Posts tagged ‘cheese’

Wrap 101

Quick MealParty FoodLunch Box MealFamily MealNo Cooking

Wraps are adaptable for all meal types.  They make for a filling meal, a light snack and work well as take along foods for trips and hikes.  The only trick involved in making a wrap – is the ‘wrap’ part.  So, here is a post dedicated to all MTS who once like us wondered about wrapping a warp :).

wrap ingredients

Kind of food: Main course/ Appetizer/Snack
How long: 1o min
Makes: 1 wrap
Pots and Pans: None, just a surface to assemble

1. For the Wrap layer: Tortilla or Lavasah or any thin flat bread (sangak or  rotis)*
2. For the spread layer:
2 Tbsp of Hummus/Pesto/Chutney/flavored cream cheese/ Any spread
For the protein layer: Sliced deli meats (2) /grilled tofu (1/4 cup) /cooked beans (1/4 cup) – a combination of these will work too
4. For the veggie layer: Bell peppers,  Cucumbers (sliced), avacado sliced, left over grilled veggies, blanched asparagus spears – a combination of any of the above veggies cut in thin strips measuring 1/4 cup.
5.  For the added nutrition – “Green layer” – 1/4 cup of any salad green.
Optional  layer
– cheese slices or shredded cheese.

How to make:
1. The bread layer has to be soft and pliable.  If bread is not fresh, then warm up the bread layer of your choice (like tortilla) in a microwave for a 5-7 seconds to make it pliable.  You could warm up in pan too.
2. Spread the hummus or any spread of your choice evenly on the tortilla.
3. Place the deli meat slices or the cheese slices in the center of the bread in a thin layer. Greens like whole romaine leaves could also be placed in the place of  or along with deli meat.
4. Place the veggies, beans and greens on top of the slice on top of the meat /cheese slice as shown in the picture below.

wrap 1

5. If using shredded cheese then sprinkle it now on top of the veggies.
6. Season with red pepper flakes or  ground pepper(optional). The spread and cheese will have adequate salt. Also, salt can make the wraps a  little soggy, so avoid it especially if the wrap will be consumed later.
7. Fold about 1 inch on two opposite sides of the tortilla 0r other breads and hold it as shown in the picture below.

Wrap 2

8. Now  roll the tortilla from the unfolded side (the side you held in step 7).

wrap 3

9.  Continue to roll the bread until it is completely wrapped  and use a toothpick to secure it.


Make it Fast, Fun, and Facile! – Sri

Tips, tricks and alternatives
Look at what is available in the pantry and refergirator and decide on a theme when making wraps.  This way left overs get consumed.

Serving Ideas
Serve with any dipping sauce.  Look up the MTS post on easy dipping sauces for more ideas. To make a hearty meal out of wraps, serve it with chips, side salad, or fruits.

Look out for the Wrap 201 post coming soon with interesting filling suggestion and exotic spread ideas!


June 7, 2009 at 10:55 pm Leave a comment

Aphrodisiac appetizer -be it an ethoarchealogical myth or scientific fact

Quick MealParty FoodKid FriendlyFamily MealTravel FriendlyNo Cooking

Poppy has  been believed to be possess aphrodisiac properties in many ancient cultures.  Be it an ethnoarchealogical myth or a  scientific fact, poppy seeds impart a very aromatic taste. Here is an appetizer recipe pairing poppy seeds with bright raspberries for a Valentine’s treat or to brighten up an otherwise normal day. Phyllo cups filled with a slice of Brie, topped with fresh raspberries and drizzled with poppy seed dressing make an easy for an easy fancy appetizer with absolutely no stress, yet provide for an elegant affair.

Brie and poppy seed dressing

Kind of food: Appetizer
How long: 10 min
Makes: 8 pieces
Pots and Pans: Pot or a deep pan

8 Phyllo cups (available in the frozen food section along with pie crusts, but varies from store to store)
4″ X 4″ piece of Brie
Substitute: Low fat cream cheese
1/4 cup fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries or pomegranates
1/4 cup poppy seed dressing (available in condiment aisle along with salad dressing)

How to make
Remove phyllo cup from the casing and set it aside.  Keep the cheese in the fridge until assembling time. Slice the brie (or cream cheese) into 0.75″X0.75″ pieces that will fit in the phyllo cups. It has to fit and the shape of the sliced cheese does not matter. Place washed and towel dried raspberries on top of the cheese. Drizzle 1 tsp of salad dressing on the raspberries just before serving.

