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Cover: Quick cuisine

Recipes with yoghurt

25Jun 12

Penne with creamy pesto

Penne with creamy pestoThey say that almonds are great for a number of things, including your skin, so I try to eat a small handful a day. As they are also delicious, I incorporate them into as many recipes as I can to get the benefits from these little but potent health bombs.

This dish of penne with creamy pesto is really easy to prepare and has healthy goodies such as mushrooms, garlic and my beloved almonds, which have a whole load of benefits for our bodies.

Almonds are healthy due to their many nutrients and vitamins such as vitamin E, and they are also low in saturated fat. They contain calcium and magnesium for strong bones, as well as compounds called phytochemicals, a compound which scientists say may help protect against cardiovascular disease and even cancer.

Due to the high level of vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant, almonds are used in many skin cream products and are thought to keep your skin supple-looking.

Being both heart-healthy AND scrumptious, there really is no excuse why you should not go nuts for these nuts – they will even do wonders for your complexion, so start munching!

What we need:

  • 150g penne pasta

  • 200ml of natural yoghurt

  • 10 large mushrooms

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 100g of almond flakes

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of pesto (You can buy this store-bought or make it yourself. Check out this recipe for home-made pesto!)

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

 How to make it:

1. Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the package.

2. Wash and cut the mushrooms into thin slices. Fry them in the oil in a frying pan until golden brown.

3. Peel the garlic and crush them. Add to the frying pan along with the almond flakes.

5. Mix the yoghurt and pesto together in a small bowl.

6. When the penne pasta is ready, drain it and pour it into the frying pan.

7. Pour over the yoghurt-pesto mixture and mix carefully.

8. Serve immediately with a glass of cold beer.

Serves: 2

Time needed: 15 minutes

Level: Easy

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22Jun 12

Oven-fried vegetables with tuna steak and curry sauce

Oven-fried vegetables with tuna steak and curry sauceOne brilliant way to get your 5 servings of veggies a day is to chop up several vegetables and oven-fry them in some oil, sprinkled with salt and thyme. This is what I have done in this dish of Oven-fried vegetables with tuna steak and curry sauce. My personal preference is tuna, but you can use salmon or any other fish steak that you prefer.

I have used mushrooms, carrots, red onion, red pepper and potatoes with a curry sauce based on natural yoghurt. So, although you have to do some peeling and chopping, once it is in the oven, you can go about your business for around half an hour until it’s time to fry the tuna steak and mix together the sauce, which is done in less than 5 minutes.

Fish and veggies are a classic healthy combination. Try this recipe for tuna steaks with roast peppers. You won’t be disappointed!

Serve the tuna and veggies on a bed of ruccola leaves or as it is. By doing so, you will have reached your goal of getting five vegetables a day, and in such an easy and tasty way!

What we need:

  • 180g tuna steak
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 4 big mushrooms
  • 2 meduim-sized potatoes
  • 150g of natural cooking yoghurt
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of curry powder (according to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 pinches of thyme

How to make it:
1. Wash and peel all the vegetables. Cut them into chunks.
2. Place them on an oven tray in some of the oil and pour some of the oil over them. Sprinkle the salt and thyme over them.
3. Place in the middle of the oven at 250 degrees. Leave for 30 – 40 minutes or until ready.
4. 10 minutes before the vegetables are ready, take out the tuna steaks and fry them in a frying pan until golden brown.
5. Pour the yoghurt into a small bowl and add the curry powder and honey. Mix carefully.
6. When the vegetables are ready, place them on a plate on a bed of ruccola salad and serve the fish with a dollop of yoghurt sauce.

Enjoy!

Serves: 2
Time needed: 30-40 minutes
Level: Easy

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20Jun 12

Chicken with rice and pistachios in a yoghurt sauce

Chicken Risotto with Pistachio and yoghurt saucePistachios are one of my favourite nuts, and if someone doesn’t stop me, I could just eat them forever. They are so moreish! However, they contain quite a lot of calories, so I have to watch out.

