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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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Giant Birthday Burger

Mr.Picky requested only one thing for his birthday. . . .a giant birthday burger.  This was exciting and intimidating all at the same time. I asked if he wanted to invite anyone for his birthday dinner he was worried I wouldn’t make it large enough. Needless to say when it was all said and done we managed to eat under half. My picky guy who never eats leftovers at that burger for the next few days and loved it.

Giant Burger

 

I started out by trying a new hamburger bun recipe out.  Only instead of making small buns, I used the whole recipe to create a large bun.  I used a large dinner plate as my template and let the burger expand from there.

Giant Burger Bun

This looks flat but with the bun recipe it will plump right up.

This recipe for hamburger buns will now be the only bun recipe ever eaten in our home.  It was easy and the best bun we have ever eaten.  Not only did it hold together but it was not too fluffy and bready nor was it crumbly or dry.  The perfect bun.  I will post the recipe within a few days!  Did I mention I think it would make great dinner rolls and only takes about an hour to make, with rise time.

Baked giant burger bun

Baked giant burger bun

While my bun was cooling on a wire rack I started preparing my burger patty.  I used 1 1/2 pound of ground beef.  I added a dash of Worcestershire sauce and an envelope of french onion seasoning because this is how Mr.Picky loves his burgers.  I again used the same oversized dinner plate to flatten and shape my patty.

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

I baked 1 pound of bacon until crisp and sliced up all the fixings.

Giant Burger

Ready to bake the patty and compile the burger.

I baked the patty in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until desired pinkness.  Flip the burger 3/4 of the way through cooking and add sliced cheese to melt in the last-minute.

Perfect Sunnyside up eggs to top the burger.

Perfect Sunnyside up eggs to top the burger.

Once the burger was out of the oven I used a large skillet to make 5 eggs over-easy to add to the burger.

Load it up with your favorites!

Load it up with your favorites!

I sliced the bun in half and started building my burger on a cutting board.  At first I wasn’t sure what to put this monster burger on and then it was only obvious since I would be slicing it to eat anyway.  I spread mayonnaise on the bottom bun, then iceberg lettuce (one of the few things it tastes good with), tomatoes, salt and pepper, and bacon.  Although you do not see bacon covering the whole thing it is ok, you slice the burger like a pizza so there is plenty.

Giant Burger

We are almost done!

Place your cooked patty with or without cheese on top of the bacon followed by the eggs.  To finish the top bun I added some ketchup and placed it on top.

Giant Burger

The meal is now complete. . . now eat!

I served our giant burger with fries and some fry sauce.  We went all out for the birthday boy.  Of course you can add whatever condiments or toppings you would like.  Now go get a slice of that birthday burger!

Giant Burger


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Great Chicken Strips

Mr.Picky loves homemade chicken strips almost as much as he loves a good burger.  His mom makes chicken strips often and he expects the same from me.  I have tried battering, breading, baking, and frying and have never pleased his taste for chicken strips.

Finally I came across this recipe with is not only easy but it is not fried.  I am not sure of the source but have made this for a while, again the recipe card has taken its place in my recipe box.  Mr.Picky enjoyed this recipe the best and I now use this recipe only.  Did I mention my daughter said, “the best chicken I have ever tasted”.  Such a sweet girl I was happy to see all the plates cleaned from dinner.

Ready to pop in the oven!

Ready to pop in the oven!

Chicken Strips:

  • 3-6 chicken breast (depending on the crowd and size of breasts), cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk, if you don’t have buttermilk 1 cup milk and 1 Tbs lemon juice will work
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (regular breadcrumbs work better than panko)
  • 1 tsp salt

Combine chicken breast, egg, buttermilk, and garlic powder in gallon ziplock bag and refrigerate 2-4 hours.

Great Chicken Strips

In another bag combine the remaining and shake to combine.  Add the marinated chicken into the dry bag and again shake to coat the chicken strips.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet by placing a wire cooling rack on it.

Lightly spray the wire rack with cooking spray and place chicken strips on the rack.

Great Chicken Strips

Lightly mist the tops of the chicken strips and bake for about 30 minutes or until juices run clear.  The breading will look almost dry like it is raw flour, it freaks Mr.Picky out.  Once you bite into your chicken you will realize it is not and the bread is just perfect.

Great Chicken Strips

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or my healthier ranch dressing recipe.

Baked Chicken Quinoa Spinach Meatballs

I was totally inspired by Baked Turkey Quinoa Spinach Meatballs recipe.  Unfortunately I only had ground chicken and adjusted the seasonings and quantities according.  I was also tight on time so I stuffed the meat into my small muffin pan to make a larger meatball/loaf/muffin.

To me the flavor was great, although I believe it needed a bit more moisture.  Serving it with ketchup was better.  The leftovers are going into some spaghetti which will work better.  By adding an extra egg or a bit of applesauce would probably solve this problem.  If you are serving in a sauce this recipe is probably fine as it is.  Kids both enjoyed these healthy meatballs.

