Sunday, April 11, 2021

EASY OVEN BROWN RICE

We've been trying to eat healthier lately, and "nutrition empty" white rice has been replaced by brown rice at our house.

Before now, I have only had moderate luck making brown rice. Not only do you have to babysit brown rice on a burner for 40-ish minutes, but the end result can be a little crunchy, (or worse yet), it can be gummy and sticky. Then, of course, there is the dreaded layer of rice that always cements itself to the  bottom of the pan (insert frown here).... that's no fun!!

Well, your brown rice "issues" are over!! This super easy method will give you fluffy brown rice every time (with every grain cooked) and NOTHING sticks to the pan.... it is super easy!!


 
This recipe makes three cups of cooked rice, which is a lot of rice for us empty nesters. So, I divide the leftovers into 1 cup portions and I freeze it. This way you can have brown rice ready in a flash for a weeknight meal (or add it to soups, etc.)

1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 1/2 cups boiling water (or no-salt chicken broth)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 
1 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375° and spray an 8" x 8" baking dish with vegetable spray.

Put the dry rice in the prepared baking pan.  Heat the water, butter and salt until it just comes to a boil, then pour over the rice and stir everything, just enough to get the rice to an even level in the pan. Then cover the pan with aluminum foil.

COVER PAN TIGHTLY

I use heavy duty aluminum foil and crimp the edges tight on all four sides. It is important that you trap the steam in the pan. If I use a baking dish that has a lid, I still use the foil under the lid.

Bake at 375° for one hour. After an hour, remove the pan from the oven and take off the foil. Fluff the rice with a fork and that's it!!
 

 
If you aren't going to eat the rice as soon as it comes out of the oven, make sure you still remove the foil so that the condensation doesn't drip back into the rice.

ENJOY !!

VELVEETA RISOTTO

I had to smile when I named this recipe because never have two little words described opposite ends of the comfort food spectrum more devilishly, just rest assured, that if you like good old mac and cheese, made with Velveeta (like ALL good mac and cheeses 😏) you will love this saucy side dish !!

Arborio rice (for those of you who have not cooked it before)is a short chubby grain of rice, that (when cooked correctly) gets bigger and creamier as it cooks(without getting mushy). The cooking process is also different than regular white rice, since you add the HOT liquid 1/2 cup at a time, letting the rice cook (and liquid reduce) before you add the next 1/2 cup of liquid. Sounds complicated, but it IS NOT!!



BACON RISOTTO and CHEESE

4 cups chicken stock
1 cup ARBORIO rice  (not regular rice)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
NO SALT (because Velveeta is salty)
5 slices crisp cooked bacon (cut into small pieces)
4 ounces Velveeta cheese cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions


Heat the chicken stock until it almost boils, then keep it hot on a side burner for now.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add 1 cup Arborio rice + the garlic powder and black pepper, and stir. Saute the rice until you see very pale golden edges on most of the rice,then add your first half cup of HOT chicken stock and stir. 

Bring to a VERY GENTLE boil(NO lid) until the liquid is mostly absorbed, then add another half cup of HOT chicken stock and stir. 


Repeat this process (1/2 cup of broth at a time)and start testing the rice for "done-ness" at about 15 minutes (but expect the whole process to take more like 20 minutes).  

When you add the LAST half cup of HOT chicken stock, include the small cheese cubes + bacon and green onions. Gently stir, then let it sit a minute while the cheese melts and stir gently again.  Serve !!


CLICK ON THIS PHOTO,
THEN TAKE A BITE !!!






Wednesday, April 7, 2021

FROZEN NO-BAKE LEMON CHEESECAKE

This recipe is delicious, bright and lemony. It goes together quickly, and after it freezes, I cut it into squares and wrap each one in plastic, so that we can grab a piece “whenever” (no need to thaw out a whole cheesecake). The squares keep very well in the freezer, and have the consistency of ice cream. We love this recipe!!!

3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter

3 ounce box lemon Jello
1 cup boiling water
8 ounce cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons FRESH lemon juice
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Line a 9” x 9” pan with parchment or wax paper, leaving the edges long enough so that you can grab and lift the whole frozen cheese cake out of the pan.

Mix the graham cracker crumbs + 1/3 cup sugar + 1/3 cup melted butter, then  press into the bottom of the prepared pan (reserving 1/2 cup for later in the recipe).

Mix the lemon jello powder and boiling water until completely dissolved. Chill until only slightly thickened.

Whip 1+1/2 cups whipping cream and chill until it’s time to use.

Beat the room temperature cream cheese + 1 cup sugar + 5 tablespoons FRESH lemon juice until very well mixed, then beat in the slightly thickened jello. When it’s all well mixed and smooth, gently fold in the whipped cream with a spatula. 

Pour over the crumb crust, spreading out evenly. Sprinkle the reserved 1/2 cup of graham cracker crumbs over the top.

Chill for an  hour or so, then freeze completely.

Cut FROZEN cheesecake into serving size pieces and wrap them in plastic wrap. Store wrapped pieces in a big zip lock bag or freezer container.  NO need to thaw these before eating.

ENJOY !!!