Posts Tagged ‘rice’

Stuffed Eggplant

By the time I pull out the eggplant the sun is well situated below the sunset position on the hidden horizon.  There are two smudges of clouds above the houses blocking our view of the edge of the Earth.

Here is what I rummaged around the kitchen to find for this late dinner:

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/2 cup cooked sausage
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced red pepper
  • 1 diced tomato
  • about 1 tsp dried rubbed sage
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated Parmesan cheese *
  • shredded jack cheese *

Pre-heat oven to 400ºF.  Place the whole eggplant in a casserole dish with 1/4 inch of water and roast for 10 minutes on each side.

Split the eggplant in half lengthwise and discard the water.  Scoop or cut out the flesh leaving some as a shell for the filling.  Dice the eggplant flesh and sauté with olive oil and sea salt.

Cook the onion until soft then add the red pepper for a minute.  Add the sausage, sage, tomato and Parmesan.  Turn off the heat and stir until the cheese is incorporated.  Mix with the rice.  Stuff the eggplant shells and top with the shredded cheese.

Return casserole to the oven until the cheese bubbles and the whole dish is hot.

* Note for Gluten-Free folks:  read labels of pre-shredded cheeses, they may contain a declumping additive that contains wheat gluten.  Usually blocks of cheese contain no gluten, it’s best to grate or shred your own cheese.

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I think Hubby is missing home lately so I’ve been treating him to Mexican sorts of food.  How much of it is actual Mexican versus  Tex-mex?  I don’t really know.  Everything I create in the kitchen has my pinch of this, dash of that, or spin in a Canadian direction.  It’s all good.

This is one of those dishes where you can throw in extra ingredients if you have them.  Kinda like pizza where you mix and match toppings.  I had some red bell pepper and corn in the freezer, so that’s what I used.  Peas, green onions and the like would work equally as well. 

Start with some diced onion, about 1/2 cup, and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pan with a lid.  As soon as the onion starts to turn brown, add shredded leftover chicken (1 cup), rice (1.5 cups), tomato sauce (about 1/4 cup), and water.  Add a cup of water at a time and stir, we’re not trying to make risotto here.  You should end up adding a bit more than 3 cups all together.  Cover and reduce the heat.  After 10 minutes add the veggies, in my case red bell pepper and corn.  Stir just a little and cover again.   Give the veggies a few minutes to steam. 

Arroz con pollo (Rice with Chicken) can be served as a side dish or eaten as a meal on its own.  Make some steak fajita, fresh guacamole, and warm up tortillas – you’ve got a perfect Mexican meal which should cure any homesickness.

Feel better dear 🙂

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I don’t know why I’ve become engrossed in Mexican and central American food lately.  Do I really need a reason?  We have a new taqueria within the new Mexican market close to home, now we don’t have to go into the city to find these specialized markets.  We recently checked out the new store and ate lunch there.  This might have provided the seed to my ever-growing interest in learning all things Mexican.

I’ve made tamales a few times now and I think I’ve got the hang of it.  I needed to start broadening my culinary horizons and venture into unknown territory.  Horchata, or rice water, was something of a mystery to me.  What better place to start my quest.  With a short search, I found the recipe to try out.  This is half of the original:

  • 1 cup long grain rice (I used Jasmine)
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon

Cover the rice in a bowl with the water.  Leave in the fridge for 24-48 hours.  Blend the rice with some water in batches until smooth (or as smooth as possible, it might still be sandy)  Add the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla to one of the batches of rice water.  Blend together in a serving container and keep chilled.  Serve over ice.

Some use horchata in place of milk if they are lactose intolerant.  Other recipes are made with nuts, using the same concept, however my allergies prevent me from attempting those variations.  Add more sugar if you like, but try it as-is first.  Add leftover coffee with ice to a glass of horchata for a twist.

Hubby said I did something different, but it was definitely horchata.

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I waited until we were out of pretty much everything before stopping off at Sprouts on the way home this week. They had big red bell peppers on sale for 49 cents each, what a steal! And they were so fresh looking, not old and wrinkled as you might expect for such a bargain price. I’ve been on and off the fence about Sprouts. It’s fairly new in Texas and competes with Whole Foods, Central Market (HEB) and Wheatsville Co-op. If you pay attention to what’s in season and subscribe to the Sprouts flyers (via email – don’t go using up more trees than necessary) you can find good prices for your fresh ingredients. My ultimate goal is to grow more than I buy, whether it’s the grocery store, farm stands, or Sprouts. I’ve learned so far that it’s a process, you can’t just wake up one day and say “I will have a garden and feed my family with what we grow!”. I would need far more land than my tiny backyard and many more hours in the day to accomplish it in any short order. Work with what you’ve got, and find places to subsidize where you are lacking.

