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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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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

 

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Earlier that day I had been near the store when Mr.Picky messaged me to pick up a can of pineapple chucks.  I did as he asked but was confused because Mr.Picky does not like canned pineapple and I was curious to know what he was making.  I was headed to play my monthly game of Bunco.    Mr.Picky offered to prepare dinner for him and the kids.  I don’t usually leave until after dinner and I usually wait to eat until I get to Bunco.

He went on the faithful Allrecipes and found Waikiki Meatballs Recipe.  I was shocked and so was he that he was making sweet and sour meatballs.  He does not like hot pineapple or sweet and sour sauce.  Like a good dad he figured the kids would love it.  Well it turned out great and both Mr.Picky and the kids enjoyed it.  He was so proud of his homemade meatballs.  I ended up eating two dinners that night because of course I needed to sample Mr.Picky’s cooking.  This will continue into the dinner rotation of recipes.

We slightly altered the recipe because the bell peppers needed to be cooked just a bit more.  I would add a bit more vinegar as it was a bit sweet for me.  But it was still great and could be left as is.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs:

  • Sweet and Sour Meatballs1 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 2/3 cup saltine cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs corn starch
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pineapple chunks, juice drained and reserved
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce or amino acids
  • 1/3 cup green bell pepper, chopped (we chopped it large so the kids could pick it out)

In a bowl combine beef, crackers, onion, milk, egg, ginger, and salt mix until evenly incorporated.

Scoop meat into even size balls 1-2 Tbs of meat per ball.

Heat olive oil in a medium heat skillet and brown meatballs until cooked through.  Add the green peppers into cook the last few minutes of cooking on the meatballs.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Drain any fat if there is any.

In a small bowl combine cornstarch, sugar, pineapple juice, vinegar, and soy sauce until smooth.

Pour the sauce over the meatballs and continue to cook and stir about 5 minutes until sauce has thickened.

Add the pineapple chunks and continue to heat through.

Serve over white or brown rice.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

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Green Chile Pork Mexi Bowls

A few years back I had started making a green chile pulled pork in the slow cooker to stuff into burritos.  While trying to eat healthier I was taking away the tortilla and making a Mexi bowl.  Mr.Picky thought mine looked good and tried one.  This is now one of his favorite meals.  The kids love it also anytime you get to choose your toppings it is interesting.

The toppings and options are limitless.  Mr.Picky enjoys these packed in his lunch.  If feeding a crowd I would double the meat and it is always fun to do a buffet style.  Or save the leftovers and make a big taco salad the next night.

Mexi-Bowls with green chile pulled pork

These are ideas for toppings that we have used in the past and the recipe for the green chile pork is to follow:

  • Mexican Rice (use the link for my version or used a box variety of your choice)
  • cooked or canned pinto/black beans (drained)
  • cilantro (chopped)
  • shredded cheese (we use mexican blend)
  • lime
  • avocado
  • corn
  • olives
  • tomato
  • onions or green onions
  • crushed tortilla chips
  • salsa
  • sour cream

 

Green Chile Pulled Pork:Green Chile Pulled Pork

  • 2-4 pound pork tip or loin roast, trimmed of fat
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 (7 oz.) can green mild chiles
  • 1/2-1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked or regular paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 -2 cloves garlic,minced

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and give it a stir.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours, and high for about 3 hours.

Stir once or twice during cooking time.  During the last hour of cooking remove meat and shred with two forks.

Place meat back into cooking liquid and allow to absorb some of the juices for at least another 30 minutes on keep warm.

Mexi Bowls with green chile pulled pork

Mexi Bowls:

Usually we place rice on the bottom of the bowl, followed by beans and meat, then load them how you like.

Sweet Dijon Chicken

Sweet Dijon Chicken

I have made this chicken twice now, and have changed the recipe after both times.  Originally it was adapted from a recipe called World’s Best Chicken, I don’t know about the best so I renamed it after adapting it to my liking.  I think it is perfect now and everyone loves it, including Mr.Picky.  This is really a simple dish with a big punch.

We love to eat it with rice or quinoa and lots of vegetables of course.   Not only is this dish delicious but health conscious, and allows for a really well-balanced meal without high fat.   I hope your family enjoys it as much as ours.

