Apple cinnamon delight  

Apple Cinnamon Dessert

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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simple dessert not just healthy but it is sugar free and delicious, it takes few minutes to prepare and I love it.

Perfect dessert when you are on a diet or a healthy alternative when wanting something sweet, but if you are feeling more than just apples, this would be a delicious treat with vanilla ice cream.

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Maqluba

Maqluba

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Maqluba is the national dish in the middle east..Each recipe has its own variety of vegetables, such as tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower, carrots and eggplant!

my favorite way to make it  with eggplant and cauliflower, chicken or lamb are the meats of choice to be used in Maqluba.

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Maqluba latterly translates to “upside down” in Arabic, when the casserole is inverted, the top has the crusty layer of the rice, some chose to have the vegetable on the bottom instead of the rice, but my mom always made it with the rice on the bottom, I love it and so does my family.

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4 LB boneless skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs.

8 cups cold water

1 stick of cinnamon

2 bay leaf

1 large onion thinly sliced

1 med cauliflower cut up to floweret OR

1 large eggplant cut up in to 3 inches circles

3 cloves of garlic minced

3 cups of Jasmin rice or long grain rice

1/2 tablespoon of black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoon of salt divided

1 1/4 tablespoon of cinnamon powder

1 tablespoon of curry powder

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 teaspoon ground cardamom

6 cups reserved chicken broth

6 tablespoon olive oil divided

3 tablespoon butter

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Preheat oven to 425

In a large stockpot add water, chicken, cinnamon stick and bay leaf, bring to boil, lower the heat to medium low and simmer uncovered to avoid spells for about 25 minutes, making sure to skim off the foam every few minutes until the broth is clear.

In the main time, spread the eggplant on to nonstick or lined baking sheet in single layer, drizzle 3 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle 1/4 of tablespoon of salt, rub the oil and the salt into the eggplant, bake for 30 minutes.

Rinse the rice with cold water drain, set a side.

In a medium size nonstick pot add the remaining olive oil, butter and Sauté the sliced onions until golden, add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute, make sure the pot is large enough in order to cook the entire meal in.

Add the sautéed onion and garlic to the rinsed rice, add all the spices and the remaining salt and pepper. mix well.

Remove the chicken from the broth onto a plate and let it cool for a minute, discard the cinnamon stick and bay leaf, reserve the broth.

Shred the chicken into large bite size.

Line the bottom of the pot with a layer of the rice and onion mixture, add a layer of eggplant or the vegetable you chose to use, repeat until all of the eggplant used and end up with a top layer of the rice.

Add chicken broth, cover and bring to boil, lower the heat to simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes.

Let the rice stand in the pot covered for about 10 minutes.

Hold a large serving platter over the pot and invert the rice carefully and serve.

Some recipes have toasted nuts on top but I love this simple one! 

Served with plain yogurt or middle eastern salad 

Enjoy!

Cabbage Salad

Cabbage Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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I am on the roll these days with delicious side dishes, this one my mom made all the time growing up and I love it now as much as I loved it back then.

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It is easy, simple, and healthy, that is all I could say about it.

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This salad is perfect prepared a day before; the raw cabbage needs to marinade in the lemon juice and olive oil overnight or few hours before serving.

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.1 medium size green or red cabbage

.3 minced garlic cloves

.1/4 cup lemon juice

.1/4 cup olive oil

.1/2 tbsp. salt

.1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper

Remove the first 2 layers of the leaves, I find the first layers are not clean to use from being handled and touched by people at the store.

With a sharp knife, shred the cabbage in to thin slices making sure to remove the core and any hard rips, you could use a food processer and chop it but that’s another equipment to wash!!!

Add the shredded cabbage in to a large bowl, add lemon juice, salt, red crushed pepper, olive oil and minced garlic, with clean hands mix well until all combined.

Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for few hours or overnight.

Served with Beef Shawarma, chicken kebabs or any other meat dishes, or just by itself as a healthy lunch or dinner.

Tonight I paired it with grilled lemon chicken. Enjoy!

Molokhia

Molokhia

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Molokhia is the leave of jute plant, the leaves are minced and cooked with chicken or beef; it is very popular in the Middle East and North African kitchens, it is one of the most famous dishes in Egypt, its cooked with rabbit meat.

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The consistency of this dish is not appealing to some people, they call it slimy, but I guarantee you once you taste this delicious dish you will not call it that.

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The sautéed-minced garlic in brown butter, adds scrumptious flavor, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and you are on your way to taste the best dish on earth as my hubby calls it.

