Popeye Pie

Popeye Pie
Most of my generation moms grew up watching Popeye – The Sailor and so were introduced to spinach very early and would not mind consuming it since Popeye did so and he could manage getting over any trouble. Sadly, our kids don’t know Popeye as he is taken over by the likes of Chotta Bheem and Doraemon, such a pity!
Anyways, leaving aside the entertainment quality woes, what is more worrisome is how to feed Spinach to kids? Spinach – the higly recommended vegetable for kids and which, ironically, kids hate the most 🙂

Well, Nabeel is no different and the question hounded me for quite some time now. I know most moms resort to the convenient Palak Paneer recipe but it hardly works. Nabeel loves paneer and so he would look forward to the Palak Paneer being made but when it was time to eat, putting his fine fishing skills to use the paneer was picked out of the green gravy, wiped onto the roti and bitten into. Duh! The palak was right there in his plate staring at me.

I wasn’t giving up so easily and tried a couple of other Spinach recipes which failed too. Finally, what came to my rescue was this super easy Spinach Pie Recipe which I have named Popeye Pie. The intention in naming it so it to familiarize Nabeel with the forgotten Popeye – his mom’s first hero (wink wink) and the famous Spinach stories.

Spinach Pie

So, the said pie is any mom’s dream food for her child. It is loaded with vegetables apart from spinach, can be made without much preparation, has good carb’s to keep the energy flowing and can also be enjoyed cold thus making it an ideal lunch box recipe.
Be creative, add and subtract vegetables as per your kid’s preference. Vegetarians, the chicken can be omitted without affecting the taste so you can try this recipe too. Replace the chicken with paneer, soy chunks or any other chunky ingredient you prefer (some more pasta maybe). To make the dish cheesier, have a grated cheese layer between the spinach and potato layer. Again, if you do not prefer giving bread to the child then use rotis instead; however, the top layer won’t be as crunchy with the replacement.

Enough of reading let’s get to some cooking, shall we?

Popeye Pie Recipe

Ingredients

For the Spinach sauce
1 cup wilted Spinach
3 tablespoon plain cheese spread
1 tablespoon milk
1 medium green chilli

For the crust
4 bread slices
1 tablespoon peeled garlic cloves
2 teaspoon chilli flakes
Salt to taste

Other Ingredients
1/4th cup small pasta, uncooked
150 grams boneless chicken breast
1/4th cup corn
1/4th cup diced capsicum
1 medium boiled and peeled potato
Butter for cooking
Mixed herbs as per taste
Salt as per taste

Method
Step 1 – Blend all the ingredients for the Spinach sauce together, cover and keep aside.

Spinach Sauce
Step 2 – Grind all the ingredients for the crust to a coarse mixture as shown in the picture. Cover and keep aside.

Bread Layer
Step 3 – Boil enough water to cook the pasta. Once cooked, drain, refresh and keep aside. Use only small shaped pasta to match with the vegetable size. I used the one pictured below. You can use big pasta like penne or fusilli and cut it once it’s cooked.

Small Pasta
Step 4 – Dice the chicken breast and cook it in a non-stick pan with 1 tablespoon butter, salt and mixed herbs. Remove the chicken and keep aside.
Step 5 – In the same pan sauté the remaining vegetables, except potato.
Step 6 – In a clean bowl mix the corn, capsicum, chicken, pasta and the spinach sauce together. Season the mixture with salt and herbs, if required.

Layering the Popeye Pie

Step 7 – Take the baking dish, and layer the spinach and vegetable mixture.
Step 8 – Thickly slice the potato and layer. If adding extra cheese, then do so between the spinach and potato layer.
Step 9 – Top with the bread mixture and put small dollops of butter on the bread layer.

Step 10 – Bake the Popeye Pie in a hot oven for 10 minutes or till the crust forms.
Serve hot or cold.

Spinach & Pasta Pie

Hope this works for you too. Do you have a special Spinach recipe that your kids adore? Then please share it in comments.

