Category: Food

Stir Fried Rice

This is really just my version of what I think I heard one day on the Food Network. (But don’t hold me to that.). Either way, my family likes it and it’s a great way to use up leftover meat and veggies you might have lying around.

This is a really easy dish to pull together, but it takes a bit of planning, inasmuch as you have to make the rice then, or make it the night before.  It’s really better to let the rice get sticky overnight by making it the day ahead. (Great idea if your already making something with rice the day before.).

I usually just reach to the freezer to see what frozen veggies I have available. Broccoli, corn, green beans are all good choices. Really, if you like it, it’ll be good in the rice. Then check out the fridge, do you have some veggies in there that need to be used? Zucchini? Mushrooms? Onion? Tomatoes? Yeah, this is that kind of recipe. Get the fresh veggies chopped up into smaller pieces and thaw any veggies that you’ve gotten out of the freezer.

Get out your BIG pan. You don’t have to have a wok, but something that’s going to let you maneuver the ingredients around after it’s all combined is really what your looking for. I have a wok-like sauce pan that I use for this recipe and it works well, but I’ve also used a stock pan with success (the stock pan just makes it harder to stir everything).

If you’re going to add meat (chicken or shrimp are my favorites) I’d cook them up now. If you’re doing chicken breasts, smash them up with a mallet, but that’s not necessary. If you use the mallet, cover the breast with saran-wrap so you don’t have chicken breast all over the kitchen. If you don’t have a mallet, no worries. Just cube the chicken up (after its thawed just a little, but not entirely – strictly for ease of cutting). I add just a tad of oil (vegetable) to the pan to cook up the meat. When it’s nearly done, I add the vegetables and get them happy.

When that’s done, I start the magic. You’ll need soy sauce (leaded or unleaded sodium content), rice wine vinegar and sugar. I start with 2 teaspoons of soy sauce into the veggies/meat mixture, about 1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar, and a big pinch (1 teaspoon) of sugar. When you’ve gotten that mixed into the veggies, add the rice. You’re going to need to add more soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, but that will be based on your personal preference.

For instance, at our house, I’m pretty sensitive to the salt in the soy sauce, but my husband and daughter think “the more the merrier!”. So I flavor it to my tastes (the mildest in the family) and put the soy sauce on the table. One of the ways I can tell when it’s close is when it begins to ‘look’ browner. That means, I’ve gotten enough soy sauce in it. It shouldn’t be a full-on shade of chocolate, but a tinge of brown isn’t bad.

Feel free to adjust the rice wine vinegar and sugar, but go slowly on them. Especially the sugar. It isn’t candy, but the sugar brings out some of the natural favors.

With that, you’re done! This is an easy meal for our family to make (and eat). Happy Times!

Stir Fried Rice

Ingredients

1-2 T. vegetable oil
any type of meat (and as much or as little as you choose)
any type of veggie (and as much or as little as you choose)
4 c. cooked rice (make before hand or night before)
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. sugar
1 egg

Directions

Heat a large wok/pan to medium-high.  Add vegetable oil.  When heated quickly cook the meat.  Remove from pan.  Next, saute veggies (add oil if needed).  Remove from pan (or shift to the sides).  Crack and scramble egg in a bowl and pour into the center of the pan.  Cook the egg and then add meat and vegetables in to the pan.  Add cooked rice and mix together.  Begin adding soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sugar to taste.

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Your Lenten Fast?

As a Methbyterian (Methodist/Presbyterian), I am pretty comfortable with the idea of Lent.
 
 The 40 days prior to Easter is called Lent. These days are set aside by many Christians as a time to prepare for the sacrifice of the perfect offering. Forty days is a big deal in the Bible.
 
 Most people fast during Lent. The basic idea of fasting is to abstain from something as a sacrifice. For some, they fast from food or certain foods, or from certain luxuries. I know of one who will spend lent working on a more positive language tone. Whatever your fast looks like, it’s typically a time to refocus on God’s truth in our lives.
 
 So today as I get my ashes, I’ll be focusing on preparing my heart for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. But I will also be working on cleaning out my body!
 
 I’ll be giving up sweets as my fast. By sweets, i mostly mean the things I now crave: candy bars and cokes. It’s all in an effort to focus back on what matters. Some will say, “That’s just a weight loss thing.” Yes but it’s also something that helps me focus on what’s important in my life. I believe as I regain control over this, I’ll see my control come back in other areas as well.
 
 I tend to have an obsessive personality. Meaning, I can get pretty laser beam focused on a project. When that focus wanes, it might as well disappear. My faith walk and health walk have both slipped and it’s time to center back on them.
 
 So, I’ll be focusing on getting my brain back into devotionals. With a crazy life, it’s challenging, but, it has to happen. I can’t live without the big guy’s guidance. And, I’ll quit trying to self-medicate with sweets.
 
