Chicken Patties (a savory strudel alike)

Dec 27, 2012
I can't believe Christmas went by so quickly and New Years is only a couple days away- WHAAAT.. I am still in denial and don't want to stop eating more cookies in the name of holidays! 

But at the same time I am excited to welcome 2013, a new year, new beginnings. Hope it will be another year full of happiness, success and good health. Lots of wishes from me to you and your family

On any other day I probably would not have promoted this recipe - buttery, flaky chicken patties but c'mon its New Years - it deserves special attention; it comes just once a year - 365 days. 52 weeks. All I am trying to say warn you is - don't get too hooked because this buttery, flaky pastry sheets stuffed with flavorful chicken pieces are pretty hard to stop after your first bite. Even though every bite is so worth the calories, I usually save it for the special moments like these, a New Years gift from me to you!

...I love how these chicken patties take me back to middle school; times where I securely held on to my mother's hand and walked swiftly towards a small bakery after school that displayed colorful pastries, old-fashioned glazed doughnuts, different cookies, and patties. I occasionally craved for cream rolls but chicken patties & I were BFFs.

Still today, when I take a bite of this, I go back to a time where life's biggest concerns were chicken patties, more play time, and less homework!  So simple, so naive... 

Its like eating soft, buttery sheets with a spicy chicken surprise waiting inside but feel free to add other fillings of your choice: potatoes, mix veggies, paneer or whatever tickles your fancy! 

All you need are puff pastry shells, filling of your choice, and ten minutes of patience! I eyeballed all the ingredients, so please adjust it to your liking all you want.

Chicken Patties

boneless chicken tenderloins (may use chicken breast too)
chicken tandoori masala
Miracle whip
hot sauce
salt & pepper
egg (for egg wash)

*note- i used puff pastry sheets but i highly recommend using shells.

- In a sauce pan, boil milk and add chicken with tandoori masala until chicken is boiled and completely cooked. Discard all the milk. May use water instead of milk if desired.
-Shred the chicken and place it in a bowl
-Mix in with more tandoori masala, hot sauce, miracle whip, salt and adjust the taste as needed

The main goal is to make sure the chicken is not too dry and adding Miracle whip/mayonnaise helped keep it moist.

-In a preheated oven @ 400F, place pastry shells/sheets for 10 minutes or so until it turns slightly yellow/brown and top pops up. Remember to brush it with egg wash.
-Place the fillings, brush it with egg wash and put it back in the oven for additional few minutes until its evenly golden

Serve it hot and this recipe stores well in the freezer. Simply reheat it in a toaster oven and enjoy :)

See you next year!

I am sending this recipe to Have the Cake where you can find more strudel recipes.

.. all I wanted for Xmas

While growing up, Christmas was just some foreign holiday to me, a holiday about a big man with white beard in a red outfit who gave lots of gifts of children..I secretly wished we celebrated that instead.

Fast forward some decade and half, Christmas is not foreign anymore. Although I don't celebrate it traditionally/religiously, I eagerly wait to spend Christmas morning with my family especially two little cousins in New York. Sadly, things are little different this year.

Christmas 2010, New York

I don't have a month long winter break like a college student or an intern anymore. Welcome to the adult life I guess,  dealing with PTOs, vacation days and all that adult stuff.

Main st. @ Fort Worth Downtown,  2012 

Christmas is simply a very joyful time of the year; there's color green, red, gold screaming festivity, and just a sight of poinsettia brings a smile on my face. My serotonin levels goes up just a little  every time I pass by a decorated, lit Christmas tree, ornaments, stockings & happy, hurrying shoppers everywhere.

..okay,  not a big fan of over crowded malls though! 

I have also come to understand that Christmas is not only about giving/receiving expensive presents to each other. But more about giving, sharing, helping others who are in need with whatever we can. 

My day started with a long skype with the familia,  then got this KitchenAid Mixer from Santa..

Super excited and still little awed, I baked white chocolate macadamia cookies in honor of my present

late xmas breakfast consisted of cookies & whole wheat waffles topped with black berries

and spent the whole day in pajamas, sipping lots of warm beverages, followed by white Christmas in Dallas. 

Although I was not able to spend my time with the family, I felt truly blessed to be around loved ones, good food and unexpected snow :) - I could not have asked for anything better.

Hope you all had a great Christmas with your loved ones too.

Crepes with Cranberry Apple Compote

Dec 23, 2012
there are so many culinary terms floating around in my head. all the some fancy ingredient, cool techniques, or the exact differences between icing & frosting, compote & chutney and so on. I like reading about it; small details, fun facts, their origins, etc etc. Its pretty interesting.