Note: To make this recipe ahead place the cheese and raspberry on the phyllo cups and cover it with seran wrap.  Leave it at room temperature.  Drizzle the dressing just before serving.

Make it Fast, Fun, and Facile! – Sri

Tips, tricks and alternatives
You could sprinkle a small pinch of cayenne pepper for an added kick. Poppy seed dressing are normally sweet. Taste the dressing before you drizzle. If it is not sweet enough, then sprinkle a pinch of brown sugar on the raspberry. If you have another favorite dressing or a sauce like a champagne dressing or hollandaise sauce you could use that too.

February 1, 2009 at 1:47 am 1 comment

Superbowl party in an hour

Quick MealParty FoodParallel ProcessingKid FriendlyFamily Meal

This post is a guide to show how to throw in under one hour a super bowl party or a game party or  a guy’s poker night.  All these recipes are ideal for both the novice and the veterans in kitchen.  So take a break, open up a beer, tune on the pre-game show and set your timer to an hour.

super bowl

The key to a party is a well prepared host before the cooking and a well relaxed host after the cooking.  We have provided the shopping list to ensure a well prepared host.  The party menu is designed for a small party of about 7 -1o guests. You can scale to this to fit your party size.

Beverage: Beer, Coyote Gold Margarita, soda and/or juices ( choose what works best for your audience)
Appetizer: Buffalo chicken dip and Healthy parmesan fries
Main course: Southwestern Chili with the works
Desert: Ice cream buffet

IMPORTANT NOTE: This party post is a guideline on how to gear up with several recipes in a short amount of time. The time  indicated will not be accurate for all users. Each of us work on a different pace.  Please consider this as guideline on how multiple recipes can be prepared at the same time to save time and energy. Also take note of the serving sizes of each individual recipe and scale it according to your party size.  You could always divide this menu among friends and family and host your MTS inspired event.  Please send us feedback on such MTS inspired events.

Phase 1 (20 -25 minutes)
Put the Beer and/or Coyote Gold Margarita, soda and/or juices in the fridge. This would be a good time to give micro brews like Coyote gold a shot.  Remove the frozen fries from the oven and cut open the bag.   Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Rinse the red beans for the chili. In a pot a combine all the ingredients for the chili with the exception of the cilantro, cheese , sour cream and chips.  Close and bring the contents of the pot to boiling on medium heat. While the ingredients for the chili are simmering, shred the chicken for the buffalo chicken dip using a blender.  Soften the cream cheese by microwaving  it for 10 – 20 seconds.  Combine the chicken, cream cheese, hot sauce, ranch and 1/2 of the shredded cheese in a greased oven proof tray.  Sprinkle the rest of  the cheese on top of the chicken mixture. Cover the dip with aluminum foil and set it aside.  While still holding on the foil line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and grease it  with oil or oil spray.  Arrange the fries in a single layer.

Phase 2 (20 -25 minutes)
Arrange the toppings for the chill in individual bowls.  Arrange the toppings where you would leave them for serving.  Arrange the toppings for Ice cream bar. Keep this away until serving time.   The chili should be done by this time.  Leave it in a crock pot or leave the stove on the lowest heat setting.  Place the frozen fries in the oven for 5 minutes.  In the mean time mix garlic powder, chili flakes, dried oregano and garlic powder to make the spice mixture for the fries. Remove the fries from the oven, drizzle the oil and sprinkle the spice mixture. Toss the fries gently and place it back in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes until desired crispiness in achieved.  While placing the fries in the oven put the buffalo chicken dip also in the oven. When the fries cook in the oven chop cilantro for the chili. For added color place the fries and the dip under broil for 30 secs to 1 minute. Watch carefully!    Turn the oven to 200°F to keep the food warm. Until serving time keep the dip covered in the oven and the fries partially covered.

Phase 3 (10 minutes before the party)
Set a timer to remind you to transfer the ice-cream from the freezer to fridge 10 minutes before serving time.  Arrange, plates, cups, cutlery, ice and napkins.  Most importantly, put on your game face.  Leave the stress to the teams and enjoy the evening! Remove the fries, sprinkle Parmesan cheese and serve hot.

