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Category Archives: Vegetables/Sides

Fried Rice

Life as a Lofthouse (Food Blog):Fried Rice was a perfect recipe for fried rice.  This recipe will allow you to add what vegetables or meat you would like.  It worked perfect for some leftover rice we had in the fridge and made a whole new dinner alongside a chicken dish.

The kids approved and next time I make it when Mr.Picky is home I am sure he will as well.  The flavor with the sesame oil is spot on and although it seems like a lot of soy sauce the dish is not salty at all.  Enjoy this new side dish to all your favorites.  If you haven’t tried sweet and sour chicken yet, this is the perfect thing to pair with it.

Fried Rice

Fried Rice:

  • 3 cups cooked white rice (day old or leftover rice works best!)
  • 3 Tablespoons sesame oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2-1 cup frozen peas (thawed)
  • 1/2-1 cup carrots, chopped and steamed lightly or frozen (thawed)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3-4 Tablespoons soy sauce

Fried RiceOver medium heat, heat oil and add in carrots, peas, onions, and garlic.  Cook until just tender.

Reduce heat to low and push vegetables to the side.  Pour eggs in the opposite side and fry until scrambled.

Add in the rice and soy sauce and mix all together.
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Sweet Potato Casserole

My Grandmother started making this Sweet Potato Casserole recipe at least 5 years ago for Thanksgiving.  It has turned into such a favorite the pan is almost licked clean.  My daughter will usually eat as much as I will give and then a second helping.  We no longer prepare the sweet potatoes any other way for the holidays.

I find myself making it throughout the year as dessert for my kids.  I have yet to get Mr.Picky to like sweet potatoes of any kind.  We were headed to my family’s for dinner where I was preparing a somewhat Thanksgiving flavored dinner.  I had extra sweet potatoes to use up and thought this would be the perfect side dish to the meal.  Although we serve it as a side it has enough sugar and butter to be a dessert, this is probably why it is the best.

In my pictures I made the recipe just as my Grandmother wrote the recipe.  When I got to her and said how come mine doesn’t look like yours?  She stated that she had increased the flour amount in the topping which makes it more of a crumb and better.  I have revised the recipe to the correct flour amount so if your picture looks different it is ok.

Sweet Potato CasseroleSweet Potato Casserole:

  • 6 large sweet potatoes or yams- peel after steaming and mash well
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Topping:

  • 5 Tbs melted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 5 Tbs flour
  • 1/4-1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

After steaming the sweet potatoes until tender, remove the peel and mash well.  Add in the butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla.  Continue to mash until well combined and almost completely smooth.

Spread potatoes in a 9×13″ glass baking dish.

Combine topping ingredients and spread over the sweet potatoes.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until topping is caramelized and potatoes are heated through.


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Spanish Rice

I don’t remember even eating Spanish Rice as a child.  Mr.Picky loves spanish and mexican rice out of a box but I refuse to make the sodium filled rice.  I have come up with a recipe similar to the Mexican rice but had no recipe for the Spanish rice until now.

After doing some research and came up with this recipe after combining what sounded good to me.  It turned out great.  In fact is was the base layer to a skillet/casserole recipe I was making.  Be sure to check back for that recipe.

This Spanish rice is not spicy due to the little ones.  Extra heat could be added with come cayenne pepper to the mix or maybe add a diced jalapeño.  It was flavorful without too much salt and the perfect heat for the kids.

Spanish RiceSpanish Rice:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (15 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp or 1 cube chicken bullion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin

In a skillet heat olive oil over medium/ high heat.

Saute onion, pepper, and rice.  Stirring constantly so the rice does not burn, cook until most of the rice has toasted and the vegetables soften.

Spanish Rice

Add the rice mixture to a medium pot along with the remaining ingredients.

Bring the mixture up to a boil, cover and reduce heat to the lowest it will go.

Cook covered for about 15 minutes or until rice is tender.  Fluff with a fork when done.


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Homemade Kimchi

Kimchi is if not familiar is comparable to sauerkraut but a spicy Korean style.  In is made with a lacto-fermentation process.  This good bacteria is the kind you want in your stomach to keep it healthy and strong.  The link attached has some great information on the process Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz.

We love kimchi at our house.  Well not so much the kids because of the spicy but Mr.Picky and I do.  Usually if I felt the need for a jar we would go out-of-the-way and purchase some from as Asian store that prepared and sold their own recipe.  I knew there had to be a better way.  How To Make Easy Kimchi at Home Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn was a link I found off of pinterest.

So I went to work.   I collected my ingredients which was mostly getting the fresh vegetables but I had to find the Gochugaru or Korean chile pepper to spice the kimchi.  This seemed a bit more difficult.  I ended us purchasing some in paste form as opposed to powder.  I was upset to learn it also had MSG in it.  Next time I will be ordering some online and have patients until it comes.

Putting the Kimchi together was rather simple but time-consuming.  There is a lot of waiting with this dish, but all great things are worth waiting for right?  The end result is just as I like spicy and crunchy.  I can’t wait to experiment with different vegetables.

Something I did not follow was bothering to weigh my vegetables.  Turns out after cutting it all up I knew I about doubled my amounts.  So I went ahead and doubled my sauce and ended up with 3 partial quart jars probably only 2 quart jars compacted.  Word to the wise is weigh the vegetables and adjust the recipe accordingly.  The link above provided great step by step pictures of the process if you need them.

Homemade KimchiHomemade Kimchi:

  • 1 (2 lb.) head of Napa cabbage
  • 1/4 cup sea or kosher salt
  • water
  • 1 Tbs grated garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2-3 tsp fish sauce or water
  • 1-5 Tbs gochugaru (Korean Chili Pepper), add according to level of spice desired
  • 8 oz. diakon radish
  • 4 green onions, trimmed 1″ pieces

Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips.

