Store Bought Savior

This is for the people like my sister that never really want to cook food and are 100% ok with just “preparing food”. Luckily, this quick and yummy week night fix requires no actual cooking. Simply assemble and bake. I got the idea from an appetizer at one of my favorite fusion Indian spots. Hope you guys dig it as much as I do. It’s ridiculous easy and tasty, what’s not to love about Naan Pizza.

  • Store bought naan (I buy the Trader Joe’s garlic naan, but plain or onion naan works)
  • Store bought tikka masala curry (Again the TJ stuff is great)
  • Spinach salad packet (I mean ‘cuz your not actually gunna make salad out of it, are you?)
  • Fresh mozzarella (Any cheese would work really)
  • Rotisserie chicken (or if you wanna make it veggie friendly try eggplant slices or mushrooms)

Smear a tablespoon or two (depends on how saucy you want your “pizza” to be, I do 2 myself) on to the slice of naan then take a fistful of spinach and layer on with the cheese and shredded chicken. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees or until the cheese melts and everything is warmed through. You can cut up and serve as an appetizer or have it as dinner with wine at about a naan piece per person. Package has four naan pieces usually and that’s generally enough for the chicken, spinach, curry, and cheese to cover.

Happy Eating, XO.

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Nouveau Seekh Kebabs

Don’t get startled by the fancy French word in front of an old Pakistani or Punjabi classic. I am just taking a family favorite and adding a short cut or twist, hence the new or nouveau seekh kebabs. Ok so let me back up for some of you novices. A seekh kebab is just like any other kebab because its base is ground meat, but the reason for it being different is that the meat is wrapped around a skewer when grilled so when it’s served there is hole running through it. In culinary speak, this is done so the cooking time is shorter and the kebab stays moist instead of drying out (also so the kebab stays whole). Ok so typically this is made with mutton, I just didn’t have time to stop at a specialty store to get that so I went with ground beef, but note you can make this with ground chicken or turkey if you want to lighten this snack up as well.

Here is the nouveau secret: instead of chopping cilantro and using an egg as a binder I used Trader Joe’s cilantro dressing. That’s right, my seekh kebab mixture has salad dressing in it! Ok so I know aunties everywhere are cringing, but try this out and tell me if you don’t love it.

  • 1 lb. ground meat (mutton or beef) **Note I used 80/20 beef since I wanted enough fat to add flavor and moisture.
  • 1 tbsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp. garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin or jeera powder
  • 1/2 tsp. of garam masala
  • salt to taste and chaat masala to dust on after cooking
  • finely chopped onion (1 medium is what the recipe said and that was definitely way too much, go half an onion at the most)
  • 2-3 tbsp. of cilantro dressing
  • finely chopped green chili (3 if using the Indian ones and 2 if using a jalapeno or bigger chili)
  • don’t forget salt & pepper, I did and it just killed it with no salt

If baking, set the oven to 475 degrees and oil your hands when molding into kebab shape so they don’t stick. If you are cooking it on the charcoal grill or grill pan, cook it on high heat. Do not even try to get around the using a bamboo/metal stick. If you have noticed there is no filler in these kebabs so they WILL fall apart unless cooked in the traditional seekh kebab fashion around a skewer. Hope you enjoy!

Served with hummus, ketchup, or mint chutney.

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Happy Eating, XO.

Mouth Party

I had this at a new years eve party and its almost March and I am still thinking about it. I have problems I know. Anyway, I hit my buddy up and asked him how he made it and he turned me to this cool site. They have all sorts of recipe ideas so I went ahead and made these for a dinner party. Came out so yum, but two tips I have is to make sure the artichokes are properly dried (I had water squirt out when I bit into it, not cute and very hot!) My other tip is also in regards to moisture, make sure the chilies are dried from adobo sauce because the seeds have a lot of heat and you don’t want to over power the aioli, just give it a kick. Anyway, here is the party appetizer that will taste like a party in your mouth!

  • 2 (14 ounce) jar/can of whole artichoke hearts
  • 10 slices bacon, halved crosswise
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Dipping Sauce aka Chipotle Aioli

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated (I did 2 because I’m crazy and LOVE garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 whole canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced

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*photo from Tablespoon, where this recipe idea originated from.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Then set up the bacon strips on a baking sheet lined with foil. Sprinkle the bacon with Parmesan. Place the artichoke heart in the center of each bacon strip. Wrap the bacon around the artichoke and, if you are clumsy and cant wrap then feel free to secure the bacon with a toothpick. Sprinkle the bites with a little Parmesan and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes, or until bacon is crispy. Meanwhile combine the mayo, garlic, honey, minced chipotle chiles and a pinch of pepper in a medium bowl. Stir until combined and smooth. Transfer to a dipping bowl and place in the fridge until ready to use.

Happy Eating, XO

Home-made EASY Tapa

So apparently the Italians aren’t the only ones that do cheese sticks. One night when I was in Madrid last month, the kitchen was closed at this local bar and the owner said he would whip us up yummy Venezuelan tapas. (Tapas literally just mean small plates). So much to our surprise these tapas were pretty much the Latin version of a cheese stick that they served with this slap your mama good aioli. I swear we crushed them in under 5 minutes so ofcourse I had to come home and try & replicate them immediately.

  • Store bought string cheese (4 sticks since you will be cutting them in half for 8 servings. I say use a mozz and don’t get fancy with any Colby Jack)
  • Store bought garlic flavored crescent rolls (don’t do the regular, these are more buttery & flavorful)

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Literally use the same method from the pizza roll ups, but just with the cheese and dough. Also make sure that the cheese is sealed in by the dough and nothing can ooze out when baking. The pizza roll ups were more free to form whereas in this recipe you want the cheese locked inside the dough. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-10 min. (until golden not brown). Let them cool for 3-5 min before serving.

Aioli (I think this is how its made, no clue since the guy barely spoke English, but it tasted like this so I cant be that far off)

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  • 1/4 cup of plain yogurt (don’t do greek, its too thick & tangy)
  • 1 tbsp. of mayo
  • 1 tbsp. of crushed garlic
  • 1 shallot (dice it a bit so it breaks down easier in the processor or blender)
  • pinch of salt, black pepper, and dried parsley

Blend in food processor & serve chilled.

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Happy Eating, XO.