No Kid Hungry

I write this post to bring attention to the sad reality in the United States and around the world: several millions of people do not have enough to eat (some studies suggest that 45 million Americans are living in poverty).

It is important for me to recognize the great privilege I have in many aspects of my life. Particularly, when it comes to food. I am not only able to eat 3 full meals per day, I am also able to have fun with different ingredients and can be creative and free in my meal making.

This basic survival need is notΒ  being met for all people. Why? There is more than enough to go around. Americans alone, throw away over $165 billion dollars of food annually (http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/1819340).

One of the 5 core pillars in Islam is to provide alms to the poor and needy. In the holy Month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world fast from food and water (and other things) from sun up to sun down. There are many reasons why Muslims fast. Some reasons include having compassion and empathy for those who are less fortunate, to feel the pains of hunger and to exercise self restraint. Fasting the month of Ramadan should make one more compelled to help.

I am so grateful to my parents, who have instilled the spirit of giving in me from a young age. I clearly remember going to COTS (Coalition of Temporary Shelters) to deliver food and to assist in preparing meals for homeless. I share this for the sole purpose of encouraging you who have children to do such activities with them, as they will remember this for many years to come.

I first learned about No Kid Hungry while watching The Food Network. The Food Network selected No Kid Hungry as their charity of choice in 2007. No Kid Hungry aims to end childhood hunger by providing nutrition in schools, teaching families how to prepare meals and bringing awareness to this problem.

 

If you are interested in helping end hunger in America, I encourage you to check out the following organizations:

http://www.nokidhungry.org

http://www.zamaninternational.org/

http://www.ugm.org/

http://www.cotsdetroit.org/

 

 

*All views in this post are my own.

 

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One Pot Sesame Noodles

As promised, I will continue developing easy dinner recipes.

Some days there is nothing more challenging than figuring out what to make for dinner; particularly when the following factors are present:

1. Exhaustion after a long day at work

2. Minimal brain function due to factor one

3. A spouse who wants “I don’t know” to eat

After much success with my first one pot pasta dinner, I wanted to continue with this. I decided on Asian style and came up with this delicious super easy sesame noodle dish. If you don’t have sugar peas, feel free to omit them. Feel free to add other vegetables. Also, use any type of pasta or noodle you have in your pantry πŸ™‚

 

Here is my recipe:

Serves 4

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sugar peas

1 cup carrots, chopped

8 oz spaghetti

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

3 cups water

 

Toppings:

2 tablespoons green onion, chopped

2 tablespoons cilantro

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

lime wedges

 

Ingredients

Procedure:

 

1. Add ingredients in pot. Cook on medium heat for 10-12 minutes until pasta is al dente and liquid has thickened into a sauce.

One Pot Sesame Pasta

2. Place on plate and top with chopped green onion, cilantro, sesame seeds and limes.

3. Enjoy πŸ™‚

 

Sesame Pasta

 

 

 


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One Pot Pasta!

I have had many requests for easy dinner recipes and I thought I also could use some really quick dinner ideas myself.

Right on cue, the queen herself, Martha Stewart, posted a photo on Instragram with the hash tag “JustOnePot”.

My life has been forever changed.

I mean, a complete main course in just one pot? Not only that, there is just one step: throw everything in said pot and cook.

Some of you may not be a fan of the queen; she is a convicted felon. But did she really do something THAT bad?

Anyways, so I decided to adapt Ms. Stewart’s recipe and make it my own.

I made a traditional Italian style pasta and an Asian style pasta (recipe in subsequent post).

 

 

Here is my recipe:

 

Serves 4

8 oz spaghetti (half box)

1/2 cup basil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 1/4 cups)

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

2 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup vegetable stock

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried Italian season

Cheese of your choice

Ingredients

Procedure:

1. Place all ingredients in a large stock pot. Cook on medium high heat for 10-12 minutes. Until pasta is al dente and liquid has thickened and mostly evaporated.

One Pot Pasta

2.Remove from heat. Plate. Sprinkle with your choice of cheese.

