This Week’s Menu

Breakfast:

Whole Wheat Waffle
Oats
Cereal
Whole wheat bagel
Bread-cream cheese

Lunch:

Rasam
Carrot Sticks
Fruits
Rice, Vatha Kuzhambu (traditional south indian gravy), Potato Fry
Left Over Pizza
Rice, Sambar (Lentil gravy), Carrot-beans fry
Salad
Tamarind rice, cabbage fry
Rice, Bell pepper gravy, and bottle gourd curry

Dinner:

Baked Chickpea Burrito ( I use home made whole wheat tortillas for this recipe)
Whole Wheat Pizza
Broccoli Baked Pasta
Whole Wheat Tortillas with Gravy
Dosa (south indian food) with sambar (lentil gravy)
Eat out

Snacks:

Fruits
Spinach Burger
Baked Gobi Manchurian
Grilled Pineapple
Grilled Corn

Baked Pasta – Vegetarian Dinner Recipe

baked-pasta
Baked Pasta is such a simple recipe that might become part of your menu over time. I think I started making it 2-3 years ago and still, it’s one of the most repeated recipes in our weekly menu. We have a picky toddler and he will not even touch some of the recipes. However, when I make this one, he has no problem eating it.

Pasta is completely carb and we limit pasta intake at home, especially in the evenings. However, this is the only recipe we make in the evening. Rest of my dinners are less carb dinners. You can make this recipe with lentil pasta as well. I tried to make it using lentil pasta a few times and I loved them. The only issue is, lentil pasta is too expensive. It’s not worth paying so much for one meal. However, it’s better than eating out. So, if you don’t want to eat carb dinners, lentil pasta might be a better option.

Note:

  • You can use any kind of pasta to make this recipe. I use whatever I have at home. I typically buy a full bag of pasta from Costco for less than $10 that comes for a really long time. I buy the package that has a variety of pasta and not just one variety.
  • Also, there is no set ingredients for this recipe except pasta and cheese. I sometimes bake it without pasta sauce or without basil
  • You can also use any kind of vegetables/meat that you like. I mostly use broccoli, peas, and bell pepper. Just make sure you cut Broccoli into small pieces such that it’s easy for kids to eat.
  • You can choose to not to add cheese to the mix and choose to put it only at the top of the mix when you’re ready to bake. That way you can limit the amount of cheese you use, yet enjoy the cheese that’s at the top of the pasta mix

Ingredients:

  • Any variety of pasta – 2 cups
  • Basil leaves or basil seasoning – 1/2 cup (optional)
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, and/or monterey jack cheese – 1 cup
  • Vegetables such as broccoli, peas, bell pepper etc
  • Pasta Sauce -1 cup
  • Salt – to taste
  • Black pepper – 1 tablespoon

Directions:

  1. Set the oven temperature at 400 degrees
  2. Boil the water with salt
  3. Add pasta and let it sit for 5 minutes
  4. Test the pasta by tasting it
  5. Drain
  6. Combine the Pasta with the rest of the ingredients
  7. Put it in the oven and bake it for 20 minutes until the cheese is melter

Baked Pasta From The Freezer:

If you typically have busy evenings, cook the pasta during the weekend and keep it in the freezer. When you’re ready to cook, keep the frozen pasta outside and let it thaw for 4 hours. Once it’s thawed, follow the rest of the process. This cut the overall cooking time to 25 minutes.

This recipe freezes really well. So, if you have leftover pasta, freeze it in a freezer friendly bag for later use. Once you’re ready to use, take the bag out, defrost it in a microwave, and enjoy. Here are the dos and don’ts of freezer cooking.

Check here for more recipes from my kitchen. I’m not a cooking wizard. The recipes I share here are simple and tested/tried by my family. I don’t share my “not so good” recipes here.

This week’s Menu

Below is the menu for the week. I know its the middle of the week and I’m posting the menu only now. But its better late than never.

