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What’s for Dinner: Toffee Cheesecake with Caramel

My brothers and I hosted a Superbowl party, yesterday, for some of our cousins.

For dessert? I made another variation of a cheesecake: this time, I made a Toffee Cheesecake. If there is any doubt I love cheesecakes, check the different variations I have made and posted the recipes of on here

What I used:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons of [unsalted] butter, melted
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 8 ounce bag of Toffee bits
  • 1 tablespoon of All-Purpose flour
  • Caramel

How I made it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine the butter and graham crackers. Press the mixture into the bottom [and across the lower sides if you would like] of your springform pan to form the crust.
  3. Next, in a large bowl, beat your cream cheese until it is smooth. Add in the condensed milk and beat the mixture well [until it is evenly incorporated].
  4. Next, add in the eggs and vanilla extract. Do not over beat the mixture, just enough until your mixture is smooth.
  5. Coat your toffee bits with the tablespoon of flour. Why you ask? Read my tip down below why I do this.
  6. Fold in about one cup of the toffee bits into the cheesecake batter.
  7. Pour your cheesecake batter over your graham cracker based crust.
  8. Sprinkle the top with the remaining toffee bits.
  9. Bake for 60-70 minutes.
  10. Let the cheesecake cool, and then either put the Caramel on top like I did… or drizzle on each individual piece as serving.

Tip: In order to make sure the toffee doesn’t sink to the bottom, coat your toffee with a little bit of All-Purpose flourTrust me, newbie me had chocolate chips sink to the bottom once… but I turned it into a positive thing by having an extra layer of chocolate… who doesn’t like chocolate!

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What’s for Dinner: [Baked] Bang Bang Shrimp

20140715-205311-75191552.jpg

This past Tuesday, I did a baked version of my Bang Bang Shrimp. It was just as delicious, and I loved that it wasn’t fried!

  1. Make your sauce: combine the 1/2 cup of [low-fat] mayonnaise, 4 teaspoons of chili garlic sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar in a small bowl. I let mine chill in the fridge in the meantime. This helps the sauce stick to the shrimp.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Spray non-stick cooking spray on top of the foil.
  3. I seasoned shrimp with: black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne powder.
  4. Next, I added in a [beated] egg to the marinated shrimp.
  5. Separately, in a ziploc bag [for easy cleanup], I add in flour and season it with black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne powder. Next, add in the shrimp to the ziploc bag, seal… and shake to coat all of the shrimp.
  6. Transfer your coated shrimp on to the lined baking sheet. When all are transferred, spray another layer of non-stick cooking spray on top of all the shrimp.
  7. Bake the shrimp in your preheated oven for about 15 minutes.
  8. After a few minutes of letting the shrimp cool, transfer to a dish where you fold in the sauce with the shrimp before serving.

Like I mentioned in the original version, the ideal combination/process for a crispy breading [that doesn’t fall off — especially once you start to add the sauce]:

  1. Make the sauce first [and put it in the fridge to chill].
  2. Next, bread the shrimp [then put the shrimp in the fridge too].
  3. Wait to add the sauce to the shrimp until once the shrimp is a little cooler. Gently toss.

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What’s for Dinner: Naan

My parents recently got me a stand-mixer, and I put it to use today by making my own naan for the chicken gyros I made for dinner tonight! In the past, I’ve had such a hard time with making dough and today, it was ready in mere minutes…  dough’s just got a whole lot easier to make.

