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Easy Italian Pasta Recipes: Pancetta, Broccolini, and Pecorino Romano Pasta

Easy Italian Pasta Recipes: Pancetta, Broccolini, and Pecorino Romano Pasta

Italian food has always been and will probably always be my favorite cuisine to make. I’m sure living in Sicily for three years gave me a certain affinity towards not only the culture, but the food as well. Much of the food is prepared quite […]

Ground Beef And Rice Casserole: Aunt Kathy’s Spanish Rice

Ground Beef And Rice Casserole: Aunt Kathy’s Spanish Rice

This is by no means authentic Spanish rice but it’s got rice, seasoning, and a whole lotta love. Besides that..it tastes great! Along with the rice, seasoning, (and tasting great) this Spanish rice is a meal all in itself. It’s filled with ground beef, green […]

Cajun Stir Fry: Spicy Cajun Fried Rice With Skrimps, Sausage And Steak

Cajun Stir Fry: Spicy Cajun Fried Rice With Skrimps, Sausage And Steak

Got leftover rice? Love “stir fries”? The quotations are there because I, like many others, forgo the wok and use a flaming hot skillet to make my quick stir fries and have had great results in doing so. Making a successful stir fry comes down to timing. The main “cookin” is done before the heat is even applied to the pan. Having everything prepped up and ready to go makes everything run smoother when your ingredients are lined up (like lil’ soldiers) in the order that they go into the sizzlin’ hot pan).

veg prep lilchefchic

I’ve made quite the memorable meal with leftover rice. Making a breakfast scramble using hot bacon fat as my fry oil of choice or sesame oil to do an Asian rice dish or plain ol’ olive oil even. The possibilities are endless.

Most recipes call for a medium grain rice when making a stir fry but I’ve had great success with white rice. My favorite go to rice at the moment is Jasmine rice. It has a lovely fragrant smell (almost like popcorn popping) when it’s cooking and is very versatile in most recipes.

I find that using leftover rice does the best for frying because the grain has been allowed to dry out a bit and doesn’t absorb the hot oil as much as using fresh rice. I’ve also found that the rice tends to be less sticky due to the decreased moisture content.

With this recipe I used 2 1/2 cups of cooked cold Jasmine rice. Before frying, use your fingers to gently break up any clumps that may have formed in the rice.

Cajun Seasoning Mix is typically paprika, garlic powder, cayenne, and a mix of dried of herbs such as oregano and thyme, as well as salt and pepper. When I make my own I usually leave out the salt and pepper so that I can add more heat (if needed) to a dish without adding more salt. But that’s really up to you- the cook! For this recipe I used a store bought brand which had the salt included in the mix. To control the salt content I didn’t add anymore salt until the rice was cooked and mixed with the vegetables. Then I tasted it and adjusted the seasoning as needed. Just remember, you can always add seasoning, but you can’t take it away!

Let’s get started!

Cajun Stir Fry

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 4 oz. bell peppers, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped (1 cup)

  • 2 1/2 cups to 3 cups leftover cooked Jasmine rice fried rice lilchefchic

  • 4 to 5 ounces Smoked Sausage, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces

  • 8 ounces shrimp, cleaned

  • 8 ounces sirloin steak

  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning Mix, of your choice, divided

  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

  • Olive Oil, about 3-4 Tablespoons

  • Butter, about 2 Tablespoons

I use two pans for this recipe. One pan is a stainless steel pan I use for searing and sauteing. The other is a 9 inch nonstick. I sear the steak first and let it rest and then turn the heat down a notch, add some whole butter, and then sear the shrimp.

In the metal pan turn heat to medium high heat. Once hot, add about 1 tablespoon olive oil followed by 1 tablespoon butter. Season steak on both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Sear steak on each side until cooked to your liking. I like mine medium rare so for a smaller 1/2″ thick sirloin I cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove steak from pan and turn down heat to moderate heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon butter to pan and cook shrimp for about 3 minutes total. In the video below you can see I’ve cooked them lightly on both sides and then flipped them on their belly to finish them off for about 30 seconds before removing to a plate.

