Friday, August 29, 2008

Spanish Rice

I am not a huge fan of Spanish rice. It is usually dry and rather bland, whether it be homemade (out of a package) or at a restaurant. However, a friend of mine made this and served it with shredded pork tacos and it was an instant hit for me and my family. The tacos were DELISH and so was this rice. I made it for some friends this week, and they loved it too!

Spanish Rice
(thanks Tauni--who got the recipe here:)

2 tablespoons olive oil (can use up to 1/4 cup)
1 onion, chopped fine
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups of medium or long-grain white rice
3 cups chicken stock*
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste or 1 cup of diced fresh or cooked tomatoes, strained
Pinch of oregano
1 teaspoon salt
*Check the instructions on the rice package for the proportions of liquid to rice. They can range from 1:1 to 2:1. If your rice calls for 2 cups of water for every cup of rice, then for this recipe, use 4 cups of stock for 2 cups of rice.

In a large skillet brown rice in olive oil, medium/high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook onion rice mixture, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes, or until onions are softened.
In a separate sauce pan bring stock to a simmer. Add tomato sauce, oregano, and salt. Add rice to broth. Bring to a simmer. Cover. Lower heat and cook 15-25 minutes, depending on the type of rice and the instructions on the rice package. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Serves 4 to 6.

Tauni's changes: she (and I) used a can of diced tomatoes instead of the tomato paste/tomatoes and sprinkled a handful of sharp cheddar cheese through it right before serving.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Nieman-Marcus Cookies

I wanted to make cookies today (a Sunday afternoon tradition)--but felt the need to try a new recipe--partly because I like to try new recipes and partly because I have been getting some flack for not posting any recipes lately (although the 4 I posted today should make up for the slow pace as of late). Thankfully, when I checked my email today, Marc's cousin's wife had sent this recipe to me. Thanks Sandee!

Nieman-Marcus Cookies
(A recipe that has been floating around on the internet. Don't know if it's THE actual NM recipe, but it is good, nonetheless)
2 c. butter
2 c. brown sugar
2 c. white sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
5 c. oatmeal (once measured, blend it in a blender into fine flour)
8 oz. Hershey bar, grated
3 c. chopped nuts (optional) (I used about 1/2 this of chopped pecans)

Cream the butter and both sugars.
Add eggs and vanilla.
Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture.
Mix in ground oatmeal.
Add grated chocolate, chocolate chips and nuts.
Roll into balls and place on greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

(recipe can be cut in half...but why would anyone do that?!)

Broiled Soy-Glazed Pork with Rice and Asian Vegetables

We came home from church today and I could hear Marc's stomache rumbling--he was HUNGRY. Seriously hungry. To satisfy this type of hunger, he always wants our typical Sunday dinner...roast & mashed potatoes. However, I already planned on trying this new recipe for dinner. He was not-so-secretly disappointed. However, after all the pouting and eating was over, he said he loved it and thought this meal was great. Hope you do too!

Broiled Soy-Glazed Pork with Rice and Asian Vegetables
(MS EveryDay Food, April 2008)

1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
8 ounces snow peas, trimmed
2 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced
1 bunch scallions, ends trimmed, cut crosswise into 3-inch lengths
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
1/4 cup soy sauce
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pork tenderloin (1 to 1 1/4 pounds), halved crosswise
1/4 cup honey

Cook rice according to package instructions; cover, and set aside. Meanwhile, heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss snow peas, carrots, bell peppers, and scallions with oil and 2 tablespoons soy sauce; season with salt and pepper.
Place pork on top of vegetables, and season with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon honey. Broil until pork and vegetables begin to char, 6 to 8 minutes. Toss vegetables, and turn pork; drizzle pork with 1 tablespoon honey.
Continue to broil until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of pork registers 145 degrees and vegetables are charred in spots, 6 to 8 minutes, tossing vegetables once more. Remove from broiler. Cover with aluminum foil, and let rest, 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, make sauce: Stir together remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce and honey. Thinly slice pork, and serve with vegetables, rice, and sauce.

CONFESSION: I used a bag of frozen "Asian Vegetables" which already had some sort of glaze on them--so I omitted the vegetable seasonings. I also used a bag of frozen, streamable white rice--those two cheats made this meal SUPER simple to throw together, but tasted like I spent a bit of time on it!

Cream Cheese Streusel Bars

These are REALLY good. I got the recipe from "Light & Tasty", whose premise is to take a recipe and then use all low/no fat ingredients to make it "light." However, I used good ol' FULL fat ingredients--maybe that's why they were so good.
Wish I would have taken a picture of these--they turn out picture worthy--we just ate them too fast. You can click on the link to see the recipe and picture on it's own site.
FYI: I doubled the recipe and used a jellyroll pan, which worked great!

Cream Cheese Streusel Bars
(Light & Tasty, April/May 2007)

1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter
1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
1 can (14 ounces) fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, flour, cocoa and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. Set aside 1/2 cup for topping; press remaining crumb mixture into an 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 8-12 minutes or until set.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, milk, egg and vanilla until blended. Pour over crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Top with reserved crumb mixture; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until filling is set. Cool on a wire rack. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 15 servings.

Lemon-Lime Cake

This is super easy & fast--perfect for the last minute dessert I needed to bring with dinner to a family in need.

Lemon-Lime Cake
(I have NO idea--it was just printed on a piece of paper I had in my stack of recipes)

1 lemon cake mix
1 c. water
1 1/2 Tblspn. lime zest
4 eggs
1/2 c. oil
1 small pkg. instant lemon pudding
3 drops green food coloring (optional)

Mix all together adn pour into greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and pour glaze over hot cake.

1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. lime juice

Let cake sit for about 10 minutes, then serve.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Chicken Fajita Tostadas with Cilantro-Lime Rice

Everything I post on this blog we have tried and liked. Some more than others. These recipes I REALLY liked (just imagine me saying "mmmmm, good" with every bite). Once I was eating these, I realized they aren't complicated and should have been something I could come up with on my own....but no, I had to wait for this recipe to show up in Martha Stewart's EveryDay Food. I was sad I wasn't home for lunch today to have them as leftovers........can't wait for tomorrow!

P.S. I took a picture of the rice, but quickly realized that the pictures in the magazine (or online) were MUCH better than mine, so I am not posting the photos I took. If you are a visual person like me, check out the links below for pictures.

Chicken Fajita Tostadas
(MS EveryDay Food, April 2008)

2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced
1 box (10 ounces) frozen corn kernels
1 cup prepared fresh salsa
2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
4 corn tortillas (6-inch)
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
Cilantro-Lime Rice, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. On foil, combine onions, bell peppers, corn, 1/4 cup salsa, and 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper.
Roast, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Add chicken, stir to combine, and continue to roast until warmed through, 5 minutes more.

Transfer chicken and vegetable mixture to a serving bowl, discarding foil (reserve sheet).

Arrange tortillas on sheet. Dividing evenly, brush with remaining tablespoon oil; top with cheese. Bake until edges are golden and cheese is melted, 5 to 8 minutes.

Dividing evenly, top tortillas with chicken-vegetable mixture and remaining 3/4 cup salsa.

Serve with cilantro-lime rice, if desired

This rice is a great alternative to the more traditional Spanish/Mexican rice. Loved it!
Cilantro-Lime Rice
(MS EveryDay Food, April 2008)

1 cup long-grain white rice
Coarse salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until water is absorbed and rice is just tender, 16 to 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a blender, combine cilantro, lime juice, oil, garlic, and 2 tablespoons water; blend until smooth. Stir into cooked rice, and fluff with a fork.