Easy Fried Rice

There is not a lot that intimidates me, especially with cooking.  I view life as a “roll-up your sleeves and give it a try” ride.  This has translated very well to my cooking.  Sure, I’ve had my major flubs (#thoseareNOTsnickerdoodles, #omgthatshorrible), but it doesn’t stop me from trying new things or rejected things over again.  And then we come to fried rice.  I know, I know.  Fried rice?!?!  Really?  Fried rice??  You don’t say.  But, I come by my intimidation quite easily, I simply adore fried rice.  You know how you set someone up in your mind as just the end-all, be-all of X (insert talent here).  But you don’t want to actually meet Said Talent of X because what if they turn out to be a real jerk and forever change your opinion of them?  Well, that’s kind of how I feel about fried rice.  Now, before you attempt to cart me off in a straight jacket for a padded cell, let me explain.  I so adore fried rice that I was terrified of messing it up SO bad that it would be forever etched on my brain.  And I would never be able to go to OIC Bowl again and stare lovingly at my bowl of fried rice without images of how badly I ruined it.  So there you have it, rational or not.  This attempt, however, has turned it around for me.  I’ve concurred fried rice, and still love it!

Ingredients:

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded (uncooked) carrots
1 cup sliced green onions, divided
3 cups cooked rice
½ cup thawed frozen peas
¼ low sodium soy sauce

Preparation:

Spritz a large nonstick pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.  Add eggs, making sure to cover the bottom of the pan with the eggs.  When eggs start to set, break them into pieces and cook about 1 more minute, until cooked through.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Spritz pan 1 more time; when re-warmed, add carrots and all but 2 Tbs of green onions; sauté until carrots are crisp-tender; about 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in cooked rice, peas and soy cause; cook until heated through, stirring once or twice, about 1 minute.  Gently stir in cooked egg and remaining scallions; heat through.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Grüner Veltliner
Gewürztraminer
Riesling

Serves 6

Total time: 30 minutes

East Fried Rice

Easy Fried Rice

*Derived from Weight Watchers

Cucumber Caprese Salad

I’m a sucker for caprese anything.  I just love the way the mozzarella tastes so creamy against the acid of the balsamic vinegar and the tomatoes and basil adding a fresh, clean feeling.  How can it get any better?  Toss in some cucumber.  The amazing crispness it brings is a wonderful addition to an already awesome dish!

Ingredients:

2 cucumbers
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
2 Tbs chipped fresh basil
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 avocado
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Cut cucumbers into 1/4″ slices, then cut the slices in half.  Cut tomatoes in 1/2.  Dice avocado.  Place cucumbers through avocado in a bowl and set aside.

To a small jar with a tight-fitting lid add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.  Close tightly and shake to combine. 

Add dressing to salad and gently toss to combine.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Chianti
Friulano
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 4

Total time: 15 minutes

Cucumber Caprese Salad

Cucumber Caprese Salad

*Derived from Fitsugar

Rosemary Parmesan Rolls

Once again I was making my amazing Maple Salmon , this is a frequent dish in our house.  The hubs and the kids love it.  And I never tire of making such a tasty, healthy, supremely easy dish.  I thought about making my Buttery Corn bread, too.  But, quite frankly, I just didn’t feel like putting in the effort.  Perused my baking recipes and nothing jumped out saying, “Make ME tonight! Make me!!”  I guess I would just toast some slices of Pulgiese like usual.  As I was in the refrigerator I discovered a can of crescent rolls that were quickly coming to the end of their shelf life.  I grabbed it, but am not a big fan of canned crescent roll.  I wonder what else I could come up with . . .

Ingredients:

1 regular size can refrigerated crescent rolls
2 Tbs garlic olive oil (such as Garlic Gold)
3 tsp Rosemary (next time I’ll used crushed)
1/2 to 1 Cup shredded Parmesan

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°

Open can of crescent rolls, pinch seams together and roll flat, about the size of a small cookie sheet.  Pour garlic olive oil into small bowl and with pastry brush, evenly brush dough with oil.  Sprinkle with rosemary and then parmesan cheese.  Roll into tight log and cut into 1″ thick slices.

Place flat on parchment lined cookie sheet and brush with remaining garlic olive oil.  Bake 10-15 minutes, until golden.

Serves 6

Total time: 30 minutes

Rosemary Parmesan Rolls

Rosemary Parmesan Rolls

 *Original Serves-4 Recipe

Spring Mix with Apples, Toasted Almonds and Basalmic Dressing

Even though I had planned the menu completely, on this particular evening, I just needed something simple.  The kids, of course, voted for plain pasta with butter.  Not something I’ll usually go for, but this was not a usual type day.  That left me, and the hubs, who was still at work.  I wanted something light, that would fill me up without making me feel heavy.  I pulled our container of spring mix salad from the refrigerator.  Grabbed an avocado and some cherry tomatoes.  Whoops.  That avocado doesn’t feel to good.  And it wasn’t.  Hmm, back to the drawing board.  After digging around I came up with a couple of Golden Delicious apples, a container of shaved almonds and also some shaved parmesan.  This is the result.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Ingredients:

FOR THE SALAD

2 cups baby spring mix (such as Organic Girl)
1 ½ Apples thinly sliced (I would have had 2 whole apples had little hands not stolen so many slices 🙂 )
1/3 cup shaved almonds
1/2 – 1 cup shaved parmesan

FOR THE DRESSING

3 Tbs red wine vinegar
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
½ cup olive oil
2 Tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

In a small jar combine red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Close lid and shake vigorously to mix.  Set aside.

