All posts by The Ranj

I'm a 35 year old Indian who loves to don't see that too often?

Football Cupcakes

Football Cupcakes


Better late than never?  Since I just did another Cupcake posting…may as well put up this photo that’s been in my to do pile…no recipe, just wanted to capture it.

Every Super Bowl we head out to some friends house for our annual #nothvangongshow and this year was no different…the hostess asked me to make some Red Velvet Cupcakes this year, so why not up the presentation factor a couple of notches?

I baked some Red Velvet Cupcakes (Duncan Hines Box Mix – no time to bake from scratch this morning), and lined up the cupcakes in a 1-2-3-3-3-2-1 format, then covered it with a quick layer of homemade Chocolate Cream Cheese.  Then I used some Cookie Icing for the football grip outlines (turned out way too thick – next time I’d use the white frosting for a crisper look).  With the other 9 cupcakes, I just made another batch of Regular Cream Cheese frosting, and lined them up around the football.

See you guys in 2015…Skol Vikings!


Pistachio Cupcakes

We were at The Cupcake Store a couple of weeks ago and I tried one of those “limited time” Cupcakes…a Chocolate Pistachio Cupcake…my god was it good.  I’m a huge Pistachio fan (it’s my favorite Ice Cream, but I’ll save that for another post).  I buy them in bulk from Costco and could snack on them until the end of time…

Back on track here, while I loved the Cupcake, I’m not sure I was sold on having a Chocolate Cupcake as the base of this, I felt it needed to be something that screamed more Pistachio, and this wasn’t it.

So I looked online and found a recipe that I thought would fit the bill with ingredients we already had in the pantry…but I needed an excuse to make these.  Of course, a couple of hours later we got invited to a St Patrick’s Day party and was told to bring something green…well well well…

Pistachio Cupcakes

  • Servings: 15 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Credit – Pistachio Pudding Cupcakes

Ingredients (Cupcake):

  • 1 box White or Yellow Box Mix (I prefer Duncan Hines)
  • 1.5 cups Milk
  • 1 box Pistachio Jell-O Pudding mix

Ingredients (Frosting):

  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 box Pistachio Jell-O Pudding mix
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
  • About 15 Roasted & Salted Pistachio’s (shelled and roughly chopped in your food processor)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F, and prepare 2 muffin tins with 15 liners
  2. Whisk the Milk & Pudding, then once incorporated add the cake mix and mix well with a spoon.  Pour into liners, and bake for 22-25 minutes (my cupcakes looked a little burned after 25 minutes, but they tasted great).  Cool until you’re ready to frost…
  3. For the frosting, Whip the Cream and the Powdered Sugar in your Kitchenaid on 6 for about 5-6 minutes until soft peaks start forming.  While your Mixer is doing it’s thing, whisk the other package of pudding and milk by hand.  Once the cream is whipped, add the pudding mixture and fold together.
  4. Frost those cupcakes any way you like.  Top with the chopped Pistachios

Nutrition Info (per cupcake)

Calories – NONE!  Seriously – quit reading and start baking…NOM NOM NOM

Salmon Crunch Pie

Those of you who have taken the FHA course “Leading for Engagement” will recognize this recipe immediately from Edenvale.

What’s Edenvale?  It’s a Retreat & Conference Centre according to their website out in Aldergrove.  It was a nice, quiet place to get away for our course.  The one thing I’d heard the most before going to this course is that the food here was spectacular, and especially this recipe.  Well – the reviews were correct, this is an amazing dish…a meat pie…what’s not to like?

