We had a busy Sunday doing chores and running errands. By the evening I was exhausted and didn’t want to spend a lot of time cooking. I love pesto sauce. And a good pasta. So for dinner yesterday, I made a pesto pasta with a twist. I substituted the pasta with zucchini noodles or zoodles, which look like spaghetti, to make the pasta carb free.
A heads-up though, Zucchini has a high water content – 95%! So serve the salad as soon as it’s ready as the zoodles (zucchini noodles) tend to get soggy.
Zucchini is a low calorie vegetable and can be extremely beneficial in a weight loss diet. It has a lot of other health benefits as well. It is fiber rich and is an excellent source of Vitamin C and a number of other vitamins and minerals. It has a sweet taste when eaten raw. So for my carb free pasta, I used Zucchini noodles. You could use a spiralizer to make the zucchini noodles. If you don’t have one, you could use a vegetable peeler to peel the zucchini lengthwise.
For my pesto, I used 1 cup basil and 1 cup spinach. Basil is a divine herb. It just adds a wonderful freshness to whatever you add it to. I love it any which way, whether it’s on a pizza, in a sandwich or pasta, salad or even in a drink. It adds a delicious flavour to whatever it’s added to.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
For the Pesto sauce:
Basil – 1 cup
Spinach – 1 cup
Pine nuts – 60 gms or 1/4 cup (toasted)
Parmesan cheese – 60 gms or 1/4 cup (Freshly grated)
Olive oil – 1/4 cup
Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
Black pepper (ground)- 1/4 teaspoon
Garlic cloves – 2
Lemon – 1/2
For the pasta:
Zucchini noodles – 500 gms
Yellow bell pepper – 1/2 (Julienned)
Shallots – 1 (Julienned)
Cherry tomatoes – 1 cup (Halved)
Black olives (pitted) – 1/2 cup
Oregano – 1 teaspoon
Salt – 1 teaspoon
Black pepper (ground) – 1/4 teaspoon
Mix basil leaves, garlic cloves and toasted pine nuts and pulse together in a food processor / blend in a blender.
Add Olive oil to the mix and blend till smooth.
Add spinach, parmesan, salt and pepper and blend till the pesto sauce is smooth. Squeeze and add the juice of half a lemon and blend for a few seconds.
In a salad bowl add the pesto to the zucchini noodles and mix well.
Add onions, peppers, olives and tomatoes to the salad bowl and the seasoning – oregano, salt and pepper and mix well so the vegetables are coated with the sauce. Serve chilled!
And presto! Your pesto pasta is ready to be served. That was cheesy but I had been wanting to say it since I thought of it after I made it yesterday.
Mexican food is one of my favourite cuisines and I love burritos as much as the next person. I used to be a loyal customer of the Mexican fast food chain here, so much so, that they used to give me a VIP discount at this one location, a couple of minutes from my house. This one time I didn’t eat there for about two months because I was traveling. When I went back there, they asked where I’d been because they hadn’t seen me for a while. If they know you that well you eat there too often!
I recently realized however that even a small burrito has over 500 calories. That’s a little less than half of my calorie requirement for a day. I still indulge in the occasional burrito once in a while but gone are the days of me being a VIP customer. I do still crave it and so I came up with this recipe for a burrito bowl.
I chose chicken as the meat because it’s easy to cook and healthy to eat. I chose quinoa as the carb, instead of brown rice. The carbs in Quinoa and brown rice are comparable. However, quinoa not only has a higher content of protein and fiber, but is also a good source of iron and folate, much needed by a lot of women.
This recipe is a one pot meal and is a protein packed delicious meal.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Chicken breasts – 2 (Cut in bite sized pieces)
Red bell pepper – 1 (Julienned)
Yellow bell pepper – 1 (Julienned)
Red Onion – 1 Medium (Julienned)
Corn – 1/2 cup (Steamed)
Avocado – 1/2 (Sliced)
Olive oil – 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon
Cilantro – Handful (chopped)
Spices for chicken:
Salt – 1 teaspoon
Garlic powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Cayenne pepper – 1/4 teaspoon
Onion powder – 1 teaspoon
Oregano – 1/2 teaspoon
Crushed black pepper – 1/2 teaspoon
For the quinoa:
Quinoa – 1 cup
Chicken broth – 2 cups
Black beans – 1 cup (Canned)
Tomato – 1 Medium (Cubed)
Tomato purée – 1 tablespoon
Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
Garlic powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Onion powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Spices for vegetables:
Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
Crushed black pepper – 1/4 teaspoon
In a bowl add chicken, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, the spices for chicken mentioned above and mix well.
Heat a pan, add 1/2 tablespoon oil to it. Once the oil becomes hot add the chicken.
Cook the chicken on high to medium heat, for 8 minutes so that it becomes a little crispy on the outside and then on low heat for 4 minutes so it cooks through
Remove the chicken from the pan and add 1/2 teaspoon oil, followed by the onions and bell peppers.