In a large bowl combine cut cabbage and salt.  Wearing gloves or just with your hand (it made mine soft) message the salt into the cabbage until starts to soften.  Cover the cabbage will cold water and place a plate on top of the cabbage to hold it down.  Now place weights such as soup cans or jars on top of the plate.  Let stand 1-2 hours.

Homemade Kimchi

Drain water and rinse cabbage with cold water at least 2-3 times.  Allow to drain for about 20 minutes in a colander in the sink.

Meanwhile combine garlic, ginger, sugar, fish sauce, and gochugaru(I added 3 Tbs of spice but doubled the recipe and it is perfect for our taste, I would probably start with 1 Tbs for a single batch) until smooth.

Slice the radish into match sticks pieces and trim the green onions.  Add all the vegetables to the spices including the drained cabbage.  If using your hands to mix (wear gloves) or a spoon and mix all together until evenly coated.

Pack the Kimchi into clean jars and press down until most in under the brine, leave at least 1 inch head room in jar.  Seal with a lid.

Allow Kimchi to set out at room temperature to ferment for 1-5 days.  Press down the vegetables each day to release some gases and taste.  It will bubble and give you  a very pungent aroma in the kitchen.

When the kimchi has reached the point of fermentation that you wish move to the refrigerator.  It can be eaten now or store for 1-2 weeks for the best flavor.

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Quinto Baked Beans

Quinto Baked BeansYears ago Mr.Picky was searching for a baked bean recipe.  We found one in a Better Home and Gardens Grilling Cookbook, although he strayed from the recipe a bit.  This is Mr.Picky’s recipe to make when he is grilling and preparing dinner.  Over the years I think we have perfected this variation of baked beans.

Quinto baked beans give you a variety of five beans and textures alongside the sweet yet smoky flavored sauce.  These beans are not swimming in sauce but are nicely covered and can easily be served on a plate without mixing with everything.  Of course it has a bit of bacon in it which adds flavor and a nice bite when crisped up.

For the next event, or bring a dish meal try throwing these together.  Everyone will love them and they are a good hearty hot dish.  I think I forgot to mention you make them in the slow cooker which just makes everything easier.

Quinto Baked Beans:

  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pork and beans in tomato sauce
  • 1 (15-16 oz.) can garbanzo beans
  • 1 (15 oz.) can butter beans
  • 1 (15 oz.) can white kidney or cannellini beans
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs prepared or yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce

Saute bacon until partially cooked, drain off as much fat as you can.  Add in onion and garlic and continue to cook until bacon is fully crisp.

Beside the pork and beans, drain and rinse all the cans of bean.

Place all beans, the bacon and onion mixture, and all remaining ingredients in the slow cooker.  Cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4 hours.  Stirring every so often to prevent burning of the sugars.

Enjoy, enjoy it even more along some good BBQ.


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One Dish Italian Chicken and Sides

Five ingredient one dish meal!

Five ingredient one dish meal!

After a friend shared the recipe Green Beans, Chicken & Potatoes – Julie’s Eats & Treats, she raved on and on about how easy and great it was.  I immediately made it and let me tell  you she was right.  I don’t think dinner can get easier or more family friendly than this recipe.

This meal was a one dish Italian flavored chicken and sides dish.  No need for anything else besides maybe some dinner rolls if you have them around.  Moist flavorful chicken, tender potatoes, and perfectly cooked green beans.  Both kids loved this meal and ate seconds and leftovers the next day.  Not to mention my 5-year-old decided she did like green beans.

The only thing I would do differently and I will keep you all posted is to create my own Italian seasoning mix.  I am not a fan of packaged seasoning mixture because they are usually full of salt and junk.  Ranch dressing I have down but I don’t normally cook a lot with Italian seasoning so I will have to experiment.  If you try this with a homemade seasoning mix before I update let me know.

Italian Chicken and SidesOne Dish Italian Chicken and Sides:

  • 2-3 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut
  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3-5 medium/large red or new potatoes, cubed
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut in small cubes or slices
  • 1 package of Italian seasoning/dressing mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a 9×13″ pan line up green beans on one side lengthwise and potatoes on the other.

Place the chicken in the center row.

Arrange the butter cubes evenly over everything and then sprinkle all with the Italian seasoning.

Tightly cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

Carefully remove foil (it is so so hot) and serve.
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Easy Creamed Spinach

How do you get your family to eat their spinach? You add cheese of course and make it creamy. This recipe is so simple. My mom made something similar and I followed her footsteps in my way. Mr.Picky likes it which is huge so give it a try.

This may seem like a lot of spinach but if you have ever cooked fresh spinach before you know how it shrinks.  Just think they think they are eating a little spinach when it is actually a cup or two of fresh.  Sneaky little trick.  As far as how much garlic to use that all depends on how much you like garlic.  We are all garlic lovers so I added 3 cloves.

Next time I make it I might try adding a Tbs or so of minced shallot which I think would add a lot of depth.  A splash of cooking sherry would brighten the dish as well.  Stay tuned for updates to an already great recipe.

Easy Creamed Spinach:

  • 1 1/2 pounds, washed baby spinach (whole or coarsely chopped)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2-3 Tbs cream cheese
  • 2 Tbs freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

In a medium sauté pan heat oil over medium/high heat.  Add in the garlic and sauté about 30 seconds until fragrant.

Easy Creamed Spinach

Add in spinach and continue to stir until wilted.

Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the cream cheese until melted and then sprinkle with parmesan until it all comes together.

Easy Creamed Spinach


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