What I used was:20140506-202300.jpg

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package of active dry yeast
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 4 cups of [AP] flour

What I did:

  1. In my mixing bowl, I dissolved the yeast in one cup of warm water. Let it stand for about ten minutes, or until it becomes frothy before moving on.
  2. Next, add in the sugar, egg, salt and flour. Mix in the ingredients until everything is incorporated [using the flat beater].
  3. Switch over to your dough hook and let it do all the hard work in mere minutes! Then, just pat it into a ball.
  4. Place your dough in a bowl [I sprayed the bowl with non-stick cooking spray to make sure it didn’t stick], and cover with a damp [paper] towel and let it rise. Tip: I always let my dough’s rise in a turned off oven. For this step, let it rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
  5. Next, take pieces of the dough, and roll them into balls. Place them on a [baking] tray. Again, cover with a damp [paper] towel and let them rise again for another hour or so.
  6. When you are ready to make your naan, turn your George Foreman grill on.
  7. On a floured surface, roll each of the balls into a thin circle/rectangle [or whatever shape you want or it turns into] 🙂
  8. Let each naan cook in the grill for a few minutes, flipping half way. I used the George Foreman grill because I wanted the naan to have the grill marks and it was convenient!

I am sure you can do this on the grill, the stove, in the oven, but today I made it in my George Foreman grill. Without adding any oil or butter and still got the great naan taste.

Like my recipes? Click the below link to purchase my cookbook “What’s for Dinner”:

P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes.

What’s for Dinner: [Individual] Donut Cakes

For my brother Faraz’s birthday on Friday, I made individual cakes in the shape/form/appearance of a donut… because he loves donuts. I made his favorite kind: chocolate frosted with sprinkles. I left the sprinkles off of mine.

You will need, of course, a [non-stick] donut pan.

Use your favorite  vanilla, yellow, or chocolate cake recipe [store-bought or homemade].
I used a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

Tip: I have a “cupcake pen” that helps you fill cupcake or muffin and it makes it so easy [without a big mess]. I basically just used it to swirl around each donut hold three times until each was filled two thirds of the way. They will rise!

I baked mine in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes each. As you can imagine, I had to do a number of batches since each donut pan makes six. I think my batter made 24 individual “donuts”.

Once the individual “donut” cakes were out of the oven, I let them cool before frosting. Once they were frosted, I added the sprinkles for the finishing touches.

The possibilities are endless with this technique: use your favorite combination! Such as:

  • chocolate cake with chocolate frosting
  • vanilla cake with vanilla frosting
  • red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting

Like my recipes? Click the below link to purchase my cookbook “What’s for Dinner”:


P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes.

What’s for Dinner: Chicken Tawook and Roasted Potatoes

Today marks my parents 30th wedding anniversary!

I’ve been out of the kitchen for the most part post-surgery, but tonight I made these chicken kababs. Tawook
is pretty much cubed chicken that is marinated, skewered and then grilled.

  1. I marinated the boneless chicken cubes with salt, black pepper, chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, ginger powder, onion powder, thyme, ground mustard, lemon juice, yogurt, and raw papaya [to help tenderize the meat]. Let the marinated chicken sit for a few hours.
  2. Set your broiler on high. Skewer your chicken. Put it under the broiler for about 15 minutes. Take it out, flip them over, and set back under the broiler for another 7-10 minutes.

Broiling Tip: Whenever you use the broiler feature in the oven, make sure you leave the oven door open a little bit.

I served the chicken alongside a combination of corn, peas, and roasted potatoes.

For the roasted potatoes: I took small gold potatoes– cut each in half, and then each half into quarters (small pieces– you get the picture). I seasoned them with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, and chipotle powder. Drizzled them with olive oil. Mix well. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes.

For dessert, I made chocolate chip cookie a la modeA la mode means to be served with a scoop of ice cream. I’ll try and post that tomorrow: easy and delicious as usual.

Like my recipes? Click the below link to purchase my cookbook “What’s for Dinner”:



P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes.

What’s for Dinner: Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake

Cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies are pretty high on the list of “my favorite desserts”. Here are a few other variations I have done as well: my chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake and chocolate chip cheesecake.

What I did today, instead, was use cookie as the base of the cheesecake [crust], and put chocolate chips in the filling portion along with the little leftover cookie dough batter. Just mix it right in. 

It was pretty much a chocolate chip cookie cheesecake…yum!

