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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mexican Tortilla Soup

For the last and final day of the marathon, here is my another favorite 'Mexican (Chicken) Tortilla soup'

Another hearty and wholesome soup which can be called a full meal. Made with chicken and black beans, topped with crispy tortilla chips, this one is a sure hit in the winters.
Add or minus more veggies, add a avocado and its just becomes more healthy...nothing can go wrong with that.

Not a very difficult soup to create and you can always use fresh marinated chicken in place of shredded chicken, just make the cooking more more, till the chicken gets cooked.
You can always delete the chicken and add a variety of beans to make it a vegetarian soup. :)

Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Anaheim,  jalapeno chili, chopped up
4 cups chicken broth or veggie broth for vegetarians
1-2 tbsp tomato paste
1 can, diced tomatoes, or 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
Salt to taste
1 can of black beans
1 cup shredded cooked chicken (optional, can add a variety of beans instead)
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
Chopped fresh cilantro

1 tbsp lime juice
Few broken pieces of tortilla chips or freshly made chips out of corn tortilla


Heat oil in a pot.
Add the onion and garlic. Cook till translucent.
Add the chopped chili, tomato paste and diced tomatoes.
Add the broth and bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 -20 minutes.
Add the cumin powder, coriander powder and chili powder.
Add salt and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Add the shredded chicken along with black beans. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
Before serving add in the lime juice and chopped cilantro leaves.
Serve topped with sour cream, some Monterrey cheese and the crispy tortilla chips.

Jump on here to see what's cooking on the final day of the marathon in my fellow blogger's kitchen.

Sending this to Srivalli's Soups and Salad's Mela.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Simple and Easy Cucumber Salad

Today recipe for the 6th day of the blogging marathon, is probably the easiest one since I started blogging....not that most of the recipe are not easy, but this one beats all hands down!!
With just one main ingredients and rest of the items which are always stacked in the pantry, it makes for quick easy crunchy who can beat that! ?? lol....
Now this is not only a quick salad, but if your kids love to eat cucumber, you could try it this way and they might just enjoy the change.


1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tbsp sugar (or less)
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of black pepper
1 tbsp chopped parsley


Thinly slice the cucumber with the skin on.

Mix water, lemon juice, sugar, salt and black pepper.

Add to cucumber and chill for at least 1-3 hours.

Before serving, drain the liquid and add chopped parsley.

Serve chilled.


Jump on here to check on whats cooking in my fellow marathoners' kitchen.

Sending this to Srivalli's Soups and Salads mela.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Indianized Vegetable Soup with Lentils

Another hearty soup I love and eat like a whole meal is lentil soup. This is also a wintry soup which is full of good stuff, like protein and nutritious veggies.
With the winter slowly coming upon us, its always good to have such soups for a light dinner at nights. this soup also freezes well, so you can make a big batch of it and freeze it for a quick meal during weekdays.
Have it with a piece of warm baguette or french bread, for a full meal.
I like it spicy so, added few red pepper flakes and also added in some coriander powder and cumin powder for the Indianized feel. you can surely skip all that and make it the way you like it!
For the 5th day of the blogging marathon....

Makes 4 servings

Note: These are not the whole Masoor dal lentils, tho they look like them. These are the green lentils or french lentil found in your regular grocery store.


1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped tiny
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp grated ginger
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cabbage
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, or canned diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth (can be substituted with water)
1 cup water
1 cup lentil, washed
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped corianderr leaves


Heat oil in a big pot.
Add the onion, garlic, ginger, carrot, celery and cook for 2-3 minutes until the onion is tender.
Add the cabbage and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, cumin, coriander and red pepper flakes along with red pepper flakes.
Add Salt and pepper to taste.
Pour in the broth and water, bring it to a boil.
Add in the washed lentils and then simmer for 25 minutes to 30 minutes.
When the lentils are cooked, puree a cup of it in a food processor or with a hand blender.
Keep cooking for another 15 minutes. If needed add some more water or broth.
Add lemon juice to taste.
Garnish with chopper coriander leaves before serving.
Serve warm and enjoy!!!

Jump on here to see whats cooking in my fellow blogger's kitchens.

Sending this to Srivalli's Soups and Salad's mela.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pasta Salad with Tomato-Lime Dressing

For the 4th day of the blogging marathon, I am posting a very yummy pasta salad.
I favor pasta salads, even if I see one in a buffet. I cannot but help take a serving of it!
I don't mind even if it has a creamy base or like this one just a oil base.

