Vegetarian Rice Pilaf

Rice is such a good item to have on hand, especially when you live a little farther from the grocery store then you would like…..It can be transformed into just about anything! For some, rice even visits the dessert category, blech, the very thought of rice pudding gives me a chill. It’s just so….so…ewwwww…..it takes a strong person to be able to down that mushy-gushy goo. In my book, rice should be a main or side dish, NOT a dessert. And who eats raisins with rice anyway? Vegetarian Rice Pilaf is an light, easy, and delicious side that pairs well with seafood, poultry, red meat, and is even good as a main dish! Not to mention that it provides you with an ample serving of veggies and grains to end the day right. This episode of Delicious Food 101 features The Chef, Queenbee, and La Critico.

The Chef: “Queenbee, how do you like the rice pilaf?” Queenbee: “I do not usually enjoy rice dishes, but this one is really good.” The Chef: “I shall consider this as high praise.” 

The Chef: “La Critico, do you enjoy rice dishes?” La Critico: “Well they’re better than some things.”  The Chef: “Ummm…okay?” La Critico: “Did you make us some corn cupcakes?” The Chef; “I made cornbread.” La Critico: “(tasting it) Well this is some pretty good mash.” The Chef: “I can always count on you for objective criticism at the highest level.” 

The Ingredients: 2 cups whole grain brown rice, 1 large zucchini, 1 cup of matchstick carrots or 1 cup of grated carrots, 1/4 to 1/2 of a yellow onion, 1 cup halved green beans (fresh or canned), 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. basil, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1 chicken tomato bouillon, 2 tbsp. butter.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the bouillon and rice. Cook for fifteen to twenty minutes. Melt butter in a large saucepan, add the onion, cook until translucent. Grate the zucchini while the onion cooks. Add the cooked rice, carrots, zucchini, and green beans to the saucepan. Stir well. Add the spices, mixing as you go. Turn the heat to low and let sit until you are ready to serve.

Who knew that a rice dish could be so colorful?

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The Best Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks

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I would like to share with you a sinfully delicious recipe that I recently made, CHEESY GARLIC BREADSTICKS.:) This post is for you fellow lovers of  bread, and cheese, and cheese covered bread…..sigh, there goes my fitness plan. When I sent a picture of these to my really good friend/sister her word for word response was “Oh Man! Are those on your blog!? They should be!”. Boy was she right, I was almost afraid to post this recipe because of the instant addiction/gluttony that will occur upon consumption. But then I decided to share the love/put the recipe down on paper so that it will be ingrained into the sacred hall of Best Recipes Ever. Sooooo…..as a disclaimer I’d like to say: “I apologize in advance for this.” Ahem, anyway, in the past I attempted to make healthy breadsticks, but…..let’s just say that didn’t end well. However, THESE breadsticks are SO GOOD that they are better than anything you can buy in the grocery store or a restaurant. And, they contain wheat flour! Which covers all wrongs! Seriously though, once you discover how simple they are to create, there is no going back. All you need is desire, know-how, and a reliable timer so that the food doesn’t burn. All of that aside, the smell of these babies permeates the entire house, so you’ll know the very minute that they have finished becoming wonderful.

Cooking Tip: If you have the time, turn the oven on and off a couple of times during the rising process, for some weird reason this makes the finished dough larger.

The Ingredients: (write these on your brain) 1 to 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1 packet fast rising yeast, 1 cup warm to lukewarm water, 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Colby Jack cheese, 3-4 tbsp. butter, 1 tbsp. sugar, 1 tbsp. garlic salt (if you do not have garlic salt, simply mix equal amounts of garlic powder and salt and measure out a tablespoon for this recipe), 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tbsp. Parmesan (the sprinkly kind), 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning, 1 tsp. basil, 1 tbsp. olive oil.

Add flour(s), sugar, garlic salt, and yeast to a mixing bowl. Whisk until combined. Slowly add the water while mixing constantly with a wooden spoon. Mix until the dough becomes too thick to stir by hand. When this happens, flour your nearby cooking surface and knead the dough with your hands for one minute or until it forms a soft ball. Rinse out your mixing bowl with water, dry it thoroughly, use the olive oil to grease the bowl. Put the ball of dough into the bowl, cover it with a towel, and let it rise at 170 degrees in your oven for one hour.