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Chicken & Oats Squares

Chicken n Oats Squares

Today, I have one more chicken creation invented especially for Nabeel when he was holidaying and demanded all things new. It’s a fairly simple recipe using homemade chicken mince, yes homemade, because I am yet to find a decent store selling the perfect fine chicken mince that most of my recipes require. If you, too, are as finicky as me when it comes to chicken mince then just churn boneless chicken breast in your grinder till the desired level of mince is achieved. Yes, that simple!
Healthy Chicken & Oats Square Recipe is quite versatile as it can be eaten or used up in no. of ways, so I usually make a huge batch and freeze some of it to create new stuff every time. Read up the tips after the recipe to know more.

Healthy Chicken & Oats Squares Recipe

Ingredients
Fine Chicken mince – 500gms
Quick Cooking Oats – ½ cup
Peas – 1/3rd cup
Tomato – 1no
Ginger Paste – 1 tablespoon
Garlic Paste – 1 tablespoon
Green Chilli paste – ½ tablespoon
Egg – 1 no
Coriander leaves, chopped – ¼ th cup
Curry leaves / Kadi patta – 2 to 3 twigs, ensure only the leaves are used not the twigs holding them
Cumin seeds – 2 teaspoons
Red chilli powder – 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder / haldi – 1 teaspoon
Cooking oil – 3 tablespoons
Salt as per taste

Chicken Mince Cake
Method

Step 1 – Cut tomato into half, lengthwise. Grate it in a bowl, only the seeds and pulp is required, discard its skin.
Step 2 – In a bowl add chicken mince, oats, peas, grated tomato, ginger paste, garlic paste, green chilli paste, egg, coriander leaves. Mix everything well.
Step 3 – In a heavy bottomed wide non-stick pan, heat the oil and crackle cumin in it. Add the curry leaves, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix and cook till you get the lovely aroma of curry leaves.
Step 4 – Add the above tempering to the chicken mixture and mix everything well. Keep the chicken aside or refrigerate it for at least 1 hour before cooking.
Step 5 – In the same pan (in which the tempering was done) evenly spread the chicken mixture. Cover the pan and cook on a low flame for 15 minutes.
Step 6 – The chicken mixture has enough liquids to prevent it from burning however it is wise to check the pan after the first 10minutes. Well marinated mixture will not taken more than 15minutes (or even less) to cook. The squares need to be moist and juicy so don’t overcook or else they will be dry.
Step 7 – The squares can also be baked in a non-stick baking dish @200C for 10minutes. The baking dish has to be covered with a lid or aluminium foil, to retain the juices.

chicken cakes

Tips:
1. The squares can be eaten on their own when freshly cooked accompanied with bread or roti and a salad.
2. Thinly sliced squares make a great sandwich filling.
3. If you don’t want to chew on the curry leaves while eating it is best to use whole twigs rather than loose leaves. Pull out the twigs from the mixture before cooking it, their flavour would have been absorbed by the mixture already.
4. You can also crumble the squares and use as a stuffing for samosas, parathas, spring rolls, etc.
5. Instead of peas, chopped mixed vegetables can also be added. Trying adding some nuts like walnuts or almonds too.
6. The squares can be transformed into a saucy kheema by sautéing onion and tomato paste along with Indian Keema spices. Mix in the crumbled squares and top with chopped coriander leaves.
7. This dish makes up for an excellent Suhoor Recipe during Ramadan.
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Top 15 Out of the Box Iftar Recipes

Ramadan is almost here and I am sure the concern of what new to make every evening for Iftar is eating you up! Fret not; I have put up a list of recipes which you can try out and win praises. All recipes are perfect for kids and adults alike thus the entire family can be pleased in one go:-). For convenience sake, I have divided the list into Vegetarian Iftar recipes and Non-vegetarian Iftar recipes. Here, goes the list

Vegetarian Iftar Recipes

Chilli Cheese Toast

Chilli Cheese Toast

1) Chilli Cheese Toast – A classic snack for cheese lovers.

