Acini Di Pepe Spinach soup

While rearranging my pantry I came across a pack of acini di pepe pasta. It’s a tiny pasta that works well in soups and salads. The name apparently means “seeds of pepper”. This tiny pasta is also used for a cold salad called frog eye salad. I had initially bought it to make the salad but never ended up making it.

I used the recipe in the box itself for our lunch today. It’s been extremely windy and cold here for the past couple of days. A hot bowl of soup is perfect for this weather.

The recipe is very simple and the soup was ready in a matter of minutes. While searching the internet, I learned that this soup is called Italian wedding soup if you add meatballs to it. The name implies a marriage of flavors rather than being served at an actual wedding. But of course I didn’t tell my husband that part ;-) He had his lunch thinking he was having a part from a wedding meal!

Read on for the recipe. This post goes to Kids Delight event, hosted this month by PJ under the theme Winter warmers.

Recipe source: Ronzoni

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 6 cups of broth/water
  • 1/2 cup acini di Pepe pasta, uncooked
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, optional
  • 10 oz pack of frozen spinach
  • Salt and pepper as needed
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Method:

  1. Heat butter in a pan. Sauté onion and garlic until it turns light pink.
  2. Add water or broth and bring it to a boil. Add pasta, nutmeg , salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add spinach and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring in between. Pasta should be cooked by now. Take off the heat and serve with grated Parmesan cheese if preferred.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#96

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Chocolate Strawberry Chia Pudding

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BM # 70

Week 2, Day 3

Theme :Fruit based Recipes 

One look at Sapana’s chia pudding recipe yesterday and I knew what I had to make for Day 3. My son is not a fan of chia seeds when added to milkshakes, but I thought its time to assess his reaction to puddings. The kid really enjoyed and finished off two (mini) servings happily. It did help that the flavor was chocolate with a lavish layer of strawberry preserve in between.

Me and my camera are still in the readjusting phase, so hopefully the pictures will start getting better in a few weeks. Until then, this is how its going to be..It could be worse, so I am ok with these for now. Read on for the recipe and my determination to finish off my Costco hot chocolate packets.

This post goes to Blogging Marathon# 70. Check out this page to see posts from other participating bloggers.

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Recipe Inspiration : Sapana’s blog

Makes 4 mini servings

Ingredients:

For chocolate layer 

  • 2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 packet hot chocolate

For strawberry layer

  • 2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 small cup of strawberry yogurt

To assemble

  • chocolate chia pudding
  • 4 teaspoons strawberry preserve
  • strawberry chia pudding
  • a few slices of banana for topping

Method:

  1. Mix everything for the chocolate layer in a bowl with room to expand.
  2. Mix the strawberry layer in a separate pan. Refrigerate both overnight.
  3. The next morning, layer four small glasses with a layer of strawberry preserve in between and serve.

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Jell-O

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This post is a part of  the mega Blogging Marathon and A-Z challenge. I have chosen ‘popular American dishes’ as my theme.

The kid had been asking for jello forever and it just seemed smart to integrate his request to meet my blogging ends. So when we were in the supermarket, we picked up 3-4 types of jello and came home with a sense of achievement.

A couple of days later, I started on this layered jello. It was one of the easiest things I have done till now, but also very time consuming. There is at least 15-20 minutes wait periods between each of these layers and that quickly adds up. Still, its only waiting time and that’s not so bad. You can also make a single big layered jello, which will need a lot more setting time in the fridge.

If I were making this for a party of some kind, I would buy the transparent kind use and throw glasses. That way you wont have the kids fighting over who gets the bigger glass! It will all be uniform and that will make it easy to determine the quantity the recipe delivers also. Here I can say 8 glasses, but its all of different sizes. I just randomly picked glasses and filled it with the jello layers.

The best part of this was how my son was impressed. Now he wants to make one of his own :-). Read on to know how to make this.

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Recipe source: Rainbow jello cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 different flavors of ready-made jello packets
  • 1 cup yogurt/evaporated milk/condensed milk/sour cream/ cool whip
  • see through glasses

Method:

  1. Prepare the first pack of jello according to package instructions. Its usually boiling water stirred into the jelly, followed by cold water after the crystals have completely melted.
  2. Divide 2/3rd of this mix between the serving containers and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes until its set completely. The thicker the layer is, more time its going to take for setting.
  3. To make the lighter shade of the same jello, stir in the yogurt/condensed milk/cool whip/sour cream/evaporated milk to the reserved 1/3rd portion of jello. Basically a white color based thick liquid to lighten the color. I used yogurt and I had to filter it to get rid of the ‘white yogurt spots’.
  4. Once the previous layer of jello is set, carefully add the lighter layer. Refrigerate until its set completely.
  5. Repeat this process with other flavors.

