Sunday, November 25, 2012

Peach or Raspberry Bellinis

Each canister of Iced Tea contains 6 (1.6 oz.) tubs of iced tea mix.
This recipe makes two jugs of Bellinis, peach in one and raspberry in the other.

Serves: 16
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooling Time: 2 hours

1 (1.6 oz.) tub Crystal Light Peach Iced Tea Mix
6 cups (48 oz.) water
2 cups (16 oz.) sugar-free Sierra Mist

(1.6 oz.) tub Crystal Light Raspberry Iced Tea Mix
6 cups (48 oz.) water
2 cups (16 oz.) sugar-free Sierra Mist

  1. In a jug, dissolve iced tea mix in water.
  2. Refrigerate for two hours.
  3. Add Sierra Mist and stir well.
  4. Serve on the rocks.

Thanksgiving 2012 Menu

Thanksgiving Dinner, clockwise from top:
Quick & Easy Chicken Gravy
Jellied Cranberry Sauce
Onion, Carrot & Celery Stuffing 
Broasted Cauliflower & Potatoes 
Green Bean Casserole
Creamy Mashed Potatoes 
Butterball Boneless Breasts of Turkey
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Thanksgiving Desserts, clockwise from top left:
Grandma Peggy's Jello
Cold Stone Creamery Vanilla & Chocolate Ice Cream Cake
Fruit Tray
Thanksgiving Menu
Saturday, November 24, 2012


Fruit Tray


Side Dishes

Sliced Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Cold Stone Creamery Vanilla & Chocolate Ice Cream Cake


Choice of

Grandma Peggy's Jello

Grandma Peggy's Jello
Thanksgiving Desserts, Clockwise from top left:
Grandma Peggy's Jello
Cold Stone Creamery Vanilla & Chocolate Ice Cream Cake
Fruit Tray

Serves: 16
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooling Time: Overnight

1 small pkg. Strawberry Jello
1 small pkg. sugar-free Strawberry Jello
1 can crushed pineapple
1 can whole cranberry sauce (Ocean Spray)
1 tub sweetened sliced frozen strawberries
2 cups boiling water
1 cup cold water

1.      Dissolve both pkgs. of jello in boiling water.
2.      Add cold water and stir well.
3.      Stir in remaining ingredients, including pineapple juice.
4.      Refrigerate overnight or until set.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Thanksgiving Dinner, clockwise from top:
Easy Chicken Gravy

Jellied Cranberry Sauce
 Onion, Carrot & Celery Stuffing
Broasted Cauliflower & Potatoes 

Green Bean Casserole
Creamy Mashed Potatoes 

Butterball Boneless Breasts of Turkey 
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Servings: 16
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes


5 large potatoes (Yukon Gold or Russet)                                                          
2 cups hot milk or 1 pint Fat-Free Half & Half 
½ stick butter or margarine
Salt to taste
Generous dash of pepper 

  1. Peel, cut potatoes into 1” pieces and place in a large pan.
  2. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender and drain. 
  4. Mash potatoes with hot milk, butter, salt and pepper.
  5. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  6. Serve hot as a side dish.  

Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

Servings: 16
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Baking Time: 13 minutes

2 tubes Pillsbury Crescent Rolls for small rolls (4 tubes for large rolls)
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp. water

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Remove dough from tubes and roll out by hand.
  3. For large rolls, separate two triangles of dough, place long sides perpendicular to work surface, overlap sides and seal. For small rolls, use one triangle.
  4. Starting at bottom edge, roll up towards the point.
  5. Form a circle by gently pulling the two ends down.
  6. Tuck one point under and the other under and through the center.
  7. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
  8. Form the remaining rolls as described above.
  9. Brush rolls with beaten egg and bake at 325°F for 11-13 minutes until golden.