After preparing my spaghetti sauce in the crock pot which cooks all day along with the leftover meatballs it was amazing.  I didn’t feel the need to eat any noodles with it.  We all just had a yummy bowl of meatballs with a tomato sauce which included fresh tomatoes out of our garden.  With a bit of green beans and potatoes on the side we had a well-balanced meal.

Chicken Quinoa Spinach Meatballs:chicken quinoa spinach meatballs

  •  20 oz. ground chicken
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (all I had was quinoa and wild rice mix)
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 Tbs ground flaxseed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 2 Tbs Parmesan cheese
  • dash Worcestershire sauce
  • dash sriracha or hot sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbs Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning

 

Combine all ingredients in a bowl with your hands.  Mix until consistent throughout.

Chicken quinoa spinach meatballs

Either roll into meatballs and place on a foil lined sheet pan or press into muffin tins for mini meatloaf.

chicken quinoa spinach meatballs

Bake at 450 degrees for about 20-30 minutes depending on size of meatball.

Enjoy plain or with sauce!!!

Egg Drop Soup

 

Egg Drop SoupThe kids and I love soup so we try to eat it when Mr.Picky is gone, so we don’t have to listen to complaining.  It is August which is usually warm for us here in the Pacific Northwest but it started raining.  So with rain came Egg Drop Soup for dinner.  Both children love it and quoting my five-year old “I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner”.

A couple of times a week I try to make meatless meals.  Usually when Mr.Picky (my meat and potato man) is not joining us for dinner.  We had plenty of protein in the egg and I add some sautéed chard out of the garden to mine.

Egg Drop Soup with Chard added

Egg Drop Soup with Chard added

I adapted the recipe from The Kitchn-How to Make Egg Drop Soup .  The directions are easy and The Kitchn gives a variety of ideas you can add to your soup.  There is great photos on how to pour the egg into the soup at the link above.  This is exactly how I made my soup to my taste.

Egg Drop Soup:

  • 4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 Tbs plus 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or crushed
  • 1 Tbs liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp chinese five spice seasoning
  • green onions, chopped

 

In a medium sauce pan in about 1 tsp olive oil heat fresh ginger and garlic until fragrant.  Add in chicken stock.

Simmer on medium for about 15 minutes.  At this point you could add any vegetables and cook until done.  I think corn, peas, and mushrooms would be wonderful in this soup.  Remove 1/4 cup of stock and mix with 1 Tbs cornstarch until smooth, mix this back into the pot.  Bring up to a good simmer, as soup begins to thicken add soy sauce and seasonings.

Taste the soup to see if you need addition seasonings for your taste.  Meanwhile whisk together 1 tsp cornstarch and 2 eggs.

While the soup is on a low simmer, slowly stream the egg mixture into the soup.  Cook for another few minutes.

Serve hot and with a few green onions atop the soup.

 

Never Fail Pie Crust

Pie crust, the great debate of bakers and fear of many including me.  I can make pie crust, just rolling it out to look perfect is the problem.  After trying many recipes this one seems to take the cake or shall I say pie.  This simple recipe which may seem strange but is an old one and good one.  It is tender and flaky and very forgiving.

This recipe yields a double crust for two large 10 inch pies, or I have even gotten 3 crusts from it when doing 9 x 13″ pie bars.  If you don’t need a double crust it is ok, tightly wrap up the unused portion and keep it in the freezer.  Now you have pie crust to use without the work.

This is how wonderful your crust can turn out.

This is how wonderful your crust can turn out.

Never Fail Pie Crust:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbs vinegar
  • 4 Tbs cold as ice, water

Never Fail Pie Crust

 

Mix together flour and salt.  With a pastry cutter, cut shortening into flour mixture until it is the size of small peas.

Add water, vinegar, and beaten egg.  Mix dough until just combined and comes together as a dough.

Split dough in two and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, I shape my dough into about 6″ pancake rounds so it will easily roll into a circle after chilling.  Refrigerate the portion(s) you wish you use for about 20 minutes before rolling out to desired thickness.

Never Fail Pie Crust

Freeze any unused portions for 2-3 months in the freezer, and thaw in the fridge before use.

Freezable French Toast

Would you love to serve a hot breakfast on a busy weekday morning?  By making a large batch of french toast, we freeze the leftovers and they toast up perfectly in the toaster.

Freezable French Toast:

  • 1 loaf of slice french bread (thick slice) or bread of your choice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Zest of one orange or lemon

Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  By whisking before you add to wet mixture you will prevent lumps.Freezable French Toast

Now whisk together all ingredients including the dry mixture.  Whisk until well combined and almost frothy.  I use a pie plate for dipping and mixing.

Using my electric griddle I set the heat at 350 degrees or about medium in a pan.  With the griddle I can almost do the whole loaf in two batches.

Dip bread on both sides until coated and fry on each side for about 2-3 minutes.

Freezable French Toast

Serve with your choice of toppings.  Once any leftovers are cool, I simple bag them in a bread storage bag and throw them in the freezer.  When you are ready just simple toast the frozen french toast, it tastes really close to a fresh batch.

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