Gluten free zucchini cheese muffins

Zucchini Cheese muffins are not only delicious but are loaded with healthy nutrients! Zucchini keeps the muffins moist and the cheese adds great flavor. This simple recipe can be had for breakfast or can be had as an accompaniment with salad or soup for dinner. You can substitute zucchini with broccoli or any other vegetables like corn and carrot. I got this recipe from the incredible doctor mom, Neha Goel, who makes the most delicious and nutritious recipes for her twin boys.

What you need:

1 cup grated zucchini

1 egg

2 tbsp almond flour

1/4 cup grated cheese

Pinch of oregano

Pinch of black pepper

Salt to taste

How to make:

  1. Grate the zucchini and make sure to squeeze all the water out.
  2. Whisk one egg in a mixing bowl. Now add the zucchini, cheese and almond flour and mix well.
  3. Fold in the seasoning – salt, pepper and oregano and stir thoroughly.
  4. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees.
  5. Grease a muffin tray well and pour the prepared batter.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool a bit before removing them from the tray.

Crispy airfried okra

Enjoy this crispy fried okra without using a lot of oil to fry it! This delicious okra, also known as kurkuri bhindi, is coated with chickpea flour and spices. Originally kurkuri bhindi is fried but these guilt free okra sticks are made with very little oil, but taste equally good thanks to the air fryer. If you do not have any air fryer, these can also be made in an oven.

What you need:

1/2 pound okra

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp coriander powder

1 tsp chilli flakes

1/2 tsp mango powder (amchur)

1 tsp chaat masala

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp chickpea flour (besan)

2 tbsp oil

How to make:

  1. Wash the okra and dry completely with a paper towel. Cut lengthwise into sticks.
  2. In a mixing bowl, toss in the okra and all the spices, chickpea flour and oil. Mix well so that the okra sticks are coated nicely.
  3. Preheat the air fryer to 180 degrees Centigrade. Place okra in the basket and spread evenly and cook for about 10 minutes. You can flip the okra after 5 mins so that they can evenly cook.

4. Typically, the okra should be ready in 10 mins but depending on your airfryer you can adjust the timing to a couple of minutes more or less.

5. Serve hot with a drizzle of lemon. You can have it on its own as a snack or with roti, rice and daal.

Strawberry Walnut Salad

This is a must try summer salad with the sweetness of fresh strawberries, toasted walnuts and feta cheese! There are lots of options for mixing and matching – you can add avocado, cucumber, shallots, kale etc. Pecans can be another choice to add to the salad instead of walnuts to add the crunch and protein. This sweet and tangy salad has a zingy dressing and can be prepared in 10 minutes!

What you need:

For the dressing:

1 cup strawberries sliced

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp fresh crushed black pepper

For the salad:

1/2 cup walnuts

2 cups baby spinach

1 cup lettuce chopped

1 cup sliced strawberries

1/2 cup feta cheese

How to make:

  1. To make the dressing, chop the strawberries into smaller pieces. Add these to the blender along with olive oil, honey, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and blend till smooth.

2. Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit/180 degrees Centigrade. Line 1/2 cup walnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast for about 3-4 minutes until they are crisp. Once cool, chop the walnuts into smaller bits.

3. Line a serving bowl with the baby spinach and lettuce. Top the greens with sliced strawberries, feta cheese and walnuts.

4. Drizzle the dressing on top. Toss the salad well and serve.

Enjoy on its own or with a piece of baguette!

Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

Guest post by Ria:

Want to make an easy and delicious bread that is no-fuss and no-fail? You need to try this simple, fun and versatile recipe that is guaranteed to become a staple. I made a loaf of it for a picnic with some friends and we devoured it in no time. It’s great for beginners to bread making since you don’t have to proof the yeast or knead the bread, yet the results are just as impressive. Don’t take my word for it though – try it yourself! 

What you need:

3 cups all-purpose flour


1 teaspoon salt


3 teaspoons baking powder


1/4 cup sugar


12 oz. beer


1 stick unsalted butter


2-3 jalapenos


3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

How to make:


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a loaf pan. I used vegetable oil but you can also brush the pan with melted butter. 


2. Whisk together your dry ingredients – flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. If your salt and sugar are thicker and more granular, make sure to grind them down before adding them to the mixture. If you have self-raising flour, you can substitute this in place of the all-purpose flour, salt, and baking powder.


3. Dice 1-2 jalapenos into little pieces and add to the dry mixture along with 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Cut 1 jalapeno into thin rounds and set it aside to be added as a topping later. 