Onion, Carrot and Celery Stuffing

Serves: 16
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes


2 pkgs. Stove Top chicken stuffing
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
3-4 stalks celery, chopped
1 (8 oz.) cup button mushrooms, sliced
3 cups chicken broth
1 stick unsalted butter


1. Bring onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms, broth and butter to a boil.
2. Stir in stuffing, remove from heat, cover and set aside for 10 minutes.
3. Fluff with fork and serve.

Broasted Cauliflower & Potatoes

Cauliflower and potatoes are blanched and then roasted. The ranch dressing can be replaced with 2 Tbsp. tandoori masala and 1/4 cup plain yogurt for an Indian touch.


1 cauliflower
3 russet potatoes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pkt. Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (powder)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine olive oil with dressing and set aside.
  3. Remove leafy base from cauliflower, leaving top intact.
  4. Peel potatoes and cut each half into 6 pieces.
  5. Boil water, add potatoes, boil for 10 minutes, remove & set aside.
  6. Boil cauliflower, stem down, in same boiling water for 10 minutes.
  7. Turn cauliflower over, boil for another 5 minutes and drain.
  8. Stir dressing and brush half over top and bottom of cauliflower.
  9. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes.
  10. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
  11. Toss potatoes with remaining dressing.
  12. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes until brown.
  13. Place cauliflower in center of serving platter with potatoes around edges. 

Green Beans Casserole

Servings: 10
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

1 (10-3/4 oz.) can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup        
Dash of pepper
½ cup cream or milk                                                 
4 cups cooked cut green beans
4 Tbsp. soy sauce                                                                               
2 containers French’s Fried Onions
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9"x13" glass baking dish with oil.  
  2. Mix soup, cream, soy sauce, pepper, beans and 1 container fried onions.  
  3. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until bubbling.  Stir. 
  4. Garnish edges of dish with 2nd container of onions. 
  5. Bake 5 minutes more.   

Quick & Easy Chicken Gravy

Serves:                         16
Prep Time:                      3 minutes
Stovetop Cooking Time:   5 minutes
Crockpot Cooking Time:    2 hours

2 jars (8 oz.) Heinz Chicken Gravy 
2 cups Chicken Broth

  1. Combine the two ingredients in a saucepan and stir until smooth.
  2. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes on the stove top.
  3. Pour into pre-heated crock pot to keep warm.
  4. Alternatively, cook in a crock pot for 2 hours.

Butterball Boneless Breasts of Turkey

I've lived in the US for 31 years and served Thanksgiving Dinner to our family and friends for 27 of those years.  Preparing this dinner became much less intimidating when my husband and I discovered these boneless breasts of turkey.  Prior to that, roasted chicken was the entree of choice in our home, instead of turkey, at Thanksgiving. Each de-boned turkey breast is rolled around the dark meat of the rest of the turkey, with the skin covering the top of the roast and the entire roast is then trussed, tied and frozen, ready for baking, after thawing. With each slice of the cooked roast, each guest gets a sampling of white and dark meat.  This boneless breast of turkey is seasoned and marinated the same way as the Big Bird and is a success with very little effort!  

My fear of the Big Bird developed the very first year we immigrated to Canada  in 1977.  My first job was at a car parts supplier in Toronto where, at Thanksgiving & Christmas, the President and CEO of the company personally handed a frozen turkey (mine was 14 lbs.) to each of his employees.  We lined up in the cafeteria to receive this great honor.  

Toronto has a robust public transportation system and having just arrived in the country, I took the bus to and from work the first couple of years.  Well, that evening, armed with my handbag and this clumsy and heavy bird, I got on the bus and put the turkey down to get out the bus fare.  Meanwhile, the bus driver started driving and to my horror, the bird rolled all the way down the center aisle and landed at the feet of the passenger way down at the end of the bus!  Everyone laughed until they cried, but I was very embarrassed.  

When I got home, I had no idea what to do with the horrible bird.  Thankfully, my Canadian sister-in-law came to the rescue and made Thanksgiving Dinner for us that year.  When the bird was again presented at Christmas and for the remainder of my employment at that company, I gifted the Big Bird to any colleague who would have it.  Yes, there were a lot of takers who were surprised by my generosity.