Put almonds on toaster oven safe tray.  Spread flat and toast lightly, stirring occasionally.

While almonds toast, thinly slice apple and add to a large bowl with spring mix and shaved parmesan.  When almonds are lightly toasted, allow to cool slightly and add to salad mix.  Give jar of dressing one more shake and slowly drizzle over salad to desired amount.  Toss to coat evenly.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Gerwurtztraminer
Riesling
Sauvignon Blanc
Semillon

Serves 4 as side or 2 as main course

Total time: 15 minutes

Salad with Apples and Toasted Almonds

Salad with Apples and Toasted Almonds

*Original Serves-4 Recipe

Pesto Crisps

The family and I were heading over to our family friends’ house for the annual Holiday Eve party.  Exciting things were going to happen, and I’m not talking about the flooded downstairs bathroom!  We always enjoy their gatherings and are so fortunate to be considered part of their family.  But first, what was I going to bring for everyone to nosh on??  It had to be something quick and easy (see above about the flooded downstairs bathroom, I wasn’t kidding) because so much of my time had been used.  Hmmm, thinking, thinking . . .  And now, looking, looking through my Food Network Magazine.  Food goodness always comes from my Food Network Magazine.  Bingo!  These did not disappoint and were gobbled up ridiculously fast!

Ingredients:

1 pkg wonton or egg roll wrappers (I used egg roll and was able to get 2 cutouts per wrapper)
1 small container prepared pesto
Salt for seasoning

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 °.  Using holiday cookie cutters (for any holiday, or just round ones), punch out shapes from the wrappers.  Place on parchment lined backing sheet.  Brush lightly with prepared pesto and season with salt.  Bake until golden around the edges, about 8 minutes.  They can be enjoyed by themselves or with any variety of dips.

Total time: 20 minutes

Pesto Crisps

Pesto Crisps

*From Food Network Magazine

Related articles


Puff Pastry-Wrapped Shrimp

It seems this Thanksgiving I was all about the puff pastry for the appetizers.  Isn’t it weird how we get stuck on a certain ingredient or type of cooking?  This Thanksgiving my focus seemed to be on puff pastry and bacon.  More to come regarding the bacon 🙂

Ingredients:

All-purpose flour
1 pkg (5.2 oz) garlic & herb spreadable cheese, softened (I used the little wedges by The Laughing Cow
1 Tbs finely chopped parsley
2 sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
18 fresh jumbo shrimp (peeled & deveined)
1 sheet of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry

Preparation:

Heat oven to 400°F.

Stir cheese, parsley, and bacon in a medium bowl and set aside.

Unfold puff pastry sheet on lightly floured work surface.  Cut puff pastry sheet crosswise into 18, ½” wide strips.  Spoon at 2 teaspoons cheese mixture onto each strip. Wind 1 pastry shrimp around 1 shrimp, slightly overlapping the pastry.  Repeat with remaining pastry strips and shrimp.

Bake 15 minutes or until pastries are golden brown.

Serves 18 (pieces)
Total time: 50 minutes

Puff Pastry-Wrapped Shrimp

Puff Pastry-Wrapped Shrimp

*Derived from Pepperidge Farm

Related articles


Tomato Pesto Tart

I don’t know about everyone else, but I seem to be getting into the Holiday spirit in fits and stops.  One minute I’m super excited and totally on top of things, and the next I’m yawning into my glass of wine and wishing someone could just wake me up when it’s all over.  For this I blame all of the stores that completely by-passed my favorite holiday of the year (#Thanksgiving) and started decorating for Christmas on November 1st.  It has left me feeling not quite bah humbug about the whole thing, but certainly ho-hum.  So, to show my support for Thanksgiving, I’m going to be posting more of my recipes from that holiday.  And the fact that they haven’t been posted before has absolutely nothing to do with laziness . . .

Ingredients:

All-purpose flour
1 sheet Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry, thawed
¼ cup pesto sauce (I used store-bought from the produce section)
2 plum tomatoes, sliced
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs thinly sliced basil leaves

Preparation:

Heat oven to 400°F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sprinkle flour on work surface.  Unfold pastry sheet on floured work surface.  Roll the pastry sheet into a 12″ square.  Place the pastry sheet onto the baking sheet and prick thoroughly with a fork.

Spread pesto sauce on pastry to within ½” of pastry edge.  Arrange tomato slices on pesto and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake 12 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.  Let cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with basil.

Serves 6 as appetizers
Prep: 15 minutes; Total time: 30 minutes

Tomato Pesto Tart

*Courtesy Pepperidge Farm