‘High Tea’ Cucumber-Chutney Sandwiches

I grew up eating these delicious, light, fluffy sandwiches. My fondest memories of my summer days when I was in school include going for a rigorous swim, after which my mom would whip up these sandwiches for a light snack. These are often served in homes in India, and my guess is that this was India’s version of the British ‘tea sandwiches’. In India, they slather on butter instead of cream cheese, but I prefer the lightness (and lower calories) of using a light whipped cream cheese.

If you are making these for a party and want a sleek presentation, cut off the ends of the bread slices before cutting them into thirds for bite-sized sandwiches. When making these at home, I prefer not wasting the ends of the bread, and quite frankly, I love the rustic look! 🙂

Enjoy this airy (and deliciously vegetarian) recipe from my childhood days. Share them with your kids, family, and friends and pair it with a delicious cup of cardamom tea to feel like royalty and have high tea! 😉

Love,
Priyanka

Cucumber and Chutney Sandwiches PK
Yields: 1 beautiful sandwich
Ingredients
2 slices of white or buttermilk bread (or any other bread you enjoy)
1 tablespoon of light, whipped cream cheese
2-3 tablespoons of cilantro-mint chutney
1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced into disks
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
Fun idea: Stuff these sandwiches with some crispy chips like doritos for an added crunch!

Directions
Spread the cream cheese on one slice of bread. Now lightly salt and pepper this piece of bread. Now spread the chutney over the cream cheese (this minimizes the bread getting soggy from the chutney). Now arrange the slices of cucumber on top of either side (you can add less or more cucumber according to taste).

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Healthy Nachos

Have you guys been tempted by the oozy, amazingness of cheesy nachos at a baseball game or your local taqueria? DON’T DO IT!!! There is absolutely no reason to take in that synthetic, re-heated cheese and poison your body with it, when you can make even tastier nachos at home with real cheese! 🙂 This is a no-cook recipe that takes less than a few minutes to assemble and less than 2 minutes in the microwave. A one-plate meal or finger-food, depending on what your craving is. Serve this as a hot appetizer at your next party too!

Enjoy!

Love,
Priyanka

Nachos PK

Ingredients
tortilla chips, of your choice (white corn or yellow)
one can of black beans, drained
finely diced onion
grated cheese of your choice (I prefer using a blend of mozzarella and cheddar, or you can also use a ‘mexican blend’ found at most grocery stores)
sliced green chili
salsa, of your choice (I like to use both salsa verde and a corn salsa!)
sour cream
Optional topping: grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken

Directions

Fill a microwave-safe plate with tortilla chips. Top with black beans, onion, cheese, chili slices (and cooked chicken, if you want). Microwave for approximately 1 minute 30 seconds (depending on your microwave strength) until cheese is perfectly melted. Top with salsas of your choice and drizzle with sour cream. Enjoy hot! 🙂

Cookie Butter Milkshake

I was walking through Trader Joe’s, and given the curious consumer that I am, I always make a pit stop at the ‘tasting station’ to see what little tasties they are offering. I usually don’t ever buy whatever they are tasting, but this one fine day, the cookie butter milkshake grabbed ALL of my attention. I went back for a second one, and HAD to recreate it at home. Friends that I have served this to can stand by the fact that this may very well be THE best milkshake in the entire world. Just when you thought that peanut butter-chocolate or strawberry-banana combinations were your favorite, THINK AGAIN!!!!!!

Cookie butter (a.k.a. ‘speculoos‘) is not peanut butter, it’s not almond butter. If you’ve ever had biscoff cookies, this is a butter made out of those gorgeous little bites of heaven. It is made out of cinnamon-spiced cookies, blended into a smooth, creamy, and outright ADDICTIVE butter. This recipe is not easy on the waistline, but indulge a little and share this recipe with your loved ones on a hot day! Treat yourself and replace a meal with this milkshake. You won’t regret it and will become an addict (like me). 😉 Enjoy!!

Love,
Priyanka

PS – so sorry, but I had to be cheeky with this post’s picture. This milkshake feels a little healthier when paired with an apple 😉 Life is all about balance, right?

