Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Shona's SUPER EASY Veggie-Tastic Polenta Lasagna

Okay, so this is possibly the worst picture I could take of the most delicious thing I can take credit for creating on earth. But don't go with the picture, go with the recipe. I am especially excited about it since I created it (with a little help, there is always a little help from the universe!) and for those of you who know me, you know why that's so special for me!

Serves 12


For the Lasagna "noodles"
2 rolls of pre-made organic Polenta (plain or your favorite flavor), sliced in horizontal sheets to resemble thick, flat noodles

For the cheese sauce
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
2 tbsp fresh or bottled dill
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (adjust to your taste)
2 organic brown eggs, beaten (or whatever you have)
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

For the "veggie-tastic" mixture
3 tbsp olive oil
1 box (4 patties) of Boca Spicy Chick'n burgers, defrosted & chopped small
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cans of organic diced tomatoes (or substitute fresh)
Diced veggies of your choice (we used 2 zucchinis cut into medallions, 1 red bell pepper, 6 asparagus)
3 tbsp of basil, fresh or bottled
1 tsp salt (or to taste)

For the topping
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced

Other ideas:
Add chilli flakes for some oomph
Add sliced olives, artichokes, and feta for some Mediterranean love
Make half the recipe if its for small eaters

Make it!

Pre-Heat the Oven to 350 degrees
1. Mix the ingredients for the cheese sauce together. You may want to add the eggs last if you want to adjust it to your taste preference. Set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil on medium high heat and saute the Spicy Chick'n burgers and garlic till just beginning to brown and give off their yummy mixed aromas. Add in the tomatoes and simmer. Once simmering, add the rest of the veggies to the pan. Saute for 10-15 minutes or until the veggies are tender but not overcooked. If you are using zucchini, leave that out. Add in the basil and the salt.
3. In an ovenproof, oiled casserole, place half the polenta "noodles" overlapping so that they cover the base, as you would ordinary lasagna noodles.
4. Spoon out half of the cottage cheese mixture evenly onto the "noodles."
5. Put half of the veggie-tastic mixture on top of the cheese mixture. Top with the uncooked zucchini medallions, if using.
6. Repeat steps 3-5 for your second layer.
7. Lightly sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the entire casserole, then top with slices of the fresh mozzarella.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the mozzarella is just beginning to brown and bubble.
9. This is possibly the most important step: ENJOY! And take the leftovers to lunch to make your coworkers jealous :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Matt's Mediterranean Hash

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2 for a main course, 4 with other dishes or toast

2 Boiled baby red potatoes, finely diced
4 Eggs, beaten
4 Morning Star Hot 'n' Spicy fake sausage patties, defrosted & diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3-4 tbsp garlic (or to taste)
1 small can sliced black olives
3 tbsp dried basil (or substitute fresh, for more color)
5 tbsp feta cheese
2-3 green onions & 1/4 red bell pepper (or red chilli flakes), sliced, for garnish (this is missing in the picture!)
salt to taste
oil for sauteeing

1. Saute the onions in hot oil on medium heat till softened (3-5 minutes)
2. Add the garlic & the potatoes, and sautee till the potatoes start to brown (2-3 minutes)
3. Add the fake sausage patties, olives and basil, and sautee till heated through (2 minutes)
4. Add the eggs and scramble with the rest of the ingredients till done (5 minutes). Sprinkle with salt to taste.
5. When done, serve garnished with green onions & red bell peppers or chilli flakes
6. Enjoy with toast or by itself

Shona's quick 'n' easy mini-pizzas

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Serves: 1

Ingredients (adjust to your taste)
Brown Rice Cakes (or any rice cakes) - x2 (per person)
Pasta sauce of your choice (I whipped some up with garlic, canned diced tomatoes, dried basil and onions) - 4 tbsp
Shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese (feta is nice too) - 4 tbsp
Shredded spinach - 1 tbsp
Canned pre-sliced olives (unless you prefer to slice them yourself) - 2 tbsp
Yellow onion, diced - 2 tbsp
Mushrooms, sliced & diced - 1 tbsp
Artichoke hearts, sliced - 1-2
Red or Green Bell Pepper, diced - 2 tbsp
Red pepper flakes (or finely chopped serranoes)
Whatever else you like to put on a regular pizza

