Tag Archives: rice

Scrumptious Shrimp & Asparagus Stir-Fry

 After many requests here is the recipe! I modified this recipe from a Rocco DiSpirito recipe. The man knows good food! Before making this recipe the only way I had ever cooked asparagus, and only thin asparagus, was to roast it, whole. This recipe I ventured into unknown territory. I used much thicker asparagus and cut into bite size pieces! I also used a vegetable peeler to get off some of the thicker layers on the stalks. And you know that wonderful thing that happens to our body when you eat asparagus? I won’t say what it is but if you’ve ever eaten asparagus you know what I mean. Well apparently when you cut it up and not cook it whole that little phenomenon doesn’t occur!  It’s a win win! Plus this recipe is figure friendly. I would also recommend reading the entire recipe all the way through before cooking. Make the stir-fry sauce first also. You can even make it a few days before if you want.

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced thin

1 large bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut on an angle into 1″ pieces

12-16 ounces medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined. NO TAILS!!!

¾-1 cup cooked brown rice (remember brown is better for you!)

½ cup chopped fresh basil 

sesame seeds for garnish

salt and pepper

2/3 cup of Rocco’s “Rockin’ Asian Stir-Fry Sauce” (see recipe below) or you can use a store-bought sugar-free teriyaki sauce. (Make this BEFORE you start cooking the stir-fry)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan or skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the sesame oil. Add the onion and asparagus and stir fry until the veggies are almost tender, about 6 minutes or so.

2. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper to taste and add to the pan. Add the rice to the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often to get everything heated through.

3. Add the stir fry sauce. When the shrimp are cooked through and the sauce is hot, about 2-4 minutes, stir in the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add sesame seeds for garnish.

Serves 4

Stir-Fry Sauce

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon sesame oil

¼ cup chopped fresh ginger (this is key!)

6 cloves of garlic, minced

½ bunch of scallions (white and green part) chopped fine

1 tablespoon cornstarch

6 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

¾ cup low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons rice vinegar, plain

½ cup reduced-sugar ketchup (Heinz is the best)

salt and pepper to taste.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan/skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the sesame oil. Add the ginger, garlic and scallions. Saute, stirring frequently, until very fragrant. About 2-3 minutes.

2. In the meantime, place the cornstarch in a medium bowl and add the soy sauce, chicken broth, vinegar and ketchup. Whisk to blend.

3. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauté pan and bring the sauce to a simmer.

4. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, whisking constantly for about 2 minutes until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper if you want.

5. Store in a covered container in refrigerator for up to a week.

This sauce is incredible. I used it on ribs also. Tasted just like chinese spare ribs! 

This makes about 1¾ cups.

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One Year Anniversary of Blogging! (Avgolemono Spinach Chicken Soup)

Well today is one year since I started my blog. It’s been a long year full of new experiences and new friends. I originally started this to give me something to do while searching for a job and it’s been wonderful. I am now working full-time again but it is a seasonal job till August. Since going back to work I haven’t been able to blog as much as I did before and I miss it. I am trying desperately to get back to posting every day again but it’s been a challenge. But in honor of my first recipe posting I am going to repeat the recipe today. It’s Avgolemono Spinach Chicken Soup.

I have made many new blogging friends and love the community. I have gotten many new recipes myself and learned a great deal about people. So enjoy this ‘flashback’ and I promise to increase the posts as much as possible. I am hoping to be able to find a job working at home again, enabling me to post more often! Happy eating!

(REPOST FROM MARCH 8, 2010)

This is an awesome hearty soup. My husband loves it and would have it every week if I made it! I got the basics from a Weight Watchers recipe and made it my own. Anyone who has eaten at a Greek restaurant has probably had one form of this. It’s easy to make and delicious!


Ingredients:

4 C reduced-sodium chicken broth or chicken stock (I use reduced sodium/fat-free)

1/2 lb. skinless boneless chicken breast (about 1 large breast or 2 small)

2 large eggs

1/2 C lemon juice (use 1/4C if you don’t like too much lemon)

10 oz. frozen chopped spinach

2 C hot cooked rice (I used jasmine brown rice but you can use any kind you like)

Parmesan cheese, for finished soup


Directions:
1: In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, bring the broth/stock and chicken to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Remove the chicken and, when cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces.

2: In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and lemon juice until frothy; gradually whisk in 1 Cup of the hot stock.

3: Add the spinach to the stock in the saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low; stir in the rice. Slowly add the egg-stock mixture, whisking constantly to avoid curdling; continue whisking until a little thickened, 3 minutes (do not boil). Stir in the chicken and heat to serving temperature. Season with pepper and serve at once.