On a good note though, almost 90% of the fat found in pistachios are unsaturated fats – the good kind! They are also a great source of fibre and vitamin E – great for skin health!

Pistachios are used in everything from ice cream to sauces, and in this dish of Chicken with rice and pistachios in a yoghurt sauce, I have tried to use enough pistachios to let the taste of this yummy nut shine through.

Pistachios are thought to have been enjoyed since as far back 6750 BC, and they were often used as travelling food due to their high nutritional value and long storage life. They were particularly popular among explorers and traders, and rumour has it that they were the snack of choice for travellers across the ancient Silk Road that connected China with the West.

Although pistachios are often used in desserts such as ice cream or other sweets (like this Indian lass with cardamom and pistachios), they can be used in a variety of other recipes. Try this rice dish and see for yourself!

What we need:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

  • 200g of rice

  • 200g of chicken

  • 3 tablespoons of pistachos

  • 1 onion

  • 1 carrot

  • 1 small tin of green peas

  • 1/2 courgette

  • 150g of  natural yoghurt

  • 1 clove of garlic

How to make it:

1. Wash and boil the rice according to instructions on the package.

2. Wash and peel the onion, carrot and courgette. Cut them all into small squares.

3. Cut the chicken into cubes and place in a frying pan in the oil.

4. When the chicken has been frying for a while, add the vegetables and the peas.

5. Chop the pistachios and garlic into small pieces and mix with the yoghurt in a bowl.

6. When the rice is ready, add it to the frying pan and mix it carefully with the chicken and veggies.

7. Place the rice mixture on a plate and dollop the yoghurt sauce on top.

Enjoy!

Serves: 2

Time needed: 20 minutes

Level: easy

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06Jun 12

Blinis with apricot and cherry tomatoes topping

BlinisBlinis are similar to crepes, but the main difference between a blini and a crepe is that yeast can be used in blini, but not in crepes. Blinis is the traditional Russian mini pancake and is eaten during Shrovetide, a festival which coincides with similar festivals such as Mardi Gras or Carnival a week before Lent.

Blinis are usually served with caviar and sour cream, but really you could use endless variations of toppings. Here is a recipe for Blinis with an apricot and cherry tomato topping that can be used as an appetizer, finger food, or as a light snack before bedtime.

I have added dried apricots to this recipe, not only because they are sweet and delicious, but also because they are an excellent source of beta-carotene and vitamin A, a great antioxidant, which will help to retain healthy eyesight as we age. Being a heavy reader, I am a big fan of foods that help me protect my vision – I am always on the lookout for ‘eye-friendly´ ingredients, and it´s just an extra bonus if they happen to be as scrumptious as the apricot!

Leave the blinis as they are or cut into triangular slices for more of a ´finger-food´ feel, as I have done in this recipe. Since the apricot and tomato mixture goes on top, you could also it to top oat and buckwheat pancakes for a heartier snack.

What we need:

  • 2 blinis (normal size)
  • 80g of tuna
  • 5 dried apricots
  • 200g of natural yoghurt for cooking
  • 1 tablespoon of grainy French mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (according to taste)
  • a small handful of parsley for topping

How to make them:

1. Place the yoghurt in a bowl and add the tuna.
2. Wash and cut the cherry tomatoes into small pieces. Add to the yoghurt.
3. Cut the apricots into thin small slices and add to the yoghurt along with the mustard and honey.
5. Mix all the ingredients carefully.
6. Heat the blinis for a few minutes in an oven or in a microwave.
7. Cut them into triangles and add a teaspoon of the yoghurt mix on each piece.
8. Top it off with a branch of parsley on each triangle for decoration.

