This will be the first year we are not traveling to India, so we decided to treat ourselves to a full week in my home town of Santa Cruz.  Our week long excursion was full of local sight seeing.  Having grown up in Santa Cruz, I never felt the need to make the most of what Santa Cruz has to offer, but this week we soaked up all the natural beauty of this peaceful enclave.  We walked the sunny path on West Cliff, overlooking the beach and endless blue ocean.  We stopped by Steamer Lane and watched all the surfers. We toured through the sprawling campus of the University of Santa Cruz with it’s winding paths, sky high redwoods and expansive ocean views.  We walked along Pleasure Point where a lot of the filming for Chasing Mavericks was done.  We went for sunset walks on the beach…

…we walked…and walked…and walked…



Overlooking “steamer lane”, where all the suffers hangout.  The weather was so clear and the water so smooth, there weren’t many waves, but we got to enjoy stunning views.



We took my dad out to his favorite breakfast place overlooking the Santa Cruz harbor.  Even though it was actually 4pm by the time we got to the restaurant, we still ordered up our favorite breakfasts.  We got to enjoy watching all the harbor traffic go by, ocean kayaks, paddle boarders, tiny boats and big yachts were all floating by on a perfectly sunny day. 



One day after spending hours out on the beach and in the sun, we came home too tired to cook but not wanting to eat out.  So Hubby whipped up a quick Indian veggie dish using bags of pre-cut frozen vegetables from the Safeway store up the street.  It was surprisingly tasty for bags of frozen veggies.

Sometimes it’s great to have a recipe you can turn to when you want to whip up dinner in thirty minutes. You know how it is, when you are all out of food and the last thing you want to do at the moment is be in the kitchen.  It only took about thirty minutes to make, which is very short for Indian cooking.

My brother joined us for dinner and said, “what a great way to make frozen vegetables taste better.” He asked me to give him the recipe, so this recipe is dedicated to him and all the others out there who have been eating plain, steamed bags of frozen veggies.


For this recipe you will need a basic bag of frozen pre-cut vegetables.  We used a four pound bag from Safeway.




Next, you will need to have garam masala, or if you don’t have that, you can buy Kitchen King.  It’s available at Indian grocery stores and even some mainstream stores these days.  We keep Kitchen King down at my Dad’s house because it’s a great all-in-one spice mix to keep on hand.








1 head of garlic, finely chopped *
2 onions, finely chopped
1 jalapeño chili (optional), finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Kitchen King (or garam masala)
3 pounds of pre-cut frozen mixed vegetables **

* you can also use 2 teaspoons of garlic paste or garlic and ginger paste to make it quicker (if using paste, add the chopped onions then add the paste and cook it together.

** Make sure to the frozen vegetables you buy are all pre-chopped.  Avoid buying the bags of uncut vegetables (baby carrots and baby broccoli, etc.) it takes too long for them to cook.


1. Make the “tarka” (aka: the flavor base)

Heat some oil in a medium-high pan. Add the chopped garlic. (if you are using paste, add it along with the onions later)




Fry the chopped garlic until it turns a light golden brown.




Add the chopped onions and fry for a few minutes until they are translucent and light brown. If you are using the garlic and  ginger paste add it along with the chopped onions.




Add 2 teaspoons of salt and mix it in with the onions




2. Add the spices

Add two spoonfuls of garam masala  or Kitchen King.





Add the chopped tomatoes.




To help them cook faster, you can press them down so they release quicker.




Cover the pot and let them cook for 5 minutes until they are soft and their juices have released.




It will look like this when it is done:




 3. Cook the veggies

Add the bags of pre-cut mixed vegetable.  Give it a good stir so the veggies are coated in all the flavor. Cover the pot and let it cook on medium until the veggies are cooked through.  The carrots take the longest, it should be about fifteen minutes. Give the veggies a stir every 5 minutes so they do not burn.




Test the doneness by tasting the vegetables for softness.





It was such a simple dish and yet the flavor was surprisingly good for a quick dinner made out of frozen veggies.  My brother was so impressed that he asked me to write out the recipe for him.  So this recipe is for my brother, and all others, who want a quick weeknight recipe that would make your veggies much tastier than just the typical boiled side vegetables.




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