18 October 2014

Are you all about the pumpkin right now?  I totally am.  I know everybody complains about the plethora of "pumpkin spice" flavored products this time of year, and they have a point.  But I am a big fan of adding real pumpkin to all kinds of stuff.  Most pumpkin recipes you see around are sweet, but I love adding pumpkin to savory dishes.  Remember my Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins, Pumpkin Beef Curry, Pumpkin Sausage Baked Pasta, Garlic Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes, Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce, Pumpkin Black Bean Enchiladas, and Pumpkin Sage Polenta? Wow, I have more savory pumpkin recipes than I realized! 

This is a recipe I created last fall.  I'm not sure what inspired me, but I just kind of threw it together and it came out perfectly the first time.  I love it when that happens!  Pumpkin, ham, and cheddar are really great together, especially with eggs.

Individual Pumpkin Quiche

2 eggs, beaten
Pinch of salt
⅛ tsp smoked paprika
1 slice deli ham, chopped
1 rounded tbsp pumpkin puree
2 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.  Coat a 7 oz. ramekin with baking spray.

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Mix well and pour into prepared ramekin.  Bake for 35 minutes, or until eggs are set in the middle.  Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes before serving.

Makes 1 serving.

For a full-sized quiche:

6 eggs, beaten
¼ tsp salt
4-6 slices ham, chopped
¼ cup pumpkin puree
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.  Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Pour into pie plate (can use a pie crust, if desired).  Bake for 45 minutes, or until eggs are set in the middle.  Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes before cutting and serving.

Makes 4-8 servings.

I like to make these in my little individual-sized ramekins, but I included the directions for making a 9" pie-sized quiche as well.  The little ones are nice because they cook up more quickly.  And they are the perfect serving for an adult.  My daughters usually split one.  I also have a 16 oz. dish just like the ramekins, so I double the recipe for that one and cook it about 10 minutes longer.  My husband and I can split that one.

When the first come out of the oven, they will have puffed up beautifully.  They will kind of deflate a little bit as they cool, but they will still look nice.

I feel pretty good serving these to my kids.  Not only do they have all kinds of protein from the eggs and the ham, but have you seen the nutrition info on canned pumpkin?  That stuff is loaded with vitamins.

These reheat pretty well in the microwave, so I usually make several at a time.  The leftovers are great for a quick protein-packed breakfast.

What I'm Reading Right Now


16 October 2014

Before I get to today's recipe, I have to share some exciting news.  I won a $500 grocery store gift card in a recipe contest!  I am so excited!  The gift card is for Festival Foods, a grocery store chain here in Wisconsin, and my favorite grocery store in Kenosha.  They chose my Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza as the grand prize winner in their tailgating recipe contest for September.  I got the phone call yesterday and have been on Cloud 9 ever since!  They actually want to present the president of the company to present the gift card to me and do a photo op kinda thing.  Wow!  This pizza will forever more be known as "$500 Pizza" at our house! :)

Now onto today's recipe!  It's time for this month's Improv Challenge!

The premise of the Improv Challenge is easy: each month there are two assigned ingredients.  The participants must make a recipe using both ingredients and blog about it. 

This month's assigned ingredients were peanut butter and chocolate.  Classic combo!  The options were literally endless!  I started looking around and got so overwhelmed with all the chocolate and peanut butter goodies.  I decided that I needed a way to kind of narrow things down a bit.  So I challenged myself to find a peanut butter and chocolate recipe that also included a third ingredient.  Since it is October, I decided to throw pumpkin into the mix.  I wanted a recipe that included peanut butter, chocolate, and pumpkin.  I thought those ingredients would be good in a muffin.  I couldn't find the "perfect" muffin recipe that I had in mind, but I did find a quick bread over at Crazy for Crust.  It looked amazing.  Several people who tried it commented that they had trouble getting it to cook all the way through in the middle since it was such a heavy, dense batter, so turning it into muffins seemed like the perfect solution.  Here's how I made them.