Butterball Boneless Breasts of Turkey

Serves:          16
Prep Time:     2 nights + 2 hours thawing time
Baking Time:  1 hour 45 minutes
Resting Time: 15 minutes

2 (3-lbs. each) frozen Butterball Boneless Breasts of Turkey 
4 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  1. Thaw frozen turkey breasts in refrigerator for 2 nights.
  2. Bring to room temperature 2 hours before baking.
  3. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  4. Remove netting and plastic wrapping from thawed turkey.
  5. Discard wrappings and packets of gravy.
  6. Loosen string netting to make removal easy later on.
  7. Rub olive oil all over turkey.
  8. Place on a rack in roasting pan, skin side up, in the middle of the oven.
  9. Bake at 325°F for 1 hour, cover with foil and bake for another 30 minutes.
  10. Remove foil and bake at 325°F for 15 minutes until top is golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let them sit for 15 minutes.
  12. Slice and serve with all the fixin's.  
See Thanksgiving 2013 or 2012 for side dishes.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Gor Ra Khar Thee with Scrambled Eggs - Chayote Squash with Scrambled Eggs

This recipe was given to me by a Burmese friend.  Chayote squash is plentiful in our grocery stores, here in the U.S.  In Australia it's called Choko squash, in India it has many names such as Bangalore and Darjeeling Squash.  In Darjeeling it's called Iskoos.  It is a very versatile vegetable that has little flavour of its own and absorbs the flavour of other ingredients in the dish.  I use it as a substitute for bottle gourd (calabash) in Indian recipes, because it is more readily available.  You could also replace the chayote squash with and equal number of large zucchini.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Minty Saag Chicken Keema Curry - Ground Chicken with Spinach

We needed something really quick for dinner today because I'd been quilting all day and didn't have time to cook.  There were some lentils and stir fried okra which had to be finished so all we needed was a meat dish.  I adapted my Minty Chicken Keema Curry to speed things up.  Chopping onions and garlic would take too long so, for a shortcut, I turned to ready made fried onions and garlic that are available in the Oriental grocery store.

Servings: 6
Preparation time: none
Cooking time: 30 minutes

1 lb. ground chicken
1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach
2 tsp. mint-cilantro chutney (used for pani poori)
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
15-20 curry leaves
Salt to taste
½ cup crisp fried onions, from Oriental grocery store
2 Tbsp. crisp fried garlic, from Oriental grocery store
1 tsp. ginger paste
2 green chilies, sliced

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add all ingredients except spinach.
  2. Break up the ground chicken until no lumps remain.
  3. Stir everything thoroughly.
  4. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked.
  5. Add spinach and cook on low heat for 10 minutes until spinach is done.
  6. Serve with steamed rice, roti or paratha.
Mint-cilantro chutney (a.k.a. pudina chutney) may be prepared at home or purchased from an Indian grocery store.

I shared this recipe on

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mohinga - Burmese Fish Noodle Soup

Catfish Soup (center), Garnishes (top left), Rice Noodles (top right)

When it comes to comfort food, Mohinga is one of my favorites. It brings back fond memories of early morning vendors who carry a coal stove, holding a pot of soup, on one end of a pole and all the cooking utensils and ingredients for this noodle dish on the other end of a bamboo pole slung across the shoulders.  This noodle soup is considered the Burmese national dish and is eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Generally, every family has their own variation of this dish and this is my adaptation. I prefer to make a large batch of this meal and invite a group of friends to join in this hearty Burmese meal.

