Nimmakaya Pulihora (Lemon Rice)

So flavorful and light, I was tempted to sit and eat the entire container! – Jonathan

4 cups cooked rice (cooled)
2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon urad dal (spilt and skinned black gram)
1 tablespoon chana dal (split and skinned yellow lentils)
4 dry red chilies, cut into pieces.
15 to 20 curry leaves, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 cup peanuts
3 tablespoons sesame oil

In a wok, heat 2 tablespoons sesame oil. Fry the peanuts until crunchy and then set them aside.
Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil in the same pan. Keep the flame to a low.
Add the mustard seeds and let them crackle. Once the mustard seeds begin to crackle, add the urad dal and chana dal.
Fry until the dal turns golden (keeping heat on low, so that the lentils do not burn).
Then add the red chili pieces ,and curry leaf slivers. Sauté for a few seconds until the red chilies change color.
Switch off the heat and add the turmeric powder. Mix very well. Add the peanuts back to the wok.
Add the cooled rice to the wok and, with the heat still turned off, use spatulas to combine all the ingredients. Once thoroughly combined, add the lemon juice. Mix well again.
Immediately pour this tempering mixture on cooked and cooled rice.
Cover the wok and allow the flavors to blend for 4 to 5 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!


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Enhanced Won Ton Soup

This is the starting block to myriad variations!

1 head Napa cabbage, shredded
8 oz sliced mushrooms
4 oz diced white onions
2 quarts reduced sodium chicken broth
4 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp grated ginger
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 package frozen pre-made chicken won tons
1 lb peeled, deveined, tail-off cooked shrimp
1 bunch scallions, sliced
Toasted Sesame Oil, for garnish

In a wok or large skillet, add 2 tbsp olive oil and heat until just about smoking. Add shredded cabbage and toss to coat. Add 1/4 cup water and cover to allow cabbage to wilt and soften. Stir frequently, about 10 minutes. Remove cabbage and add onions and mushrooms to remaining liquids. Cook until mushrooms and onions are tender. Remove and place aside.

In a large cooking pot, add broth, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Bring up to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes to flavor the soup broth. Add shrimp and won tons. Allow to heat through 10-15 minutes.

To serve: In a soup bowl, place some of the sauteed cabbage, then some of the mushroom/onion mixture (how much is up to you). Ladle over the broth (and won tons/shrimp). Again, as much as you like. Then, top with sliced scallions and a drizzle of Sesame oil.

Serves 8-10.

(Note: pre-made chicken won tons may be purchased at most markets including Oriental/Asian markets, Trader Joe’s, Lidl, and other local supermarkets.)

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Mexican Stuffed Shells

Put a little Mexican/Italian fusion in your mouth!

1 lb of ground turkey or chicken
1 package of low-sodium taco seasoning
4 ounces Neufchâtel cheese
12 jumbo pasta shells
1 1/2 cups salsa (heat level depends on you)
1 cup taco sauce (again, the heat level depends on you)
1 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese (grated)
1 cup Low-moisture, reduced-fat mozzarella cheese (grated)
Chopped Scallions
Black beans
Optional: Low Fat/Light sour cream

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large skillet, brown ground meat; add taco seasoning and prepare following package directions. Add Neufchâtel cheese, cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Mix until well combined. Allow to cool.

While the meat mixture is cooking, cook the pasta shells according to package directions. (Once the shells are cooked and drained, set them individually on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray to prevent them sticking together!)

Using a 9×13″ baking dish, pour the salsa to coat the bottom. Use a spatula, if needed, to ensure coverage. Stuff each shell with 1-2 tbsp of the meat mixture. Place the filled shells open side up on top of the salsa. Coat the shells with taco sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes.

After cooking, remove foil and add shredded cheese and bake for 5-10 more minutes to allow the cheese to melt.

Top with chopped scallions. Serve with black beans, and if desired, low fat/light sour cream and/or more salsa.

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Fluffy Beginnings Omelette

A tasty and healthy way to start your day!

6 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp butter (or margarine)
1 cup diced bell peppers (I used red, orange and yellow)
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 diced red onion
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
Optional: Hot sauce and light sour cream as condiments

In a medium sized bowl, crack eggs and whisk to combine. Add baking powder and whisk again, making sure there are no lumps of powder in your egg mixture. Set aside.

Heat a medium skillet over high, then coat with cooking spray and add 2 tbsp butter. Once butter has melted and starts to bubble, add peppers, mushrooms and onions and sauté for 6-8 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Re-whisk egg mixture and pour over veggies. Rotate pan to spread the egg mixture out and reduce temperature to medium-low. Clamp on a lid and allow to cook, undisturbed, for 6-8 minutes. Remove lid, and using a spatula, loosen omelette from the bottom of the pan. Rotate pan to continue distributing any loose egg mixture. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes more.

Flip omelette and sprinkle top with cheese. Cover and cook 3-4 minutes more, or until cheese is melted.

Serve with hot sauce and sour cream as condiments. Shows above with 2 pieces of thick cut bacon.

Serves 4.

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The Wannabe Gourmet’s House Balsamic Vinaigrette

It’s difficult to make a vinaigrette and photograph it to make it look like something appetizing, so please forgive my indiscretion. – Jonathan

In a mason jar with a tight fitting lid (or in my case, a repurposed pasta sauce jar), combine:

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar di Modena (or your favourite type of Balsamic)
1 T granulated garlic (I use granulated roasted garlic)
2 T Italian seasoning
1/4 to 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
1/2 tsp fresh finely ground black pepper
salt, if needed.

Close lid tightly and shake vigorously. Allow to sit for one to two hours to allow the flavours to meld. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.

N.B.: The Dijon mustard acts as an emulsifier, giving the vinaigrette a more creamy consistency, but to use or not is up to you. Purists would not include it.

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Upcoming Posts!

I’ve started a new weight-loss journey, so I’m going to be revisiting recipes and retooling them to be lower in fat and, whenever possible, healthier!

Coming up soon will be a Chicken Jalapeno Popper dip/casserole, as well as a Mexican Stuffed Shells dish. I sense a Mediterranean style salad in the near future as well, so 2024 will be off to a good start.

Right now, I’m still battling a sinus infection, so my on-line time is limited, gentle readers. I hope to see you soon!. – Jonathan Everyday

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