With all the veggies added to it, it becomes a whole meal by itself. It surely is good to go as a side dish and what better is that it is a cold salad and can be prepared few hours to a day ahead.

Even my older one has taken a liking to this and has asked me to pack it to school lunch. For him tho, I only add veggies he likes, mainly raw tomatoes :).

You can use any kind of pasta you wish (whole grain will be much healthier). I used regular farfalle or bow-tie pasta, cos they look,....cute!!!


For Tomato-Lime Dressing

1/4 cup Tomato juice (you can used canned, for fresh - Boil 1 chopped tomato in the microwave with 1 tbsp of water for about 1 minute. Squeeze the juice out and strain the juice)
2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
2 tbsp Lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove of garlic, chopped tiny

For salad:

1 pack of pasta, about 8 oz
1 large tomato, chopped to bite size
pinch of red chili flakes
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1-2 tbsp chopped black olives
few Chopped basil leaves

Variation: You can add chopped cucumber, green onions, Anaheim chili, either cilantro or parsley for garnish


Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl and keep aside.
Mix all the salad ingredients together along with the chopped basil leaves.
Mix the dressing as required into the pasta mixture. Gently toss it all together,
Chill for about an hour (more is OK too), before serving.
Serve chilled as a side dish. Enjoy!!!

Jump on here to check on my fellow marathoners.

Sending this to Srivalli's Soups and Salads mela.

Happy Deepawali 2011 with homemade sweets from me to you virtually! :)


Here are the sweets I made this year...please accept it virtually ...from my family to yours!!!.. Enjoy!!!

 Easy Rava and Coconut Ladoo

Simple Rice Flakes Chivda / Chevda 

Rice Murukku with Urad 

Mysore Pak

Rest of the recipes will be coming up shortly and I will update this page with the links!
Thanks and Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vegetable and Corn Chowder

Here is another hearty soup with lots of veggies....very comforting and heart warming soup.
To say...I might be little partial to chowder, a creamy and cheesy base....I think I love a lot. Chowders usually have potato in it and added flour thickness. But you can get a variety of chowders like clam chowder, corn chowder, meat ball chowder etc.,.
But here is a very yummy vegetarian chowder with lots of veggies.
I think I can really live on this during winter....its truly yummy!...and home made is very very tasty!
So for the 3rd day of the Blogging Marathon, here is Vegetable and Corn Chowder.
Jump on here to see what the rest of the Marathoners are cooking up!

Please be sure to check the Note below for additional comments about this soup.

Makes 2 servings


1 tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped small
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped small
2 garlic cloves, chopped tiny
1 small potato, chopped into small bite sized pieces
1 tbsp All purpose flour or maida
1/2 cup milk
1- 1/2 cup water or vegetable stock (add as required to bring it to required consistency)
1/2 cup broccoli florets, broken in small bites
1/2 can creamed corn or regular canned corn, or fresh corn or frozen corn (see note)
3 tbsp cheddar cheese (you can use white or yellow, depending on the color changes, I used yellow)
salt and pepper to taste***(see note)
some grated cheddar cheese for garnish


Heat oil in large pan or pot.
Add the chopped onion, garlic, bell pepper and potato. Add a bit of salt and pepper. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.
Whisk in the flour and cook for another 30 sec.
Stir in the milk or water or vegetable stock. Cook stirring continuously for another 30 sec to a minute.
Add the broccoli and corn.
Bring the soup to a boil stirring constantly and then reduce heat to a simmer to about 15-20 minutes, until the veggies get tender.
Stir in the cheese until it melts.
Check seasoning and more salt and pepper if required.
Serve hot with more grated cheese on the top and tiny broccoli florets.
You can also garnish with chopped coriander leaves or parsley leaves.

Note: Creamed corn makes the soup thick, since it already has added thickening agent.
If using non-creamed corn, like canned or fresh or frozen, you may have to add more all purpose flour to make the soup thicker as you wish.
Chowder is a thick soup and the consistency comes from the added all purpose flour and cheese.
I added water (or vegetable stock) as the soup got thickened to bring it to the right consistency.
***Adding salt: take care while adding salt since, cos cheese is slightly salty and this can make the salt very can add required salt while eating the soup....

Sending this to Srivalli's Soups and Salad Mela.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bread salad / Panzanella

When I first saw this recipe....I really loved it....then I came to know that its a classic made by Italians.
Tho we only know of salads which use a variety of leaves..this is a salad made purely with bread, which is kind of interesting. Its absolutely simple to make and delicious too.
So for my Soups and Salads theme in this blogging marathon, I chose this as one of my salads.

