As seen on 3Tv.
(scroll down to go straight to the recipe)
My obsession with falafels began when my family moved from the North side of Chicago to Skokie, IL, right outside the city. We found a Mediterranean joint called Pita Inn, which back in the day, was literally a 2-man operation. Bear with me for a second because now I’m going to sound like a proud Momma, even though Pita Inn is not my child and I had nothing to do with its explosive growth. They now have 4 full size restaurants as well as a market bakery. To me, that’s so impressive and speaks volumes to the massive popularity of this iconic local restaurant! So, if you’re in the Chicagoland area, you must hit up a Pita Inn near you. Your taste buds will thank you!
Now, onto my obsession of falafels. As you can imagine, when our family decided to move out West, I was torn. I didn’t know whether I would miss our family and friends more, or the falafels from Pita Inn. (I’m kidding Mummy, I miss you the most!). I was on a mission to find a falafel recipe that would most closely replicate Pita Inn’s. Just recently, I think I’ve perfected it. Strange how some recipes come to life. This Mediterranean recipe was inspired by our Indian cousin who lives in England and got married in Thailand to a South American woman.
What I really like about the recipe is that it only has 3 main ingredients plus some herbs and spices. What I LOVE about the recipe is the crunch that the sesame seeds provide! If you do make these Easy Falafels, snap a picture and use the hashtag #warriorinthekitchen @awarriorinthekitchen on Instagram and @warriorinthekitchen on Facebook. I’d love to hear your comments!
As a mom, I sometimes find myself “on a mission” to make sure the kids are getting enough protein in their vegetarian diet. It partly stems from trying to prove my husband wrong in his claim that we may have to switch the kids to a non-vegetarian diet to keep up with their protein needs during their critical time of growth.
So, earlier this week, I suggested to the kids that they should be eating Daal/Bhaat (Lentils and Rice) as a healthy, protein-packed nutritious mini-meal every day after school. With some resistance, I was able to negotiate daal/bhaat as an after school “snack” 3 days a week.
I decided to try Mug Ne Daal (Yellow Lentils) with Zucchini made in the Instant Pot. The kids really did enjoy this daal served with a bowl of rice and ghee.
What are some of your vegetarian, protein-packed snacks/meals?
Palak Saag Paneer, a traditional Indian dish that originates in the Northern part of India known as Punjab, consists of cubes of paneer (soft Indian cheese) cooked in a vibrant green spinach gravy. From iron, Vitamins K, A, C and folic acid as well as manganese, magnesium, iron and Vitamin B2, it is packed with so much nutrition from the spinach, it would make Popeye jump and do cartwheels!
Along with bengan bartha (a type of roasted eggplant), Palak Saag Paneer is one of my father-in-law’s favorite go-to dishes at Indian restaurants. I have always been intimidated by this seemingly complex dish, but because he loves it so much, I thought I would take on the challenge of re-creating it.
As I was researching this dish and dissecting it in my own head, I kept a few things in mind.
To create a healthier version of this dish, I added peanuts to the spinach during steaming to minimize the need for cream. I thought this would be a cleaner source of calories. Moving forward, I would actually suggest using cashews to create a creamier sauce. I will update the recipe instruction pictures soon.
In my research, I found that blanching vegetables can help to retain their color. In order to maintain the rich, vibrant green color of the spinach, I used the blanching technique in my recipe.
We can only learn if we do, and making mistakes is ok. I love what Julia Child once said:
“…no one is born a great cook. One learns by doing.”
Here is my version of a very simple Palak Saag Paneer.
(Anxious to see the recipe? Just scroll down to the recipe card.)
My Zucchini Lasagna dish was recently inspired by something I came across while enjoying a lifestyle change with my husband. As many of you know, I often times go through lifestyle changes that I would almost label “phases” (i.e., no alcohol, eat clean, no dairy, no gluten, no carbs, etc.). I’ve gone through so many diet phases that even I can’t keep up with all of them, let alone my family and friends. But, this lifestyle change is different, and all my husband’s doing.
Based on a blog he has been following recently, Mr. Money Mustache, my husband decided that we would try an experiment in simplification. Each month, we (actually he) is going to make a change to our current lifestyle that will cut out the frills, make it less extravagant, uncomplicate things.
The first thing to go was our landscaper. Over the past few weeks, I watch my husband’s blood, sweat and tears over trying to maintain a pristine lawn, battle the weeds and trim dead palm tree leaves. I wonder if it’s all worth it. Apparently, this gives him a sort of mental peace that I don’t seem to understand (probably the same as him not understanding how spending hours in the kitchen brings me to my happy place.)
The second thing to go is our DISH Network (gasp!). Yes, all one and a half million channels. Gone. Now, our evenings consist of playing cards, playing carrom, reading and listening to music, for the most part. The limited amount of TV we do watch consists of PBS, various news channels and a random collection of short recipe clips (yes, random short recipe clips). And voila! My recipe for Zucchini Lasagna is born!
Products Used In This Recipe
Ghee, or clarified butter, is a staple in most Indian households. Not only is it used to cook hearty dishes and as a topping on rice and khichdi, it is also used in many religious ceremonies. As we were growing up, my grandmother’s, mom’s and aunts’ primary goal was to fatten us up with the command, “Ghee khaa!” (Eat Ghee!) Even in my 40’s, Ba (my husband’s grandmother) reminds me that we must feed our bodies ghee because, after all, we are a machine that needs to be well-oiled.
