10.25.2012

Kris's Always Perfect, Thai Styled, Fried Rice!

Perfect for people on a budget!
Often when cooking or eating we are left with little remains of veggies and meat that get shoved to the back of your fridge to be completely forgotten until next spring. You had every intention or making a salad, omelet, or sandwich but just didn't remember.  When most people think fried rice, they imagine rice with peas, carrots, an egg and some sort of salty, goopey, and greasy sauce mixed together that sits like a lump in your stomach. Not this one, I learned in Thailand that you can opt out of all that and make it actually taste good. Since bringing this home, we have learned to love fried rice again!

Essentially this dish is going to be bits and pieces of whatever you have lying around the house. Even if the leftovers include 1 celery stalk and 1/4 an onion raw, because they will add a freshness to cooked elements. I have only a few essential ingredients, that the measurements only change if you have more than the 2-3 cups of rice. The rest is whatever you have. I ALWAYS go easy on the salt and soy sauce because: YOU CAN ADD MORE BUT YOU CAN'T TAKE AWAY.

To add this recipe is quite healthy as you get to control how much fat goes into the dish. While I do a lot of eyeballing in this recipe, I have added some measurements to make it easier but in the end I choose to be conservative. You know what you like and can add a little more if you want.

Essential Ingredients:
2-3 cups of day old cooked rice (1 cup of uncooked rice = 2-3 cups of cooked rice) warmed up.
1 tbls olive oil
1 tsp lite soy sauce
Kosher salt
Pepper
2 tsp Cayenne
3-4 garlic cloves (or 1 tsp dried garlic)
2-3 eggs

Ingredients in the picture above (optional and will depend on what you have):
1/4 cup raw onion diced
1 celery raw stalk chopped small
1/4 cup chopped raw red bell pepper
1 raw chili diced
1/4 cup roasted brussel sprouts
1/4 -1/2 cooked chicken chopped
1/4 cup ground cooked pork
2-3 Campari Tomatoes (add at the end!)


Directions:

1. Heat the olive oil in a large wok or large skillet pan on medium-high to medium heat.
2. Once the oil is hot throw in the raw veggies except the tomatoes, then add some pepper and a DASH of salt (approx. 1/16th of a teaspoon). Stir for 2-3 min until the veggies are just starting to turn translucent.
3. Add meats, and sprouts to the pan with another DASH of salt. Stir and cook until warmed through, approx. 1-2 min.
4. Remove the veggies and meat from the pan and set aside in a bowl of some sort.
5. Reduce the heat to medium and add the rice ( no need to add more oil).
6. Add Garlic, Cayenne, a DASH of salt, pepper and Soy sauce and stir the rice to coat evenly.
7. Push the rice with a spatula to one side of the pan and crack 2-3 eggs into the other side of the pan. Scramble them and cook them till they are SLIGHTLY runny. Add pepper and mix with the rice.
8. Add the veggie/meat mix back in with the rice, taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. Warm it all through then add the tomatoes on top and serve.


Cooks Note: The above directions are based on what ingredients I had that day, but the basics of cook the raw first then add the cooked leftovers will apply to any of the ingredients you use.

10.22.2012

The, "I've Had a Bad Day, Don't You Dare Judge Me" Chocolate/Sweet Comfort Mix


I'm back to the blog! Apologies for the hiatus. So I had a really crappy day last week at work and when I came home I was massively craving chocolate bad. I came up with this...what better way to return to the food blog with this recipe I've made myself. ahahahha. Enjoy. ahahah

Ingredients
3 cream-filled chocolate cookies that you bought on impulse when initially having chocolate craving (I bought the chocolate cream ones from Trader Joe's)
2 scoops of chocolate/vanilla ice cream that you happen to have in the fridge
A small handfull of mini marshmallows that you meant to buy for your hot chocolate but now have realized it can be used for so much more.

Directions:
Mix in a bowl (break cookies).
Eat.
Enjoy.
Feel satisfied and NOT guilty.


10.20.2012

Minestrone Soup for Fall

When you cook it yourself , it is always better!

There is something about Fall in New England that just screams Italian food and a good bottle of Chianti. Soups were made for cold and rainy/snowy days. In fact one of my favorites is Minestrone. This soup is famous in Italian cuisine and can be made with pork or vegetarian. I chose the vegetarian one. If you do that you need to make it half with stock (Chicken or Veg. depending on where you land) and half with water. This recipe is loosely based on Lidia Matticchio Bastianich's book and my life growing up.

One of the general rules about soup is that you can put everything in but the kitchen sink. So long as you have enough water/stock and salt/pepper. I don't usually add a lot of salt to my soups because you can always add more but it is hard to take away.

Do NOT be put off by the list of ingredients, this is a very easy recipe to make!

