Tag Archives: Rice

Red Beans and Rice for Recipe Friday

Driving home from work the other night I was thinking about what I was going to make it to dinner. I knew we were going to have leftover chicken drumsticks and pork chops that we’d made on the Traeger earlier in the week. But what to have with it?

Then an idea came to me: red beans and rice. I know you can buy rice mixes for red beans and rice, but I have discovered that rice mixes tend to have milk in them and the red beans tend to be dried and not very many of them.

So this is the recipe I came up with when I got home. It turned out pretty good and was a nice complement to the leftovers.

Red Beans and Rice

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups long grain white rice
1 tsp olive oil
2 ½ cups water
¼ cup chopped onion
1 can kidney beans
1 tsp dried chipotle pepper
1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Rinse and drain beans. Put all ingredients in a 2 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Taste test to see if it needs more salt and pepper. Enjoy!

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Cauliflower Garlic Rice Skillet

I’ve been trying to decide all week what to post for Recipe Friday, but we really haven’t had anything new all week. Monday we had Fajita Tacos, Tuesday we had Goulash (albeit with rotini noodles instead of macaroni, which my husband says makes it not Goulash, but it’s the same recipe to me), Wednesday we had a rice skillet (which I posted several variations of in the past), and Thursday we had Chili Dogs (without the macaroni). It’s been a pretty ordinary culinary week at the Kruschke household.

But then I got to thinking about the variation on the rice skillet that I made this week, and realized that although it’s just a variation on the same old recipe to me, to someone else it might seem completely new and something they never would have thought of. So I decided to share this recipe that involves cauliflower and just a little bit of garlic.

I really like this recipe because cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables, and has been ever since I was a kid. The first time I made this variation I was a little worried about using cauliflower because it doesn’t take long to cook and can get mushy pretty easily. But I discovered that if you don’t add it until the latter half of the cooking process it holds up well and adds a nice flavor to the dish. My family loves this one, although my son’s favorite rice dish is still what he has dubbed Rice Stuff.

Cauliflower Garlic Rice Skillet

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
2 packages Rice-a-Roni, Long Grain and Wild Rice flavor
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 tbsp butter (per Rice-a-Roni directions)
3 2/3 cups water
1 large clove of garlic, chopped or pressed through a garlic press
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Fry hamburger in a large skillet. Remove grease using a turkey baster. Add onion and garlic, and saute for a minute or two. Push meat and onion mixture to one side of the pan. Melt butter on the other side of the pan and pour in the Rice-a-Roni, seasoning packet, rosemary, and water, and stir altogether. (You will note that the water is more than indicated on the Rice-a-Roni directions. This is to accommodate the vegetables.) Layer carrots on top. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir and layer cauliflower pieces on top. Cover again and simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Note about lower fat options: If you prefer chicken or turkey, you could substitute either one in this recipe for a lower fat recipe. You can also substitute a tbsp of olive oil for the butter for a healthier option.

Note about the rice: The reason I use two packages for this recipe is because the Long Grain and Wild Rice variety of Rice-a-Roni is only a little over 4 oz, whereas most of the other varieties are almost 8 oz. I suspect that is because wild rice is more expensive than white rice or vermicelli pasta that is used in other Rice-a-Roni. You can substitute one package of Herb and Butter Rice-a-Roni if you don’t like wild rice.

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Cooking Tips for Recipe Friday

It’s Recipe Friday and I can’t think of a recipe I want to share. Maybe it’s because we’ve been having the same old thing lately and I haven’t come up with anything that’s really new. Or maybe it’s because my recent posts with pictures have set the bar too high in my mind and I don’t have any good pictures.

Anyway, I thought I’d do something a bit different and just share some of my favorite tips for making cooking easier and food tastier.