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
¾ cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
½ cup creamy peanut butter
¾ cup brown sugar
1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.  Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with baking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, pumpkin, eggs, peanut butter, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice.  In another bowl, stir together the flour and baking soda.  Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined.  Gently fold in the chocolate chips.  Batter will be very thick, like cookie dough.

Divide batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups.  Lightly press batter down into the cups and smooth out the tops as best you can, because these muffins won’t change their shape at all while baking.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and they begin to brown on the top.

Makes 12 muffins.

I wasn't sure how many muffins the recipe would make, but it ended up being the perfect amount of batter for 12 muffins.  

This is a most unusual muffin batter.  It is not thin like most muffin batters.  It is super duper thick like cookie dough.  It's kind of weird!  And like I said in the recipe directions, these muffins do not change their shape while baking.  However you put them into the muffin cups is how they are going to look when they come out.  They do not automatically conform to the shape of the muffin cup.  So make sure you press the batter into the cup so there are no little air pockets, and kind of round the tops off a little bit so they are pretty.  I didn't do that, and most of them were a little funky-looking, but that was okay.

I made these when my sister and her family were visiting and they were gobbled up.  I had never had the peanut butter/pumpkin combo before, so I had to sneak a taste of the batter after I combined those two things.  Wow!  I loved it.  It's a very interesting combo.  You can clearly taste both the peanut butter and the pumpkin, and they really do work well together.  I would say the peanut butter flavor is slightly more prominent than the pumpkin, but adding the pumpkin pie spice helps even it out a bit.  

The bread recipe said to mix most of the chocolate chips into the batter, then sprinkle the rest on top, so I did that with the muffins.  I don't recommend doing that, because the chocolate chips kept falling off of mine.  Maybe I didn't press them down enough, but next time I will just mix them all in.

Even though we loved them, I probably won't make these muffins a lot because one of my daughters is allergic to peanuts.  The day I made these, I also made a batch of my Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Muffins for her, subbing chocolate chips for the cinnamon chips.  I would guess that these muffins can be made with almond butter instead of peanut butter; maybe I will try them that way and see how they turn out.

Be sure to check out all the great peanut butter and chocolate recipes below and come back next month to see what I make with apples and cinnamon!

07 October 2014

I have two things for you today: a great meal-in-one recipe and the winner of my Red Gold apron giveaway.  I'll start with the recipe, so scroll down to find out the giveaway winner.

This is one of those convenient one-pot meals.  Well, it can be.  I made the rice separately, but if you want to do it all together, just pick up some Ready Rice.  I don't use that stuff very often, because I am home a lot and have no excuse not to make my own brown rice, but I like to keep a package or two on hand for rice "emergencies".  It can be your best friend on those super busy weeknights when you only have a few minutes to get dinner on the table.  (No, this post is not sponsored by Uncle Ben's; I just like that rice!)  My kids absolutely love brown rice, so we have it at least once a week, if not twice.  They also love sausage, so I thought this dish would be a big hit with them.  It's adapted from Cooking Light.

Sausage, Spinach, and Brown Rice Skillet

1 tsp olive oil
½ large onion, chopped
1 lb. ground sausage
6 cups fresh baby spinach, torn into pieces
1 tomato, chopped
3 cups brown rice (homemade, or 2 pouches Ready Rice)
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika

Heat the oil over medium-low heat in a large skillet.  Sauté onion until it softens.  Add the sausage and cook over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a spoon, until it is no longer pink.  Add the spinach and the tomato, stirring until spinach is wilted.  Stir in brown rice and season with garlic powder and smoked paprika.  Cook another minute or so, stirring constantly to make sure everything is evenly distributed.

Makes 4 servings.

I was right; my kids loved this recipe.  They aren't huge fans of spinach, but they tolerated it in this dish.  I left out the Parmesan, and I thought it needed a little something for color.  I had some vine-ripened tomatoes in my produce basket, so I chopped one up and threw it in there.  That was a great addition, not only for the color, but it also added a punch of brightness and acidity.  Worked out really well.