This recipe was adapted from the recipe featured on the Hsaba website. Two forms of catfish were used in my recipe, catfish nuggets (mostly from the belly of the fish) which are added at the start of making the soup and chopped fillets that are added at the end, to make sure that guests get enough fish in their soup bowls. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dharosh Aloo Posto - Okra & Potatoes in White Poppy Seed Sauce

Mum and I made something similar to this with just okra once.  She has been my mentor in all of life's lessons, and cooking in particular.  There were eight of us siblings in our family and we waited with our tongues hanging out for her food, whenever she had the time to cook.  Sometimes the wait would be almost unbearable, but she stood for no nonsense in the kitchen and we were not allowed to whine or bug her while she was cooking.  When I grew older and spoke to her on the phone, our main topic of conversation was what she was going to cook or had cooked that day.  I, therefore, dedicate this blog and all my recipes to her and hope she is in a place where she is getting a well-deserved rest.  How did she ever get through life with so many strings attached to her 'sarir achol'?  'Sarir achol' is the portion of the sari that is draped over the left shoulder.


2 pkgs. fresh okra, trimmed & cut on bias
1 russet potato, cubed
1 tsp. amchur (dried mango powder)
1/4 tsp. nigella seeds
1 tsp. ginger paste
2 tsp. Coleman's mustard powder, soaked in 2 Tbsp. cold water
3 Tbsp. white poppy seeds (posto), soaked in hot water for 30 minutes.
2 Tbsp. grated, unsweetened coconut
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
salt to taste
1 tsp. ghee


  1. Toss okra with amchur.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat, fry okra until golden and set aside.
  3. In the same saucepan, heat remaining oil and sputter nigella seeds.
  4. Add cubed potatoes, ginger paste, salt and fry until potatoes are tender.
  5. Meanwhile, puree posto along with soaking water, coconut and some salt until smooth.
  6. When potatoes are fork tender, combine posto with mustard and pour over potatoes.
  7. Cook until some of the liquid evaporates, add okra back into pan, stir and cook until thick and almost dry.
  8. Adjust salt, garnish with ghee, stir and remove from heat.
  9. Serve with hot, cooked basmati rice.

Pui Shaak er Ghonto - Indian Spinach with Vegetables

When Mum came to visit for a fortnight about three years ago, we  made a point of shopping at the Indian and Oriental grocery stores every other day, coming home and then cooking up a storm.  She recited and I wrote down all the recipes we prepared in a notebook.  This is a recipe from that notebook.  

And here is a picture of the vegetables before prepping.  The tomatoes were not used in this recipe; they are there for presentation only, for color contrast. :)


Big bunch of pui shaak, chopped (aka Malabar/Indian spinach at Vietnamese stores)
1 russet potato, cubed
1/4 pumpkin, peeled and cubed
1 Oriental eggplant, cubed
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
2 whole dried red chillies
1/2 tsp. panch phoron (cumin,fenugreek,nigella,black mustard & fennel seeds)
2 tsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. roasted panch phoron, ground
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. ghee


  1. In 1 Tbsp. oil, fry eggplant cubes over medium-high heat until golden.
  2. Remove eggplant and set aside.
  3. In same saucepan, add remaining oil and sputter panch phoron seeds, chillies and bay leaves.
  4. Add potatoes, pumpkin and ginger paste and stir well.
  5. Cover and cook until vegetables are almost done.
  6. Add pui shaak, cover and cook until spinach is wilted and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  7. Return reserved eggplant to saucepan and cook for a couple of minutes.
  8. Sprinkle roasted panch phoron and sugar over top, and stir.
  9. Garnish with ghee, stir and remove from heat.
  10. Serve with hot, cooked Basmati rice.
I shared this recipe on

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Khayan Dhi Ne Pazoon Sipyan - Slow Cooked Eggplant & Shrimp

This is a Burmese dish.  'Sipyan' in Burmese means 'oil returns', so don't skimp on the oil.  I use extra-light olive oil in all my cooking and since olive oil is supposed to be healthy, that along with the word 'light' gives me a certain amount of freedom to use a little extra oil.  To allow the full flavour of this dish to develop, it should be simmered on a low flame for as long as it takes for the liquid to evaporate and the oil to return to the surface.