If you like crispy croutons and are like me in picking them out of the salad and devouring them, then you would like the crispy bread salad.
Its required that you use a day old firm textured bread for this salad. But I think it will even taste yummy if you use plain croutons to create this in a jiffy!

What I did was use a firm french bread, chopped into pieces, a crisped them up in the oven @350 degrees till they were turning slightly brown in color. This allows the bread not to become totally soggy immediately after the dressing is added, and they slowly absorb the dressing.


2 cups Day old Italian or french bread (or any other firm textured bread), chopped into bite sized pieces, crisped in the oven @ 350 degrees till they turn slightly brown in color.

1 tbsp chopped red onion
1 tomato, chopped into tiny pieces
2 cloves of garlic, chopped tiny
1 small green bell pepper or half of a large one, chopped into small pieces
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves

2 tbsp olive oil
lemon juice to taste
salt and pepper to taste


Mix the bread, onion, tomato, green bell pepper, garlic, parsley leaves and basil leaves together in bowl.
In a small bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the olive oil mixture with the bread mixture and mix well to coat all pieces.
Chill for an hour before serving. (I liked it even before chilling, cos the pieces are crisper)
Serve and Enjoy!!!

Jump on here to check on my fellow marathoners :)

Sending this to Srivalli's Soups and Salads Mela -

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chicken Chilli Soup ~ Blogging Marathon # 9

Hi are the Deepavali preparations going on?...I am sure everyone is trying out new recipes or remaking their old ones and are going to enjoy them in full swing!....

With Diwali just around the corner, here I am starting on a another Blogging marathon, started by Srivalli....which I have always enjoyed and looked forward to do....
It so fun to see so many new recipes made by my friends and give me opportunity to learn new ones too....

This time I choose the theme as 'Soups and Salads'. As I love soups and salads, I couldn't think of a much better theme to do this time around. I am going to start with a soup and end with a soup with all the others in between....Keep a look out on all the wonderful easy salad recipes I am going to post.

I love any kind of soups, but I love soups which are hearty and can be called a 'full meal'. Just have the soup and you will be all set! All my soups this time are going  to fall into this category 'Hearty Soups'. :) So sit back and enjoy!

My first soup for this marathon is 'Chicken Chili Soup'. I used Chicken as the protein here, but you could always make it vegetarian by substituting it with beans like cannelloni or white or black beans or red kidney beans, chick peas / garbanzo or even a mix of all the beans. It will be just as heart and comforting with a piece of warm baguette or french bread on the side...what do you say??
It can also be made with a mix of ground chicken and beans.
I adapted this from a book of soups I have in my collection.

This soup freezes well, so make a whole big pot and freeze it in smaller containers, which can be taken to work or had as a quick weekday dinner, that's what I did! And since I like it spicy, I made it spicy, but keep it in mind when adding the chili powder or paprika.

Increase the ingredients accordingly if you are planning to make a big pot. Take note of the seasonings, cos you may or may not have to double them.
Don't get overwhelmed with the number of ingredients....its just pretty simple to make with the ingredients in your pantry.

Makes 2 servings


1/2 lb ground chicken breast

(any kind of beans or even a mix of beans can be used to make it vegetarian)

1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped small
2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 celery stalk, chopped small
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped small
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped small
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 can of chopped tomatoes (14oz can, this can be replaced by 2-3 chopped tomatoes)
1 cup chicken stock, or water can also be used (but using stock makes it flavorful)
1/8 tsp ground cumin powder
1/8 tsp ground coriander powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
salt and pepper to taste
chopped coriander / cilantro leaves for garnish
chopped scallion for garnish
sour cream to serve with


Heat oil in a saucepan.
Add the ground chicken, and season with salt and pepper.
Cook until its almost cooked. Break it down into smaller chunks using the wooden spoon if necessary.
Add in the onion, celery, red and green bell pepper and garlic.
Continue cooking for another 5-6 minutes till they are soft.
Add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and the stock.
Add the coriander, cumin, chili, sweet paprika and oregano.
Mix well to combine and bring it to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for another 15-20 minutes.
Adjust seasoning at this point, and let it simmer it for another 5-10 minutes, depending on the consistency you require.
Add in the chopped coriander / cilantro leaves.
Garnish with chopped scallion or green onions.
Serve hot, topped with sour cream. Enjoy with a warm crispy bread on the side for a hearty warming meal.

