Kulfi (Cheat Recipe!)

The days seem to be finally warming up in our parts, and we’ve been taking full advantage of it. We’ve been going for walks in our neighborhood and making regular trips to the park. The change in weather seems to bring about a change in our food preferences as well, where we’re opting for lighter and cooler meals. Enter this delicious Kulfi.

Kulfi is the South Asian Subcontinent’s equivalent of Western ice cream. Traditionally, sugar and milk is cooked over low heat until much of it has thickened and reduced. Although delicious, ain’t nobody got time for that! The recipe I’m sharing today was given to me by a good friend (Hi Reetu!), and cuts the time to a fraction. It’s quick to whip up, and always leaves behind a great impression. No one will know that it takes literally 5 minutes to throw together ;)

KulfiPic

 

 

Kulfi

Yield:  20-25 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 16 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • ½ cup ground unsalted nuts (almond or pistachio) (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder (optional)
  • Pinch of saffron (optional)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until completely combined.  Pour into molds and freeze for at least 12 hours before serving.

Note:  Small disposable cups can be used as kulfi molds.  Cover cup with aluminum foil and insert a wood stick into the center.  The foil will help keep the stick in place.

Simple Mushroom Pasta

After nearly 2 years of blogging, I’ve come to terms with the fact that this isn’t a summer fling, and I really am in it for the long haul. I finally put a ring on it.

My Ninja Naan owns its domain and is officially off the market!

 

Exciting news aside, I love pasta!  I feel like it is one of the most underrated foods (along with lentils), and its greatness is usually masked with copious amounts of cream and/or cheese.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cheesy Ziti and creamy Alfredo, but there is something that should be said about lightly dressed pastas that allow the noodles to shine.

I stumbled upon this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Flour and Spice, and have been hooked!  It’s a lightly spiced pasta dish that is dusted with delicious meaty mushrooms.  It’s a great vegetarian alternative to the usual heavy pasta dishes, and it really allows the mushrooms and spaghetti to shine.  Give it a whirl and let me know how it goes! I’m sure you will enjoy it just as much as we did :)

 

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Simple Mushroom Pasta

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pasta (spaghetti or linguine)
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Lemon, to taste
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Parsley, for garnish

Directions:

Cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Reserve one cup cooking liquid, drain, and set aside.

In a large pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and cook until the mushrooms begin to change color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Add desired amount of lemon juice, pasta, reserved cooking liquid, parmesan cheese, and butter. Toss well and return to heat. Cook for a few minutes until the cheese and butter has melted, and the liquid has been absorbed.

Garnish with additional parmesan cheese and parsley.

 

Middle Eastern Chicken Skewers/ Shish Taouk

Hello Friends! It’s been a while, huh?

My brother flew in from California to spend his spring break with us, and we’ve just been busy with him. I feel like I had been waiting for his upcoming trip for SOOOO long, and as soon as he came the time jut flew by. I had so many cooking/baking plans for him, but there’s only so much food that I can stuff him with :)

The day my brother was set to arrive, I decided to make Cheesesteak Sandwiches for him. I needed to make a quick run to the local meat shop to buy the meat for the sandwiches, and while I was there I picked up a packet of boneless chicken breasts. After coming home and prepping the meat, I decided to marinate the chicken for Shish Taouk (I found the recipe here. It is by far the most authentic recipe I have found so far!) and just freeze it. This was my first time freezing marinated meat. The verdict? AMAZING! I can’t believe I waited so long to try this method! It makes life so much easier, especially if you’re in a bind to get dinner/lunch cooked. You just marinate the chicken (fresh, not previously frozen) and freeze. Then you allow it to thaw at room temperature, skewers those suckers up, and grill/broil until done. That’s all! Check and check ;)

 

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Shish Taouk

(Arab Chicken Skewers)

Yield: 3 to 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ to 2 pounds boneless chicken breast, cut into desired sized pieces
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except chicken together in a bowl and mix well. Add chicken and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (overnight is best).

Pierce chicken onto skewers and cook on an oiled grill until the meat is cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes on each side.

Note: Fresh chicken can be marinated and put in the freezer. Whenever you want to eat, take the chicken out of the freezer and allow it to thaw at room temperature.  Also, to prevent chicken from drying, cover cooked skewers with aluminum foil until ready to eat.  This will trap the steam and prevent the meat from drying out.

Granola Bars (Chocolate Chip and Coconut)

Homemade granola bars are something that have been on my bucket list for quite some time.  I’ve tried a handful of recipes, but the problem that I kept running into was that the bars wouldn’t hold together well.  Some recipes were better than others, but most crumbled under pressure (pun intended ;) ).  I finally stumbled upon the perfect recipe.  The secret lies in coconut oil!  Coconut oil is what helps maintain the shape of the granola bars, while still balancing a neutral flavor.  While the recipe I’m sharing is a coconut and chocolate chip based granola bar, I’m sure the ingredients can be swapped out for whatever your heart desires :)

 

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Granola Bars

(Chocolate Chip and Coconut)

Yield:  One 9”x13” Pan

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups quick oats (pulsed rolled oats can be substituted)
  • ½ cup Rice Krispies cereal
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350˚F and set aside an ungreased 9”x13” pan.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.  If using a stand mixer, use paddle attachment and mix on lowest speed.

Transfer mixture to pan and use damp hands to press it in.

Bake for 18 minutes.  Score the bars when they first come out of the oven.  Cool completely, then cut into bars.

Daring Cooks: Dressings/Vinaigrettes- Italian Style Vinaigrette

I joined Daring Cooks several months back, but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to participate in any of the challenges.  When this month’s challenge was announced, creating homemade dressings/vinaigrettes, I was ready and raring for action!  I love salads, and I used to eat at least one everyday, but lately I’ve been putting it off.  I guess with the day-to-day craziness that I have going on, I’ve just been too lazy to want to peel, chop, and wash vegetables for a salad.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Daring Cooks is similar to Daring Bakers, which is a group of bloggers and non-bloggers who are assigned a “secret” challenge on the 17th of each month.  The 14th of each month is the “reveal” day, in which those who blog can write about their experiences and recipes for the challenge.

For March’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge, Ruth, Shelley, and Sawsan asked us to totally veg out! We made salads and dressings, letting the sky be the limit as we created new flavors and combinations that reflect our own unique tastes.  I decided to start the month by whipping up homemade buttermilk ranch dressing.  The dressing was definitely easy to make, but something about the taste just wasn’t right.  I decided to try again, and I made this delicious homemade Italian Style Vinaigrette.  Needless to say, I’ve been back on track with salads at home (although now I cheat and buy premixed salads from the grocery store.  Sshhh! It’s our little secret ;) )

I’m so excited that now I’m on the hunt for a reliable ranch and ceasar dressing! Wish me luck! :)

 

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Italian Style Vinaigrette

Yield:  1 Cup

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients together in a bowl or bottle.  Whisk/shake well to combine.  Allow the dressing to sit for a few hours before serving so that the flavors have some time to blend.

Refrigerate leftovers.