What you need:

  • Your favorite cookie dough recipe or store-bought cookie dough.
  • 2 [8-ounce] packages of cream cheese, softened/room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • [about] 2/3 cup of milk chocolate chips

What I did was:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Spray your springform pan with non-stick cooking spray as an extra precaution.
  2. Make your cookie dough using your favorite recipe or use a pre-made dough/log [let it come to room temperature]. Press the chocolate chip cookie dough down into the base of your springform pan.
  3. To make the filling, in a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add a cup of milk chocolate chips [and any left over cookie dough batter you have] and mix. Tip: to keep your chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom, toss them with about a teaspoon of flour.
  5. Transfer your filling to the spring-form pan on top of the cookie dough base.
  6. Bake in your preheated oven for about an hour.
  7. Optional: for presentation purposes, if I was serving this to guests, I’d melted milk chocolate chips and drizzled that on top of the cheesecake before serving it.

Like my recipes? Click the below link to purchase my cookbook “What’s for Dinner”:


P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes.

What’s for Dinner: Mini Chicken Pot Pie [Biscuits]

Yesterday was a cold and snowy day [the complete opposite of the day before] and I wanted something warm. I had this idea saved in my “must try sometime” pile for a long time, and decided to try it out yesterday.

I didn’t want to make a pie dough, and didn’t have a pre-made one on hand… so I used something I almost ALWAYS have in my fridge. Refrigerated biscuits. I use it in so many different ways, yet almost never just bake them as is for simple biscuits. You can find my biscuit recipe by clicking here.

For the “pot pie” filling, I used:

  • Boneless Chicken, cut into tiny pieces.
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • Paprika, to taste
  • Onion powder, to taste
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Chili powder, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Thyme, to taste
  • Parsley, to taste
  • 2 cup of chicken broth/stock
  • 1 cup of 1% milk
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 3 cups of frozen mixed vegetables [mine had peas, corn, carrots, and beans]

Next time, I’d cut the chicken broth and milk in half because I was left over with some “filling” after 16 biscuits.

What I did was:

  1. Starting with the chicken: I seasoned mine with black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, chili powder, red pepper flakes, thyme, and parsley. Spray your pan [so the chicken doesn’t stick] with non-stick cooking spray. Cook over low heat, until the chicken is cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile combineyour chicken broth/stock with milk over low heat. Season with black pepper, garlic powder and paprika.
  3. Combine about two tablespoons of cornstarch with a little water [just enough to dissolve the cornstarch]. Add this mixture to your milk/broth mixture and whisk over medium-high speed for a few minutes! This part helps gives that nice creamy milk color and texture we all love so much in chicken pot pie… without the fatness/heaviness of cream, half and half, etc. Tip: Make sure you continuously whisk to avoid lumps.
  4. Once your sauce/filling has thickened, add in your frozen vegetables [they will soften in the sauce and even more so in the oven] and your cooked chicken. Mix everything together.

To put together the mini pot pies:

  1. When I was almost ready to form the mini pot pies, I took the biscuits and rolled them each out so they were thinner and about twice the size they originally were.
  2. Spray your muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray so they come easily once baked.
  3. Line with one of the biscuit dough, pressing it in so it fits nicely and there is enough excess dough on top to “seal” them.
  4. Fill the biscuits with your filling, and seal them with your fingers.
  5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

You can see my Pot Pie recipe from last year’s Pi day by clicking here. On that link, you will also find how I make my chicken broth.

Like my recipes? Click the below link to purchase my cookbook “What’s for Dinner”:


P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes.

What’s for Dinner: Chocolate [Football] Cake

I wasn’t planning on making anything for the Super Bowl party my brother’s were having last night… but the night before I just couldn’t help myself and started brainstorming ideas.

Since my brother’s were ordering food, I narrowed it downto desserts and finally decided to make a cake. It had to be a football-related cake [it was the Super Bowl afterall] but I didn’t have a football-shaped baking pan.

So what I ended up doing yesterday afternoon was: making the football shape on my own using my round spring-form baking pan.