Just one pot pasta Photo in the middle of the cooking process

3. Enjoy πŸ™‚

 

One pot pasta

 

 

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Eggless Pumpkin Caramel Cookies

I get many requests for recipe that accommodate different allergies. My father in law has an egg allergy and has been unable to eat the yummy treats I create, so I made it a priority during this visit to create an egg-free dessert. I also wanted to continue creating with the flavors of fall.

 

A few notes on this recipe. This is not a traditional cookie, but is very delicious. It is very important to not over mix the cookie dough. The dough itself is sticky. To make it easier to stuff with the caramels, dip your fingertips into cold water. If you have young ones that want to help in the kitchen, have them unwrap the caramels. This is a great way for young children to be involved and work on fine motor skills :D.

 

Here is my recipe:

Makes 4 dozen

 

Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour

1 cup pureed pumpkin

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 bag Kraft Caramels, unwrapped

caramels

Pumpkin caramel cookie ingredients

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar using mixer on low speed. Add in pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt.

2. Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Using large spatula, mix flour into wet ingredients. DO NOT OVER MIX. Batter will be a looser than a typical cookie dough.

cookie batter

3. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop 1 tablespoon cookie dough into the palm of your hand. To keep the dough from sticking to your hand, coat with cold water. Gently press 1 caramel into the center of the cookie dough. Cover caramel with the dough.

pumpkin caramel

4. Place the caramel stuffed cookies onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges of cookie are golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.

5. Enjoy πŸ™‚

 

*The caramel centers will harden as the cookie comes to room temperature. Simply pop in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to warm up and have a gooey caramel center πŸ™‚

 

Caramel Stuffed Pumpkin Cookies

 

 

 


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Curry Roasted Cauliflower

As some of you already know, I am currently visiting my family in my home state of Michigan. Yes, I am from the mitten state. The south east side to be exact. If you have ever met someone from Michigan, I bet they have raised their right hand and shown you exactly where on the map they live(d). If not, they can not be trusted as a true Michiganader.

Since I have been home, I have been to many family gatherings, outings, parties, ect. So there has not been much time to cook. But alas, a quite afternoon and the perfect opportunity to prepare a vegetarian meal for my mother; whom I can never repay.

Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable, whose versatility I did not appreciate until recently. I have made cauliflower ‘mashed potatoes’ and pizza crust. It is also very healthy and has almost a full days recommended amount of Vitamin C, in just one serving.

Since the florets of the cauliflower absorb flavors so well, I decided to make a curry spice blend. I served it with a side of wild grain rice and a spring mix salad. This would also be great with chicken breast, tofu, potatoes, or a white fish.

 

Here is my recipe:

Serves 4-6

 

Ingredients:

12 cups cauliflower florets (approximately 2 large heads)

3 cups red onion, chopped in large pieces

4 large cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup raisins (I used golden)

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup vinegar

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley

1 tablespoon curry

1/2 tablespoon turmeric

1/2 tablespoon Hungarian paprika

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons table saltcurry cauliflower spice blend

cauliflower

Procedure:

 

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut up cauliflower into small florets. Chop red onion into 1/2 inch sections. Slice garlic cloves.

cauliflower3

2. Toss cauliflower in a bowl with onion, garlic, curry, turmeric, paprika, black pepper, salt, olive oil and vinegar. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes.

cauliflower4

3. Pour mixture onto pan. Roast in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Add in raisins. Cook for another 20 minutes.

cauliflower6

4. Toast almond slivers in pan on stove until golden brown.

cauliflower cauliflower8

5. Remove roasted cauliflower from oven and mix in almonds. Top with flat leaf parsley.

cauliflower

6. Enjoy πŸ™‚

cauliflower13

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Crispy Quinoa Cakes and Arugula Fig Salad

Quinoa is not only a fad food. I believe it is here to stay in the Western markets. It is so versatile and delicious. Oh, it is also healthy :D. It is packed with protein and is gluten free. It is a very filling grain that mainly comes from Peru and Ecuador. It absorbs flavors well and is not only great accompaniment to a meal, but also can be the main attraction!