Speaking of tomatoes, it's now time for me to announce the winner of my Red Gold apron giveaway.

The winner is: Bonnie Boucek!  Congrats, Bonnie!  Check your inbox for an email from me!

I used Random.org to choose the winner:

A huge thanks to all of you who entered my giveaway.  I wish I could give all of you an apron!  :)

What I'm Reading Right Now


05 October 2014


It's time for this month's Secret Recipe Club! The Secret Recipe Club is a group of food bloggers who secretly make one of someone else's dishes and post them all on the same day at the same time.  It's really fun, choosing a recipe to make, making the recipe, then reading about everyone else's recipes.  It's a great way to "meet" other bloggers and check out some great blogs that you never knew about before.  

This month I was assigned the blog My Hobbie Lobbie, written by Trisha.  Trisha is Indian, but living in Australia.  Cool!  I found so many yummy things on her blog.  I really wanted to make an Indian dish, so I was drawn to her Chole (garbanzo bean curry).  But I also love potatoes, so her Hasselback Potatoes definitely caught my eye.  I also thought her Beef Cutlets sounded delicious.  In the end, I decided to combine Indian cuisine, potatoes, and beef  and make her Potato Chops. The best of all three worlds!  Potato Chops are curried potatoes, wrapped around Indian-spiced beef, then breaded and pan-fried.  I knew my family would love this.  The beef filling she used for her potato chops was very similar to the Keema that I make regularly, so I just used a quarter batch of that for the beef part.  

Potato Chops

1 tsp canola oil
¼ large onion, diced
¼ lbs. lean ground beef
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
½ tbsp Garam Masala 
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
¼ tsp curry powder
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs
2-3 tbsp canola oil

Heat the 1 tsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened and golden. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon until brown and cooked through. Drain off grease.  Add the garlic, ginger, Garam Masala, and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Cook, stirring regularly, for 3-5 minutes until tomatoes are softened and flavors are combined. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and more Garam Masala if desired.  Add the peas and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for an additional 4-5 minutes until the peas are softened without being mushy.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, boil potatoes.  Drain and mash.  Stir in curry powder, cilantro, and salt to taste.  While potatoes are still warm, take about ⅓ cup, roll it into a ball, and flatten it to form a patty shape.  Make a well in the middle and place about 2 tbsp of the beef mixture there, gently folding up the sides of the potato patty to completely cover the beef and peas.  Handle the patties gently, as they are delicate and fall apart easily.  After making each patty, dip them in the beaten egg, then coat in the breadcrumbs.  

Heat 2-3 tbsp oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Place patties in the skillet and cook until they are golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes.  Very carefully flip the patties and cook on the other side until browned.  Remove to a serving platter.  Serve warm.

Makes 6 patties.

I know that looks like a long list of ingredients, but these are really pretty simple to make.  You are simply browning ground beef, adding spices and peas, then wrapping mashed potatoes around it and pan-frying them.  Really not difficult at all.

The beef filling.  I left the tomatoes out of the recipe I usually use, worried that they might be too wet for this application.

One of the patties before breading and frying.  Isn't the color gorgeous?  And I love the flecks of green from the cilantro.

I served these patties over Indian-Spiced Spinach, a recipe from a fellow SRC member.  Hi Sara!  My husband and oldest daughter loved these patties and the spinach too.  My four-year-old didn't eat it, but she doesn't like potatoes and was being picky that day anyway.  This was actually my husband's birthday meal.  I had it on my meal plan the week before, but when he saw it posted on the fridge, he asked if I could make it on his birthday instead.  Unfortunately, the weather was beautiful and sunny the day I had planned to make it, but cloudy and super windy the day of his birthday, so my pics aren't great, but I was happy to oblige the birthday boy.

Thanks so much, Trisha, for an awesome Indian meal!


