December 15, 2009

Red Lobster-ish Biscuits

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

It's been a while since I've actually eaten a real Red Lobster biscuit so I can't promise these biscuits are exactly like them. Imitation factor aside, these are delicious and so simple to make. I relied on my go-to biscuit recipe (straight off the back of a Clabber Girl baking powder can!) and added necessary touches from many online copy-cat recipes of the Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit. Dough should be wet enough to be scooped but not runny. Enjoy!

Red Lobster Wanna-Be Biscuits (Muslim Wife adaptation)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter (cut into cubes)
3/4 cup milk (more as needed)
2 tablespoon melted margarine or butter (for brushing tops)

1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 heaping cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp parsley (for brushing tops)

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2.In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, garlic powder and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. Stir in shredded cheese. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the milk all at once. Using a wooden spoon, stir just till moistened and dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl (dough will be sticky).

4. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out biscuits onto a non-stick or lightly greased baking sheet, 1'" apart.

5. Bake for 11 to 15 minutes or until edges turn golden brown. After removing, immediately brush with melted butter and parsley flakes .

December 13, 2009

Ooey Gooey Pinapple Goodness

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

What do you do when life gives you pineapples? Make cake of course! This version of the classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake has a delicious brown sugar caramel that soaks into the cake as it cooks. Absolutely delicious!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from Gourmet, February 2000

Taken from SmittenKitchen (alcohol omitted, of course)

1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice (I didn't have enough from my pineapple, used OJ instead and it was still awesome!)

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Make topping: Cut pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Melt butter in pan. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, four minutes. Remove from heat. Pour into prepared cake pan and arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture in concentric circles, overlapping pieces slightly.
Make batter: Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add half of flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended. (Batter may appear slightly curdled.)
Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. Bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cake stand in skillet five minutes. Invert a plate over skillet and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together). Replace any pineapple stuck to bottom of skillet.
Serve cake just warm or at room temperature.
Do ahead: Cake may be made one day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Double Duty

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

If there's anything I love more than a simple recipe, its a simple recipe that can work for more than one meal. My favorite example is my pizza dough recipe. I always make sure to save at least 1/3 of the dough and immediately throw it in the freezer. That way I always have dough on hand to make one of these quick go-to meals:

1. Bread sticks
Super easy and the perfect side to a hearty pasta dish or a steaming bowl of soup. Simply roll out dough into roughly 6" logs, brush with butter and garlic powder and bake at the same temperature as your pizza.

2. Calzones:
Similar enough to pizza to ensure everyone will love it yet different enough to keep things exciting! Roll out dough to a 6" circle. Spoon pizza sauce or ricotta cheese in the center and pile toppings. Make sure to leave a 1/2" border from the edge. Fold over and press seams together. Make sure to cut a few slits on top to let the steam escape or else you'll have leaky calzones. Bake the same as pizza and make to let it cool for at least 5 minutes before chowing down.

3. Plaited and Stuffed
This is my version of a dear friends recipe (her dough recipe is great!). Again, I'm trying to present as many examples of using one recipe for multiple things, but feel free to make a seperate dough for this if you like. The best part of this recipe is the presentation factor, make sure to try it out next time you have company! (her page has illustrated directions to fill and fold the plait, make sure to check it out!)

4. Focaccia
A rustic and light accompaniment to any meal; you can personalize this any way you want but traditional focaccias are simple and thin. Make sure to drizzle with extra virgin olive oil before serving. Roll out dough to 8"x12" square (or whatever will fit your pan) and brush with olive oil. Top with tomatoes, bell peppers, olives, etc. Sprinkle with salt and basil and bake at 400 until lightly golden.

November 6, 2009

Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

What do you do with very, very ripe bananas on your counter? Well, not too much besides making a smoothie or some banana bread. I opted for the later and as I went to grab the bananas I noticed a couple apples in the bowl too. Hmm, interesting.... apples and bananas? There must be a recipe to pair these two fruit-bowl staples together! After some googling, I came across a simple and easy recipe. I whipped it up in the morning and was ready to go for a brunch with some sisters. It's a great breakfast bread if you choose to leave out the glaze and use a loaf pan and I imagine would be equally as delicious divided up as muffins. As always, please let me know if you try it out!


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 banana mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 apples, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, Chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F.

2. Cream butter and sugars, and beat in eggs.

3. Stir in sour cream, banana and vanilla.

4. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda and cinnamon.

5.Gradually add to butter mixture.

6.Gently stir in apples and nuts.

7.Spoon into greased bread pan and bake 1 hour
(I used a bundt pan and it took 50 min)

Brown Sugar Glaze:
Mix 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Cook, stirring, until the mixture starts to boil. Boil gently for 1 minute, stirring constantly, then remove from heat and continue to stir for about a minute until the glaze is smooth. Pour over the top of the cake and let it dribble down the sides.