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I remember my mom used to buy the fresh molokhia in huge bundles to feed our large family, we kids used to help her by plucking the leaves off the stems, she used to use the mezzaluna knife to mince it.

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It is very hard to find fresh Molokhia leaves in the states, but it is widely sold frozen in individual bags or in dry form at any Middle Eastern markets.

I also found the dry version on line.

Molokhia is one of the easiest dishes to make, let me show you how.

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.1 large skinless, boneless chicken breast

.2 bags of frozen mince molikhia 14 oz. each or 6 cups of dry molikhia

.6 cups of water

.1/2 tbsp. salt

.5 cloves mince garlic

.4 tbsp. butter

In a medium size pot, combine chicken breast with water, cover and bring to boil.

Lower heat to medium low and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Remove the chicken on to a plate and set aside to cool.

Carefully reserve a 1 1/2 cup of the poaching liquid and set aside, cool the rest of the liquid in a container for an hour, pour in to Masson jar with tight fitted lid and store in the refrigerator to use in soups.

For the dry molokhia reserve 2 cups of the poaching liquid.

With paper towel, carefully clean the same pot; on low heat add butter and garlic, sauté the garlic until light golden and making sure not burn it.

With kitchen scissors snip along side of the bag, squeeze the molokhia out and add to the pot, repeat with the second bag.

if you are using the dry molokhia, add all 6 cups at once.

Add the reserved poaching liquid, salt, and stir well, simmer covered for five minutes.

With two forks shred the chicken in to bite size pieces, add to the molokhia and simmer for another five minutes, or ten minutes for the dry version.

For vegetarian version opt the chicken and the poaching liquid , and use vegetable stock instead.

Serve with day old pita bread or rice pilaf, fresh lemon wedges, green bell pepper and jalapeño pepper. Enjoy!

Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ghanoush

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Baba Ghanoush is one of the most famous dishes throughout the Middle East, in fact the entire world.

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It is healthy and delicious to serve as a side dish with kebabs or by itself as a main dish with crusty bread or warm pita bread.

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Baba Ghanoush and I been having a love affair since I could ever remember, I love making it, eating it at any time of the day; it was a happy day when my mom used to make it growing up!

This recipe is easy, delicious and full of flavor, I love adding roasted bell pepper to my mom original recipe for added flavor.

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.2 large eggplant

.2 garlic cloves minced

.1/2 cup tahini (sesame paste)

.1/2 cup warm water

.1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

.1/2 tsp. cumin

.1 1/4 tsp. salt

.1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

.1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley divided

1/8 tsp. paprika

1 tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven broil on high.

Place the oven rack in the middle section of the oven.

Line up two small baking sheets with aluminum foil (very easy clean up later), spray with non-stick vegetable spray, and set aside.

Wash and dry the eggplants and bell pepper, cut the ends off the eggplants and make a deep slit in the middle of each eggplant for the steam to escape so it will not explode in the oven.

Place the bell pepper on one of the prepared baking sheets and the eggplants on the other one, broil side by side for 45 minutes making sure turning them every few minutes.

Remove baking sheet and set aside for the vegetable to cool enough to handle.

With clean hands, gently remove the skin off the eggplant.

Remove the skin off the bell pepper, some will not come off, but that’s added flavor to the dish.

Do not wash the vegetable…

Chop the bell pepper to medium size pieces and set aside in a medium size bowl.

Place the eggplants on wooden chopping block and with a sharp knife finely chop it until you have smooth consistency.

Add to the bell pepper.

In a separate bowl combine tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cayenne pepper, cumin, half the chopped parsley and whisk well.

Add the dressing to the eggplants and pepper mixture, stir until completely incorporated.

sprinkle with the remaining chopped parsley and top with paprika, and olive oil.

Serve as side dish next to chicken kebab, or just a main course with a warm pita bread and simple tomato salad. Enjoy!

Stuffed Zucchini 

Stuffed Zucchini

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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This dish is one of the most famous dishes in the Middle East; it is on every table at every home at any given time!

In Arabic, This dish called   K-o-s-a  M-a-h-s-h-I, and in Hebrew,  K-e-sh-oo-ee-m.

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Mahshi means stuffed, Kosa and Keshooeem means zucchini!

I love making this dish and my family loves to eat it…

It is one of the easiest dishes to make and for sure, one of the most delicious meals served at any dinner table!

