July 30, 2011

Southwest Style Eggs, Sausage & Toast

The Tejas Connection
 So after about 10 days of take-outs and packaged heat-and-eat foods, I was again guilty enough that i just had to make a decent breakfast at home for Nik. I remembered an old favorite - Breakfast tacos - but had no fresh tortillas at home, so instead, we settled for Southwest style eggs. I know everyone knows how to make eggs ;-) but this is a tasty twist on the usual scrambled!

Total Prep Time: 10-15 min


1) 2 medium eggs
2) 2 tbsp Pace Mild (or medium for adults) & Chunky salsa
3) 1/8 cup milk for eggs
4) 1 sausage link
5) 1 slice of bread for toast
6) butter for toast and for making eggs
7) salt and pepper to taste.


Whisk eggs in a bowl, and then mix in milk, salsa, and salt and pepper to taste. Add a pat of butter to a skillet and cook eggs - either scrambled, or an omelette I make Nik's scrambled so he can eat by himself! Cook sausage link in a separate skillet (or in the microwave if thats the kind you prefer! I cut Nik's into little pieces!). At the same time get the toast ready, and buttered.

Always a hit!!!!

July 19, 2011

Nani's* Tahiri

Nani's Summer Tahiri
Memories of long summer vacations spent at Nani's house always bring about fond memories of tahiri on summer afternoons. Yellow rice with spices and peas, with dahi (plain yogurt) on the side and nimbu-pani (lemonade) could cool down any hot summer day. So that is what we had for dinner today - "Nani ki Tahiri". I also made some ham to add some protein, and while my nani was pure vegetarian ;) Nikky and I sure aren't!!

Total Prep Time: 20-30 minutes


1) 1 cup long grained basmati rice (washed and soaked for 10 min)
2) 1 tsp turmeric powder
3) 1 tbsp cumin seeds
4) 1/3 cup peas (thawed)
5) 1 tbsp canola oil
6) 2 cups water


Preheat the canola oil and fry cumin seeds and turmeric powder for a few minutes before quenching the heat with the peas. fry peas for a few minutes and add rice and water. Bring to a rolling boil and then turn the heat down to medium low and cover the pan. Test the rice after about 15 min and if done, turn off the heat and let the rice sit for a few minutes (in India that is called "Dum" with a soft D ... which means to give it strength ... or something like that!!).

In a skillet, I heated thick ham slices for just a few minutes on either side. For Nikky I diced one of the slices into bite sized pieces. Overall - it was a hit!!!

* Maternal Grandmother

July 14, 2011

Zucchini, Turkey and Cheese Muffins

So, I've been wanting to try some kind of Zucchini muffins for a while. I finally found a recipe that I could make work for Nik. If the boys and Tony liked it - it would be a hit!! So here goes ..


1) 1 cup medium ground corn meal
2) 1 cup all purpose flour
3) 1 cup grated zucchini (1 medium sized!)
4) 1 cup grated cheese (italian blend)
5) 6-8 slices of medium deli slices of roast turkey
6) 1/2 cup shortening
7) 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used greek yogurt)
8) 2 large eggs
9) 2 tsp baking powder
10) 1/2 tsp baking soda
11) 1 tsp salt
12) 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Didn't make the cut with my clan :(
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. I just mixed everything in my KitchenAid stand mixer. Then add all the wet ingredients and mix everything together until well blended. Spoon the mixture into a well greased 12 cup muffin pan. Bake at 375F for 20-25 min. Makes 12 muffins.

So, Nik ate half a muffin and drank all his juice before quickly declaring that he was "All done!". Tony made a face after 1 bite. Alex had about two bites and Bryce refused to even look at them!

Hrmpfff!! So this one was a definite miss with my clan!!

July 13, 2011

Shrimp & Tater Flats

Here's a recipe I tried a while back. It was before I started this blog so I just wrote down my little experimental recipe and didn't take a picture of the food :( ... Oh well! Here's a picture of Nik instead - he's such a ham!