4. In a separate bowl, mix together beer and 1/4 of the butter (melted). I used a lager but you can also use an IPA.


5. Pour the beer-butter mixture into the flour mixture and fold it until combined. Transfer to the loaf pan.

6. Melt the remaining butter and pour it on top of the batter. Decorate it with jalapeno slices and the remaining quarter cup of cheddar cheese.


7. Place in the oven for an hour and bake until golden brown. Remove the pan and let it cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting the loaf into slices.

You can have this moist and savory bread on its own or as a delicious accompaniment with soups/salad/tea. Enjoy! 

Baked Jalapeno Poppers

Winter is the season when the thicker version of green chilies is available in India. These are used for making chili pickle which is really very delicious and the hotness quotient is much less. I have really been missing jalapeno poppers since I moved back to India and thought that these fat green chilies would be perfect to try making poppers with. I was happy as the poppers were beyond yummy and not greasy at all since I had baked them. These make the perfect party snack!

What you need:

12 jalapeno poppers /fat green chilies

2 oz cream cheese at room temperature

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp paprika powder

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese(I used Amul cheese)

How to make:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. Cut each pepper lengthwise into half. Use a small spoon (a serrated grapefruit spoon works well) to scoop out the seeds and membranes from each pepper and discard those pieces.
  2. In a bowl combine the cream cheese, garlic powder and paprika. Mix well.
  3. Stuff the peppers with this cream cheese mixture and then top each of the peppers with a small amount of grated cheese and bread crumbs.

4. Bake for about 18-20 minutes till jalapenos are tender and the cheese is bubbling and turning golden brown.

Enjoy!

Lemon garlic chicken

This is a delicious and easy one pan chicken dish which is a breeze to make when you are running short of time. This can be combined with a side of grilled/sautéed veggies, a green salad or fried rice/noodles for a complete meal. What are you waiting for – give this a try!

What you need:

4-6 skinless boneless chicken thighs

3 tbsp butter (divided)

4 garlic cloves minced

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp onion powder (I had onion flakes on hand so used them)

1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper

1/4 tsp salt

Juice of 1/2 lemon + lemon slices for garnish

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 tbsp hot sauce (I used Sriracha)

1/4 tsp crushed red chili pepper flakes

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley (you can use the dry parsley as well)

How to make:

  1. In small bowl combine onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper.

2. Generously season the chicken thighs with this spice mixture and set aside.

3. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Lay the seasoned thighs in one layer in the skillet. Cook for 5-6 minutes then flip and cook another 5-6 minutes until cooked through and the chicken starts browning. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

4. In the same skillet, lower the heat and melt the remaining tablespoon of butter. Add the minced garlic, chopped parsley (or dry parsley), hot sauce and crushed chili flakes and stir for a couple of minutes on low heat. Then add the chicken stock and lemon juice and reduce the sauce for a couple of minutes till slightly thickened.

5. Add the cooked chicken thighs back to the pan and reheat quickly. Adjust the seasoning with peper and serve immediately. Garnish with a few lemon slices.

Notes:

  1. Remove chicken thighs from refrigerator about 15 minutes before cooking to bring them closer to room temperature.
  2. Season the chicken just before cooking to prevent drawing out moisture and drying the meat.

Tomato salsa

This homemade salsa recipe is sure to make you skip the store bought jar ! This simple recipe takes less than 15 minutes to make and can be adapted to your desired spice level and lasts one week in the fridge. It has one secret ingredient which gives it an absolutely restaurant like flavor.

What you need:

1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes

3/4 cup chopped onions

2 tsp chopped jalapeno/green chillies (as per taste)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp black pepper powder

Sea salt to taste

2 tbsp lemon juice

2-3 tbsp pasta sauce (The secret ingredient! I used Ragu tomato basil and garlic flavor)

How to make:

  1. Wash and chop the onions, tomatoes, chillies and cilantro and transfer to a blender.

2. Add the cumin, salt and lime juice along with the pasta sauce to the blender and pulse to get a chunky texture.

3. This salsa improves with time. So if you have the option, set it aside in the refrigerator for 30 mins or more before serving.

Veg Manchow soup

Manchow soup is a flavorful, spicy and hot soup made with a mix of seasonal vegetables. Chicken can also be added along with vegetables. An interesting discovery I made was that though this soup is served under Chinese cuisine in India, it is in fact an Indian recipe which originated in the North eastern state of Meghalaya! This popular soup can be had either as an appetizer or even as a light dinner on its own. The soup is topped with fried noodles which makes it filling and tasty.