These quinoa cakes are crunchy, flavorful and pair beautifully with this salad. The peppery notes of arugula balance out the sweetness of the fruits and the saltiness of the feta cheese creates a perfect harmony of flavors. A must try! πŸ™‚

 

 

Here is my recipe:

Makes 8 cakes

3 cups cooked quinoa

1/2 cup bell pepper, finely chopped

1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped

2 eggs

3/4 cup bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking

Β quinoa ingredients

For the salad:

2 1/2 cups arugula

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

5 ripe figs

1/4 cup blueberries

1/2 cup feta cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

 

Procedure:

1. Combine cooked quinoa, breadcrumbs, bell pepper and shallots in a bowl. Add in eggs. Using the best tool in your kitchen, combine the ingredients. Allow to set.

quinoa

quinoa

2. Form mixture into 8 even patties. Use approximately half cup of mixture per patty. Allow to rest.

quinoa

3. Heat olive oil in large skillet. Cook quinoa cakes on medium heat until browned and a crispy outer crust is formed. About 7 minutes on each side.Β  Allow to rest on paper towels (which will absorb the excess oil).

quinoa

4. To make the salad, mix together 1 tablespoon olive oil and juice of one lemon. Toss arugula in dressing. Arrange on plate and top with tomatoes, figs, blueberries and feta cheese.

5. Slice quinoa cakes and arrange on top of salad. Or serve along side the salad.

quinoa cakes

6. Enjoy πŸ™‚

Quinoa Cakes and Arugula Salad

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Summer Pizza

If you follow me on Instragram, you know I have a cherry tomato plant, a love for farmers markets and tomatoes. I love fresh tomatoes. When I came home one evening and found that my tomato plant out grew the planter it was in, I knew I had to pick the tomatoes that remained on the plant and make something delicious. As per usual, Hussein suggested a pasta or pizza dish, so that is where I went. You can’t go wrong with pizza, can you?

This recipe makes enough dough for 2, 12inch pizzas. I prepared one with the recipe below and the other with a traditional pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. This cream cheese spread is SO good. It would be great as a dip served with a sliced up baguette and veggies.

If you are like my sister Mona and do not like tomatoes, feel free to choose a different topping! Use any toppings you like and leave out the ones you don’t. Cooking should be fun! Make something you and your peeps will enjoy πŸ˜€

 

Here is my recipe:

 

Ingredients

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup warm water

1 egg, beaten

Β pizza2 pizza prep

For the tomato topping:

1 8oz package of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup greek yogurt

1 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup red onion, finely sliced

1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Zest and juice of one lemon

pizza7 pizza5

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Combine yeast and water in bowl. Allow to sit for a few minutes.

3. Sift flour, sugar and salt together. Using the bread hook attachment on your mixer, combine yeast and water with flour mixture. Add in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Allow to mix until a dough is formed.

pizza dough

4. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Pour 1 teaspoon olive oil in large bowl. Place dough in bowl and cover with damp cloth. Place in warm, dark place (I use the inside of my oven) and allow to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Β pizza22

5. Cut dough into two equal pieces. Roll on piece into a round on a floured surface. Place on pre-warmed pizza stone or pan.

pizza

6. Brush edge of pizza crust with beaten egg. Poke holes into the dough using a fork. This will prevent air bubbles. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

pizza1

7. While pizza crust is baking, make the topping. Mix together cream cheese, lemon zest and juice, dill, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.

 

Cream cheese topping

8. Remove pizza from oven. Evenly spread cream cheese mixture onto pizza crust. The warmth of the pizza will help melt the cream cheese and make it easier to spread.

9. Top pizza with tomatoes and red onions.

10. Enjoy πŸ™‚

Summer Pizza by Amanda's Plate

 

 

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Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

The weather,the shorter days and the calender is telling me that summer is almost at an end. Summer always seems to fly by. Did you do anything fun this summer?

We had many fun adventures around the Pacific North West, including berry picking, hiking up Mt. Si and swimming in Lake Quinault. Hussein completed graduate school after an intense 18 months of full time work and a demanding MBA program. And I of course started my blog πŸ™‚

Before the end of this warm, sunny, Bar-B-Q season, I thought I would share a simple steak recipe with an earthy, fresh chimichurri sauce.Β It is so quick, easy and satisfying that it makes the perfect week nightΒ dinner.

