I love meals that I can prep ahead of time, especially if I have company coming over.  This recipe for Matar Paneer is just one of those, as it only takes about 10-20 minutes to make if you prepare the paneer and masala beforehand.  I made the paneer and masala the day before, but you could also make the masala well in advance and freeze until you’re ready to use it.

This was my first cheesemaking adventure, and it was a learning experience.  To make paneer, you bring whole milk to a boil, add acid,  then separate the curds from whey using a cheesecloth.  Well, when I brought the mixture to a boil hardly any curds formed.  I added a little more acid, and nothing happened.  I gave it a few minutes, and nothing happened.  After some internet searching, I found that you must bring the milk to a full boil, and if you mess up the first time you can try again.  So, I brought the milk to a boil again and this time curds formed immediately and the liquid turned clear.  Cool!  There you have it: making paneer at home is really simple, and even if you don’t get curds the first time, try, try, again! (more…)

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I recently celebrated my birthday, and that can only mean one thing: I’m in desperate need of lots and lots of vegetables to counteract the chocolate cake and ice cream I’ve had every day for the past week.  Eek!  Luckily I came across this recipe from Rachael Ray, which has tomatoes, peas, and asparagus to make me feel healthy, but still loads of pasta and three kinds of cheese to make it edible.  The flavors are subtle but the whole dish is very light and spring-like, which I am in such need of after eating heavy meals all winter.  This would be a great dish to entertain with since it makes a whole 9×13 casserole, or if you live by yourself like me you can have leftovers for a week and still freeze some!

I made garlic bread to go along with this meal.  This is one of my favorite tricks: buy a regular baguette from the store and slather it up with your own garlic butter.  For mine, I use half a stick of softened butter, 3-4 cloves garlic, and a few tablespoons of fresh basil.  Mix the ingredients together, spread it on the baguette sliced in half lengthwise, cover in foil, and put in the oven for the last 5-6 minutes that the casserole is baking.  Delectable! (more…)