Cuban Gluten-Free Breakfast

Who knew five ingredients could bring together such a beauty! This recipe goes out to all people who want to eat gluten free for breakfast and still want the same satisfaction that comes from a warm toast. This meal is not only delicious but high in protein and complex carbohydrates. My favorite part surely is when the yolk breaks into the spicy black beans. The spinach brings together the fresh balance to this recipe.

The black beans that I used were Trader Joe's Cuban Black Beans which makes the whole breakfast process so much easier since it already contains the seasoning. A touch of ketchup brings in the perfect sweetness and crushed red pepper is the final kick.

For anyone who works early hours it becomes hard to have breakfast at home. If something takes more than 15 minutes to make in the morning then it will likely not happen for most of us (I am guilty too!). The reason this recipe works so well is because its the least amount of ingredients, maximal flavor and under 15 minutes to create.

However, nothing is better than the fact that a serving of this recipe is only 365 calories. Not only do you start off your day with a meal that I would label "delish" but you have not digressed off your diet plan. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

2 Tablespoons of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Can of Trader Joe's Cuban Black Beans
2 Tablespoons of Ketchup
2 Teaspoons of Crushed Red Pepper
2 Cups of Spinach (Sauteed)
2 Eggs

1) Heat a skillet on the stove on medium heat.
2) Pour in a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil.
3) When the oil appears heated, add in the cuban black beans.
4) Pour in the ketchup and mix well and then sprinkle in the crushed red pepper.
5) Heat a separate non-stick skillet on medium heat.
6) Pour in a tablespoon of olive oil and when it appears heated, crack an egg into the pan.
7) If the oil starts to spit up then it would be too hot and the heat can be lowered.
8) Cook until the egg white portion appears set yet still runny.
9) In a plate, place the sauteed spinach in the center and then place the cuban black beans surrounding it.
10)Top with the sunny side egg and enjoy your breakfast!

Serving Size: 2

Bon Appetite!!


Rosemary Infused Lentil Polenta with Sweet Pea Puree

This vegetarian receipe is quite a delight and provides a full fine dining experience. Polenta is classically known as a starch to a protein however this recipe is a full meal with lentils incorporated within the polenta in addition to vegetables.
A vegan/vegetarian can have a hard time finding the complete fine dining experience in Las Vegas (Including me!). Wynn Las Vegas
and Tal Ronnen have teamed up to create a vegan menu for their diners so that anyone visiting their hotel can have the finest culinary experience despite their dietary limitations.  This recipe is a twist to one of their menu options that I was challenged to take up.

This dish is simple however the layers of flavors are unbelievable. The star of this dish is definitely rosemary which is infused subtly through the sweet pea puree and the polenta.

Lentils and spinach are incorporated in the polenta and with every bite of the polenta you will taste the admixture of lentils. The saltiness of the dish is from the parmesan cheese that is shredded on top. The pea puree brings the entire dish together with its sweetness.
Polenta is a side in many restaurants as a starch to steak or any other protein. It is almost never considered as a main dish. The protein from the lentils and parmesan cheese makes this dish into a main course. The iron from the peas and lentil adds to additional health benefits of the dish.

For the lentils I used steamed lentil that are readily available at Trader Joe's. It will not only make your life easier but they are perfectly cooked. I have started to make polenta with other proteins for dinner and it is an excellent lower carbohydrate alternative to rice or pasta. This dish is also gluten-free for people closely watching the gluten in their diet.
My husband who I would definitely consider a picky eater was quite pleased with this dish and went for seconds. I am a big believer in spice and for sure rosemary lives up to its name here. I would definitely consider this a successful lunch date!

1 3/4 Cup Cornmeal
1 1/2 Cup Steamed Trader Joe's Lentils
3 Tablespoons of Butter
2 Teaspoons of Salt
6 Cups of Water
1 Cup of Fresh Ready to Cook Spinach
3-4 Sprigs of Rosemary (Removed from Stem)
1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Thyme
1/2 Cup Finely Shredded Parmesan

Sweet Pea Puree
1 Cup of Peas
1/4 Cup Low-Fat Milk
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/4 Cup Water
3-4 Sprigs of Rosemary

1. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan.
2. Sprinkle in two teaspoons of salt
3. Slowly pour in the cornmeal into the boiling water and whisk the mixture continuously.
4. Continue to stir for 10 minutes on low heat.
5. Slowly add in the steamed lentil and continue to whisk
6. Drop in the fresh spinach and whisk for another 2 minutes.
7. In a separate bowl, melt salted butter in the microwave for 30 seconds and then add in rosemary and thyme.
8. Before removing the polenta from the stove, pour in the rosemary & thyme infused butter and whisk in.
9. Pour the hot polenta into a large square pan and let it cool for 10-15 minutes.
10. For the sweet pea puree, in a blender add in all the above ingredients and puree for 2-3 minutes (or until the mixture is homogenous).
11. When the polenta has cooled off, cut into 2x 2 inch squares and place on a baking sheet.
12. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.
13. Remove from oven and garnish with fresh rosemary and drizzle the sweet pea puree. Serve Immediately!

