Chocolate Chip Muffins

chocolate chip muffins

I love care packages. I’m usually on the receiving end of them, but this time I am sending one! One of my cousins is taking the Bar and I thought I’d send her some sweets to munch on while she studies!  Muffins ship really well and stay moist for a long time which is why I included them in my package. This recipe makes the perfect amount of muffins for a week, plus a “test” muffin to try right out of the oven! The coffee in the muffin really makes the chocolate flavor stand out, but it isn’t too rich. Whether it’s for a care package or breakfast for yourself, you won’t regret making them!

P.S Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a Beginner Indian Spice Kit! Still open for a few more days! 

Cook time: 30 minutes                                                             Makes: 8 muffins

¼ cup softened butter
2.5 tbsp.  brown sugar
2.5 tbsp.  granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup sour cream
2.5 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. instant coffee
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup mini chocolate chips
½ cup dark chocolate chips
¼ cup slivered almonds (optional)

1. Pre-heat the oven at 400 F.

2. Cream butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together on low speed for 2 minutes.

3. Add the egg, vanilla, sour cream, milk, and instant coffee to the butter mixture. Mix on medium low speed for 1 minute.

4. In a separate bowl mix together the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, all-purpose flour and chocolate chips.

5. Add the flour mixture to the butter and mix on low for 30 seconds so that the batter just comes together. Don’t over mix the dough otherwise you’ll get a tough, dense muffin.

6. Scoop 2 tablespoons of the batter into 8 cupcake liners or greased cupcake pan. Bake for 18 minutes and cool on a rack. Refrigerate well up to 1 week. Enjoy!

chocolate chip muffins

Aloo Gobi Matar & Spice Kit Giveaway!

aloo gobi matatr

The first meal I ever cooked on my own was aloo gobi matar. I saw it on Bend it Like Beckham DVD as a special extra and decided to give it a try while my mom wasn’t home. Imagine my mom’s face when she came home to a fully cooked meal made by her 15-year-old. This cauliflower, potato, and pea curry is the perfect place to start if you’re trying to learn how to cook Indian food. It’s very simple and doesn’t require any crazy spices. You can enter to win a beginner spice kit for Indian food including 3 simple recipes to start you on your way! Enter Below!

Cook time: 20 minutes                                   Makes: 2-3 servings

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 small Russet potatoes, diced
1 cups cauliflower (4 ounces), chopped
¼ cup peas
½ red onion
¼ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground cumin
1 package naan

aloo gobi matar recipe
1. Peel and dice potato and onion. Cut cauliflower into small florets. Mince the garlic and ginger together into a fine paste.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat oil on medium-high. Add cumin seeds and stir. When they start to pop, add onions and cook 1 to 2 minutes until translucent. Reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic-ginger paste, stirring 1 minute.

3. Add turmeric, coriander, cumin and a pinch of salt to taste. Mix 30 seconds over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of water and stir another 30 seconds.

4. Add potato, peas and cauliflower and stir to coat in spice mixture. Add 2 tbsp of water, cover and cook on low heat 10 to 15 minutes (or until potatoes are tender) stirring every 5 minutes.

5. While the vegetables cook, heat the naan in a toaster oven 2 minutes, or until warm. Enjoy with aloo gobi!

Enter Below to win a Beginner set of Indian spices! Giveaway ends midnight 7/28/2014.  (Open to residents of the 48 contiguous states only)

giveaway

Breakfast Quinoa

breakfast quinoa

Recently I promised my husband I would workout 5 days a week for a Le Creuset set. #noregrets It was the best agreement I ever shook on. I’m in love with my precious.

photo 2 (2)photo 1 (4)

The lid is a cast iron skillet! Whhhaaa! Yep two products in one! How can you not love that? :-D

Well, all this working out has me tuckered out and I’m not recovering very well from each work out. I need me some protein. As a vegetarian, I typically get my protein from tofu, protein bars or quinoa. I’ve been seeing these yummy looking recipes for breakfast quinoa all over Pinterest and decided to give it a shot. It’s like an upgraded bowl of boring old oatmeal. Feel free to decrease or increase the amount of honey and brown sugar you use so it suits your taste, I personally like everything sweet….which is why working out is a struggle for me.

Cook time: 25 minutes                                                                      Makes: 2 servings

¼ cup uncooked quinoa
¼ rolled oats
1 cup milk (you can use nut milks or coconut milk instead)
½ cup water
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg (optional)
½ tbsp. honey
½ tbsp. brown sugar
Berries for topping
2 tbsp. of chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

1. Bring milk and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the quinoa and oats and stir. Reduce heat to low and cover. Let this simmer for about 15 minutes.

2. Stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, and brown sugar. Cover and simmer for another 8 to 10 minutes, until the quinoa is fully cooked. Serve topped with the berries and nuts of your choice and enjoy!

breakfast quinoa

One Pot Pasta

one pot pasta

At a very young age I learned the importance of limiting the amount of kitchen utensils and equipment used in making a meal. Mostly because it was my job to wash the dishes as my mother liked to use our dishwasher as a storage shelf. Turns out most Indian parents believe the dishwasher is an expensive kitchen rack/shelf. #immigrantparentproblems Hand washing a sink full of dishes could take me at least 30 minutes when I was a kid. That’s why this one pot pasta is my new favorite recipe. I found it on Martha Stewart’s website and had to try it! I got the cherry tomatoes from the farmers market and they were delicious, almost as good as a Jersey tomato ;-). Give this recipe a shot and I promise it’ll be your go to recipe for something fresh and quick.

Cook time : 15 minutes                                                         Makes: 6 servings

12 oz spaghetti
10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ tsp red pepper flakes
2 sprigs of basil
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
4.5 cups water

one pot pasta
1. In wide straight-sided skillet, add the spaghetti, tomatoes, onion, pepper flakes, garlic, basil and olive oil. Bring this to a boil. Stir pasta every few minutes until water is almost evaporated and pasta is cooked. This took me about 10 minutes.

2. Season with salt and pepper and serve right away. Enjoy!

e po

IMG_9064

Cake Batter Rice Krispy Treats

cake batter rice krispie treats

My husband has an unhealthy obsession with all food that taste like cake batter. If we go to an ice cream shop I can guarantee one of us will be eating cake batter ice cream. The other day I made some awesome chocolate, peanut butter and ginger (trust me it works) rice krispie treats. He was not a fan since he doesn’t like chocolate. I promised him a batch of cake batter ones and today I delivered. The trick for perfect chewy rice krispie treats is to cook everything on low heat, work quickly and use NEW marshmallows I messed up and used to stale ones before and they turned out hard as rocks. I swear you could have chipped a tooth on them. I ended up shoving them in the blender and then using them as a topping for ice cream or yogurt. This recipe is, in my opinion, make the perfect rice krispie treat.

Cook time: 10 minutes                                                              Makes: one 9×9 pan

1 ½ tbsp. butter
5 oz. fresh new marshmallows (1/2 a bag)
½ scant cup of boxed funfetti cake mix
3 cups rice cereal
2 tbsp. sprinkles

rice krispie treats

1. Melt butter in a large sauce pan over low heat. Add marshmallows and mix. I like to spray vegetable oil onto my spoon before I start mixing to keep all the marshmallow from stick to it. Make sure to keep this on low heat!

2. Once the marshmallows are melted, add the cake mix and stir to cook the flour. Turn off the stove and add the rice cereal along with 1 tbsp. of the sprinkles. Stir to combine.

3. Pour into a greased 9×9 pan and use the bottom on a cup (greased) to flatten the rice krispies. Don’t press to hard or it’ll be hard as a rock. Sprinkle the rest of the sprinkles on top and press down with your hands gently. Let this cool for 10 minutes and cut into squares. They will stay chewy for up to 4 days in an air tight container.

 

cake batter rice krispie treats

 

Tomato Pie

I really must be ready to go home to Jersey since I’ve been craving all things east coast- Italian ice, bagels, NY pizza, and so much more. Luckily I’ll be back in Jersey in August and I won’t have to wait too long to stuff my face with everything in sight. When I moved to California I quickly learned that tomato pie is a NJ/PA/NY thing. Tomato pie is basically pizza minus the cheese. I was introduced to this slice of savory heaven in college at a pizzeria near my college campus. I actually prefer tomato pie over pizza, even though I love me some cheese. I used Lick My Spoon’s recipe for the crust with a few changes and it turned out perfect! Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. I cheated a little with the sauce and used canned tomatoes to shorten the cook time. The sauce was delicious and the crust was surprisingly crunchy! Try it out for yourself!

Cook time:  3 hours                                                                                       Makes: one 17×11 pie

Dough
1.5 tsp yeast
1 cup water (between 120 – 130°F)
2 tbsp. sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour (you can substitute this with all-purpose)
2 tsp kosher salt dissolved in 2 tbsp. hot water
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil for greasing pan

Tomato Sauce
8 oz. can of Hunts Tomato Sauce with Basil, Garlic, and Oregano
14.5 oz. can of Del Monte Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, and Oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
Parmesan cheese (optional)

tomatoe pie

1. In a large mixing bowl, add yeast, warm water, and sugar and whisk. Let this sit for 10 minutes.

2. Add the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, dissolved salt water, and olive oil to the mixing bowl. Mix with the dough hook attachment until the dough is nice and smooth. If the dough is still sticky add 1 tbsp. of all-purpose flour at a time. You can also mix all of this by hand if you don’t have a mixer.

