Monday, February 28, 2011

Spinach Lasagna

1/2 Package of Pre-cooked Spinach lasagna
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 liter of milk
1/2 cup of oil or 1 stick of butter (melted)
a small bunch of fresh spinach, washed and coarsely chopped. (I only use the leaves)
1/4 kilo of ground beef
1 can of tomato sauce
salt & pepper
small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
olive oil
shredded mozzarella or any cheese of your choice

-start off by preparing the tomato sauce:
in saucepan saute the onion and garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil, when onions are start to get golden add the meat, add salt and pepper. When meat has cooked through add the tomato sauce and a quarter cup of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes. Add italian seasoning if you like. Your sauce is now ready.

-Next you'll have to make the béchamel sauce:
Melt the butter in a saucepan (or heat the oil), add the flour and whisk together well. Add milk gradually, stirring after each addition. The milk should thicken as it gets heated through before you add more. Keep adding until the sauce reaches a creamy consistency. Add salt to taste. Your béchamel sauce is now ready :)

-Next, in a small pyrex (half the size of the 13x9 standard)... place a layer of lasagna (my tray only takes two sheets of lasagna per layer), then put a layer of the red sauce, drizzle some white sauce on top, a bit of cheese, some chopped spinach and then top with another layer of lasagna sheets. Keep doing this until you run out of ingredients or space in your tray! :)

Bake in a 180 degree oven (celsius) for 45 minutes.

Enjoy! :)

P.S: top layer of lasagna should not be covered with additional lasagna sheets. Just pour the remaining sauces and cheese on top.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lentils & Bulgur (a.k.a. مجدرة "mjaddarah")

A healthy vegetarian meal that is protein rich!

1 cup brown lentils
olive oil
chopped onion
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 cup whole wheat bulgur

-Wash lentils. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan, add onions, saute till golden then add the lentils, cumin and a teaspoon of salt.
-Add water, enough to cover lentils by a couple of inches. Bring to boil, place lid on pot and let boil on medium/low heat for 15 minutes. Lentils should be "almost" cooked at the end of the 15 minutes. You don't want them to be cooked all the way through because they will cook again with the bulgur. They should have a slight bite to them but not too hard either.

-Pour lentils into a strainer, save the water so you can use it again to cook the bulgur.
-Place lentils back in the saucepan, combine with bulgur. Add a teaspoon of salt. Add 2 cups of water (use same cup you used to measure both bulgur and lentils). Bring to boil, then place lid and simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until bulgur and lentils are cooked.

This dish is best enjoyed with a finely chopped salad (tomato, cucumber, lettuce, and parsley). Or with plain yogurt.

Optional: Fry some sliced onions in oil until crispy, use as topping.

(this amount will make enough for two adults and two small children)

Enjoy! :)

P.S: sometimes I like the lentils to be less in quantity than the bulgur. So I use 1 1/2 cups of bulgur instead of 1 cup. If you want to do that just make sure you double the water amount in the final cooking stage. So 1 1/2 cups of bulgur need 3 cups of water.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Musakhan wraps

The quick and light way to make home-made musakhan! :)

-4 chicken cutlets, sliced into thin strips
-olive oil
-salt & pepper
-3 large onions, sliced

-3 large loaves of "shrak" bread-the large thin round bread popular here in Jordan.

-Heat olive oil in pan, add chicken and fry at medium heat until chicken is opaque.
-Add onions, cook until onions and chicken start to brown. Add salt, pepper, and summaq to taste (for this amount I usually add about 3 tablespoons of Summaq). Saute for another 5 minutes then turn off heat.
-Spread a third of the mixture into the bread and wrap well. Cut each wrap in half and place in a sandwich press for a crispy/hot wrap.

enjoy! :)

Oven fries

The healthy and easy way to have fries :)

olive oil
4 medium potatoes, cut anyway you like (I prefer wedges but you can slice them into circles as well)
salt & pepper

-Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius
-Brush cookie sheet with a thin layer of olive oil
-Line fries on cookie sheet on their side making sure each one touches the pan
-brush top of potatoes with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper
-Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until bottoms are golden and crispy
-Broil until top is golden/crispy

enjoy! :)

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons

This is a quick and easy dessert.

1 1/2 cups coconut
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar

- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
-Brush cookie sheet with a layer of vegetable oil/butter or line it with parchment paper (so the macaroons don't stick to the pan)
-Beat the egg with the vanilla well then add the sugar and mix. Add coconut and mix until incorporated.
- Scoop batter with tablespoon measure and place on cookie sheet a couple of inches apart.
-Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes

Makes 12 macaroons

You can melt chocolate and drunk the bottom of the macaroons, lay on parchment paper until chocolate hardens.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pasta with chicken

I made this recipe as I went along today. It came out really good (alhamdulillah). Sorry I can't provide exact measurements but you kinda have to taste it as you go along and add more of taste enhancers as you see fit :)

Boiled pasta (I used bow-tie, farfalle), I used one whole package

4 cubed chicken cutlets
broccoli, chopped into small florets
grape tomatoes, halved or quartered (depending on size)
sliced fresh mushrooms
olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves
1 chopped medium onion

-After boiling the pasta, set it aside in a strainer (and save the boiled pasta water if you plan to make a white sauce, recipe below)
-In the same pot, saute the chicken in some olive oil. Once the chicken becomes opaque add the onions and garlic. Saute until onions are cooked then add mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, and salt and pepper.
-Once the veggies are cooked add the pasta to the pot and mix well.

Note: You can practically stop at this step, eliminating the white sauce. It tastes nice and light. But if you want a creamy dish, add the following:

for the white sauce:
Pasta water (saved from boiling)
3 tablespoons of flour
3 tablespoons of butter
2 minced garlic cloves
parmesan cheese

-melt butter in saucepan, saute garlic a bit then add flour, mix well with wire whisk. Add milk slowly, mixing well after each addition. You're trying to achieve a creamy sauce that's not too thick or too thin. Once the sauce reaches the consistency you desire, add some garlic powered, parmesan cheese to taste and salt if needed. Add some of the pasta water to use less milk and to thicken the sauce if you need to. Add white sauce to pasta mixture and enjoy! :)

(a fattier version of this is to just saute some garlic in butter then add heavy cream and pasta water until the sauce reaches the consistency you like, it's easier to make but heavier)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Basboosa (a.k.a. Hareeseh)

2 cups semolina
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 heaping teaspoons baking powder
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup yogurt (or milk)
sliced or slivered almonds

Syrup ingredients:
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/8 cups sugar (i'm halving the original recipe so please excuse the 1/8 )
few drops of lemon juice

for the syrup:
-in a sauce pan, bring wanter and sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar desolves completely. Once mixture starts boiling add a few drops of lemon juice and turn off heat. Let sit at room temperature. Syrup must be at room temperature before it's added to the hot basboosa (I usually make it a few hours ahead or even the night before)

-Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (or 350 fahrenheit)
-Mix semolina, sugar, shredded coconut and baking powder together, then add melted butter and yogurt. Mix well and spread in 9x13 ungreased pan, press firmly and evenly into pan. Spread almonds as desired (don't put too many or the basboosa won't brown).
-Let sit for about 15 minutes then place in preheated oven. bake for 30 minutes or until sides are lightly browned. Broil for a minute or two until you get a nice golden color (sometimes you might not need to broil, it depends on your oven).
-Take out of oven and pour syrup evenly on top of it. The syrup will seem like a lot at first but the basboosa will soak it all up within minutes. Leave it to cool and enjoy! :)