Sunday, June 24, 2012

Taco Bell Crunch Wrap Supreme-My Way!

Another favourite of ours from Taco Bell is their Crunch Wrap Supreme. It is really nothing extravagant. It’s just a flour tortilla, topped with taco meat, cheese sauce, lettuce, tomato, crunchy taco chips, wrapped and toasted..And we pay almost $6 for one Crunch Wrap Supreme. So I thought why don’t try at home. I know how to make taco meat and cheese sauce. I’ve got lettuce and tomatoes and crunchy tacos in my pantry and refrigerator. So I made this over the weekend with a bit of a twist. Instead of putting lettuce and tomatoes inside of the wrap, I decided to top it with lettuce and tomatoes and sour cream. For cheese sauce, I decided to use real cheese instead of that silly cheese product. This was so amazing, I made it for weekend lunch with some salad for us and then, twice a week lunches for hubby and baby. They don’t seem to have enough of this wrap…sure is a keeper recipe.

Crunch Wrap Supreme

6 large tortillas
1 lb. ground chicken
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp or to taste red chili powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp powdered dry oregano
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, diced
2 tbsp oil
6 crunchy taco shells, broken in two or some Doritos chips
Lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream as required for toppings

Cheese sauce:

See Taco Bell Fries Supreme-My Way!

How to:

Brown onion and garlic in oil over medium high heat.
Add chicken and all the spices and cook till chicken is done.
Add a bit of water if chicken is sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Keep warm.
Make cheese sauce.
Now warm up large tortilla.
On work surface, lay one tortilla, spoon 2-3 tbsp ground chicken mix, top with cheese sauce and 2 halves of hard taco shells.
Wrap over the hard shell to encase the filling.
Heat up a griddle, lightly sprayed with oil.
Put the wrapped side down on the hot griddle, cook till nice and brown.
Flip and repeat on the other side as well.
Top the wrap with sour cream, tomato, lettuce and enjoy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Tomato Salad

I can't believe what I am doing right now! Just got a few minutes free from work, and here I am. Posting....
As I mentioned in one of my earliest blogs, I love to eat tomatoes. Raw, cooked - in any form. I love the green and red tomato dishes with spices that my mom makes. Truly divine. They are more like jam and I eat them with my rotis smeared with them. Today, I am not making that dish though. It's still waiting for mom to come back and make! Today, I want to talk about the delicious tomato salad I made that was finger licking good and a treat to look at.  I saw a few blogger friends come up with such pretty, eye pleasing dishes, I thought hmmmm, what I should make that could really stand out?! And I wanted to make a real easy, simple dish that could be made in a jiffy and at the same time, it should be filling and pretty looking. And yes, most important part - the ingredients. I didn't want to use exotic ingredients that you can hardly find. It should be made of easy to find and relatively inexpensive ingredients.

So I was still debating myself on what to make and last Wednesday, I went out for a walk in my lunch time to the nearby farmers' market. Every summer, we have this farmer's market opens up that sells fresh from the farm veggies, fruits and freshly baked breads and cookies. There I saw these pretty Roma tomatoes. Hard to resist. I tried a piece of it, and wow, it was so sweet and juicy. So I just bought a basket of those tomatoes. I knew that I will be making a tomato salad with those tomatoes. I also have a very pretty looking oregano plant in my garden and some mozzarella di bufala in my fridge. So my tomato salad was all shaped up. This is going to be a very healthy and delicious salad for sure, I thought. In my mind, I was sure I would be just chopping everything and tossing them together. Finally, it occurred to me to make a salad a Virtual Treat! And here it is. Simple, fresh ingredients transformed into a palate pleasing healthy dish.

Summer Tomato Salad

2-3 Roma tomatoes, sliced in 1/4" thick slices
A palmful of oregano leaves
1/2 lb. mozzarella di bufala cheese, sliced
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
Oil for frying cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

How to:
Dredge cheese slices in bread crumbs and deep fry them.
Keep warm on a paper towel.
Arrange a thick slice of tomato on a serving plate.
Season with salt and pepper. Top with a slice of cheese, seasoned well.
Place a few oregano leaves on top of the cheese.
Season each layer with salt and pepper as you go.
Drizzle some balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and serve.
Enjoy the anti oxidants and lycopene rich salad that is not only an eye candy but very beneficial for skin too!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Taco Bell's Fries Supreme, MY WAY!

Happy Father's Day to my readers who are fathers, uncles and grand fathers...And a very special, warm wish to my DAD and my hubby!

