Saturday, June 30, 2012

Guest Post by the Amazing Heather-Grilled Pineapple & Black Bean Salsa

  Do you see this cute little rooster to the left?   When I first saw this logo I knew I would become friends with who ever would have such a cute icon.  LOL

Heather from Farmgirl Gourmet is a girl after my own heart.  We share the same passion for food.  She is a talented photographer.   I am lucky to have her guest posting today.  

Put your hands together and welcome Farmgirl Gourmet.  You can also follow her face book page HERE.





I can't tell you how excited I am to be guest posting on Simply Gourmet today.  Sherron and I have been Facebook buddies for about a year or so.  We have a lot in common.  We both love food and photography.  It's a friendship made in Heaven.  So when Sherron asked if anyone wanted to guest post for her, I jumped at the chance.  I apologize to you now that the photography isn't spot on like you're used to seeing.  Sherron's pictures are drool worthy for sure.

I had a pineapple that was on the counter calling my name the other night.  So I decided to grill it and make a quick savory salsa with it.  The "mmmms" and "ohhhhs" were flying around the table.  Who knew that a quick sear, some pungent red onion and black beans could transform an ordinary pineapple into something so delish?  I served this salsa over pork tenderloin, but I bet it would be amazing topping a burger, on a barbecued chicken quesadilla or adorning your favorite tortilla chip.  However you decide to use it, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Grilled Pineapple & Black Bean Salsa
This is a quick recipe that makes a savory sweet salsa perfect over pork, chicken or whatever floats your boat.
[print]


Ingredients
1 medium pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 3 inch chunks
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed (if using canned)
1/2 medium red onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
2-3 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. Spray a grill pan with cooking spray and set over high heat.  Add the pineapple in a single layer and sear, about 2 minutes per side.  Set aside to until cool enough to handle.  Cut into small dice and add to a large bowl.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to the pineapple and toss to combine.  Allow to rest for 30 minutes refrigerated.  Serve.
Makes about 4 cups

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Guest Post by the Incredible Joan-

There are so many things that I love about blogging but my most cherished reason for doing so are my friends.  Joan has always been supportive of my recipes and blog.  I love all of Joan's recipes and I have learned so much from her.

She blogs over at Chocolate, Chocolate and more Chocolate…is that not a great name?  LOL  You can also find her face book page here.

Check out his amazing recipe!





I'm so excited to be here with you. Sherron is just awesome. Every time she posts a picture, I start drooling, it doesn't matter if it's a scrumptious cake or veggies fresh from the garden. I'm partial to sweets but when Sherron shows her Roasted Brussels Sprouts with bacon and garlic, I start dreaming of Brussels sprouts. My Grandma used to make a Cranberry Orange Relish every year for the holidays, when Sherron posted hers  , so many memories just came flooding in, she makes it just like my Grandma used to. Have you checked out Sherron's Broccoli Cheddar Bites? We don't have a Bennigans anywhere near here but since I have Sherron's recipe, I don't need one. 


So I wanted to bring something special to you, because your Sherron's friends and because Sherron only deserves the best. I had something else totally in mind and then it rained. And it rained the second day, and then it rained a third day. And the kids are out of school, can you say cabin fever? I knew I was out of patience to make something, anything, detailed and time consuming with them in the kitchen. But I had to make something because, well because my kids just behave better, are nicer to each other, when I hold chocolate over them. And someone had the nerve to pin this <http://rockrecipes.blogspot.ca/2012/04/midnight-mint-chocolate-cake.html>  recipe just the day before. It's from Rock Recipes and they've got some awesome, drool worthy recipes. But again, I didn't have patience. Yes I wanted the kids to help, but only for about 5 minutes at a time, then go away till I call you back. Don't judge, it's been raining for 3 days. I took the easy way on this one. 

These cupcakes were so totally amazing. My kids cleaned their rooms, got all their crap out of the living room and family room. They talked nicely to each other, even offered to play Wii with each other. Oh and my son picked up all his dirty socks! I should go buy a lottery ticket while things are going my way. 


Midnight Mint Chocolate Cupcakes


Inspired by Rock Recipes , original recipe HERE.


