The Best Halal Items Found in Supermarkets

We keep a zabihah halal household, so we’re very particular about what kind of items we buy and what the ingredients are. We’re constantly reading ingredient lists and making sure there’s no gelatin, whey and “natural flavoring” that we can’t identify.

I can easily go to the Pakistani grocery store and get halal items, but I get excited when I find halal items in my regular supermarket! There are some AMAZING certified halal items out there. Here are some of my faves!

You all know I love a good homemade stock, but in a pinch, I keep Saffron Road Chicken Broth in my cabinet. It’s great for when you need to make a quick soup, gravy or sauce! I also like that it’s low sodium, so I don’t have to worry about salt levels too much.

 

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Other Saffron Road items that are a staple in our home? Chicken Tikka Masala and Chicken Biryani frozen meals. And no, it’s not for me. My daughter hates sandwiches (I told you they were spoiled) and lunch for school is such a pain. Often, she’ll take leftovers to school in a thermos, but in a pinch, she warms up these meals and puts them in her container. She loves them and they’re easy enough to “prepare” that she can do it herself. I limit her to one per week, so she’s not having them everyday. I’m lucky that I found it in my local supermarket, so I can purchase them easily.

 

Halal Marshmallows! I was super surprised when I saw these in ShopRite. My aunt was telling me how my cousin loves marshmallows but couldn’t find halal ones locally.  Rice Krispie Treats anyone?

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Cabot Cheeses are the BEST! I use them for taco/nacho night in our house.

From Cabot:

“All Cabot cheeses, with the exception of Colby Jack, Shreds, Slices (including American), 3/4-ounce Bars and Cubes are certified by the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America and by Tablet K. Cabot cheeses are free of all animal by-products, and are made without any animal rennet.”

Cabot Cheese is wonderful because it’s so readily available. Often, we have to be careful with cheeses because they can contain rennet or whey, which we cannot eat.

 

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Now I want tacos….

 

I’m so excited to see Muslim buying power at work in traditional supermarkets. I think this is going to open the door for more halal and Muslim-owned brands!

Did I miss any major brands? Tell me in the comments!

 

 

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The Kitchen is the Soul of a Home

Gathering in the kitchen is a typical pastime for women across all cultures. I know whenever I need to have a talk with my mom, it’s usually in the kitchen when she’s cooking. She has a stool that I can sit on and just chat with her about anything. I also know that it’s a great place to have a private conversation because no one else will really come in there!

I truly believe every kitchen should be beautiful, with small touches that reflect personal style. I found adorable printables from this site that I used to add some color to my kitchen. I printed them on 8.5″ x 11″ glossy photo paper and just taped them to the wall. You can always get a cute frame and hang them for a more elegant effect.

Every kitchen needs a comfy stool to sit on. Especially when mom needs a break and wants to sit for a few minutes! I love this stool from Target because it’s really beautiful and the seat is comfortable! Plus, it’s not too big, so it can be taken from room to room as needed. And if your Big Pakistani Family is anything like mine, you’ll definitely need extra seating from time to time!

Stools
These stools are the perfect height and oh so comfy!

 

A really good way to make some quick and cheap updates are peel and stick tiles. I know, I know, you’re hesitating. Please don’t! I purchased these tiles for a quick update in my bathroom, and THEY LAST! Seriously, they don’t move! And it looks really beautiful. I’m planning on getting more for my kitchen, for the wall on the side of the stove. Because if you cook like I do, there’s probably grease on there. Which I hate. These are easy to wipe clean!

Stick on tiles
It might not look special, but it really is!

 

Everyone who knows me, knows I LOVE peacocks. It’s an obsession. Really. That’s why I love these peacock magnets! They add that little bit of pizazz to the fridge and they are small. I hate large magnets, so these 2″ x 2″ are perfect for hanging another picture on the fridge.

Magnets
PEACOCKS!

 

What are some of your favorite ways to add personal touches to your kitchen?

 

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Desi Mom Hacks!

We’re all short on time. It’s just a fact of life. My kids love a homemade meal every single night, but it gets exhausting! Here are some of my favorite shortcuts when cooking (especially desi food!)

  • Soak kidney beans for at least two hours before cooking, then cook in the pressure cooker
  • Use pre-made ginger-garlic paste
  • Grind tomatoes so they will cook down faster
  • Marinate different meats and freeze for quick weeknight meals (lamb chops, chicken wings, legs, etc.)
  • Make dough for roti in the KitchenAid Mixer! (This is my favorite hack, and I have not made atta by hand in YEARS!)
  • Brown chicken while making the base (tarka)

 

What are some of your favorite hacks to get meals on the table faster?

