Tagged: 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.

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

Meatless Monday: Quesadillas

Meatless Monday logo

Yesterday’s Meatless Monday was actually one of my favorite quick fix meals.

As a West Texan, I thrive on

  • Tex-Mex
  • Cumin
  • Flour Tortillas

I don’t know how anyone can do without these staples!

When I figured out quesadillas could be a Meatless Monday offering it was like the angels sang down and gifted me!

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If you’ve never had one – and really what planet are you from if you haven’t – it’s basically a grilled cheese.

Now, I don’t like grilled cheeses.

I don’t know why, but they’re not my favorite. However, I adore their Tex-Mex counterpart!

To make these, I used grilled veggies, freshly made tortillas, and 2% cheddar cheese. I served them with a side of black beans. These are also a great way to use up any leftover meat you may have from a previous meal – but that defeats the whole meatless part – not that it wasn’t suggested.

Please, do try to keep the young’ens out of the cheese pile.
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And before you *gasp,* yes, I made my tortillas.
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I know! I can get them at Rosa’s or the store. But I have the stuff right here at the house. And when it’s fresh it’s best! Plus, who doesn’t like to have a geography lesson with their food?

Oh, look! There’s France! Oh, Michigan!

Try to get the tortilla close to a circle, but don’t beat yourself up if they’re not perfect. Only Mexican mommas are allowed to make them perfectly.

Although I am trying to channel my inner Mexican momma. They’re rock stars.

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Plus, if I get tortillas from Rosa’s, my self-control leaves and I have two, three before I get home. Honestly.

This is really just a meal that allows you to clean-up all of the partially eaten veggies in your fridge (or an excuse to have mushrooms). Think of it like Tex-Mex stir fry. If you can chop it up, it’s probably good in a quesadilla.

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Quesadillas

Serves 4
Recipe from: http://www.courtneymilleson.com

Ingredients

2 c. Harina Preparado
1/2 c. warm water
1 c. chopped portabella mushrooms
1/2 c. chopped bell pepper
1/2 c. white onion
1 T. olive oil
1 c. 2% cheddar cheese, shredded
sour cream
salsa
1 can black beans, rinsed

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine water and harina. Mix together well. Once incorporated knead for five minutes until smooth. Cover with a damp cloth and rest for 15 minutes. Turn griddle on (400-425 degrees).

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and all veggies – except mushrooms. Sauté for five minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for another minute or so. Remove veggies from heat.

Uncover the tortilla dough and divide into 8 pieces. Turn each piece under until it forms a small circle. On a lightly floured surface roll out the tortillas until they are about 6-7″ around. Place on griddle. Turn after a few brown spots are visible. Repeat for other side. Remove and place in a warming sleeve or in kitchen towels. Continue until all tortillas are done.

Grab a tortilla and put it back on the griddle. Put 1/4 c. cheese on it and add veggies. Wait for the cheese to melt and then place second tortilla on top and flip. Let the cheese ooze to the other side. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into fours.

Once completed, serve with salsa, sour cream (mixed together is a college favorite) and serve with side of black beans.

Nutritional Information

(according to information entered into myfitnesspal.com)
1 serving (2 tortillas, cheese and grilled veggies, does not include black beans)

Calories 216
Total Fat 10.2g
Sat. Fat 3.2g
Mono 2.5g
Cholesterol 10g
Sodium 369.9mg
Potassium 193.6mg
Total Carbs 24.8g
Dietary Fiber 1.6g
Sugars 3.2g
Protein 7.3g
Vitamin A 4.8%
Vitamin C 52.8%
Calcium 12.8%
Iron 8.1%

Saturday Family Fun Night

Every Saturday night is reserved at our house. We have a date night.

It’s pretty sacred, simply because it’s part of who we are; we’ve done it so long, that we expect to have time to focus on us and do the fun things we don’t normally do during the hectic week. And besides, the kids always get to do something fun.

The night starts off with homemade pizza. Down to the crust, this is one heck of a meal.

A while back, I started getting the kids involved in the meal prep as well. Since I have a 9, 5, and 4 year old, that varies quite a bit.

My nine year old can do everything from rolling her dough to putting it in the oven (with very active parental help). Then the 4 and 5 year olds can build their own pies, each with toppings they know they’ll eat.

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My five year old loves tomatoes so he decided to try them out on his pizza. My four year old does not like tomatoes. But he adores black olives.

A man after my heart.

They don’t always eat as much as I would like, but they always seem happy to create their own meal.

Jay and I make a pizza with delicious grown-up toppings: roasted zucchini, onions, bell peppers, portabella mushrooms, and anything else we can think of!

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Last night’s grown-up pizza had sauteed bell pepper, red onion, portabella mushrooms with sausage and pepperoni.

So, a little organization, the right tools, some hands in time, and an oven means Family Fun Night is well under way. And my kids are learning word like pizza peel. I like that. I know I don’t have to have pizza peels or the fancy-smancy pizza cutter, but I like them and they lend an air of ‘authenticity’ to the whole process. And I get to play with dough. I love what yeast does to flour.