I'm 2 :)

1) 1 medium potato, pealed & grated
2) 7-8 shrimp, thawed and finely diced
3) 1 egg
4) 2-3 tbsp plain bread crumbs
5) garlic salt and pepper for seasoning
6) butter for frying


Mix potatoes, shrimp, egg and seasoning together. Divide the mix into 7 or 8 portions. Form each one into a flat cutlet, roll in dry breadcrumbs and fry in butter until golden brown. These look like flat tater tots - so I called them Shrimp & Tater Flats :) !! I served these with some marinara sauce. Turned out pretty good. Nik was "so-so" in his enthusiasm that day - but this was also the first time he had tasted shrimp. Since then, he's done pretty good with shrimp and seems to like them!! I'm going to try it again soon!

July 10, 2011

Rotini with Homemade Meat Sauce

Since its a Sunday, lazy me decided to actually spend some time cooking :) !! I first prepared this pasta sauce on one of those evenings last winter when everyone in the family wanted spaghetti and we had no Prego/Ragu at home and neither Tony, nor I, really wanted to step out in the bitter cold to run to the store. It's now a regular family favorite. Tony and all 3 boys LOVE it!!

Total Prep Time: About 45 min or so.


1) 2 large fresh tomatoes (diced very chunky) or 1 can (14.5 oz) Hunt's Diced Tomatoes
2) 1 tbsp minced garlic
3) 1 can (6 oz) Hunt's Tomato Paste
4) 1 tbsp butter
5) 1/2 lb sliced button mushrooms (optional)
6) 1 Wyler's Chicken boullion cube (or even a vegetable boullion cube if that's all you have around)
7) 1 lb ground hamburger
8) 2 tbsp McCormick's Italian seasoning
9) A sprinkle (or 2 or 3) of Cayenne pepper powder
10) 1.25 cups water
11) 1 lb Rotini - boiled/cooked and strained
12) 1/3 cup shredded mozarella cheese
13) salt and pepper to taste


Here Ma-maa, you take a bite!
Fry up the hamburger in a skillet, with 1/2 a tbsp of italian seasoning and just a little sprinkle of salt. Once done, drain the fat and set the meat aside until ready to mix into the sauce. In a large saucepan on medium heat, add butter and garlic. Once the garlic begins to sizzle, give it a few seconds and then add the diced tomatoes and cook for a few minutes; add the mushrooms (optional) and cook some more. Then add the tomato paste, and the rest of the italian seasoning and salt/pepper. In a microwave, heat the water with the boullion cube for about 2-3 minutes (this helps dissolve the cube quicker!) to prepare a chicken stock 'of sorts'. Or you can simply use 1.25 cups of chicken stock. Once the tomato paste is well blended with the tomatoes, add the chicken stock; mix well and bring to a boil. Mix in the meat and then, reduce the heat and simmer the sauce while the pasta is cooking. Just before adding the pasta add a quick sprinkle, or two, of cayenne pepper - it doesn't make it hot (I promise!) .. just takes away some of the tomatoey tanginess and gives it some extra zing. Then, add the cooked pasta to the sauce pan, mix well, re-cover and let stand so that the sauce can penetrate the pasta.

You can sprinkle the cheese over each individual serving - or mix it all in the saucepan and then serve. Nikky's face says it all. Dinner was a hit!

July 9, 2011

20 min Chicken Nuggets

Even though its a weekend and I "could have-should have" spent time on a lavish dinner, we ate lunch out at our favorite mexican restaurant in Ashland, OH (Casa Fiesta ... yummmy!). So I decided to try a quick recipe that an old friend shared with me a few weeks ago. Thanks Shital!!!

Total Prep Time: about 20 min (or so!)


1) 1 chicken breast (thawed)
2) 1/2 cup bread crumbs
3) 1 egg
4) seasoning


Cut the meat into small "finger-food" pieces (~ 1 square inch). Dip the chicken and then coat with the seasoned bread crumbs. Bake @ 375F for about 15 min. Turning over once in between. Makes about 8-10 small nuggets. I served these with ketchup and steamed buttered green beans. Here's a picture of Nik enjoying his dinner!!Thanks again, Shital ... it was a hit with him just as it has been with Ruhi :)!!! ... as for the green beans (.. not so much today!)!