In the nonstick pan add about 1/2 Tablespoon of oil with your smoked sausage. I used a blend of chicken, pork and beef sausage for this recipe but if you’re using all pork you can skip the extra oil because of the high fat content in the sausage. Cook sausage on medium heat until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Remove sausage from pan and add onions and peppers. Cook for about a minute before adding in 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning. Continuing to stir, cook for 2 minutes and add in garlic and continue cooking (and stirring) until garlic is fragrant and onions are translucent. Remove vegetables to plate. Add one tablespoon oil to pan and add in remaining 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning. Stir seasoning in pan for about 30 seconds just to toast it a bit and now add your rice. Cook rice and coat in oil and seasoning until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in cooked vegetables.

Taste the rice and adjust the seasoning to your liking, adding more salt or more spices. Plate up Cajun rice. Thinly slice your rested steak and place on top of rice along with cooked shrimp.

Enjoy!

What does your family do with leftover rice? Do you have any tried and true recipe favorites that you love making with leftover rice, or leftovers in general? Leave me a comment below!:)

Savannah Restaurants: Latin Chicks Restaurant Review

Savannah Restaurants: Latin Chicks Restaurant Review

I’ve been wanting to try this restaurant for a while now and just recently decided to have a sit down at Latin Chicks for my lunch this past week. I’d seen the restaurant in passing and read an article on the hows and whys of […]

Southern Tomato Pie Recipe: Super Sumptuous Summer Tomatoes Baked in a Fantastically Flaky Pie Crust

Southern Tomato Pie Recipe: Super Sumptuous Summer Tomatoes Baked in a Fantastically Flaky Pie Crust

The pictures I’ve taken for this post don’t do this pie any justice. This is one of the most awesomest, tastiest things I’ve ever made. Tomatoes are high up on the flavor scale for me, up there with ChOcOlAtE (if you can believe that) Ya […]

Fresh Fruit Salad Recipes: Melon Ball Madness Bowl

Fresh Fruit Salad Recipes: Melon Ball Madness Bowl

Who says melon balls are out? I’m counting them back in! How cool do they look? And so easy to pop in your mouth for a quick refreshing bite. It’s been so long since I used my melon baller that I somehow (uh, haven’t used it) misplaced it. Luckily, I found one for a gem of a price at BBB. And no, that’s not the Better Business Bureau (I went to Bed Bath and Beyond:) ). The cool thing about the one I picked up is that there’s a melon baller on each end of the handle and they’re different sizes so it enabled me to make my melon bites two different sizes, which makes for a pretty cool presentation.

 

Melon is at its peak right now and I started thinking about fresh fruit salad recipes about a week ago when I saw that the “King of the West” honeydews had found (or rolled) their way back into my local Publix. If you’ve never had a King of the West Melon than: #1 Stop reading.#2 Get in your car. #3 Drive to your local (or not so local) Publix (Cause that’s the only place they can be found)  #4 Purchase one now. #5 and #6 Thank you.

 

King of the West honeydew is a melon grown by Turlock Farms for Publix Super Markets. The area these guys are grown in is known as “the salad bowl of America,” or Salinas Valley, because it’s responsible for producing about 70% of America’s lettuce. The warm days and cool nights provide the best conditions for these melons. The melons are also allowed to sit a bit longer on the vine to help them get the sweetest possible flavor.

melons lilchefchic

If you’re not in the southeast and can’t get your hands on a super sweet K O’ the West just stick to a standard honeydew. I’d recommend having one of the seasoned produce people pick out a good one for you. Usually the best indicator of ripeness is the stem end of the melon. It will give to slight pressure from your finger and will have a sweet melon aroma. The same goes for cantaloupe as well. Watermelon is more of a booger in this arena and all the thumping, knocking, and telling it a joke won’t get you far in knowing if it’s a good one. I have had some luck with the whole “sugar spot” theory. Supposedly the bigger the sugar spot, or that yellow spot where the melon sat its butt on the ground, the sweeter the melon. I’d say, do yourself a favor and ask the produce expert(s) in you grocery store.

Benefits of Melon

Watermelon has a high water content with honeydew coming in at a close second. All three melons are high in Vitamin C and potassium and are a a good source of Vitamins A and B. The water content alone helps aid in everything from digestion to kidney function to healthy skin! Melons also have a large amount of carotenoids which help fight cancer. Melons are low in fat, calories, sodium and are cholesterol free.

