Healthy Chicken Burgers

My son has been a fan of chicken burgers for a while now and homemade ones are always much better than elsewhere. I put a lot of really healthy alternatives in these mini burgers for your little ones. This is one of my son’s favorites and he’s always quick to gobble them down. I cut out bread into a cute shape because as you know it’s all about the presentation when it comes to kids. As soon as my son saw this he was excited and wanted to eat it. 

To Freeze I bake, wrap individually in foil packets then place 3 in a freezer bag. When needed I simple pop the foil packed into the oven at 350F for about 15 minutes. 

1 pound ground chicken
1 small red onion, chopped
1 apple, grated
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil

1.      In a small 9-inch skillet on medium heat add red onion, apple, carrot, thyme and garlic. Cook until tender about 4 minutes.

2.      In a food processor add onion mixture and pulse. In a medium sized bowl add chicken and onion mixture. Mix well. Shape into small patties.

3.      Pre-heat oven to 350F. On a baking sheet and non-stick baking mat brush remaining olive oil. Place the burgers on baking sheet and bake until golden for 10 minutes on each side until thoroughly cooked.

Yields: 10 patties

Chocolate & Zucchini Loaf

For quite a while I have heard that chocolate and zucchini mix quiet well together and have wanted to try it. Yesterday I finally decided to make my family a ‘chocolate cake’ but with the added benefits of crisp zucchini, golden olive oil and fresh yogurt. I was extremely pleased with the outcome it was moister than any cake that I have ever had. You can sprinkle powdered sugar over the top like I have or serve with fresh fruit just make sure you do not tell anyone your secret healthy ingredients. 

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 medium zucchinis, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/4 cup olive oil
60 grams plain yogurt
2 tablespoons milk

1.      Pre-heat oven to 350F. In a large bowl add sugar, egg, milk and vanilla. With a hand mixer beat. Carefully add flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, olive oil and yogurt, mix well then fold in zucchini.

2.      Add mixture into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Yields: 1 loaf

Kid Burgers

These make look like the usual burger but I have tried to add only healthy things and chose baking or grilling over frying to get less fat. My son will never eat onions but I have found that grinding red onions which have a sweeter taste into his food goes unnoticed. Actually you can get away with grinding most healthy things into kids food for an added boost. Making all the ‘junk’ that kids like in a healthy way not only taste better but it really pays off in the long run. Buy rolls in your grocery store for the mini burger buns.

If you plan on freezing like I do after I make one for lunch then just shape the patties and wrap in a small packet of aluminum foil. I then add 3 packs per freezer bag and freeze until needed.

1 medium red onion, chopped
2 garlic clove, smashed
1 medium carrot, grated
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 slices white bread, crust removed
1        pound lean ground beef

1.      In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add olive oil. Add onion, garlic, carrot and thyme. Cook until under is tender about 3 minutes.

2.      In a food processor add onion mixture and bread. Pulse until well combined. In a bowl add beef and mixture. With hands combine well until through mixed.

3.      Place burgers on a hot grill. Cook until no longer pink about 5 minutes on each side.

Yields: 8-9 mini burgers

Spinach Smoothie

Back home Jamba Juice was one of my favorite places to grab a drink. I loved that you were drinking healthy and could get a dose of much needed extra vitamins as well. It’s so easy to do at home that we should all try to make a smoothie or two daily for our health. One smoothie that I am in love right now is this Spinach Smoothie, it taste great. It’s no secret that spinach is extremely good for you but come on how many of us ever really eat a lot of spinach?

I love to add fresh or frozen mangoes or mango juice to a smoothie like this because it covers up the taste 100%. All though this smoothie is packed with spinach you do not taste it what so ever. Vitamin D and Calcium deficiency is a huge problem effecting women in Saudi Arabia, me included. I have to take 5 huge pills throughout the day. I throw my ingredients and pills in the bender and just drink it up in a smoothie these days. Spinach Smoothies are a great source of vitamins that we all need and a great coffee replacement in the morning. You will soon start seeing the huge amounts of energy you have throughout the day. 