Note: At dessert time lay out the ice cream/s and the toppings for the ice cream buffet

Make it Fast, Fun, and Facile! – Sri

If you have a larger group and would like more items, replace/add any of our numerous other  recipes. Try two flavors of fries.  Check the tips section of the post on oven fries.  Add a store bought salsa for an additional dip.  Some quick store bought items can be added to the menu like – cookies, veggie trays and use one our easy dipping sauces, fruit trays etc.
Fresh bread from a local bakery can be served with chili to make this a very filling meal.

January 26, 2009 at 1:39 am Leave a comment

Semolina pasta cakes

Quick MealToddler FoodParallel ProcessingLunch Box MealKid FriendlyFamily Meal

Semolina pasta cakes make for a whole some meal with adequate protein, good carbs and vitamins (from fruits).  This recipe is ideal for a toddler meal or a healthy snack for all.  Toddlers can get into phases were they prefer snack type foods that can be held easily as opposed to eating with a fork or spoon.   This is one such recipe right up a toddler’s alley.

Semoline pasta cake for toddlers

Kind of food: Meal/snack
How long: 5-10 min
Pots and pans: Microwave safe plate and kettle/pot for hot water
Makes: 2-3 pieces

2 Tbsp Semolina pasta ( available in the pasta/ baby food aisle)
Substitute: 1/2 cup couscous
very hot water boiling if using semolina pasta
3/4 very hot boiling water if using couscous
1 Tbsp shredded cheese (American, Swiss cheese)
2 Tbsp finely chopped apples or pears or raisins
2 tsp honey for a sweet snack
Substitute: A pinch of salt and 1tsp pepper for a savory snack

How to make:
Pour hot water over the semolina pasta  or couscous.  Cover it  and let is sit for 5 minutes. In the mean time chop apples fine and measure shredded cheese.  Mix cheese and  microwave the cooked couscous/semolina pasta for 30 secs to one minute.  Remove the pasta, mix in the apples and spread it flat into 1/4″ thickness.  Pack it tight. Use hands or flat spoon. Using a cookie cutter shape the pasta cake into a shape of your choice.

Make it Fast, Fun, and Facile! – Sri

Serving Ideas
Serve with jelly or a chutney or flavored yogurt , according to your kid’s choice.  Serve the pasta cakes wit fresh fruit/nuts/raisins for a toddler meal.  If making the savory version serve it with any dipping sauce.

Tips, tricks and ideas
When making couscous for the rest of the family this recipe is quick meal for a toddler.  Left over couscous can be used too.

January 25, 2009 at 10:10 pm Leave a comment

Healthier and tastier than wings

This is a version of the buffalo chicken dip that eliminates the fat calories form the wings, but it tastes so good that when accompanied by celery and sticks seconds it can be perfectly guilt free.

buffalo chicken dip

Kind of food: Appetizer/ side
Makes: 2 quarts
How long: 20 min
Pots & pans: Oven proof pan, aluminum foil

2  cups of cooked chicken (either home made poached chicken or left over grilled chicken or store bought rotisserie chicken or frozen chicken fajita)
1/3 cup of hot sauce (buffalo sauce available in the condiment aisle near ketchup)
1 cup light ranch dressing
2  – 8 Oz packs of fat free cream cheese softened
1.5 cups of shredded low fat cheddar cheese or other low fat cheese

buffalo chicken dip

How to make
Preheat the oven to 325 F. In the mean time shred the chicken using a blender.  Soften the cream cheese by microwaving  it for 10 – 20 seconds.  Combine the chicken, cream cheese, hot sauce, ranch and 1/2 of the shredded cheese in a greased oven proof tray.  Sprinkle the rest of  the cheese on top of the chicken mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and place it in the oven for 10 minutes or until cheese melts.  For added color place it under the broiler for 10 – 20 seconds until brown specs appear.

Make it Fast, Fun, and Facile! – Sri

Serving Ideas: Serve with celery sticks, carrot sticks or crackers.

Tip, tricks & alternatives:
To avoid double dipping or to provide your guests with their individual dips try baking this dip in small oven proof cup or oven proof ramekins as shown in the picture.
Use barbecue sauce instead of hot sauce or a combination of the two for a different flavor.  You could microwave this mixture too or use a slow cooker to warm up the chicken and cheese mixture.  This dip is best served warm so warm it in a microwave at intervals for 30 seconds if serving at a party.