3. Spray another medium sized bowl with oil and place the dough in the bowl. Drizzle a tsp of olive oil on top of the dough and coat it. Cover with plastic wrap and let this rise for 1.5 hours.

4. While the dough is rising, in a medium sized saucepan- add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and garlic. Use a stick blender at this point to blend the diced tomatoes down a little. Bring this to a boil and then let this simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes. Let this cool.

5. Grease a 17×11 baking sheet with 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Once the dough has risen, place it on the baking sheet and pat out into a rectangle. If the dough keeps shrinking back, let it rest for 5-10 minutes before patting it out. Poke 25-30 holes into the dough with a fork to break any large bubbles. Cover with plastic wrap and let this rest for 30 minutes.

6. Pre-heat your oven to 500 F and place a pizza stone or upside down baking sheet on the middle rack while the oven heats. Once the dough has rested place the crust in the oven on top of the pizza stone/upside down baking sheet and turn down the heat to 425F. Bake the crust for 15 minutes until the top is golden brown.

7. Remove the crust and spread your tomato sauce on top, grate some fresh black pepper on top and sprinkle with parmesan if you like and return to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes. Don’t let crust’s lightness in color fool you- it will 100% be super crunchy due to the olive oil used in the baking sheet. Let this cool for 5 minutes and slice up to enjoy!

tomato pie

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

One of the best parts of growing up in Jersey for me was hanging out at the mall with my friends. My teenage metabolism allowed me to indulge in mall food on a weekly basis, this included Cinnabon. Granted I could never eat one on my own and always ended up sharing it with a few of my friends, it was the best part of my week with my girlfriends. As usual,
when I feel nostalgic, I started baking. I found this recipe on Joy the Baker, made a few tweaks and started baking. The rolls are super soft and airy and the lemon and walnuts really add a nice zest to the cinnamon roll which cuts the sweetness nicely.

Cook time: 4 hours                                                                       Makes: 20 rolls

Sponge
2.5 tsp instant yeast
1/2 cup bread flour
2/3 cup whole milk, cold
4 tsp honey

Final dough
1 cup bread flour
1.5 cup all-purpose flour
¾ tsp salt
6 tbsp. butter, cold
¼ tsp chai masala
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp lemon zest
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, room temperature

Cinnamon Sugar Filling
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder
¼ tsp powder nutmeg
3 tbsp. butter, softened

Icing
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3 tsp milk
1/8 tsp orange zest
½ tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1. In a large bowl, mix the ingredients for the sponge together. Now sprinkle the all-purpose flour, bread flour, and salt on top so that all the starter is covered. Let this sit for 20 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the cinnamon sugar filling with a fork and set aside.

3. In another large mixing bowl, cream the butter (final dough) with a paddle attachment until it’s light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon zest, cinnamon, chai masala, and brown sugar and cream for another 2 minutes on medium high.   Now add your eggs one at a time, mixing in between and scraping down the sides of the bowl. According to Joy the Baker, this will not mix well, it will look coagulated this is ok because there is more egg than butter.

4. Now add your sponge mixture from Step 1 into the mixer with the butter and mix with the paddle attachment for 1 minute on medium high. Then swap out the paddle attachment with the dough hook and mix at low-speed for 5 minutes. Take the dough off the hook and put it in a greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, tucking in the sides so that no air can get to the dough. Let this rest for 1.5 hours.

5. Take the dough and flatten the dough out into a rectangle. Fold it in half three times and put it back in the greased bowl  and cover with plastic wrap. Let this rest for 30 minutes.

6. Take the dough out and roll out into a 12 inch by 15 inch rectangle. Spread the cinnamon sugar filling on top. Now starting with the long side, tightly roll up the dough. Pinch the edges together when your done to seal the roll. Let this sit for 5 minutes and start pre-heating your oven at 375 F.

7. Slice the roll in 1 inch segments and place them in a greased 9×13 pan so that they are touching each other. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top. Cover this with plastic wrap again and rest for 40 minutes or until the rolls double in size.

8. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes until the edges are nice and golden brown. While the rolls are cooling, whisk together the milk, lemon zest, powdered sugar and lemon juice in a bowl. Drizzle this on top of the rolls