everything in the pantry vegetarian chili

I pride myself on a fully stocked pantry at all times. It comes in handy when a friend unexpectedly stops by for some wine or when I am too lazy to come with a game plan for dinner.  Both of these happen several times a week.

A fully stocked pantry/fridge should include the following:

  • Pasta
  • Quinoa
  • Beans – Kidney, Chickpea, Black, Refried
  • Tomatoes – Crushed, Diced, Paste
  • Plenty of Spices – Paprika, Cumin, Garam Masala oh and Salt and Pepper
  • Stock – Vegetarian, Chicken
  • Chipotles – for all the Mexican food you consume
  • Greek Yogurt- for all the Mexican food you consume part 2
  • Tortillas – for all the Mexican food you consume part 3
  • Hummus – for dipping while cooking
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Frozen Vegetables – Corn, Edamame, Mixed
  • Onions
  • Garlic

With these staple ingredients you can really come up with a lot of options to make on the fly: a pasta dinner, quesadillas, burritos, wraps, salads… the options are pretty endless including my amazing “everything in the pantry vegetarian chili”

Recipe serves about 6. Adapted from Rachel Ray.

  • 1 tablespoon of EVOO
  • 1 cup of frozen corn – I prefer Trader Joe’s charred corn
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 chipotle peppers (2 was just not enough)
  • 15 oz can of chickpeas
  • 15 oz can of black beans
  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock
  • cumin
  • salt
  • pepper
  • blue corn tortilla chips for garnish and then some for extra munching
  • one small container of 2% Greek Yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons of cilantro

1.)  Split the red pepper down the middle and remove seeds. Roast the pepper on a cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes at 450 degrees. Remember to flip the pepper half way through for even cooking

2.) Chop zucchini, onion, garlic, and chipotle. Heat EVOO and cook vegetables for about 5 minutes, until softened. Drain and rinse both cans of beans. Add to the vegetables and stir until incorporated.

3.) Next add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and stock to the pot. Bring the soup to a bubble and then turn down the heat to medium. Season your chili with salt, pepper, and cumin.

4.) Remove skin from roasted pepper and chop. Add roasted red pepper and corn and continue to heat at medium for 15-20 minutes without lid until the chili thickens. Cook longer for desired thickness.

5.) Garnish with a dollop of Greek yogurt (healthier way to get the creaminess everyone loves from sour cream), a sprinkle of chopped cilantro leaves, and several blue corn tortillas chips. Have a bowl of chips on the table while serving.

vegetarian chili

What are your pantry staples? What types of meals have you made using what you have on hand at home?



quinoa jambalaya

Can you tell I’m obsessed with quinoa yet? When it comes to quick and easy weeknight meals, it is my go-to pantry staple. Despite what it might look like, it is not the only thing I eat but it sure is a favorite. Quinoa can get boring when you use it as a replacement for rice, incorporate it into a salad, or find yourself rotating the same recipes each week. So quite obviously, I am always on the hunt for a new and fun recipe to try. Enter: quinoa jambalaya. Nutrients, seafood, and spice…what’s not to love?!

Recipe serves 4. Adapted from Emily Love Food

  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • few dashes of red pepper flakes
  • 2 (or 3 in my case) large scallops per serving, can leave out if you want seafood-free
  • 1 1/2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, cut into rounds
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 pack of spicy chorizo sausage
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 bag of baby spinach

1.)  Heat EVOO in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook in a cast iron skillet over a medium heat – chuck in the onion, pepper, celery and carrots down. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Make sure you sitr occasionally to avoid the vegetables from burning.


cut veggies

2.) While vegetables are cooking, mix spice blend. Use half the mixture with the scallops and set aside. The remaining half will be reserved for later.

seasoned scallops

3.) Add minced garlic, chorizo, and other half of spice mixture to the veggies. Mix well until combined.

4.) Add tomatoes, stock, bay leaves and Worcestershire sauce to the mixture and bring to a gentle boil. Next, add your quinoa and spinach and cover for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

tomato sauce

5.) While quinoa is cooking, hit 1/2 tablespoon of EVOO in a separate nonstick skillet. Sear the scallops for 2 minutes on each side.