Ingredients:
1 can cannellini, kidney or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed.
1 tbl olive oil
All of the essentials!
1 medium-large onion chopped
3-5 cloves garlic minced
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1-3 tsp dried red pepper flakes (depends on your spice tolerance!)
3 dried bay leaves
1 large Russet potato chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup chopped celery
4 cups shredded cabbage
15 cups of water (2.5 qts) boiled
15 cups (2.5 qts) of Chicken or Veg stock boiled
2 small zucchini
1 yellow squash
1/2 cup Ditalini past or other small pasta shapes
Pepper
Salt


Directions:

1. Heat oil in a medium stock pot on medium heat.
2. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 min until they are really soft.
3. Add garlic and cook for another 3-5 min until the onions are golden brown stirring occasionally.
4. Add Tomatoes, red pepper, and bay leaves and cook until a light bubble or about 3 min.
5. Add Carrots, Celery, Potatoes, and season LIGHTLY with salt and pepper and let cook for 2 min.
6. Add Cabbage and then the water and stock and bring to a gentle boil. Add more pepper and a bit more salt
7. Once the soup is at a gentle boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover and let sit for 1 1/2 hours.
8. Turn the heat up to high and add the zucchini and yellow squash and beans. Once it reaches a boil add the pasta and a little bit more salt and pepper.
9. Let the pasta cook on med-low heat, covered, for 8 min.
10. Turn the heat down to low and let sit for 10 min.
11. Serve with ciabatta bread and a good hearty wine and ENJOY!

10.14.2012

Spinach and Artichoke Bites

There were more but we ate them....

Now that Stacy and I no longer live together we don't cook as often as we should. Kind of sad, yet today we did a skype cooking date and it was a lot of fun! We decided to honor National Curry week by making thai curry and decided to make something new as well. This recipe is from Rachel Ray but her ingredient proportions are always off cause she never measures. I like the concepts but they tend to be a bit bland and the directions not clear.

These are easy to make and would be great at a party or freeze some for later. They didn't really make it to the freezer in our house but they might make it in yours! you will need a mini-muffin tin to make them bite sized.


Ingredients:
1 10 oz pgk of frozen spinach thawed 
4 oz cream cheese (half the box) frozen and diced up.
1 13-15 oz can of artichoke hearts drained and chopped
1 1/2 cups biscuit mix (like Bisquick)
1 cup milk
3/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1 tbls chili powder 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Put cream cheese in fridge and leave there until just ready to dice up (at least 20-40 min)
3. Place the thawed spinach in a towel and wring out all the moisture.
4. Place the spinach, biscuit mix, artichokes, parmigiano, and milk in a bowl and combine.
5. fold in the cream cheese pieces.
6. spray the mini muffin in with non stick spray then divide the mix equally in the muffin cups.
7. Bake for 13-17 min till golden brown.

10.04.2012

Lemon Pasta with Shrimp

Easy to make and fairly inexpensive!
I am never gonna be one of those people who can go on a low-carb or pasta free diet. It tastes too damn good to live without! Yet I recognize the need to reduce my portion sizes and fat intake, so after falling off the wagon in April of this year I decided to get back on and the results have been pretty awesome.

When making Italian dishes you need to have the core ingredients of: Garlic, Oil, Salt, and Basil and after that you can really play around. In many cases it is not an exact science and you can switch things out to meet your tastes.

I got this recipe from Rocco Dispirito and his book Now Eat This! Italian and it looked great but I had to make some revisions. First, I didn't have Brown Rice Fettuccine so I had to make do with the whole wheat pasta in my cupboard. Second it needed some more spice so I added basil to the mix. I used shrimp but you can also use Tilapia, Salmon, Halibut, or Scallops to make it a great meal.

Ingredients:
8 ounces of whole wheat linguine pasta (or whatever pasta you have around!)
2 lemons
1 cup of water
1 tbls olive oil
7 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 c fresh parsley (or 1/8 c dried parsley)
1/4 c fresh chopped basil (or 1/8 c dried basil)
14 oz fresh or frozen extra large shrimp peeled and de-veined (about 16-20 pieces of shrimp)
Salt
Pepper

Directions:
1. Peel the lemon zest (yellow part only!) from lemons and place in a small sauce pan and cover with water. Then bring to a rapid simmer on medium heat then reduce to low and cook for 5 min. Then drain but reserve 1/4 c of the zest broth.

2. Take a small sauce pan and bring 1 cup of water to a boil and add the juice of the lemons, lemon broth and the lemon peel and reduce to simmer for 5 min then turn off heat.

3. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box then drain (be sure to add salt to the water). For linguine it took about 13 min and while that was happening I was able to continue with steps 4 and 5.

4. In a large non stick skillet, heat the oil on medium heat and add the garlic stirring occasionally until it is a golden brown. Add the pepper flakes, parsley and basil and stir for another 15 seconds.

5. Add the shrimp to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 min but make sure to NOT cook it entirely so it may take a little less time. Once you see some pink but the middle is translucent then it is time to add 1/2c of the lemon broth and reduce heat to low until it is time to add the pasta.

6. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and bring the heat back up to medium. Toss to mix it in and the sauce begins to thicken, about 1-2 min, then serve immediately with bread or salad.


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