Compote, originated in France and is made of fruit pieces in sugar syrup. It is served warm or chilled while chutney is pungent relish of Indian origin made of fruit, spices and herbs. Originally, chutney was made and eaten fresh, but now preparations are reduced with sugar and vinegar to provide a suitable shelf life (source). 

I had a bag of fresh cranberries waiting to be used so I put it to a good use by making compote, with apples and cinnamon sticks!  

the rich, vibrant color of cranberries screams nothing but festivity..

This will be great on Christmas morning with this crepes, which are whole wheat. I used this pancake recipe minus chocolate chips but diluted down with more milk until it was little runny, like crepe batter consistency. 

Sweetness from apples and cinnamon sticks balances the slightly tartness from cranberries. The color is so rich, has a warm flavor and makes breakfast extra special!

Cranberry Apple Compote
1/2 apple, cubed
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
3 tablespoon sugar
3 cups water
cinnamon stick

Note: this recipe makes enough for 2-3 people. 

-In a sauce pan, boil water and sugar together then add cranberries, apples, and cinnamon stick
-Allow it to simmer until cranberries, apples softens and the liquid reduces to thick consistency

Boozy Truffles {Recipe Redux}

Dec 21, 2012
For the month of December, Recipe Redux challenge was very appropriate, as reveal day is only four shopping days before Christmas we had to share our favorite kitchen gadget/appliance and favorite recipe that is prepared using that kitchen gadget...

My favorite gadget is the hand-held electric mixer which I got for Christmas last year. Its very handy, easy to clean, takes very little space and fairly inexpensive must-have kitchen gadget.

I often make waffles using this mixer and its extremely helpful for cake batters, including this battenburg cake, chocolate cranberry bundt cake, and donuts.

This mixer is perfect for beating egg whites; cream sugar and eggs together. It has done a wonderful job with vanilla cupcakes & chocolate roulades,  and many other recipes that I could go on and on forever..

But today that I will share my absolutely favorite boozy truffle recipe I make using this mixer. Its less than 5 ingredients and makes smooth, delicious truffles.

Boozy Truffles
Makes about 15 small size truffles

2 oz cream cheese, softened ( i used reduced fat)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips, melted
2 teaspoon Baileys Irish Cream or use vanilla extract if you want to omit alcohol
Cocoa powder, unsweetened coconut, thinly chopped nuts- optional

-In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and slowly add in powdered sugar until smooth.
-Combine the melted chocolate chips to the mixture and beat in low speed.
-Add Baileys Irish Cream/vanilla extract.
-Place the bowl in refrigerator for several hours until the mixture is firm (I left it overnight).
-With dry hands, take little more than tablespoon and roll out the chocolate mixture into round shape. 
-Roll them into cocoa powder or your choice of coatings

Share them with your loved ones, friends, families, co-workers

 Or,  enjoy alone with a cup of strong coffee

and if you are worried about the fat/dairy/sugar content of this boozy truffles, no worries- I have the guilt-free truffles for ya which are very good too! 

Don't forget to check other Recipe Redux Members favorite kitchen gadgets & their fav. recipe!

Happy Holidays..

As simple as... Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Dec 19, 2012
I fell in love with Brussels sprouts only about a month ago at Thanksgiving table this year. They were roasted perfectly, lightly salted, soft to chew and had  slightly bitter and somewhat nutty flavor. It was simple yet very delicious & the most memorable side dish at the table. Thank you Anisa for re-introducing Brussels into my life.

They are small leafy green buds that looks like miniature cabbages and are  exceptionally rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

I roasted them with some olive oil, pinch of salt, pepper and paprika @ 400F until tender (30-35 minutes). 

  ..if you are not much into sprouts- try roasting it and see if it changes your mind.

Brussels Sprouts - Yay or Nay?

Blueberry Streusel Scones {Joy of Baking}

Dec 17, 2012

My long time desire to make buttery, melt-in-my mouth scones has finally ended. 

The recipe was adapted from Joy of Baking and the techniques were taken from America's Test Kitchen.

The key is use frozen butter, shredded before combining with flour for flaky layers

Remember to freeze fresh blueberries (if using fresh) or if using frozen blueberries - do not thaw before using because the blue color will leech into the dough and make the scones look like smurfs - not very attractive for a scone.