Bon Appetite!!https://www.flickr.com/photos/shankypics/17100395278/in/dateposted-public/https://www.flickr.com/photos/shankypics/17100395278/in/dateposted-public/


Paneer in Cardamom Bechamel Sauce

This recipe truly came to me on the fly. I had been thinking of using up some left over paneer for a few days. In the meantime, my husband who was on a hard cardiology rotation said he was coming home a few hours earlier than expected. I realized he was probably super hungry and I wanted to make something delicious but quickly made. Somehow in the randomness of mind,  I was thinking of Bechamel sauce. I know that really does not go with an Indian cheese such as paneer but with a fusion of flavors it worked perfectly. This sauce was delicate and with layers of flavor and became my instant favorite recipes. Usually homemade or restaurant Indian food has "in-the-face"spice so I would say this is definitely something different from the usual Indian delicacies. Its subtlety of flavor reminds me more of the French than the Indians but I surely did not mind creating a fusion for sure. If you have read this blog before you would know how obsessed I am with paneer and I will come up with as many ways as I can to consume it. 
I think the thick sauce of course is amazing but the star of the show is the cardamom. The flavor of the cardamom comes in about a second after you take the bite but is truly heavenly. I would recommend having this dish with toasted bread, naan or chappati. It really was hard to resist this dish for too long and we finished a large serving in just one sitting. I can tell you it was worth it. Usually I do not make a certain dish more than a few times but this will be a recurrence for sure. I made it in about 15 minutes and it was not any less than any restaurant delicacy. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did. For the non-vegetarians reading this I am sure instead of paneer chicken can also be used and would create the same effect. 


2 Tablespoons of Salted Butter
2 Tablespoons of All-purpose Flour
2 Cups of Milk
1 Cup of Thawed Peas
1 Cup of Kale
14 Ounces of Paneer (Cubed 1 inch x 1 inch)
1 Tablespoon of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon of Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon of Nutmeg
10-15 Basil Leaves (Chopped)
6 Whole Cardamom Seeds (Opened and chopped)
Salt & Pepper

1)In a saucepan on medium heat start by melting the butter.
2)When the butter is melted, sprinkle in the all purpose flour.
3)Whisk together the roux and do not let it get brown. 
4)When roux is mixed well (within 1-2 minutes), pour in the milk. 
5)Whisk for 3-5 minutes until a thick sauce appears. Set aside.
6) In a separate skillet on medium heat, pour in the extra-virgin olive oil.
7)Add in the peas & kale and stir. 
8)Sprinkle in cardamom, nutmeg and cumin. Add salt & pepper to taste. 
9)Finally, toss in the chopped basil leaves and mix well for 1-2 minutes. 
10)Pour in the above made bechamel sauce into the skillet. Toss in the paneer cubes. 
11)Simmer the sauce for approximately 10-15 minutes for all the flavors to come together.
12)Serve with bread or naan.

Bon Appetite!!


Kung Pao Cauilflower

This is definitely a really fun and spicy recipe that fits in very well with "Why Not Spicy? theme". This can be considered a nice side dish with noodles, rice and other meat dishes. It is so perfectly sweet, sour and spicy that it makes my non-favorite vegetable cauliflower into one of my favorites. The key to this recipe is to try to make the cauliflower into the smallest possible florets. The sauce that goes into this is so easy to remember and transforms a boring vegetable into a super exciting one.

Just remember the 1/8th rule for  this one. It means 1/8th cup of ketchup, sriracha, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. This rule doesn't just work for this cauliflower recipe but can be used for noodles, fried rice or any other Asian stir fry. I love asian recipes because they are light and always add a new flavor to a normal weekday meal.

I cannot emphasize enough how awesome cooking for yourself/significant other/friend is. I promise it does not take too long on a normal everyday basis and makes such a difference in our health and is a money saver. I can tell you being a resident doctor I always have either work, research or studying to do but just taking out half an hour of my day to cook a meal makes me feel so productive and happy. Not only do I feel fulfilled because I cooked a meal for husband and I but I feel like we saved so much money just by eating in.