2-3 cups spinach leaves
3/4 cup milk (lowfat, rice or soy)
4 strawberries
1 cup mango juice

1. Add everything in a blender and blend until smooth and no chunks are left. 

Yields: 2 cups

Crispy Baked Chicken Nuggets

This past year I have really been looking at the food I buy and what I feed my family, especially my son. It seems that every product in the store these days is filled with preservatives and unhealthy ingredients. It’s pretty ironic how we fill our bodies with the most unnatural processed things when God has blessed us with so many healthy choices. I will be posting healthy kid recipes here at Ya Salam Cooking from now on and I hope they benefit you as much as they have been me.

When it comes to a lot of foods I do opt for making them myself over the pre-made stuff. I never buy canned foods and I try to always eat fresh or frozen. I think those are some really important things we should all do. Recently I have really put my foot down when it comes to what I feed my son. I have been making all his food as healthy as I can and in batches so that I can freeze then use as needed. Any mother knows that it’s exhausting trying to get a four old to eat especially the right choices. But in the end you will feel a lot better knowing your little ones are eating meals that are actually good for them then giving in to all that pre-made frozen junk and fast food.

To freeze I cut squares out of aluminum foil then place 4-5 nuggets into each one and wrap. I do this until all the nuggets are finished and I place into zip-lock freezer bags making sure that most of the air is out the bag. When re-heating you simply place the foil back in the oven and bake until warm. 2 cups crushed cornflakes 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons chopped parsley 1 cup buttermilk 4-5 chicken breast, skinless and boneless 1. Add buttermilk into one bowl, sit aside. In a another bowl add cornflakes, salt and parsley, mix and sit aside. 2. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Lay a non-stick baking mat on a baking sheet, brush lightly with olive oil. 3. Cut chicken into small pieces. Coat in buttermilk then roll in cornflake mixture. Place on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, remove and flip chicken and then bake for a remaining 10 minutes.

Yields: 25-30 nuggets

Shrimp Biryani

One of my blog readers wrote in and requested shrimp biryani and ironically I already had shrimp laid out to cook. It’s been awhile since I have made Indian food so it actually sounded really good. When cooking shrimp you have to be really careful not to overcook or else you get a tough plastic like texture. As soon as the shrimp turns pink it should be removed from the stove. In the oven the shrimp will be layered with rice and covered with foil for protection. This is actually a really easy meal and it will be even easier if you have leftover rice to use. Living in Riyadh you always seem to have bags of rice in the fridge since every restaurant you ever go to gives you large bags for takeout. A perfect companion for this dish is a tomato and onion chutney or my personal favorite plain yogurt.

1-1/2 cups basmati rice, cleaned
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 green chili
1 (1inch) piece ginger
600 grams shrimp, cleaned and deveined
3 tablespoons red curry paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
3 tomatoes cut into thin wedges
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 bay leaves
4 green cardamom pods, bruised
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads

1. In a small food processor add onion, garlic, chili and ginger. Pulse until chopped. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan on medium heat add oil. Add onion mixture and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the shrimp and fry for about 3 minutes, until no longer pink. Add the curry paste, salt and garam masala to the shrimp mixture. Carefully add tomato wedges and continue cooking for another few minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.

3. Pre-heat the oven to 375F. Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Add the rice and turmeric. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the rice is almost tender. Drain the rice and toss together with the bay leaves, cardamom, cloves and saffron.

4. Layer the rice and shrimp in a shallow, ovenproof dish until all the mixture has been used, finishing off with a layer of rice. Cover and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Yields: 4 servings

Pa Amb Tomaquet

Pa Amb Tomaquet is the Catalonian’s version of fast food and something that you find everyone eating throughout the day. You could also call this a Catalan version of pizza. The basic version and my favorite is just fresh tomato and a good olive oil spritzed on. However you can add whatever toppings you may like upon yours such as cheese, pepperoni or anchovies.

4 slices crusty Italian bread
1 tomato, halved
olive oil
2 tablespoons shredded cheese

1. Grill bread slices. Take tomato half and rub up and down as your grating onto bread. Drizzle with olive oil, cheese or any other toppings you may like.

