Monthly Archives: January 2014

Fried Brown Rice with Red Pepper and Almond

I’m not the biggest fast food fan.  We ate fast food here and there when I was a kid but for the most part, my mom usually cooked each night.  Considering she worked a full time job and then came home to make us dinner, I can understand why we had fast food every so often.  But I don’t really have a palette for fast food anymore (unless I’m on a road trip when all I want is French fries and a milkshake) but instead, when I don’t feel like cooking, I instinctively call the Chinese food restaurant for takeout.  My guilty pleasure go-to dish is vegetable fried rice which is probably one of the worst things a) on the menu and b) ever.  Since homemade fried rice dishes are never as good as the real thing, I’m hoping I’ll find a homemade recipe that I like enough to keep me from picking up that phone.  A girl can hope.  This time, I tried Fried Brown Rice with Red Pepper and Almond.

Onion, garlic, red pepper, and sliced almonds are sautéed in peanut oil briefly before adding in precooked rice (a HUGE time saver).  Fresh lime juice, curry paste, and cilantro leaves are adding such unique flavors that you don’t even realize that there isn’t a lick of soy sauce anywhere.  The curry paste is mild and has a very subtle flavor, much different than curry powder, so don’t be scared of it and don’t leave it out.  It really adds a great bold flavor to this rice.  The peppers and onions are sweet and the lime juice really gives this a vibrant flavor boost.  This vegetarian dish comes together quickly so you don’t have to spend much time over the stove after a long day.  Still not your cup of tea?  Try one of the other fried rice recipes in the link.  You just might find one you like that will keep you from order Chinese food or hitting that fast food restaurant.

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The ingredients:

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Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl. Add onion and garlic; stir-fry 1 minute.

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Add bell pepper and nuts; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add rice; stir-fry 1 minute.

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Stir in lime juice, curry paste, cilantro, and salt.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Red curry paste

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Chili and Spice Popcorn

Did anyone else watch the Golden Globe awards last night? I did, of course, because I get sucked into things like that and no matter how bizarre the whole thing is, I really do like to see what people are wearing and hope to see some awkward moment like Jacqueline Bissette’s acceptance speech.  Could the men have looked any better this year?  Geez!  Usually it’s the women’s dresses that are all the talk but nothing gets much better than seeing Chris Hemsworth, Bradley Cooper, Leonardo DiCaprio, Taylor Kinney, and Jared Leto is tuxes.  Wowza!  Anyway, a perfect and quick snack for a long television event like the Globes is this Chili and Spice Popcorn.

Plain old microwavable popcorn is jazzed up with a mixture of melted butter, chili powder, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  The mixture of the spices with the brown sugar makes this snack wonderfully sweet and savory which just melts on your tongue.  This popcorn is slightly addictive and before you know it, you’ll be licking your fingers and considering making another batch.  Now that’s a good golden snack.

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The ingredients:

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Prepare  a 3.5-oz package of microwave popcorn according to package directions. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Combine chili powder, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.

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Drizzle melted butter over popped popcorn followed by spice mixture.

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Toss to combine.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Woman’s Day magazine

Tex-Mex Chicken Soup

I’m not sure where you live but where I live, it’s been downright cold.  Friday we got 8 inches of snow and I woke up Saturday morning to the temperature outside being only 5 degrees.  I had plans to go to a football game later that day which meant walking around in layers and layers of clothing.  Those are the kind of days where the cold just permeates you and you can’t escape it.  Even in the comfort of home and my running heater, I was always chilled.  The best way to warm up on days like that is to warm up from the inside.  This Tex-Mex Chicken Soup is a perfect way to beat the cold.

Onion, garlic, red pepper, and jalapeño are sautéed in olive oil until soft and fragrant before being mixed together with vibrant spices of chili powder, cumin and crushed red pepper.  This mixture becomes the basis for this soup which adds precooked rotisserie chicken, corn, broth, tomatoes, and black beans (which I only left out because I thought I had them on hand when I didn’t).  The result is a bold and flavorful tex-mex soup that is a perfect soup to warm your soul.  I wish I would have had the beans to add in but even without them, this was a very satisfying soup.  Plus, there is something very satisfying about having a pot of soup simmering on your stove on a frigid day.  It’s like that little mixture of ingredients not only warms your body, but the scent warms your home too.

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The ingredients:

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Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil, onion, and next 3 ingredients; sauté 3 minutes. Add chili powder and next 4 ingredients; sauté 30 seconds.

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Add chicken and next 4 ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes.

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Top evenly with cilantro and queso. Serve with lime.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Black beans
  • Queso fresco

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

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