2) Baked Potato Wedges – A quick fix for days when you are totally drained out to whip up something gourmet.

3) Cream n Curd Open Sandwich – Something I have relished during Iftar all my life and am more than pleased to share the recipe with you.

4) Masala Rotis – For men (and women too) who cannot make it home on time for Iftar; these masala rotis can be packed and carried as an Iftar snack. Made with whole wheat and fortified with vegetables the rotis provide enough energy to carry on till you can tuck in some dinner. A smart choice over biscuits and fast foods.

Indian Rawa Pancakes

Indian Semolina Pancakes

5) Indian Semolina Pancakes – The day when you decide to take a break from all things guilty (read oily)

6) Penne n Chunky Cheese – This dish can easily qualify for dinner. If you are in no mood to whip up an Iftar snack plus dinner this is what you should make.

Chicken Iftar Recipes

Malai Tikka _ Chicken

Chicken Malai Tikka

7) Chicken Malai Tikka –This dish will take you back on the guilt track, after all feasting is an important part of Ramadan. Stop drooling and start preparing 🙂

8) Mince n Cheese Quesadillas – The 2 adjectives; wholesome and yummy perfectly describe this recipe. Try it today.

9) Chicken Nuggets – This recipe is perfect for anyone looking for prepare ahead foods. The nuggets freeze well and can be cooked at the last minute.

Sweet Recipes for Iftar

alphonso mango dessert

Easy Mango Dessert

10) Melon & Pineapple Drink – Fresh fruits are highly recommended during Iftar, here’s a recipe combining 2 fruits to create a refreshing drink.

11) Fig & Apricot Milkshake – For days when you want to sip something energetic rather than eat.

12) Banana & Chocolate Sandwiches – Bananas are a great source of energy making them the ideal fruit to consume for iftar. Here’s a quick fix for iftar, using them.

13) Quick Mango Dessert – Mangoes are going to vanish soon, make the most of them.

Chocolate Cupcake

Chocolate Cupcakes

14) Chocolate Cupcakes – Bored of traditional Iftar sweets? Try baking these chocolicious cupcakes one of the days.

15) Sugar Cookies or Oat Cookies– If you are someone who likes to munch on off the shelf biscuits for Iftar, why not try some homemade cookies?

Besides the above recipes, keep looking out for many more Iftar Recipes that I shall be posting over the month. To receive the recipes right in your inbox please register your email id on the blog.

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Till then, Love Being a mommy!

Classic Chilli Cheese Toast

As one of my earlier post mentioned Nabeel has taken to sandwiches and I am now exploring different ways and recipes to keep his interest in them alive. The latest one being Chilli Cheese Toast. It has cheese which Nabeel loves to indulge in, chilli which he enjoys consuming once in a while (yes, he licks up spicy curries and eats the hottest of chutneys and snacks) and bread which is also one of his favourite food. Besides, for me it is a blink and make recipe for which I need no preparation at all. Just a quick urge for something cheesy or a surprising request from my husband is all that is needed to quickly whip up this dish.

Classic Chilli Cheese Toast

I learnt making Chilli Cheese Toast during my training at a 5 star hotel and since then it is dished out on a fortnightly basis in my kitchen. Nabeel takes his toast to school as a Tiffin snack and also enjoys munching on it while watching his favourite show – Mickey Mouse & the Clubhouse 🙂 If your child is not yet ready for chilli then omit it or reduce the quantity. The recipe without chilli’s is equally divine.

Chilli Cheese Toast

I have often come across people ordering Chilli Cheese Toast at their favourite snack outlet or the famous roadside sandwich makers of Mumbai, who say they love the snack but have never attempted making one at home as it seems complicated. Well, if you are one of them then this recipe is just for you. Not only is it simple but it is sourced from highly sought after kitchens.

