If you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day recipe to make for your someone special, or just to treat yourself (you deserve it!), this is it! Sit down to a big bowl of salty, tender-to-the-bite noodles bathed in a craveable garlicky sauce made slightly sweet with an acidic bite from the wine along with tender shrimp and mellow tomatoes—it’s so delicious and I would absolutely eat this all the time if I could. It’s also very quick and easy to make, so you won’t have to spend hours in the kitchen and can spend more time snuggling with someone (or your blanket, or your snuggly four-legged companion) and enjoying this garlicky shrimp scampi!…
Sometimes you just need a big bowl of pasta, am I right? I know I do. Whether it’s regular pasta, whole wheat pasta, gluten-free pasta, Paleo pasta—there’s something about a big bowl of noodles in front of you that makes the evening more comforting (and more delicious). This simple weeknight pasta is full of layers of flavor from fresh and dry herbs, really good Parmesan cheese, garlic, good olive oil, and salt and pepper—that’s it! It’s done in under 20 minutes, and you can use it as a base for any type of protein (or not) and even additional vegetables. It’s also perfect with a simple side salad, like the winter citrus salad from a few posts back, and maybe some wine and either a good movie or TV show while you cuddle under a blanket or maybe put some candles on the table. Warm, comforting and delicious—this recipe for simple weeknight pasta is perfect for unwinding from a busy day!…
When you think of the autumn harvest, you probably think squash and pumpkins and root vegetables like carrots. This creamy pasta sauce is full of squash and pumpkin and says comfort food and cozy evenings. It’s also simple to make, makes a beautiful base for further flavors and additions, and stores perfectly in the freezer for later use!…
The first time I had Rice-A-Roni® was in high school when I was over a friend’s house for dinner. I didn’t even know what it was, to be honest, but darn it, it was good, especially for a kid who only got “treats” like these when I was over at someone else’s house (I didn’t get to taste Texas toast garlic bread until I was in elementary school and, again, over at a friend’s house). The food at home was wonderful and healthy, but it was fun to eat these types of treats when I was at someone else’s house.
Fast forward to today, and Rice-A-Roni is one of my husband’s comfort foods we buy every once in a while. We’d get it more often, but it has a long list of not-so-healthy ingredients and the salt content is kind of ridiculous. So, loving him as I do, I set out to make a copycat recipe.
I learned something really interesting while I was browsing through recipes—the original Rice-A-Roni recipe is based on a recipe for rice pilaf! I was intrigued. According to this NPR article, the creators of Rice-A-Roni, the DiDemenicos, lived next to an Armenian immigrant in San Francisco in the 1940s. Lois DiDemenico, a young immigrant herself, didn’t really know how to cook. Her next door neighbor, Pailadzo Captanian, took her under her wing and taught her several dishes, including a recipe for rice pilaf. The DiDemenico family took the recipe and created the product we know today.
Rice pilaf is an ubiquitous Middle Eastern rice dish—each family, each country, each region has its own variation and there’s no one way to make it. It generally starts with a base of aromatics and results in a deliciously fluffy dish full of savory flavor. The secret to the fluffiness is to dry-cook the rice until it’s lost its translucency and looses some of its starch. This will help the rice absorb more liquid and make it fluffy instead of gummy.
This recipe also include turmeric, just like the original recipe , which is what gives it that brilliant yellow color—plus, turmeric is really good for you.
Armed with that knowledge, and stealing some ingredients from the Rice-A-Roni box, I set out to make a replacement for the boxed version. It’s not as easy as pouring the content of the box into a pan, but it’s still a quick dish to make (on the table in just about half an hour), and I promise it’s completely worth it—it’s husband approved!
- 2 ½ cups of low sodium chicken stock (has to be low sodium!)
- 1 ¼ cup of basmati rice
- 1 serving of vermicelli or other pasta broken in to small bits (I used GF rice pasta)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- ½ chicken bouillon cube or ¾ tsp. of Better Than Bullion (you can use less if you want less sodium)
- Italian flat-leaf parsley or 2 Tsp. Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- Heat olive oil in a sauce pan or pot over medium to medium-low heat until the surface is rippling, then sauté the onion and garlic until fragrant and translucent.
