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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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Cheesesteaks

I had never eaten a Philly cheesesteak before I made Cheesesteaks | the little kitchen.  This recipe was so easy and tasted like you slaved in the kitchen.  There is a little prep work but once that is done, the recipe comes together in minutes.  Enjoy a quick and hearty sandwich for dinner.

The unique thing about this recipe is the going into the oven when it is complete.  Heating through in the oven brings the sandwich to another level.  The link above has great step by step photos if you need some good visuals.

Cheesesteaks:Cheesesteaks

  • 4 hoagie rolls
  • 1/2-1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms (if you want them), thinly sliced
  • 1.25-1.5 rib eye steak, thinly sliced and then chopped finely
  • 8 pieces of Muenster cheese or provolone or a combo of the two
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • salt and pepper

First prep all vegetables and meat  slices as listed.  Place each hoagie in an open position on a sheet of foil, so it is ready to be filled.

If using mushrooms you can simply sauté them on their own or with the onions and peppers if you like the combo.  Using 1 Tbs butter sauté over medium/high heat in a non stick skillet all the vegetables.  Cook 5-8 minutes until golden, once cooked season with salt and pepper.  Remove vegetables and place on a plate to the side.

Wipe out the pan and add 1 Tbs butter and half the meat over medium heat, season with salt and pepper.  Saute the meat for 1-2 minutes add in half the vegetables back in and mix the two together.

Divide this mixture in to two sections and top with cheese until melted.  Slide off each cheese covered section into a roll.  And repeat with remaining meat and vegetables until all hoagies have been filled.

Now tightly wrap each hoagie roll up almost squashing it.  Place in a 250 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.  If reheating leftovers leave the foil on and store in a plastic bag.  Reheat at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
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Curried Pork

Some of my favorite cookbooks are Cooking Light Annual Recipes, this recipe struck my eye out of the 2004 edition.  As a child my mother cooked a lot with curry and to be honest it burned me out on it.  Mr.Picky likes it so I thought I should give it a try and cook a curry dish.

This dish was great and easy.  Allow yourself at least an hour to cook though.  The only thing I would do differently is add some more spice for a fuller flavor.  I have adjusted the recipe to what I would do next time.  We served our curried pork over white rice with seasoned roasted cauliflower.

Curried PorkCurried Pork:

  • 1 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb. boneless pork loin, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large nonstick skillet lightly sprayed with cooking spray or olive oil saute onions and peppers over medium heat for about 3 minutes.

Add in mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes.

Curried Pork

Place vegetables in a 11 x 7″ baking dish that has been lightly greased.

Combine flour, curry powder,salt, and pepper in a bowl.  Add pork and toss to coat.

Curried Pork

In the same pan you used for vegetables, spray again with oil.  Over medium high heat add pork mixture and cook about 5 minutes until pork has browned on each side.

Pour pork mixture over vegetables in baking dish.  Now pour the can of tomatoes over the whole dish.

Curried Pork

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until tender.

Serve over rice.

Curried Pork

 

Cauliflower Pepper Jack Cheese Soup

Growing up Christmas dinner was usually Cauliflower Cheese soup.  My mothers secret was pepper jack cheese which gave the soup the perfect amount of spice.  My sister came across Cauliflower-Cheese Soup Recipe – Allrecipes.com which is an exact recipe.  It adds carrot, celery, and potato which my mom never did.  I gave it a try but added a bit of the secret ingredient and blended it a bit like my mom did.

My two-year old ate two bowls and asked again for more the next day.  I loved the added carrot and celery.  The added potato allowed a bit less thickener.  The best part you don’t need must seasoning but salt and pepper.

Cauliflower Pepper Jack Cheese SoupCauliflower Pepper Jack Cheese Soup:

  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1-2 stalks celery,chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut in florets
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 4 Tbs flour
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups milk or half and half
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

In a medium pot combine water with celery, carrots, onions, potatoes, and cauliflower.  Bring water to a boil, cover with a lid and simmer for about 15 minutes until vegetables start to become tender.

Cauliflower Pepper Jack Cheese Soup

In a large pot or dutch oven melt butter.  Add in flour and cook about 2 minutes  on medium heat.

Cauliflower Pepper Jack Cheese Soup

Stir in milk until smooth and mixture begins to thicken.

Add in the water and vegetables.  Continue to cook until all vegetables are tender, season with salt and pepper.

It you prefer a smoother soup, use an immersion blender at this time to blend to desired consistency.

Stir in cheese and taste again for any seasoning needed.

Enjoy piping hot with a good loaf of bread.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

Mr.Picky came home excited years ago about Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup he had tried at a close family friends.  I was absolutely shocked because Mr.Picky dislikes soup so much.  He carried in the recipe copied for us and asked me to make it.  We had no mushrooms at the time and I kind of forgot about it the recipe in the box.