These are very approximate measurements as I used what I had left over for some ingredients.

– 1 cup cooked rice
– 1/2 onion, small dice
-1 celery stalk, fine dice
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/2 smoked turkey sausage link, diced small
– 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
– herbes de provence
– salt and pepper
– red bell peppers
– 1 cup tomato sauce

This is very easy to prepare and even easier to eat.
I had enough for 4 peppers to be filled, this may vary depending on the size of your peppers. If I had enough peppers from the garden I could probably fill a dozen!
Split the peppers in half from stem to end, try to keep the stem end evenly split between the two halves as this helps with the structural integrity once they are baked. Clean out the seeds and set the peppers in a casserole dish large enough to hold them all snugly.
Next, prepare the filling. Saute the onion, garlic, and celery in a little olive oil or butter. Season with salt and pepper. Add some herbes de provence, about 1/2 teaspoon or so, add more if you like more. Add the sausage and let everything get a little golden. Add the rice and tomato sauce, stir gently to combine. Let the stuffing cool slightly before adding the cheese, it will melt throughout anyways you just don’t want huge gobs of cheese.
Stuff the sausage-rice-cheese mixture into the hollow peppers waiting in the casserole dish. Oh yes, you will need a 350 degree oven, sorry I should have said something earlier! If you like, add a sprinkle of cheese on top of each pepper before popping them in the oven.
Bake for about 15 minutes, the cheese should be bubbling and the pepper flesh should give off steam. Broil for 2 – 3 minutes to brown the cheese.

These peppers were so good, I’m glad I made so many because they are going to make awesome lunches for me and my hubby tomorrow.


P.S. This is my recipe, please share my link not my text. Also, I’m not paid by anyone mentioned, just expressing my ideas. Thank you 🙂

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I grew up during the 80’s on a farm outside a small town.  We didn’t have much, but I didn’t really know any different just being a kid and all.  My brother and cousins and I spent many afternoons after school at Grandma’s house.   If only I had an iPhone, FLiP, or webcam back then to capture the memories that are so quickly fading away in my mind.  I didn’t know how much I would love and miss Grandma’s cooking… and bread, that was the best.   

Reminiscing of home reminded me of a special dish, cabbage rolls.  Special?  Really?!?  What’s so special about cabbage rolls?  Not knowing exactly how grandma did it, that’s what!   

The rolls I remember had rice and bacon inside.  No ground up meat of any sort, like EVERY recipe I found on the web thus far.  Aunt Cheryl, help me!  Am I crazy? 

Here is what I used to *attempt* to recreate those flighty cabbage roll memories: 

  • 1 head green cabbage, core, dunk into gently boiling water to pull off outer leaves
  •  1/2 pack bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 small onion, large dice, add to bacon after it starts to crisp
  • 1 clove garlic, minced, add to onions when soft
  • 1 cup rice, cook it a bit on the dry side
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 15oz can crushed tomatoes
  • splash of water to clean out the tomato from the can, just throw it in!



Now that I have (what I think are) the components for the cabbage rolls, I start assembling.  First put some tomato sauce, I had a 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes, in the bottom of a pan. 

Then roll ’em… 

Line the delicious rolls tightly in the pan, seam side down.  I only made a single layer and topped with a few of the torn cabbage leaves. 

Bake at 350F for an hour, maybe more.  Since I had no raw meat to cook in the oven, I just watched for the sauce to bubble and the top to dry out a bit.  Not to worry, the top layer is just loose leaves remember!  The rolls are protected underneath. 

They tasted kinda like they were doused in ketchup, hubby agreed.  But they were good, probably because of the bacon and onions mixed with the rice.  Hubby asked for seconds, so it can’t be that bad 🙂  As for me and my leaps backwards in time to grandma’s kitchen, I think this little byte will settle the craving.  At least for tonite. 

btw: this is the reason behind the name midnitechef… 



11:59pm and guess who is sleeping with all the chaos in the kitchen?


 Tidbit for you:  The center of the cabbage was so curly and compact I made a “kwik kimchi” out of it.  That will go nicely with the smoked pork tomorrow!  No wasting perfectly good cabbage, bonus 😛 

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