Monthly Archives: August 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Growing up spaghetti was a meal we had at least every week; it’s an American favorite for sure. You can easily substitute the homemade sauce for your favorite already made pasta sauce if you’re in a pinch for time. Pulsing the ingredients for the meatballs beforehand makes for the perfect meatball with no big chunks of veggies hanging out (one of my pet peeves). The sauce and meatballs also freeze well.

1 large onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar

8 ounces dried spaghetti (cooked)

1 egg
1 slice of white bread
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 green pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces ground beef

1. In a sauté pan on medium heat add olive oil. Add onion, green pepper and garlic. Cook until tender.

2. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, 1/3 cup water, basil, oregano, marjoram, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a full boil, reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 10 to 15 then add parsley. Pre-heat oven to 350F.

3. Meanwhile, in a food processor add white bread, 1/2 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 green pepper, oregano and salt. Pulse until finely diced. In a large mixing bowl add egg, beef and mixture. Combine well with hands.

4. Shape into small balls then place on a baking pan. Cook for 20 minutes. Place meatballs into sauce. Serve over hot pasta.

Yields: 4-6 servings

Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

I love the American classic banana bread because you can simply do so much with it, and it’s always great. I use Nestle Menier chocolate for my baking and I easily make chunks by using a small kitchen knife. Toasting the almonds brings out their flavor so be sure not to skip that.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
5 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup yogurt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup chopped almonds (toasted)
1/4 cup chocolate chunks

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease bottom and sides of one 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; set aside. In a large mixing bowl add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Make a well in center of flour, set aside.

2. In a medium mixing bowl add eggs, bananas, yogurt, sugar and butter. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in almonds. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle chocolate chunks of the top of batter.

3. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to completely cool before serving.

Yields: 1 loaf

A Saudi Iftar Menu

 I have got so many emails this Ramadan asking me what foods we have for a Saudi iftar so I thought I would put together a little menu for those who asked. Of course as Muslims we always break our fast with dates, water or milk. The dates we prefer in my home is sukari and we drink laban with those to break the fast. 
The most popular appetizers are Quaker soup and samboosas, these are a must almost daily throughout Ramadan. Of course you will find other various snacks on the table such as pita, hummus and salad.
For the main course we always have traditional meals such as chicken kabsa, lamb kabsa or chicken mandy.
Saudis love to have desserts after a long day of fasting and such desserts as cream kunafa, date balls, chocolate biscuit dessert or harrisa can be found on tables. 
Habek tea or mint tea and always Saudi qahwa will always be made in every home. Saudis usually serve tea to guest when they enter and offer coffee before they leave. Families love to sip the hot drinks and chat.
I hope you enjoyed getting to learn more about how a typical iftar in Saudi goes.


I love the light and fresh taste of this Greek fava bean stew. This would make a great lunch or side dish for dinner. When soaking fava beans make sure to add a pinch of baking soda in the water and allow to soak overnight then remove the shells before cooking. Its also very important to make sure the olive oil you buy is cold pressed. Be weary of a lot of olive oil from Spain as most do not use the cold press method and the olive oil is extremely harmful when heated.

1 lb 2 oz dried fava beans
1/2 cup olive oil
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
 1 teaspoon cumin
4 bay leaves
pinch of salt and pepper
2 cups water

1. In a 2-quart pan on high heat boil the beans for 30 minutes, strain.

2. In a 2-quart saucepan on medium heat add olive oil. Brown the onions, add the tomatoes, parsley, cumin, bay leaves, salt and pepper, cook for 5 minutes.

3. Add the beans to the water and simmer until thickened. Serve.

 Adapted from mezze Modern