With the seasons turning it is now time to go pick wild mushrooms.  Most people find this to be scary because they are worried they will be poisoned.  I trust Mr.Picky and his mushroom skills.  He came home with 3 gallons of chanterelle mushrooms and a few huge lobster mushrooms.

Funny thing is I am in no way picky mushrooms is one of two foods I do not care for.  Most of the time I do not want to inflict my tastes on the kids so I suck it up and eat them.  We dried what we didn’t eat fresh the first day or in the soup, so now we can enjoy them throughout the rest of the year.

Back to the soup.  Once I sat down and read the recipe I realized why Mr.Picky liked it. Bacon, burger, and mushrooms are some of his favorite foods.  I made the recipe according to the directions as it was my first time.  I will probably take out the mushroom soup and make it by scratch next time.  Although this was really good and with a thick and creamy texture.  I also didn’t have just wild rice but I used a wild rice and quinoa mixture that worked well.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup:

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

 

  • 1/2 lbs. bacon (browned drained and chopped)
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef, browned drained and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup wild rice (can use brown)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 stalks celery,chopped
  • 2/3 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cans beef broth
  • 1 cup dried mushrooms or fresh, chopped
  • 3 (10 3/4 oz.) cans cream of mushroom soup
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper

Rinse rice in cold water until clear. Boil rice in 2 cups of water and simmer 15 min.

Saute veggies until onions are clear.

In 4 quart pan put cans of broth and cream of mushroom soup mix and heat until combined. Add remaining ingredients and season to taste with Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper.

Simmer 1 hour, serve hot with some great crusty bread to dip.

I ate half the bowl before I remembered to take a picture.

I ate half the bowl before I remembered to take a picture.

 

Best Bread and Butter Pickles

My husband’s family loves bread and butter pickles.  I remember Mr.Picky telling me how much he likes them, personally I am a dill pickle girl.  In fact I thought I hated bread and butter pickles, as it turns out it is probably just store-bought ones I dislike so much.

Best Bread and Butter Pickles
Last year I had canned dill pickles and dill beans, amongst numerous other things.  I thought I was through with canning when my grandmother gave me one large cucumber after the other.  The cucumbers were nice slicer cucumbers but I could only eat so much.  I decided I would look up a recipe for bread and butter pickles and give it a whirl.  Bread and Butter Pickles II Recipe – Allrecipes.com had the best ratings so it was the recipe I went with.

This recipe was amazing and not too sweet.  It turns out I do like bread and butter pickles.  I especially love the peppers and onions in the jar as well.  Sometimes we top our sandwiches with the pickles or I will chop up the peppers,onions, and pickles to make a relish.  The relish is particularly wonderful in tuna salad.

Best Bread and Butter Pickles:Best Bread and Butter Pickles

This recipe yields 8 – 1 quart jars

  • 25 cucumbers, sliced
  • 6 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 green peppers, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 3 cups cider vinegar
  • 5 cups white vinegar
  • 2 Tbs mustard seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 Tbs ground turmeric

In a large bowl, mix together cucumbers, onions, green bell peppers, garlic and salt. Allow to stand approximately 3 hours.

In a large saucepan, mix the cider vinegar, white sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, whole cloves and turmeric. Bring to a boil.

Drain liquid from the cucumber mixture. Stir the mixture into the boiling vinegar mixture. Remove from heat shortly before the combined mixtures return to boil.

Transfer to sterile containers. Seal and chill in the refrigerator until serving.

Or can in a water bath for 15 minutes.  Allow to cool before storing.

Zesty Grilled Chicken Salad

I got this recipe out of one of my favorite cookbooks from a local author Frances A. Gillette.  Although all of her cookbooks are wonderful, Zesty Grilled Chicken Salad came out of Romancing the West.

This salad is great on a summer night, and is really a one dish meal.  You have protein and lots of greens, so please enjoy.

Zesty Grilled Chicken Salad

Zesty Grilled Chicken Salad:

 

Salad:

  • 1-2 grilled chicken breast
  • 2 Romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and sliced
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 3/4 cup of black olives, cut in halves
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and Pepper

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 3 Tbs plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 3 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 4-6 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

 

The original directions say to use grilled chicken breasts.  We have found, we love roasted red pepper salad dressing to marinate chicken for about 1-4 hours.  We then use the BBQ or indoor grill to grill it until done.  Always allow chicken to rest 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Using a blender or immersion blender, blend 1/2 cup of feta cheese and remaining dressing ingredients until smooth.  Stir in onion and allow to sit in the fridge.  I blend it all in a wide mouth jar, add my onion, throw a lid on it.

Toss all salad ingredients with dressing.

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