Serves 4

Per Serving: (1/4 of soup): 261 cal, 7g fat, 2g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 140mg cholesterol, 163mg sodium, 28g carbs, 2g fiber, 22g protein, 141mg calcium.
I used fat-free chicken broth so the fat content will be lower!

Homemade Feasts For Your Pets!

Yes you read that correctly. Homemade food for your pets. I know there are many readers out there that have pets. I myself have two cats. Gus, our 8-year-old male orange tabby. He is named after John’s dad. Quite the ladies’ man, just like the original. He is also my little shadow. Though little is not how we’d describe him these days. He’s a solid 17 pounds. He’s not fat! He’s big-boned! He actually does not eat all that much but he doesn’t run around much either. Hates exercise, just like me! Gus is a Florida native. He found us when we lived in Lake Worth. Best thing he ever did! Our other cat is Toonces (aka The Driving Cat) who is a 10-year-old female calico. She is a Long Island cat, south shore. We brought her with us, as a kitten, from NY. She had a wonderful trip down too. We drove from NY in our Corolla and Toonces had the entire back seat and window ledge. Snuck her into motels on the trip. She loved it. And she actually LOVES car rides. No joke. Gus however, hates the car. Toonces is a svelte 10 pounds and still runs around like a little kitten, she loves exercise. Just like John.

The last few years we discovered that Gus had urinary issues. So we’ve changed his diet several times. But we wanted something both cats could eat. Have you ever tried to get two cats to eat two different foods? Doesn’t really work. Toonces actually always finishes her food first and then pushes Gus out-of-the-way and eats his! So both foods need to be the same. I now feed them all natural foods, no by products etc. But I’ve also been looking into making the food for them. Not all the time, I have a hard enough time feeding us humans! But every so often. This post will have a recipe for dogs as well as cats. So give it a try! Your pets will love you for it!

CAT RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup water

1/3 cup dry rice

2 teaspoons corn oil

½ teaspoon iodized salt

2/3 cup ground meat (beef or chicken or turkey is good)

1 tablespoon bone meal

2 tablespoons cooked liver

DIRECTIONS:

1. Bring water to a boil, add rice, corn oil and salt. Simmer 20 minutes.

2. Cover the meat with bone meal and add liver to the rice mixture. Simmer 15 minutes.

3. Let cool and serve. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.


DOG RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

½ pound ground beef

1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 carrot, finely chopped/grated

½ cup bread crumbs

1 egg, whisked

1 teaspoon tomato paste

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350º.

2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Scoop out by the spoonful and roll into mini-size meatballs.

3. Place the meatballs on a cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes. Store in the refrigerator.

The Italian Kitchen (Part 3)

Today’s post is all about what should be in an Italian Pantry.  By stocking your kitchen with a few basic ingredients you’ll be ready to prepare most Italian and Tuscan recipes. Our supermarkets are much better at carrying the ingredients than they used to be. But if there’s still something you can’t find, there’s always the “pork store.” You know the place, it always smells so good when you walk by. Basically any Italian specialty store will have anything you need. Remember, using high-quality ingredients at the best price you can get them at is crucial. The better the olive oil, tomatoes and cheese, the better the simple dishes will taste!

This list is just a basic list of what is found in most good Italian kitchens.

Olive Oil: An essential in Italian cooking. Stick with extra-virgin olive oil for most recipes.

Dried Pasta: Use pasta imported from Italy such as Barilla and DeCecco. For the most part any imported pasta products made from semolina flour are good choices. For egg pasta, stay away from the so-called “fresh” pasta sold in refrigerated cases. They aren’t so “fresh” as they would have you believe. Either use homemade or buy the dried noodles packaged in nests.

Tomatoes: When fresh, ripe tomatoes are not available, use good canned tomatoes (unless recipe specifically calls for fresh). Choose whole, peeled tomatoes rather than chopped or crushed. Imported Italian San Marzano tomatoes are the best if you can find them.

Onions and Garlic: Generally, white or yellow onions for cooking and red onions for salads and dishes that do not need cooking because they are milder. Garlic should not be an overwhelming presence.

Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese: Expensive but worth it. Excellent grating cheese as well as a table cheese. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil over it and have it with some crusty Italian bread.

Cheeses: Cheeses are very important for Italian dishes. The basics like Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, mozzarella, ricotta, and provolone are a good choice to have around.

Legumes (beans): Dried cannelini beans, lentils and ceci (Garbanzo/chick peas) are always good to have on hand. Canned beans work just as well especially if you’re in a rush.

Cornmeal: Use a medium textured cornmeal for polenta. Keep it in a tightly closed container and it will last for months. It’s also good for dusting the pan when making pizza.

