Our Meal Plan: Week 4

Pic taken from www.hookedonheat.com, visit site for recipe details.

Here’s our meal plan for the coming week. Nothing out of the ordinary planned this week, just our regular days with preschool and weekly smim class for Baby Dear. What are you having for dinner this week? Please share your menus!

MONDAY:
– Spiced up Spaghetti (recipe coming soon!)
– Salad

TUESDAY:
– Tuna Sandwiches
– Fruit Salad

WEDNESDAY:
Basil Chicken (Hubby Dear requested this AGAIN. Thank God for the over-flowing Thai Basil in my kitchen garden!)
– Rice & Mango Salad

THURSDAY:
Dal Makhani
– Cumin Pulao and Salad

FRIDAY:
– Samosas
– Ice cream for dessert

SATURDAY:
– Eat Out

SUNDAY:
– Chicken Noodle Soup

Menu Plan Mondays hosted by Orgjunkie.com

 

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Pantry Cooking: Tawa Pulao

Recipe for Tawa Pulao taken from www.hookedonheat.com

It’s been hot and I think I’m melting! I could’ve sworn I was an inch taller just two weeks ago!! Thank goodness for the rain Gods, it’s been much cooler the past two days. I feel that I can now actually enter my beloved kitchen, without getting cooked myself. Although I enjoy making elaborate meals and spending precious time creating culinary art, there are times when I just want to come home and not take more than a few minutes to whip up a delicious yet wholesome meal.

It is often at such times when I find retreat in my always over-stocked pantry. I love my pantry, and I sincerely believe that if I happen to have an unexpected emergency at hand, I’ll most probably be very well prepared to cook up a meal for 10 people using just the contents from it. I always make sure my shelves are well stocked with a variety of pasta, flour, canned beans, sauces and quick eats.

I’ve always loved grocery shopping, which only added to my pantry stock. I love losing myself in the aisles with the variety of oils, sauces and international fares. Learning to grocery shop the right way is an acquired art. It takes brain power and perfect precision to buy things in just the right amount to stock a pantry. There were times when I would find myself staring at 5 cans of tuna, each with an expiry date well past.

It took time, and a lot of practice, but I learnt. I now have the perfect pantry to help me build my meals each day. And at times like tonight, when all I want is a quick fix and hours in front of the TV, my pantry is what I can count on!
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Quick, Quick, Slow: Sukhe Alu (Sauteed Potatoes)

Recipe of Sukhe Alu (Sauteed Potatoes) taken from www.hookedonheat.com

If you ever happen to just drop by my home on short notice or unannounced, chances are high that you will be served a meal that would definitely star one of my go-to potato recipes. This humble vegetable is a boon to home cooks everywhere, and I consider it a part of the Indian kitchen trinity alongside onion and tomatoes. In fact, even on days when my fridge is almost bare and I need to make a desperate run to store, I can always count on falling back on these three. Combined with a pantry full of various lentils, beans and grains, and variety of spices on hand, the options for a simple healthy dinner are endless!

Hubby Dear is the die-hard potato fan in our home. So much so, that I often say all I have to do is throw him the tuber when he starts to whine in hunger and he’s a happy camper! I guess it makes us the perfect match since I’m known as the potato magician in the family. It’s been said that my potato recipes are finger-lickin’ and we have friends and family who always request them at every meal they eat at our table. But I digress.

Potatoes are definitely very versatile and take on any flavor added to them with ease. They’re simple to prep and even easier to handle while cooking, so what’s not to love! The recipe I’m sharing with you today is one I keep in my back pocket. If you have the few ingredients it asks for on hand, which I always do, this dish is perfect to throw together as that final side to bring the whole meal together. Leftovers work wonderfully slightly mashed up and sandwiched between toasted bread. Or serve it by self warm with toothpicks alongside some iced drinks! No matter which way you decide to bring it to the table, I can guarantee that your family will linger around till its all gone!
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Our Meal Plan: Week 3

Pic taken from www.hookedonheat.com, visit site for recipe details.

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads out there, especially mine and my baby’s!

Here’s our meal plan for the coming week. It’s going to be a regular week for us with usual routine. Baby Dear is at preschool on Monday, Wednesday and Friday – which means I have the day to myself to work and get things checked off my list. He has soccer practice on Tuesday evening – we’re home by 7:15, which means that dinner must ready eat. Swim class in on Thursday morning. As far as my planner shows me, neither me nor Hubby Dear have commitments any of the days in the evenings. So yea, pretty much a regular, busy week at the HOH casa! What are you having for dinner this week? Please share your menus!