6.) Serve up a bowl of jambalaya and top with scallops. I was feeling indulgent so I ate 3 scallops this time around instead of 2.

completed pot

bowlI would definitely take this to work the next day minus the scallops. Seafood is much better fresh and not zapped in the microwave. Have you fallen in love with quinoa yet? What ingredients do you add to to your recipes to make them have an extra kick?


kale, chicken, and quinoa salad

With the arrival of my favorite season, fall, comes unhealthy eating habits — consuming excessive amounts of Halloween candy (in particular, twix bars), obsessing over all baked goods (in particular, pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream), and last but not least, holiday parties where all the dieting rules go out the window. During the week I do my best to make healthy choices and say no to the second glass of red wine (sometimes). This is the perfect entrance for my kale, chicken, and quinoa salad. The combination of these 3 very ingredients will leave you feeling full even though you’re technically eating a salad. It all means it will be easier to fight off those pesky cravings I mentioned earlier.

Recipe serves about 2-4. Adapted from Aida Mollenkamp

kale preparation

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1/4 cup 2% greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 sprigs of mint (fresh from mom’s garden)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • 2 pinches of red pepper flakes ( i like everything with heat)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

salad extras

  • 1/2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 cup shredded chicken
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (tri-color might add some color to your plate)
  • 3/4 cup cannellini beans
  • 1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 persian cucumbers, diced
  • 1 oz or so of crumbled feta (add a little extra if you are a cheese lover)

1.)  Prepare your kale by removing the center rib and chopping the leaves into bite sized pieces and place into a plastic/ceramic mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper and gently massage the kale with your heads until he starts wilting. You may need to use the other half of your lemon. Once you are done massaging your kale, put to the side for 10-15 minutes while you prepare your dressing and salad extras.



2.) In a food processor, combine all dressing ingredients until smooth. Be sure to add additional herbs/seasonings to taste. I like doubling the dressing recipe so that I can add an extra dollop to my salad, guilt-free or use it the next day as a dip for carrots, or turkey kebabs.



3.) Heat your EVOO in a pan and add your ground cuimin until you can smell its aroma. Pour this on top of your shredded chicken and add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix well.

4.) Plate your kale and each layer of salad ingredients — chicken, quinoa, garbanzo beans, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers. Top your salad off with your yogurt dressing and feta cheese.



Have you incorporated kale into your diet? If so, what is your favorite go-to kale recipe?


orzo eggplant bake

I’m back! With summer came weekend trips, weddings, family time, and enjoying the sunshine. I’ve been eating, cooking, and going on adventures but writing seemed to take the back seat. My sincere apologies. Now that we have a rather warm start to fall, I figured it would be a good idea to provide an ode to one of my new favorite dishes I’ve made a few times over the last few weeks. Beautiful vine ripe tomatoes are still available at the farmer’s markets and stores so grab some, an eggplant, and get in the kitchen to make this Orzo Eggplant Bake. This is a summer going into fall dish I found from one of my favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen

Recipe serves four. I suggest taking some leftovers to work for lunch.

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stack, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces of orzo
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon of oregano (I used dried but fresh is always nice)
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
  • 4 ounces of fresh, firm mozzarella,
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3 medium vine-ripe tomatoes
  • cook spray
  • salt and pepper
  • crushed red pepper flakes

1.)  Chop your eggplant into a large dice and place into a colander. Sprinkle eggplant generously with salt and allow to sit for 30 minutes. This will help all the moisture drain. After 30 minutes, dry the eggplant with a clean kitchen towel.

eggplant diced

2.) As you prepare the casserole, preheat the oven at 350 degrees. Heat a large nonstick skillets on medium-high heat with EVOO. Add the eggplant and stir fry for about 8 minutes until crispy and golden brown.  Place cooked eggplant on a paper towel lined plate for draining.

3.) In the same pan add the celery, carrots, and red peppers and cook for 3 minutes. When softened, add onion and garlic and continue to cook together for 5 minutes. At this point you can knock the heat down to medium to ensure the vegetables don’t burn too quickly.


veggies pan

3.) Add the orzo and tomato paste and mix together. After 2 minutes of cook time, turn off the heat. Move your pan to an unused burner on the stove and add the last of your ingredients: oregano, mozzarella, Parmesan, tomatoes, fried eggplant, stock, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Make sure you mix well.