A lot of recipes called in to fold blueberries along with the dough but the Americas Test Kitchen did something differently. 
  • They recommended to flatten out the dough, leave it in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes before rolling them out.  
  • The frozen blueberries are then spread on the dough forming a log.
  • First the log is cut into four pieces, then into wedges 

Some of the scones did not hold shape well due to blueberry overload :( 

 streusel topping with more butter, flour and cinnamon was totally worth it
Ready to go in the oven - brushed with milk & topped with streusel about 18-20 minutes, kitchen will start to smell like cinnamon-blueberry heaven.
that's when you should leave everything behind, grab yourself a cup of tea/coffee, and indulge into these scones; each layer is so flaky,  cinnamon streusel compliments the mild-sweetness from blueberries and it will be very hard not to finish all eight of them..

and if you have no self control with baked goods, then I may have a perfect solution for you! Send some to your loved ones- friends and families. They will love you even more.

Black Bean Quinoa Patties {Meatless Monday}

Dec 14, 2012
I love when Meatless Monday dinner comes together easily..just grab few ingredients here and there. 

No planning. Not too much thinking. Just delicious, healthy, meatless dinner at the table.

.. it all happened when black beans met quinoa, mixed in with sauteed onions and freshly chopped mint.  Its like they were all meant to be together in a form of patties packed with lots of nutrients.  

Quinoa, a native crop to the Andes Mountains of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru is typically eaten as the grain like wheat, oats, and barley but its actually from same food family that contains spinach, Swiss chard, and beets!

Within past few years, quinoa has received a lot of attention because of its astounding health benefits. Its a great source of protein, with nine essential amino acids and gluten-free. It is has only 172 calories per 1/4 cup (dry).

Anyways, its very good for you! If you have not tried it yet, I highly suggest that you do and you will thank me for introducing quinoa to you :)

..moving on to the patties story, it hit the spot - in terms of both flavor & texture. I had these on whole wheat patties, smothered with spicy tahini paste and a side of homemade oven fried eggplant fries.

And had more for lunch next day - I crumbled them on top of garden salad. Simply delicious! 

Black Bean Quinoa Patties
Makes about 6 patties

1-15 oz can black beans, rinsed 
1/2 cup quinoa, dry 
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs 
handful fresh mint, chopped  
2-3 teaspoon cumin powder
1-2 teaspoon paprika powder
oil for sauteing onions & pan-fry patties
salt & pepper, to taste

-In a small bowl, mash black beans until mushy and leave about 2 tablespoon whole. Set aside.
-In a medium sauce pan, cook quinoa based on the directions from the package.
- In small frying pan, heat oil over medium heat and sautee onions, garlic together for few minutes.
-Add cooked quinoa, sauteed onions and remaining ingredients together and mix well.
-If the mixture is too wet, add more bread crumbs.
-Form them into a shape of a patty and let it sit in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes
- In a medium skillet, over a medium heat, drizzle a tablespoon of oil and pan-fry these patties for 6-8 minutes on each side!

...while patties are in the refrigerator,  you can make these oven-fried eggplant fries!

Chicken & Couscous Haleem

Dec 12, 2012

That is exactly how I felt Sunday night after a whole weekend of non-stop moving boxes, unpacking, organizing, & eating too many take-outs! 
And learned -  never to move to a third floor. My legs are not happy at all. But I think the view and nearby park somewhat compensates for that.

I was very exhausted both mentally & physically & all I wanted was to dive into home-cooked, hearty soup. One of my friend suggested Haleem, a thick beef stew popular among Pakistani, Bengali, Indian, Arabic and Persian cuisine. 

Traditionally, the stew is slow cooked with meat, lentils, and broken wheat but it may vary from one region to another.

For a Haleem newbie, it was just everything a sick-of-take-out soul needed - one pot dish, slow cooked, full of both carbohydrate & protein and big on flavor. 

I referred few online recipes and used ingredients that I had available at home.  