Add salt and black pepper to the vegetables and saute on high to medium heat for 4 minutes.
Remove the vegetables from the pan (they should be crispy but not raw).
Add 1/2 teaspoon oil to the pan and add the chopped tomatoes. Saute for a couple of minutes on medium heat.
Add the quinoa, tomato puree, black beans, salt and garlic powder and saute for a couple of minutes.
Add chicken broth and put the lid on. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
Once the quinoa is cooked, turn the heat off. Add the vegetables, chicken and corn to the pan.
Garnish with fresh avocado slices and chopped cilantro and serve hot.
I hope you enjoy cooking and eating my version of a burrito bowl as much as I do.
Keeping up with our new year resolution, we had soup for dinner last night. Well, we didn’t entirely follow our resolution, as we skipped the salad and ate the soup with freshly baked slices of french baguette. But this is the longest that I have followed any new year’s resolution so far, even if in part only. So I’m not complaining. Last night’s dinner was a delicious green apple and butternut squash soup with spiced olive oil.
I have made butternut squash soup before and it has the creamiest texture. This time around, I experimented with the ingredients by adding apple instead of carrots that I usually use, to the squash. The apple added a nice tartness to the soup. I also used roasted cumin powder, which added a very nice flavour to the slightly tart creamy soup.
We enjoyed eating it and I hope so will you.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Green apple (cubed)- 2 cups
Butternut Squash (cubed) – 3 cups
Potato (cubed) – 1 cup
Leek (chopped) – 1.5 cups
Chicken broth (unsalted) – 2 cups (You could also use unsalted vegetable broth)
Water – 2 cups
Butter – 1 tablespoon
Salt – 2.5 teaspoons
Black peppercorn – 0.5 teaspoon
Cumin powder (roast the cumin seeds before grinding) – 1 teaspoon
Nutmeg powder – 1 pinch
For the Garnish:
Chives (chopped) – A handful
Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
Garlic powder – 1 teaspoon
Red chilli flakes – 1 teaspoon
Salt – 0.25 teaspoon
Heat butter in a pot and add the chopped leek. Saute for a couple of minutes
Add the cubed vegetables and saute for 5 minutes
Add salt, cumin powder and peppercorn to the pot
Add chicken broth and water to the vegetables. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 45 minutes
Remove the lid and blend the contents of the pot. Add a pinch of nutmeg powder and simmer for a few minutes
For the spiced oil:
Mix the olive oil, garlic powder, salt and red chilli flakes in a small bowl to make a spiced oil mixture.
Serve the soup hot and add a spoon of the spiced oil. Add some chopped chives. Enjoy it with some warm bread.
This new year, my husband and I decided to eat healthier. Most weekday evenings, our dinner is usually a soup and a salad. He’s very fond of tomato soup and he would drink a lot of the readymade cup soups available in supermarkets. However, I’m wary of packaged foods for a lot of reasons, mostly because of the hidden sugar content. So I decided to try and make fresh soup instead. I’ve also tried to make the tomato soup healthier by adding other vegetables to it. This soup is easy to make, healthy – one cup equals at least two portions of vegetables in a day. And you would usually find these vegetables in your fridge.
Coincidentally, I had made this soup for one of my closest friends when she was in the hospital after she’d had her baby. She had enjoyed it and had asked me for a recipe later. I didn’t have one for her then because when I usually cook, I cook from approximations. Now I can just send this to her. Here’s the recipe:
Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 1 hour
1. Carrots – 2
2. Tomatoes – 2 medium ones
3. Celery stalks – 2
4. Sweet potato – 1/2
5. Garlic – 3 cloves
6. Salt – 1 teaspoon
7. Peppercorn – 1/4 teaspoon
8. Bayleaf – 1
9. Water – 3.5 cups
1. Chop the vegetables in cubes.
2. Combine in a pot, add water, salt, pepper and bayleaf. Simmer with lid on for an hour.
3. Remove the bayleaf and blend.
Serve hot with nice crusty bread!
You could garnish the soup with some butter / cream.
The sweet potato could be substituted with regular potato. In the past, I have also added half of a medium sized onion, to the recipe.
I am a foodie and I enjoy cooking and love to eat. In fact, I live to eat. I’m also a stay at home mum to a 13 month old. So I usually don’t have the time to cook elaborate meals (unless I am hosting people and / or my husband is watching my little one). Most days though, I don’t have the luxury of time and try to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible, cooking simple yet tasteful meals. Simple cooking leads to easier and faster clean up (which is my least favourite thing to do!). But my darling husband helps out with the clean up most evenings.
That said, for the most part I intend to use this blog to post tasty, easy and fast to cook, healthy recipes. However, being the foodie that I am, I do allow myself to indulge in not so healthy but ohh so yummy meals once in a while, recipes of which I will share as well. We only live once, right?
So this blog is for mums and dads, stay at home or working, or for anyone who is a food lover. Warning to the latter though, there will be a significant amount of whining and ranting about the hard life of a mum!