 

Recipe

The following recipe could be made without the dressing easily. The fruit is so sweet right now the dressing is just the icing on the cake. But the cake is Great all by it’s lonesome. Grab your scoopers and let’s get balling!

 

Melon Ball Madness Fruit Saladmelons galore lilchefchic

1/2 Cantaloupe

1/2 Honeydew

1/4 Watermelon ( I purchased a quarter at the market)

 

Dressing:

1 orange, juicedorange juice lilchefchic

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

3 mint leaves, thinly sliced (chiffonade)

1/4 cup to 1/2 cup watermelon juice

 

 

Make your dressing. Whisk honey starting with 1/2 Tablespoon into your orange juice. Taste. If you like the sweetness. Stop. If you’d like a more pronounced honey flavor add the entire tablespoon and one half. Stir in mint. Set to the side.

Using your melon baller. Wait..watch this video. It’s super quick and very helpful.

Man, that made it muuuuch easier for me to explain..well, her to explain.

Once you’re done scooping arrange the melon in a pretty bowl and gently pour dressing over. You can garnish with additional mint if you’d like. Serve immediately.

This should be consumed within three days. Store in fridge:)

 

It’s summertime! What are your favorite summer treats to help beat the heat??

Easy Asian Slaw Dressing: Cilantro and Carrots and Green Onions Oh My!

Easy Asian Slaw Dressing: Cilantro and Carrots and Green Onions Oh My!

Want a delicious slaw that everyone will be raving about for weeks after that barbecue? Look no further my friend…it has arrived. I came up with this recipe when thinking of sides for that awesome Bourdain pork sando that I made in my last post. […]

Anthony Bourdain Cookbook: “Appetites~ A Cookbook” Recipe “Macau-Style Pork Chop Sandwich”

Anthony Bourdain Cookbook: “Appetites~ A Cookbook” Recipe “Macau-Style Pork Chop Sandwich”

My obsession with the Food Network was getting a little out of hand. Friends that frequented my house would make jabs about “the only station I watched.” I didn’t care. I loved it. The descriptions. The different hosts. Learning about new food. It was the […]

Easy Healthy Meal Prep: Quick Lunches (or Dinners) To Grab N’ Go For Work

Easy Healthy Meal Prep: Quick Lunches (or Dinners) To Grab N’ Go For Work

I’ve been wanting to do this whole meal prep thing for awhile now. Even though I’m surrounded by food all day at work I don’t really have a lot of options to choose from. If I’m taking a quick lunch and just want a quick bite my options are even more restricted. There are no places to go outside of my job within a reasonable distance and even if they were closer they’re really not the best health wise.

Cooking at home not only gives you the ability to control your portion size, but also gives you control over the seasonings used as well as the fats used (oils, butter, etc.). I didn’t venture too far into the “meal prep” google search but I do know how I want MY lunch packed.  I don’t want to eat the same thing 5 days in a row so I decided on a three day venture with 2 or more meals prepped in advance. That way you can rotate between the different options to not get bored.

I picked up some cheap reusable (bpa free and microwave safe) containers from TJMaxx for pretty cheap (only a buck a piece) and if (and when) I  decide to go hard as a meal prepper,I’ll up my container game to something more permanent.

I came up with a couple of recipes for you to try at home that are pretty simple (especially since these two recipes contain rotisserie chicken) and wanted to give you some simple guidelines you can use when prepping your meals:

 

Protein- The “Powerhouse” of your meal which includes poultry, beef, cheese, fish, and plant based protein (tofu) should be 3 to 4 ounces in size (about the size of an iphone-the small one)shun knife steak lilchefchic

   

 

 Veggies– Everything from Kale to broccoli to cabbage can be used here. A portion  size is about 1/2 cup.basket food fresh pexels

   Fruit– Should be not bigger than a tennis ballberries blackberries blueberries

   

Carbohydrates-Whether you’re packing some steamed rice or a baked potato try and keep it at 1/2 cup.blur close up cooked pexels

Nuts– Not only do they help keep the hunger pangs away, but nuts such as almonds or walnuts are a heart healthy crunchy option for a snack or thrown into a meal. Keep the portion size small though. No bigger than the size of an egg.background brown close up pexels

   Fats– Fat adds flavor. We all know that. But this is one of the areas you’ve got to keep an eye on for portion control. Try and keep the fat below 2 tablespoons for your each meal as well. You can always choose a healthier fat like avocado, olive, or coconut oil in place of butter in your cooking.green south african avocado

The following recipe was inspired by a dish at one of my favorite local noodle bars. It’s actually served cold which makes it even simpler to dive into when lunch time comes! This is 1 of the 2 recipes I used my rotisserie chicken in and it is very good! It is a Cold Thai Noodle Dish served with a Peanut sauce and scattered with fresh herbs.

