Mixed Berry Smoothie

It is getting very close to the Memorial Day weekend and that means the summer is just around the corner. Even though it is an unofficial start, the temperature here in Texas is giving us a feel of what is in store for the next 4 months or so. With the winter being mild, the experts are predicting hotter than usual summer, so let us see how that is going to be. The temperatures now have climbed to the upper 90’s (F) and it is hot and sultry both inside and outside.

Anyway on the brighter side, the days are getting longer and the sun does not set until after 8:00 PM. So that means that it is still bright after coming back from work. It is such a positive feeling to come back home to bright light to open the blinds, open the back yard and let the natural light in.

The other good thing is the availability of fresh bounty of fruits especially the berries in the grocery stores. We usually buy a bulk of it either to snack, add it on salads and in lemonade, some berry drinks.One recipe that you cannot go wrong with is Berry smoothie. This fruity beverage laden with milk and yogurt is quick fix and delicious too. It is guilt free, fills you up and healthy too. Since smoothies use whole fruit and not just the juice, you get the benefits of fibre, minerals and the vitamins.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup berries (fresh/frozen) ( such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries or combination)
  • 1 cup milk ( I used 2% milk)
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt ( I used fat free)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup/ sugar/honey
  • 5-10 ice cubes

Method

  • Put the berries in the blender and give it a quick zip, so that the berries are pureed.
  • Put the remaining ingredients including maple syrup/honey to this and blend.
  • Blend on high until it mixes and is smooth.
  • Add more milk if the smoothie is too thick.
  • Serve immediately.

Aloo Methi/ Potato Fenugreek Dry Curry


A classic combination of potatoes and fresh fenugreek leaves makes this one of the much loved curry by young and old alike. This delectable curry involves cooking potatoes in a mixture of onion, methi leaves along with tomatoes and other spices. Some people use tomatoes while others do not, I prefer using it as it makes the curry moister.

The fragrance and flavor of fresh fenugreek is good enough to make the curry delicious, however I add a coarse powder of fennel and coriander and make it even more appetizing.

Use fresh methi leaves instead of the frozen ones as it gives a big flavor boost to this dish. This curry tastes delicious with hot rotis/chapathis/phulkas.

Serves: 3-4 people

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 medium potatoes
  • 1 small onion (chopped )
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes (chopped)
  • 2 cups of fresh methi/fenugreek leaves (stems removed)
  • A pinch or two turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
  • ½ Tbsp grated ginger
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds/dhaniya
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Oil
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Peel the potato and dice it into small cubes. Boil the potato separately in sufficient amount of water along with little salt. Make sure that the potato is not completely cooked.
  • Powder the fennel seeds and coriander seeds together coarsely.
  • Clean the fenugreek leaves and chop it finely. Make sure the stems are removed.
  • Take a heavy bottom pan; add about 2 Tbsp of oil. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and let it splutter.
  • Add the grated ginger diced onions and sauté until it turns transparent. Add the chopped fenugreek leaves and stir until it is almost cooked.
  • After the chopped tomatoes, salt, turmeric, and green chillies and mix well.
  • After the tomato is slightly cooked, add the cooked potato to this and mix well.
  • Add the coriander fennel powder, salt and oil if necessary and make sure the potato is completely coated. Stir until potato is cooked.
  • Serve hot along with roti or hot daal/yogurt rice.

Black beans and Corn in baked wonton cups

 

Wonton wrappers are not just for dumplings but they can be used for so much more. These easy to bake, low-fat wonton cups make a cute base for numerous appetizers. I love this finger food as there is no need for plate, fork or spoon. The filling that goes inside is the one that defines the dish. 

You are limited by your imagination when it comes to filling. You could use fruit pudding, spinach cheese, tomato cheese olives, coleslaw, plain salsa, mango salsa, salad or just fruits etc. However for this dish I chose the basic filling of black beans, corn and salsa. 

If you prefer the Indian way then you could use these cups as substitute for the puri (that is used in chaat) and make low-fat pani puris/ Golgappas (similar to the one that I have posted here). You can add dry potato sabji and make a savory appetizer. You can add coconut jaggery filling and turn this into a neat dessert.

 

Ingredients

  • 15-20 wonton wrappers ( I used this)
  • 2/3 cup chunky salsa
  • 1-2 jalapenos (diced)
  • 1 small cup whole kernel corn
  • 1 small cup black beans ( drained, rinsed)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
  • 1 medium tomato (diced)
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • Handful of chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 Tbsp Oil for brushing/ cooking oil spray 

Method

Preparing the wonton cups:  

  • Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Keep the wonton wrappers ready. Grease a muffin pan and in each grove gently fit one wrapper, lightly pressing so that it confirms to the shape.
  • Using the cooking spray, spray some oil on the inside. Continue this process with the rest of the wrappers. (If you do not have cooking spray use oil to brush the insides).
  •  Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. 

Preparing the filling and stuffing: 

  • In a bowl, mix together the beans, tomato, onion, corn, salsa, jalapenos, corn and cilantro.
  • Just before serving, spoon the bean mixture into each of the wonton cups.
  • Top each with 1/2 teaspoon sour cream. Serve immediately.