Category Archives: fun facts

cheesy zucchini rice

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cheesy zucchini rice  I  frozen pizza, again?

 
Zucchini is a relatively new vegetable to me.* It’s not that I didn’t like it until now; my family just never ate zucchini when I was growing up and, therefore, I didn’t have any recipes using zucchini. Thanks to Pinterest and some awesome food blogs I am slowly collecting recipes that use zucchini. This is one of my favorite zucchini recipes that I have found so far. (Not to be confused with Cheesy Zucchini and Rice Casserole, which is also tasty.)

 
cheesy zucchini rice  I  frozen pizza, again?

 
Cheesy Zucchini Rice
From the Kitchen of: Buns in My Oven

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4-6
Difficulty: Easy

{Ingredients}
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium or 2 small zucchini, shredded (you can use a food processor or cheese grater)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
½ tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
splash of milk, as needed

{Instructions}
Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add rice and stir to coat. Toast rice, stirring often, just until it starts to turn golden.

Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling turn heat to low and cover. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Remove from heat and add butter, zucchini, cheddar, and garlic powder. Stir until well incorporated. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.

Stir again and add salt and pepper, to taste, and a splash of milk until the rice is your preferred consistency. (Adding milk is completely optional; I don’t usually add any at all.)

{Notes}
I have tried this recipe with and without the garlic powder; though both are good I actually prefer to omit the garlic.

{Fun Fact}
*Is zucchini actually a vegetable?

“In a culinary context, the zucchini is treated as a vegetable, which means it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, however, the zucchini is an immature fruit, being the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower.” – Wikipedia

 


-♥-
Katy

 

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beef with snow peas

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beef with snow peas  I  frozen pizza, again?

 
I think this is one of the very first things I pinned after joining Pinterest over a year ago. Like many new people to Pinterest I pinned anything that looked remotely interesting so now my boards are littered with no-longer-interesting things. I recently decided to start at the bottom of my food board and work my way up, deleting recipes that no longer appeal to me and actually trying ones that do.

I knew I had this recipe on my board but just kept skipping over it when making my meal plan for the week. Well, last week I finally decided to make it for dinner, and I am so glad that I did. It is delicious! I am seriously thinking about making it again this week because it was that good!

 
beef with snow peas  I  frozen pizza, again?

 
Beef with Snow Peas
From the Kitchen of: The Pioneer Woman

Prep Time: 30 – 45 mins
Servings: 6 – 8
Difficulty: Easy

{Ingredients}
1 ½ lbs flank steak
½ cup low-sodium soy sauce (I used regular soy sauce)
3 Tbsp sherry or cooking sherry
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger (I used ⅛ tsp ginger powder)
8 weight oz fresh snow peas, ends trimmed
5 whole scallions or green onions, cut into half-inch pieces on the diagonal
salt, as needed (use sparingly)
3 Tbsp peanut or olive oil
crushed red pepper, for sprinkling (optional)
jasmine or long grain rice

{Instructions}
Cook rice according to package directions.

Trim fat from flank steak, then slice very thin against the grain. Cut the meat slightly on a diagonal rather than a ninety degree angle to the grain. (I forgot to cut on a diagonal but my meat turned out just fine.)

Mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch, and ginger. Add sliced meat to bowl of liquid and toss with hands. Set aside. (If you prefer, pour half the marinade into a separate bowl before adding the meat; it will be used in the stir fry later.)

Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet (iron is best) or wok over high heat. Add snow peas and stir for 45 seconds. Remove to a separate plate. Set aside. (Don’t crowd the pan; cook in 2 or 3 batches if necessary.)

Allow pan to get very hot again. With tongs, add half the meat mixture, leaving most of the marinade still in the bowl. Add half the scallions. Spread out meat in a single layer as you add it to pan, but do not stir for a good minute. (You want the meat to get as brown as possible in as short amount of time as possible.) Turn meat to the other side and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove to a clean plate. (Again, don’t crowd the pan; cook in several batches if necessary.)

Repeat with other half of meat, allowing pan to get very hot again first. After turning it, add the rest of the cooked meat, the rest of the marinade, and the snow peas. Stir it around over high heat until it bubbles up and boils, about 30 seconds, then turn off the heat. Check seasonings and add salt only if it needs it. Mixture will thicken as it sits. (Note: It does not bother me to boil the same liquid that was used for the meat, but if you poured off half the liquid before soaking the meat, just pour the extra liquid in here.)

Serve immediately over rice. Sprinkle crushed red pepper over the top to give it some spice.

