Salad, please.

by Naila Sheikh


One can never go wrong with salads. It's the best option when at times, we feel overwhelmed of our hectic schedules and simply don't want to prepare a whole meal.  

 

I always keep Organic Spring Mix Salad in my refrigerator when desperate times, like today, force me to whip up something easy and quick for myself (hubby doesn't do salads). It requires no work, and it's always filling.

 

I also keep a pack of frozen Organic Spinach & Cheese Ravioli in my freezer, purchased at Sams club. Boiling the ravioli, draining it and adding it to my mountain of Spring Mix is all it takes! You can add your favorite dressing/sauces to this mix, or go crazy and add cucumbers and tomatoes while you're at it. I tend to keep it simple since the ravioli is very filling. 

 This is GREAT stuff and easy to prepare! 

This is GREAT stuff and easy to prepare! 

 Can't live without... 

Can't live without... 

End Result:

 

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FullSizeRender.jpg

A minimal salad makes a great meal!  

 

 

With ❤️️,

Naila - 


Cheesy Cheese Fries *revamped*

by Naila Sheikh


It's a cold day outside and I'm not planning on leaving my residence. My backyard offers enough sunshine for the day and I make sure for the kids and I to have plenty of fresh air even on very wintery days. 

Outdoor activity is my number one emphasis when it comes to spending the weekends. Staying home doesn't mean staying indoors at all times - one should make an effort to soak up the sun and embrace the skies.

 

I was able to sleep in today, yay! The moment I woke up I imagined having cheese fries for either lunch or dinner. The visual of fries drowned in cheeses 🧀 and all other yumminess, made me look forward to just stay at home and not be bothered...AT ALL.

 

"Cheese Fries" 

 INGREDIENTS: 

 

• 3 to 4 potatoes sliced in a handheld fries maker  / or use frozen fries from the store.

• poppy seed dressing 

• deli sliced pepper rings - sliced thinly

• 3 sundried tomatoes cut (you'll get oily fingers👋🏽, but it's ok)  

• a handful of Spanish manzanilla green olives, sliced thin

• green onions - 3 to 4 stems cut in thin rounds

• Heinz sweet relish - 3 tbsp

• red pepper flakes - 2 tbsp

• Shredded cheeses: I used Muenster and Mexican Cheddar Jack. 

• a pan that can go in the oven ( spam spray  or butter it a little bit )

 

 INSTRUCTIONS: 

 

  1. I used a cake pan, buttered the bottom and sides.  
  2. I poured a generous amount of Poppy Seed Dressing to cover the bottom. It doesn't have to cover all, since it's quite runny: see below👇🏽...
 Next time, I'll probably cut down on the poppy seed dressing. It was delicious but that much isn't needed.  

Next time, I'll probably cut down on the poppy seed dressing. It was delicious but that much isn't needed.  

    3. I add the rest of the cut-up ingredients, one after each other, starting with green onions, deli peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. 

    IMG_3764.JPG

    4. I top it off with the cheeses covering the fries. If you want, you can add relish to this but some may find that too much (it also tends to get liquidy with relish, so be aware.)  You can finish by adding the rest of the fries laying it in the other direction: either horizontal or vertical. 

     

    IMG_3765.JPG

    5. Put it in the oven for about 30 min. in 350 degrees temperature.  

    I turned off the oven but let it sit for a while as I was tending to the kids, my cheeses turned browner than I desired but the crunchy layer of cheese and the bits of sundried tomatoe, olives, really make for an appetizing and non-stop edible lunch!  😋

    ...just as I imagined and dare I say, much better? 

     Cheesy fries READY to be DEVOURED!  

    Cheesy fries READY to be DEVOURED!  

    FullSizeRender.jpg

     

    With ❤️, 

    Naila ~ 


    Eggplant Bharta {Dip}

    by Naila Sheikh


    I like this variation of an eggplant dish which is a huge hit in my household i.e. the hubby only...😂 He requests this meal when at times he feels close to his Pakistani roots. I am however, more keen on using eggplant in Italian dishes. When I do happen to make his fav "Baingan Bharta" - maybe because of the time crunch and it's easy to prepare (don't we all have motives in life? 😆) but of course also, upon his sweet request, I make sure to make it exactly as he likes it: super spicy. I then add yogurt to my plate for the much needed coolness in blowing off steam. No, not that I'm angry...I mean, steam from the spices, you silly. 