October 25, 2009

Pizza Night

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I grew up in a house where "from scratch" meant "from box" and "homemade" meant "home pre-heated". Once I was married and cooking for myself, I started reconsidering the meaning of terms like the ones above and learned a whole new way of cooking. Making your food from scratch automatically cuts out loads of sodium and calories, not to mention all the unnatural things like preservatives and artificial flavors. Once you go scratch, you never go back!

The very first thing I made from scratch was pizza dough. I spent so long kneading that dough by hand, not sure exactly what it was supposed to feel like. It was hard work and I was only half confident it would turn out something edible. But Alhamdulillah, a few hours later we were biting into warm, home made pizza.

Since then pizza has become a weekly staple in our home. I've experimented with several different recipes only to find that tweaking it to my own taste is what works best for us*. I've made it for out-of-town guests, assembled it and taken it on the road to be baked at our destination, frozen batches of dough for friends to bake at their convenience and even baked mini-pizzas for a Ramadan Iftaar party. This is a very forgiving recipe and seems to be a real crown pleaser. Personalize it with your favorite toppings** and flavors, just have fun with it!

Pizza Dough
* this makes for a large and thick crust pizza. Divide in half for a thin crust, or do what I do and lop off 1/3 of it and freeze for calzones or bread sticks later in the week.
** sneak in a layer of grated zucchini for an extra vitamin boost for kids - and adults!

4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons grated parmesan cheese (I've been omitting this and it still turns out fine)
2 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 cup very warm water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water, set aside.

2. In a large bowl (or an electric mixer) add flour, salt and oil. Mix to combine.

3. Add yeast mixture and continue to knead for 7 minutes by hand, 4 minutes in mixed (add more flour if mixture is too sticky).

4. Cover and let rise in an oiled bowl until doubled (1 1/2 hour)

5. Punch down and roll out to appropriate size (this is were I lop off 1/3 to freeze for later).

6. Dimple dough with fingers and brush entire dough with olive oil.

7. Pile on toppings of choice, saving the cheese for last (it will "glue" everything in place).

8. Bake in 400 preheated oven for 20 minutes, checking to make sure cheese is bubbling and crust is golden (you may need to turn the pizza half-way).

October 11, 2009

On The Subject of Apples..

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Remember h0w I mentioned I don't like apples? Well with my kids, it's a different story. They love any type of apple, tart or sour. In any form, raw or baked. But their hands down favorite is apple sauce referred to in our house, simple, as Sauce. This is one dessert that I as a mom don't feel bad giving seconds (thirds?) of to the hungry kiddos.

Homemade Apple Sauce

1. Peel and core any variety of apples you have on hand or are in season (this is a great way to use up the last of the bunch that may be getting a bit bruised and old).

2. Slice and chop into 1" cubes.

3. Place in a deep, heavy bottomed pot (so it won't scorch) on medium-low heat. Add just enough water to come half-way up the apples. Keep a pitcher of water by the stove, you will constantly be adding water as the apples cook down.

4 . At this point you can add some flavorings if you like. I'm a fan of the natural stuff, but a cinnamon stick, a sprinkling of brown sugar or a handful of frozen berries is great too.

5. Place a tight lid and let apples cook. Check on them ever5 15 minutes to make sure there is still some water left. The apples will start to break down and get softer, slowly getting darker in color also. When it looks like the water is almost gone, add the same amount as before.

6. Depending on the amount of apples you have, this will take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. A slow constant method is better than dumping a whole bunch of water and letting it simmer to ensure the most flavorful and smooth apple sauce. Make sure to continue cooking until there are no more lumps. Be patient!

7. When all the apples have broken down, remove the cinnamon stick and pour into bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature before dividing into individual portions. This freezes well also!

October 10, 2009

How about 'dem apples

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

There are a few things that leave you feeling more fulfilled and satisfied than having hand-picked your own food. As fall approaches, so do the warm flavors of the season and right now apples are in season. We've had the opportunity to go picking for a variety of produce at different times of the year, but there's something about apples that gets me, and I'm not even a fan of apples! Maybe its the cool, crisp autumn air or the varying shades of gold, green and bright red hanging off the tress. Or maybe its that intoxicating aroma that fills every crevice of your home whenever you bake one of these beauties up. Apple cobbler, apple turnovers, apple pie, the possibilities are almost endless!