4.) Use some cooking spray on a 8×11 casserole dish. Pour your mixture into the baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes covered with foil, and 25 additional minutes without foil. I cooked without foil for an extra 5 minutes because I liked the crunchy texture of the pasta. Minimize your time without foil if you prefer a smooth texture. Let your pasta rest for 10 minutes before serving to guests and packing your lunch.

final dish


What is your favorite meal you make during a long transition between seasons? Have you been able to find ripe tomatoes in your local market now that we’re into October?


mediterranean chickpea salad

Back in the spring of 2012 my girlfriends and I decided to spend a Saturday afternoon cooking at a class that was held in Harlem through Jackie Arnett, where we learned to prepare simple and healthy Middle Eastern food. It was at this class that I was introduced to a new spice, Aleppo pepper. Aleppo pepper originates from the city of Aleppo which was along the Silk Road in northern Syria which now includes Turkey. When ripe the pepper becomes a burgundy color and then is dried, de-seeded and ground coarsely to be used along other Middle Eastern spices like sumac, paprika, and dried mint. Aleppo pepper has a very mild heat level with some fruitiness and mild cumin undertones and has been described as being similar to the ancho chile in flavor profile. I was able to find Aleppo pepper at a a spice shop right in Murray Hill called Kalustyan’s. If you are in search of a particular spice or sauce this is the place to go. I went to look for some Aleppo pepper and ended up pacing the aisles for about an hour doing some good ole food exploring. Ok, enough of the back story about this recipe…it is time to get cooking!

mediterranean chickpea salad

adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

This recipe is perfect for someone that cooks for one. It will make 3 servings

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 1/2 jar of roasted red bell peppers (6 oz of 12 oz jar)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint (mine came from straight from my mother’s garden)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of capers


  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon caper brine
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, use a microplane to mince
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon EVOO
  • salt and pepper to taste

1.)  Drain chickpeas and rinse with water in a colander. Be sure you allow ample time for the chickpeas to drain well and dry thoroughly.


2.) Heat EVOO in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add chickpeas and Aleppo pepper and brown and saute until golden for about 10 minutes. Gently toss chickpeas so they are well coated with the Aleppon pepper. After cooking the chickpeas, remove from the stove and cool.


3.) While your chickpeas are cooking, chop roasted red peppers, mint and measure capers. Make sure all these ingredients are well drained.

cutting board

4.) Combine all dressing ingredients together and whisk thoroughly.

5.) Mix chickpeas, roasted red peppers, mint, capers, and dressing in a salad bowl. Stir until the ingredients are well coated. You can serve this salad immediately or allow a few hours-overnight in the fridge for the dressing to really work its magic and marinate.

close up finished finished

I’ve made this recipe for a healthy homemade lunch option and doubled it to take to a picnic in Central Park. The opportunities to use this recipe are endless. Have you cooked with Aleppo pepper before? What other recipes do you think you can incorporate this spice into?


summertime skillet

I am always on the hunt for simple, healthy weeknight meals that become my lunch the next day. When looking for healthy recipes I always look for a few things — lots of vegetables, a key protein, and something I can duplicate with ease. When I came across this recipe by Iowa Girl Eats, I checked off all 3 of my necessities.


  • 1 3/4 cup of vegetable broth (I prefer the boxes over the cans)
  • 1 cup quinoa (my protein!)
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved and then sliced (half moons)
  • 2 ears of corn, cut off the cob
  • 3 green onions
  • heaping handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Honey Lemon Dressing

  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, microplaned
  • salt and pepper to taste

1.) Boil vegetable broth in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa and cover. Turn down the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 25-30 minutes until the broth has been absorbed. You will be able to fluff the quinoa with a fork. Let the quinoa cool down as you prepare the other ingredients

2.) Combine the ingredients for the honey lemon dressing. Whisk and set aside as you cook the quinoa and vegetables.


3.) Heat EVOO in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute until you smell the aroma. Add zucchini, corn, green onions and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Make sure you do not overcook your vegetables as you want them to be tender. This will be about 5 minutes of cooking time. Add the slightly cooled quinoa and half the dressing into the pan and cook for one more minute.

veggiesveggies 2quinoa veggies

4.) Add remaining dressing, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, and mint to the skillet and combine evenly. I allowed about 10-15 minutes for the dish to cool so it could be a refreshing summertime meal. Enjoy!


What is your favorite summertime dinner recipe? Do leftovers become lunch the next day?


spicy chicken enchilada stuffed shells — yes, this is real.

