Beef Teriyaki & Vegetables

It has been so long since I’ve updated my blog. Life has been incredibly hectic. Am I the only one looking forward to summer? A little less hussle to get out the door before school starts each morning will be nice. I’ll still need to go to my office, but just taking away that stresser will be nice.

It has been HOT in Cali this week! When it’s hot I like to make quick dishes that don’t require a lot of heat. This is just that dish, and the bonus, I used my rice cooker!

Ingredients:

2 cup carrots sliced thin (I used the precut carrots in the produce section)
2 cup snow peas (just the name cools me off!)
1/2 cup terijaki sauce (your favorite bottled will do just fine)
3 tsp corn starch
6 tsp vegetable oil divided
12 oz sirloin tip steak thinly sliced against the grain into strips (you could even purchase the already sliced carne asada in the meat department.  Also, feel free to sub chicken if prefered.)
4 scallions diced, whites and greens seperate (I omitted b/c the kiddos would have crinkled their cute little noses)
Small pinch red pepper flakes (omitted for the same reason as above)
8 oz sliced mushrooms (purchase presliced in the produce section)
8 oz mixed sweet bell peppers cut into strips (red, yellow, and / or orange)

Preparation:

Either cook rice in rice cooker or according to package directions.  While rice is cooking, prep all other ingredients.

Stir cornstarch into teriyaki sauce and set aside.  In a wok or heavy bottomed pan, over very high heat, place one teaspoon of oil and let it get smoking hot.  Add beef (can divide into two portions for even browning) and brown on both sides (about 1 minute) and remove to a bowl.  If browning beef in two batches, add next teaspoon of oil, allow to get smoking hot, brown second half of meat, remove to same bowl.  Let pan get smoking hot again, add third teaspoon of oil add carrots and snowpeas.  Cook until crisp / tender, 4-5 minutes.  Add pepper flakes, mushrooms, and peppers.  Stir and cook for 3-5 minutes, until slightly cooked but still a little crunchy. Return cooked beef.  Stir, keepin heat on high.  Stir teriyaki again and add to pan.  Remove from heat and stir a few times.  Serve immediatlely over warm rice.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Beaujolais
Cabernet Franc
Grenache
Merlot
Syrah / Shiraz

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 minutes; Total time: 1 hour

Beef Teriyaki and Vegetables

*Derived from Weight Watchers

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

Vegetable and Rice Burritos

I thought my favorite Disney movie was The Incredibles.  I loved everything about that movie.  The family sticking together, using their super powers to save the day.  Relying on old friends to thwart the mortal enemy, Syndrome.  My favorite character is Edna ‘E’ Mode.  I aspire to be her when I grow up (shhh, no one tell me I’m grown up).  And then, a few years later (3 to be exact, but who’s counting) I happened upon Ratatouille.  I felt like I could connect, no sillies, not from Remy’s perspective (ok, maybe a teensy bit).  I was almost broken-hearted when Linguine sends Remy away because he was caught between friend and family by allowing his family to raid the pantry.  But I digress.  This dish reminded me of Ratatouille as I was making it.  All of the vegetables, but some savory ingredients, too.  Basically, take vegetables and turn them into something everyone would want to eat.  Which brings me to this latest dish.  The best way to describe it is as ratatouille enveloped in a tortilla. What is that you say? Yes, a tortilla. And what is not to love about anything in a tortilla. Make Remy proud and use up vegetables that you have on hand. Oh, and as a side note, my affair with the rice cooker continues. I often stop and day-dream about what life was like before this perfectly perfect appliance debuted in my life. And you know what? I can’t remember.

Ingredients:

4 tsp canola oil, divided
1/3 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 tsp minced garlic , divided
2/3 cup water
1/4 tsp salt, divided
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 Tbs chopped cilantro
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (I used frozen)
1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup halved grape tomatoes
4 flour tortillas
1 cup shredded quesadilla cheese (can sub Monterey jack)

Preparation:

Heat 1 tsp oil in rice cooker.  Add rice and 1/2 tsp garlic; sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add 2/3 cup water and 1/8 tsp salt.  Cover and let rice cooker do it’s thing.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 Tbs oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add onion; sauté 2  minutes, stirring frequently.  Add remaining 1/2 tsp garlic and mushrooms; sauté 1 minute, stirring frequently.  Add corn and zucchini; sauté 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add remaining 1/8 tsp salt and tomatoes; sauté 30 seconds or until tomatoes are thoroughly heated.  Remove vegetable mixture from pan.  Wipe pan clean with a paper towel.