After dinner, we do different things. Tonight, since Madeline is out of town, the boys have voted to play games on the PS3. To quote the 5 year old,

Dad, we have to play this while mom’s gone. She never let’s us play Star Wars.

I’ll have you know I absolutely adore playing Lego Star Wars. I Iove being Princess Leia. It’s the one place in the world where I can dress like this:

and go around yelling, “Scruffy Looking Nerfherder” or “I’d rather kiss a Wookie.”

But I digress.

Some Family Fun Nights are done with everyone enjoying the same activity (watching a movie, going to do/see something in town, etc.) and some are with everyone doing their own favorite thing here at the house. There’s no rhyme or reason – I just try to have a night where we can all relax.

We do these now because we know there will be a time when our kids are out and about and Family Fun Night will be one of those, “Hey, remember when…” moments. I’m cool with that as long as they have something good to remember!

What’s your favorite family fun idea? Does it have a meal to go with it? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Here is a link to our Family Fun Night Pizza Dough (or at least the latest version).

Stuffed Shells

An easy, low-fat Meatless Monday option.

An easy, low-fat Meatless Monday option.

This recipe tastes just like something my mom would have made me when I was growing up.  The instant I tasted it I was transported to about four years old.

And then I looked at my four year old…

The recipe’s simple enough and I’d say you could do most of the work the night before if you had room in the ‘fridge for it.  Simply come home, take it out of the ‘fridge while the oven is warming.  A simple salad, a loaf of bread, and viola, dinner is served!

If you wanted, you can even change up the stuffing mixture.  Whatever floats your boat!  If you don’t want the spinach added in (and I think it made the sauce a tad bit watery) then you could just add some parsley flakes.  It won’t change the flavor much, but it does give it that pop of color!

To make this easier on me, I used one of the large strainer baskets inside of my large pot when cooking the pasta.  Once you’ve taken the pasta out of the water, you’ll want to run it under cold water to stop the cooking process.  That, and I didn’t feel like chasing 18 pasta shells around a pot.

I splurged at the store and bought real nutmeg.  (I’m keeping it in the freezer.  Can you say eggnog?)  I didn’t notice that much flavor difference; however, it smelled divine when I grated it.  Be sure to use more than you normally would – pre-ground nutmeg is stronger than fresh.

Now, you maybe one of those people.  And by that I mean you’re one of those who can just see how a spoon should easily fill a floppy pasta shell while cramming it open with your two fingers.

I am not.  So, I just used my fingers to stuff the shells.  Yeah, I tried the whole, fancy spoon idea, but you know, I’m not that fancy.  Maybe a zip-loc bag with one of the ends chopped off would work?  Anywho, I made them, they tasted fine even with the finger prints.  It’s your call.  I also didn’t add the mozzarella to the top of the dish.  I just didn’t want to open another package of cheese!

Two-thirds of my kids ate this.  So, that seems kid-friendly enough to me!

Stuffed Shells

Serves 8
(2 shells each)
Recipe from: www.courtneymilleson.com

Ingredients

1/2 box of large pasta shells

Topping

jar/can of pasta tomato-based pasta sauce
1/2 c. 2% mozzarella (shredded)

Filling

1 28 oz. container of low-fat cottage cheese
1 c. 2% mozzarella (shredded)
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup (or so) spinach
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. onion salt

Directions
Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add a 1/4 teaspoon (or to your preference) of salt.  This will be your only chance to flavor the pasta itself.

Once boiling, place 1/2 of the pasta into the water.  Check the cooking directions for partial cooking times (mine was shortened by 3-4 minutes since they’d finish cooking in the oven).

Pre-heat the over to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 9×13 baking dish by lightly covering with cooking spray and then topping with about a cup of the pasta sauce.  You may need more depending on the chunk of your sauce.  Eyeballing it here is totally okay.

Start assembling the remainder of the filling ingredients.  Mix well.

After about nine minutes (or whatever your package directions indicate) remove the shells from the boiling water.  Rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Take each shell and place a fair amount of the filling mixture into the cavity.  Place filled shell into the 9×13.  Repeat x 18.

Once you’ve filled all the shells, pour the remaining pasta sauce over the shells.  Then top with remaining 1/2 c. mozzarella (or more depending on how you like it).  Cover with foil and place in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Nutritional Information

(according to information entered into myfitnesspal.com)
1 serving (2 shells and sauce)

Calories  248
Total Fat  7.4g
Sat. Fat  2.8g
Mono 0.6g
Cholesterol  70.6g
Sodium  577.3mg
Potassium  169.1mg
Total Carbs  30.3g
Dietary Fiber 2.7g
Sugars  4.4g
Protein  17.6
Vitamin A  26.5%
Vitamin C  15%
Calcium  10.5%

Meatless Monday: Stuffed Shells

As I posted on Facebook, we’re implementing “Meatless Mondays.”

No, we don’t have anything against meat.

Here’s our first offering: stuffed shells. Basically it’s a take on lasagna, except you add another egg and cram it into shells.

To it I added a fresh loaf of ciabatta bread. Half of it covered in pesto and the other with melted butter. Yummo! I also added a quick salad.

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