 

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Chicken Stock for Beginners

With two daughters who are constantly getting sick in the winter and me trying to stave off whatever they have, soup is a staple in our house.

I have been trying to perfect my chicken stock for years. While it’s always been delicious, I’ve always craved that delicious golden color, much like the chicken noodle soup found in old-school kosher delis in Brooklyn.

I finally got it!

Chicken Stock
It’s taken me years to get my stock this color!

My local butcher shop had wings and I ran to get about 8 lbs. My family loves chicken wings, and I often marinate and freeze them for a quick weeknight dinner. This time, I saved all the wing tips for a special stock that I had been craving for over a week.

Want to know how I got this color? Read on:

2 lbs of wing tips, cleaned and dried

2 stalks of celery, including the leaves

2 carrots, peeled and washed

1 onion, peeled

2 tablespoons of Vegeta

Place all the ingredients in an 8 quart stock pot. Fill with cold water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.

I cooked the stock for 6 hours, but you can always leave it on longer.

Once the stock was done, I strained it, taking out the wing tips and veggies. When it is cooled, I pour into disposable soup containers (you can also use yogurt containers!) and freeze. (Be sure to only fill the containers 3/4 of the way, leaving room at the top.)

The taste was so rich in collagen and chicken-y goodness, I think it knocked out whatever was ailing my husband. Plus, it makes you feel all warm inside.

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Gajar ka Halwa

I’ve spoiled my family with homemade Pakistani cooking almost every single night. While I don’t mind it, I’m always on the hunt for new and exciting recipes that might satisfy everyone’s palate!

I have a slow cooker and my first thought was to make chili. But, I’m pretty sure my crew will not eat it. So now what?

I’ve made kheer and gajar ka halwa. These are definitely NOT up my alley. I’m not a Pakistani sweets girl. Give me chocolate cake any day of the week! These are for Chaudhry (not his real name), who loves a good old-fashioned “sweet dish”.

Gajar ka Halwa
Not the most beautiful pic, but hubs and father in law enjoyed it!

There are lots of great gajar ka halwa recipes online, but here is the one that worked best for me. I’m sure I’ll end up tweaking it at some point.

10 carrots, grated

2 cans of evaporated milk

1/2 cup of whole milk

2 cans of sweetened condensed milk

 

I don’t add any sugar, because the sweetened condensed milk is quite sweet. If you would like to add sugar, I would remove one can of condensed milk and add 1/2 a cup of sugar.

 

I add all ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on high for 8 hours. If the halwa gets dried before then, just add a little more milk. Once the halwa is done, sauté in a little bit of ghee for 5 minutes. This adds shine and flavor to the halwa.

Serve with slice almonds or pistachios for decoration. (Obviously, I didn’t get that far, since hubs devoured it before I could get to the store for the add ons!)

 

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If you cook Pakistani food, you need this cookware set!

Vremi Yellow Cookware Set

Every desi cook needs a cookware set that will stand up to oil, turmeric and chili powder. This set does the trick.

Vremi has created this beautiful nonstick ceramic cookware set  that I have used for about 8 months already. I have cooked countless items, such as cauliflower, chicken, rice, eggs, potatoes, and more! I have washed it over and over and there are still no stains on it.

I also love the bright yellow color! It’s very different from traditional stainless steel cookware. It’s also available in blue and green.

 

  • COOKWARE MADE for SERVING – Premium quality 8-piece ceramic cookware set includes 2 dutch oven pots, 1 casserole pot with lids and 2 angled fry pans for omelette flipping. Designed to double as serveware and go directly from stovetop to dinner table
  • CERAMIC COATING for EVEN HEATING – With ceramic nonstick marble coated surface that heats quickly and evenly, and releases food effortlessly with no scraping. Crafted with safe and durable die cast aluminum body. Scratch free, non toxic and BPA free
  • STEAM RELEASE for MESS FREE COOKING – Each lid includes small gap between lid and body to release steam without a mess. Also features bakelite ergonomic handles accented with wood-tone colors, that allows each saute pan or pot to be maneuvered easily
  • INDUCTION FRIENDLY – Cookware kit features an induction-compatible spiral bottom that works on gas, electric or halogen stovetops too (IMPORTANT: For induction, burner diameter should not exceed pan or pot diameter base)
  • DISHWASHER SAFE with 3 COLOR OPTIONS – Cookware set comes in modern green, blue or yellow colored options with white accents, and looks beautiful on an open shelf or storage rack. Clean in dishwasher or hand wash with gentle soap

 

 

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