper! And if you need even more colorful ideas for pasta; try these:




One Pan Pasta Recipe

Serving quick dinner is often a necessity. When you do not have time for multiple steps and complex processes, recipes like these come handy.

Here I have cooked the pasta and made the sauce in the same pan. Cooking the pasta with some seasoning and then adding the remaining sauce ingredients not only shortens the time required; it makes a rather flavorful pasta. 



For this recipe I used a pan from Rachael Ray Create Delicious Stainless-Steel Cookware set. These pans feature durable polished stainless-steel construction inside and out for gleaming elegance. 

An aluminum base encapsulated in magnetic stainless steel provides even heating and versatile all-range use, including induction. All the pans are dishwasher safe! 


What need to make this Vegan Pumpkin Pasta

This recipe makes a delicious Vegan dinner that comes together quickly and in one pan only. The sauce I made here can be used in many recipes. It needs a handful of easy to find ingredients. 
  • Dried Pasta: Most of the types of pasta shapes work well here. I used Rotini but everything from spaghetti to penne works well. The cooking time might vary slightly so keep an eye! 
  • Pumpkin Puree: With Fall here and time for all things Pumpkin, I generally have a can of pumpkin puree in my pantry. That works well here and so does fresh pumpkin puree. Choose the kind you have at hand. 
  • Coconut Milk: Given the recipe is Vegan, I skipped heavy cream and milk and opted for Coconut milk. If you are making a Vegetarian version, adding either cream or milk is also an option.
  • Seasoning: As the pasta has pumpkin puree, coconut milk and a handful of other flavoring agents, I kept the seasoning minimal and just added salt, pepper, nutmeg and oregano. A lot of people do like adding some Pumpkin Spice to the pasta too.  
  • Other Ingredients: Here I used only a couple of vegetables like spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. However, adding a LOT of vegetables is an option too. Or even your favorite protein. Just saute them in some oil and top the cooked pasta with it. They do taste super amazing. Or throw in a handful of the frozen vegetable mixture. That works wonderfully too.



Why is this a PERFECT weeknight dinner?

This pasta made in a flavorful pumpkin sauce is great for weeknights. It comes together in under 30 minutes and needs just one pan to make. 

The recipe is super versatile and can be used with any combination of vegetables or seasonings. 

Though leftovers from the dish like any other pasta dish do not freeze very well, it makes a great option for lunch box. The sauce will retain the consistency as there is no flour to thicken it up. And the pasta does taste great even at room temperature. 


Hope you all try this one for Fall dinners! I like to serve mine with toasted baguette or bruschetta. Plus adding a simple butternut squash soup to go with the pasta completes Fall dinner! 



Ingredients

Dried Pasta 8 oz, I used tricolor Rotini
Water 2 1/2 cups
Salt 1 tsp
Spinach 1 cup, packed
Sun dried tomatoes 1/4 cup, chopped
Olive Oil 2 tbsp
Garlic 2-3 cloves, minced
Coconut Milk 1/2 cup
Salt 1 tsp
Dried Oregano 1/2 tsp
Nutmeg Powder a pinch




Method

In a steel saucepan add olive oil. Heat for a minute and add minced garlic. Let the raw flavor vanish. 

Add the other ingredients- dried pasta, water, salt, pepper, nutmeg powder and dried oregano Mix well and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce flame to simmer and cover the pan. 

Simmer until the pasta is cooked and all the liquid is absorbed. Open the lid, stir in coconut milk, pumpkin puree, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. 

Stir and simmer for a few minutes. The pasta sauce will start to thicken and become creamy. 

Mix everything well and serve with a side of garlic bread or toasted baguette. 




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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Graveyard Tomato Hummus with Halloween Pita Chips

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #daretodip #idaretodip #CollectiveBias


Graveyard Tomato Hummus; a dip FULL of flavorful chickpeas, RO*TEL® and a couple of other ingredients. Served with Halloween inspired Pita Chips, this is a PERFECT appetizer for any party!


Are you ready for all things Halloween? We are in Fall, October is speeding by and before we know it, Halloween will be here! Yes, the PERFECT day to indulge in theme party or just cook up a storm for the family. 