{Notes}
This is a really simple stir fry recipe that can be adapted in any number of ways: use chicken instead of beef, change up the vegetables, etc. Just make sure you let the pan get very hot before adding the ingredients!

{Fun Fact} / {Kitchen Tip}
I was curious why this recipe (and others I have seen) called for a heavy pan. Here’s what I found:

Heavy-bottomed pots and pans are thicker at the base, meaning they tend to absorb and distribute heat from a stovetop burner more evenly than a thin pot or pan. Thin pots and pans are more prone to “hot spots” — areas that heat more quickly than others; hot spots, if not watched carefully, can cause your food to burn. A heavy-bottomed pot or pan will heat and cook your ingredients more evenly. […] It’s a good idea to use a thick, heavy-bottomed piece of equipment when cooking or heating any items that can burn or break easily. – LA Times

 


-♥-
Katy

 

louisiana red beans and rice

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louisiana red beans  I  frozen pizza, again?


“In New Orleans, you come out of the womb instinctually knowing how to cook red beans and rice. Really, only the nervous newlywed follows a recipe.”
1


Well, I’m not from New Orleans and I still qualify as a newlywed (who is sometimes nervous in the kitchen), so I definitely needed a recipe to make red beans and rice. I found several on the internet, but this one looked to be the simplest.

I asked Russell’s opinion of my first attempt at red beans and rice, since he lived in New Orleans for 3 years during seminary and was the one who requested I make red beans and rice, and he said that the beans I made weren’t quite on par with those he had at the seminary but they were still good. I personally think the beans turned out great! (We went to New Orleans a couple of weekends ago and I finally tried the seminary’s famous red beans and rice. Though they were good I thought the ones I made had more flavor. 😉 )

Also, I’m pretty darn proud of myself for making this completely from scratch (including rehydrating dried beans).


louisiana red beans  I  frozen pizza, again?


Louisiana Red Beans and Rice
From the Kitchen of : Budget Bytes

Prep time: 3 hours+
Servings: 10+

Ingredients
1 lb red kidney beans, dry
1 medium yellow onion
3 stalks celery
1 large green bell pepper
1 lb hot sausage: andouille or kielbasa (I used mild andouille sausage)
1 smoked ham hock
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic (I used garlic powder)
2 whole bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
3 cubes chicken bouillon
1 tsp (or to taste) cajun seasoning (I used Zatarain’s)
6 green onions, sliced
2 cups long grain rice, uncooked

Instructions
The night before cooking, place your beans in a large bowl and cover with double the amount of water. Let soak at room temperature over night.

[If you forget to soak your beans over night, here’s how to quick soak them: Place them in a pot with double the amount of cold water. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, and let boil for 2 minutes. Remove the beans from the heat after two minutes and let sit, tightly covered, for one hour.]

While the beans are soaking, slice the sausage to your preference: small triangular bits, half moons, or medallions. Saute the sausage in a large pot over medium/high heat until they are cooked through and nicely browned. Remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon (leave the grease) and refrigerate until later.

Clean and dice the onion, celery, green bell pepper, and garlic. Add these to the large pot containing the sausage grease, and add 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil if needed. Saute the vegetables until they are soft and transparent (about 10-15 minutes).

Drain the soaking water off of the beans, rinse them then add them to the pot. Also add 7 cups of water, ham hock, bouillon, bay leaves, thyme and oregano. Stir it all together well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly (medium) and boil until the beans are soft (without a lid, about one hour). If the mixture gets dry, add more water.

Once the beans are soft, use the back of a large spoon to smash about half of the beans against the side of the pot. This will give the beans a nice thick “creamy” texture. (My mother-in-law gave me a Pampered Chef potato masher for Christmas. It worked great for this task, and then I just used it as a spoon to stir up the beans!)

Add the sausage back into the pot and continue to boil the mixture until it is to your desired thickness (without a lid, about an hour). Again, if the mixture gets dry, add more water. Add cajun seasoning to your liking. If the seasoning contains salt you will probably not need to add any more to the beans.

During the last hour of cooking, prepare the rice according to package directions.

At the end of cooking, remove the hock and cut away the meat from the bone and skin. The cooked meat can then be added back into the pot. Serve the beans in a bowl with a pile of rice on top. Top the bowl with some freshly sliced green onions.

Notes

  • Even though this recipe contains cajun seasoning it is not spicy/hot. The seasoning is just for flavor.
  • This recipe is supposed to cook very well in a slow cooker. A commenter on the original blogger’s post suggested starting with only half the amount of water and adding more as needed.
  • Both beans and rice freeze well for leftovers.
  • If you buy more celery or ham hocks than needed for this recipe, just stick the extras in the freezer until you can use them in another recipe. I chopped up my leftover celery, spread out the pieces on a cookie sheet (covered in parchment), and stuck it in the freezer. The next day I put all of the individually frozen pieces in a quart-sized plastic bag; so now I can scoop out the exact amount I need instead of thawing all of the celery.