January 11, 2009 at 2:05 am 1 comment

Whole wheat penne & grilled tofu pasta

Quick MealLunch Box MealFamily Meal

Whole wheat pastas can add a lot of texture, taste and nutrition to the food. This whole wheat penne pasta recipe is quite light and makes for a perfect lunch pasta. It is almost like a pasta salad and stores well for a lunch box.

Whole wheat penne and tofu pasta

Kind of food: Main course
How long: 20 min
Makes: 8 cups (serves 2 adults)
Pot and Pans: Grill/griddle, Pot, pan.

2 cups dry pasta – Whole wheat penne pasta
2 tbsp Olive oil
2 cups tofu – cubed
2 tbsp Soy sauce
1 cup spinach – chopped or baby spinach
1/2 cup onions – chopped (red onions or shallots recommended)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes ( drained from the oil)
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese

Grilled tofu

How to make:
Set  a pot of water, cover and heat it to a boil (as per the instructions on the pasta box). While the water is heating up, set a grill/griddle on high heat. Once the grill is hot, place the tofu cubes and drizzle a little oil and soy sauce. Sear the tofu till its browned on one side, flip them and sear the other side.  Tofu grills very quickly, a minute or two on each side should be sufficient.  Place the dry pasta in the boiling water and cook as per instructions ( about 12 min – set the timer). On a pan or pot heat 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Add the onions, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes and give it a good toss and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper and saute for another 2 min.  Set the pan on very low heat. Drain the pasta and add the pasta to the pan. Turn up the heat and give the mixture a good mix.  Pour the pasta onto a paste bowl or plate. Top with the grilled tofu and grated parmesan cheese.  Serve warm.

Whoe wheat penne pasta
Keep it Smart, Short and Sazzy! – Anu

Tips, tricks and alternatives
You can use a pan to grill the tofu. Its it just quicker to use a cast iron griddle.
You grill a big batch of tofu and store it in the freezer. Simply defrost and warm on a pan before adding to the pasta. When you have some tofu and not sure what to do with it, grill it with soy sauce and store it.

December 30, 2008 at 11:32 pm Leave a comment

Quick & simple grilled vegetable sandwich

Quick MealParallel ProcessingLunch Box MealFamily Meal

Grilled vegetable sandwich can be a one of the easiest, healthy and versatile sandwiches. This recipe is a basic version of a grilled vegetable sandwich which can be modified to suit your taste and use up the left-over vegetables that may be sitting in your refrigerator. The recipe also is low-fat diet friendly.

grilled vegetable sandwich

Kind of food: Main course
How long: 10 min
Makes: 2 sandwiches
Pot& Pans: Griddle/ grill or heavy pan

1 small loaf Ciabatta bread (can use any bread) – cut into 1 inch thick slices
4 thin slices of each vegetable – Eggplant, zucchini, Red onions, Bell Peppers, and tomato (Or any left-over vegetables that you may have)
1-2 tbsp cooking oil
1 small avocado (mashed and seasoned with salt & pepper)
1 sheet Swiss or American cheese ( optional)

How to make:
Place a griddle  or grill on medium-high heat. A seasoned cast-iron griddle will do a great job of cooking the vegetable quickly with barely any oil. You can use any griddle or even a heavy pan with oil sprayed on it slightly. While the grill is heating up, slice the vegetables and bread and make the avocado spread. Place the sliced vegetables on the  hot grill and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side or to your personal liking.
To assemble the sandwich – spread the avocado mixture (about 2 tbsp) on the bread. If using cheese, then place the cheese on top. Layer the rest of the vegetables. This sandwich can be served open so you or your guests can add any extra seasoning of their choice. You can also place the assembled sandwich under a broiler on high for 3-4 min if you like your sandwich warm.

Keep it Smart, Short and Sazzy! – Anu

Tip, tricks and alternatives
The key to making this sandwich fast is to use a large enough griddle and grill all the vegetables you need in one batch.
Use any vegetable you like- mix and match so you have a new kind of sandwich every time you make it.
The avocado spread is creamy and replaces butter very well. You can add lemon juice, red chili flakes or herbs to make it spicier or flavorful.
This makes a great lunch box meal as well.

Serving suggestions:
Serve with a side salad or soup (for a healthier meal option)
Serve with chips or fries

December 29, 2008 at 10:21 pm Leave a comment

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