This recipe is my salute to all the amazing characteristics of Mexican and Italian food — spice, carbs, and just the right amount of cheese. I came across this recipe on Bev Cooks and knew I had to test it out in my own kitchen. This is an excellent option for Mexican Night at the home or the next pot luck with friends. I definitely have one upped myself with this one. Bev, thank you for the inspiration.

spicy chicken enchilada stuffed shells

  • 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning
  • about 20-25 jumbo shells (a little less than one box)
  • 1 bag of fresh spinach
  • 1 ear of corn
  • 5 chipotle peppers with adobo
  • few dashes of favorite hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup flower
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • cilantro for garnish

1.) Boil water and cook jumbo shells while you prepare the enchilada sauce. To prepare the enchilada sauce, in a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in medium saucepan. Add cumin, garlic, pepper, and 2 chipotle peppers with adobo, flour, and tomato paste. Whisk mixture constantly for about 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the broth and add a few dashes of hot sauce. Next, bring sauce to a boil and then reduce and simmer until thickened. This will take about 8-10 minutes. Set to the side.

sauce1 sauce 2

2.) Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle taco seasoning on both sides of chicken breasts and sear for about 6-7 minutes on each side depending on thickness. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes and then chop breasts in small pieces. Once your shells are cooked, drain and set to the side.


3.) Saute fresh spinach in a large skillet until wilted. Boil ear of corn and then cut off the cob. Combine chicken, spinach, and corn into a bowl. Add 3  minced chipotle peppers with adobo and mix thoroughly.  Season with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

mixed bowls

4.) Pour 1/2 the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish. Make sure you coat the entire bottom of the dish heavily. Stuff each shell with a small spoon with the chicken/spinach/corn mixture and arrange into rows in the casserole dish. Pour the remaining of the enchilada sauce on top of the shells and sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and broil for the final 5-10 minutes to brown the cheese. Garnish your dish with chopped cilantro and you are ready to wow your loved ones!

shellsshells sauceshells cheese

completecomplete 2


How do you usually prepare stuffed shells? Do you have a favorite Mexican/Italian combination recipe?


chicken wonton tacos for mom

In honor of my lovely mother’s birthday today, I wanted to make sure I shared one of the recipes I prepared for her on Mother’s Day about a month ago. My mom is a selfless and dedicated woman. She constantly puts others before herself so this year I decided to actually kick her out of her own kitchen and prepare a lunch of light bites for her. One of the favorites of the afternoon were the chicken wonton tacos. This dish has chit. chaat. chew. written all over it — quick, easy, and delicious. I suggest you make this at your next get together with friends and family.

Adapted from Heart Mind and Seoul
chicken wonton tacos

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 20 square wonton wrappers
  • 5 tablespoons of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • few dashes of sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of cilantro leaves, lightly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons mexican cheese, shredded
  • red pepper flakes — to taste
  • salt and pepper — to taste.
  • cooking spray

1.) Fill a pot of water and add chicken breasts. Poach chicken until cook through. Shred chicken with a fork and knife and add to a bowl for mixing.

2.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine chicken, BBQ sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, cilantro, and mexican cheese and mix thoroughly. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper to taste.


3.) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and apply cooking spray. Place 1-2 tablespoons of chicken mixture into the center of each wonton wrapper and pinch the opposite corners together to create the taco shape. Repeat for each of the wonton wrappers. Place on the cookie sheet. Reapply another coat of cooking spray on all wontons

on tray

4.) Bake for about 10 minutes or until wontons are golden brown


5.) Serve with your favorite salsa, guacamole, sour cream, or hot sauce.

My mom fell in love with the recipe so much that she made it for her friends the following weekend and it was a hit. What is your favorite quick, easy, and delicious appetizer to make and is mother approved?

P.S. Happy Birthday, Mom!


baking success — jalapeno cheddar scones

I am not a baker. My previous attempts to bake birthday cakes or keep an eye on the oven for my former roommate have all failed. I’ve failed for two reasons — you need a extreme precision with measurement, and patience to time things perfectly,  and quite frankly, “ain’t no one got time for that!” However, after learning to make biscotti during Christmas from the go-to baker, Mommy Singh, I wanted to make another attempt all on my own. My lack of sweet tooth led me to this recipe on Smitten Kitchen.

jalapeno cheddar scones

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoon cold butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 eggs, divided
  • 1/4 pound sharp Cheddar Cheese, diced
  • 2 small jalapeno peppers, minced (next time I make the recipe I am going to add another jalapeno or 1 habanero in addition to this)

1.)  In a skillet melt 1/4 tablespoon of butter and saute the jalapenos until soft. When mincing jalapenos, maintain some of the ribs for an added kick of spice. Let the jalapenos cool in a bowl with the diced cheese and 1 tablespoon of flour.


