For Sofia B.

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There are four Sophias in my third grade daughter’s class.  FOUR out of less than 60 students.  When Josie started kindergarten with Sofia B., Sophia D., Sophia P. and Sophia T., I think even the four Sophias’ mothers wondered how in the world we’d ever keep them all straight!  Of course it didn’t take long for each of their endearing personalities to emerge–each one unique and precious in her own way–and suddenly nothing could be more clear than which Sophia is which.

“Michelle” was the “Sophia” of my class.  If you are a girl and you were born near the late 1960’s/early 1970’s, you had a very good chance of being named Michelle (or Lisa or Jennifer–just ask my good friends Lisa and Jen.)  Or, if you weren’t named Michelle, you likely know a Michelle or did back then.  In fact, I dare you to find someone who doesn’t know a Michelle… but I digress… (but seriously, we are everywhere.)

I used to wish for a more unique name when I was a child, but looking back now I guess I just did what today’s Sophias do: I made my way and soon nobody confused me for Michelle S. or Shelly B.

Any-hoo… Sofia B. (the only one who spells her name with an “f”) was over for dinner recently and she really liked my Yellow Rice.  I adore all four Sophias and am so grateful for each of their contributions my lovely little corner of the world, but this recipe is dedicated to one Sofia in particular: Ms. Sofia B.  🙂

Tumeric Rice with Vegetables (with Chicken if you like)

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1-2 tbsp. butter (optional)
1 cup basmati or jasmin white rice
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 diced onion
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1-2 cups chopped mixed vegetables (for this recipe I used chopped carrots, bell pepper and kale.  Other options include celery, zucchini, cauliflower…)
1/2 cup diced cooked chicken (optional)
1-2 tsp. tumeric
Salt/pepper to taste

Directions:
In a pan, medium heat, brown the onions in olive oil (approximately 5-10 minutes.)  Add garlic and rice.  Stir together for a 3-5 minutes until rice has a chance to get to know the first flavors.  Then add vegetables, chicken and butter and stir for another 3-5 minutes for another quick layer of introduction.  Then add broth, tumeric and a dash of salt and pepper.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.  Add more salt and pepper if desired.

Unsolicited Tips: I make my own chicken broth, which accounts for some of the color and, I must say, some extra yummy flavor.  Boxed/canned broth can obviously also be used.  Brown rice can also be used, but it won’t absorb as much color or flavor.

If you haven’t used tumeric before, you may want to start with 1 teaspoon.  We love the flavor but it is new to some.  Besides being yum-ola and beautiful, tumeric is known to be anti-inflamatory, an antioxidant and tons of other current healthy buzz-words.  But you don’t have to take my word for it.  Google it and see!

Finally, in case you’re new to my blog or my life: the day I make a one-cup-of-rice recipe is the day I serve Poptarts for breakfast.  Girlfriend, I doubled this ‘thang of course!

p.s. Once Mike–in a show of defiance over my over-zealous approach to nutrition–bought some Poptarts.  Everyone hated them, even him!

 

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Dirty–not really–Rice

dirty rice

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas… let’s see: three classroom “holiday” parties, one orchestra concert, two choir performances, two holiday shows (thank you for putting third and fourth grade together!), Christmas caroling with the neighbors (we are too cute) and an extra Christmas celebration with the cousins as my brother’s family is out of town for the big day.  All of this in 7 days?  Sure!  What?  You say I need to bring food to every single event?  Got it.  Sure.  Why not.

I’m joking, by the way.  Much like a size 1 supermodel who casual mentions “It really doesn’t matter what I eat at all–I simply never gain weight!” I would hate for you to hate me.

Yes.  I like to cook.  Yes.  I’m pretty organized.  And yes, the holidays stress me out too.  (And no, I’m not a size 1–see photo, ahem–top right.)

