Coconut Rice – ★★★★★

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I sincerely think that every bride-to-be should put a rice cooker on her wedding registry before the Kenmore electric mixer in tiffany blue. I use my rice cooker at least 3 days out of the week. It is good for grains, pasta, veggies and in some instances even meat. This one kitchen appliance makes my cooking experience so easy. While I’m focused with the main dish my rice cooker is taking care of the side dish. We are like the perfect pair in my kitchen. So ladies and gentlemen take my advice and register for the rice cooker 🙂 PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS RECIPE USES A RICE COOKER. IT IS A NECESSARY TOOL FOR THIS DISH. This recipe is absolutely divine. You may be turned off by the idea of a rice flavored with coconut but please believe me when I tell you that this rice has only the slightest “taste” of coconut. It has more fragrance then anything else. This rice is cooked in coconut milk giving it an ultra creamy texture, and that is the gimmick here. This is not a sweet dessert rice, but a silky savory side dish that goes great with just about anything. We’ve had it with satay, pork chops and tonight we had it with a copycat recipe of sweet fire chicken. I would imagine this rice to pair well with spicy shrimp and all variations of curry as well. With my handy rice cooker it is super easy to throw together and will probably become my staple side. Perry gave 5 stars and this is why:

When Kelsey told me she was making coconut rice I immediately thought of the sweet rice and mangoes that is offered as a desert item at our local Thai joint. I didn’t understand how she was going to serve it with satay, but I thought it smart to keep my mouth shut and go along with the program. I was surprised when I took the first bite because it was not at all what I expected. It looked like normal rice, it smelled like coconuts and it tasted like smooth restaurant steamed rice. I will say that there is a VERY subtle coconut aftertaste but it is not overbearing at all. I quite liked this rice and Kelsey has made it 3 times since the first go. I’ll give 5 stars for taste, texture and shock value.”

Serves: 4     Calories: 136 per serving     Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of long grain rice
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to your rice cooker and stir to combine.
  2. Set cooker to cook and when it is done your appliance should automatically switch to “warm” (approx 15 minutes).
  3. Let sit for a few moments than fluff with a fork.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Original recipe adapted from Melissa d’Arabian over at http://www.foodnetwork.com

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Cheese Enchiladas with Spanish Rice – ★★★★★

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Perry has been asking me to make enchiladas for a few weeks now so when he told me a few of his band mates were coming over for dinner I had to make them for him. I’ve made chicken enchiladas before, but I personally hate the way chicken tastes when it reheats. I used the excuse of having a vegetarian coming for dinner as a reason to skip the chicken and go right to cheese. I’m SO glad I did because these came out amazing. Everyone enjoyed them which not only makes me happy but also proves I made the right decision going 100% bean and cheese. These bad boys were filled with creamy deliciousness and covered with a cheesy tomato sauce. I’m not going to lie, I surprised myself with this one 🙂 The rice was just your typical Spanish rice. Nothing too special but it really complimented the enchiladas perfectly. Perry gave five stars and this is why:

“When I rate a recipe 5 stars it is because I keep going back for more. If I go to the stove and start scooping out of the pan after I’ve already cleaned my plate you know it is a five star recipe. I have wanted enchiladas for weeks now and Kels really nailed my craving with this dinner. The sauce itself could be an appetizer with chips. I’m hungry just thinking about it. The rice was a nice side for the enchiladas because it wasn’t anything over the top. Five stars!”

Serves: 6-8      Calories: 364/2 enchiladas   157/half cup         Time: 35 minutes for Enchiladas    30 minutes for Rice

Ingredients for Enchiladas:

  • 12 small corn tortillas
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese + 1/2 lb grated cheddar cheese , divided
  • 2 (11 oz) cans of red enchilada sauce
  • 1 (15 oz) can of pinto beans
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 tbsp canned green chilies

Directions for Enchiladas:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 
  2. Over Medium heat add pinto beans to a large pan. Mash the beans a little bit then add butter and water. Simmer for 5 minutes
  3. Add salt, pepper and onions. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes
  4. Add green chilies and 1/2 lb of grated cheese. Mix well. 
  5. Spray a 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray and pour one can of enchilada sauce in bottom of pan. 
  6. Fill each tortilla with about 1/4 cup of cheese mixture. Roll the tortilla and place seam side down in pan
  7. Pour remaining can of sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top 
  8. Bake for 20 minutes
  9. Enjoy!

Ingredients for Spanish Rice:

  • 1 (15oz) can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1.25 cups of rice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp oregano 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp cumin

Directions for Spanish Rice:

  1. In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients.
  2. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. 
  3. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until rice is done.
  4. Enjoy!

*Both original recipes can be found at http://www.food.com

**Photo is an original belonging to me

Curried Chicken and Rice Soup

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If you cannot tell I’ve been on an Asian cuisine kick as of late. I have not made soup in a long time and with the first day of fall passing us by I figured it was time to make a pot of something yummy. This recipe was a hit! You really cannot go wrong with a curried anything so it should be pretty hard to mess this one up 🙂
The original recipe was found at http://www.foodnetwork.com

Serves: 4  Calories: 390

Ingredients:

– 1.5 lbs of chicken breast

– 2-4 medium carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-2in pieces.

– Salt

– 6 cups of low sodium chicken broth

– 2 tbs. of unsalted butter

– 1 large onion, sliced thin

– 1 tsp. of sugar

– 1.5 tsp. of curry powder

– 1/3 cup of jasmine rice (we used brown jasmine rice)

– chopped fresh mint

– 1 lemon, cut into wedges.

Instructions:

1.) Combine chicken, carrots, a pinch of salt, and 3 cups of the chicken broth to a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes (until the chicken is firm)

2.) While cooking the chicken heat the butter in another saucepan over low heat. Add onion, sugar, and 1 tsp of salt. Cook until the onion is soft (approx. 5 mins.) Add the curry powder and cook for an additional minute. Add the rice and 3 cups of remaining chicken broth. Increase the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

3.) Remove the chicken from it’s broth and dice it. Once diced return the chicken to it’s original broth.

4.) Blend/process the rice mixture but don’t make it too fine. You want to still have a little rice texture. (It will cook all the way through as it sits. Pour the blended mixture into the chicken and carrot broth. Stir the soup to combine both broths.

5.) When combined add the mint leaves and serve with lemon wedges.

*Original recipe found on foodnetwork.com

**Photo is an original taken by me