2.) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a different bowl combine the rest of the flour, and baking powder. Dice the butter into small pieces to blend well with the flour easily. A pastry blender or two knives would have been helpful. I went the old school route and shopped up the butter which added more time to the prep.

flour butter

3.) Whip two eggs and the cream and add to the flour mixture. Use a wooden spoon to fold the mixture. Take your time to make the mixture come together. Add the cheddar and jalapeno mixture that you previously set aside to the dough and evenly to incorporate all ingredients

flour eggsdoughdough 2

4.) On a clean counter, flour the surface and begin to knead the dough gently. This should take about a minute. Do not over knead as the dough will become too flaky to work with. Use a rolling to in to pat the dough down to a 1 inch thickness. Using a small metal cookie cutter you will be able to make about 12 scones.

knead dough

5.) Create an egg wash with the last egg and a teaspoon of water. Brush the egg wash onto each scone. Place the scones on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper that is well oiled. This will help the scones bake evenly, not stick, and the clean-up portion of this baking project. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

on cookie sheet

6.) Eat these scones the same day for the best quality


A picture is worth a thousand words and one of these words includes “success!” My first baking adventure is now checked off my “to-do” list. Do you enjoy the precision involved in baking? What is your favorite dish to bake for your loved ones?


a meal in honor of dubai

Dubai – a place of extreme luxury, breathtaking architecture (both modern and old world), divine tastes, an open desert, a mecca of retail therapy from intricate fabricates to endless options of gold.

Back in January I had the opportunity to explore Dubai with my family. One of the fondest memories I take away with me after visiting a new place is the story behind its food. In Dubai, I encountered odes to Indian and Pakistani cuisines and the distinct flavors of the East alongside establishments that served Italian, French, and Japanese food. Dubai is a one stop shop to get a taste of really any part of the world. Nonetheless, they stay true to their roots as a place with a truly multicultural pallet that combines South Asian and Mediterranean cuisine into one distinct flavor.

The nostalgia I began to feel of this amazing trip along with current craving trends of my cousin and his family helped me plan the menu for an amazing homemade meal to honor Dubai. A day trip to DC exploring the cherry blossoms and memorials left my family and I longing for some good food and this is when I was put to work.

fam fun in dc fam fun in dc 2 fam fun in dc 3family fun

On the menu: spicy hummus, roasted vegetables, lamb kebabs served with yogurt sauce.

spicy hummus

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 4 cloves of raw garlic
  • 16 oz. can of chickpea, washed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • several dashes of hot red pepper flakes or red masala

1.)  In a food processor, combine tahini, and lemon juice. Blend until creamy. You may need to scrap down the tahini that gets stuck to the food processor.


2.) Add garlic and salt and blend again.

3.) Finally, add the chickpeas and red pepper flakes until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

4.) Taste and add additional red pepper flakes, if necessary.

5.) Serve in a serving bowl with warm mini pitas on the side.


Adapted from: Two Tarts

roasted vegetables

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 3 medium red peppers
  • 4 small Japanese eggplant
  • 1 pack of button mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup chopped pine nuts (almonds would have been excellent choice too!)
  • 4 tablespoons of balsamic glaze
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of crush red pepper
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese
  • 16 oz. can of chickpea, washed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • several dashes of hot red pepper flakes or red masala
  • salt and pepper, to taste

1.)  Cut all vegetables and toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, spices, salt and pepper


2.) Roast for 15-20 minutes until vegetables are tender. In the last final few minutes, toss in ground pine nuts with vegetables. Be sure to toss the vegetables half way through to ensure even cooking

veggies cooked


3.) Transfer vegetables into a serve dish and drizzle balsamic glaze and crumbled feta cheese.

veggies completeveggies complete 2

Adapted from Cooking Class with Jackie Arnett

lamb kofta with yogurt sauce

lamb kofta

  • 1 pound lean ground lamb
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh onion
  • 2 tablespoons of 2% greek-style yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes’
  • cooking spray

1.)  Combine cilantro, onion, yogurt, cumin, paprika, tumeric, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes. Shape into mini ciricular paptties.

kebab prep

2.) Heat a grill pan to medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray and add patties, cooking for 10 minutes and occasionally turning for even cooking

kebabs cookingkebabs cooking 2

kebab flip

yogurt sauce

  • 1/2 cup 2% greek-style plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers (bottled works great)
  • 1 teapsoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1.) Combine all ingredients together and mix well. Serve along side with kebabs

This dish should be served with saffron basmati rice

Adapted from: My Recipes

And, Dinner is Served!

dinner is served

Have you ever cooked a meal from start to finish for your friends and family? What is your go-to menu for such occasions? What is your favorite Mediterranean to enjoy at home or at a restaurant?


P.S. Thank you to my supportive cousin, Kevin, for capturing every moment as I played top chef in the kitchen!