Heat tortillas in same skillet.  Divide sour cream evenly among warmed tortillas; spread to a thin layer.  TOp each tortilla with 1/4 cup of cheese; about 1/4 cup rice mixture, and about 1/2 cup vegetable mixture.  Sprinkle each with cilantro.  Roll up each, tight.  Serve immediately.

Wine Paring Suggestions:

Sauvignon Blanc
Albariño
Alvarinho
Fume Blanc
Sancerre
(Or you can have a Corona like my husband did)

003

Serves 4
Hands-on time: 40 min; Total time: 40 min

*Derived from Cooking Light

Beef, Veggies and Rice

Sometimes you just need to get dinner on the table fast. Maybe it’s been a long day and you left work a little late. Or you finally made it to the pharmacy, after hopping the puddles of an early storm, only to discover the pharmacy is closed (is it that late already?). You’re finally home and frantically trying to put a meal together that does not include bags or boxes, but every movement is met with, “Mommy! He . . . ” or, “Mom! She . . .” It’s too early to call Calgon (totally dating myself. Do they even still make Calgon?) and no one has been fed. This recipe is tantamount to Calgon in that you can get a tasty, not processed meal on the table. Oh, and once again I’m singing the accolades of my rice cooker! Everyone quietly eating almost makes you think you are soaking in that bubbly warm bath, sipping your favorite glass of vino

Ingredients:

2 cups low sodium beef broth
1 1/2 cups rice
1 cup sliced carrot (buy them pre-sliced to save even more time for bubbles)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 lb top round steak, trimmed of fat and cut into thin strips (Or save time and buy fajita steak. Are those bubbles I hear calling??)
1/4 cup onion chopped ( you can buy this pre-chopped, too. Think of it as having your own personal Sous chef)
1 cup fresh snap pea pods, strings removed (Who has time for this?? I subbed a cup of frozen peas)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preparation:

 To rice cooker, add broth and carrots. Set it and forget it. If you choose to not use a rice cooker: heat broth to boiling in 2 quart saucepan. Stir in rice and carrots. Heat to boiling; reduce heat, cover and simmer 6-8 minutes or until carrots are crisp-tender; remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.

While rice cooks, heat oil in 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Cook beef and onion about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until beef is brown and onion tender. Stir in cooked rice and carrots, peas, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender. Add a small amount of water if it becomes dry before peas are tender.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Cabernet Sauvignon
Malbec
Merlot
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese
Petit Sirah

 Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes; Total time: 35 minutes

photo (4)

*Derived from Pillsbury

Risotto with Beans and Vegetables

Oops I did it again! I played with your heart . . . Oh wait,wrong sentiment. Well, a little. I did do it again, I made a wonderful risotto in the rice cooker!  It’s almost daily now that I am looking at the rice cooker and thinking, “Hmmm. . . ”  I wonder if I stuff some laundry in there it will magically be cleaned and folded.  Oh, oh, oh!  I’ve got it!  Can I shove my computer in their and all of my scopes of work and subcontractor matrices come out DONE!!  Bim Bam!  Because that’s how I am viewing my wonderful little rice cooker now, it’s this magical little pot.  I’m not sure how it does what it does.  I don’t even care.  Just as long as it keeps bubbling away and turning out amazing food.  (The laundry would help, too, though.)

Ingredients:

3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (I bought presliced cremini)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup finally chopped zucchini
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 15 oz can low sodium cannellini, pinto, or black beans; rinsed and drained
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (plus about a handful more for topping when ready to serve)

Rice Cooker Preparation:

Turn rice cooker on, once it’s heated add 2 Tbs olive oil, mushrooms, onion, and garlic.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until onion is tender.  Add uncooked rice.  Cook and stir about 5 more minutes or until rice is golden brown.  Add 3 cups of broth, zucchini and carrots, stir to combine all ingredients.  Cover and let cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  After 20 minutes, rice should be slightly creamy and just tender.  Stir in beans and Parmesan cheese; cover and heat through.  Sprinkle with additional cheese for serving.

Non-Rice Cooker Preparation:

In medium sauce pan bring broth to boil.  Reduce heat; simmer until needed.  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan cook mushrooms, onion, and garlic in hot oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until onion is tender.  Add uncooked rice.  Cook and stir for about 5 minutes or until rice is golden brown.