Jump over here to see what my fellow marathoners are cooking up!

Sending this also to Srivalli's Soups and Salads Mela.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rava Kesari Boorelu / Halwa Boorelu

As Diwali get closer and many dishes to be made.....yummy ones for sure....But I am not totally motivated this year...but since I don't want to break the tradition...I started making a few sweets.....some regular ones....
As it is the festival of lights, I don't want to bring darkness by not making any :( I will do make some.....OK
I don't know...will think....gosh what am I writing??....well whatever...

Here is a twist on the regular poornam boorelu we it is to make it easier....well it is little tough to get the poornam made to the right texture..I myself have had a few misses where the filling gets to hard to so soft, then I had to think again to get the right texture.

By using halwa as a filling, it surely will make it easy as rava kesari is not very difficult to make. You can make it as sweet as you want and with the out coating of rice flour and urad dal will be done very quickly...

I won't say this is much better than poornam boorelu...cos I do favor that over this, but this surely is a quick alternative. Its also great for parties and get togethers.
We do make Boorelu for 2-3 festivals at just instead of making same one over and over you can try this....


For dipping Batter:

1 cup Urad dal, Minapa pappu, soaked overnight and ground to a thick batter
1/2 cup rice flour (optional, add crispiness to the outside)
some water
pinch of salt

For Rava Kesari

1 cup Ravva (dry roasted on a dry pan on low heat)
1 cup Sugar (or less to suit your taste)
3-4 tbsp Ghee (or less for the health conscious)
1 tbsp Cashew halves
1 tbsp golden raisins
1 1/2 cup water
a pinch of Elaichi powder/ Green Cardamom powder
a pinch of yellow or kesar food color

Oil for deep frying


For Batter:

Soak Urad dal overnight and grind in thick batter. Mix in the rice flour along with pinch of salt...don't make it too salty.

For Rava Kesari:

Dry roast the ravva on low heat without any oil or ghee.
Once it starts to turn color, remove from heat and transfer to a clean, dry plate.

Roast the cashews and raisins in ghee till they turn brown. Keep aside.

Add sugar and water and bring it to a boil.

Add the elaichi powder and a pinch of food color

Slowly add the roasted ravva stirring it continuously into the sugar and water mix otherwise it will form lumps which then become very hard to dissolve.

Add in the roasted cashews and raisins along with the ghee in which they were sauteed in.

The rava will absorb all the liquid slowly and become thicker.

Cover it and let it cook on low heat until completly cooked.

For Boorelu:

Heat oil in a kadai till hot....when a drop of batter is dropped, it should come back up quickly.

After the Halwa or rava kesari is cooled, make small balls ahead of time.

Dip the balls into the batter and drop into hot oil carefully.

Turn when browned and remove onto paper napkin when completely browned.

Serve as Naivedhyam...Serve hot or warm.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Semi-Homemade ~ Quick Panini - A visual treat! :)

I am a totally sandwich girl...I can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just gather a few things and whip up a sandwich and I am done...Oh how much I would love if whole of my family also would eat it so :)....but thats Ok...I try to make one for myself almost for every lunch....either a sandwich, soup or salad...I don't mind eating it over and over again.

I used to love Chicken Frontega sandwich from Panera bread. I used to make sure I ate that at least once in a while. Now that there is no Panera close by, I tried to make it on my own, and this came out perfect, with out much effort.

No effort cos, I used pre-cooked chicken wings from Costco to use make this. Just peeled off all the meaty part to put in my sandwich.
You can surely make a vegetarian version of it, like I sometimes do, with veggies like zucchini, tomato etc.,. I am sure you will like it for.

The main thing, I check to be sure of having is panini bread or any crusty bread, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese. Combine all these and you have your sandwich ready in a jiffy! Fresh Basil surely gives it a divine smell!!


Panini bread or any crusty bread

Pre-cooked chicken pieces (or get fresh and cook it :))
(use zucchini, or cucumber, asparagus or just tomatoes for a veggie delight!)

Few slices of tomato
Shredded mozzarella or sliced
few pieces sliced red onions or yellow onions
fresh basil leaves


Arrange all the ingredients on the bread and toast it on a panini grill till the cheese melts.
If you don't have a grill, toast it on a pan, on both sides, by placing a heavy pan on top of it.
Add a bit of seasoning like Italian or just oregano for a extra punch in flavor.
Serve warm....Enjoy!!!