Tag Archives: rice

Roasted Tomato Risotto

My family always had a garden growing up. Tomatoes were one of the few vegetables we grew well. I’ll admit, I haven’t always loved tomatoes. For the most part, raw tomatoes aren’t my thing, unless it is in something. Cooked is a different story. This risotto is a great way to use enjoy all of the awesome tomatoes in season right now.

Roasted Tomato Risotto (Serves 3-4)

Roasted Tomato Risotto

8 medium tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
5 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh basil

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

2. Toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet. Roast for 35 minutes. Set aside.

3. Heat stock until boiling. Reduce heat to a low simmer.

4. Puree ½ of the roasted tomatoes in a food processor.

5. Heat remaining olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion, saute for 3-5 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add garlic; saute for 1 minute until fragrant. Add rice. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add ½ cup of stock; stir to scrape up any brown bits off the pan. When stock is mostly evaporated, stir in 1 cup of stock and the pureed tomatoes. Stir frequently. When it is almost evaporated, add another ½ cup. Continue stirring and adding stock as it evaporates until stock no longer evaporates and rice is tender.

6. Stir in the parmesan, basil, and remaining roasted tomatoes.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 341
Protein: 12 g
Fat: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 6 mg
Carbohydrates: 54 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 362 mg

Recipe Source: adapted from Drizzle and Drip

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Curry Rice

Shortly after I got married, I was looking around for a rice pilaf recipe with some pizzaz. I didn’t want to always have to buy mixes at the store. However, a good recipe was somewhat hard to find. I finally stumbled upon this recipe in a cookbook, and it quickly became a staple at our table. It has some strong flavors, but not so strong that it overpowers the other parts of your meal. Enjoy!

Curry Rice (Serves 4-6)

Curry Rice

1 tablespoon canola oil
½ medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrot
1 ½ cups brown rice
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons garam masala
½ – 1 teaspoon curry powder
1 cardamom pod, smashed open
3 cups water
Cilantro, optional

1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrot. Saute for 3-5 minutes, until onion begins to soften.

2. Add rice, cumin, garam masala, curry, and cardamom. Saute for 1-2 minutes, until spices are fragrant but be careful not to burn them.

3. Stir in water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover, and cook for 30-40 minutes, until rice is cooked through and water is absorbed. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 205
Protein: 4 g
Fat: 4 g
Saturated Fat: less than 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 39 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 18 mg

Source: adapted from Joy of Cooking

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Rice Stuffed Tomatoes

One of my husband’s sisters is currently serving a mission for our church in Italy. She’s been gone for almost a year and half and comes home soon. Periodically, while she has been gone, we have tried to make at home or to eat at restaurants more authentic Italian dishes. We’ve tried some pizzas that are pretty far from anything you’ll find at Pizza Hut. We had arancini, which is basically deep fried risotto balls. And recently, we tried this dish. I only include it in the authentic category since the food blogger I adapted this from ate it originally in Rome.

I was very skeptical about this dish going into it. I wasn’t sure about the whole tomatoes. The potatoes seemed like carb overkill since we already had rice. And there just wasn’t enough sauce to seem like this would be good. But it blew my expectations out of the water. It was so incredibly delicious. And despite needing to be baked in the oven, it tasted like summer. I can only imagine how good this will be in a few weeks when tomatoes are really in season. Enjoy!

Rice Stuffed Tomatoes (Serves 4)

Rice Stuffed Tomatoes

8 medium-to-large tomatoes
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
½ cup arborio rice
6 medium yukon gold potatoes
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning or 2 tablespoons fresh basil or parsley, chopped
½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat a baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Cut the tops off the tomatoes. Scoop out the seeds and flesh over a non-aluminum bowl, making sure you get the juices. Do not cut through the bottom of the tomato. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt over the inside of the tomatoes. Place them upside down on a plate to drain for 15 or so minutes. Add any drained juices to rest of tomato juice/flesh.

3. Pulse scooped out tomato juice/flesh in a blender until coarsely pureed.

4. Heat a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion for 2 minutes, or until it begins to soften. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking one minute more. Add rice. Cook together for 2-3 minutes, until rice begins to toast. Add tomato puree. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover with a lid and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Rice should not be fully cooked. Stir in herbs.

5. Clean potatoes. Cube into small-medium pieces. Toss with remaining tablespoon of oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper.

6. Spoon rice mixture into tomatoes, but don’t fill it all the way up. Place tomatoes in the baking pan. Arrange potatoes around tomatoes in pan to help keep tomatoes upright. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the tops of the tomatoes.

