Japanese Fried Quinoa

Hi there! Long time, no post. Just wanted to hop on here long enough to share a yummy recipe that my family loves.  It’s basically Japanese fried rice–minus the rice.  In our efforts to eat a little healthier these days, I’ve been using quinoa in anything I can and this recipe is no exception.  It’s nothing groundbreaking, but definitely an easy, yummy meal that suits just about anyone.

We (especially my son and I) love the fried rice at our local Hibachi grill.  This comes so close to matching their rice that my son even swears it’s better. I’m not sure about that, but it is delicious if I do say so myself.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups chicken broth

6 eggs

1 1/2 cups frozen peas & carrots (optional)

1/4 cup butter

1/2 sliced green onions

1/4 cup soy sauce (we like lots, so you may want to reduce this to suit your taste)

1/2 tsp sesame oil

2 cloves minced garlic

fresh ground black pepper

1 tbsp sesame seeds

 

Cook quinoa according to package directions, but substitute the chicken broth for water.  If you’re going to be using peas and carrots, set them out at room temperature to thaw a bit.  The quinoa takes 15-20 minutes to be ready, so while that’s cooking, scramble your eggs in a medium skillet. Set them aside in a small bowl, keeping your skillet warm for the quinoa later. Mince your garlic and set aside.

Now, once your quinoa is just about ready, put your butter, green onions, and garlic in the pan to melt. Toss in your cooked quinoa (and veggies if you want them), soy sauce, sesame oil, and black pepper.  Toss well to make sure quinoa is thoroughly coated and cook until veggies are tender (if you added them).  Next, put in your scrambled eggs and sesame seeds. Cook a minute or two more.

Don’t forget to taste it throughout the cooking process. I like to add extra butter toward the end if it seems dry, and extra soy sauce, garlic and green onions never hurt my feelings either. Just work with it until you’re happy…and enjoy!

 

Dreamy Photos of Elliott

Since big brother is camera-shy again these days, Elliott has had to be such a trooper while I snap photo after photo of her.

I made her this dress a month or two ago with the intention of doing kind of a dreamy-feeling little photo session with her.  It’s been hanging in her closet ever since.  Until today.

The dress is simply a variation of my halter top tutorial.  I used leftover quilt squares from when I made her rag quilt and pieced together the skirt.  Then I added folded layers of tulle over the bodice and a little tulle ruffle at the hem.

We in North Texas are in a terrible state of drought and most everywhere you look, it’s brown.  Dead and dying vegetation doesn’t make for pretty photo backgrounds, but I managed to find a pretty green spot for her to have a little tea party.  I turned her loose and she helped herself and her friend Squishy to some tea.

Not pictured: Squishy.

Also to be noted: Squishy is a large stuffed elephant.

 

 

 

This child of mine doesn’t stay put for long, though.  The tea party soon ended and she was all over the place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a sucker for these pretty little feet!  Long, thin, dainty and lovely.  They dance and they dance and they dance.  I love to think about all the places they’ll take her over the years.  Maybe one day they’ll be in pointe shoes.  And what will her first pair of heels look like?  What kind of shoes will she wear to her wedding?  I picture these feet grown and shoeless, pacing for hours in the middle of the night in circles around her dining room table, desperately trying to soothe a colicky baby.

Or were those my pacing feet?  And was she the baby only a few years ago?

Oh.  Oh, my baby girl.

Oh no.  Now I’m all verklempt.  Talk amongst yourselves.

Spinachiladas

I present to you my latest creation: Spinachiladas. We just had these for the second time and again everyone pretty much licked their plates clean.  I’ve been asked to put these into heavy rotation in our family’s menu, so you know they’ve got to be pretty yummy in the tummy, right?

 

 

Spinachiladas

12  corn tortillas

cooking oil

2  cloves garlic, minced

1/4  c  green onions, sliced

black pepper to taste

1/2  c  water

6  oz bag of baby spinach

1/2  can cream of chicken soup

3/4  c  black beans, fully cooked

1  small roma tomato, diced

1 1/2  c  Mexican blend shredded cheese

White queso for topping

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat medium skillet over medium heat.  Add water, garlic, black pepper and half of your green onions to the skillet.  After cooking for 1 minute, add in your entire bag of spinach.  Once spinach is thoroughly wilted, remove from heat and drain juices.  Place in medium mixing bowl.

To your spinach, you’ll add your cream of chicken soup.  Now, before we go any further, let’s discuss this serious matter.  I used that because I had it on hand.  If you want to make these spinachiladas completely vegetarian, you could substitute maybe….sour cream?  Plain yogurt?  Cream of onion soup?  I’m open to suggestions and would like to hear what you guys do with that.

Anyway….now you’ve added your creamy substance.  Toss in your black beans, tomatoes, remaining onions and shredded cheese.  Mix well and set aside.

 

Put a small skillet over medium heat and add a tablespoon or two of cooking oil.  One by one, put each tortilla in the oil and cook just long enough to heat and soften them–approximately 10 seconds on each side.

When the tortillas are cool enough to handle, plop a spoonful of your spinach mixture into the center of one.  Spread left and right so that it looks something like this:

 

 

Fold up each side and place into a greased casserole dish with your folded side down.