Sweet Dijon Chicken:

  • 2 chicken breasts (fillets) or 6 thighs, boneless skinless
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • sprinkle of rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and grease a 9 x 13″ glass baking pan.Sweet Dijon Chicken

Place chicken in prepared pan and season with salt and pepper.

Mix mustard, syrup, and vinegar and pour over chicken.

Cook approximately 20-25 minutes until juices run clear and the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.  Season with rosemary to taste in the last 5 minutes.

Allow the chicken to rest about 10 minutes before serving.  Moist and fork tender chicken in your mouth!!

Cheesy Prosciutto and Vegetable Rice with Cauliflower Cream Sauce

I had this beautiful head of cauliflower to use up and wanted to change it up from the usual seasoned roasting side dish.  Although my kids will gobble it down when I use my Seasoned Roasted Cauliflower recipe, I was looking to make a main dish.  I had saved Creamy Cauliflower Sauce – Pinch of Yum a long time ago and figured I would give it a try.  I used her inspiration to create my variation and make my dish into a vegetable risotto like dish.

I couldn’t believe how creamy the cauliflower got when blending, and in my recipe I did not add milk or cream.  When I got to the point of adding milk, I realized it was completely unnecessary because the cauliflower was amazing on its own.  My mother has always made cauliflower cheese soup and used an immersion blender but not to the point of completely smooth texture.  If I didn’t already say it, amazing idea and way to incorporate vegetables so no one knows.

After making my sauce I had to decide what to do with it.  I had brown rice in the cupboard, lots of vegetables in the fridge, and a bit of frozen chopped prosciutto in freezer.  I figured this would create something wonderful and it did.  We ate this two nights in a row and plan on making regularly.  Both kids had seconds of this vegetable loaded dinner.

Easily remove the prosciutto and make it vegetarian.  The sauce made about double what I needed for the rice but I used the rest later in another dinner.  I imagine that you could use all the sauce or it would probably freeze fine for a quick dinner in the future.

Cheesy Prosciutto and Vegetable Rice with Cauliflower Cream Sauce

Cheesy Prosciutto and Vegetables Rice with Cauliflower Cream Sauce:

Sauce:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets or about 2″ pieces
  • 2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste (I required more)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 6 cloves of roasted garlic, I keep mine frozen but raw could be steamed with the cauliflower

Rice:

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped (I used rainbow carrots)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 cup prosciutto, finely diced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup sweet peppers (yellow,red or orange), finely diced
  • 2 Tbs fresh parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese blend, grated
  • 2 green onions, chopped (optional)

Place the rice and water in a pot with salt and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover to cook for 45-50 minutes.  About 20 minutes into cooking I tossed in my frozen peas and carrots, to the rice gave it a stir and allowed it to finish cooking.  If using white rice use the recommended amount of water for 1 cup rice, and put the vegetable in when you turn down to simmer because white rice cooks faster.

While the rice is on, place cut up cauliflower in a pot with a steamer basket with about 2 cups of stock.  If you do not have roasted garlic, simple peel 4-6 garlic cloves and pop them in the pot to steam with the cauliflower.  Cover the pot and steam the cauliflower until tender.

No dairy added

No diary added

Remove the cauliflower, reserving the liquid separately and place cauliflower in a blender or food processor.  A blender is going to get your sauce smoother, but make do with what you have.

Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and roasted garlic to cauliflower with about 1/2 cup of liquid and begin to blend.  Add liquid as needed and to the desired consistency.  Taste and add any additional salt or pepper.

Once your sauce is done and the rice it cooked, it is time to put it all together.

In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat place olive oil and additional 3-4 cloves of crushed garlic.  Toss in onion and sweet peppers, cook until onions become tender.

Dump in the pot of rice and vegetables mixing until all is combined and then add the desired amount of cauliflower sauce.  I used about half my sauce mixture.  Stir until all is hot and well mixed together.

Mix in cheeses and green onions if desired.Cheesy Prosciutto and Vegetable Rice with Cauliflower Cream Sauce

*Any vegetable would work in this recipe.  Mushrooms and zucchini would taste great, added at the point the onions are added.  Mix it up and add what vegetables your family will eat.

 

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