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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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Gobble-Up Strata

Flipping through some cooking magazines at grandma’s house this recipe for gobble-up strata struck my attention.  It is an article on ways to use up leftovers after Thanksgiving.  Well it is no are we close to Thanksgiving and my Grandma and me wants to know who has leftover stuffing or dressing?  It is always the first thing to disappear at our meal and we usually make double dishes.

I figures I could make this whenever and it sounded pretty good.  Mr.Picky is not a huge fan of strata but I served it when company was around so I knew he would eat it no matter what.  Knowing that I would never have leftover stuffing I prepared some with the purpose of this recipe alone.  I also used some rotisserie chicken that I had pulled apart and frozen previously.  The peppers and onions give it great color, it reminds me of Christmas.

The strata turned out great and was very filling.  Mr.Picky said it would be even better with a bit of turkey gravy over the top, I must agree that it would make it even better.

Gobble Up StrataGobble-Up Strata:

  • 3-4 cups leftover stuffing or dressing
  • 2 cups cubed and cooked chicken or turkey
  • 4 green onions,chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

 

Lightly grease a 9×13″ baking dish.

Layer stuffing, then chicken, followed by the green onions and peppers.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, and mayonnaise and pour evenly over the top of the casserole.

Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 60-65 minutes.  Allow to cool about 10 minutes before serving.

Gobble-Up Strata

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Bacon Cheddar Scones

Bacon Cheddar SconesThanks to Pinterest for allowing me to find Ziplist Sous Chef Recipe Clipper – Bacon Cheddar Scallion Scones.  This was a recipe right up Mr.Picky’s ally.  Bacon and cheese make everything good.  Although when I served them I called them biscuits as not to scare him off.  The reply was well where is the gravy then?

So half of us ate these plain and warm, which were amazing.  The other half had a bit of gravy on top.  Mr.Picky really liked them and asked to keep these in the rotation.  He even took the remaining scones to work for breakfast for the next week.

I didn’t change much besides the fact that I forgot to get half and half or cream, so I substituted milk.  It still worked and I just added a 1 Tbs more of butter to add a bit more fat.  Posted below is the original recipe which is just as good. Just remember that if you are out of something there is always a substitute.

Bacon Cheddar Scones:

  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and diced
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 5 Tbs butter, cubed or grated
  • 2/3 cup half and half or heavy cream

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Stir in cheese, green onions, and bacon.

Work in the butter until you get a pea size crumb.  (I prefer to use frozen butter and grate my butter in, this distributes the butter evenly and allow you to not overwork the dough)

Make a well in the center and add in the cream.  Stir until  a dough forms (it will be messy but will all bake up together).

Bacon Cheddar Scones

Form dough into circle and then slice into triangles.

Bake on parchment paper or a baking stone.

Bacon Cheddar Scones

Bake 400 degrees for 20-24 minutes until just turning golden.

Bacon Cheddar Scones

Serve warm or with a bit of gravy.

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Broccoli Quinoa Bake

Broccoli Quinoa BakeI made broccoli quinoa bake as a meatless meal last night.  We loved it, in fact I am already thinking of endless quinoa bake ideas.  Mr.Picky was not around to try it but I think he would tolerate it.  We ate it as a main dish because quinoa is full of protein and we had plenty of broccoli in it.  It would also make a great side dish accompanying any meat really.

Think of it as an easy risotto.  Don’t let the broccoli and quinoa fool you.  We combined both healthy ingredients with some cheese to come up with a family edible solution.

I had inspiration from many recipes I found but I ended up revamping the recipe to my taste.  I made a white sauce by scratch with pulled the whole thing together.  The fat content in other recipes seemed extremely high to me and I reduced that and all turned out well.  Give it a try, it is a great dish to test quinoa out on the family.  I just told them it was rice.

Broccoli Quinoa Bake:

  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1 chicken bullion cube
  • 1 tsp Morton Nature’s Seasoning
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded blended cheese (Colby,cheddar, or mozzarella)
  • 1 green onions,chopped
  • 2 cups broccoli, steamed until tender and chopped
  • 2 Tbs mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs parmesan cheese, to sprinkle on top

Bring quinoa, water, and dash of salt to a boil.  Cover and reduce the heat to low.  Continue to cook for 15-20 minutes or until the quinoa looks like it has white tails.  Fluffy with a fork and set aside to cool slightly. (You can skip this step and use leftover cooked quinoa about 1 1/2-2 cups worth).

While the quinoa is cooking steam up the broccoli or use frozen and thaw.  Either way coarsely chop the broccoli.

In a saucepan you are going to make a white sauce or base soup to pull the whole dish together.  Combine 1 cup cold milk and 1 Tbs cornstarch.  Whisk until smooth and continue to heat over medium heat.  At this point you can add the chicken bouillon, salt, 1/4 tsp pepper to taste, dash of nutmeg and to season I added Morton Nature’s Seasoning (see link to create your own).  Continue until starting to thicken, make sure and taste your seasoned sauce.

Cream of whatever or white soup.

Cream of whatever or white soup.

