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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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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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Buttermilk Breakfast Sausage

I was passed some food magazines that Grandma was finished with and scanned the recipes.  I came across a recipe sent in for Buttermilk Breakfast Sausage.  Mr.Picky often complains that there isn’t enough flavor to sausage when I purchase it.  I hate to buy it because it is filled with junk.

We have made sausage in the past and usually let it flavors develop overnight, although this recipe did not require this.  It still turned out great.  This is probably one of the best sausages I have eaten and will be making it from now on.  The sausage is tender and almost melts in your mouth.

The recipe calls for over 2 pounds of sausage and we don’t usually need that much.  I took out half the sausage mix before I cooked it and froze it after packaging tightly.  Now we have a whole nother batch ready to go.  I got about a dozen 4 inch patties out of half the mixture.

Buttermilk Breakfast SausageButtermilk Breakfast Sausage:

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp dried marjoram or oregano
  • 3/4 tsp dried savory or thyme
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 lb. ground pork

Milk milk and seasonings in a large bowl.

Add in pork and mix until combined.

Form into patties and cook on medium heat about 5 minutes on each side.

Freeze any remaining sausage for a later date. //

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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Tuna Green Bean Casserole

My neighbor mentioned tuna noodle casserole and it occurred to me I hadn’t made that in forever.  My heart was torn because I had just purchased a giant bag of French’s Fried Onions and a bag of petite fresh green beans.  I really wanted to make green bean casserole.  So I combined the two and came up with a simple and tasty dinner.

The whole family enjoyed this meal.  Who doesn’t love a comforting casserole?  Mr.Picky heated it up even the next morning for breakfast.  Next time I will update the recipe by removing the canned mushroom soup and making it from scratch.  This is because Mr.Picky dried a ton of wild mushrooms and for health reasons.  It was late and I was hungry so I reached for the extra cans in the cupboard.  I really enjoyed the green beans and would probably double the amount next time.  This depends on if your family likes green beans of course.

Tuna Green Bean Casserole

Tuna Green Bean Casserole:

  • 2 cup dry egg noodles, cooked until al dente according to package
  • 2 (10 3/4 oz.) cans of cream of mushroom soup
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
  • 2 (7 oz. or smaller) cans tuna, drained and flaked
  • 1 cup fresh petite green beans, cut to bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup fried onions, divided

Tuna Green Bean Casserole

While cooking noodles, throw the green beans into the water the last-minute or two of boiling to start the cooking process.

Meanwhile in a large bowl combine mushroom soup, milk, pepper, onion,tuna, 1/2 cup fried onions, and shredded cheese.

Drain noodles and beans and add to the bowl.

Combine the mixture and pour into a lightly grease 9×13″ glass baking dish.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, or until bubbly.  The last 5 minutes of cooking sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup fried onions and cook until golden brown.
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Creamy Balsamic Dressing

With my one New Years Resolution this year to be to try to make all my dressing homemade I have tried  many new recipes.  I have made creamy balsamic dressing twice now.  It is a great alternative to a heavy creamy dressing but still is satisfying in flavor.

I didn’t have any Morton’s Nature Seasoning on hand.  Google came in handy and provided me with a recipe in which I prepared a little container of it.  Not only is this seasoning great in the dressing but I add it to multiple recipes.  Mr.Picky is especially fond of this seasoning.

Creamy Balsamic Dressing:Creamy Balsamic Dressing

  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
  • 3 Tbs mayonnaise or greek plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp Morton’s Nature Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive or grape seed oil

Whisk together garlic, mayo, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, salt, and nature seasoning.

Add in vinegar and whisk until combined well.  While continuing to whisk slowly add in oil and whisk until smooth.

Keep in the refrigerator and a mason jar, enjoy this healthy option on your favorite salad.

Morton’s Nature Seasoning:

  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 2 1/2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs dried parsley
  • 2 tsp celery seed

Combine all of the following in a container with an air tight lid.

Wheat Berry Salad with Feta

When flipping through  my new cookbook (new to me I picked it up from a garage sale)Family Circle Annual Recipes 2011.   I came across Wheat Berry Salad.  I knew it would be perfect as a lunch salad.  I love feta and it had crunchy bites of apple and celery, which paired perfectly with the sweet and tangy dried cranberries.  All of these ingredients are some of my favorites.

I just needed to buy some wheat berries.  I know my mom has prepared these but I can’t remember if I had or not.  The directions were clear and it turned out great.  Just prepare yourself by soaking the berries the night before.

Wheat Berry Salad with FetaWheat Berry Salad with Feta:

  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 1 gala apples, cored and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries, cranberries, or golden raisins
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey mustard
  • 1-2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 Tbs olive oil

In a large bowl place wheat berries and cover with water so by at least 2 inches.  Allow to sit at room temperature overnight.

Drain wheat berries and transfer to a  medium sauce pan.  Add 3 1/2  cups water and bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes.  Add a little more water as needed while cooking.

Drain and cool to room temperature, meanwhile combine apples, dried fruit, celery, green onions, and feta in a large bowl.

Whisk together in a small bowl vinegar, honey mustard, honey, salt, and pepper.  While whisking add in oil in a thin stream.

Add wheat berries and dressing to the apple mixture and toss to coat the salad.


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