Breakfast:

Graph smoothie
Oats
Cereal
Granola Bars
Waffles

Lunch:

Rice, Sambar, Curry
Kootu
Carrot sticks
Salad
Left over baked pasta
Coconut rice, Eggplant curry
Lemon Rice, Potato fry

Dinner:

Baked Pasta
Idly,
Dosa, Sambar
Wheat Tortillas, Peas Curry
Eat Out
At home Pizza

Snacks:

Home Made French Fries (recipe follows)
Veggie pockets
Fruits
Poptart

Note: We are a family of vegetarians. So all my recipes are only vegetarian. I sometimes use meat-alternatives such as morning star products in my recipes.

Microwave Chai Tea Latte

Microwave Chai Tea LatteOver the years, we stopped limiting our coffee intake and started drinking tea both in the morning and evening. And, I need to add milk in my tea. It’s an absolute must and I’d rather not drink tea at all if black tea is the only option. For someone who needs tea in both morning and evening, we have very limited options when going outside. Starbucks is the only one, I know, is carrying Chai Tea Latte. I can’t find it in McDonalds or some other store.

And, am I the only one who thinks Starbucks chai tea latte is overrated? It’s so expensive when you know how to make it at home for a fraction of the cost. My husband is a big fan of Starbucks’ chai tea latte. I started experimenting different recipes and this one came pretty close to Starbucks version.

With all the limitations and cost, I started experimenting different recipes and this recipe is something that came pretty close to Starbucks version. Yay for that!

You don’t really need fancy ingredients to make this one. Cloves has long shelf life and I’d suggest you buy a small batch from asian stores. It’s much cheaper there. Again, you don’t need fancy tea bags to make this either. You can either use fresh ginger or dry ginger for this recipe. I’m using ginger root tea bags that I got as a free sample. Talk about luck!

When traveling outside, you can make these ahead of time and carry it in a thermal tumbler before heading out. We carry more than one thermal flasks at home and I absolutely love this one. It keeps the liquid hot or cold for 12 hours.

Now our Chai tea latte purchase from Starbucks went down drastically. Check it out how you earn points to get free Starbucks gift card.

Now, let’s talk about the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Microwavable bowl
  • Black tea bags – 2 nos
  • Cardamom – 3 nos
  • Cloves – 2 nos
  • Ginger, Ginger tea bags, dry ginger (any version of ginger works) – 1 tea bag or a pinch of ginger
  • Water – 1 cup
  • 1% Milk – 1/2 cup
  • Tea Strainer

Directions:

1. Crush the cardamom and mix well with all the ingredients
2. Add all the ingredients in the measuring bowl except milk. Microwave for 3 minutes
4. Add Milk
5. Microwave for another 1 minutes
6. Filter the tea and serve hot.

Note: this tea has strong flavor. If you want lighter version of chai latte, use only 1 cardamom. You can make the same recipe using the stove top. But it takes double the time and you might need to wash too many vessels. Within 5 minutes, Chai tea latte will be ready. There shouldn’t be any reason why you cannot make this tea at home. It’s such a lazy recipe.

Wanna try other recipes from my kitchen? click here.

How To Increase Coriander Leaves Shelf Life?

how to increase coriander leaves shelf life

The first time I started cooking was right after marriage. Both the husband and I didn’t know cooking and one of us need to cook if we don’t want to go hungry. My initial weeks cooking were horrible that Hubby hates some of these ingredients even know. My intiail days of cooking skills created bad memory I guess :). Coriander is used in majority of the Indian cooking and it’s also something that goes waste after a few days. In the initial days, I threw away at least half of it because I was not able to use the whole coriander bunch within its life time.

Over the last few months, I have been buying Organic coriander for cooking. Nothing worse than wasting half bunch of $2 Organic coriander leaves. So below are the ideas I have tried that help me avoid waste.

How to increase Coriander shelf life:

IDEA 1:

Recently, I came across this idea. Cut the coriander bunches, wash the leaves, dry them on a white cloth for few hours, and keep them in ziploc bag. Below are simple step I follow previously that was effective.

IDEA 2:

Cut the coriander finely and freeze. When the recipe calls for Coriander, use few pieces from the frozen bunch and you’re good to go. You won’t find any change in taste. You can easily keep it at least for a month without it going waste.

It’s my favorite idea and is something I’ve been using lately. After trying it here, even my mom started trying this idea back in India.