In fact, ghee does have many note-worthy benefits. In terms of medicinal use, it works wonders to soothe a sore throat or to calm a cough. When any of the kids in our family have a cough or complain of a sore throat, our go-to is to give them a concoction of 1 teaspoon hardar (turmeric), 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon ghee. It’s miraculous! Nutritionally speaking, ghee is rich in fat soluble Vitamins A, D, E and K. Ghee also has a higher smoke point than other common oils such as olive oil, making it a safer alternative when sauteing or frying foods.
Ghee is made by melting and simmering unsalted butter on low heat with minimal disturbance until the simmering butter is literally clear (get it, clarified butter). We take it one step further by allowing the milk solids that have fallen to the bottom of the pot to brown very slightly. This gives the ghee a grainy texture and a slightly nutty flavor. The clarified butter is then strained into a glass jar using a cheesecloth. The result is a clear, fragrant, nutty ghee that has a high smoke point, long shelf-life and is rich in nutrition.
Visit my YouTube Channel (Warrior In The Kitchen) to check out my video “How to Make Ghee“
Kale is an ingredient that has been a bit intimidating for me to cook with. It’s a fairly new kid on the block. If it is not prepared properly, it can become a stringy, mushy, clumpy mess with an awful bitter taste! After a bit of experimenting, however, I have finally managed to prepare a go-to kale salad that is nutrient-dense and bursting with flavors!
Shiny happy people love to drink from shiny happy copper mugs! But what exactly is the origin of the shiny happy copper mug drink?
Legend has it that back in the 1950’s, a vodka distributor and ginger beer seller sat in a bar, griping to each other of the hardships of selling each man’s respective drink. Yet a third person complained of not being able to sell their copper mugs. Put the three together, give them a little shake and voila! The Moscow Mule in a copper mug was born!
While the classic, original recipe involves only three ingredients, the Moscow Mule is so versatile. It can be adapted to include a variety of flavors to fit any occasion, season or event! Here are 10 unique and exciting recipes to make you feel cool, hip and trendy while sipping your drink from your copper mug! Don’t forget to check out these unique Moscow Mule 100% copper mugs in my Amazon store, engraved with 6 different timeless quotes.
1. Classic Moscow Mule (Oh, and it’s gluten-free!)
From Fashionable Hostess, this is classic concoction prepare when you are entertaining friends who are gluten-conscious or, more importantly, have a severe gluten allergy. The trick – use a gluten-free Vodka such as Tito’s.
2. Watermelon Moscow Mule – (A cocktail or mocktail)
With the summer winding down, it’s not a bad idea to squeeze in these refreshing Watermelon Moscow Mules. A unique spin to the traditional mule by I’m Bored Let’s Go. A quick tip – omit the vodka for a delicious mocktail!
Fork, Knife and Love says it best. “Pure fiery freshness can make you feel like you are ready to tackle the day, and this concoction will wash away all your worries.” Need I say more?
4. Blood Orange Jal-Jeera Mule (Say what!?)
Just Homemade has a unique take on a classic Indian drink called Jal Jeera. Just add some some vodka and ginger bear to her Blood Orange Jal Jeera recipe and you’ve just created an exotic Blood Orange Jal Jeera Mule!
5. Pomegranate Moscow Mule (Perfect for the holidays!)
The Cookie Rookie combines a favorite winter fruit with a classic drink to make the perfect holiday cocktail. And the bonus – it’s a light, refreshing drink that sounds like it is so healthy for you!
As I enter the third week of my two-month clean eating challenge (no dairy, no sugar, no processed foods, no alcohol), I’m inspired by a variety of dishes that are both already a part of our normal diet (beans, lentils, veggies, eggs) as well as many that I am being introduced to for the first time. One of those dishes, Cauliflower Rice, was first introduced to me by my good friend who is uber-health-conscious, fit as a fiddle, a marathon-runner and a wonderful mommy to two beautiful children. I thought, if I could only heed her advice and incorporate some of her meal ideas, then I would definitely be on the right track to a healthy lifestyle!
Cauliflower rice is essentially cauliflower that has been grated to the size and consistency of rice. While white rice lacks broad nutritional value, cauliflower rice, on the other hand, offers a wide range of nutrients. It is high in Vitamin C, as well a great source of Vitamins K, B6 and B5, folate and fiber. Cauliflower also provides small amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese. And all these years I was shunning all fruits and vegetables that weren’t a vibrant color of the rainbow! Who knew!
What’s more impressive is that cauliflower is also high in antioxidants and phytonutrients to help fight cancer and high in fiber and water content to aid in digestion and regulate inflammation in the body.
I’m sold! Let’s get this cauliflower rice party started! Here are my do’s and don’ts of making Cauliflower Rice:
Do – Use a food processor on pulse with either an S-blade or a grater attachment to get just the right size and consistency similar to that of rice.
Don’t – Over pulse the cauliflower or you will end up with a mushy mess.
Do – Use a stand up grater as an alternative.
Don’t – Grate your fingers in the process. That just hurts and is disgusting.
Do – Saute the Cauliflower Rice for approximately 5 minutes.
Don’t – Over-saute the Cauliflower Rice. Again…mushy mess. No good.
Do – Use seasonings to your heart’s content. Cauliflower Rice is extremely versatile and can be used as a salad topping, in stir-fry or in other international cuisines. Take a look at my recipe for Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice.
Do – Freeze uncooked Cauliflower Rice. Cooked Cauliflower Rice should be used within one to two days.
Products used in this recipe (see Disclaimer)