 

Here is my recipe:

 

A good cut of steak, I used strip steak

Generous pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper

Steak

For the sauce:

 

1 large clove garlic

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons oregano

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup vinegar

steak5

Procedure:

1. Season both sides of steak with salt and pepper. Heat grill or grill pan. Place steak on pan. cook for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side. (I cook mine to medium rare, cook longer for medium to medium well)

steak

2. In food processor pulse together parsley, cilantro, garlic and oregano. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and vinegar.

steak7

3. Allow meat to rest for five minutes before cutting. (I know it is tempting to just cut right in, but the juices will all be lost if you are impatient). Cut against the grain and serve with chimichurri sauce.

steak

4. Enjoy πŸ™‚

steak steakI served with oven roasted potatoes and green beans!

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Salted Caramel Brownies

Looking for a fudgey, rich, chocolatey and salty dessert? Well, look no further. My salted caramel brownies are the perfect treat! The brownies are so rich and decadent. I have made them alone several times but decided it was time to jazz them up. For a reason I am not entirely sure about, I got into a conversation about salted caramels with a nurse I work with. Having salted caramel on my brain, I knew the smooth buttery and slightly salty caramel sauce would pair perfectly with these brownies. A beautiful marriage of classic flavor profiles.

I had to make a conscious effort not to eat spoonfuls of this caramel sauce.. it is that good.

Don’t like nuts or salted caramel (this is a judgement free zone, so I will withhold my opinion) feel free to omit them! The brownies alone are enough to satisfy any sweet tooth πŸ˜‰

 

Here is my recipe

Ingredients:

For the brownies

4 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) melted butter, unsalted

1 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 cup chopped pecans

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

brownie ingredients

For the salted caramel

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1 tablespoon vanilla

3/4 tablespoon kosher salt

brownies12

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.Β  Grease a 9×9 inch pan or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Cream together eggs and sugar using mixer on medium speed. Add in vanilla and salt. Sift flour and cocoa. Combined with wet ingredients. Stir in pecans.

brownies9brownies11

3. Pour half batter into pan and bake for 10 minutes.

4. To make the caramel, melt butter over medium-low heat in a pot. Stir in sugar and heavy cream. Continuously whisk and allow to come to a boil (a low boil with small bubbles). Stir in vanilla and kosher salt. Remove from heat.

caramelcaramel sauce

5. Remove brownies from oven and pour 1 cup of salted caramel sauce over the top. Pour remaining batter and return to oven for 30 minutes to complete baking.

caramel

6. Allow to cool. To cut throw brownies easily, use a plastic knife (it glides thru and does not crumble to brownie).

7. Enjoy πŸ™‚

Β Salted Caramel Brownies

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Fiesta Chopped Salad

I am very much enjoying all of summers succulent fruit and vegetables. I have been fortunate enough to be able to go to many local farmers markets and buy the freshest of this seasons harvest.

As I looked at my fridge and pantry looking for inspiration for dinner, I decided I need to use as many vegetables as possible. As you already know from my guacamole post, I love Mexican cuisine. I came up with this easy, filling, flavor packed chopped salad with a cool avocado lime dressing. My husband, who typically does not consider a salad “dinner”, was full and satisfied with this one. πŸ™‚

Feel free to add or omit any of the ingredients. Cooking should be fun and you should create something you will enjoy!

Vegetable

Β 
Fiesta Chopped Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup chopped bell pepper
  • ½ cup corn
  • ½ cup tomatoes
  • ½ cup black beans
  • 1 cup tortilla chips or strips
Beef
  • ¼ pound strip steak, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon each garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, paprika and salt
  • ¼ cup Mexican blend cheese
Avocado Lime Dressing
  • 1 large avocado
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Combine steak with garlic powder, cumin, paprika, black pepper and salt. Cook in olive oil. Sprinkle cheese over top. Set aside.
  2. In food processor, blend together avocado, sour cream, cilantro, lime juice and salt until smooth.
  3. Chop vegetables. Drain beans.
  4. Arrange veggies and meat on plate. Toss with dressing before serving.
  5. Enjoy πŸ™‚

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