Happy Toasting!

Chilli Cheese Toast Recipe

Ingredients to make 2

Chopped Onion – ¼ cup
De-seeded and Chopped Tomatoes – ¼ cup
Finely chopped green Chilli – 1 tsp
Softened Butter – 2 tablespoons
Grated Cheese – ¼ cup
Salt as per taste
2 Bread Slices
2 Cheese Slices

Step 1 – Mix all the ingredients, except the bread and cheese slices in a bowl.

Chilli Cheese Toast Mixture

Chilli Cheese Toast Mixture

Step 2 – Apply the prepared mixture on the bread slices.
Step 3 – Cut 1 cm wide long strips on the cheese slices and arrange them in criss-cross pattern over the layered bread slices.
Step 4 – Place the bread slices in a pre-heated oven for about 5 minutes or till the cheese melt and the bread toasts enough, as per your preference.
Step 5 – Serve immediately.

Indian Chilli Cheese Toast

Tips: 1) Go easy on the salt as the recipe uses copious amounts of butter and cheese which already have a lot of salt in them.
2) You may choose to use 1 whole cheese slice per bread slice but the only difficulty would be in eating as hot sliced cheese sticks to the teeth making it uncomfortable to enjoy the dish. Strips of cheese, as suggested, work out much better.

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This recipe is an entry to Monsoon Snack Challenge for The Hub

Cream & Curd Open Sandwich

Hello readers, sorry for being away for so long was feeling a bit under the weather so couldn’t take out time to cook, shoot and post for BAM. Nonetheless, today, I have a very nutritious sandwich with a unique ingredient, malai or fresh milk cream. I have gorged on these sandwiches as an after fast snack ( or iftar snack) during the fasting month of Ramadan. The malai, whose benefits are known to all, adds so much richness and goodness to the sandwich that would help me gain instant energy after an entire day or staying hungry.

Healthy Cream  Curd Open Sandwiches
I have been waiting to make these super healthy sandwiches for Nabeel who recently started eating sandwiches on his own, which means the snack can now be given as Tiffin treat with me not being around to help him eat.
Besides the malai/milk cream, other ingredients like vegetables, curd, semolina, etc lend their individual benefits to the sandwich making it a real healthy treat. Experiment with different breads to give variety to the child, I once also made the sandwiches using pizza bread. Here goes the recipe.

Cream & Curd Open Sandwich
Cream n Curd Open Sandwiches
For 4 slices of bread (approx.)

2 tablespoon fresh milk cream or malai
2 tablespoon crud or yoghurt
2 tablespoon semolina or rawa
¼ cup mixed vegetables, finely chopped (tomatoes, capsicum, corn, carrots, spring onions, etc)
1 tablespoon coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 small green chilli, finely chopped (optional)
Salt as per taste
Oil or Butter for pan frying

Step 1 – Mix all of the above in a bowl and keep aside for atleast 30 minutes. The batter should be thick. If yours isn’t allow to rest another 10minutes or add 1 tablespoon of semolina or rawa extra. Depending upon the vegetables you add the batter consistency varies.

Step 2 – Apply the batter on bread slices and pan fry the sandwiches, batter side down (see image below). Grease the pan generously with oil or butter to avoid the batter sticking to the pan.

Pan fried Open Sandwich

Step 3 – Allow the sandwiches to pan fry on low flame for good 5 minutes. The batter takes time to cook and come off the pan. Once cooked, flip to the other side and let the bread toast well.

Step 4 – Cut the sandwiches in to 2 or 4 and serve immediately or wrap in foil for the Tiffin.

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Till then, love Being a Mommy!