July 8, 2011

Cheese Quesadilla with Steamed Buttered Broccoli

Nik was a grouch on the drive home! Super tired according to G'ma Jeanne. Then, when we got home - he wanted to put on his "awwter pants" (aka swimmers) and get in the wading pool. So we had fun in the yard for a good 45 minutes. He was starving by the time we came back in - so dinner had to be made super QUICK!! Even before i had the ingredients out, he was in his chair, all buckled up - ready to EAT!! This one is super easy and super quick.

Total Prep Time: < 5 min.


1) 1 flour/corn tortilla
2) 2 tbsp mexican cheese mix - shredded
3) a dab of butter
4) 1 bag of Birds Eye Steamables Broccoli
5) salt and pepper


Roll the cheese into the tortilla, and put in a buttered pan at medium heat. I used a mini-George Foreman electric grill. Meanwhile prepare the broccoli. Once the quesadilla was done, I cut it into strips with a pizza slicer ... and Niki was eating within 5 min. A hit again!!

July 7, 2011

Mummy's Peas Pulao

** Update: May 05, 2013: Skip the Oil and switch with vegetable broth or oil and we just enjoy this with hot sauce or plain. No Oil, No Dairy necessary!! ** 

So on my way home from work today I was thinking about what to make for Nik's dinner today. Tony and both the older boys were at Alex's baseball game. So it was going to be just Nik and I for dinner. I had the most of the bag of peas left over from last night's rolls. Nikhil loves rice in any form. I always have a sack of basmati rice from the Indian store so this was an easy decision - the old favorite - mummy's peas pulao.

Total Prep Time: 20 min (wo onion); 30 min max. (w onion).


1) 1/2 cup basmati rice (washed well and soaked for 5-10 min while the rest of the ingredients are cooking)
2) 1/2 cup frozen peas
3) 1/2 cup coarsely diced red onion (optional)
4) 1-2 tbsp canola oil
5) 1 tsp cumin seeds
6) 1 tsp garam masala (brown curry mix)
7) 1 cup water (to cook the rice in). Usually basmati rice needs a 1:2 ratio of water to cook in. You may need to check the directions on the bag, or use the age-old trial and error method ;)


Use a pan with a fitted lid; Heat oil (medium) and add cumin seads and garam masala. Let the spices fry for a few seconds and then squelch the heat by adding the diced onion (this prevents the cumin from burning and tasting bitter). If you're not using onion, use the peas for the same purpose; Allow the onion to cook for a few minutes until it just begins to caramelize; add peas and mix well; cook peas for a minute and then add the soaked rice and water. Allow the water to come to a full boil. Once the water is simmering well, cover the pan with the lid and cook on medium-low heat for 10 min (untl rice appears fluffy and well cooked). I usually pick a grain or two and test it. Turn the stove off and let the rice sit for a few minutes with the lid on (this allows it to absorb any extra water and become fluffier!).

Nik and I ate our peas pulao with blueberry yogurt. It was a hit!!

It also tastes great with plain or salted yogurt, sour cream or cucumber raita (will post recipe soon).

Easy-Peasy-Cheesy Rolls

Total Prep Time: 20 min max.


1) 1/3 cup thawed frozen peas
2) 2 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese
3) 4 oz pack of Pillsbury crescent rolls
4) seasonings (to taste)


Warm the thawed peas in a microwave for 30 seconds; mix shredded cheese and seasoning together. I used McCormick's steak seasoning and it tasted pretty good with the peas and cheese. Mix up the veggies so that the peas are slightly mashed up and the cheese is melted slightly. Make small dollops of the mix and place in the middle of each crescent roll; and wrap the dough around the veggies. Bake as directed on the pack (375F for 10 min). Makes 4 rolls;

I served these with ketchup and a side of sliced bananas. Nik LOVED his dinner last night!