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Thursday, January 29, 2015

7 layer magic bars / cookies

This is one of the most popular and old fashioned american desserts. I tasted it for the very first time last year at halloween. I had taken my little one for a halloween experience at a "haunted house" place.... with my friends. The Dousman Stagecoach Inn museum was a spookily decorated little house with a fortune teller.... and the kids really enjoyed the visit. The package included some treats for the kids and that's when i came across these magical bars. I couldn't help putting 3/4 pieces in my mouth...and they were absolutely delicious. 

The old lady who made these gladly shared the recipe. It's really simple -- layer 7 ingredients one after the other and bake..... :) 

I have come to know many shortcuts and quick fix meals in USA... and this is one of the best desserts you can make which is a hit for any get together or party. People can't stop eating it's bite sized and heavenly..... I made it 3-4 times and the last week, I made it for my friends' baby shower. 


  • Condensed milk 1 can (14oz/396 gms)
  • Graham crackers crushed to powder -- 1 and half cups
  • Unsalted butter -- 1/2 cup (melted)
  • Walnuts -- 1 cup (broken to small pieces)
  • Dried flaked coconut -- 1 and 1/3 cup
  • Dark chocolate chips -- 1 cup
  • Butterscotch chips -- 1 cup


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f.
  • Line a 13 by 9 inch glass pan with parchment paper or aluminium foil.
  • Melt the butter in the microwave.
  • Grind the graham crackers in a food processor.

  • Mix the melted butter with the graham cracker powder.

  • Press down the graham cracker and butter mix firmly on the bottom of the pan.

  • Pour condensed milk over the graham cracker crust.

  • Spread the chocolate chips and the butterscotch chips over the condensed milk.

  • Add walnuts.

  • Finally, spread the coconut.

  • Press everything down with a spatula.

  • Bake in a pre heated oven for 30 minutes.
  • Let it cool for about 10-15 minutes, then chill it in the refrigerator.
  • Pull out the parchment paper, and lay it flat on a cutting board. 
  • Cut into squares. 


  • This recipe makes around 24 pieces about 1 and half inch size.


  • You can change the order of the layers ...with coconut in the middle ...and pour condensed milk in the end.
  • You can use other nuts like pistachio, almonds etc.
  • You can use white or milk chocolate chips or mini marshmallows.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Quinoa Patties

Quinoa has started getting very popular as high protein vegetarian grains.... I got a chance to try a recipe when my friend who moved gave me a box of these grains. As I have never eaten or even seen it before, I googled information about it and how to cook it..... Interesting trivia on quinoa can be found here.... Last week, I opened the box and finally decided to thought of making this recipe with some other vegetables in the fridge.


  • quinoa -- 1 cup
  • bread -- 2 slices
  • beetroot -- 1 small
  • carrot -- 1 small
  • broccoli -- 4/5 florets( half a head)
  • garlic -- 4 cloves
  • coriander leaves -- 1 small bunch
  • onion -- about 1/2
  • green peas -- about 1 cup
  • lemon juice -- about 1 tbsp
  • powdered spices -- coriander powder and tandoori masala powder (about 1/2 tsp each)
  • salt and pepper -- about 1 tsp each
  • butter or oil -- about 2-3 tsps
  • water -- 2 cup


  • Boil about 2 cups of water and add salt. Add quinoa and cover the pot and let it simmer on medium heat till the water is absorbed by the grains. About 15-20 minutes. The grains will fluff up. Add 1-3 tbsps of water if needed. Keep it aside to cool.

  • Prep the vegetables and make bread crumbs in a food processor. Grate the broccoli, carrot and beetroot. (I boiled the beetroot prior to grating). Chop onions, peel and grate garlic. Defrost the peas and heat them in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes.

  • Take all the prepared vegetables in a large bowl. Add the powdered spices and season well with salt and pepper. 

  • Add quinoa and mix well.