Nga Sipyan - Slow Cooked Fish Fillets

This is a Burmese dish.  The holy trinity or mirepoix in Burmese cooking is pureed/pounded onions, garlic and soaked dried red chillies. 'Nga' means fish and 'Sipyan' means 'oil returns'.  So that I don't have to skimp on the oil, I use a healthy oil such as extra-light olive oil in all my cooking.  The other thing to keep in mind is that for the full flavour to develop, this dish must be simmered on low heat for as long as it takes for the liquid to evaporate and the oil to return to the surface.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Aam Doi - Baked Mango Yogurt Dessert

I found this recipe on Bong Mom's Cookbook but modified it a bit because the idea of using mango pulp as well as condensed milk seemed too sweet.  This is made the same way as Bhapa Doi except that condensed milk has been replaced with mango pulp. 

This is very quick and easy to make and took me exactly 10 minutes to put together and pop in the oven before setting the table for dinner.  We were so anxious to try it that we had it for dessert right after dinner today.


1 cup (8 oz.) mango pulp*
1 can Carnation Evaporated Milk
1 tub (7 oz.) Greek unflavored yogurt**
1/2 tsp. saffron, crushed

  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. Blend all ingredients and pour into an oven-proof dish.
  3. Place the dish in a larger pan of water.
  4. Bake at 300F for 45 minutes or until the edges brown slightly.
  5. It's okay for the center to jiggle slightly.
  6. Refrigerate overnight and serve cold.
*   Mango pulp is available in cans in Indian grocery stores.
** Greek yogurt is thick enough that it doesn't need to be strained, which saves time.  If Greek yogurt is not available use plain yogurt that has been strained overnight or use this tip provided by Vidya for a quick way to strain yogurt:  Spread a whole ( yes all 20 pages ) newspaper on your counter, cover with cheese cloth, folded twice over. Spread the yogurt on this in a 1/2 " thin layer. Wait 10 mins and it's done! Wait a little longer and you have a nice curd cheese.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Red Lentils With Green Beans

1-1/2 cups red lentils, washed until water runs clear
1/2 lb. green beans, sliced into small rounds
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium or 12 plum tomatoes
salt to taste
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. panch phoron (Bengali five spice)
1 tsp. ghee
cilantro, chopped


  1. Wash and soak lentils for 1/2 an hour.
  2. Cook over medium heat until lentils disintegrate.
  3. Heat oil over high heat and sputter panch phoron.
  4. Fry onions and garlic until onions turn translucent.
  5. Add tomatoes and cook until they break down.
  6. Turn heat to medium, add green beans and cook until tender.
  7. Add cooked lentils, adjust salt to taste, stir and simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Garnish with ghee and cilantro and serve with cooked rice or tortillas.

Zucchini Chingri Posto

Zucchini and Shrimp in White Poppy Seed Gravy

This is a variation of Jhinge Chingri Posto. Jhinge is ridge gourd which is not readily available in the U.S. Zucchini and Chayote Squash are similar in taste, so I've substituted zucchini for the ridge gourd today.

7-10 medium zucchini, peeled and cubed
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 Tbsp. white poppy seeds, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
1/4 tsp. nigella or kalonji or kalo jeera seeds
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
salt to taste
1 tsp. ghee


  1. Boil a cup of water and soak poppy seeds for half an hour. 
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp.oil, mix shrimp with salt, fry until it turns pink and set aside.
  3. Heat remaining oil over high heat and sputter nigella seeds.
  4. Add ginger paste and zucchini, stir and cook until tender.
  5. Blend poppy seeds along with water in which they were soaked.
  6. Adjust salt to taste in zucchini and add poppy seed paste.
  7. Stir and cook until most of the gravy has evaporated.
  8. Add shrimp, stir and cook for a minute or two and remove from heat.
  9. Garnish with ghee and serve with hot cooked rice.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Bottle Gourd with Shrimp

This is one of Mum's recipes and is the Burmese version of Lau Chingri.  Bottle gourd is available in Indian grocery stores, but can be replaced with zucchini or chayote squash.