1 box Devils Food cake mix

ingredients called for on box except substitute black Coffee for the water on the recipe! You know, the stuff you have leftover in the pot from the morning. 


Line cupcake tins with paper liners. 

Mix cake according to directions on the box, remember, substituting black coffee for the water listed. Fill liners about 2/3 full. Bake according to box directions. 




Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting. Oh and make sure to taste one, you need to test them. 

 Mint Buttercream Frosting

 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

8 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 Tablespoon Mint Extract

6 Tablespoons milk


Cream together butter and shortening till smooth. Slowly add in powdered sugar, a cup at a time, make sure mixer is on low. Add in mint extract and 5 tablespoons of your milk. Blend until smooth and creamy, making sure to scrape down sides of bowl. Test for spread-ability. If needed, add in remaining milk. You want your frosting a bit on the stiff side to hold up to the ganache. 















If you never want to decorate cakes but really want to impress your friends and family, get a 1A tip and a pastry bag. The 1A tip is just a large round hole. And it's easy to work with. The 1A and the 1M (large star) are pretty much the only tips I use but they make cupcakes look like a professional.  I use the disposable bags but wash them out and reuse them till they're worn out. 


Decorate your cupcakes, we used the 1M tip and pretended we worked at Dairy Queen, easy, easy. 

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup milk

2 teaspoons mint extract


Place chips in a microwaveable bowl, heat for about 60 seconds and check. You want your chips just starting to melt. Be careful not to burn them. Add milk and mint extract and stir until smooth. You may need to heat for another 20 seconds or so, you want your ganache to drip off the spoon smoothly. Let cool a bit then drizzle over your cupcakes, keep thinking Dairy Queen. 











Store in the refrigerator but remove 30 minutes before eating for best effect (you want your buttercream nice and soft.) 


We made both full size and mini cupcakes. I know there's no taste difference, but I really liked these better as minis, probably because 3 wonderful bites, each bite giving a taste of all 3 layers and oh yeah, I could eat 3 and not feel too guilty.



Monday, June 25, 2012

Guest Post by the Fantastic Bia-Seafood Asparagus Risotto


I was jumping for joy when I opened up Bia's email and up popped this gorgeous picture of seafood asparagus risotto.

I have not been able to master making risotto and this recipe looks amazing!  I am hoping to get this made this week so that I can say "I did it".

Bia is always so busy working in the kitchen or working with her family on a project.

Thank you Bia!  Please go and visit her blog, Bia's Rich and Sweet Kitchen  or her fan page on facebook at Rich and Sweet.


My name is Bia Rich and food is my passion!!! Our bodies need food to survive... good food that is... food that is cooked from scratch with love! That's who i am and how i cook! I love to entertain. I love wine. But more than anything, I love food!







Recipe:  Seafood Asparagus Risotto


Ingredients:

2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
3 cups champagne
1 cup clam juice
4-6 cups vegetable stock, warm
1 lb small cooked peeled shrimp
6 snapper fillets. cut into cubes
1 bunch asparagus, cut into small pieces
1 lb 16-20 shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail left on
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
fresh basil, chopped
fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400F.
Toss asparagus with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake asparagus for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.


In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon butter until melted. Add shrimp and old bay seasoning and cook stirring for 5 minutes. Set shrimp aside.


Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add rice and cook for 3 minutes. Over medium heat, add champagne, one cup at a time, stirring frequently until completely absorbed. Add clam juice and stir until absorbed. Add stock, a cup at a time and stir until absorbed.


Taste rice at 4 cups of stock, and if soft, stop adding stock, if there's still a bite to it, add another cup. When soft add 2 tablespoons butter, asparagus, fish and cooked shrimp. Season to taste and add lemon zest. Stir for a couple of minutes until fish is cooked. Add fresh herbs and serve warm with pan fried shrimp over it.


Serves 8











Please welcome Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls.  Ann stole my heart with her amazing salads.  She has taught me to think outside the box when it comes to eating salads.  Just the other day we ate Chef Salads and I went to my pantry and thought, "what would Ann add to this salad?"  

She has a way of combining flavor combinations that work.  I love that she is sharing a salad dressing today with all of us.  Thank you Ann!

You can also follow Ann at her face book fan page HERE.




