Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spaghetti with Alfredo

May 17th 2011

Pasta is what I turn to when I have a few veggies to finish, when I want a quick meal that tastes really good and when I feel like eating restaurant style food but at home. It is nutritious because you can throw in any veggie, relatively healthy when you don't use loads of oil and use whole wheat pasta and adult and kid friendly alike.

This is something that I like to make and serve with the sauce on the side because that way you can always add more if you like. I don't have a fancy name for it but it sure tastes pretty darn good.

Time: 30 min (preparation) 15 min (making)

Difficulty level: Easy

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped veggies [ onions, colored bell peppers, mushrooms, olives, garlic etc. totally your choice]. I have used what is mentioned here.
  • olive oil (as needed)- approx 2 tbsps
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper ( to taste)
  • Alfredo sauce as per here
  • Whole wheat Spaghetti (cooked per package instructions)
  • Parsley (for garnishing)

Method de Preparation:
  1. Step I : Chop all the vegetables. Add olive oil in a pan, add the garlic and onion and then the other veggies and saute everything together for a few minutes on medium-high heat till they are soft and cooked well.
  2. Step II: Boil water for the pasta. Add a little bit of salt. Cook spaghetti as per instructions. Don't over cook and don't allow to dry also. Timing is important. When they are done and the water drained out, mix a couple of tsps of olive oil into this so it stays soft.
  3. Step III: As you allow water to boil, start working on the Alfredo sauce after about 5 minutes. Add the required ingredients allowing the sauce to come together.
  4. Assembly: Start with spaghetti, add some veggies and then pour some sauce artistically on the top. Garnish with a sprig of parsley. Add fresh ground pepper on the top if you like and dig right in :)

Coffee Cake

May 17th 2011

You know usually when you invite friends over it means work. But when you have friends like mine - Krupa Sharath especially, I love it because she usually comes over with a new dish. And this is how I got to try this super duper coffee cake. It is so moist, it melts in your mouth. And the cinnamon and pecans - oh yum! 

I challenge you to make this and just stop at one piece. And though it says coffee cake, it goes perfectly well with coffee, tea or just on its own. It should be made in a fluted tube or a  bundt pan, but I only had this from when I made a marble cake, so this worked too :)

Time: Preparation Time ( 20 min), Cooking Time ( 60-70 min)

Difficulty Level: Easy

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup good quality Sour Cream
  • 2 cup chopped Pecans
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Method de Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat granulated sugar, butter and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add to sugar mixture alternately with sour cream, beating until well blended after each addition.
  2. Mix pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon. Spoon half of the pecan mixture into greased 12-cup fluted tube pan or 10-inch tube pan; top with half of the cake batter. Repeat layers.
  3. Bake 55 minutes to 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on wire rack. Loosen cake from side of pan with spatula or knife. Invert cake onto wire rack; gently remove pan. Cool completely.

  • I was super excited to see how this cake came out and once I saw the top of it (which unfortunately will become the bottom), I hurried to take it out. PLEASE WAIT!! Allow it to cool completely else your cake will break, especially since at the bottom you have the pecan-brown sugar mix that will stick to the pan.  If you are a good cook does not mean one always follow instructions, we are impatient too :D
  • Also I have doubled the amount of that filling because I felt the one with the original recipe it was not quite enough. However if you are the kind that does not like this too much, then stick to a little lesser quantity of pecans and brown sugar.

Source: Krupa Sharath - who in turn got it from here at allrecipes.com. Off late I have come to use this site a lot. Really nice recipes with a lot of reviews too.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fried Mozzarella Sticks

You don’t need much motivation to make these. They are snacks, fried and relatively easy to make..what else? And when the weather is always conducive to tea and snacks it just makes it all the more easier to indulge. In my opinion these are as good or better than the restaurant versions. These works as a great appetizer and can be made ahead to be fried  hot just before the party. And a great way to get your kids to eat some cheese too.

The addition of panko bread crumbs lends a very crispy,crunchy texture to this dish. So go ahead and try it!

Time: 30 min ( Preparation Time) 10 min ( Making Time)

Difficulty: Easy – Medium

·         16 pieces String Cheese, with wrappers removed of course
·         ½ cups All-purpose Flour
·         2 whole Eggs
·         3 Tablespoons Milk
·         1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley Flakes
·         Canola Oil or any other oil, For Frying
·         Marinara Sauce or Maggi Hot and Sweet Ketchup, For Dipping
·         2 cups Panko Bread Crumbs

Method de Preparation:
1.     Slice string cheese pieces in half, for a total of 32 pieces.
2.     Place flour in a small bowl.
3.     In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.
4.  In another separate bowl, combine panko bread crumbs with parsley flakes. Add other spices if you like – basil, thyme etc.
5.       TO ASSEMBLE: One by one, roll mozzarella sticks in flour, then dunk in egg/milk mixture, then place in panko crumbs. Use your hand to sweep crumbs all over the mozzarella stick. Gently remove and place on a tray or cookie sheet. Repeat until all mozzarella sticks are coated. This is not easy to do and expect to make a mess. [ You can always have hubby dearest cleanup after because you made this delicious snack :P]
6.     Place tray in freezer for 20 to 30 minutes to freeze. I forgot this step and it was not fun I can tell you.
7.       TO COOK: Heat 1 1/2 inches canola oil in a medium to large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add mozzarella sticks 8 at a time. You can add even 1 at a time and stand there for 1 hr, it is totally upto you!! Watch closely and turn over to evenly brown, cooking less than 2 minutes. Do not allow cheese to bubble and leak.
8.     Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
9.     Serve immediately with warm marinara sauce or better still with ketchup!

Source: I saw this originally at PW cooks here and here; though I am sure many other versions exist. 

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