Cookie Butter Milkshake PK

Yield: 1 amazingly delightful and perfectly balanced milkshake (picture above shows the amount that is yielded by below ingredients)

Ingredients
1/3 cup milk
1 cup vanilla ice cream
1.5 tablespoons of speculoos cookie butter (available for purchase at Trader Joe’s)

Directions

Put all ingredients into a blender, and blend for approximately 15-25 seconds, until you reach the milkshake consistency you desire. Note: If the shake is too thick for your liking, just add a little more milk and re-blend. Serve in a glass and enjoy immediately (with or without a straw/spoon!) 😉

Smoked Salmon Crostinis

I make these crostinis a lot, but I made them recently and they flew off the table so quickly, that I realized that I just had to blog these for you. I get that warm and fuzzy feeling when a NO-COOK recipe is enjoyed so thoroughly (and I hardly had to do anything!). This recipe is simple, delicious, and easy to whip up as a beautiful appetizer for an impromptu meal or even a fancy shin-dig you had planned eons earlier. The salty bite of the capers is ever-so-important, so don’t forget those! And of course, one cannot over-stress the importance of fresh dill alongside gorgeous salmon slices. This is not season-specific so enjoy this recipe in summer, spring, or even winter!! PS…did I mention this is a NO-COOK RECIPE? 😉

Enjoy!

Love,
Priyanka

PS – I apologize in advance for being so general about the amount of the ingredients, however how much cream cheese and salmon you put on the baguette really depends on your personal preference (and the width and size of your baguette, which I simply cannot guess). Feel free to be as stingy or generous as you want with these ingredients 😉


smoked salmon crostini PK

Ingredients
1 fresh baguette (I prefer using garlic baguette to get that extra flavor, but you can use any baguette you enjoy)
2 teaspoons melted butter in a small cup
wild smoked salmon, amount to your taste (wild smoked salmon is amazing and much better than regular–splurge! the difference is noticeable)
cream cheese, amount to your taste
fresh dill, one sprig per baguette slice
capers, drained (you can buy these in a jar)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, slice your baguette diagonally into approximately 1/4 inch thick disks. Place the slices on a cookie sheet or a flat baking pan. Brush them with the melted butter, sprinkle them with a dash of Kosher salt and into the oven they go for approximately 4-5 minutes. Flip the pieces of baguette at this point and check for doneness. [Note: You don’t want both sides to be super crispy! Lightly toasted is what we are going for here].

Remove the baguette slices off of the pan and let them cool for a few minutes. Spread cream cheese onto them, top with wild smoked salmon, and garnish with sprigs of fresh dill and capers. Serve immediately and enjoy! 🙂

Chicken Salad Sandwich with Herb & Saffron Mayo

The thing I love about rotisserie chicken is that it cuts down my cooking time of most dishes to under 20 minutes. Being a working woman with mouths to feed, it’s almost like a dream come true that I can hopscotch over to the nearest Costco or Safeway and pay anywhere from $4.99 to $6.99 for a whole, fresh bird cooked to beautiful perfection. Not only do I get to do fun things with the meat like make a delicious chicken salad sandwich, but I also reserve the bones and skin to make a robust homemade chicken broth that completely elevates the taste of many of my dishes. I am true believer in not wasting food, and chicken bones are definitely never found in my trash bin unless I’ve simmered the heck out of them over a low flame while making a broth! 🙂

This chicken salad (sandwich) is an ode to the classic lunch box fare. However, the salad is perfect as an appetizer on top of a crostini or even as a picnic lunch with a fresh baguette in hand. Scoop up some of this chicken salad with a cracker if a baguette is nowhere to be found, and you’re sure to please your taste buds even then!

Enjoy! 🙂

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Ingredients
1 rotisserie chicken, bones and skin removed
2 stalks of celery, chopped (chop up the leaves too! why waste?)
1 can of pitted olives, drained, rinsed, and halved
1 bell pepper (color of your choice), seeded and chopped into small pieces
1/2 red or white onion, chopped
1/4-1/2 cup Priyanka’s herb & saffron mayo
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Variation: Add bacon bits or crunchy potato chips to your chicken salad for an additional crunch!
Garnishes to assemble sandwich: avocado, tomato, cheese, fresh spinach

Directions

Remove the meat from the rotisserie chicken, reserving the skin, bones, and dark meat for making your own homemade chicken broth, if desired! Otherwise, discard and place only the boneless meat in a large bowl. Add in the celery, olives, bell pepper, onion, and anywhere from 1/4-1/2 cup of Priyanka’s herb & saffron mayo.