Original Taco Bell Fries Supreme!
I believe it’s just Taco Bell Canada that offers this delish dish called Fries Supreme. It is freshly prepared french fries covered with seasoned ground beef, warm zesty nacho cheese sauce, diced ripe tomatoes, chives and cool sour cream. I haven’t seen it in the United States. Elsewhere, I am not sure. So yesterday, I thought about making my version of this very popular Fries Supreme at home. The verdict: this is the best dish in the entire meal! Now I liked it.

I used dots of hot taco sauce instead of fresh diced tomatoes. And green onions instead of chives. It was surely a fit for a satisfying meal itself, let alone the side dish.

Fries Supreme


1 lb.frozen french fries(you can make your own fries, frozen saves a lot of time)
1/2 lb.ground chicken
1 medium onion,diced
3-4 cloves garlic,chopped
2 tbsp Mexican Chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp powdered oregano
Sour cream, sliced greens of green onions for garnish
1 Diced tomato

Nacho Cheese Sauce:
Nacho cheese sauce

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp AP flour
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1-1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, finely diced

How to:

Prepare fries as package direction.
When fries are baking, make nacho cheese sauce.
On a medium high heat, melt butter and cook flour in the butter till raw smell disappear, about 3-4 minutes.
Add milk, salt, pepper and bring to a light boil.
Add cheese and jalapeno and remove from heat.
Keep warm.
In the meantime, brown ground chicken with onion and garlic.
Add all the spices and cook till chicken is done, for about 8 minutes, taking care chicken won’t stick to the bottom of the pan. If it happens, add a tbsp of water to the pot.
Stir to make sauce consistency.
Place fries in a serving platter.
Cover with chicken mixture.
Pour nacho cheese sauce over the chicken mixture.
Add sour cream, diced tomato and green chilies and serve.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cappuccino Cooler

Last few days have been very cold. We again need a jacket especially in the mornings. Weather has been playing tricks on us. We’ve got great winter, spring and now, we got hit by cold wave. Still, all kinds of cold drinks are out to cool us even further. I had an Iced Coffee from McDonald’s and I started complaining of feeling cold. I was debating whether to get a pipin’ hot coffee to warm me up or iced coffee to cool me down and hubby dear won as he wanted to go for iced coffee.

A side note: we both work for the same company. We are practically together for well, 24 hours a day! People wonder how we can still stand each other after having been blessed with THIS MUCH togetherness! We go for coffee together, lunch we don’t eat together. Sometimes we go for a walk if the weather is nice and that’s about it.

So back to my iced coffee story. I’ve made iced coffee before. This time, I wanted to try my hands on iced cappuccino. And yes, I got the same mouthwatering cooler at home we normally pay big bucks at the coffee shops. And that is again, so easy to whip up, I can’t believe I spent so much of my hard earned money on those fancy coffee drinks. I might still go to McD just to get away from my desk but it won’t be that frequent.

Cappuccino Cooler

1-1/2 cups cold coffee cubes(freeze the leftover coffee in ice cube tray)
1-1/2 cups Vanilla ice cream(or chocolate ice cream if you are a real chocoholic)
1/3 cup chocolate syrup
Whipped topping (optional)
Ground cinnamon (optional)

How to:
Place coffee cubes, ice cream and syrup in blender container.
Cover; blend until smooth.
Serve immediately.
Garnish with whipped topping and cinnamon, if desired.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer Veggie Rolls

These were the coolest cold rolls I have ever made! They were awesome. I am not boasting. Zucchinis, red and orange peppers, daicon, mint,cucumber and tomatoes... all summer vegetables in rolls.

Just lay 2-3 zucchini slices flat on a work surface. Julienne all the veggies YOU like to eat, a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and peppered the veggies, some fresh mint or maybe cilantro whatever is available that day in your fridge, and roll up.  This is best salad ever for those hot summer days, no need to turn on the oven or stove and voila, you have yourself a satisfying, healthy, light dinner!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mango Mousse

This mousse was as easy as it gets. I can’t believe I whipped it up in less than 5 minutes and got gorgeous and delish result after the chilling happened! I happened to have a half can of mango pulp sitting in my fridge. I wanted to make something using that pulp for sure. I thought about making kulfi… nah, made it before and no freezer space available for kulfi. Ice cream ruled out as well. Finally I thought about making the mousse. I’ve made a few quick mousses in the past. I thought, hmmm, let’s just whip mango pulp, sour cream and Cool Whip and see what happens! Yes, you read it right. I had no idea if it would work. I did take a chance in making this whipped mousse. And that worked. Only 3 ingredients and voila, a great looking, lip smacking dessert was ready!