Yields: 2 servings

Crusty Italian Bread

When it comes to bread my favorite is always the simple and crusty Italian white bread. Not only is it easy to make but it has to be one of the best breads that I have had. You can do so many things with nice crusty bread. Tomorrow I will show you a simple recipe for one of those things. But today break some bread and dip it into a nice olive oil for the perfect snack.

2-1/2 teaspoons yeast
1-1/4 cups warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg yolk

1. In a small bowl add yeast, 2 tablespoons of the water and 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar. Sit aside and allow to sit for 5 minutes. 

2. In a large mixing bowl add flour, remaining sugar, salt, yeast mixture and a little water at a time until a dough consistency has formed. Knead for 5 minutes. In a plastic bowl add olive oil. Add dough, covering with the oil into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in a warm place for 1-1/2 - 2 hours.

3. Punch dough down and lay into a working surface (non-stick baking mat), shape into a 12x4 inch loaf, do not make thin. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 40 more minutes.

4. Pre-heat oven to 400F. In a small bowl add egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water, mix well. With a pastry brush coat the entire bread with mixture. With a knife carefully cut slits across the top of dough. place bread on a non-stick baking mat on a baking sheet. Place a bowl of water in a heat proof dish and sit on bottom rack.

5. Cook for 30-40 minutes until golden and the bread sounds hollow when knocked on.

Yields: 1 loaf

Catalonian Chicken Sandwich

I have been quiet interested in Catalonia for a while now. After all some of the best techniques and recipes have come from the region and it is said they were also the first people to publish recipes and cookbooks. I have always wanted to visit Barcelona and take part in the medieval food festivals they have which plays honor to their roots. I made a sandwich to play tribute to the beautiful region that I so adore. You can add your favorite toppings for mine I love organic arugula and tomatoes.

Lemon/Garlic chicken:
8 ounces skinless chicken breast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon paprika
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

1. Sandwhich the chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap. Beat out evenly with a rolling pin until the breast are 1/4 inch thick.

2. Cut the chicken into strips. Heat the oil in a saute pan on medium heat. Stir fry the chicken, shallot, garlic and paprika until thoroughly cooked. Add the lemon juice and parsley, salt and pepper.

1 large egg yolk, at room temperture
1 teaspoon white vinegar
5 tablespoons sunflower oil
5 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, smashed

1. Place the egg yolk and vinegar in a food processor or blender. With the motor running add the olive oil, 2 teaspoons at a time.

2. When the olive oil has been added, add the sunflower oil in the same way, until it resembles mayonnaise. If it is to thick, add a little more vinegar. Stir in the garlic and salt to taste, chill.

Yields: 4 servings

Pappa Roti

My husband and I were driving down the road when he pointed out Papa Roti café to me. I about jumped out of the car right then and there and made him swiftly pull over. Maybe you all remember my post about the most amazing snack I had a few years ago in Malaysia here. These buns are part of the Malaysian culture and no one makes them like Malays. It’s a rather weird food to describe but hey who needs that the taste says it all. These buns were exactly like the ones I had in Malaysia and I was so happy. I was sad to know they did not know the white coffee to serve along with the buns but they do have an amazing collection of other drinks such as organic Moroccan tea and espresso.   

I also hated that the location was for men only but oh well at least I got to enjoy my Malay favorite. My husband just informed me that they opening one across the street from us (happy dance). For about 25 riyals you get a bun with your choice of drink, much more expensive that Malaysia I must say but what can you do?

Parmesan Crusted Sole

I have never cooked sole fish before and I am not entirely certain if I have even ever had it. The fish monger suggested it to my husband so he bought some. The fish fillet was huge so I cut it up into 4 serving sizes. I love a white sauce with a lemon taste over my fish so I made a creamy sauce to pour on top of the golden sautéed fillets. The outcome was a beautiful entrée fit for a restaurant. The fish was surprisingly one of the best types that we have tried. The sole fish is pure white meat with the perfect light taste. This is a fish that I will be buying plenty more of to try out even more recipes on.

4 (5 ounce) sole fillets
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a bowl add eggs and in another add breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Dip fish into eggs, and then roll into breadcrumb mixture. Lay aside for 10 minutes.