Strolling through the rows and rows of trees heavy with fruit, the reality of the words of Allah strike you in a whole new way:

" O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and good on the earth, and follow not the footsteps of Shaitan. Verily, he is to you an open enemy"
[al Baqarah: 168]

" Then let man cosider his food, How We pour water in showers, and We
split the earth in fragments, and we cause therein the grain to grow, And grapes and green fodder, And olives and dates, And gardens, dense with many trees, And fruits of grasses: provision for you and your cattle" ['Abasa : 25-32]

October 3, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes (aka, Just For You, Umm Dawood)

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

A belated EID MUBARAK to all my readers!! May Allah accept from us our deeds, ameen!

I love celebrating Eid with a batch of homemade chocolate cupcakes. I also enjoy celebrating the new arrival of a baby with a batch cupcakes as well. Or whipping up a batch as a hostess gift, or making some on any random night of the week. Or afternoon. Mornings also. Really, I make these for no good reason at all, and can you blame me? They're light and moist and getting better with each passing day (no more than 4 days, though!). In fact, I intentionally make them the night before for any occasion just to eat them when they taste the best. Below are some pics of the cupcakes in their many different appearances in our home. Hope they'll become as frequent in yours!

Chocolate Cupcakes
(makes about 30 cupcakes)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/ 2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup softened butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup milk

1. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together in large bowl. Set aside.

2. Using an electric mixers, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).

3. Add eggs and vanilla and continue mixing.

4. Using a spoon, alternately add flour mixture and milk until just blended.

5. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

6. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

White Cream Frosting
I never measure this, but just use as much as I think I need. Start out with 1/2 cup vegetable shortening and 1 cup powdered sugar. Beat together, use a couple drops of milk to make it smooth. Add more of each ingredient until you have enough to frost all your cupcakes. Keep tasting along the way to make sure it doesn't get too sweet. Refrigerate left over frosting for up to 5 days.

September 9, 2009


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Can't finish that whole roasted chicken? Left over leg of lamb? Need to use up leftovers and out of ideas? Then call it a Mexican Night and ole, your problems are solved! Fajitas are our favorite way to use up any leftover meat, but on a recent bout of homesickness I remembered my sisters enchiladas and my mind was set. This was quick, easy and not mention cheap. To balance out this rich meal, I whipped up a light corn and tomato salad with a little flair. Hope you all enjoy it as much as we did!


- 1/2 red onion diced
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 jalapeƱo diced (adjust amount to your liking)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (reserve 1 tsp for garnish)
- 1 1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken (or any other meat you have on hand!)
- 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 can enchilada sauce
- 4 tortillas (flour or corn)
- queso fresco cheese (Monterey jack, mozzarella work fine)
- sour cream

1. Pre-heat oven to 375.

2. Saute onion and bell pepper until soft. Add garlic half way through.

3. Add shredded chicken, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and jalapeno. Cook on low-med heat to incorporate flavors. Add cilantro in last 5 minutes of cooking.

4. Slowly add 1/4 cup of prepared enchilada sauce and remove from h eat.

5. Prepare a oven-safe baking dish with a little oil and 2 teaspoons of enchilada sauce spread on bottom.

6. Fill 4 tortillas (or as many will fit in dish) with chicken mixture and cheese. Carefully roll up and place seam-side down in baking dish. Top with remaining enchilada sauce, cheese and cilantro.

7. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream

Corn and Tomato Salad
Add a can of black beans for a delicious protein punch!

- 1 can sweet corn (frozen or fresh corn can also be used)
- 1 tomato diced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp chopped cilantro

1. Drain and rinse can of corn

2. In a little oil, saute corn with a pinch of salt and pepper, cayenne pepper and lemon juice. Saute for a few minutes or until fragrant.

3. In a separate bowl, mix diced tomato, pinch of salt and cilantro. Add the corn mixture and stir to combine.

August 31, 2009

Presentation Is Everything

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Presentation is everything. Well...almost everything. Especially when it comes to dessert, presentation is key. Dessert is the anticipated moment of a meal, its the last thing you eat and like a sweet afterthought, it will be what lingers in your mind long after the meal is finished. Make it look good, and you can be sure it'll taste good.

At my last dinner party I was out of ideas and ingredients for a fancy shmancy dessert. A quick peak into my pantry and my dilemma was solved. But would a box of 89¢ pistachio pudding wow my guests? With a few scoops of frozen whip cream and my everyday drinking glasses, my doubts were put to rest. Its my new favorite way to serve desserts and can't wait to try out different sizes and shape glasses. Fruit parfait next? Slices of cake and fruit maybe?

Start looking at your everyday kitchen tools in a different light and you'll be pleasantly surprised. A pretty bowl inverted with a plate on top is now a new cake stand or a wooden salad bowl is now a rice platter. Experimenting with what you already have in your home is cheap and fun way to showcase your yummy creations!