Mango Mousse
2 cups mango pulp(I used canned)
2 cups Cool Whip topping, thawed
1 cup sour cream

How to:
Easy.. just mix and fold them together very gently.
Chill for about 2 hours.
Serve with chopped pistachios or mango pieces etc and enjoy!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Masoor Pulav

I grew up eating masoor, whole and split. Not many are familiar with this lentils but it is very delicious, quick to cook and on a nutrition scale, I would give it a 9! It is one of the best beans I've ever cooked with. I love the soup made out of lentils, I use it for kababs(split as well as whole), I mix it with spinach or fenugreek to make a very healthy dish - you name it.
This is mom's recipe. She used to make this pulav with lots of boiled eggs in it. We used to have it either with dal or egg curry. She would make the same recipe using split chick peas instead of lentils. Equally delicious and so quick and easy to prepare. Even for the rookies, this is the best dish to make and impress! I mean, c'mon, who can't chop onions, boil rice and potatoes together?!

Give it a try. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Masoor Pulav
1 large onion, sliced
1 each cinnamon stick, bay leaf - whole
2-3 cloves
1 tsp whole black pepper
1 dry red chili - whole
1 tsp cumin seeds
Salt as needed
Oil as required

Sauté onion with all the spices till translucent. Keep it aside.

For rice:
2 cups basmati rice, soaked in water for 15 minutes
2 medium sized potatoes, quartered and deep fried and salted!
3/4 cup whole lentils(Masoor)

Wash masoor. Add water to the onion mix and bring it to boil. Add drained rice and lentils and cook till rice is done. The ratio of rice to water is 2:3. Or you might need to adjust per the age of rice. Once rice is cooked, garnish with fried potatoes and serve with your favorite side dish.

As I mentioned earlier, this dish can be made with split chick peas, fresh or frozen green peas or any kind of beans. You can make dry curry to go with it, or plain simple cucumber raita works best in hot summer months!

Found this picture in my archives folder!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Spaghetti Alla Matriciana & a few clicks from our trip!

The train we took in Italy!


another view of Coliseum

Coliseum from inside

Victor Emmanuel II of Italy monument in Rome

St.Peter's Square

Famous Pieta from Michelangelo

Another of endless array of sculptures in St.Peter's Basilica


Trevi Fountain
 Life's been way too busy these days...I am just too tired! Still, need to do what I've got to do! Here it is..

Spanish Steps

Amatriciana Sauce is a traditional Italian pasta recipe made with Pancetta(No, I didn't use it or bacon!), or if you're lucky enough to find it, dried pork cheek. Then blended with rich and thick tomato sauce and pecorino cheese to create a hearty and flavorful Italian pasta recipe.

Rome, being in the Lazio region of Italy is right next door to Rieti, a small mountain side town where this recipe derives. Also known as the local ski hot spot for Romans and their Pecorino cheese. A typical mountain cheese made from sheep's milk. Similar to parmigiano in density and texture but much sharper and slightly saltier. It has the boldness to stand up to the smokey flavor of the pancetta and makes the perfect match for this delicious sauce! Romans have adopted Alla'matriciana and integrated it into their cuisine.

When we were in Rome last August, We had this amazing lasagna in Amatriciana sauce. Since then, I was longing to have that pasta but didn’t have a chance to make it. I really haven’t made lasagna in a long time! Finally, over the weekend, I thought of making this simple yet elegant dish that transported us right back to that tiny restaurant in Rome, fragrant with the aromas of cooking of garlic, onion and tomatoes. Do try this, I am sure you and your family will equally enjoy it.

Spaghetti Alla Matriciana

3/4 lb spaghetti
½ large onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar
¾ cup tomato puree
Fresh Pecorino Romano,grated
salt as needed

How to:

Prepare pasta according to package direction.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over moderately low heat.
Add the onion and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
While the onion is cooking, add the pasta to the boiling water.
Add the red pepper flakes and parsley to the onion mixture and cook briefly to release their fragrance.
Add the vinegar and simmer briefly until it evaporates, then add the tomato puree and 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Simmer briefly to blend.
When the pasta is just shy of al dente, drain it and return it to the warm pot over moderate heat.
Add the sauce and cook briefly so the pasta absorbs some of the sauce, then transfer the pasta to a warmed serving bowl and shower with the pecorino.
Serve immediately.