2. In a sauté pan on medium heat add oil. When oil is hot carefully lay fillets into oil. Cook until golden about 5 minutes on each side. Place on a paper towel to drain.

3. Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan on medium heat add cream. When thoroughly warm add butter, lemon juice, garlic and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk well until thickened. Remove from heat.

4. Place one fillet into each plate and add a spoonful of sauce on top. Sprinkle cilantro on top.

Yields: 4 servings


Foul and tamees is truly a Saudi favorite and one of my personal favorite meals. Saudis usually eat this meal late but sometimes it can bought for breakfast. Notice I say bought and not made because well Saudis never make it. You can find it everywhere and it’s practically free. My husband and I prefer the foul made at certain places and everyone seems to also have their favorite spots. The picture above is tames and foul from our favorite hole in the wall place. We love foul with lots of stuff on top; this is what we always get. It has tahini, tomatoes, salata hara, peppers, cheese and eggs and it is amazing. I have had so many requests for this dish so I got the recipe from my mother in law, I hope you enjoy it.

Foul Madshoush:
1 cup split fava beans (soaked overnight)
2 small onions, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, smashed
6 small tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 tablespoon salt
3 cups water

1. On medium heat add oil, onions and garlic, cook until tender.

2. In a saucepan on high heat add water, beans and onion mixture. Cook until water has boiled out. Lightly mash beans.

3. Add tomatoes, cumin, pepper and salt . Simmer until thoroughly cooked. Remove from heat and add cilantro, mix well.



My husband and I had the entire day together alone yesterday and we had the most amazing day. During our day we decided to visit Furusato the only authentic Japanese restaurant in Riyadh. Riyadh does claim to have a few more Japanese restaurants but they food and space is horrid. I LOVE Furusato and they have the great sushi, just like in Asia. It’s hard for us to have sushi as much as we would like since my son would not dare eat it so when we had this opportunity we jumped. We ordered about 40 pieces and I honestly cannot even remember all we ordered but it was delicious.

Outback Steakhouse-Style Steak

There is nothing I love more than a nice big juicy steak. My family and I are frequent visitors at Outback Steakhouse and I try to replicate the same great taste at home with what I have. This is a great steak rub that you simply rub all the steaks before cooking and you even have some left to store for the next time you want to make steaks. The butter and parsley mix is a great technique I picked up when my husband and I lived in DC we used to love to go to Bistro Francais in Georgetown, this was something they always did.

4 steaks
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 -1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons butter
chopped parsley

1. In a small bowl add salt, paprika, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, coriander and turmeric. Mix well, place in a glass jar and store in a dark place when not using. 

2. Rub spice mix all over steaks then grill until thoroughly cooked. Place a small spoon of butter on top of each cooked steak and sprinkle with parsley. Serve.

Yields: 4

BBD #46 Roundup

This month I was happy to host the 46th bread baking day. I chose the theme ‘somewhere you want to visit’. What a fun theme it was! As the entries for the month poured in I was more and more excited. I mean these ladies throw down in the kitchen and then take an amazing photograph on top of that. The entries are from all over the world and I was thinking ladies let’s just get together and visit them all. We can leave the husbands and kids at home. What do you think? Please take the time to show some love for all the participants’ hard work and if you want to take part of the next event here in a few days visit Parsley, Sage, Desserts, and Line Drives wrote by Lisa. 


Turkish Puffy Bread by cindy star blog


Grofarbraud by Notitie van Lien


Irish Soda Bread by Judy's Gross Eats

Italian Challah by Bread Experience Blog

 Silesian Wedding Poppy Cake by 1x umruehren bitte aka kochtopf
Japanese Cream Bread by Cooketteria 

Kesra by This Little Life of Mine 

Ka'ak bil Simsim by Maroc Mama 

Pita Bread by Anasbageri 


Chocolate Gugelhipf by Hefe and Mehr


Orange Chocolate Toasted Pecan Sticky Buns by Parsley, Sage, Dessert and Line Drives

Pane Sicano by Living in The Kitchen with Puppies 

Tangzhong by easier than pie


Limpa by Zesty Indian Kitchen


Bread Cones by SweetHeart DIary


Portuguese Bread Rolls by My Discovery of Bread