Fun Facts

  • When I was searching the internet for a red beans and rice recipe I read an interesting piece of information: In New Orleans, Red Beans and Rice is a Monday tradition. “Mondays used to be the traditional ‘wash day’ of the week. […]Women of the house would put on a pot of red beans to cook all day while they tended to the laundry, since the meal required little hands-on attention. The beans were largely seasoned by the leftover hambone from the previous night’s dinner.” 2
  • The combination of celery, onion, and green bell pepper used as the base of a dish is referred to as the holy trinity. This is a common ingredient in Cajun/Creole food.
  • Apparently the favorite food of jazz legend Louis Armstrong was red beans and rice, (which isn’t that surprising since he was from New Orleans). He would often sign letters “Red Beans and Ricely Yours, Louis Armstrong.” 


1
source: southernliving.com
2
source: neworleansonline.com

 
 
There’s still plenty of time to join in on the New Orleans tradition of Red Beans and Rice Monday. Just remember to start soaking your beans tonight!

-♥-
 Katy

fiesta taco skillet

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You may have noticed that I’ve been slacking in posting to the blog the last few weeks. I really have no excuse, just that I haven’t made time for it. But I hope this recipe (and the ones I plan to post very soon) make up for it.

fiesta taco skillet1  I  frozen pizza, again?


This is a recipe I found on Pinterest (actually, that’s where I find a lot of my new recipes). It is an easy-to-make, one skillet dish that makes for a tasty meal and easy clean up.  
It’s actually very similar to a recipe my mother-in-law gave me called “Impossible Cheeseburger Pie.” Her recipe is good, but I kinda like this one better because of the cornbread. We Southerners really like our cornbread. 🙂  And none of that sweet stuff some people try to pass off as cornbread. If I wanted something sweet I’d rather eat cake. Funfetti cake. With pink Funfetti frosting. 

[FYI: Funfetti cake is the best box cake ever. Very few homemade cakes I’ve tried can top it. My wedding cake was even made from Funfetti cake mix! And pink Funfetti frosting is way better than regular white Funfetti frosting, but sadly Pillsbury doesn’t make it anymore.]


fiesta taco skillet2  I  frozen pizza, again?

Fiesta Taco Skillet
from the kitchen of: Carnation Milks

Prep Time: 45 mins – 1 hour
Servings: 4

Ingredients
1 lb. ground beef
1 can (11 oz.) Mexican-style corn, drained
2/3 cup water
1 packet taco seasoning mix / 2 tbsp homemade taco seasoning
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup corn meal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup evaporated milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Directions
Preheat oven to 400° F.

Cook beef in well-greased 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in corn, water and seasoning mix. Cook over low heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture thickens. Top with cheese.

Combine corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Combine evaporated milk and egg in small bowl; mix well. Add milk mixture to corn meal mixture; stir just until blended. Spread over top of meat-cheese mixture.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Notes

  • If you don’t have a cast iron skillet cook the meat in a regular skillet and then transfer it to a deep pie dish before adding the rest of the ingredients. I made this dish that way several times before I got my cast iron skillet as a Christmas present.
  • If you use homemade taco seasoning instead of store-bought packet, you will need to add 1-2 tbsp of flour as well to thicken the meat mixture.
  • You can substitute equal parts regular milk for the evaporated milk. The corn bread will taste just fine whichever one you use; I’ve tried it both ways and can’t taste any difference.

Fun Fact
My chiropractor told me that cooking in a cast iron skillet is a great way to add extra iron to your diet.


-♥-  
Katy

 

a-freaking-mazing artichoke dip

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I made this dip yesterday to take to card night at our friends’ home.  Even though I was told that it wasn’t truly a snack because it involved a vegetable, we only took about a third of it back home.   It was really easy to make (just dump all the ingredients in a dish, mix well, and bake) and quite tasty.  The only thing I’d change is to swap the amounts of artichoke and spinach (just personal preference).  Oh, and don’t be afraid to be generous with the chili powder.  I added a good amount but could hardly taste it; the cheese and sour cream really help to balance out the heat of the chili powder.  Head on over to Joyful Abode for the recipe.

-♥- katy

fun fact: I wasn’t sure what food category artichokes fall into, so I looked it up on Wikipedia.  Apparently, they are considered a flowering thistle.