Note: I should have started off with the yogurt light layer first so that it would been fun to finish with the bright red layer on top.

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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63

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Sambar rice

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It was my mother in law’s labor intensive full meal thali yesterday. Today it is a one pot meal, my style. This is perfect for weekends when you want your husband to think that you have put in a lot more effort than you actually have! This is as simple as putting all the vegetables, soaked rice and dal and cook it along with tamarind and sambar powder.

The only thing to remember in this recipe is to soak the rice and dal ahead.  If you are feeling a bit more lazy, skip the tadka, cut out the sauteing part entirely and add everything directly in the pressure cooker and let it cook for about 4-5 whistles. Tamarind can be skipped and replaced by a couple of roughly chopped tomatoes.

This doesn’t need a side dish other than a packet of chips or a papad. But I serve with some scrambled egg, raita and some pickles alongside the chips. It gives a ‘full meal’ feeling. A dollop of ghee on top will give it a bit more luxurious feel.

Now, all you have to do is switch on the TV, watch a movie together with your family while eating your easily prepared, labor intensive looking dish.

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BM 61, Week 1

Theme: Meal Ideas 

Pictorial:

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The recipe makes three generous servings. The first thing to do is to wash and soak one cup rice along with half cup dal. You have to use about 3 times water of the rice-dal mix, so about 4.5 cups of water here. I have used masoor dal here, you can use moong dal or toor dal as well. You can soak it before you start the vegetable preparations.

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Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add 2 teaspoons of oil. Add one teaspoon mustard seeds, 5-6 curry leaves, one red chili and a good pinch of hing.

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Add one sliced onion and saute for a couple of minutes. Onions are optional, skip if you want to.

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Add vegetables of your choice. I added one bell pepper, one green eggplant and one cup of frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, beans, corn, peas). Saute for 4-5 minutes until veggies soften a little bit.

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Add the rice and dal mix along with the water. Add 2 teaspoons of tamarind paste as well.

You can add 1 tablespoon of sambar powder directly or grind the sambar powder with 3/4 cup coconut into a fine paste and then add.

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Keep the lid and pressure cook for 4-5 whistles. Turn off the heat and wait for the pressure to subside.

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Once you open the cooker, mix well and add 2-3 cups of water (if needed) and bring it to a boil. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring the rice. You want it mushy. Taste test and adjust seasonings, if needed. Serve with chips or papad, scrambled eggs and a simple raita.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1/2 cup dal (can be toor, masoor or moong)
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • one teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • one dried red chili
  • pinch hing
  • one medium onion, sliced (optional)
  • one bell pepper, diced
  • one small eggplant, diced
  • one cup frozen mixed vegetables (a mix of carrot, beans, corn and peas)
  • 2 teaspoons tamarind paste or 1/2 cup of tamarind juice
  • 1 tablespoon sambar powder
  • 3/4 cup coconut (optional)
  • A spoonful of ghee, to serve – optional

Method:

Makes three generous servings

  1. The first thing to do is to wash and soak one cup rice along with half cup dal. You have to use about 3 times water of the rice-dal mix, so about 4.5 cups of water here. I have used masoor dal here, you can use moong dal or toor dal as well. You can soak it before you start the vegetable preparations.
  2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add 2 teaspoons of oil. Add one teaspoon mustard seeds, 5-6 curry leaves, one red chili and a good pinch of hing.
  3. Add one sliced onion and saute for a couple of minutes. Onions are optional, skip if you want to.
  4. Add vegetables of your choice. I added one bell pepper, one green eggplant and one cup of frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, beans, corn, peas). Saute for 4-5 minutes until veggies soften a little bit.
  5. Add the rice and dal mix along with the water. Add 2 teaspoons of tamarind paste as well.You can add 1 tablespoon of sambar powder directly or grind the sambar powder with 3/4 cup coconut into a fine paste and then add. Keep the lid and pressure cook for 4-5 whistles.
  6. Turn off the heat and wait for the pressure to subside.Once you open the cooker, mix well and add 2-3 cups of water (if needed) and bring it to a boil. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring the rice. You want it mushy. Taste test and adjust seasonings, if needed. Serve with chips or papad, scrambled eggs and a simple raita. Add a spoon of ghee on top of the rice, if desired.

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