    An InLinkz Link-up

04 October 2014

I love hummus.  It's perfect for as easy light lunch and for an evening snack with a glass of wine.  Remember last month when I shared my recipe for Pizza Hummus?  I had to buy tahini for it, and if you've ever bought tahini, you know that it comes in a large jar.  Very large.  And most hummus recipes call for only 1/4 cup of it.  Since the jar is kinda pricey, I decided that I was going be diligent about using up that jar!  So I started pinning unique hummus recipes to my Dips and Party Foods board on Pinterest.  One that I came across was this one from The Healthy Maven.  I couldn't wait to try it.  I adapted it slightly; here's my version.

Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus

2 lb. butternut squash
2 tsp + 2 tbsp olive oil
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp tahini
1 tsp lemon juice
2-4 tbsp water
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 425°.  Cut butternut squash in half, lengthwise.  Scrape out seeds and rub cut sides with 1 tsp olive oil each.  Place squash halves cut sides down in a baking dish.  Roast for about 45 minutes, or until flesh is completely soft.  Remove from oven, flip squash over, and let cool.

When cool, remove 1½ cups of squash from the skins.  In a food processor, blend together the squash, chickpeas, tahini, remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, 2 tbsp water, salt, and smoked paprika.  If it is too thick, add another 2 tbsp water and pulse again.

Place in serving dish and garnish with an additional drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of smoked paprika, if desired.

Makes about 3 cups.

Oh man, this hummus is amazing!  I love the slight sweetness from the squash.  The smokiness from the paprika brings it out even more.  Please do not settle for just any paprika when making this; you really need the smoked kind.  Usually I add more than a recipe calls for, but in this case, it was just perfect. 

My husband and I ate this with pita chips, but it would be awesome with anything: chips, crackers, and especially your favorite cut-up veggies.

This is the perfect dish to take to all of those great fall get-togethers you are invited to.  

Before you go, please hop over and enter my Red Gold giveaway.  Only a few more days left!

What I'm Reading Right Now


30 September 2014

Pork slow cooked in flavorful tomatoes and herbs until fall-apart tender and served over creamy parmesan polenta.  Sounds good, doesn't it?  We enjoyed this meal last week when the temperatures were starting to dip and comfort food was on our minds.  

Red Gold sent me another packet of goodies!  They asked if I would help promote their "2-A-Day Crock-Pot Giveaway".  Everyday, two Red Gold fans will win an awesome Crock Pot.  That makes 44 winners!  The promotion ends on October 8th, so hurry over to their Facebook page now to enter.  (Make sure to come back here afterwards to check out this awesome recipe I made with Red Gold tomatoes!)

In order to help promote this great giveaway, Red Gold asked if I would like to create a warm, comforting slow cooker meal using their tomatoes.  No problem!  They sent me six cans of tomatoes, this rockin' wooden spoon, and an apron to give away to one of my lovely readers.  Stay tuned after the recipe for instructions on how to enter the giveaway.

Nice spoon, huh?

I have a new title. :)

Pork loin went on sale right around the same time I got my stuff from Red Gold.  I love pork loin.  I actually find it much more versatile than tenderloin, which is more popular.  I love to stock up on the loin when it goes on sale for $1.99/lb.  There are so many things you can do with it.  My favorite thing to do is to throw a hunk of it into the slow cooker, cover it in an easy sauce of some type, and then forget about it all day.  My Savory Apricot Pork follows this method.  Since tomatoes were on the agenda for this, I decided to go with an Italian flavor profile this time.  

Slow Cooker Italian Pork over Polenta

2 lbs. pork loin
½ tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
½ tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp onion flakes
1 tsp salt
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Place pork in a 3 quart slow cooker.  In a small bowl, combine the diced tomatoes (with their juice), fresh herbs, onion flakes, and salt.  Pour tomato mixture over the pork.  Cover slow cooker and set to low.  Cook for 7 hours.  Carefully remove pork from slow cooker and let rest 5-10 minutes.  Cut into slices or break up into chunks.  