7. Bake 30-45 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft and potates are tender.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 475
Protein: 11 g
Fat: 8 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 91 g
Fiber: 12 g
Sodium: 599 mg

Recipe Notes: I would stay away from roma tomatoes. Choose more of a slicing type tomato, like beef steak or one the vine. They need to have a flat bottom so they at least kind of say up on their own. If you have a medium or short grain brown rice, that would also work here. You would just need to par-cook it first, as in this recipe. I would cut the potatoes a little smaller than shown in my picture. These took a very long time to cook.

Recipe Source: slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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Greek Rice

You know those packaged rice and pasta side dishes, like Rice-a-Roni or the RiceSides? My family ate a fair amount of those growing up, and I remember loving them.  My favorite was a rice pilaf that my mom would always serve with fish. It was very simple, but still seasoned and flavorful. I’ve always wanted to recreate it on my own, but never found a recipe that I loved.

Enter this Greek rice. It is the perfect cross between that packaged rice pilaf and the rice side they serve at my favorite Greek restaurant. It is the perfect side dish for fish (like tilapia with tomatoes), gyros, or even just some grilled chicken or veggies. Enjoy!

Greek Rice (Serves 4)

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1 teaspoon olive oil (omit if using rice cooker)
½ cup thinly sliced or chopped onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup brown rice
2 cups water (you may need more)
1 tablespoon mixed fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, or dill
half of a lemon

Stovetop directions:
1. Heat olive oil in medium to large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 2-3 minutes, until beginning to soften. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Add rice, water, herbs, juice of the lemon. Toss the lemon rind into the pot as well.

2. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes, until rice is done and water is evaporated. Stir occasionally to make sure rice isn’t burning. You may need to add more water to prevent burning. Add it ¼ cup at a time. Remove lemon rind before serving.

Rice cooker directions:

1. Add all ingredients to rice cooker (omit olive oil). Set to cook. Cook for 30-40 minutes, until rice is done and water is evaporated. Stir occasionally to make sure rice isn’t burning. You may need to add more water to prevent burning. Add it ¼ cup at a time. Remove lemon rind before serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 193
Protein: 4 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: less than 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 39 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 4 mg

Recipe Notes: I have used both sliced and chopped onions. I preferred the chopped since they blended into the rice better. Sliced are more visually apparent, if you have people who want to know there are onions in the rice. My favorite combo was thyme and rosemary. But you can adapt this with any herbs you like or have on hand. If you are using dried herbs – which is fine – decrease it to 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons total herbs.

Source: adapted from online

Low iodine adjustment: No adjustment needed. Enjoy!

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Amped up Fried Rice

Are you a plain rice or fried rice person with your Chinese food?  I’m about 50/50.  I prefer plain rice to put under my entrees, but I don’t feel completely satisfied without fried rice somewhere in the mix.  Although lately, I feel like the fried rice I’ve been getting has been pretty lackluster and not even worth ordering.  This is especially sad, when a few ingredients take fried rice from blah to amazing.

Fried rice is great for making at home.  It makes a great side dish or a really simple entree as well.  Your veggies and proteins are entirely up to you.  It’s a great way for using up leftover rice or meat sitting in your fridge, including any from a takeout restaurant.  I love serving this with salmon or pork chops.  When serving it with a protein entree, I usually skip adding any eggs or meat to the rice.  But feel free to customize.

Enjoy!

Fried Rice  (Serves 4-6 as a side dish)

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1 cup uncooked brown rice (or 2 cups cooked)
¾ cup chopped carrots
½ tablespoon canola oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (or more, to taste)
1 ½ cups frozen peas
2 large eggs (optional)

1. Cook rice according to package directions in rice cooker or on stovetop. For last 10 minutes of cooking, stir in chopped carrots. Set aside and let cool.

2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onions and pepper until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic, cook 1 minute more.

3. Add rice and carrots to skillet. Stir in soy sauce and frozen peas. Stir everything to combine.

4. Scoot ingredients to one side of skillet. Crack eggs into open area in skillet. Stir to scramble. Once cooked, stir into rest of rice. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 181
Protein: 6 g
Fat: 4 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 62 mg
Carbohydrates: 30 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 208 mg

Recipe notes: If using leftover rice, you can omit the carrots or use frozen carrots that will heat up quickly like the peas. Try to add as little soy sauce as possible and still get the flavor you want. The sodium will add up quickly. If adding in chopped chicken or pork, you can sauté that with the onions and peppers. Or if using cooked meat, stir it in with the soy sauce and peas.

Source: Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

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Pumpkin Dinner

If you are planning a Halloween dinner or just want to impress your family, look no further.

During my freshman year of college, my roommates and I needed to make dinner for a big group date we were planning.  One of my roommates raved about this pumpkin dinner her family would make.  It was early November, so pumpkin food sounded seasonal and fun.  I enjoyed the meal well enough, but other than the visual “wow” factor, I wasn’t impressed with the food itself.