Chicken & Couscous Haleem
Makes about 4 servings

1/4 cup yellow split peas, dry
1/4 cup orange split peas, dry
1/2 cup couscous, uncooked ( I used this)
1 chicken breast, cubed
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
3-4 tablespoon Haleem masala ( I used this)
2-3 teaspoon red chili powder
2-3 tablespoon cooking oil 
salt, as desired

 For garnish
 sliced ginger, fried onions, chopped cilantro, chopped green chili, chaat masala

-In a pressure cooker, boil both yellow and orange split peas for 20 minutes until they are very soft.
-Cook couscous based on instructions from the box.
-Mix split peas and couscous and puree them together.
-Heat a medium pan, add 1 tablespoon oil and fry onions until they are slightly brown. Remove from heat and keep aside.
-In the same pan, add 1-2 tablespoon oil and add garlic, ginger and chicken. Add 2 tablespoon Haleem masala and 2 teaspoon chili powder and fry them together for 8-10 minutes. Add 3/4 of fried onions to the mix and stir everything. 
-Transfer the chicken mixture to the pressure cooker along with split peas & couscous. Add water, remaining Haleem masala & red chili powder. (I eyeballed the amount of water that I added to the pressure cooker and continued adding more until the chicken & split peas were very soft and mushy) 
-Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for about 35-40 minutes or until it reaches a thick consistency and chicken,split peas & couscous are pureed well together.
-Garnish it and serve hot. 

I ate the stew by itself but I think it goes well with plain white rice or naan bread too. 

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (whole wheat)

Dec 6, 2012
For the past few days, I have done nothing but pack & strategize on how to make this moving-to-a-new-apartment-business as smooth as possible. 

...and surprisingly, it has not been that bad. yet. Maybe because I am a  minimalist, or at least I'd like to think that I am, aka who throws away things just because...

In retrospect,  I am so relieved its all done and I had some time to bake these finger licking, extremely soft (whole wheat) chocolate chip banana bread!

As I was cleaning my freezer, I found these frozen bananas in desperate need of good use and I could not think of a better way than this banana bread  from one of my favorite blog, myinnershakti and the way Parita, (myinnershakti's writer) describe it - I knew this stuff should not be missed. 

Delicious, Healthy, & Super Easy!


Now stop drooling and click here for the recipe and start baking already!

I doubled the vanilla extract and added more chocolate chips on top.  But that's just me. 

This is my last post from old apartment's kitchen, a place where I truly started cooking & won (almost) my battle against baking. 

Looking forward to my new kitchen & many more culinary adventures to come..

Caramelized Onions & Chicken Pizza

Dec 4, 2012
When he says football, I hear pizza... 

the kind made with homemade crust, caramelize onions & shredded chicken. 

lately we have this tradition to watch college football with pizza. Last time we made pizza with tomato, onions & olives. They were simple yet very delicious but after eating these caramelized onions and chicken ones , it changed our mind and I am sure yours will too.

caramelized onion & chicken pizza

While he focused on the SEC Championship Game, I gave my undivided attention to onions, until they caramelized to a slightly dark brown color. You can go darker than that. I will let you decide. 

Between stirring onions and catching up on the game, I also boiled a piece of skinless chicken breast until cooked and shredded them to go with caramelized onions- its like a match made in heaven. But really, are matches made in heaven? or, do you find a perfect match on earth? 

Anyways..moving on to the pizza. Head over here for the pizza crust recipe or use dough of your choice! 

We have used this recipe several times and its full-proof, so easy that even during the most important football game, dough master happily volunteered to make the dough, after all its his area of expertise ;)

I would recommended making the dough ahead and letting it rise and in the meantime you can prepare the onions & chicken.

Caramelized Onions & Chicken Pizza
Makes just enough two hungry people

8-10" pizza crust (homemade or pre-made)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 chicken breast
1 cup Pregos Roasted Garlic & Herb Sauce
1 cup part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoon dried basil
2-3 tablespoon oil, for frying onion 

- Make the pizza dough ahead of time and let it rise
-In a frying pan, over medium heat, add 2-3 tablespoon oil
-Add the sliced onion, stirring occasionally for few minutes
-Lower the heat and stir for about 30-35 minutes until it turns darkish brown color and soft texture. Remove from heat & put it aside
-In a saucepan, boil chicken breast until cooked completely and shred it into pieces and leave aside
-Preheat the oven to 495F
-Roll out the dough to the desired shape. Do not roll it too thin! 
-Place the crust on a greased baking tray then start with the tomato sauce, spread it just enough to cover it. Followed by some cheese.
-Then, topped it with dried basil, cheese, caramelized onions, shredded chicken pieces and more cheese! 
-Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese melts completely and sauce starts bubbling. 
-Let it rest for few minutes and cut it into slices and dive in.

Caramelize onions lend mild sweet flavor which worked really well with the chicken. The crust, as usual was soft on the inside & little crispy on the outside and the pizza was gone within half an hour, we both were left craving for more :( which is why I am already looking forward for another football game!

I only used half the caramelize onions & shredded chicken and used the leftover for a quick pasta dish next day!

Sautee both chicken & onions with the cooked pasta noodles