1. Put the pasta sauce on each rice cake
2. Add a thin layer of shredded mozzarella
3. Dress it up with the onions, olives, mushrooms, bell peppers, artichoke hearts (careful, you may run out of room! That's why there are 2!)
4. Put the shredded spinach on top
5. Finish it with the feta or shredded mozzarella
6. Bake in a toaster oven for 4-5 minutes, until the cheese is melty & just beginning to brown
7. Serve with a spring mix salad topped with berries, mango bits or other fresh fruit and enjoy!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

This vegan chocolate cake blew my mind!

Picture from AllRecipes.Com

I can personally attest to the fact that it's moist and delicious and amazing. And vegan, if you use the right chocolate chips (or omit them). Since I didn't change a thing, I'll link you to the original recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/egg-free-dairy-free-nut-free-cake/

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Shona's AMAZING vegan coconut-squash soup

Image from Dear Kitchen: Let's be friends

A quarter of a LARGE orange roasted squash (I used winter squash) - about 15 oz of pulp
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
olive oil, for frying
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
1 can of coconut milk
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp finely chopped serranoes
salt to taste

Garnish - chopped fresh green onions & thinly sliced baby carrots

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan or pot
2. Fry the onions till they are soft (3-5 minutes) then add in the garlic and ginger (saute till aromatic). Next, add your squash.
3. Add in the garam masala, cumin & serranoes & saute for 3-5 minutes (once aromatic and before it starts to burn)
4. Add in your coconut milk and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Puree in a blender.
5. Taste & adjust seasonings, then serve garnished with green onions & carrots!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kela Na Sambhariya (Spicy sliced bananas) from Gujarat Nu Jaman


6 bananas
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin/coriander powder (I just mix the two)
1 cup Bengal gram flour (I use less of this and more of the spices, so the flavor is more intense)
2 tsp sugar (I use much less, since the bananas are already sweet)
4 green chillies (serranos), chopped
1/2 cup oil


1. Cut off the bottom & top of the bananas and cut into fours, then put a slit in each part
2. Mix together the spices & the gram flour, and add the green chillis
3. Heat the oil enough to cover the bottom of the pan, and put the bananas in in a single layer. Cover the pot with a lid, and put water on it if the bananas are sticking. I use medium heat for this step.
4. Flip the bananas over after about 5 minutes (till the skins get soft and look darker). When both sides are done, serve!

Mexican Chocolate Torte (from the Book Club Lovers Cookbook)


For the torte
1 cup whole almonds with skins, chopped
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
5 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate (I used chips like used in chocolate chip cookies)
5 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Picture courtesy of Joy of Baking.com

For the glaze
4 ounces fine quality bittersweet chocolate (I used as above)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup (I used honey)

For the icing (I didn't do this)
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons milk

The Torte

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F
2. To make the torte: Spread the almonds in a single layer in a shallow baking pan and toast, tossing every 3-4 minutes, until the nut meat is a light golden brown (about 10-15 minutes in all). Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
3. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Butter an 8 1/2 inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust the pan with flour, knocking out the excess. (I just greased a regular cake pan and left the torte in there)
4. In a food processor, blend together the almonds, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt until the almonds are finely ground (I suggest doing this in batches and then adding a very small amount water or milk, because otherwise this mix clogs up the blending mechanism since its so dry). Add the chocolate and blend until finely ground. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and blend until combined well. The mixture will be thick. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
5. Place the egg whites and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar until the meringue just hold stiff peaks.
6. Fold about 1/3 of the meringue into the chocolate mixture, and then in batches. Pour the batter into the pan, smooth the top, and bake 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool.

The Glaze

1. In a metal bowl set over barely simmering water, combine the chocolate, butter, cream and corn syrup (honey).
2. Stir until smooth, and let the glaze cool until its just lukewarm.
3. Pour the glaze over the torte, and smooth with a spatula. Decorate as you like (I used almonds).
4. Allow the glaze to cool.