Kickin’ Berry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Hello everyone! I’m Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls and I’m so excited to be guest-posting on Simply Gourmet today … Sherron is one of my food photography heroes, and when she posted her recipe for mulberry syrup last week, to me, it reaffirmed to me that we are kindred foodie spirits. Because, just like Sherron, when we moved to this house, my daughter discovered this tree in our back yard that had berries on it. I had no idea what kind of tree it was, but that launched us on a mission to determine what they were … and after a bit of guessing and several internet searches, we figured out they are mulberries. Ever since then, every June I am on a mission to make things with mulberries. I make scones with them a LOT and I’ve also made mulberry liqueur and mulberry cake, but I think my favorite way to eat these lovely little berries is in a salad.

Sherron recently guest-posted on my blog and shared the most gorgeous Caramelized Onion & Garlic Focaccia, which she said would go perfectly with a salad. It just so happens that salads are one of my specialties, so I want to share one of my favorite salad dressings with you today.

I’ve used this salad dressing on many, many salads: my strawberry chrysanthemum salad, my pear salad with blue cheese and spicy nuts and oh so many mulberry salads (none of which I have a good photo for!) … I’m anxious for my mulberries to get ripe so I can make some new mulberry salads with them (and THIS year I’ll get some good photos … it helps to hang out with great food photographers like Sherron).

Kickin’ Berry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing (Low Fat)

You don’t need all the oil most vinaigrettes call for, but a little bit of olive oil provides some of those good fats your body needs and also smoothes out the taste.

· 2 – 3 Tablespoons of berry jam. I like to use my mixed raspberry jam.

· 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar

· 1/3 cup red wine garlic vinegar

· about 2 – 3 Tablespoons of good quality mustard (Dijon works well, or I have this Garlic Peppercorn mustard that is heavenly in this dressing)

· 1 – 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning

· 1 teaspoon of dried dill–or several sprigs of snipped fresh dill if you have it

· 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic–or you can use a clove or two of chopped fresh garlic

· 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

· 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the olive oil. Taste the dressing and add more mustard or jam depending on whether you like it sweeter or you want more of that musty mustard taste.

2. While whisking constantly, drizzle the olive oil in a very thin stream into the dressing. Whisk until blended.

3. Funnel the dressing into a bottle. You can use it right away, but it will be even better once the flavors have time to meld.

4. Store in the fridge. The olive oil will thicken in the fridge, so let it sit out for a few minutes before you use it. Always shake it before you pour to get the oil blended into the dressing again.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Guest Post by the Incredible Melissa from Cooking with Mel


One of the best things about going on vacation is that I get to have some of my great friends share a recipe from them with all of my readers.  Mel knows me well, I love chocolate and peanut butter anything and this dessert is sure to hit a home run with your family.

Thank you so much Melissa for taking time to share this recipe with us today.

Without further ado, here is Melissa (isn't she just the cutest!  Nick is looking sharp too.)



Can I just start off by telling everybody how much I adore Sherron? She was one of the first food bloggers I bumped into during the infancy of my website and cooking adventure. I could not have asked for a friendlier or more genuine person to know and I am so excited she has asked me to be a guest on her website while she is enjoying time with her family.


With that being said, let me introduce myself:  My name is Melissa and I am a 20 something food blogger from Northern Virginia and the creative genius behind Cooking with Mel. I started my website to chronicle my pilgrimage toward cooking perfection.  It has been quite the journey and I learn something new all of the time! When I am not busy in the kitchen, you can find me playing with my two Yorkshire Terriers – Pippy and Sophie – or debating the politics of the world with my Veteran boyfriend, Nick.

I love experimenting in the kitchen and the recipe I have for you today is my newest favorite! Take a look at these delicious Reese’s Puffs Cupcakes. ::drool:: They will be perfect for any gathering you are invited to this summer!