Bring 3¾ cups water and 1 tsp salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add 1½ cups cornmeal in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, until the polenta is very thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 tbsp butter and ¾ cup parmesan.  If polenta thickens too much, stir in some milk.

Serve pork over warm polenta, garnishing with additional freshly grated Parmesan, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Wow, this was so good!  It took all of 5 minutes to throw together in the morning, didn't need a single thing done to it all day, and came out so perfectly tender and flavorful at dinnertime.  The polenta is simple and quick to whip up too.  This is an awesome meal for those busy weeknights.

The petite garlic and olive oil tomatoes were just perfect for this.  The smaller chunks of tomatoes were just the right size and the garlic and olive oil complimented the other flavors perfectly.  I happened to have fresh herbs on hand when I made this, but you can of course use dried instead.  I would decrease the amounts of thyme and oregano to 1/2 tsp each if using dried.

 Now, how about the giveaway?  I am giving away a gorgeous, tomato red, official Red Gold apron.  I received an apron identical to it when I participated in the summer promotion, so I can tell you this apron is pretty cool!  It has adjustable straps and nifty pockets.  It has become my favorite apron.  So I am excited to share the apron love with one of my lovely readers.  As an added bonus, if someone local to me wins, I will throw in 6 cans of tomatoes as well.  I would love to offer that to everyone, but the cost of shipping 6 heavy cans of tomatoes is too prohibitive to me.  So they will just be an added bonus if someone in my community happens to win.

All you have to do to enter this giveaway is to comment on this post telling me your favorite dish to make with canned tomatoes.  I also strongly encourage you to enter Red Gold's slow cooker giveaway, but I won't make that a requirement.

So tell me what you like to make with tomatoes, making sure to enter your email address into the comment form (it won't show up publicly), and I will pick a random winner next Tuesday, October 7th.  Good luck!

What I'm Reading Right Now


27 September 2014

Have you started fall cooking yet?  I'm always sad when summer is over, but I have to admit that I love fall cooking.  Apple, maple, pecans, butternut squash, pumpkin: these are some of my favorite things to cook with in the fall.  I started in earnest this past week.  In the same day, I made this dish with apple and pecans, I made a Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus, and we had roasted butternut squash with dinner.  So yummy!  I didn't have this dinner on my meal plan; I realized that morning that I had forgotten a key ingredient for the recipe I had planned that day.  Oops!  I really didn't feel like running to the store (I am lazy), so I decided to come up with something that I could make using stuff I already had.  I keep my pantry pretty well-stocked.  I had some chicken, so I knew it would be a chicken dish.  I had recently stocked up on pecans as well, so I looked around for a chicken recipe that included pecans.  I found Toasted Pecan Chicken at Plain Chicken and thought it sounded amazing.  I ended up changing it quite a bit, though.  Here's what I came up with.

Chicken with Apple Pecan Gravy

¾ cup pecans, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
4 chicken breast cutlets
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
½ cup apple cider
1 cup chicken stock

Toast chopped pecans in a large dry skillet until fragrant.  Remove from skillet and set aside.  Heat oil in same skillet.  Season chicken with salt and place in the hot skillet.  Cook chicken until browned on both sides and cooked through, about 8 minutes.  Remove chicken to a plate and cover with foil. 

Melt butter in skillet.  Stir in flour and cook for a minute or so.  Slowly whisk in the apple cider, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Whisk in the chicken stock and bring mixture to a boil.  Once it has thickened, turn heat down to low and stir in the pecans.  Taste for seasoning, adding salt if desired.

To serve, place chicken on plate and top with the apple pecan gravy.

Makes 4 servings.

So the original recipe called for orange marmalade and a ton of heavy whipping cream.  I'm sure it's delicious, but I needed it to be dairy and lactose-free for my daughter and myself.  (I know it's not technically dairy-free since it contains butter.  My daughter can handle butter, but not cream.)  So I decided to thicken the gravy using a roux instead.  Her recipe also called for the sweetness of the gravy to be provided by orange marmalade.  I did have orange marmalade, but since I was in my fall cooking frame of mind, I wanted to use apple instead.  I didn't have any apple jelly, so I cut the chicken stock with apple cider instead.  It was just perfect.  Just a hint of apple-y sweetness.