(In substitute to the white sauce you could use a can of cream of mushroom, cream or chicken, or cream of celery soup.  You can also add in mushrooms to the white sauce or any other vegetable you desire)

Now to put it all together in a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, cooked broccoli, the white sauce, 1 green onion chopped, shredded cheese, and mayonnaise.  Stir until well combined.

Broccoli Quinoa Bake

Pour into a lightly greased 1 1/2 or 2 quart baking dish.  Spread evenly and sprinkle with 2 Tbs parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until bubbly and cheese is starting to brown.

Broccoli Quinoa Bake

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Roasted Loaded Potatoes

After craving baked potatoes and Mr.Picky refusing to eat them I created a happy medium.  I made roasted loaded potatoes as I am calling them.  Roasted potatoes are one of Mr.Picky’s favorite ways to eat potatoes so I thought why not loaded it up like a baked potato.

Bacon, cheese, and potatoes can this combination even go wrong?  Of course the potatoes were well seasoned and roasted with some fresh garlic.  I will admit I ate two servings with sour cream atop.  The kids loved them “minus the green things”, as my daughter put it.  Although loaded with fat it was a wonderful change to the general roasted potato.

Roasted Loaded Potatoes

Roasted Loaded Potato Bites:

  • 8-10 red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 dry ranch seasoning package
  • 1 cup cheddar or cheese blend, grated
  • 4-6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • sour cream or ranch dressing to top your potatoes

In a large bowl toss together potatoes, oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and ranch seasoning until well coated.

Roasted Loaded Potatoes

Spread potatoes on a sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, flipping at least once.

Once your potatoes are cooked to your liking, just tender or crispy.  Top with 1/2 the cheese, bacon, onions, and the other half of the cheese to hold it in.

Place back in the oven for about 5 minutes until cheese is nicely melted.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream or ranch dressing drizzled atop.

Aunt Debbie’s Cantaloupe Salsa

Fruit with a bite is the perfect way to describe Aunt Debbie’s Cantaloupe Salsa.  Sometimes I skip the chips and eat it straight out of the bowl with a fork.  My Aunt Debbie married into the family and we warmed up quickly when she brought her famous salsa to a family get together.

Not only is this salsa super healthy, it is also flavorful and versatile.  Aunt Debbie said it is great on top of fish or chicken, she tops the chicken and fish with salsa covers and bakes.  I am going to have to make some to try this out.

Aunt Debbie's Cantaloupe Salsa

Cantaloupe Salsa:

  • 1 ripe cantaloupe seeded, peeled and diced into small bits
  • 2 bunches green onions, chopped
  • 2 -3 sweet bell peppers seeded and finely chopped any color—I like the red ones best
  • 2 large bunches of fresh cilantro—use just the tops and mince finely
  • Juice of 4 limes, you can add some zest if you need more lime flavor
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger—you can use pre-minced if you don’t have fresh
  • 1 or 2 seeded jalapeño peppers,finely chopped
  • Optional—1-2 cloves of minced garlic

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, best if the flavors are able to develop for an hour or two in the fridge.

This is a really forgiving recipe. Aunt Debbie has stretched the recipe for another meal by adding chopped apples, mango, peaches, or even tomatoes and sweet corn.

Twice Baked Potatoes

Twice baked potatoes are a real treat, and they are easy to make ahead for a crowd.  I play bunco with a group of ladies once a month.  We take turn preparing dinner and at one point I made these try of twice baked potatoes.  Left the toppings up to the guests.  Twice Baked Potatoes

I provided shredded cheese, green onions, bacon, and sour cream.  The toppings you could do are really endless.

Twice Baked Potatoes:

These are very general directions and the quantities you would like to use are at your discretion.  This is simple how I do it, and the way I prefer to make my mashed potatoes.

  • baker potatoes
  • buttermilk
  • roasted garlic or finely grated fresh garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • paprika, to sprinkle and make it look pretty

Bake clean potatoes at 400 degrees for about 40-45 minutes, depending on side.

Remove from oven, and allow to side for 10-15 minutes until you can handle them.  You still want them warm.

Slice lengthwise and scoop out the inside leaving a good edge so the potato stand up fine.

Place all your hot potato innards into a stand mixer bowl, and attach the whisk attachment.

Add your garlic and a bit of salt and pepper.  Turn your mixer on low-medium to start.

Slowly pour in buttermilk until the potatoes have some moisture to mix.  The potatoes will turn into wonderfully flavored plain mashed potatoes in no time.  Add buttermilk until they have reached the desired consistency you prefer.  Taste your potatoes, do they need more salt or pepper?

Transfer mashed potatoes to a gallon size bag, and snip off a tip.  Pipe or just scoop the potatoes to fill the potato skins.

Sprinkle with paprika.  At this point you can cover and refrigerate the potatoes even over night , or pop them right in the oven.

Heat 350 degrees on a baking sheet, for about 30 minutes or until hot.  If the potatoes have just been filled the probably won’t take this long.  Present with topping of your choice, or add them on before baking a second time.

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