Saudi Biryani

Traditional biryanis are not as complex as people have made them to be today. They can be rather simple yet filled with exotic reminders. I took an Indian biryani and turned it into a Saudi biryani by changing out India's flavor to the taste of kingdom by adding such things as shabaih leaves and kholengan. If all of the spices are not available where you live just skip them and if you do not have rice maggi you can substitute it for any bouillon cube. 1 large chicken, cut into 4 pieces 3-1/2 tablespoons olive oil salt and pepper to taste 1 onion, diced 4 garlic cloves, crushed 3 chili peppers, stems removed and slit lengthwise 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated 1/3 teaspoon ground cumin 1 (10-inch) piece dried kholengan 3 shabaih leaves 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 1/4 teaspoon turmeric 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 2 bay leaves 1lime 2 tablespoons rose water pinch saffron 1/2 cup yogurt 2 cups rice, cleaned and soaked 1 rice white maggi cube butter (about 1/4 stick) sliced 3 boiled eggs 1.In a 9-inch skillet on medium high heat add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add chicken and dust with salt and pepper. Allow to cook until golden brown all over. Set chicken aside. Leave chicken fat in pan. 2.In the same skillet on medium heat add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion, garlic, chilies and ginger. Allow to cook until tender. Add salt, pepper, cumin, kholengan, shabaih, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon and bay leaves. Mix well, cook for 1 minute. Add yogurt, mix well. Add chicken back into pan coating with mixture. Cover and allow to cook on low-medium heat 20 minutes. In a small microwave safe bowl add 1 juice of lime and rose water. Add saffron and allow to sit until needed. 3.In a Saute-pan on high heat add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and crushed rice maggi. Add rice and water to cover top of rice 1 inch. Cover and bring to a full boil, reduce heat to low and allow to cook 8 minutes never uncovering. Place half of of half cooked rice into a medium sized bowl. Half should remain on bottom of pan, level out. Add all of chicken mixture a top then add remaining rice on top of chicken. Add lime mixture all over top of rice. Add slices of butter all over top. Cover pan, raise heat to medium then reduce to low to steam for 20 minutes. Do not uncover pan. In a serving platter add rice, chicken and arrange slices eggs. Yields: 4 servings

Rosemary Lime Salmon

I love salmon but I was really trying to get a new flavor instead of the usual Asian taste. I finally was sold on a rosemary lime mix. I thought the tang of a fresh lime would really pair well with the savory sweet rosemary and I have to admit I was right. Rosemary and lime are a perfect match that really compliment ones flavors. All you have here is a 5 minute prep and 45 minutes in the oven and well that's dinner. As always salmon paired with asparagus is out of this world. 1 salmon fillet 1 lime, sliced 1 tablespoon rosemary 3 garlic cloves, crushed salt and pepper to taste 1 tablespoon olive oil 1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Tear a large portion of aluminum foil (enough to wrap salmon). In a small bowl add olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary. Mix well. Rub mixture all over salmon and place skin side down on foil. Pour reaming mixture on top of salmon. Place lime slices on top and bottom of salmon. Carefully fold up tightly. In a 8x8 baking pan place foil seal side facing up into pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Yields: 2 servings

Pesto

I love having fresh pesto in my fridge at all times. I use it for many different things like pasta, cheese, and salads. Not only is this an easy and delicious meal but it is also pretty healthy. Olive oil is known to have many health benefits and people in some countries drink a cup a day. This beautiful bright green mixture will brighten anyone's table and meal up. 3 cups loosely packed basil leaves 3/4 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons pine nuts salt and pepper to taste 1. In a food processor add basil, pine nuts, salt, pepper and olive oil. Mix until blended. Yields: 1/4 cup