  • Add breadcrumbs, coriander leaves and lemon juice. Mix well with a spoon.

  • Take about 2 tbsp mix in your hands and roll them in a ball and flatten to patties. Use up all the mix to make patties and keep them flat in a plate.

  • Refrigerate the patties for an hour. I kept them in the freezer for 10/15 minutes.

  • Heat a pan and brush the bottom with a tsp of oil or butter. Arrange the patties in a single layer and brown the bottom on medium heat. Flip the patties after 3-4 minutes and brown the other side.


  • Makes about 15 -20 patties 
  • 2-3 patties are good for a serving size along with a salad or rice or pasta.


  • I found the binding part a bit difficult with breadcrumbs made with  just 2 slices of bread.... can increase the bread slices to about 4 or 5
  • You can add potato, paneer or even egg instead of bread crumbs. 
  • The refrigerating helps keeping the shape.
  • Instead of using indian powdered spices you can use cheese and mixed italian herbs too.
  • I preferred the ones, I sauteed with butter for obvious reasons...  :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Mexican vegetarian lasagna

2015 .... a first post in the new year.... haven't been blogging ...though I cooked and tried a lot of old and new recipes in the final months of 2014. I find photographing difficult in my kitchen here.... I do not have any natural light.... but, hoping to change and blog more, about the recipes I learnt.

Asian cuisine ingredients are difficult to find here, but you can easily get mexican cuisine stuff. I have started liking mexican food here....and this is one of the mexican inspired recipes.... I have used some store bought ingredients for it, but you can make the sauces at home too. It feeds many and a good recipe to take to a potluck.


  • Corn tortillas 1 pack -- I used about 18 for 3 layers
  • Picante sauce -- I used Pace brand available in my grocery store, about 1.5 cups
  • Salsa sauce -- I used Red Gold medium spicy, about 1.5 cups
  • 1 can -- black beans
  • 1 can -- pitted and sliced black olives
  • 1 red onion
  • 200 grams button mushrooms
  • 1 green capsicum
  • 3 small carrots
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 cups mixed mexican/southwestern blend cheese
  •  5 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 green chilies
  • 2 avocadoes
  • salt and pepper and about 1-2 tsp olive oil


  • Prep and chop the fresh ingredients. Peel and grate the garlic. Wash vegetables and chop the onions, garlic, chilies, mushrooms, capsicum. Defrost the corn.

  • Heat the oil in the pan.
  • Saute the chopped onions, till they are translucent.

  • Add the garlic, chilies, capsicum, carrots, mushrooms and finally the corn.

  • Keep sauteing on medium heat till the vegetables are cooked. Add salt and pepper and keep them aside to cool.

  • Cut the corn tortillas in half and heat them on a skillet for about 30 seconds each side.

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit.
  • Assemble the lasagna.
    • Take a glass or metal baking pan. (I used 13*9 glass pan). Layer the bottom of the pan with 2-3 tbsp of salsa sauce.
    • Place the corn tortilla halves in single layer on the salsa.
    • Spread 2-3 tbsp of picante sauce on top of the tortillas.
    • Spread the prepared vegetable layer.
    • Sprinkle beans and olives.
    • Finally, add cheese.
    • Repeat all the layers. 
    • I made about 3 layers.

  • Top the lasagna with picante sauce and more cheese and olives.
  • Bake for about 30-35 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the lasagna in hot oven for about 5 minutes.
  • Take it out and let it rest for 10 minutes more.

  • Garnish with chopped avocados and /or sour cream. 
  • Serve hot.


  • Makes about 8-10 servings.


  • You can make it with chicken mince. Add about 2 cups of chicken mince to the vegetarian ingredients.
  • You can use either salsa or picante, or both.
  • Increase or omit cheese and avocados.
  • Also, a big tip is to top the lasagna with avocado slices just before serving. Cut the avocados only when you are going to serve. If u leave them they will turn black soon.  (as you see in the following picture )