Oh yes, and my family still wants to, like, eat three meals a day plus snacks… enter: Michelle’s Dirty–not really–Rice.  My kiddos don’t exactly swoon over Cajun spices, and I didn’t have all the correct ingredients anyway (and I sure as heck was not going to make yet another trip to the store!) So I modified, grabbed some left overs and whipped up a nutritious, all-in-one-bowl, tasty dish that we all gobbled up pronto.  What is merrier than that?

Easy-tasty-healthy, baby.  That and planning ahead (I have three meals prepared already for next week when I’ll be practically living at my kids’ elementary school) is the key to serenity.  Throw in a glass of wine and you’ve got yourself a real holiday winner.

Dirty–not really-Rice

Ingredients: 2-3 cups cooked rice, 3 Italian sausages, 1 chopped red pepper, 1/2 chopped onion, 1-2 cloves crushed garlic, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp butter, 1-2 stalks chopped celery, 1 can red beans (drained and rinsed), salt and pepper.  (red pepper optional)

Directions: Saute your onion, garlic, peppers and celery in the olive oil.  Place the sausages amongst the these tasty delights.  After the sausages have cooked for a while, remove them and slice to finish cooking and sear each piece a bit.  Cook rice separately.  Drain and rinse your beans.

When meat and veggies are done, simply toss in the rice, beans and a little butter.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I added a few shakes of red (cayenne) pepper to Mike and my dishes to perk them up a little.  Super yum-ola baby!

Tips: You could make this dish with other meats too (chicken would be nice/or hey, go vegetarian!) and don’t be afraid of throwing in other vegetables like carrots or sliced squash.

The Midwesterner in me loves this type of meal (it’s the casserole concept but w/out the condensed soup nonsense), especially during busy weeks, because it’s a balanced meal in one bowl.  Not only is this easy to make, it takes minutes to clean up!  One pot, five bowls, five forks.  Done.

Ahh… Kale. I’m Back, Baby!

refrig soup

Refrigerator Soup.  What the heck is “refrigerator soup?” you ask.  It’s whatever you have left in your refrigerator at the end of your shopping cycle which you then chop up and throw into a pot.  With broth.  And wine. 

As promised post-cookie-bar-hangover, today’s post includes kale.  Kale!  Purge my soul (and arteries) my good friend, dark leafy greens!

This is–hands down–my favorite kind of soup to make, in case you’re wondering.  I love to make refrigerator soup for three reasons:

1. It insures I don’t waste.  Anything that grows out of the ground and a few other items that I found in my fridge are in this here bowl.

2. It’s DE-lish and different every time I make it.  Fun!

3. It’s healthy.  But of course.

It’s hard to record a recipe for food items such as this, but I will share what I did yesterday, K?  If you’re a psycho-measurer or to-the-letter-instruction-manual-follower, you are likely to be annoyed very soon…

Ingredients (as I recall…) 3 tbsp. olive oil, 1/2 onion, 2 cloves garlic, two kinds of cauliflower, broccoli, stems and leaves from both as well, carrots, celery, kale (KALE :)!), leftover brown rice, leftover chicken, chicken broth, 1/4 cup white wine, blob of “better than boulion,” salt and pepper to taste.

Directions: Chop up and simmer everything from the beginning of the list until you arrive at the rice.  Cook down until veggies get a bit softer.  Add everything else and bring to a boil.  Leave at a good bubbling place until veggies are cooked.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Tips: Quantity on the afore mentioned items…?  Yeah… Uh… How does “whatever you’ve got” sound?  Also, timing on this is also absolutely not key.  I didn’t pay a lick of attention to how long any of this took, I’m sorry to say… I was in domestic mode yesterday, cleaning my floors, folding laundry, dusting, etc, so I just popped by every 20 mins or so to take a gander at what was going on.  But hey, that’s me.

So, you know, with absolutely no details of any kind to follow, this recipe prolly won’t make it into my cookbook someday.  But man did we enjoy it last night.