Pide

Feel free to use whatever toppings you desire when making your pide. I personally love the taste of nigella and zatar with my bread. These are also common toppings throughout the Middle East. As you know I always add water in my oven when baking bread for a extra moist bread. The use of a plastic bag at the end makes this bread so moist and satisfying, you really should try it when baking always. 1 teaspoon dry yeast 1 teaspoon sugar 1-3/4 cup warm milk 4 cups all purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons olive oil nigella seeds, sesame seeds and zatar for toppings 1.In a small bowl add 1/4 cup warm milk, sugar and yeast. Allow to sit until frothy about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl add flour, salt, yeast mixture and mix well with a large spoon. Gradually add remaining milk until dough is at a smooth consistency. Knead dough 5-10 minutes. In another large bowl add a few drops of olive oil. Add dough and allow oil to cover dough. Cover dough with a towel and place in a warm area for 1 hour. 2.Divide dough in half and allow to rest for 20 minutes. On a non stick baking mat form dough about the size of a dinner plate. Dough should not be thin nor to thick. Work dough with hands only. With a pastry brush carefully brush olive oil on top of dough. Add nigella and sesame seeds on top of 1 piece. Add zatar on top of other piece. Cover with a towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes. 3.Pre-heat oven to 400F. In a oven proof pan add water and place on the lowest rack. Baking bread one piece at a time place onto a baking sheet with a baking mat. Allow to cook 15 minutes or until golden on the middle rack. As soon as bread has finished baking immediately place in a plastic bag and close tightly. Yields: 2

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

This soup is so filling and delicious it can easily be the star on your dinner table. Loaded baked potato soup has been a crowd winner time and time again all over the world so this tried and true recipe will never fail you. The add on of hot sauce and basil leave everyone wondering what that flavor is yet no one will guess. 4 large potatoes, diced water (enough to cover top of potatoes) 1 cup diced onions 2 cups milk 3 chicken bouillon cubes 2 tablespoons flour 2 tablespoons dried parsley 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon dried basil 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper 1 teaspoon hot sauce 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (more to garnish) 6 slices turkey bacon, fried 1. In a 4-quart saucepan on medium-high heat add potatoes, cover with water (about 3-4 cups) and allow to fully cook. Add milk, chicken cubes, onions, parsley, garlic basil, salt, pepper, hour sauce and 1 piece of bacon. Mix well. Quickly add flour mixing until no lumps appear and mixture thickens. Reduce heat to low cover and allow to cook for 10 minutes occasionally stirring. Add cheese, mix until melted. 2. Dice remaining bacon for soup garnish. Add soup to serving bowls and garnish tops with cheese and diced bacon. Yields: 8 servings

Mamacita Enchilada Casserole

Some days I just do not feel like defrosting or cooking meat and other days I am just bored of it. Believe it or not you can make really filling, healthy and tasty dishes with no meat. This is one of those recipes that you will see disappear fast and wish you had doubled. I guarantee that your family will not miss any meat and that's if they even notice it does not contain any. 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 large potato, diced and boiled 1 (400 gram) can kidney beans, washed and drained 3/4 cup frozen corn 1 small diced onion 1/4 cup diced green pepper 1/4 cup fresh cilantro 8 small corm tortillas 1/2 cup frozen peas 1 tablespoon fresh garlic 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon Mexican chili powder 1-1/2 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese enchilada sauce: 1 cup water 1 chicken bullion cube 2 tablespoons Mexican chili powder 1/2 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon garlic powder pinch of salt pinch of cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon sugar 2 tablespoons water 2 tablespoons all purpose flour enchilada sauce: 1. In a 1-quart saucepan on medium heat add 1 cup water, bullion cube, chili powder, garlic, salt and cinnamon. Mix well with a whisk. In a small bowl add 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons flour, mix well until blended. Add flour mix to pan whisking rapidly. Bring to a full boil then reduce to low for 5 minutes whisking every so often. Set aside. 2. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add olive oil. Add green pepper, onion and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes or until tender. Add potatoes, beans, corn and peas. Mix well. Add chili powder, cumin and cilantro, mix well. Reduce heat to low cooking for 5 minutes. 3. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. In a 9-inch baking dish place 4 tortillas covering bottom of dish. Lightly with a pastry brush, brush tortillas with enchilada sauce. Add entire vegetable mixture on top of tortillas, add remaining 4 tortillas on top of vegetables to make a layer. Cover entire top of casserole with enchilada sauce. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake for 20 minutes. Yields: 8 servings