 So, do you celebrate Lent? If so, what is your fast?
 
 
 – I have fat fingers. Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

This week’s menu

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After spending a really relaxing weekend prowling Pinterest, I thought it might be fun to plan an entire week’s worth of menus off of my Food board.

The rules:

    I have to have most of the ingredients in stock here at the house.

    It has to be relatively healthy.

So here’s an attempt to actually make this weekend Pinning productive!

Monday Crab Pie
Tuesday Hearty White Bean Chicken Chili
Wednesday Night off – Church!
Thursday Beef Pulled Pot Roast Sandwiches
Friday Ahi Tuna Burgers with Grilled Pineapple
Saturday Homemade Pizza
Sunday Slow Cooker Taco Stew

I do reserve the right to change these meals. Like the Ahi Tuna. Yeah, my guys not going to eat raw tuna. So we’ll adjust! Or the Crab Pie, I’ll try to keep the calorie count down!

Polynesian Chicken

When it was just the two of us, this recipe was a staple. So much so, we had to retire it. I brought it out of retirement lately and remembered why we like it so much. It’s good, fast and relatively inexpensive! (I’ll add photos later!)

Polynesian Chicken
adapted from Weight Watchers Make It In Minutes, 2001
1 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/3 c. ketchup
3 T. Low sodium soy sauce
2 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. corn starch
2 T. sugar
canola oil for cooking (2 T. or so)
1 can water chestnuts (drained)
1 can chunk pineapple (drained)
1/4 c. slivered almonds
Rice, rice noodles or chow Mein noodles (not included in nutritional information)

Prepare noodles or rice as wanted for serving.

In a bowl, mix ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, corn starch, and sugar. Set aside.

In a pan, heat oil to cook chicken. {Cooks note: if you have more chicken in the package than the recipe needs, cook it and freeze for future needs.} cook chicken. Mix ketchup mixture into chicken along with water chestnuts, almonds and pineapples. Heat.

Serve over rice, noodle or chow Mein noodles.

7 points (Old WW points)
363 calories
10g fat
66g cholesterol
760mg sodium
37g carbs
32g protein

Frozen lunch choices

As I prepare for another work week, finding a meal that can quickly be heated in the microwave is critical. It’s also just as critical that I find those that are healthy.

I’ve been being cheap the past couple of weeks by eating Michaelina’s Lean Gourmet frozen lunches. They were about $1 each – but they’re always at the top end of my carb spectrum and low on protein.

Today at the store I went back to a favorite. They were 2/$4 but I may just stick with them.

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These are better choice. They have carbs but not too many, plus they have enough protein to get me closer to my 24-27g target.

20130817-131159.jpgAlso, I like that they list the diet exchanges.

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If you get a chance to try these, let me know what you think of them!

Meatless Monday: “Refried” Bean Burritos + Freezer Homework

Meatless Monday bean burrito

This recipe is a terrific, fast way to get a Meatless Monday meal out of the way, and add some deliciousness to your freezer for fast dinners or work-lunches.  So for this, you’re going to have Meatless Monday + Freezer Homework.

Because this recipe makes a ton of beans, be prepared to freeze some of it, or literally feed bean dip to a crowd.  I found this recipe on Six Sisters’ website.  I love looking around at their ideas and food.  Definitely a blog to check-out, especially if you want their recipe for turning these beans into bean dip.

Several years ago, a group of friends and I got together and cooked multiple freezer meals.  One of those meals was meat and bean burritos.  They were the first thing gone at my house.  Everyone loved them.

The recipe for the burritos calls for canned beans.  I’m not a bean snob, but they never seem to taste as good as they do when they’ve cooked at my house.  So, I decided to combine the recipes for this Meatless Monday.

You’ll need to prepare the beans in advance of the meal, at least 4 hours (depending on how quickly your slow cooker cooks).  I did mine 4 hours and they were just right.  Once you get them down, use a portion of them in the burrito recipe.  The recipe below indicates meat, but for Meatless Monday, make a batch without the meat!

After you eat bean burritos and made the freezer homework ones, you’ll more than likely, still have beans left.  Throw them in a freezer bag, label them and throw them in the freezer.  You can pull them out on a night when you’re having fajitas or making nachos!

And you could make the burritos even healthier by switching out the tortillas with a more reasonable calorie counted version.  And sodium watchers can make their own taco seasonings.