MONDAY:
– Quick & Easy Chicken Biryani (recipe coming soon!)
– Raita

TUESDAY:
– Paneer Tak-a-Tak Sandwiches
– Fruit Salad

WEDNESDAY:
Ginger-Chilli Shrimp
– Peanut Noodles

THURSDAY:
– Vegetable Lasagna
– Salad

FRIDAY:
– Pizza
– Ice cream for dessert

SATURDAY:
– Eat Out

SUNDAY (Happy Father’s Day!!):
– Masala Mushrooms
– Peas Pulao

Menu Plan Mondays hosted by Orgjunkie.com



Friday Show & Share: Week 1

Baby Dear has this thing at his preschool where in each Friday, the kids are allowed to bring in anything that they would like to Show and Share with their class. It could be a toy, a book, you name it! I’ve always loved the idea and I look forward to our discussion every Thursday night on what he would like to take and why. It suddenly occurred to me that it would be so much fun to do something along those lines around here. So here I am today sharing with you my FIVE favourite summer recipes. Please share a link to your favourite summer recipe below. Happy Friday!

summer

1. Garlic-Tofu Noodles

2. Mediterranean Chicken Burgers

3. Thai Basil Chicken

4. Alu Dahi Puri

5. Mushroom & Peas Pulao



Replaying Leftovers: Chili Pot Pies

Pic taken from www.hookedonheat.com, visit site for recipe details.

Baby Dear and I have an afternoon ritual of sorts, on days that he goes to preschool. As soon as I strap him into his car seat and settle in to begin our drive home, he always asks me what I’ve planned for dinner. After I tell him what’s on the menu for that night, I then ask him what he had for lunch. His answers always make me smile – partly from knowing that my ‘lil gourmand is being well fed, and part from the way he tries to string his words together. Like the time he had lasagna, and couldn’t remember what it was called. After a few minutes of pondering, he finally blurted out. “What’s Garfield’s favourite food?”. Yes, he’s super funny like that!

The daycare he goes to gets the kids’ lunches catered. When I first glanced at the menu, I got a wee bit jealous and not to mention, nervous. The list included dishes like Roasted Veggie Lasagna, Butter Chicken, Pasta in Kale Pesto and Fish Picata. Fish Picata? Really? For 3 year olds? As much as I absolutely loved the fact that Baby Dear would be fed a variety of gourmet meals ranging in taste and texture, it also worried me if my often simple home cooked meals would have him turn his nose up at it. How silly was I! Baby Dear enjoys the humble Grilled Cheese with Tomatoes with as much pleasure as he savours a slow-cooked Biryani. The kid loves good food – as long as its tasty, he’s game!

A few months ago, Baby Dear told me he had Chicken Pot Pie for lunch. Well, he actually said he had pie with chicken, peas and carrots. I kinda put the two and together and figured that’s what it meant. He had it again some weeks back and told me how much he liked it and wanted me to make it for dinner some day. Then, sometime last week, while I was watching the Food Network, Baby Dear happened to glance at the screen and see Chicken Pot Pie actually being made. He screamed with delight and demanded I make it as soon as possible. I finally promised him I would.

Well, as I was thinking about what to cook for dinner today, I peeked into the fridge and stared at a container of some leftover Chili from a few days ago. The idea suddenly hit me; and although it’s no REAL Chicken Pot Pie, it definitely made Baby Dear request me to make it again soon!
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A Hearty Feast: Goat Curry

Pic taken from www.hookedonheat.com, visit site for recipe details.

I have a love-hate relationship with my pressure cooker. While most Indian home cooks swear by it to dish out family dinners every night, I often shy away from mine. I haven’t much gotten the hang of using one for my everyday cooking. The problem for me is trying to keep track and remember how much time or how many whistles is needed to cook a certain thing. I either simmer the food for too long and turn it to mush, or release the pressure too soon and have to start over again to let it completely cook through.

A couple of weeks ago, Hubby Dear was away on a 12-day business trip leaving me and Baby Dear at the mercy of each other. He left early Sunday morning and by the time Friday rolled around, I was ready to wave my white flag. We’d both had it with the week’s routine, missed our team mate terribly and were in a dire need of some strong comfort. As we dragged our feet into the house after I picked him up from preschool, something clicked. There’s nothing that a good home cooked meal can’t cure, and I’d decided that Baby Dear and I were going to spend our Friday night with a good movie and some amazing food.

I had just picked up some fresh cut meat from the butchers’ earlier that day and figured it was as perfect a time as any to turn it into something lip-smacking. Goat curry is something I always, always have to order when we eat out at an Indian restaurant. It’s my absolute favourite curry dish and something I don’t normally cook at home simply because it can take quite a while to soften the meat so that it just melts in your mouth. As I took a peek at the clock across my kitchen, it occurred to me that it was either the pressure cook way or no way that I was going to get dinner on the table before Baby Dear would turn into Baby-Zilla out of hunger!