Mixed thoroughly, but gently, until all ingredients are well-incorporated. Taste the salad and adjust seasoning, per your taste. Refrigerate in an air tight container for up to 2 days.

Serve chicken on toasted bread or hamburger bun, accompanied by avocado slices, tomato slices, pepper jack cheese, and fresh spinach. Add some bacon, sriracha hot sauce, or spicy brown mustard for a fun twist! Serve alongside baby carrots, potato chips, or fresh fruit for a complete meal! 🙂

Elegant Arugula and Heirloom Tomato Salad

Who said that we can’t get fancy in our own kitchens? I certainly think that it is a lot of fun to dress up a meal by simply enhancing the presentation. After all, if the eye likes what it sees, then it is more appetizing, and in turn, tastes better to us too!

One of my favorite seasons is heirloom tomato season, and right now, Trader Joe’s has these beautiful mini heirloom tomatoes that are perfect in every way. The blend of colors of these different-colored tomatoes creates such a beautiful salad that is anything other than one-note. The pepperiness of the arugula paired with the earthy cannellini against the sweetness of the tomatoes is delicious. And the crispy toast topped with the tangy, yet creamy goat cheese seals this dish as the perfect start to any meal, fancy or informal!

The flash fried bread (feel free to oven toast for a healthier version!) adds the perfect amount of crispiness and smokiness that I think lends beautifully to this dish.

Try this at home and you don’t regret it! Just don’t forget to serve it immediately after dressing your salad, or you’ll end up with a very soggy (and sad) salad! 🙂

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Yields: 4 individual appetizer portions

Ingredients

4 slices of bread (can be wheat, white, whole-grain, whatever you prefer!)

Topping
1 cup grape, cherry, or small heirloom tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on their size
1.5 cups loosely packed baby arugula
1/4 cup of organic, canned cannellini beans, washed and drained
2-4 tablespoons goat cheese, depending on your taste
2 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive-oil, extra to drizzle if desired
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt, to taste
Variation: Add thinly sliced red onion to the salad mixture for an extra crunch!

Directions

Cut out circles out of the slices of your bread using one of the following: a metal ring mold, the open end of a glass jar (the kind tomato sauces come in at the grocery store), or even an empty metal can (from the cannelloni beans!).

Heat olive oil in a small pan and when the oil is hot, flash fry the circles of bread for about 5 seconds on each side until golden brown. Drain and set aside on a napkin-topped plate to allow it to crisp.

Combine all of the topping ingredients EXCEPT the goat cheese, and toss well to coat.

On your serving plate, place the crisp bread and spread a dollop of goat cheese over it. Top with the salad mixture. If you like cheese a lot, feel free to add another dollop of goat cheese on top of the mixture! Serve immediately and enjoy! 🙂

Colorful Cole Slaw

Cooking is about details, and to me, details mean side dishes. We often overlook side dishes to our glorious, attention-grabbing main dishes and entrees. However, a corned beef sandwich sometimes really needs a fried pickle next to it or a little bowl of creamy cole slaw! This side dish is not only easy to make and beautiful to look at, but it’s tasty and family friendly too! The tanginess of the vinegar mixed with the creaminess of the sour cream and mayonnaise is blissful.

A good cole slaw can be used in so many ways – in a sandwich, mixed into cold leftover pasta for a pasta salad, as a a filling in grilled or fried fish tacos, and so much more. Would love to hear your favorite ways to serve cole slaw!

PS – Thanksgiving is around the corner. Here is another great idea to add to your spread!

Enjoy! 🙂

Yields: 8 servings
Ingredients
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, finely shredded
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
4 tablespoons grated white onion
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
Kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions
Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, onion, sugar, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

Mix both types of shredded cabbage in a large mixing bowl. Add your dressing to the cabbage mix and combine well. Taste for seasoning, and adjust salt, pepper, and/or sugar seasoning to your desired taste.

Chill in the refrigerator and enjoy! Can be made up to 1 day ahead.