 

 

Now you’ll pour your white queso on top.  While I’d like to say that it was the veggies in my fridge that inspired me to put this recipe together, it was really this:

 

 

Yep.  My husband brought it home from the grocery store.  See, we have this terrible addiction to Rico’s nacho cheese.  You know Rico’s?  You do even if you don’t think you do.  It’s the cheese found on concession stand nachos all over the good ol’ U.S. of A.  Yeah.  Sometimes late at night, we treat ourselves to a big ol’ helping of “football game nachos”.  Why late at night?  Well, because we won’t share.  Yeah, you heard me.  This is a Mommy & Daddy snack only.  No kids allowed.  They have cooties.

Ok, no cooties.  And sometimes I’ll even make the kids some.  So I lied to you just a little.  But they don’t get the late-night ones, so there.

Anyway, if you can’t find this can of goodness in your grocery store, grab your favorite queso and just go crazy.  You can’t go wrong with cheese.  Ooey, gooey cheeeeeeeese.

 

 

I sprinkled some more shredded cheese on for color.

So, bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes.

 

 

Give ‘em a shot and report back to me.  I’d love to hear what you think!

Crescent Veggie Stromboli

I wish I had a better name that conveyed the deliciousness that is stuffed into this thing, but I’m feeling uninspired in the name department this evening.  I’m mourning what seems to be the death of my beloved camera.  It errored out on me on the last shot of this post and all the quick fixes I’m finding online are not working.  RIP, my dear friend.  You treated me well over the past  2 years and 11 months.

Back to the matter at hand, though.  This recipe is my favorite of 2011 up to this point.  I promised myself that I’d have only one slice, but that quickly doubled and almost tripled.  Wowza.

 

 

Ingredients:

3  tbsp  olive oil

3  cloves  minced garlic

1  sprig fresh basil (Substitute dried if needed.  I just had some handy from my wimpy garden.)

1/2  tsp  dried oregano

1/4  tsp  thyme

1 1/2  c  sliced fresh mushrooms

1  6 oz bag of baby spinach

1 small tomato diced

1/2  c  sliced black olives

Small jar of spaghetti/pizza/marinara sauce of your choice

1/2  grated mozzarella cheese

1/4  c melted butter

freshly grated parmesan cheese

1  can crescent roll dough

 

Preheat to 375.

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic, basil, oregano, and thyme.  Heat for 45-60 seconds and add mushrooms.  Saute for a couple of minutes and then add the entire bag of spinach.  Toss it around until it’s nicely coated in oil and seasonings.  Leave that to wilt, checking occasionally while you prepare your dough.

When you remove the dough from the can, do not separate into triangles.  You want to patch the rectangles together Frankenstein-style.  Pinch all seams and tears (I can’t get the dough out of the can without tearing.  Ever.) together until it looks like this:

 

 

Spread a few spoonfuls of your sauce down the center and add some mozzarella (leave some cheese for later) to look like this:

 

 

By now, your mushrooms should be tender and your spinach wilted.  Remove from heat and spoon onto your saucey/cheesey strip.  On top of that, add your tomatoes and olives.

 

 

Sprinkle remaining mozzarella on top of that and close it up.  Bring up the sides, pinch them together and then fold up your ends.  I cut a few pretty little slits in mine.

 

 

I brushed mine with melted butter and sprinkled on a little fresh parmesan.

 

 

Bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes or until nice and golden.

 

 

Mmmmm.  Slice diagonally and serve.  You can use your remaining sauce for dipping, but it’s just wonderful without it.

 

 

Try it out and let me know what you think!

 

Spinach Cream Sauce

Tonight’s dinner turned out so delicious, I just need to share. I’ve been eating pretty light and healthy lately, so I felt the need to make something rich, comforting and starchalicious.

You’re welcome for the new word.

Side note:  I thought to grab my camera at the last minute and wasn’t prepared, so please forgive missing & poor quality photos.  Thanks.

Moving on….

Spinach Cream Sauce

What you’ll need:

Pasta (this was superb with gnocchi, but use whatever floats your boat)

Olive oil

8 cloves garlic

Sprig of fresh basil

9 oz bag of spinach

3-4 large shitake mushrooms

1 pint heavy whipping cream

1 cup fresh parmesan, grated

1 tsp corn starch

Mince your garlic.  Set aside approximately 2 cloves-worth for later in the recipe.  Mince the basil and dice your mushrooms.

My pretty basil from my backyard:

And my diced mushrooms.  Small enough to enjoy, big enough for my husband to pick out of his plate.

Heat about 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium-to-large skillet.  I don’t measure, I just pour, so I’m estimating here.  When the oil gets hot, add your garlic ( 6 cloves worth) and your basil.  Allow to cook for about 30-60 seconds and then toss in your mushrooms and bag of spinach.  Toss with spatula to make sure everything is nice and coated in oil.  Add a little splash if you didn’t start with enough.

Cook until mushrooms are tender and spinach is thoroughly wilted. Remove from heat and drain excess moisture.  I chopped mine up pretty good to make sure nobody gets any stringy spinach.  Any mom knows that one stringy bite is all it takes to turn a kid off of a food in a heartbeat!

Set that aside.

In a medium saucepan on medium heat, add your cream, remaining 2 cloves of garlic and 3/4 cup of your parmesan.  Whisk continuously to prevent sticking and burning.  When cheese is melted, vigorously whisk in a teaspoon of corn starch, just a sprinkle at a time.  Continue heating & whisking until the sauce is thickened.  Dump in your spinach mixture and continue to cook for about 2 more minutes or until desired thickness is reached.

Serve over your favorite pasta and sprinkle your leftover parmesan on top.  Absolutely heavenly.