This recipe is an entry to Monsoon Snack Challenge for The Hub

Easy Masala Rotis

Continuing in the series of Tiffin treats, here’s my second offering – Masala Rotis. Nabeel has been hogging these rotis since he was 15months old. A fellow mom at his mother-toddler class suggested I try them and since then the Masala Rotis have been his comfort food. I have always carried these rotis for our travels for Nabeel and adults alike. Only recently they vanished when Nabeel discovered his foodie side and forgot all about the humble rotis. I made them today and he was more than thrilled to devour them. What was more special about the rotis today? They were shaped using a smiley cookie cutter, a shape that Nabeel loves.

Masala Rotis
Try these rotis for your kids, they are super nutritious (no doubt) and are easy to prepare using simple readily available ingredients. The dough can be made in advance so all you have to do is roll and cook the rotis, when needed. Serve the rotis with pickle, cheese spread, ketchup or any dip/sauce of your choice. The rotis keep well wrapped in foil so you can carry them as food on the go. The Masala Rotis also make a healthy breakfast for adults.

Smiley Masala Rotis

Masala Roti Recipe
Makes 6 to 8 medium sized rotis

1 cup whole wheat flour (gehun ka atta)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small green chilli, finely minced (add only if your child can handle the chilli else replace with mild chilli powder)
Handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
A pinch of Turmeric powder
Salt – as per taste
Oil

Step 1 – Mix onion, green chilli, coriander, turmeric powder and salt in a bowl.
Step 2 – Take the wheat flour and start to knead the dough with 2 tablespoons of oil, add the vegetable mixture and knead using water.
Step 3 – Once the dough is ready taste it for salt and keep aside, covered, for 10 minutes.
Step 4 – Divide the dough into 8 balls. Roll each ball into a medium sized roti. If you want to make smiley rotis then cut them using the cookie cutter. Cook the rotis on a hot grilled, but on a slow flame on both sides till light spots appear. Smear oil on both sides before taking off the griddle. Serve immediately or transfer to a container.

Smiley Rotis
TIP – You can add finely grated carrots, cauliflower or cabbage to the dough, too. Powdered rolled oats or soya granules can also be added.

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Till then, love Being a Mommy!

Baked Italian Potato Wedges

Baked Italian Potato Wedges 1

Nabeel’s Tiffin menu for the week is almost fixed – 2 days roasted Makhana, 2 days Stuffed Paratha and 1 day Homemade French fries. It’s adhered to so religiously that even the days for each snack is fixed. It may seem boring to you and me but Nabeel loves his Tiffin snacks and looks forward to them at the beginning of the week. However, this New Year I have decided to break away from the monotonous routine and introduce new Tiffin treats which he may accept easily.

Italian Potato Wedges

So here’s my first of the many Tiffin treats, Baked Italian Potato Wedges. I plan to replace the French fries with this healthy and much tastier option. The Potato Wedges are made using minimal ingredients and are ready in a jiffy. You can play with the flavours depending on your child’s taste buds, try flavours like dried garlic flakes, pepper, mixed herbs, a local spice mix, etc. These wedges also work well as an after school treat and a vegetarian starter when paired with a rich flavourful dip.

Baked Italian Potato Wedges

Baked Italian Potato Wedges

Ingredients
1 big potato (enough as one time Tiffin snack for an under 5 child)
Dried Oregano
Chilli Flakes
Salt
Vegetable Oil

Step 1 Wash and scrub the potato well. Cut it into wedges as shown below.

Potato Wedges

Step 2 In a bowl toss the potato wedges with oregano, chilli flakes, salt and generous amounts of oil. Let the wedges sit till you set the oven.
Step 3 Pre-heat the oven to 200C for 10mintues.
Step 4 Once the oven is ready, place the wedges on a baking tray and apply remaining marinade from the bowl over the wedges.

Baking the Wedges
Step 5 Bake the wedges for a good 20 – 25min or till the potatoes are soft and cooked.
Step 6 Remove from oven and serve immediately or transfer to a tiffin box.
Step 7 You can serve a dip with the wedges. We enjoy the Baked Italian Potato Wedges as it is.

Italian Baked Potato Wedges

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