Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Favorite Meal (As of recently...)

Once I get hooked onto something... I really get hooked. See this meal. I swear I was eating that meal for months! Since I usually cook for myself, I usually have to end up eating leftovers until it's all gone, but for this combo, I find myself cooking it over and over again and never getting bored of it.

Really, it's the simplest components that could be enjoyed separately, but I just love them together. First, it starts off with a simple but incredibly tasty rice pilaf. I make it all of the time and the fact that I can just put all of the ingredients into a rice cooker and walk away is magic; pure magic. Next, comes the fattoush salad dressed in a simple greek dressing. It's all of my favorite veggies in a dressing that keeps everything fresh and light. If I want, I sauté some spinach with some olive oil and garlic, set it all on a plate and sprinkle with some French feta. And yes, French feta is completely different than Greek feta, and much more tasty - in my opinion!

The picture above is how I normally enjoy all of this stuff but honestly, these are simple recipes for you to use with your own discretion. The rice pilaf is excellent under kabobs and the fattoush is awesome on top some lettuce! Let me know how you like to use these recipes :)

Simple Fattoush Salad
Yields: 4  servings

For the salad:
3 roma tomatoes, seeded and cubed
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cubed
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
3 green onions, sliced
3 tbsn. chopped fresh mint

For the dressing*:
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. seasoned salt (such as Lawry's)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. dried mint

To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a small jar. Seal the jar, then shake vigorously until combined and slightly emulsified, set aside. Toss all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. *The dressing makes much more than needed for the fatuous, but is excellent on almost everything, so save for future use. Use just enough dressing to coat the veggies. Set aside to marinade in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 

Sometimes I like to enjoy the fattoush as a mid-day snack - I love it so!

Classic Rice Pilaf
Yields: 6 - 8 servings

1/2 cup fideo noodles
3 tbsn. unsalted butter, melted
1 cup jasmine rice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 cups water*

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the fideo noodles out on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Make sure to check after 3 minutes just in case your oven is super hot; set aside. In a rice cooker, combine the rice, toasted fideo noodles, butter, spices and water. Cook under the 'white rice' setting. After done, fluff with a fork and enjoy!

*You could use low-sodium chicken stock as an alternative!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sour Cream Cinnamon Rolls

When the recipe said quick and easy, I was sold. I made it the day I saw the recipe - now that is some advertising! Sometimes you just need something sweet, and after a long hiatus of not baking, I needed something to ease me into the process. Even though yeast can be scary, these are anything but!

I'm not going to tell you that these are the most amazing cinnamon rolls I've ever had, because they weren't, but anything that is this easy and requires little effort can't nearly taste as good as something that you've poured your heart and soul into! But besides that, I still managed to polish them off ;)

Sour Cream Cinnamon Rolls
Yields: 12 cinnamon rolls
Original recipe here.

1/4 cup warm water (not hot)
2 tsp. dry active yeast
1 tsp. + 2 tbsn. sugar, divided
1 large egg
1/3 cup + 2 tbsn. sour cream, divided
2 1/2 tbsn. unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Whisk together the water, yeast and 1 tsp. sugar in a large mixing bowl; allow to sit for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining sugar, egg, 1/3 cup sour cream, 1 tbsn. melted butter, baking powder and salt until well combined. Stir in the flour until well combined and a ball of dough forms. Lightly cover the bowl with a moist towel or saran wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm area for 45 minutes. Roll the dough out into a thin rectangle on a floured surface, using a floured rolling pin. Brush the dough with 1 tbsn. melted butter, then sprinkle the entire surface with brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll the dough up and slice into 12 equal pieces. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and lightly cover with a moist towel or saran wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Once risen, heat the oven to 350 F. Brush the cinnamon rolls with the remaining 1/2 tbsn. melted butter and bake for 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. To make the glaze, mix together the remaining sour cream, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cinnamon rolls.