Rice/Grains

Grilled Lemon Chicken with Feta Rice

Once again, I’ve been missing. I’ve been home for two weeks over the last two months so I really haven’t been able to cook much, hence not really able to post. Last week, I was away for work and while I was gone, my power went out for two days due to a storm. While I was kind of happy to not be suffering through 90 degree weather without air conditioning, I wasn’t happy about having to toss out everything in my fridge, including tons of frozen chicken breasts, a whole carton of eggs, an unopened bottle of coffee creamer and a whole box of turkey burgers. Not a good feeling. I wasn’t in the mood to cook this weekend so I decided to bring you a dish I made before I headed out of town: Grilled Lemon Chicken with Feta Rice.

Chicken breasts are marinated quickly in a little lemon juice, oil and garlic before being grilled until perfectly cooked. A quick side of precooked brown rice, lemon juice, oil, feta, and basil is the perfect bite to accompany this chicken. I have to tell you, this was one of the best things I have made in a long time. And I make a lot of really good food. There was just something about this. Not just the amazing flavor but also the incredible ease. Take about a perfect summer dinner. Make it!

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Combine chicken, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon oil, and garlic in a zip-top bag; turn to coat. Let stand 5 minutes.

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Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Remove chicken from marinade, and discard marinade. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; grill 6 minutes on each side.

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While chicken cooks, heat rice according to package directions. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice and remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add rice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, feta, and basil; toss.

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Serve rice with chicken.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

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Red Quinoa with Spinach and Dried Cherries

I’ve had a minor obsession with dried cherries lately. And by lately, I mean the last year. When I was in Chicago visiting my aunt last year, she offered me a huge bag of some dried cherries that she’d gotten at a farmer’s market (or something like that, I can’t remember!).  The dried cherries she had were so plump and sweet yet tart and I had to physically stop myself from consuming an embarrassing amount. Now, I grab dried cherries often to have on hand to eat with peanuts or in plain Greek yogurt. Or I just pop them as a small snack.  I came across this recipe for Red Quinoa with Spinach and Dried Cherries and figured it would be another way to try these dehydrated gems.

Red quinoa (or red rice as the original recipe calls for) is cooked and combined with onion, ginger and dried cherries. Spinach and fresh orange juice are added for yet even more layers of flavor to this superfood-filled dish. I found the red quinoa at my local Target (I have yet to find red rice) but regular ol’ quinoa or rice will work. The zing of the ginger, the sweetness of the orange, and the mild tartness of the cherries combine for a real melody of flavors. And with the quinoa and spinach, this dish is good for you!

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Prepare the red quinoa according to package directions in a medium saucepan. (Or if using red rice, combine rice and water in a medium pan, cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat; reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the rice is tender, about 45 minutes.)

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Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion; sprinkle with the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and dried cherries; cook, stirring, until the onion is golden brown, about 7 more minutes.

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Stir the prepared quinoa (or rice) into the onion mixture. Add the baby spinach and orange juice and stir until the spinach is just wilted, about 1 minute.

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Season with salt and pepper.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Red quinoa

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Food Network magazine

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

California-Style Bibimbap

I went to a Korean restaurant with my friends Jade and Scott a while back and, not knowing much about Korean food, couldn’t bring myself to eat anything other than chicken teriyaki.  I kept eyeballing Jade’s bibimbap because if it weren’t for the meat, this seemed like a dish I would totally be all over: rice, veggies, chili paste, egg, yum!  So when I came across this vegetarian version, California-Style Bibimbap, I stared in disbelief – could it be true?  I was all over it.

Bibimbap is a signature Korean dish usually made with beef but this version takes the beef out and instead uses spinach (or kale), peppers, and avocado.  The spinach and pepper are sautéed until the spinach is wilted and the pepper is slightly soft and spooned over fluffy jasmine rice (hello…a new fave, even if it is a dreaded white rice).  Fresh avocado is added and an egg (either fried or over-easy) tops the dish.  The whole bowl is then dressed with a sesame oil-soy sauce mixture and dotted (or splattered if you so incline) with hot and spicy sriracha.  I cannot even begin to tell you how obsessed with this dish I am.  I plan on making tons of (non-traditional) variations of this using broccoli, carrots, celery, bok choy, mushrooms, asparagus or chicken in the future.  I made this on Sunday, texted Jade a picture right away, and continued to eat it all day long.  It’s no wonder that I couldn’t get Hanson’s “MMMBop” out of my head all day.

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The ingredients (I forgot the avocado):

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Put rice and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook rice until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

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Meanwhile, heat grapeseed oil in a large nonstick frying pan. Cook kale, bell pepper, and garlic with salt over medium heat until kale is wilted, 3 to 5 minutes.

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Divide rice among 4 bowls and top with vegetable mixture and avocado.  Fry eggs in the same pan until done the way you like. Slide each egg into a bowl.

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Mix sesame oil and soy sauce and drizzle over bowls.