August 30, 2009

Pasta Pie

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Lasagna is quick. Lasagna is yummy. Lasagna is simple. Lasagna can get boring. Almost as boring as this paragraph.

Boiling up pasta and throwing in sauce and veggies is a quick and easy iftaar any night. The only problem is, it can start to get very boring. But thats the great thing about pasta, you can change things up and get endless varieties of delicious meals. Lasagna has the best stage presence: its layered, colorful and stays together in compact pieces. Try swapping out pasta shapes and fillings. I made this dish with macaroni, broccoli and a traditional lasagna Ricotta filling. But the kicker is to bake it in a spring form pan and allowing it cool for at least 15 minutes before unmolding and ta dah! Its a whole new dish that can feed a load of people, masha'allah!

Pasta Pie
I must stress that this dish can be personalized to your taste, like most pasta dishes. On this particular day, these are just the things I had on hand. Use whatever pasta and vegetables you have. The beauty of this dish lies in using the spring form pan which helps keeps the shape.

1 box elbow pasta
2 jars red sauce (marinara, spaghetti, etc)
1 container ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1/2 lb cooked ground beef
frozen broccoli
Italian seasoning to taste
salt & pepper to taste

1. Boil pasta according to box directions. Drain when tender but do not rinse. Add in desired sauce and veggies.

2. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta cheese,eggs, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.

3. Spread half the pasta mixture in the bottom of a lightly greased spring form pan. Next, spead ground beef in even layer followed by ricotta mixture and last, the other half of the pasta. Sprinkle mozzarella in top.

4. Covered with greased foil (so the cheese doesn't stick) and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and keep under broiler for a couple minutes until cheese is brown and bubbly. Serve with biscuits and salad, enjoy!

August 29, 2009

Cinnamon Muffins

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

These are a Suhoor Staple at our house. I make a double batch about once a week so that there are always some in the morning (ok, so some mornings we just settle for cereal but I try!). They are super easy and taste great at room temperature. Add more cinnamon if you like a stronger cinnamon flavor and experiment with different extracts if you like. PLEASE let me know if you
tried them and how you liked it..!

Cinnamon Muffins
Yields: about 12

1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar (either light or dark works fine)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I use imitation and its great!)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use canola and it turns out fine)

1. Pre-heat oven at 400 F

2. Stir together dry ingredients with a wisk

3. Add wet ingredients and stir together with spatula until just combined. Its a thick batter and will get stuck in a wisk, so make sure to use a spatula or wooden spoon.

4. Using an ice cream scoop, fill muffin tin lined with paper 2/3 full.

5. Bake 10 - 12 minutes. Keep an eye on them. Bake until just lightly golden and puffed up.

6. Let cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

3 oz softened cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Blend ingredients together until smooth, spreadable consistency.

2. Add more powedered sugar as needed.

Ramadan Cooking

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

How has Ramadan cooking been going for you all? Hard, easy? Everything turning out over salted or under seasoned?

One of the best Ramadan cooking tips I can give you is to take full advantage of your week off (you know, when Aunt Flow makes a visit) and cook up a storm. I know some people get started before Ramadan starts but I have never been that organized. Rather, I find it easier when I don't have to worry about getting dinner ready until much later than usual and can take my time cooking double batches of that nights meal. By the time your cycle is done, you should have a week's worth of leftovers to rotate through the month.

Also, leftovers pile up fast this month. Since it takes very little to feel full once you break your fast and there is not mid-day meal, take advantage of revamping leftovers into new meals (examples to come soon, insha'allah).


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Welcome to my kitchen! Based on overwhelmingly positive feedback, I've decided to go ahead and try out my little idea. Now I'm not promising you anything; I'm bad enough with just one blog so lets see how this Tw0-Blog-Idea holds up, insha'allah khair.

So why a food blog, you ask? Well, as a wife and mother, most of my time is dedicated to food: planning, prepping, cooking, feeding and cleaning up food. It's not necessarily how I want it, but thats just how it is, alhamdulillah. I've always enjoyed cooking but wasn't always so great at it. As a child I was always in my moms feet trying to chop the veggies and stir the pot of yummy stuff on the stove. Only when I was moving away to get married did I start to take serious note of what she was actually cooking. Over the years I've had to develop my own brand of quick, homemade cooking and am kinda pleased with the results. I now feel confident enough in my cooking skills to share them with other Muslimahs. Insha'allah, I am eagerly looking forward to your feedback and am begging you all to please share your ideas/tips/tricks/techniques with us here. I will give you full credit if your ideas get posted, so consider this a very interactive blog insha'allah.

Can't wait to get cooking with y'all!