Rice: Arborio is the most common in making risotto but others are used as well.

Balsamic Vinegar: There are many different balsamic vinegars. Depending on its age, it can be very expensive. You can use the inexpensive  one for salads as long as the quality is good.

Anchovies: (I love these salty little buggers!)It’s good to keep a jar of these in the fridge to add a special zip to certain dishes. You can also find anchovy paste in a tube, which is milder in taste and very convenient to have. (I use the tube)

Dried Porcini Mushrooms: Look for packages that have slices of whole mushrooms. They can be a little expensive but a little goes a long way. Keep it in an airtight container and they’ll keep for a long time. If you rehydrate them, keep the water, strain it and use it to add some flavor and depth to soups, sauces and stews.

Capers: (My husband’s favorite) You can find two kinds of capers. The smaller ones that are pickled in vinegar, and the larger ones that come packed in salt. The larger ones are very flavorful and need rinsing of the salt before using. They are also harder to find. A few chopped capers can add a nice flavor addition to dishes that seem to need just a little something.

Olives: Both black and green varieties are good. If they are packed in brine and imported from Italy, even better. We like the stuffed ones. Stuffed with bleu cheese, anchovies, garlic, peppers…

Herbs and Seasonings: For the most part fresh herbs are preferred in everyday cooking, but this is hard to do and they are generally more expensive and can go bad quickly if not used. So always keep on hand dried herbs and seasonings. Keep dried oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sage. I also always keep garlic powder on hand. Whole black pepper to be ground at the moment of use, sea salt and red pepper flakes are also important to have in your pantry.

Flour: All-purpose flour is good to use for making pasta and pizza dough. Bread flour for cakes and semolina flour for pasta is also very useful.


Mom & Grandma’s Arroz Con Pollo

Mom and me at 4 months (May 1962)

My mother and grandmother used to make this recipe quite a bit for us when we were growing up. Nothing I tried in restaurants ever compared to their cooking! It has been years since I’ve had this or even attempted to make it myself. It’s a Puerto Rican recipe and always brings me back to those days growing up. We had all kinds of different ethnic dishes in our house. Our mom wanted us to be well-rounded when it came to food. Maybe that’s why I’m obsessed with food!

Grandma with me (23 months) and Billy (11 months) Christmas 1963


INGREDIENTS:

1 teaspoon oregano

1 tablespoon salt

2 peppercorns

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, diced

1 teaspoon capers

1 cup uncooked rice

1-2 packets Sazon

1 garlic clove, minced

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 ½- 3 lb. chicken pieces

¼ cup butter

6 pitted green olives, chopped

1 tomato, peeled and chopped

½ cup tomato sauce

1 can green peas

2 tablespoons achiote for color (Sofrito)

slivered pimentos (from a jar)


DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine oregano, peppercorns, garlic, salt, oil and vinegar. Crush together. Rub mixture over chicken.

2. Brown chicken pieces in butter in large skillet.

3. Add onion, green pepper, olives, capers, achiote, sazon, tomato  and tomato sauce to chicken in skillet. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Drain peas, reserving liquid.  Add enough water to liquid to make 2 ½ cups.

5. Add the water to skillet and bring to a boil. Sprinkle in rice. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

6. Add peas. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with pimento strips.

Avgolemono Spinach Chicken Soup

This is an awesome hearty soup. My husband loves it and would have it every week if I made it! I got the basics from a Weight Watchers recipe and made it my own. Anyone who has eaten at a Greek restaurant has probably had one form of this. It’s easy to make and delicious!

Ingredients:

4 C reduced-sodium chicken broth or chicken stock (I use reduced sodium/fat-free)

1/2 lb. skinless boneless chicken breast (about 1 large breast or 2 small)

2 large eggs

1/2 C lemon juice (use 1/4C if you don’t like too much lemon)

10 oz. frozen chopped spinach

2 C hot cooked rice (I used jasmine brown rice but you can use any kind you like)

Parmesan cheese, for finished soup


Directions:
1: In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, bring the broth/stock and chicken to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Remove the chicken and, when cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces.

2: In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and lemon juice until frothy; gradually whisk in 1 Cup of the hot stock.

3: Add the spinach to the stock in the saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low; stir in the rice. Slowly add the egg-stock mixture, whisking constantly to avoid curdling; continue whisking until a little thickened, 3 minutes (do not boil). Stir in the chicken and heat to serving temperature. Season with pepper and serve at once.

Serves 4

Per Serving: (1/4 of soup): 261 cal, 7g fat, 2g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 140mg cholesterol, 163mg sodium, 28g carbs, 2g fiber, 22g protein, 141mg calcium.
I used fat-free chicken broth so the fat content will be lower!

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