Despite the lack of flavor appeal, that meal stuck with me.  I’ve made it around Halloween a few times.  Each time, I’ve tried to improve the ingredients so the taste matches the visual impression.  I think this recipe gets it right.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Dinner (Serves 8-10)

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1 small(ish) pumpkin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 pound lean ground turkey (85/15 or better)
⅓ cup unpacked brown sugar
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
1 can low fat cream of chicken soup
1 cup low sodium beef broth
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried sage
6 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
1 small zucchini, sliced
2 cans sliced water chestnuts, drained well
2 cups cooked brown rice

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Remove 1 rack from oven and move remaining rack to lowest setting.

2. Cut large opening in top of pumpkin, retaining “lid”. Clean out seeds and strings. Place cleaned pumpkin on large baking sheet.

3. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. When hot, add onion, carrots, and mushrooms. Saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms are slightly browned and tender. Add in turkey. Cook until browned.

4. Stir in brown sugar, soy sauce, soup, broth, pepper, sage, cranberries, and zucchini. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in water chestnuts and rice.

5. Spoon mixture into cleaned pumpkin. Bake for at least 1 hour, until pumpkin is tender and interior scoops out easily with a spoon. As serving, make sure to scoop sides of pumpkin with filling.

Nutritional Information: (Amount per Serving)

Calories: 292
Protein: 18 g
Fat: 8 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 39 mg
Carbohydrates: 41 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sodium: 571 mg

Recipe Notes: Make sure to get a pumpkin that will fit inside your oven. This can be harder than you initially think, since most smaller pumpkins are tall. Err on the side of a short fat pumpkin. If you don’t want to mess with a pumpkin, this would be yummy filling for putting in halved acorn squash, although I would leave out the broth. Bake for about an hour as well, but cover for the first 45 minutes with foil. I have used about a cup of frozen peas instead of zucchini. Either is yummy. The pumpkin may sag a bit while baking, and the lid may fall in. That’s ok, but it is done if that is happening.

Recipe source: Adapted from my friend’s family recipe

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Sesame Chicken

A recipe for fried food seems out of place on a website for healthy recipes.  But I’m sharing this recipe for several reasons.

1) You can enjoy everything in moderation. We love sesame chicken, but we only make this two or three times a year as a special treat.

2) If you are careful about the temperature of your oil, you can really minimize the oil absorbed in frying. It isn’t health food now, but it doesn’t have to be horrible for you.

3) Making this at home is better than ordering take-out. You can control the ingredients in the sauce. You can control the frying temperature and oil absorbed. You can add a ton of veggies to lighten it up.

This recipe is in my husband’s top five favorites of food I make. It tastes as good or better than a restaurant. Enjoy!

Sesame Chicken (Serves 4-6)

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3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Batter:
6 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil, optional
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon baking powder

Sauce:
½ tablespoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 teaspoon sriracha or chili garlic sauce
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
½ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch

1 ½ quarts vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
4-6 cups cooked brown rice (1 cup per person)
1-2 (10 ounce) bags frozen stir fry vegetables, steamed on top of rice cooker while rice was cooking
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, optional garnish

1. Cut chicken into small, bite sized pieces.

2. Combine batter ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. Add chicken pieces, tossing to coat. Set aside while you make sauce and heat oil.

3. For sauce, heat sesame oil in bottom of small-medium saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook until beginning to become fragrant. Combine remaining sauce ingredients in a bowl, whisking to dissolve cornstarch. Pour into pan, stirring constantly to prevent clumping. Keep warm over low heat and sauce thickens.

4. Heat oil to 375 degrees in a large, heavy bottomed pot.

5. Working in batches, fry chicken, removing excess batter before placing in the oil. Fry until golden and crispy, 3-5 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

6. Serve with sauce over cooked rice and vegetables. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving with 6 servings)

Calories: 740
Protein: 37 g
Fat: 26 g
Saturated Fat:13 g
Cholesterol: 83 mg
Carbohydrates: 90 g
Fiber: 8 g
Sodium: 964 mg

Recipe Notes: I often omit the sesame oil in the batter. I often substitute vegetable oil for the sesame oil in the sauce as well. You could probably use only one bag of vegetables if serving four people, but it will be tight.  I included all of the batter in the nutrient analysis, but you likely won’t use all of it. I added ½ cup oil (about 10%) to the nutrient analysis for frying. I know the nutrition doesn’t look great on this, but imagine what your take-out restaurant’s nutrition looks like? And, like I said above, we only eat this a few times a year.

Source: slightly adapted from Tyler Florence

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