So I busted out the beast and got to work. When it came time to lock the lid and place the whistle on it, I said a little prayer and crossed my fingers. And whaddaya know! 30 minutes later, we were laughing over the antics of those silly Minions and digging into our luscious and super delicious dinner.
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Our Meal Plan: Week 2

Pic taken from www.hookedonheat.com, visit site for recipe details.

Here’s our meal plan for the coming week. I love that the weather’s getting warmer, so we can finally use our outdoor grill more often! My humble container kitchen garden is also starting to bear fruit, so I have a ton of fresh spinach and lettuce to work with. Also, the Thai Basil I planted has now doubled, which means that Hubby Dear can indulge on the Thai Basil Chicken that he’s been requesting I make again – since the last time I made it!  What are you having for dinner this week? Please share your menus!

MONDAY:
– Lamb with Green Peppers
– Rice & Salad

TUESDAY:
Baingan Patiala
– Rotis & Raita

WEDNESDAY:
– Thai Basil Chicken
– Rice & Mango Salad

THURSDAY:
Halloumi and Chickpea Salad
Mushroom & Peas Pulao

FRIDAY:
– Mediterranean Chicken Burgers on the BBQ
– Cookies for dessert

SATURDAY:
– Eat Out

SUNDAY (Happy Father’s Day!!):
– Grilled Chicken & Veggie Fajitas
– Margaritas!!

Menu Plan Mondays hosted by Orgjunkie.com



Food for Kids: “Revamped” Instant Ramen Noodles

Pic taken from www.hookedonheat.com, visit site for recipe details.

Since summer’s here, I’ve gotten quite a few requests to post recipes on food for kids. No doubt, for me it comes at the perfect time – right when I’m trying to increase my repertoire to include lunch box and snack ideas for my little one. Baby Dear has never been a picky or fussy eater and will happily down a hearty serving of Egg Sambal and Ginger-Chilli Shrimp anytime of day. But, ever since he turned 3 some months ago, I’ve been very excited to try out and experiment on new kid-friendly recipes. You see, the wee prince is all set to start preschool at the end of summer and I’m beside myself thinking up ideas on what I can pack for his lunch boxes.

When I think of kid-friendly recipes, what comes to my mind is anything but the usual nuggets & fries. To me personally, food catered to kids needs to be nutritious as well as tasty. I also believe in serving up a variety of foods and flavours and introducing them to different cuisines. Having said that, it doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking and make you spend hours on end by a stove. You can easily make a tasty, healthy and quick meal for you child with anything you have on hand. All it takes is a little creativity and practice.

Instant noodles is a staple in probably every pantry that exists. As much as we all like to shun it for its’ lack of health benefits, we can’t deny that we’ve all spent at least some part of our lives going through packets of them. No doubt, they definitely are a quick and budget-friendly solution to dinner time. But just because we are in a time or money crunch, doesn’t mean that we can’t look out for our health and especially our kids’. I have to admit, a few packets of ramen often find their way into my shopping cart each month, but I’m happy to say that when I serve up a plate of these instant noodles, I know that no harm is being done to my family. I always throw out the sodium laden seasoning sachet that it comes with and add in a ton of fresh veggies to amp up the nutritional value of the meal.

Ask almost any kid, and they’ll agree that noodles of any form is one of their all time favourite foods. Baby Dear is no different. Which is why, this recipe is just perfect as a hearty snack when they walk in the door all tired and hungry after playing at the park, or to pack in their lunch once the school year begins.
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Our Meal Plan: Week 1

Pic taken from www.hookedonheat.com, visit site for recipe details.

I often get a ton of emails asking for help with meal planning and readers wanting to know if and how I do it. Well, to be honest, I do meal plan and have been doing so for the past 10 years. It has helped me immensely on days when I’m completely bogged down and can’t bother to even come up with an idea for dinner. Knowing that I’ve planned and shopped for at least six meals, makes it so much easier for me to simply pick one that would suit my mood and the time I have on hand on any given day. I usually plan out simple and quick dinner for weeknights and leave the slow simmering and attention needing recipes for weekends.

This week is going to be a little laid back. It’s my birthday on Tuesday (YAY!!!) so takeout’s in order, and Hubby Dear’s travelling for pretty much the rest of the week. That leaves just me and Baby Dear to fend for ourselves; and we’re generally happy just flying by the seat of our pants! Here’s my meal plan for the week. What are you having for dinner this week? Please share your menus!

MONDAY:
– Caprese Paninis
– Roasted Tomato Soup

TUESDAY:
– Take-Out

WEDNESDAY:
Chicken Curry
– Rice & Salad

THURSDAY:
Roast Veggie Pesto Pasta

FRIDAY:
– Pizza
– Ice cream for dessert

SATURDAY:
– Eat Out

SUNDAY:
Pepper Chicken
Garlic Tofu Noodles

Menu Plan Mondays hosted by Orgjunkie.com