- Melted the butter, then add the dry rice, stirring it around until the rice has become less translucent (not quite so white), but not brown.
- Add in the bullion, turmeric, chicken broth, parsley or Italian seasoning and pasta and stir until fully combined.
- Let the rice cook 15 to 18 minutes, stirring infrequently (you don’t want to agitate the rice and cause it to release too much starch), until all the liquid has been absorbed but before the rice starts to stick to the bottom of the pan or pot.
- Take the pan or pot off the heat, cover, and let sit for five minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
There you have a delicious copycat side dish, but this time, it’s pretty healthy and comes without all those strange ingredients or the same level of sodium.
‘Till next time!
This sweet and spicy maple roasted butternut squash is a little bit sweet and a little bit salty with a pinch of heat. Roasting brings out the deep color and richness of the butternut squash, and the crispy edges from roasting add an extra layer of flavor. It’s a perfect fall side dish next to almost anything, even mixed in with a salad!
Can you believe it’s October already? I can’t. I’m not sure where September went. Heck, I’m not sure where the entire year went. I do love October though—it may just be my favorite month. In New Mexico, besides chile, we have the Balloon Fiesta, as well as my birthday and our wedding anniversary, all within the same twoish weeks. Plus, all the trees start changing color, the chamisa are blooming, and the weather is finally cooler! And cooler weather means comfort food, like big bowls piled high with pasta and a hearty sauce.
Last Monday we covered how to make homemade pasta. Today, I’m giving you a short recipe you can use along with your freshly-made pasta. It only takes about 45 minutes to prepare, from start to finish. You can learn more about pasta and how to cook pasta in series part one and part two….
I had a roommate at the University of Washington (go Huskies!) who was always studying. She would come home late, sing in the shower at the top of her lungs, not caring who heard, make a quick dinner, then go to sleep, only to repeat the process the next day.
She went through several weeks where she’d make spaghetti at home. She’d come home from studying, throw flour and water into a bowl, mix and cut, and boil the noodles. It took all of thirty minutes before she had a meal.
So why am I sharing this story?
To illustrate just how easy it is to make pasta from scratch!
Making good pasta from scratch doesn’t have to be intimidating—the ingredients are minimal and so are the steps! Granted, it is a little more complicated than my roommate’s, but once you have the basics, it’s something you can repeat without a recipe. Think of it as something you can pull out whenever you feel like it, whip it up quickly, throw a sauce together, and you’ll have a meal to impress!
So let’s get to it!…
So the renovation of my grandmother’s house/our rental home is really coming along! There are a few changes from the last update, although they’re not incredibly visible on pictures, like the wall paint, trim paint, and we’ve painted the walls downstairs as well.
The kitchen cabinets and appliances will come in next week. Then comes installation, then countertop installation, and then finishing touches. If all goes well, we should be moving in at the beginning of July
Anyway, on to the actual point of this week’s blog.
So the renovation of my grandmother’s house/our rental home is really coming along! There are a few changes from the last update, although they’re not incredibly visible on pictures, like the wall paint, trim paint, and we’ve painted the walls downstairs as well:
The kitchen cabinets and appliances will come in next week. Then comes installation, then countertop installation, and then finishing touches. If all goes well, we should be moving in by the end of June!
Anyway, on to the actual point of this week’s blog.
This post begins a new series all about that pantry staple, pasta! I’ll cover the basics of pasta, how to cook store-bought pasta, how to make pasta from scratch, and finally a pasta recipe! I won’t be covering other types of noodles such as Japanese soba, Japanese/Chinese ramen, and rice noodles. That will have to wait for another post.
On this week’s blog, I’ll go over a general overview of pasta types (if I wrote about every single type of pasta, we’d be here forever…), pasta flours, and a few extra bits like how to store different types of pasta….