Meatless Monday bean burrito header small

“Refried” Beans

Serves 12+
Recipe from: http://www.courtneymilleson.com adapted from Six Sisters

Ingredients

3 c. dry Casserole beans
1 onion, chopped
2 T. minced garlic (I used the refrigerated kind)
jalepeno pepper (to taste – I omitted it because I didn’t have any)
3 t. salt
1 3/4 t. fresh ground black pepper
1/4 t. ground cumin (I doubled the original amount suggested)
5 c. water
4 c. chicken broth

Directions

Drag out the BIG slow cooker for this recipe the night before you’re serving the burritos.  Rinse the beans and throw everything in the slow cooker.  Stir, cover and forget for 4-6 hours.  Drain, reserving liquid.  Get out your potato masher (if you need a workout) or your stick-blender (if you’re lazy like me) and make some refried beans.  Add liquid until you get the consistency you want for the refried beans.  You can water the beans down again when you’re ready to mix them into the burritos.

Nutritional Information – Beans

(according to information entered into myfitnesspal.com)
1 serving

Calories 162
Total Fat .5g
Sat. Fat 0g
Mono 0g
Cholesterol 0g
Sodium 795mg
Potassium 0mg
Total Carbs 31.2g
Dietary Fiber 7.3g
Sugars 2.4g
Protein 10.2g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 7.3%
Calcium 4.7%
Iron 10%

Beef and Bean Burritos

Serves 12+ (two burritos each)
Recipe from: http://www.courtneymilleson.com adapted from Six Sisters

Ingredients

1 1/4 lbs. 90% ground beef
1/4 c. finely chopped onion (I used the dried minced onion so reduced it to 3/4 t. or so)
1 1/4 c. Leal’s salsa
2 T. reduced-sodium taco seasoning
24 ounces Refried Beans (about 3-4 cups of beans)
1/2 c. water
2 c. shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
24 flour tortillas (8″) warmed

Directions

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion.  Drain.  Stir in salsa and taco seasoning.  Mix together in a large bowl.  Set aside.

With a stick blender, combine beans and water (to spreadable consistency).  Add to beef mixture.  Stir in cheese.

Spoon mounded 1/4 c. beef mixture down the center of each tortilla.  Fold ends and sides over filling; roll up.

If freezing burritos: wrap in waxed paper (saran-wrap) and foil.  Place in gallon sized freezer bag.  Freeze for up to 1 month.

To reheat frozen burritos: Remove all wrapping, and place burrito on a microwave safe plate.  Microwave on high for 2-1/2 – 2-3/4 minutes, turning burrito over once.

Nutritional Information – Burritos

(according to information entered into myfitnesspal.com)
1 serving

Calories 430
Total Fat 11.5g
Sat. Fat 4.6g
Mono 1.8g
Cholesterol 36.7g
Sodium 1302.7mg
Potassium 234.3mg
Total Carbs 56.7g
Dietary Fiber 2.5g
Sugars 3.5g
Protein 9.2g
Vitamin A 9.2%
Vitamin C 12.3%
Calcium 31.7%
Iron 27.2%

Meatless Monday: Red Beans and Rice

MM Red Beans and Rice Pic

These were hands down the best tasting red beans and rice I’ve had at home. And super easy to get ready.

I used the seasoning suggestions from Emeril Lagasse’s Prime Time Emeril but left out the meat.

And the oil.

And a lot of the salt.

Delicious. And instead of cooking them on the stove I prepared everything the night before and threw it into the slow cooker before I left for work. Easy peasy!

My mom swore by Casserole brand beans. I tried another type once. I didn’t make that mistake again. I soaked them overnight and drained them this morning and plopped them into the slow cooker with my bag of spices and veggies.

I’d hoped this wouldn’t be too salty and it turned out just perfectly, with enough heat to be ‘Cajun’. I used Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning instead if making my own.

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I put the beans on at 6:15 a.m. This morning and let them cook for 10 hours. Low and slow baby.. Then use part of the juices to make the rice.

Insert your own evil laugh.

Cajun Red Beans & Rice
Serves 4-6
(Nutrition based on 6 servings)

Ingredients
1 pound red beans
1/2 c. Onion, chopped
1/2 c. green bell pepper, chopped
2 T. minced garlic
1 t. creole seasoning
1/2 t. cayenne
1 t. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 quarts low sodium chicken stock (adjust to cover beans)
Rice

Directions
Rinse and pick through one pound of Casserole Red Beans. Place in bowl and cover with water overnight. Start chopping onion and bell pepper. Place in sealable container. Measure out spices, garlic and bay leaves. Place in container with veggies.

In the morning, drain the beans and place in crock-pot on low. Cover beans with stock and place veggies and spices mixture in slow cooker. Stir to incorporate.

After work, put together some rice and serve!

Nutritional Information
(Taken from myfitnesspal)

Calories 260
Fat 0
Cholesterol 0g
Sodium 240.7mg
Potassium 939.2mg
Carbohydrates 92.3mg
Dietary Fiber 56.4mg
Sugars 6.2mg
Protein 29.6mg
Vitamin A 0.9%
Vitamin C 18.1%
Calcium 16.4%
Iron 60.4%