Salmon Crunch Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Credit – Edenvale

Ingredients (crust):

  • 1.5 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1.0 cups grated Cheddar Cheese (preferably Sharp Cheddar)
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/3 cup Ground Almonds
  • 1/2 cup cold Butter (diced)

Ingredients (filling):

  • 2 cans cooked Salmon (213 grams each)
  • 0.5 cup grated Cheddar Cheese (preferably Sharp Cheddar)
  • 3 Large Eggs (mixed)
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 1/4 cup Mayoannaise
  • 1 tsp Chopped Onion
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice (about half a lemon)
  • 1/2 tsp Dill (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F
  2. Mix all of the crust ingredients (except the butter) until incorporated, then add the butter and cut into the mixture using a pastry cutter until the butter is mixed in
  3. Reserve 1 cup mixture for the top crust, and pat the rest into a 9″ – 10″ pie pan as you would a normal pie
  4. Mash the Salmon, then mix all of the filling ingredients together and pour into the pie pan
  5. Top with the reserved crumb mixture
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes

Nutrition Info (per 1/8th)

Calories – 450, Protein – 21.75g, Fat – 30.5g, Carbs – 20.5g

Slow Cooker Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats

A friend of ours pointed us to a link for an overnight Slow Cooker Breakfast which is perfect for Sunday mornings…just set everything up before bed and leave it overnight, and you wake up to a wonderful smelling kitchen in the morning…the recipe can easily be doubled if you have people coming over for breakfast (just add an hour to the cook time).  We found that this recipe is best eaten when cooked or later the same day, as opposed to making once big batch for the week.

Slow Cooker Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Credit – Jamie Cooks It Up


  • 2 Medium Granny Smith Apples (Peeled, Cored, and Chopped into Small Pieces)
  • 1 Cup Steel Cut Oats (I like using these)
  • 3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (I cut them up into smaller pieces)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1.5 Cups Milk (we use Skim Milk but any type is fine)
  • 1.5 Cups Water (filtered)
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Flax Seed (optional)
  • Toppings (all optional)
    • Additional Milk
    • Maple Syrup
    • Chopped Nuts (Walnut, Pecan, etc)


  1. Spray the inside of your slow cooker with non-stick spray (trust me – don’t skip this step!)
  2. Place all of your ingredients into the slow cooker and mix well
  3. Cook on Low for 7 hours

Nutrition Info

Calories – 348, Protein – 11.5g, Fat – 4g, Carbs – 69g

Indian Saag (Spinach)

Yes, after what seems like a million years, I’m finally back to making a posting on my blog.

Why the hiatus you ask?  Well, I really grew to dislike the process of how I updated my blogs, the inconsistencies from post-to-post, as well as the inability to have a properly formatted “Print” button, I hated printing something from here and having a bunch of improperly formatted pages printing.  I think I may have got something I like now…let’s see if I stick with it this time.

Anyway, onto the recipe – I was reading an Indian Slow Cooker book last year and stumbled upon this…I tried making it the “desi way” before (e.g. – in front of the stove all day making tarka, etc.) and it was a pain in the butt, and ended up tasting terrible, so I was doubtful this would turn out at all, but was surprised (shocked, really) at how good this tasted. This is a staple recipe whenever we’re craving some Indian food.  The added bonus of this dish is the fact that it is super simple and extremely healthy, at least before you add the Ghee…

Slow Cooker Indian Saag

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Credit – Modified from The Indian Slow Cooker


  • 2 Bunches of Spinach (washed) – I typically cut the stems off but you can leave them on if you like
  • 2 Large Yellow Onions – I cut them into quarters
  • 3 Medium Tomatoes – I cut them into 6 or 8 pieces
  • Ginger – I use my Microplane grater and grate a couple of tablespoons worth – modify the amount based on your taste preferences
  • 20 Cloves of Garlic (guessing about 3 Heads of Garlic)
  • Serrano Peppers – modify this based on how spicy you like your dish.  I would recommend a minimum of one and up-to 5 based on how hot you like it, take the seeds out if you don’t like it too spicy
  • 4 Tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Garam Masala
  • 2 Tsp Haldi (Tumeric)
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • Makhani/Butter (optional)


