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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

 

Taco Crescent Ring

Taco RingThere is a huge brand out there that came out with this Taco Crescent Ring at least 15 years ago.  Well I am still making it but I have my version.  It is easy and looks fancy plus both Mr.Picky and the kids eat it up with smiles on their faces.  It is not by any means healthy or by scratch.

I happen to have bought a box of 5 cans of crescent rolls as a treat to create what I felt necessary.  This is not a usual purchase and I know they are loaded with all kinds of junk.  Sometimes my stomach feels the need to eat some junk and doesn’t care what my brain or body want.

I was in need of a quick dinner and had everything on hand.  So this recipe was prepared once again to everyone’s satisfaction.  I thawed the meat from the freezer and the rest of the ingredients are usually on hand.

Taco RingTaco Crescent Ring:

  • 2 tubes of crescent rolls
  • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 (16 oz.) can of refried beans (black or pinto)
  • 1 recipe of my taco seasoning or a taco seasoning packet
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese or mexican cheese blend
  • 1/2 cup water
  • tomatoes, diced
  • sour cream
  • lettuce, shredded
  • salsa
  • olives,sliced

Brown ground beef and onion in a skillet and drain any extra fat.

Add in water, taco seasoning, and refried beans.  Stir and heat until combined.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Taco Ring

On a circular baking pan or baking stone spread the crescent rolls evenly in a sun shape.  Leave a circle about 6 inches wide in the center and have the pointed end face out, overlap here needed.

I will sometimes roll or press the rolls together to get a good base for the filling if needed.

Spread the meat mixture around the circle evenly allowing about 1/2″ of room near the edge of the inner circle.

Taco Ring

Sprinkle with the cheese.

Taco Ring

Starting anywhere began folding the pointed edge of the outside triangle into the center.  Slight press or tuck under the inner circle to hold the filling together.  Not all of the filling will be covered and that is the pretty part.

Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Serve with tomatoes, sour cream, lettuce, salsa, and olives to top each slice.
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Turkey Pumpkin Chili

I am a chili lover, especially if the chili is made with kidney beans.  Growing up my mom always made chili with kidney beans. To this day I swear I can eat chili breakfast, lunch, and dinner as long as it is homemade.  My mother’s chili is very similar but usually uses ground beef and omit the pumpkin and pumpkin spice.  Chili is so simple, versatile and forgiving, and is a one pot meal.  A slow cooker would work as well but as long as I am home I love to just simmer my soup in a dutch oven on the stove.

A few years ago I had come across a recipe that added pumpkin.  In the fall if I have any pumpkin in the freezer or extra from baking I make this chili.  The pumpkin purée added a depth and richness to the chili without a pumpkin flavor.

Of course chili can not be served without fresh cornbread.  Sour cream and cheddar cheese are optional.

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Turkey Pumpkin Chili:

  • 1 package ground turkey breast (16-20 oz.)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 green pepper,diced
  • 1  cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (26 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or (1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp allspice)

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

In a large pot brown turkey, add in onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant.

Add remaining ingredients and bring up to simmer, continue to simmer on low for at least 1 hour.

Serve with cornbread, tortilla chips, or with some cheddar cheese.
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Antipasto Pasta Salad with a Zesty Dressing

Antipasto Pasta Salad

My grandmother passed me a container of some of the best dressed pasta salad I had eaten in a long time.  She had gotten the recipe out of a magazine.  I will make the salad dressing from now on as a zesty Italian dressing.  The salad can contain any or all of the following ingredients.  What vegetables your family will eat will work and just leave the meat out to make it vegetarian.

Antipasto Pasta Salad with a Zesty Dressing:

  • 1 pound pasta, cooked
  • green peppers
  • tomatoes
  • garbanzo beans
  • salami, chopped or cubed
  • pepperoni, mini or chopped
  • cheese (provolone, cheddar, mozzarella,or Monterey jack),cubed or shredded
  • olives
  • artichoke hearts
  • broccoli,blanched
  • zucchini
  • cucumbers
  • grapes
  • avocado

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

 

Combine any combination of salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Chopping all vegetables to bite size pieces or smaller.

In a jar whisk together all dressing ingredients but olive oil.  Once sugar is dissolved slowly whisk in olive oil.  Place lid on jar and give it a good shake.

Top salad with 1/2 of dressing and add more as needed.

Guacamole

Guacamole

I love to dip and eat tortilla chips, salty and savory is what I crave.  Not super fond of a guacamole with no chunky goodness.  This is how I make my guacamole.

Guacamole:

  • 4 ripe avocados (reserve one pit from avocado)
  • Juice of 1 large or 2 small limes
  • Cilantro, small handful rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1/2-1 (depending on heat) jalapeno, minced
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 cup onion (red or sweet), chopped

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.Guacamole

Mix with a spoon until desired texture is reached.  Refrigerate with the pit of one avocado in the bowl, this will keep your guacamole from browning.

Serve with chips, veggies, or as a topping.

Salad Choices. . .

I love a good salad bar, but usually any restaurant salad bar just doesn’t compare with what I can do at home.  We enjoy salad, it is one the few ways Mr.Picky will eat all his vegetables.  What makes it more exciting is if I put out a variety of toppings.  It gets the kids trying out new things, and they love the idea that they get to create their own.  Don’t get me wrong there are times when I make a tossed or chopped salad but in our house this gets everyone involved.

If I buy lettuce head in bulk, usually 6 Romane heads at a time I need some toppings.  I will spend a little time and wash and chop all of my toppings and keep them in the fridge for dinner every night for the week.  Top with some homemade salad dressings and you are set for the week.  Sometimes we will grill some chicken and it becomes our meal, especially during the hot summer months.

These are common things I will prepare and set out as toppings:Salad Bar

  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • bell peppers
  • olives
  • Leftover bean salad or a rinsed can of beans
  • beets, cooked and cubed
  • cilantro or basil
  • baby corn (as we call them)
  • crumbled blue cheese
  • green onions, or red thinly sliced
  • grapes halved or apples chopped
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