What you need:

1 tsp finely chopped garlic

1 tsp finely chopped ginger

1/4 cup finely chopped carrots

1/4 cup finely chopped cabbage

1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

1/4 cup finely chopped green beans

1/4 cup mushrooms

1 finely chopped green chilli (optional)

1 tbsp soya sauce

1 tsp hot sauce (I used Sriracha)

1 tsp white vinegar

1 tbsp cornstarch

1.5 tbsp vegetable oil

Salt as per taste

To garnish:

1 cup boiled and fried noodles

How to make:

  1. Boil and fry the noodles and keep aside. You can also use instant noodles which can be used without frying as they become soft when thrown in the soup.
  2. In a pan heat some oil. Fry the garlic and ginger and the green chillie. Saute till they become fragrant.

3. Now add all the vegetables except mushrooms, and saute for 2-3 minutes. Any other vegetables like bellpepper can also be added. The vegetables should be cooked but remain crunchy.

4. Add the sliced mushrooms on a medium high flame for 3-4 minutes till they get lightly brown on the edges.

5. Add soya sauce, red chilli paste and vinegar to the stir fried vegetables and mix well. Then add water or vegetable stock.

6. While the soup is coming to a boil, make a smooth paste of cornstarch with water. Add this cornstarch to the soup and lower the heat and allow to boil for another couple of minutes till the soup thickens.

7. Season with salt and then top the Manchow Soup with the fried/instant noodles and some green onions. Enjoy!

Fattoush Salad

This Mediterranean salad (originated in Lebanon) is made with a delicious blend of fresh greens, veggies and herbs, crispy toasted pita chips, and a bright and zippy sumac dressing. So if you’re also ready for a refreshing dose of greens in your life, clean out that crisper drawer and let’s make some fattoush!

What you need:

1 loaf pita bread cut into pieces

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp sumac powder

2 cups romaine lettuce chopped

1 cucumber chopped

2 tomatoes chopped

3 green onions (both white and green parts) chopped

3 red radishes thinly sliced

1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Lime vinaigrette

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp sumac powder

pinch cinnamon powder

How to make:

  1. Toast the pita bread in your toaster oven till it is crisp but not browned.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Break the pita bread into pieces and add to the pan. Stir well and then add the salt, pepper and 1/2 tsp sumac powder. Once the pita chips are a little brown and the spices are well mixed, remove from heat and place on paper towels to drain.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, green onions, radish and parsely.

4. To make the dressing, whisk together the lemon or lime juice, olive oil and spices in a small bowl.

5. Dress the salad with the dressing and toss lightly. Finally add the pita chips and more sumac if you like and give it a good mix. Dig in and enjoy!

Notes:

  1. Do not use store bought pita chips for this salad. Take the time to toast and fry your pita at home and season well.
  2. Add the dressing just before serving so that the pita does not become soggy.
  3. Please try not to skip the sumac. It is a special spice made from sumac berries and has a distinct tart flavor. Sumac can be found at specialty retailers in the spice section. If you can’t find it, substitute lemon zest for the closest taste.
  • You can be creative and add other vegetables like bell peppers, crushed garlic and even pomegranate seeds!

Air fryer cilantro lime chicken legs

My daughter, Ria, had been telling me to get a Air Fryer for the longest time. Finally, I succumbed to the pressure and bought one last week! I couldn’t wait to try it out and one of the first things I made was cilantro lime chicken legs. Not only was this an easy and quick dinner option for me but also they turned out to be super juicy, flavorful and delicious!

What you need:

6 chicken legs (Note – I used only 2 , but the ingredients are listed for 6 drumsticks)

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 tsp red chili (or pepper) flakes

4 cloves of garlic minced

2 tsp brown sugar

3/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

How to make:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp olive oil, lime juice, chopped cilantro, chilli flakes, garlic, sugar and cumin. Add the chicken legs to the marinade and toss evenly to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

2. Pre heat fryer to 360 degrees F (or 185 deg C). Spray the air fryer basket with oil. Place the chicken in the air fryer.

3. Air Fry for about 25-30 minutes and turn the chicken halfway through cooking.

4. Pour the marinade remaining in the bowl onto the chicken legs and cook for another 4-5 minutes till golden brown and juicy.

Serve these crispy and juicy legs with salad and/or dinner roll. Or just have them on their own as the perfect keto drumstick dinner!