When the rising time is done, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Meanwhile, melt the butter, italian seasoning, and garlic powder together in a microwave safe bowl or cup, stir well. Add the parmesan to the melted butter, stir well. Flatten the dough into a rectangle, brush the butter mixture over the top. Now sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the butter mixture. Flattening into a even layer. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Remove from the oven, cut into sticks, and garnish with fresh or dried basil before serving (optional).

The very sight is too much for my tastebuds! Too much I say!

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Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Sigh, I LOVE LOVE LOVE macaroni and cheese. It is my love language, my one and only, my ultimate comfort food, and my favorite food. Here on the blog I have a really simple, easy recipe for macaroni and cheese…..but….For a little more time and commitment, you can have THIS baked mac and cheese, which is the ultimate food in my book. Not only is it smooth, creamy, deliciously delectable, awesome, wonderful, and the best thing ever, it is also relatively healthy when made with coconut milk. That being said, let’s move on to what the public thought about this delicacy. This episode of Delicious Food 101 features The Chef, Queenbee, and Friar Tyst.

The Chef: “Queenbee, what do you think about the macaroni?” Queenbee: “Mmmm….it’s very good.” The Chef: “Well, that says it all doesn’t it?”

The Chef: “Friar Tyst, your thoughts and opinions?” Friar Tyst: “It was real cheesy.” The Chef: “Granted, anything else?” Friar Tyst: “I thought it tasted like macaroni on a spring day.” 

The Ingredients: 2 cups macaroni, 2 cups evaporated or coconut milk, 10 oz. condensed cheese soup, 3 tbsp. butter, 3 tbsp. pastry flour, 2 tbsp. sour cream, 1 cup grated Colby cheese, 1-2 tsp. dry or spicy brown mustard, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. no salt seasoning, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. garlic.

Boil macaroni for 5-8 minutes or until it is halfway cooked, remove it from the heat and set aside. Melt butter in a large saucepan and add flour, whisk together and cook for a couple of minutes. be careful to not let it burn. Add the milk and whisk until thickened. Now add the spices and the cheese soup, whisk slowly but constantly until well combined. Remove from the heat and mix together the sauce and noodles in a casserole pan. Top with the grated cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Look at that comforting cheesy goodness!:)

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Resurrection Rolls

UPDATE: Resurrection Rolls was supposed to be posted on Easter Sunday, however, because of an unreliable Internet source, it was not.

Happy Easter everyone! For me this Easter has been much more meaningful because over the past six months my faith has grown and changed for the better. I know that it is hard to come up with a food item that represents the true meaning of Easter, but sometime ago a true genius came up with the original recipe for Empty Tomb rolls. This has to be one of the best ideas that I have ever seen. Most people take the simple route by using refrigerated crescent roll dough, I have no problem with this and even considered doing it myself. However, we agreed that making the rolls from scratch would most likely taste better and mean more because of the work put into them. Anyway, here’s the skinny on the ingredient’s symbolism: The marshmallow represents Jesus’ body, and the dough represents the tomb. Putting the marshmallow inside the roll and sealing the dough around it is similar to Joseph of Aramathea and Nicodemus burying Jesus in the tomb and sealing it closed with a large stone. The cinnamon, sugar, and butter represent the linen and spices that were wrapped around Jesus’ body. The finished product (i.e. the cooked roll with a sweet, hollow center) represents the empty tomb that Jesus left behind after He rose from the dead. I hope that your family enjoys these as much as ours did!

The Ingredients: 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 pkg. instant dry yeast, 1 cup warm water, 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 -3 tbsp. cinnamon, 4 tbsp. butter, 1 tsp. salt.

Add the warm water and yeast to a large mixing bowl, let sit for five minutes. Now add the egg, 1/4 cup of the sugar, 2 tbsp. of softened butter, and the salt. Using a wooden spoon, mix until just combined. Add the flour one cup at a time, mixing until just combined each addition. Set aside and let the dough rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour. When the time is up, cut the dough in fifteen squares. Roll fifteen marshmallows in a mixture of cinnamon and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Place one marshmallow in the center of each square of dough. Now form the dough into a ball around the marshmallow. Brush the rolls with melted butter, then bake at 375 degrees for about fifteen minutes.

Happy Easter! He is Risen!

Southern Style Coleslaw

Queenbee loves coleslaw, always has, always will. While she is open to many different varieties, Southern Style is her favorite. I usually make it for her at least a couple of times a month, and today was no exception. A lot of people think that the two colors of cabbage are no different when it comes to flavor. This is, however, FALSE. Purple cabbage is strong and slightly bitter, while green cabbage is more fresh tasting and has a mild, versatile flavor. In my opinion, purple cabbage is a strange species of garden plant that does not belong in a southern style slaw. Now that we have established which is the correct color of cabbage to eat, let us talk about how it is prepared and consumed.