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Drizzle with Sriracha or sprinkle with togarashi.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Sunset Magazine

Roots, Greens, and Shoots Quinoa

Have you been hearing about “superfoods” lately?  Foods that are supposedly the most nutritious food we can put into our bodies?  Well, I have.  The list of the top superfoods can vary by professional or article but I’ve seen enough written on the topic to know that quinoa, sweet potatoes, and spinach are all top contenders.  So when I came across a feature in Cooking Light magazine of different low-calorie quinoa combos, I was drawn to this Roots, Greens, and Shoots combination.

With nothing more than roasted sweet potato, baby spinach, toasted pecans and scallions, this quick meal is about as nutritious as you can get.  If you have a spare sweet potato or some leftover cooked quinoa, you also have a speedy meal.  But if not, either roast a sweet potato in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or buy a super-simple pre-wrapped sweet potato and microwave according to the directions.  Quinoa, which has become an easy replacement for rice in my house, can be cooked in 15 minutes with a 2:1 water ratio.  Although there isn’t any dressing or other flavoring to this dish, you might think this would be pretty bland but on the contrary, the combination of the sweetness in the potato, the crunch of the pecans and the zing of the scallions made this easily one of my favorite quick meals I’ve ever made.  In fact, it’s super.

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The ingredients:

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Combine chopped sweet potato, torn spinach, and sliced scallions in a bowl.

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Top with toasted pecans.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light magazine

Spring Green Fried Rice

I have to say I’m really enjoying our Spring in Philadelphia lately.  Normally, Spring lasts all of 3 days before it either gets cold again or boiling hot.  But we’ve had so many crystal clear blue skies and moderate temperatures that I’m just beside myself.  Having nicer weather not only puts me in a better mood but it tends to make me eat better also.  This Spring Green Fried Rice is a perfect Spring meal.  Sure, fried rice doesn’t sound like the healthiest thing but this version is flavorful, packed with veggies and not at all fattening.

Crunchy cabbage, sweet peas, crisp edamame and fresh ginger are mixed with brown rice and soy sauce.  Lightly fried, this rice is also mixed with eggs to give it the typical eggy addition commonly found in fried rice.  If you don’t like ginger, you can leave it out but I think the flavor of the ginger in this dish is really the best part.  Instead of running to get take out fried rice next time, consider making this.  You’ll save calories and money and you be happy with the results.

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The ingredients:

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In a small bowl beat egg and 1 tsp. soy sauce; set aside.

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In a wok or large skillet heat toasted sesame oil over medium heat.  Add egg mixture; stir gently until set.  Remove egg; cool slightly.  Using your hands to roll the cooked egg into a log.  Use a sharp knife, slice the egg into strips; set aside.

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In the same skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and ginger, cook 30 seconds.  Add cabbage; cook and stir 2 minutes.

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Add edamame and peas; cook for 2 minutes.

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Add rice and 2 Tbsp. soy sauce.  Cook and stir for 2 to 4 minutes or until heated through.  Add egg mixture and green onion; cook and stir about 1 minute or until heated through.

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Top with crushed red pepper, if desired.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Better Homes & Gardens magazine

Rice-Nut Loaf

Yes, this a vegetarian loaf – don’t freak out.  It’s an oldie and a goodie.  As I’ve mentioned, I was a vegetarian for 13 years and grew accustomed to making a plate at holiday meals of nothing but a bunch of sides which sounds good but ultimately isn’t satisfying.  Then, one year for Thanksgiving, my aunt pulled out one of her favorite vegetarian cookbooks and made this Rice-Nut Loaf.  At first glance, there really isn’t anything appetizing, interesting or appealing about the name of this dish or the list of ingredients.  But once combined, these ingredients have come to make not just my favorite vegetarian dish ever but my favorite Thanksgiving dish ever.  Hands down.

Brown rice is mixed with wheat germ, walnuts, sunflower seeds, cheese and onion and then binded with eggs and baked to golden brown perfection.  Served alone, with gravy or a scoop of mashed potatoes, this meatless meatloaf-like dish is a perfect high protein addition to any dinner table, especially for the picky vegetarian in your family.  Even better, true to Thanksgiving form, slices of this loaf sandwich perfectly between two slices of bread, spread with cranberry sauce and stuffing for the days after.  Give this a try and maybe you might start to think of vegetarian loaves as a little less weird.  It’s tasty enough for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.  This year, I ate this instead of turkey for Thanksgiving.  And I’m not even vegetarian anymore.

Rice-Nut Loaf (makes 6 servings)

From Nikki & David Goldbeck’s American Wholefoods Cuisine

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped sunflower seeds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Combine all ingredients and pack into a 9-inch loaf pan coated in oil or non-stick spray.  Bake for about 50 minutes until firm.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes; unmold and slice.

The ingredients:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Combine all ingredients and pack into a 9-inch loaf pan coated in oil or non-stick spray.

Bake for about 50 minutes until firm.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Unmold and slice.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Nikki & David Goldbeck’s American Wholefoods Cuisine

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