  1. Place all Ingredients in order into the Slow Cooker except the Salt and Makhani
  2. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours – if you like you can give it all a mix after 90 minutes to ensure none of the Spinach burns on the side, but I usually skip this step
  3. After the 3 hours, what’s left in the Slow Cooker is going to look ugly.  Really, it will.  But don’t worry – it smells good so “Follow Your Nose” like Toucan Sam and use your Immersion Blender and blend everything directly in your Slow Cooker (if you don’t have one – you can pour everything into your blender, process it, then put it back in) – blend it until no big pieces of vegetable or garlic are left.
  4. Put it back in your Slow Cooker with the Salt and cook on LOW for 2 hours
  5. Sit back and eat Saag with next to no effort…add Makhani for flavor

Nutrition Info (per 1/6th, not including any Makhani)

Calories – 70 calories, Protein – 5g, Fat – 0.5g,  Carbs – 14g

Spatchcocked Roasted Chicken

Fresh out of the oven
Fresh out of the oven

I know it’s been awhile – so here’s another Roasted Chicken recipe (can you tell we went to Costco last night?).  This is probably the best tasting roast chicken I’ve had outside of a restaurant, the dipping sauce is really simple yet adds a great kick to the chicken?

What’s a Spatchcock you ask?  It”s when you cut the backbone out of chicken carcass and flatten the chicken – this is another way to help reduce the cooking time of your chicken.  For example – I had a 4 lb bird tonight which should’ve taken at least 90 minutes in the oven, but I only gave it 45 tonight and it came out beautiful…great for a weeknight dinner when you’re in a rush.


  • 4 lb Whole Chicken (giblets/neck removed, and patted dry)
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a Lemon (about 3 tbsp)
  • Chilli Flakes
  • 2 cloves Garlic smashed or diced (I used a grater which turns it into a nice paste)


  1. Put your oven on 400 F
  2. Spatchcock the chicken – flip the bird over (breast side down) and cut out the backbone using a pair of kitchen shears by cutting on each side.  I was going to take a picture – but decided to Google it instead – here’s a great link on how to do this.  Make sure you flatten the bird by pressing down on the sides as much as possible
  3. Generously put salt and pepper all over both sides of the bird
  4. Heat 1 tbsp of oil and 1 tbsp of butter in a large non-stick skillet or pan on Medium-High.  Once melted and swirled around, put the chicken (breast side down) in the pan for 3 minutes.  You’ll see that the top of the bird has a nice brown crust
  5. Flip the chicken over and put in the oven for 40-45 minutes
  6. Remove from the oven and place on a cutting board and cover with foil for 10-15 minutes (the temperature in the thicken part of the chicken should be at least 165 F…when I pulled this chicken out it was registering 180, so I could’ve pulled it out of the oven a few minutes earlier)
  7. While the chicken is resting, Add the other 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of Lemon Juice into the pan and whisk together, scraping the pan to get all of the juicy bits
  8. Whisk the rest of your oil, lemon juice, chilli, and garlic in a bowl, then add the pan mixture to this as well
  9. Cut up your chicken, and serve with the dressing either on the side, or sprinkle it over top of the chicken first

Low(er) Calorie Chocolate & Caramel Banana Bread

I have my staple Banana Bread recipe which I love, but in my quest to eat a little bit healthier I tried out this recipe and was pleasantly surprised – it actually tasted just as good as my other recipe.  I’ve since incorporated this in my normal rotation of sweets…

Ingredients: Lower calorie Banana Bread

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/3 cup  of both Brown and White Sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted Butter
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened Applesauce
  • 3 Ripe Bananas (mashed)
  • Egg Whites from 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/3 cup light Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Low-fat Caramel + Chocolate Candy


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Spray pan with cooking spray to keep low(er) calories, or grease as normal with butter/etc
  3. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl
  4. Combine both sugars, applesauce, and butter in a bowl and beat with your hand mixer or Kitchenaid Stand Mixer.  Add bananas, egg whites, vanilla, and candy, saving some to sprinkle on top
  5. Pour into pan, with reserved candy on top
  6. Bake for 50 minutes and check to see if baked thru with the toothpick method