Brown rice just seemed to go with this meal perfectly with its delightfully nutty flavor, but you could serve it with potatoes or pasta as well.  I served it with roasted butternut squash, and it was just the most perfect fall meal ever.  My girls and husband all loved it.

Keep your eye out for the recipe for the Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus.  It was amazing!

What I'm Reading Right Now


24 September 2014

How about another great rice recipe?  I used to love those Lipton rice packets from the store.  So easy to make on a busy weeknight and my family devoured them.  The cheesy broccoli one was everyone's favorite.  You know the one, right?  The one with the orangey cheese powder and the minuscule dried bits of broccoli stems?  Yeah, that one!  I loved it, but it wasn't long before I started feeling really guilty feeding that stuff to my family.  I am not one of those people who gets all worked up over processed foods, but this stuff was just loaded with salt, salt, more salt, and fakey ingredients.  So I had been wanting to make my own version for a while.  I saw a recipe for cheesy zucchini rice at Buns in My Oven and decided to use broccoli instead.  The result is so much better than anything that comes in a packet and is not that much more work.

Broccoli Cheddar Rice

1 cup long-grain white rice
1½ cups water
½ tsp salt 
½ of one stalk of broccoli, cut into very small florets
2 tbsp butter
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cup milk, or more as needed

Combine rice, water, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Once it boils, reduce heat to as low as it goes and set timer for 15 minutes.  

Meanwhile, steam broccoli florets until tender. 

Add the butter to the rice and stir until melted.  Add in the broccoli and cheddar and stir until cheese is melted.  Add milk to thin out to desired consistency.  Taste for seasoning, adding salt if necessary.  

Serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.

This stuff is so good with real pieces of broccoli and real cheese!  I have always made this with white rice (I used parboiled from Sam's), but I have been wanting to try it with brown.  Maybe next time.  

Make sure you chop your broccoli into tiny pieces for best results.  You can cook it however you like; I use my Pampered Chef microcooker.  Takes about 5 minutes.

Once you try this rice, you will never look back!

What I'm Reading Right Now


19 September 2014

I have a couple of rice recipes I've been meaning to share for a while now.  I have made this one a few times now and it is one of my all-time favorite ways to make rice.  Cooked rice is tossed with sauteed carrots, garlic, onions, and ginger.  It's a great way to spruce up boring old rice.  It's adapted from For the Love of Cooking.

Carrot Ginger Rice

1 tbsp olive oil
½ large onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled & minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
Salt, to taste
4 cups cooked rice, brown or white
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until tender. Add the carrot, ginger, and garlic to the onions and cook, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes. Add the cooked rice to the mixture.  Check for seasoning, adding salt if necessary.  Add the cilantro, if using.  Stir gently so all ingredients are well combined. Serve immediately. 

Makes 4 servings.

I strongly recommend using brown rice in this recipe.  The nuttiness of brown rice really goes well with the carrot and the ginger.  I use my Baked Brown Rice recipe, which is nice because I can make it earlier in the day if I need to and it's ready to go at dinnertime.  But if you are working all day and need a quicker prep than that, you could totally use a couple packets of that Uncle Ben's Ready Rice.

If you read the recipe and compared it to my picture, you may notice a discrepancy.  I left out the cilantro the day I took this pic.  Cilantro goes bad so quickly in the fridge that I often find myself out of it when I need it.  My husband isn't a huge cilantro fan anyway, so I sometimes make this rice without the cilantro.  Personally, I love it, so if you do too, and you have some, throw it in there.  It's a beautiful dish either way.

I love to serve this rice with Asian main dishes.  The flavors are very complimentary with soy sauce, teriyaki, sesame, etc.  But it would also be great with a roasted chicken or your favorite pork chops.

What I'm Reading Right Now