Nutritional Information
Servings: 24
Serving Size: 1 cupcake
Calories: 323.8
Fat: 18.7 g
Carbohydrates: 34.8 g
Fiber: 1.1 g
Protein: 4.8 g
Points+: 9

Ingredients:

Cake:
1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix
3 eggs
½ cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
¾ cup sour cream
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Chocolate Ganache:
½ cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup peanut butter, smooth

Peanut Butter Buttercream:
¾ cup butter, softened
½ cup peanut butter, smooth
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups Reese’s Puffs Cereal

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line pans with cupcake liners. Then spray the cupcake liners with cooking spray
In a small bowl, sift cake mix and set aside
In a large bowl, gently whisk eggs, oil, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract
Add cake mix to wet ingredients and stir
Fill cupcake liners ¾ full and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean
Ganache: Melt chocolate and peanut butter together and stir until smooth. Dip the tops of the cooled cupcake into the ganache and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes
Buttercream: Beat butter and peanut butter. Add powered sugar a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Add vanilla extract {Add 1 tablespoon milk if your buttercream is too thick}
Pipe buttercream onto ganache-covered cupcake and roll in Reese’s Puffs cereal

Monday, June 18, 2012

Guest Post by Sweet Mia from Mia's Domain

I have to tell you, that this group of ladies that I am featuring while I am spending time with my family was my support when I first started the blog.  Each of these ladies has touched me with their concern, advice, support and laughter.  I can't tell you how many days I would come to my computer and there would be a sweet hello from Mia.  She is one of the kindest souls we have in our blogging community.

Her site is Mia's Domain and along with the recipe that she is sharing today, you can find all sorts of helpful information.  She eats healthy and loves to share what she knows about eating healthy with her fans.  Thank you Mia for sharing these yummy scones with us over at Simply Gourmet.




About Me:

As a young girl, I frequently visited my beloved grandma who lived in a very small village just outside of town. Though she only had a tiny kitchen with no refrigerator and a makeshift outdoor stove, she enjoyed cooking everything from scratch...with lots of love!
I’ve long since sampled a wide variety of unique foods from around the world - but my inspiration, passion, and LOVE for food STILL comes from Grandma. I try to buy everything from local farms or farmers markets whenever possible, using mostly fresh, wild, natural, or organic ingredients. I thrive on experimentation and make everything from scratch at home.


I have no formal training and I'm not a professional chef, nor do I claim to be a photographer. I am simply sharing my joy of food with you. 







Raspberry Stuffed Lemon Scones:

2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons frozen unsalted butter
2 cups fresh raspberries
3/4 cup whole milk or cream
1 egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly.

Mix milk (or cream), lemon juice, and egg in a separate bowl. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients (you might not need all the liquid).

Divide dough in half. Pat dough out onto a lightly floured surface to make a perfect 8" by 8" square. Spread 2 tablespoons of raspberry preserve on top (this will be the bottom piece).  Arrange all the raspberries on top of the preserve.

Roll the second piece of dough, making sure it's 8" by 8". Lay this carefully on top of the first piece and close all the edges.

Use a 3" round pastry cutter or drinking glass to carefully cut out the scones.

Arrange on a lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for one hour.

Remove from the refrigerator and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a stick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Guest Post by the Amazing Haniela's- Mini Sandwich


I am so excited to be sharing my friends Hani's recipe and her site with you.  She is a very talented cook.  Hani and I met about a year ago and  she has been an awesome supporter of Simply Gourmet and myself.  I am honored that she would agree to post this lovely recipe with us.

I can't wait to try these little sandwiches.  Thank you Hani!  You can find her blogging over and Haniela's…her cookies are amazing!  Her face book page is HERE.





Hello, I’m Hani, a foodie behind a blog  Haniela’s

I'm absolutely thrilled to be visiting Sherron's mouthwatering  and picturesque site. I met Sherron on Facebook, and was drawn to her immediately, her cooking and baking reminds  of what  I grew up with in Europe, and together with a combination of Sherron's other talent - photography I was hooked.

Today I'm going share with you a recipe for a delicious sandwich that will leaving you wanting more. Guaranteed.

3 years ago we built  a beautiful garden that we care for from Spring to late Fall and this year we've also planted red beets, my first time growing beets so you can imagine the excitement when I  pulled the first  ones out, deep vibrant color is striking. Don't they look magnificent?! I still have some in the fridge and more are coming up every few days. With that being said, I wanted to try something new, that would have beets in, and sandwich sounded like a great idea. I hope you give it a try.