My husband is not a big fan of asian cuisine however this recipe was so light and flavorful that even he could not deny that kung pao cauliflower really does rock!!

1 Tablespoon of Extra-virgin Olive Oil
1 Head of Cauliflower (Chopped into smaller florets)
1 White Onion (Finely Chopped)
3-4 Cloves of Garlic (Finely Chopped)
1 Teaspoon of Ginger Paste (Fresh minced ginger can be used also)
1/8 Cup of Soy Sauce
1/8 Cup of Rice Wine Vinegar
1/8 Cup of Sriracha Sauce
1/8 Cup of Ketchup
1/4 Cup of Peanut Butter
2 Teaspoons of Crushed Red Pepper
3 Sprigs of Cilantro (Chopped)
1/4 Cup of Chopped Salted Peanuts

1. Heat a skillet (preferrable cast-iron) on the stove on medium level.
2. Pour in the extra-virgin olive oil and let it heat up for 1-2 minutes.
3. Toss in the chopped onions and cook until golden brown.
4. Add in the garlic and ginger paste. Mix well.
5. Place the cauliflower florets into the skillet and stir well. Make sure the onion mix and cauliflower and well mixed.
6. In a separate bowl, mix in the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup and sriracha.
7. Once its well mixed, add in the peanut butter in the same bowl. Mix well and it will be chunky.
8. Pour the mix into the cauliflower still cooking in the skillet. Mix well and the color of the cauliflower should now change to orange/red.
9. Sprinkle in the crushed red pepper and chopped peanuts.
10. Finally add the cilantro and serve immediately.

Bon Appetite!



White & Dark Chocolate Millionaire's Shortbread

I cannot get over how easy and delicious this treat is. It is originally from England and its called "millionaire's" shortbread for a reason. As you can see from the picture above, it has multiple layers of heavenly goodness. It starts from shortbread on the bottom layer (flour, butter, sugar thats it!), caramel in the middle and white & dark chocolate on top. How can you go wrong with these ingredients? It takes about an hour to make and can be stored up to two weeks. I made these for a lecture at work for all my co-workers and they disappeared quickly of course. They certainly are decadent and all you need is one piece of this to be satisfied (usually, lol).

I am certainly not a baker because I like to get creative with the ingredients.  I would call myself a savory cook, for sure. This recipe does not require a precise baker and is one of the easiest and delicious cookies you have ever had. I can surely make that guarantee!
My husband has a major sweet tooth so I had to keep these away from him as much as I possibly could.

Most of our weeknights I cook even with our busy schedule. There are many reasons for this- I love to cook (this may not apply to everyone and I understand that), it's cheaper than eating out or ordering in and its lower in calories. I am a 20 something year old girl and I can empathesize with anyone living alone and working hard jobs. I understand the difficulty of cooking after work. I am a resident physician, I can tell you this is the busiest I will ever get in my career but I found time to cook, not only to be creative but to create a time to cherish with my husband. At many times we cook  and enjoy the recipes together. I would encourage everyone to cook at home as much as they can to stay in shape, save money and keep a traditional dinner alive. We try to restrict ourselves with 1-2 weeknights to have dessert usually and I would not say we would eat this recipe everyday but its okay once in a while ;-).
Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Please email me your additional suggestions or constructive comments on this recipe on shuchie.jaggi@gmail.com

1 1/2 Cup of All-purpose flour
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter
1/2 Cup of Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt

Caramel Layer
1 1/2 Cans of Condensed Milk (14 ounce cans)
1/2 Stick of Unsalted Butter

1/2 pound of  Dark Chocolate Chips
1/2 pound of White chocolate Chips

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Using a hand mixer, mix together all-purpose flour, room-temperature butter, sugar and salt. They should resemble peas.
3. Set your batter on the bottom of a 8 x12 inch dish
4. Bake the shortbread mixture for approximately 20-25 minutes until it is golden brown on the edges.
5.In a saucepan, melt butter and then add in the condensed milk.
6. Stir until it appears to be amber colored (Approximately 15 minutes).
7. Layer your caramel mixture on top of the baked shortbread. Let it set for 10 minutes on room temperature.
8. Place a glass bowl on top of a saucepan and melt white chocolate.
9. Once the caramel layer is cooled, pour the melted white chocolate on top. Make sure it covers the entire shortbread. Cool for 10-15 minutes.
10. Repeat Step 9 with dark chocolate. Pour on top of the cooled white chocolate.
11. Place in the refrigerator to cool for 30 minutes.
12. Cut into 1 x 2 inch pieces and devour. It could be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.