Monthly Archives: October 2013

Penne with Roasted Brussels Sprouts



  • 4 ounce penne or any other kind of pasta
  • ½ lb Brussels sprout
  • ½ lb button/white mushroom
  • Black olives
  • Oil spray
  • 2 teaspoons Basil flavored olive oil for sprinkling
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Cook pasta according to package directions and drain
  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Cut Brussels sprout into half
  • Quarter each mushroom
  • Add cooking spray to a cookie sheet and spread Brussels sprout and mushrooms in a single layer and lightly coat with oil
  • Bake for about half an hour or Brussels sprouts are lightly golden in the edges
  • In a large saucepan mix in cooked pasta and baked Brussels sprouts and mushrooms
  • Add black olive and drizzle basil flavored olive oil and mix well
  • Top with parmesan cheese and serve immediately
  • Yields: 2 main dishes
  • Source: My Original

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Chocolate Topping



  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 – 17.5 oz oatmeal cookie mix packet
  • 2 – 8oz package low fat cream cheese softened
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 – 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup butter
  • Pecan halves


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Line a 15x10x1 inch pan with foil extending foil over the edges of the pan (Since I could not find the size, I used 12x9x2 pan size which yielded the pieces a bit thick)
  • Lightly butter the foil
  • Mix ½ cup butter and cookie mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Press mixture evenly onto the bottom of the pan and bake for about 10 minutes or until set
  • In a large bowl, with an electric mixer combine cream cheese, and sugar.
  • Beat one egg at a time beating on low speed after each addition until combined
  • Stir in pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, and salt
  • Pour pumpkin mixture over the baked cookie crust
  • Bake for about 30 minutes or until mixture is lightly puffed at the edges and firm to touch


  • Cool completely on a wire rack
  • In a saucepan bring water to boil.  Lower the flame
  • Place a small bowl over the simmering water and melt butter in it
  • Once butter is melted, add chocolate chips and stir until it’s smooth and resembles a sauce consistency
  • Drizzle chocolate over the cooled bars and spread evenly.
  • Place a pecan half one inch apart (optional)


  • Cover and chill for about 24 hours.
  • Yields: 36 pieces
  • Source: adapted from Better Homes and Gardens ( website.

Blueberry Orange Muffins



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoon orange peel
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • ¾ cup fresh blueberries
  • 8 walnut halves (optional)


  • Pre heat oven to 375F.  Lightly grease 8 muffin cups
  • With an electric mixer beat in egg, sugar, orange  juice, orange peel, vanilla and cooking oil together until smooth
  • In a separate bowl sift together flour, salt and baking powder.
  • Beat in flour mixture into egg mixture
  • Fold in blueberries and mix
  • Spoon mixture into muffin cups filling two-thrids full.
  • Top each muffin with a walnut and bake for about 25 minutes or a tooth pick inserted comes out clean
  • Let muffin stand in the muffin pan for 10 minutes
  • Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely
  • Yields: 8 stndard sized muffins

Sweet Aval

Aval is one of the important savory made during Navarathri.  In Sri Lanka, aval from the traditional red rice is very common (actually I have never seen the white aval there).  Aval is the beaten rice/flattened rice. Please see for more information.



  • ½ cup red aval
  • about ¼ cup dark brown sugar (or jaggery)
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
  • pinch of salt (optional)


  • Wash aval thoroughly in cold water multiple times
  • Squeeze the water and let stand for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Mix in salt, brown sugar/jaggery, and coconut
  • Serve immediately.
  • Source: My Original

Note:  Do not leave aval in water (as in a bowl of water).  If you do, it will become grainy.  The reason to squezze the water out and leaving for 15 or more minutes is to let the aval get soft.

Sundal (Chick Peas with Onions and Coconut Pieces)

With Navarathri coming, I thought of making some of the traditional dishes for the pooja.  So I made one dish each day for the last 3 days of Saraswathi Puja.  On the first day, I made this Sundal.  I also made some Aval, Kolukattai and sweet pongal.  Normally at my home, my mother makes all kind of sweets and savories on the last day – vijaya thasami such as sundal, aval, pongal, ulunthu vadai, kadalai vadai and sweet uppuma.  Here is the recipe for sundal:



  • 1 cup dried chick peas
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup white coconut pieces
  • 3-4 dried red chili broken into 2 to 3 pieces
  • Strand of curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon canola/cooking oil


  • Wash and soak chickpeas overnight.
  • Stove Top:  Add enough water and cook chickpeas until they are cooked but still slightly crunchy and not mushy.
  • Pressure Cooker: Add water to cover chickpeas in a small saucepan and place it in the pressure cooker.  Cover and cook for about 6 whistles.  Leave in pressure cooker until the cooker is cooled down before opening.
  • Drain as set aside.
  • In a saucepan add oil and add onion and fry until onions are lightly browned
  • Add red chili, coconut pieces, and curry leaves and fry for another minute or two
  • Add cooked chickpeas and mix well.
  • Season with salt
  • Yields: 2 servings

Banana Walnut Muffins



  • 5 oz all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 4 oz castor sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large bananas mashed
  • 5 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange peel
  • 2 oz walnuts chopped
  • 8 extra walnuts


  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Line 8 muffin cups with paper liners
  • Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
  • In a large bowl beat together oil and egg until light and fluffy
  • Beat in sugar, vanilla extract, orange juice, and orange peel until smooth
  • Mix in bananas
  • With mixer running in low speed, beat in flour slowly.
  • Add chopped walnuts and mix well
  • Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups filling them to three-quarter full
  • Place a walnut on top of each muffin
  • Bake for about 25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool in muffin pan for about 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely
  • Yield: 8 normal size muffins.