Slowly add 1 cup of broth to rice mixture, stirring constantly.  Continue to cook and stir until liquid is absorbed.  Add another 1/2 cup of broth, zucchini, and carrots to rice mixture, stirring constantly.  Continue to cook and stir until liquid is absorbed.  Add another 1 cup broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until broth is absorbed. (THis should take about 20 minutes).

Stir remaining 1/2 cup broth into rice mixture.  Cook and stir until rice is slightly creamy and just tender.  Stir in beans and Parmesan cheese; heat through.  Sprinkle with additional cheese for serving.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

White Burgundy,
Chardonnay,
Nebbiolo,
Pinot Noir,
Sangiovese,
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 4
Prep time: 20 minutes; Cook time: 30 minutes

photo (3)

*Derived from BHG

Asparagus-Mushroom Risotto with Parmesan

I love risotto.  I love everything about risotto.  The comfort food feel you get from it.  The rich taste.  The creamy texture.  My risotto recipes have been “go to”s for me for years.  And I completely forgot I had this one.  The kicker, the rice you use has to be pre-cooked.  Um, what?  Who has time for that?  That’s when the little light bulb went “Pop” over my head.  I don’t own a rice cooker for nothing!  Wow, what a huge difference that made.  And I could have the rice cooker going while I was prepping and cooking the asparagus and mushrooms.  Brilliant!

001

Ingredients:

2 tsp olive oil
2 shallots chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
6 cups sliced mushrooms (any combination cremini, oyster, etc.)
1 tsp dried thyme
4 cups cooked Arborio rice (I doubled this because it was our main dish for dinner, if you’d like it as a side, reduce to 2 cups)
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian version)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

To cook the Arborio in the rice cooker, I added 2 cups of rice and 5 cups of chicken broth (had I read ahead, i would have used beef broth, but I don’t think it had a huge impact on the taste).  The very basic cooker I have has an on / off and warming button (I’m hoping to get an upgrade, *hint hint to my Hubs).  So I just hit the on button and let it do its work while I prepped the rest of the meal.

Heat olive oil in large stock pot over medium heat.  Add shallots and garlic.  Cook 1 minute until garlic is fragrant.  Add mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes, until tender and releasing juice.  Add thyme and cook 1 minute.  Add rice, broth, and asparagus and bring to a simmer.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Stir in parmesan and chopped parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve hot.

Serves 6

Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 15 minutes

002

*Derived from Robin Miller / Food Network

Slow Cooker Chicken with Cashews

Sometimes I think the slow cooker is a working family’s best friend. Or, almost like a built-in chef. You just have to do the prep work. What I like to do is get everything prepped the night before and put in zip lock bags in the refrigerator. Then, the next morning before I leave for work or the gym, I just have to put it all in the slow cooker and set the timer. There is nothing better than coming home and your house smells like dinner! It’s also nice if no one knows you are making dinner in the slow cooker, beat them home, and hide the slow cooker evidence. Everyone is so thrilled with all of the hard work that went into this wonderful meal that YOU get to put your feet up with a glass of wine while they do the dishes! But that’s our little secret

Cashew Chicken - Serving Bowl

Ingredients:

1 lb skinless boneless breasts, cut into 1″ pieces (I used thighs, it was what was in the freezer)
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth (I also replaced the water in the rice cooker with chicken broth, it added some creaminess to the flavor)
2 cups peeled baby carrots
4 Tbs ginger-flavored soy sauce (or reduced sodium soy sauce)*
8 oz snow peas, trimmed
2 (8 oz) cans pineapple tidbits, drained, with 2 Tbs juice reserved
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
3 Tbs cornstarch
1/2 cup roasted cashews
3 cups hot cooked rice (optional)

Preparation:

In a 4-5 quart slow cooker, combine chicken, carrots, broth, and 2 Tbs of the soy sauce. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5 hours. Stir in snow peas, pineapple, and bell pepper. Cover and cook for additional 20 minutes

During that last 20 minutes, in a small bowl combine remaining 2 Tbs soy sauce, the reserved pineapple juice, and the cornstarch. Stir into slow cooker. Stir in cashews, Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until liquid is thickened. If serving with rice, this is the perfect time to get the rice cooker going.

*Try to get the ginger-flavored if you can, it is really worth it and adds a wonderful dimension to the dish

Serves 6

Prep time: 15 minutes, Slow Cooker time: 3 1/2 – 5 1/2 hours

Cashew Chicken - Served

*From Family Circle via Recipe.com magazine