The Ingredients: 1 medium size green cabbage, 1 cup shredded carrots, 1 cup shredded pickles, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 2-3 tbsp. spicy brown mustard, 2 tbsp. thousand island dressing.

Slice cabbage into wedges and shred it in the bowl of your food processor. Do the same with a cup of baby carrots, or just buy the pre-shredded ones. Stir the shredded cabbage and carrots together until they are well combined, then add the remaining ingredients. Mix with tongs or a rubber spatula until well combined. Refrigerate for thirty minutes to one hour.

This coleslaw is sooooo good…..

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Garden Vegetable Quiche

Eggy, cheesy, full of veggies, warm, hearty, and good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, I give you simple and delectable quiche! As I was looking through my recipe index, I realized that I have never posted any quiche recipes! A travesty! We have always loved quiche, but unfortunately we only make it every once in a while as it uses quite a few eggs, and we all know that eggs are overpriced….however, we made it this week, and it was delicious! Every time we make it I am reminded how easy quiche is to make, the only hard part is waiting for it to cook, especially if you are hungry.;) It is always surprising how much sauteed vegetables enhance the flavor of baked eggs. I guarantee that you will want to make this recipe again and again. Quiche works great as a dainty, elegant dish to serve at an afternoon luncheon or tea party. That being said, I won’t delay any longer in telling you how to make it.

The Ingredients: 4 carrots, 2 zucchini, 2 bell peppers, 1/3 of a yellow onion, 8 brown eggs, 2 refrigerated pie crusts (the kind that comes in the long box), 1 cup of grated Colby cheese, 1/2 tsp. garlic, 1/2 tsp. basil, 1 tsp. parsley flakes,  1/2 tsp. salt.

Dice the vegetables and saute them for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Place the pie crusts into two standard pie pans, trimming off the excess as needed. Beat the eggs and spices in a large bowl until smooth. Add half of the beaten eggs and half of the sauteed vegetables to each pie pan. Top each quiche with half of the cheese. Gently press the cheese just below the surface of the egg mixture. Bake at 365 degrees for 40 minutes. Reduce heat to 350, cover the quiche with foil, and bake for an additional fifteen to twenty minutes. Serve while warm. If you do not wish to make two quiches, just half this recipe.:)

As you can see, we have one X-large deep dish pie pan rather than two small ones. Quiche always seems to taste better in deep dish form.:P Isn’t it beautiful?

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Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes, sigh, the word is comforting, delicious sounding, and familiar all rolled into one. Okay, let’s be serious, mashed potatoes are one of the most versatile side dish. They pair well will meat, poultry, fish, any vegetable, breakfast, lunch, dinner…… We eat them at least once a week, or twice! I know everybody has their own special way to make mashed potatoes, so I’m sharing our way with you. Aren’t you happy? Now you can enjoy them too! This episode of Delicious Food 101 features La Critico and Queenbee.

The Chef: “Queenbee, do you like these potatoes?” Queenbee: “I like the consistency but would prefer for you to leave out the garlic.” The Chef: “Note to self, leave out garlic powder. Thanks for your input!” Queenbee: “Anytime.”

The Chef: “La Critico, how to you rate this dish?” La Critico: “Well it’s one of the better things.” The Chef: “What a careful answer, anything else?” La Critico: “….eating potatoes…..” The Chef: “All right then!”

The Ingredients: 6-8 red potatoes, 4-6 cups of water, 4 tbsp. of butter, 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1/2 to 3/4 cup coconut milk, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. no salt seasoning, 1/4 tsp. garlic, 1 vegetable bouillon.

Peel (optional) and dice potatoes, add water to a large pot and bring to a boil, add the potatoes and the vegetable bouillon. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until very tender. Drain three-fourths of the water from the pot. Slice the butter and add it and the sour cream, mash them by hand until pureed. Slowly add the milk until it reaches a very creamy consistency, add the spices and mix well. Return to the stove top over low heat until you are ready to serve them.

And it’s a simple as that! The road to destiny is not always complicated! Please ignore the potato peels, please ignore that this picture is blurry. I promise this is not some type of gruel, it is delicious mashed potatoes taken in the dark with a smudged lenses. There, that should take care of the disclaimers!

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