Every year I make a few Halloween inspired recipes for my family and this year is no exception. I am kicking off Halloween dishes with this Tomato Hummus and Pita Chips. 



Super quick and easy recipe thanks to my trusted can of RO*TEL® Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, this hummus needs only a handful of ingredients and comes together in UNDER 10 minutes! Plus, I served it with easy to make Halloween Pita Chips. Together, the chips and the dip is a PERFECT match! Would you DARE TO DIP??


Everything you need to make the Tomato Hummus

As I mentioned above, this recipe needs just a handful of ingredients. The great news is that you can easily find ALL the ingredients in one trip to Walmart. Here is what you need to make the dish:
  • Chickpeas: The recipe can be made using canned chickpeas or fresh. If using fresh, make sure you soak them for atleast 12 hours before boiling and using them. I prefer canned chickpeas because it gives a great texture.
  • RO*TEL® Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies: An easy way to add kick to regular hummus is to include a couple of cans of these. They are delish and known for delivering bold adventurous flavor to the dip.
  • Garlic: One of my favorite ingredients to get an extra zing to the hummus. I would strongly recommend adding that for flavor. 
  • Sesame Seeds: An easy substitute for tahini, coarsely ground sesame seeds add a lot of texture to the dip. This can be substituted with tahini if desired. 
  • Olive Oil: Using good quality olive oil is the best option for the dip. It helps get the perfect creaminess to the hummus. 
Hover over the image below to get everything you need. RO*TEL® Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies can be found in the canned tomato aisle at Walmart. 




Making homemade Halloween Pita Chips

When you make a graveyard theme dip, you NEED some perfect chips to complement it. Pita chips are great with any hummus and when they are shaped like graveyard creatures, it completes the Halloween appetizer perfectly. 

I used Pita chips from the store and used a sharp knife to cut out the shapes. Using Halloween themed cookie cutters works well too. Plus, having an edible marker to highlight the chip borders and draw more details in them is a great idea. I use these markers for chips, cookies and sometimes cakes too. 



The chips take only about 5 minutes of preparation time and 9-10 minutes to bake. They are an awesome opportunity to get kids involved in the process too. Let them draw out their favorite shapes while the dip is being made! 



Serving the dip and chips

Now that we have the components of the dish ready, it is time to decide how to serve everything. 

I like to use a shallow platter to serve this dip. It is a lot of fun to decorate the 'grave' using the sand colored dip and graveyard inspired chips. Plus it makes a great center piece for Halloween parties. 



Another great way to serve this dip is to fill it in individual cups and top each with a graveyard theme chip. The remaining chips can be served in a bowl to share. Looking for more Halloween theme ideas? Check these out! 



Ingredients

For the hummus (serves 8-10)

Canned Chickpeas 2 cans drained (reserve the liquid)
Garlic 5-6 cloves
Olive Oil 1/4 cup
Sesame Seeds 4 tsp
Salt 1 1/2 tsp
Black Pepper Powder 2 tsp



For the Chips

Pita Bread 2-3
Black Pepper Powder 1/2 tsp
Black Edible Marker 
Cooking spray as required





Method

Tomato and Chili Hummus

In a blender add the all the ingredients except the chickpea liquid. Blend to a coarse consistency. Add 2-3 tbsp of the reserved liquid and blend to an almost smooth mixture. Set aside.



Homemade Halloween Pita Chips

Using an edible marker draw out shapes like graves, bats, cats and coffins. Use Halloween cookie cutters if desired. Sprinkle pepper powder on them.

Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C. Spray a cookie tray with cooking spray. Place the pita chips and bake for 9-10 minutes till crisp. Use the marker to decorate the chips. 


Serving the Halloween Platter

In a shallow platter add the hummus. Place the halloween pita chips on the hummus and serve. 



Monday, September 23, 2019

Instant Pot Vegetable Chow Mein

A favorite Asian takeout made easily at home in UNDER 30 minutes. This Instant Pot Vegetable Chow Mein is a keeper I promise! 



Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

This Chow Mein can easily become everyone's favorite recipe. After all, who doesn't like a bowl of noodles; laded with colorful vegetables and seasoned with a simple savory sauce?

I made this recipe in the Instant Pot, making it even more easier and converting a multi-pot recipe to a one pot meal. With the use of the Instant Pot the recipe comes together in under 30 minutes, making it an awesome weeknight dinner idea. Sounds easy? It sure is.



Ingredients for the Chow Mein

This recipe needs a handful of ingredients that can easily be swapped out for something that the family would like. It is a versatile recipe in terms of what goes into it.
  • Noodles- The most important ingredient here, I used Ching's Secret Vegetable Hakka Noodles. They can be found in any Indian store or on Amazon. If you cannot find them, thin spaghetti or any dry noodle pack from the stores works too. Try and avoid super thin noodles as they end up in a mush! 
  • Vegetables- I used a handful of veggies in here. Peppers, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli and cabbage went in. Adding onions, celery, snap peas, cauliflower, baby corn and asparagus is a great idea too. 
  • Seasoning- The noodles are seasoned with soy sauce, vinegar and hot sauce. Sriracha is my choice of sauce for such recipes but any hot sauce of your choice will work. I add a wee bit of chili oil for flavor, but that can be skipped if you do not like the noodles spicy. 
  • Additional ingredients- Adding tofu, paneer or other protein to the recipe is a great idea too. I sometimes air fry tofu pieces and add them to the Chow Mein after it is cooked. They give a great crisp texture to the dish.


Video Recipe



Why make this in the Instant Pot?

Asian food is enjoyed in our house VERY often. The recipes sometimes have intense chopping and then need a bunch of utensils to make everything. If I make chow mein in pans, I definitely need something to boil the noodles and then something to saute them. Plus, a colander to drain the noodles etc! 

In comes the Instant Pot or any electric pressure cooker and eliminates ALL but one pot. The same pot is used to make the sauce, cook the noodles and add the vegetables. No extra vessels or utensils needed here! Plus, the water/ stock is all absorbed by the noodles so no draining etc. 

Lastly, the recipe is cooked under pressure and this shortens the cooking time to just two minutes. Including the time it takes to build pressure and the time taken for the other ingredients to cook, the recipe is ready in under 30 minutes. 



More Instant Pot Asian recipes to try

Ingredients

Sliced Red Peppers 1/2 cup
Thin sliced Carrots 1/2 cup
Sliced Mushrooms 1/2 cup
Broccoli Florets 1/2 cup
Shredded Red Cabbage 1/2 cup
Spring Onion Greens 1/4 cup
Minced Garlic 1 tbsp
Grated Ginger 1 tsp
Vegetable Broth/ Water 3 cups
Soy Sauce 1 tbsp
Vinegar 1/2 tbsp
Vegetable Oil 1 1/2 tsp
Chili Oil 1/2 tsp
Salt 1 tsp



Method

Set the Instant Pot mode to 'Saute'. Once the display reads 'Hot' add oil and chili oil. Add the minced garlic and grated ginger and saute till the raw flavor vanishes. 

Add water/ vegetable broth to deglaze the pot. Add soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well. 

Break the noodle cakes and add them in the Instant Pot. Make sure they are almost completely covered with water/broth. 

Let the water come to a boil and then add mushroom, peppers and carrots. Do not stir.

Close the lid and press  the 'Manual' or 'Pressure Cook' button. Set time to 2 minutes and cook on high pressure. The time should be set to 1/2 the time mentioned on the noodle package. 

Once the Instant Pot beeps, quick release the pressure and open the lid. Add in broccoli, cabbage and spring onion greens. 

Close the lid and let it sit for 2 minutes. Open the lid, mix everything well and serve. 





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Monday, September 16, 2019

Vegan Thai Pasta Salad

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ChooseMazola #CollectiveBias

Protein packed Thai Pasta Salad is a better-for-you 20-minute dinner recipe. Full of fresh ingredients and a lightened dressing, this one is a keeper! 