Serves: 2
Time needed: 15 minutes
Level: Very easy

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21May 12

Baked potatoes with aubergine and salmon and mustard filling

Baked potato with aubergine and salmon and mustard fillingBaked potatoes are my favourites for Friday evenings because I just love the smell of potato that fills the room and the anticipation after it has been in the oven for a long hour. Also, you can be sure that it will be tasty with just about any topping. A baked potato with a savoury topping and a glass of white wine sets me in the mood for the weekend!

 

Here is a recipe that uses mustard and honey as base for a yoghurt sauce. I have also used aubergine and tomatoes, mainly because I hardly ever eat aubergine, but this recipe would work just as well with almost any vegetable. I use smoked salmon in the yoghurt sauce because I wanted to make it more “meaty,” but it can also be made as a vegetarian dish.

Baked potatoes, if small enough, also make for a great accompaniment to a meat dish. If you are a meat and potatoes person, try this recipe for lamb with crushed baked potatoes.

What we need:

  • 2 large baked potatoes
  • 100g smoked salmon (optional)
  • 1/2 aubergine
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 170g full fat yoghurt for cooking or crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 of grainy French mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar or slightly less honey

How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
2. Wash the potatoes carefully and place them in the middle of the oven for 60 minutes.
3. Wash and peel the aubergine. Cut into small pieces and place in a frying pan in the olive oil.
4. Wash and chop the tomatoes into small pieces. Place in the frying pan. Let it all fry together until soft and mushy.
5. Take the yoghurt or crème fraîche and place in a bowl. Add the mustard and honey or sugar. Mix carefully. If you are using smoked salmon, cut it into the yoghurt sauce.
6. When the aubergine and tomato mixture is soft, press a clove of garlic into it and mix carefully.
7. When the potatoes are soft and ready, place on a plate and cut a cross in them. Place 2 tablespoons of the vegetable mixture in the potatoes and top it off with 2 tablespoons of the yoghurt /mustard mix.

Serves: 2
Time needed: 60 minutes (in oven)
Level: Easy

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17May 12

Potato au gratin with pesto and salmon steaks

Potato au gratin with pesto and salmon steaksDid you know that potatoes are delicious with green pesto? I find that making potato bakes (or potato au-gratin, if you want to sound sophisticated) is an easy and comfy way of making a proper dish if you are looking for more variety instead of always eating boiled or mashed potatoes.

Add some vegetables, such as mushrooms and red onion, and blend pesto with yoghurt or crème fraiche for a creamy sauce. Within the hour, you’ll have a dish that looks like a lot of work has gone into it, when really it was a doddle to make!

If you prefer chicken, use chicken breasts instead of salmon steaks in this meal. For more pesto and chicken recipes, I recommend this pesto chicken with caramelised aubergine, roast tomatoes, and olives.

What we need:

  • 4 small salmon steaks (500g)
  • 4 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4 big mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of green pesto
  • 250g Greek natural yoghurt (for cooking) or crème fraîche
  • 100g grated cheddar cheese (about 6 slices)

How to make it:
1. Defrost the salmon steaks.
2. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
3. Wash and peel the potatoes. Chop into thin slices. Place on a plate for later.
4. Wash and chop the mushrooms, onion and pepper into medium-size pieces.
6. Grate the garlic into a frying pan with some of the oil.
7. Add the onion and pepper and let it all become soft.
8. Add the mushrooms, mix it properly and let it all fry for 5 minutes.
9. Pour the yoghurt into a bowl and add the pesto. Mix it carefully.
10. Cover the bottom of an oven-safe form with some of the yoghurt /pesto mix.
11. On top, place slices of potatoes.
12. Next, alternate between yoghurt/pesto mix, vegetables and layers of potatoes.
13. On top of the last potato layer, sprinkle the grated cheese.
14. Place in oven for 60 minutes or until potatoes are ready.
15. 10 minutes before the potato au gratin is ready, and when the salmon is defrosted, place the steaks into a frying pan with some of the olive oil and fry until lightly brown.
16. Serve the salmon steaks with the potato au gratin and a rocket salad.