Mini Sandwiches with  Prosciutto, Beets and Horseradish Cream

3 medium to small red beets
Whole Wheat Baguette, cut into thin slices, or about 12 small bread pieces
4-5 slices of thinly sliced prosciutto
Olive oil
1/2 cup Chobani Greek Yogurt(I used fat free version)
2tbl heavy cream
6tsp prepared horseradish 
4tbl scallions, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1tsp + more if needed- honey
salt pepper to season
2tbl chopped fresh parsley
1/2 apple, cut in half and sliced into thick slices, total 12 pieces
juice of 1/2 lemon

  • Cook beets in their skin by steaming, until fork tender, remove from heat and let cool slightly, peel off the skins with your fingers, slice the beets into thin slices
  • In a medium dish combine red wine vinegar, scallions and honey, season with some salt and pepper, add sliced red beets and leave to marinade for 20 minutes
  • In the meantime, prepare horseradish cream: in  a medium bowl stir together  yogurt and heavy cream, horseradish, taste and season with salt, pepper and honey  if needed. Stir in finely chopped parsley, set aside
  • cut apple pieces, leaving the skin on, and soak them in the juice of 1/2 lemon for couple of minutes to prevent oxidation, drain and set aside
  • Prepare bread, cut Baguette into thin rounds, brush olive oil  on each side and toast the piece in the skillet, until golden brown on each side, it will take only couple of minutes, on heat heat. Set aside to cool slightly
  • Cut prosciutto into equal pieces  so you have 12 or more pieces,  one piece for each mini sandwich, depending on the size of your bread,
  • Assemble Sandwiches: on each sandwich spread some of the horseradish cream, layer prosciutto ham, pickled beets rounds with scallions, add a teaspoon of horseradish cream and a piece of an apple


Stay Updated with my newest posts, recipes and tutorials

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Guest Post by the Incredible Ally-Carrot Cake Rum Balls

My first guest post while I am on vacation is by my dear friend Ally, she is incredible.  She lives her life to the fullest each and every day.  She walks the bohemian line between fun and fantastic.  She is an inspiration to many of us in the blogging world.


I encourage you to hop on over to Ally's Kitchen or you can find her hard at work on her fan page, What's for Dinner? Ally's Kitchen.






My cooking is a reflection of my life—where I came from, my DNA, my experiences, my travels, my Croatian heritage, my adventurous spirit, and, of course, my humble background growing up in the hollers of West Virginia.  ‘Bohemian Bold’ cuisine means taking peasant and everyday ingredients and transforming them into something chic and luxurious.

I was literally born a Cook, and I’ve been cooking since I was a kid.  But, my real passion for cooking, blogging, creating came after I finished raising my 3 sons, all now adults and paying their own taxes, and my 30+ years as a psychologist in private practice.  After appearing on Season 2 of Master Chef, I launched ‘What’s for Dinner? Ally’s Kitchen’ on Facebook and my website ‘Ally’s Kitchen’ at www.allyskitchen.com .


Life for me is like eating an orange—I want to suck out every drop of nectar and when that’s gone, I’ll zest the rind for more flavor.  My Bohemian Life is all about cooking and living adventurously!



To see the original post visit HERE.http://www.allyskitchen.com/2012/05/22/carrot-cake-rum-balls/





Recipe: Carrot Cake Rum Balls




What you need:

Actually, one lousy dry carrot cake, and you can skip a lot of this!  But, if you, by chance, don’t have one hanging around, here’s a recipe. 
1 ½ cups self-rising flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs
1 ¼ cups sugar
¾ cup melted butter (or oil!)
¼ cup milk
1/3 cup currants
1 cup finely shredded carrots
¾ cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts




ICING
4 oz block cream cheese (room temperature)
4 oz whipped cream cheese (room temperature)
½ cup Greek plain yogurt
½ cup confectionary sugar
¾ cup whipped topping
1 tbl fresh lemon juice
1 tbl lemon zest
1 cup finely chopped pineapple (somewhat drained)
½ cup rum

COATING
½ cup wheat germ
1 cup sweetened shredded wheat
¾ cup bran cereal


What you do:
This is going to be two stages of preparation.  Not difficult.
Stage 1
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and blend well together.  In another mixing bowl, cream the butter with a hand mixer beating about 3 minutes.  Add milk to this and blend.  Add about half of the wet ingredients to the dry and mix then add the remainder.  Finally, add the currants, carrots, coconut, and walnuts.  Bake in greased cake pans (or one large cake pan) in a preheated 375 oven for about 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick basically comes out clean.  When done, remove and let cool preferably overnight.