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To serve this dish for weeknight’s dinner, I would recommend cleaning and storing the zucchini in a colander in the refrigerator overnight; making sure it is completely dry…

For vegetarian version of this dish, substitute the meat with chopped fresh flat leaves parsley and chopped tomatoes, and for the butter substitute it with extra virgin olive oil and continue with the rest of the instructions…

In addition, I have made this dish with small cut bite size turkey for the none red meat eaters, and it is equally delicious!

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I do not recommend ground beef or ground turkey, as it will disappear and become mush during cooking for some reason, for added flavor I would recommend using the chili cut size method for the beef or turkey.

I also highly recommend using short-medium grain rice for any stuffed vegetable dishes, as I tried the long grain rice, i did not find it as flavorful as the short-medium grain, and long grain rice takes a lot longer to cook than any vegetable, so the vegetables will be overly cooked by the time the rice is done.

.7.25 Lbs. white zucchini about 26 pieces

.2 lb. small cut stew / chili size beef

.1/2 sticks unsalted butter melted

.1 tbsp salt divided

.1/4 tbsp black pepper

.2 cans tomato sauce 12 oz each

.2.5 cups short / medium grain rice

In a large bowl, rinse the rice until the water runs clear, add water to cover the rice and soak for 20 minutes.

Wash the zucchini and dry with clean tea towel.

With paring knife, remove the top of the zucchini and remove only the small white part on the bottom, do that for all of them.

Gently, with zucchini corer removes the inside of each zucchini, finish all, and do not worry about breaking one or two of them it will happen, do not stress about it, they are useable.

Melt the butter and set aside to cool.

Wash the zucchini with cold water, set in a colander to drain.

Drain the rice, making sure all the water drained, and the rice is somewhat dry.

To the rice, add meat, black pepper, melted butter, and 1/2 tbsp. salt.

With clean hands, combine the mixture making sure the meat and the rice completely mixed so each zucchini would have enough meat in it.

Stuff each zucchini with the rice and meat mixture half way, making sure to leave about two inches space from the top for the rice to expand.

Arrange in a large pot and complete the rest.

In a large bowl combine the tomato paste and water, add two cans of tomato sauce mix well to dissolve the tomato paste, add the reminder of the salt, add the mix to the zucchini.

On high heat, cover and bring to boil, it will take about 5-10 minutes, reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked…With a fork, break one of the zucchini to test the rice making sure its fully cooked, if not cover and simmer on low heat for additional 5 minutes.

Uncover and let the sauce reduce a little, about 5 minutes.

Serve hot with warm pita bread.

Enjoy!

Tabouli

Tabouli

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Tabouli is a Middle Eastern salad that packed with fresh herbs, bulgur, tomatoes, and lemon juice.

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I love making tabouli any time of the year, but my favorite time is during the summer.

It takes me back to the wonderful times I had with my mom and sisters, growing up we used to make tabouli and go up to the roof to soak up the sun, enjoy the ocean view and the cool breeze while feasting on this wonderful healthy salad.

Now that I have my own family, I prepare the tabouli with my kids and they absolutely love it and ask for it all the time.

I have tried tabouli with Quinoa, Brown rice and Couscous, but Bulgur is my absolute favorite and the authentic ingredient to use in this lemony herby goodness of a salad.

4 medium Persian cucumber

3 punch of green onion

3/4 cup lemon juice

5 medium tomatoes

6 cups minced flat leaves fresh parsley

3 cups minced fresh mint

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp. salt or to taste

2 cups fine bulgur #1

4 cups cold water

1 tbsp. cumin

In a large bowl soak the bulgur in 4 cups of cold water and set aside for 15 minutes.

Remove parsley and mint leaves from stems, only the thick woodsy stems, wash and lay flat on clean kitchen tea towel.

Roll the towel while the herbs in it, let it stand for about 10-15 minutes or overnight if you can.

Wash and dry tomato, green onion and cucumber, dice to small pieces, do not peel the cucumber, use both white and the green part of the onion, and place in a large size bowl.

In a food processer, add 1 or 2 cups at time of parsley and mint, pulse until finely minced, do not over process it or it will turn to a watery mess; about 15 times should do it.

In a large mesh strainer, drain the bulgur, with clean hands squeeze the water out of the bulgur little at a time, and add to the herbs and vegetables, continue until all the bulgur is squeezed.

Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and cumin.

With clean hands, toss the salad making sure to rub the bulgur with your hands to mix with the rest of the ingredients.

Serve with romaine lettuce harts and Enjoy!