Serves: 4

Time needed: preparation 15 minutes + 60 mines in oven

Level: easy-intermediate

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08May 12

Rice salad with spinach and avocado

Rice and Spinach SaladPopeye was right – spinach is a superfood! Using spinach in salads is particularly healthy as spinach is extremely rich in antioxidants and has a high nutritional value, especially when fresh. It is also good for your eyes as it contains lutein. For you gents out there, it is believed that spinach can help fight prostate cancer, and girls, take note: it is good for keeping your iron levels high.

Since I have just discovered the health benefits and many uses of spinach, expect to see more recipes containing this health bomb. This rice salad with spinach and avocado is a yummy alternative to pasta salad, using rice in a cold salad together with vegetables and topping it off with a tasty yoghurt dressing.

Having added another superfood to this salad – the avocado, this salad becomes a virtual health injection and the boost you might just need after a long sluggish winter. This is the perfect spring salad! (I also recommend this chicken, spinach and feta salad.)

What we need:

  • 130g rice
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 5 small mushrooms
  • 30g of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 small tin of tuna (80g)
  • 100-150g of fresh spinach
  • 1dl of natural yoghurt
  • ½ – 1 tablespoon of ground herbs

How to make it:

1. Wash and boil the rice according to instructions on the package.
2. Peel and pit the avocado and cut it into small pieces.
3. Wash the mushrooms and cut them into medium-sized chunks.
4. Wash the tomatoes (both sun-dried and natural) and cut them into thin slices.
5. Wash the spinach and break into small pieces with your hands.
6. When the rice is ready, take it off the heat and let it cool, at which point you can add all the vegetables and mix in the tuna.
7. Take 1dl of natural yoghurt and add ½ – 1 tablespoon of salad herbs (according to taste) and mix.
8. Mix it carefully into the rice salad or keep it separate for each person to add according to preference.

Serves: 2
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: easy

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02Apr 12

Pasta salad with broccoli and fried bacon

Pasta Salad with Broccoli and BaconBroccoli and bacon make a great combination. I especially like broccoli salad with bacon because of the contrast with the leafy green veg and crispy meat. In this recipe for pasta salad with broccoli and fried bacon, I add pasta to the mix, as well as a few more veggies for good measure.

I am aware that pasta salad is considered a summer food, but being the eternal optimist, and having seen the latest weather forecasts for London, I believe we soon enough will be visiting the park for a spring picnic. One can only hope!

It is not important whether we have to eat it inside huddled on the couch or, with better luck, on a picnic blanket in the park. Regardless of the weather, a pasta salad is easy to make and is a quick and cheap lunch to bring to University in a plastic box. Plus, it stays fresh for 1-2 days in the fridge! Make a large bowl and you are set for lunch, dinner AND picnic time!

What we need:

  • 500g of Penne pasta
  • 1 large red onion
  • 200g of broccoli
  • 200g of Feta cheese
  • 100g of black olives, without pits
  • 200g of sliced bacon
  • 100g of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 pinches of ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 and ½ decilitre of crème fraiche (sour cream or natural thick yoghurt for cooking)
  • 2 cloves of garlic

How we make it:

  1. Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and put in a bowl for later.
  2. Chop the onion into thin slices.
  3. Chop the tomatoes and cucumber into squares.
  4. Chop the olives into halves.
  5. Put all the chopped vegetables into a large bowl.
  6. Fry the bacon in the oil. Take off excess fat with paper and let it dry.
  7. Once cool, cut the bacon into slices and place in a bowl.
  8. Grate the Feta cheese over the salad and add the sun-dried tomatoes.
  9. Mix all the ingredients and carefully put the pasta in the large bowl.
  10. Add the pepper according to taste.
  11. Pour the crème fraiche into a small bowl and press the garlic cloves into it. Mix carefully and pour into a salad bowl. Mix with all the ingredients.

Serves: 3-4
Time needed: 20 minutes
Level: very easy

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