Thai Peanut Sauce with Asian Noodles (Cold)

Peanut Sauce (Makes about a cup and a half):

  • 2 Tablespoons Fish sauce

  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar

  • 4 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice

  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (Low Sodium)

  • 1″ Piece Fresh Ginger, peeled

  • 6 Tablespoons Natural Peanut Butter (I used Crunchy but Creamy is Fine)

  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil

  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

  • Pinch of Red Chili Pepper Flakes

  • 1 Clove of Garlic

  • 4″ piece lemon grass (use only tender middle and discard outer hard husk); chopped

Blitz all the above ingredients above in a food processor until smooth. You can use it now or store it in a closed container for up to one week.

Noodles:

Asian Rice Noodles (Vermicelli)-100 gram bag
Cook half of noodles according to package instructions (6 to 8 minutes) and drain in colander. Make sure to rinse noodles throughly to keep them from being sticky. Hold to side.

Veggies and such:asian veggies mealprep lilchefchic

  • 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced

  • 1 large carrot (or two small), peeled and julienned (cut into thin strips, or use

  • matchstick carrots from grocery store)

  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts

  • Small bunch cilantro

  • Small bunch mint

  • Small bunch basil (Thai basil if possible)

  • Small bunch chives

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Unsalted peanuts, chopped

  • lime wedges

Chicken:

1/2 Rotisserie Chicken from your Favorite Chicken Joint (or Grocery store:) ).
Remove breast meat and thinly slice. Pull dark meat and shred with fingers or fork.

Combine:

Toss cold noodles in peanut sauce. Toss in Chicken and coat salad before plating in your three containers. Scatter with chopped peanuts. Place veggies and sprouts in side compartment along with all fresh herbs and sliced lime. Package up small containers of extra sauce for each container.
Voila! Lunch is Done!
summer rolls lilchefchic
Recipe Numero 2:

THAI CHICKEN SUMMER ROLLS:

This recipe will utilize the other half of your rotisserie chicken (if you didn’t eat it already while prepping the other meal) as well as all those herbs you bought. It’s very simple and very easy. This is all about your ingredients. Super easy and super fresh herbs and vegetables. I got almost everything I needed at my local Asian Market. The owner actually grows a lot of this stuff in his back yard which is really awesome and everything is always so fresh…and 10 minutes from my place.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Rotisserie Chicken

  • Spring Roll Rice Paper

  • Mint

  • Thai Basil

  • Cilantro

  • 1 Avocado, sliced

  • 1 carrot, julienned

  • 1 cucumber, julienned (or leftover slices from previous recipe)

This recipe is as simple as dipping each rice paper into a bowl of water for a second or two to soften before filling with your goodies. Place the wet rice paper sheet on a dry surface and assemble your rolls starting with the herbs first. Leave about an inch and a half on each side of the filling so that you can roll it up like a burrito. After assembling the herbs fill the top with a couple of slices each of the cucumber and carrot. Top with a sprinkling of chicken and finish with 2 slices of avocado. Roll up and pack 2 rolls per 3 containers.
I packed my meals with some fresh Fuji apples dipped in lemon water (or lime) and a side of peanut sauce for dipping.

Whadaya think? Is meal prepping for you? What’s been your experience? What are some of YOUR favorite combinations, or maybe one’s you wouldn’t try again? Holler at me below in the comment section:)

What Is A Hand Pie? King Arthur Flour Recipe With Blueberries (again:) ) and Strawberries

What Is A Hand Pie? King Arthur Flour Recipe With Blueberries (again:) ) and Strawberries

Hand pies. Delicious flaky pie crust encapsulates freshly cooked fruit. They can be baked like in the following recipe or fried. They have endless possibilities for fillings and… they fit in your hand. They can be topped with a drizzle of icing or a dusting […]