ICING
(Note:  You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate.  Just make sure when you’re at stage 2, it’s a room temperature to making blending easier.)
Combine the cream cheeses and yogurt and blend. Then add the remaining ingredients, one at a time and blending after each. 

COATING
Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times until finely ground.
Stage 2
In a large mixing bowl, crumble the cake with your hands.  Work in the icing mixture and blend all well.  Add the icing mixture and blend well.  This will be a somewhat thick very moist ‘batter’ but remember, the cake has been cooked.  Using a hand ball scoop, start making the balls. Have a large cookie sheet ready. Place the coating crumbs in a pie plate. Roll the ball in the coating and then place in a paper cupcake holder and place on the cookie sheet.  Bake in a preheated 375 oven about 12-15 minutes.  Remove and let cool.  Drizzle with a dark (70%) chocolate ganache and caramel.  Or you can create your own ‘icing’ or ‘drizzle’—your option!












Wednesday, June 13, 2012

We have moved!

Thethriftygourmetcooks.blogspot.com has been renamed to www. simply-gourmet.com

I hope that this does not cause too much confusion.  I needed to make everything with my branding the same and having my blog title and address be different was confusing.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we go through some new changes in the next week or so.

Sherron

Monday, June 11, 2012

160. Creamy Rice and Veggie Casserole


When I say we eat a 25 pound of rice about every 3 months, I am not lying.  My family loves rice.  We have brown, white, flat, short, long, black, red, Japanese, Basmati and Jasmine.  The only one we don't use or own is INSTANT.  LOL

We just don't like the flavor of instant.  I own a rice cooker and if I plan my meals right I have no problem getting the rice done on time.

We eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner and on occasion, as a snack too.

I joke with my kids that when they go to college they will get three things: a rice cooker, a blender and a Nu Wave oven.

There are over 40,000 different varieties of rice.  If you would like to learn more about rice, this is a great place to start.  HERE.

My daughter loves to make rice and one thing we need to work on is portions…LOL  When she makes a batch it is always the largest that can be made with our rice cooker.  We usually eat it all in a few days, but I personally like fresh rice better and not the rice that has been sitting in the fridge for a day or two.

What if you do have rice that is a day or two old?  I hate to waste food.  It makes me crazy when so many people in the world have so little.

In walks Creamy Rice and Veggie Casserole.  This not only uses your left over rice, but you can use your left over vegetables and cheese (if you like).

I will tell you what I used in my recipe.  If you change any of the veggies or cheese, just keep in mind that the flavor will be changed a bit too.  If you use those things you love then that should not bother you.  Be sure to let me know if you added your own twist to the dish.  It would work great to add some chicken to the casserole and make it a one dish "rock the house" meal.

This is a simple meal.  That has the taste of a gourmet dish.  ENJOY!


Recipe:  Creamy Rice and Veggie Casserole

4 cups of prepared white rice  (if you use brown rice it will have a nutty flavor)
2 cups of vegetables (I used: leeks, carrots, onions and red bell pepper)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups of milk
1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup of flour
1 brick of cream cheese, soft
3/4  cup of cheddar cheese or 1 jar of Old English Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare your rice or use your left over rice from a previous meal.

Thinly slice and dice your veggies to make 2 cups.  Saute the veggies in a saute pan with the olive oil.

In a medium size pot, add butter and melt.  Sprinkle flour over butter and whisk for 2 minutes.  Add your milk and cook until thick, stir often.  Remove from heat and add cream cheese and cheddar. Stir until the cheese is well combined.

If you would like to add meat to this dish, go ahead and prepare your meat.  Add this to the mixture.

In a large bowl, combine sauce, rice and veggies.  Stir well and pour into a baking dish.  I used an 8X12 baking dish, so if you use a 9X13 reduce cooking time by a few minutes.

Bake for 30 minutes.


















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