I used my homemade vanilla cake recipe and added 1/4th cup of cocoa powder to the batter to make it a chocolate cake. I baked it in a preheated 350 degree oven for about thirty minutes. There was just enough batter left to make five cupcakes that I baked for about 15 minutes.

Tip: After letting the cake cool, what I did to make the football shape out a circle cake was: cut a two inch strip of the cake out down the center of the cake [cut less if you are using a smaller pan]. Move the two semi-circles to whatever you will use to serve the cake on. When you connect the two semi-circles, it is now in the shape of a football!

I used store-bought milk chocolate frosting to frost my homemade cake. I have vowed to never make homemade frosting until I can get a Kitchen-Aid stand-mixer.

Tip: whenever I frost cakes, I line the bottom of the cake with small pieces of parchment paper [easier to remove than one large sheet] so the bottom and edges look clean at the end and avoid a big mess.

After frosting it, all that is left is to decorate the top of the cake with the details of a football.

Another tip: I took coconut flakes and dyed them green to make “grass” to put around the football cake.

Like my recipes? Click the below link to purchase my cookbook “What’s for Dinner”:


P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes.

What’s for Dinner: Homemade Oreo Truffles


Back at the end of August, when we had the party at our house, Nadia made and brought her homemade Oreo truffles [that she had mentioned to me in the past several times]. It was my first time trying them, and let me tell you: absolutely delicious. I may or may not have consumed most of them…

I asked her how she  made them, and for some reason or another didn’t get around to making them until today.

Making Oreo truffles at home are incredibly easy [not good for someone like me who has a major sweet tooth], and take no time at all. Although there are a few steps involved.

Not only is it easy to make, but only requires three ingredients.

What you need is:

  • Oreos [or any cream filled chocolate cookies]
  • 1 [8 ounce] package of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 [7 ounce] containers of Bakers dipping chocolate [milk chocolate]

What I did was:

  1. Take about 4-5 Oreos and finely crush them [in a food processor]. Set aside for later: you will use these to sprinkle on top of the truffles.
  2. Finely crush the rest of the Oreos [in a food processor]. Add your cream cheese and mix the two ingredients until they are combined well.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Take about a teaspoon of the mixture, roll into a “ball” and lay on the baking sheet. I made 36 truffles, but quantity will vary and depend on the size you roll the truffles into. When the baking sheet[s] are full, set it in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes so they are easier to work with. Once you take them out of the fridge, they will be easier to roll them into balls if you couldn’t before because of the gooey texture.
  5. Melt the dipping chocolate as per instructions. It took about 90  seconds to melt for me I’d say.
  6. Using two teaspoons [or a toothpick], dip each of the balls in the chocolate, and lay back on the lined baking sheet.
  7. Immediately sprinkle them with the Oreo crumbs you set aside before. Tip: sprinkle the truffles right away because the dipping chocolate hardens fairly quickly. Don’t wait to do this part at the end once all have been coated.
  8. The truffles can be eaten right away [which is  of course, what I did], but I’d set them back in the fridge to firm a little more.
I used a food processor for everything, but you could just as easily crush the cookies in a ziploc bag and then just mix the cream cheese and Oreos together.


P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes.

What’s for Dinner: Kulfi

Very similar to the mango ice cream ingredients, and just as easy. Once again, you just pretty much combine the ingredients, and freeze!

You need:

  • 12 ounce whipped cream
  • 1 14 oz condensed milk
  • 1 evaporated milk
  • 1 bread, grinded
  • Almonds and Pistachios, to taste, grinded.

For the almonds and pistachios, for the above quantities, I’d say I used about 3/4 cup of each.

Mix everything together and freeze. Either in Popsicle molds or something similar. 

Tip: if it’s being made for a party, we divide them into small singled-serving-sized cups before freezing for convenience. It’s easy to serve, and eat!

Like my recipes? Click the below link to purchase my cookbook “What’s for Dinner”:

P.S. This post is a part of my “What’s for Dinner” series, where I share what I’ve been cooking and my recipes.