     

    Today has been an exhausting day - heck, my entire 3 weeks have been back-to-back crazzzyyyy, but tonight we must celebrate, relax and open a bottle of bubbly Apple Cider 🍾 , binge watch Netflix, drool over Mahira Khan and Shahrukh Khan's Zaalima song in upcoming Raees movie! Doesn't she look fantastic! I have a total girl/woman crush on her - her innocence and simplicity truly oozes on screen (women are simply sexy in their 30's, woohoo! and yes, that's a biased opinion but true too) Loved her in Humsafar (on Netflix now!) so imagine my excitement for this movie. Anywho, Anyways: back to the Kitchen talkin' ... 

     

     

    Azam is watching Jaws 2 while I'm quickly typing this up on my phone screen for y'all to read or curse me, later...I'll leave that to you.  By the way, the actors in Jaw look like sharks themselves. What's with the gritty faces? 

    ... 

     

    "Baingan Bharta" 

    Ingredients

     

    • olive oil

    • 1 onion

    • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes & 1 harri mirch 🌶 (jalapeño sliced in half)  / depending on your preferred level of spicyness.

    • 1 eggplant 🍆 , peeled and thinly sliced

     • 3 to 4 potatoes, peeled and also thinly sliced

    • 2 tomatoes  

    • 1 tbsp of LaaL Mirch Powder  

    • 1 tsp of Turmeric powder (Haldi) 

     • black cumin, 2 tsp (kalonji)

    • tomato paste or tomato sauce

    • I like Shan's Achar Pickle Masala - 2 tsp

    • ginger & garlic paste 1 tbsp

     

    💬Such a fake fin! Jaws' music is compelling though. The kids are now watching with eyes wide open👀 -- "it's a shark!"

     

     

    INSTRUCTIONS: 

     

    Cut your onion thin, add a drizzle of olive oil. Let it fry until onions appear golden brown.

    Add a pinch of Achar/Pickle Masala, add laal mirch, haldi and red pepper flakes - dem spicessss! 

    Add your garlic/ginger paste, let it mix and fry together.  

    Once all masalas are making you cough and you turn teary eyed wanting to cry like a baby...justttt wait, have patience...grab your tomato 🍅 if you can see through all the burning...add yo tomato and pasta/sauce to this concoction. You will now simply thank me for your instant relief. You're welcome. 

     

    Lets not forget about the protagonist of this story: the eggplant. Now, please add your eggplant and potato slices and close the lid. Let it simmer on medium heat for about 20 min. until everything is soft and mushy.  

    Add black cumin called kalonji (it's powerful ancient stuff, gives you strength) .

     

    Upon opening the lid, you will see eggplant transformed into slimey strips resembling... I-don't-know-something-slimey? 

    IGNORE. Just give it a good mix and grab your utensil that mushes it all together, the one that looks like a grater but is handheld...? I may have to attach a pic here, I'm lost for words... englishhhh vinglishhhh 😂

     It's called a POTATO MASHER!!!! Duhhhhh. 

    It's called a POTATO MASHER!!!! Duhhhhh. 

    Now, here comes the fun part: take out all your frustration and put all of your weight (not the figurative weight, I mean your real weight)  onto the masher and slam that thing, ever so gently, to the bottom of your pan. Keep on mashing it.

    Mash. Mush. Smash? 

    Done? 

    Rejoice! Add some cilantro for garnishing - grab a plate (and some yogurt to put out the 🔥) ...either eat with Naan or you can also westernize this DISH by calling it an 'eggplant potato dip' in front of your sophisticated friends (make sure it's dip-worthy and no remains of eggplant strips are visible).  

     

    You think I'm talking crazy? Well well well...see for yourself then... 

     

     Enjoy!  

    Enjoy!  

     

     

     

    With ❤️️,

    Naila ~