  • I do a lot of cooking with ground beef because it’s easy and relatively inexpensive. Plus, I always have some on hand in the freezer. But I never freeze it as it was packaged at the store. Instead, I buy 3 – 4 lb packages (cheaper yet when they are buy-one-get-one-free). When I get home, I break them up into 1 lb portions and put each portion in a quart-sized Ziploc bag. Then I flatten it out as thin as it will go to fill the bag to the edges. Then, when I want to make one of my many ground beef recipes, I can just open the Ziploc and microwave the meat on the thaw setting. Because the meat is pressed thin it thaws more evenly and I don’t end up with some parts that are cooked and others that are still frozen. This trick will work with any ground meat.
  • I love garlic. I’ve purchased the pre-chopped jars of garlic in the past, but the taste gets strong and bitter pretty quickly even in the refrigerator. This last summer someone gave me a gift basket with a bag of whole garlic cloves in it. At first, I would hand chop the garlic to put it in various dishes. But for Christmas my husband got me a really nice garlic press from Crate & Barrel. I have used flimsy garlic presses before and they were more trouble than they were worth. But this one is nice and sturdy and does a great job of getting all the garlicy goodness out of a garlic clove with less mess. Mmmmm, garlic!
  • The other night we were watching one of the late night shows, and they had a chef on there who was showing the host how to make something, I don’t even remember what. But what I do remember is that she had a bowl of salt and said, “I call this a little bowl of compliments.” I thought that was such a great comment because adding a little fresh salt does bring out the flavors so much in any dish. It doesn’t matter if you have already put in canned ingredients that were salted – adding some extra salt at the very end of the cooking process (plus a little pepper, though that always makes me sneeze) makes everything taste better.
  • When cooking any sort of pasta I always add a tablespoon or so of light olive oil to the water. I don’t measure it, I just pour some in. This helps keep the pasta from sticking together when you drain it. For some pastas, such as angel hair, it also helps to add another tablespoon of olive oil after you have drained it and stir it around to keep the pasta from sticking.
  • Not everything has to be from scratch to be tasty. I can’t remember the last time I made homemade spaghetti sauce (in fact, have I ever done that? I don’t think so. If I did, it was a looooong time ago.) There are so many good brands of spaghetti sauce these days, such as Bertolli or Classico (though I still don’t like Ragu). Just add a little ground beef, sausage, or turkey, cook up some pasta, and you have a meal.
  • Rice-a-Roni can be turned into an endless number of different skillet meals. I have already posted at least one of my favorites, and will probably post some additional ones that I’ve come up with in the future. But you can create your own very easily. Add your favorite meat and vegables to a Rice-a-Roni flavor you like, and you have a one skillet meal. You just have to make sure your vegetables are in for the right amount of time to be cooked to your liking, and that you add a small amount of water to accommodate the cooking of the vegetables.

Well, that’s all the tips for today. I hope they are helpful to someone. I know they make my cooking easy and my family never complains about what’s for dinner.

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Swiss Steak for Recipe Friday

When I was a kid my mom used to make Swiss Steak a lot. I think she used the recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, which uses canned tomato soup. This is my own version that uses V8 Juice instead.

This entrée can be served with either rice or mashed potatoes. We had it the other night with white rice. It’s not my son’s favorite dish, but my husband and I love it!

Swiss Steak

Swiss Steak

Ingredients:

4 cube steaks
3 tbsp flour
½ tsp salt 
½ tsp pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 12 oz can V8 Juice
½ sweet onion
1 red pepper

Directions:

Cut each cube steak in half. Mix flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Slice onion and red pepper into rings.

Heat olive oil on medium-high in a large skillet. Place cube steaks in the skillet and brown on the first side. Turn and brown the second side. Reduce heat to medium-low. Pour V8 Juice over steaks. Lift each steak so some of the juice goes under it. Layer onion and red pepper rings on top of the steaks. Cover the skillet and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

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Rice Stuff for Recipe Friday

I know, “Rice Stuff” isn’t a very good name for a recipe. But I made this last night and when we said our usual dinner prayer — “Come Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let this _______ to us be blessed” — in which the blank is the specific dish we are having for dinner, my son and husband both filled in the blank with “rice stuff.” This was then followed by, “Mmmmmm, I love rice stuff!”

If it was me, I would call this dish Beef Skillet Fried Rice, but it has been dubbed “Rice Stuff” and it’s out of my hands now. It’s a very easy dish to make and seldom results in leftovers. And I almost always have everything in the house to make it without any advanced planning.

Rice Stuff

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
1 package Rice-a-Roni, Fried Rice flavor
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 tbsp butter (per Rice-a-Roni directions)
2 1/3 cups water
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2/3 cup string beans, chopped into small pieces
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Fry hamburger in a large skillet. Remove grease using a turkey baster. Add onion and saute for a few minutes. Push meat and onion mixture to one side of the pan. Melt butter on the other side of the pan and pour in the Rice-a-Roni. Saute until slightly browned. Add Rice-a-Roni seasoning packet and stir altogether. Add water and stir, making sure the rice doesn’t stick to the pan. (You will note that the water is more than indicated on the Rice-a-Roni directions. This is to accommodate the vegetables.) Layer carrots and string beans on top. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir and simmer 4 or 5 minutes more, or until all liquid is absorbed. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

You can also add frozen peas instead of the green beans, but they should be layered on top in the last 5 minutes of the original 15 minute simmer or they will get mushy. If you want to stretch this dish to feed more, you can add a can of corn (well-drained, of course).

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