The Icing (Optional)

1. Whisk together the confectioner's (powder) sugar and 1 tsp of the milk in a small mixing bowl. Add just enough of the remaining milk, drop by drop, to form a thick icing.
2. Transfer to a pastry bag with a 1/8 inch plain tip and decorate your torte.

To serve
I set the oven to 275 degrees F and leave the torte in it for about 10 minutes. It melts the glaze and warms it a little. Yummy!

Mango chaat recipe for 4 as an appetizer (from India's 500 best recipes):


scant cup of unsalted peanuts
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 mango, peeled, stoned and diced
1 fresh green chilli, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp fresh chopped coriander
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp lime juice
pinch of brown sugar

If you don't have chaat masala, you can make it with:

Recipe photo courtesy Google

2 tsp ground, toasted cumin seeds
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp mango powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
a pinch of ground asafoetida
salt and ground black pepper to taste


1. Chaat masala: grind all the ingredients together and season with salt and pepper
2. Fry the peanuts in oil till lightly browned and then drain till cool on kitchen towel
3. Mix the onion, cucumber, mango, chilli, fresh coriander and mint in a bowl. Sprinkle on the chaat masala.
4. Stir in the lime juice and sugar to taste. Set aside for 20-30 minutes
5. Before serving, add more chaat masala on top.


Potato-Spinach curry

Spinach Potatoes, Indian Style, for 4 (recipe & photo taken directly from Food.Com)


  1. 1
    Fry the cumin seeds in a heavy bottomed pan in a bit of oil and butter until just starting to brown.
  2. 2
    Add the onion and fry until it too starts to brown.
  3. 3
    Add the potato, garlic, turmeric, ginger and garam masala and fry until the potato starts to soften.
  4. 4
    Unless you are using a non-stick pan, you may need to add water and cover to keep the potato from sticking and to help it cook. The first time I did this 1/2 cup at a time and it took about 20-30 minutes but I now prefer to parboil the potatoes, which means you add less water and it only takes about 10 minutes to finish off from this point.
  5. 5
    Add the spinach or chard and cook until it collapses over the potato.
  6. 6
    Salt to taste.
Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/saag-aloo-156900#ixzz1jf1QUIp2

Kidney beans with curry leaves for 4 (excerpted from India's 500 best recipes)

Photo credit from Nandini's food


3 fresh green chillis, chopped finely (remove the seeds to make them less potent if you prefer, I leave them in)
1 medium carrot (I used baby carrots and sliced them lengthwise)
2 oz green beans, chopped into 1" bits (remove ends and string)
1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
1 tbsp oil
12 curry leaves
3 sliced garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 dried red chillis
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 can drained red kidney beans
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
I also added coriander & cumin powder to taste


1. Heat the oil on medium heat, and add the curry leaves, garlic, fenugreek seeds and dried chillis slowly.
2. Once they give off their aroma (3-4 minutes), add the green chillies, green beans and peppers.
3. Sautee for 3-4 minutes more, then add the lemon juice and salt. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Serve immediately, with rice!

Sonali's Lemon rice for 6 (yummy!!!)


Cooked rice (2 cups) - I used brown
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin - 1 tsp
Garlic - 2 pods (or to your liking), finely chopped
Turmeric - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste (1-2 tsp)
Serrano chillies - 1-2, chopped finely
Lemon juice - 3 tbsp (or to taste)
Curry leaves (optional) - 10-12 leaves
Frozen peas (optional) - 1/2 cup
Cilantro - for garnish
Picture credit: from Chef In You.Com


1. Heat the oil on medium heat and add the mustard seeds & cumin seeds. You may need to cover the pot when the mustard seeds start to pop. Once the cumin is browned and the mustard is giving off its scent, add the curry leaves (if using) and saute till they get dark and give off their aroma. Finally, add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes.
2. Add the salt, turmeric and serranos to this mixture. If you are using peas, add them now.
3. Add the rice and saute till the rice is heated through (3-4 minutes). You may need to add a dash of water to prevent the rice from sticking. Finally, add the lemon juice slowly as you continue to saute the rice.
4. Right before you are ready to serve, garnish with cilantro.