Who doesn't like pasta salads? Especially if it is packed with better-for-you ingredients, comes together in just a few minutes and is super easy to make! This recipe made with Mazola® Corn Oil is all that and more! A clinical study showed Mazola Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, see Mazola.com.

September is National Cholesterol Awareness Month. I am celebrating the month with light and delicious pasta salad that is one of our favorite recipes. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do! It's possible to reduce saturated fats and cholesterol in your meals easily with simple swaps, such as substituting butter with Mazola Corn Oil.​


What is a Pasta Salad?

The easiest way to describe any pasta salad would be a mix of cooked pasta, vegetables and a dressing of your choice. These are generally lighter than traditional pastas, as they are not laded with sauces, cream or cheese. They use fresh vegetables and can be made ahead. 

Today's Thai Pasta salad is just like that. Combining pasta with a flavorful yet light dressing gives the pasta a characteristic flavor. The end result is moist, crunchy and does not feel dry at all. 


What makes this Pasta Salad Better-For-You?

Traditional pastas and pasta salads are loved by our family. It is a great idea to swap up a few ingredients in the recipe and make it better-for-you. That is exactly what I do each time I make a pasta salad. Today, I have made these swaps to make the dish better-for-you. 
First, I used lentil pasta in place of regular pasta. This fiber rich pasta is packed with protein, making it a great addition to the salad. 


Next, this lighter version of pasta has fresh vegetables. No frozen vegetables and no meat. Everything is chopped right in the kitchen, keeping the salad super fresh.


And yes, I used Mazola Corn Oil instead of butter to make the dressing. Mazola Corn Oil is an all-purpose, cholesterol free cooking oil that is a smart heart-healthy* choice for your family. *See Mazola.com for more information on the relationship between corn oil and heart health. It has a variety of uses including baking, grilling, sautéing, stir frying, or mixing up a marinade or dressing.

With these swaps in place, the salad becomes a great addition to any party or weeknight dinner. Just whip up everything a few minutes before you are ready to serve and dig all forks in! 


Variations

This pasta salad is made using red lentil penne. These are my personal favorites from all the lentil pastas, but chickpea pasta, black rice pasta, etc. will work great too. Pick the one that you like the best. 

We love sauces and dressings made from peanut butter here. However, the same recipe can be made with almond butter or cashew butter too. The flavors for the dressing come from the butter, so pick your favorite here! 

I love making my salads colorful. It almost feels like eating a rainbow. So I have all the colorful vegetables in there. However, if you dislike any of the vegetables like red cabbage, peppers or cucumber, swap that with something like scallions, steamed broccoli florets or corn. 

Lastly, the toppings. I added cilantro and fried noodles here. But roasted peanuts, roasted sesame seeds or a sprinkle of seaweed adds a lot of crunch to the salad too. Pick and choose what you like! 

The salad is versatile and it is super easy to mix and match ingredients to suit everyone's taste. Plus, the recipe comes together in under 30 minutes, making it a great weeknight dinner! 


Ingredients

For the dressing 

Peanut Butter 2 tbsp
Soy Sauce 1 tsp
Vinegar 1 tsp
Chili Flakes 1/4 tsp
Oregano 1/4 tsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
Black Pepper 1/4 tsp


For the Pasta

Dry Red Lentil Pasta 2 cups
Diced Red Pepper 1/4 cup
Diced Green Pepper 1/4 cup
Diced Red Cabbage 1/2 cup
Diced Carrots 1/4 cup
Diced Cucumber 1/2 cup
Salt 1 tsp
Cilantro to top
Fried noodles to top (optional)


Method

Place a pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil. Once it boils, season with a tsp of salt and then add the red lentil pasta. Cook for 7-8 minutes (or as per package instructions), until the pasta is al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients under 'dressing'. Mix well and set aside. 

In a large bowl, mix together pasta and vegetables. Pour the sauce over and toss to combine. Top with cilantro and fried noodles and serve. 


Note: If making the salad ahead of time, reserve some dressing. Refrigerate the pasta and serve topped with the reserved dressing, as the pasta tends to become dry in the refrigerator.