I have been acting creatively with meals lately. I noted earlier in my blog that pinterest has created a place for me to save new recipes. It has also introduced me to food blogs that I never knew about before. Many of those blogs have fantastic photos and are inspiring. Well, my blog is really just a place for my quick shot camera and the results of my experimental cooking. I guarantee the food I post is yum yum yummy, quick and affordable. Enjoy them as is or add your own twist. Because cooking really is about experimenting and having fun.
Here are two rice dishes I guarantee you haven’t tried. Why? Because I am half Armenian and one of these dishes uses Armenian spices and the other is just an old school comfort food from when I was a kid. Explore a new flavor and venture to the middle east (made up style)!
Important lesson: always use Basmati rice when cooking rice. Everything else doesn’t allow the awesomeness for fantastic middle east food.
Lentil Rice and Kabob Patties
ground turkey (or beef if you prefer)
ground meat kabob seasoning – http://www.sadaf.com/sadaf-ground-meat-kabob-seasoning-11-1612/
green lentils – http://www.sadaf.com/sadaf-green-lentils-21-4026/
Butter, I actually use Smart Balance Extra Virgin Olive Oil because I am lactose intolerant and it works just as well and is healthy! – http://www.smartbalance.com/products/buttery-spread/smart-balance-buttery-spread-made-extra-virgin-olive-oil
Make the Rice and Lentils:
Cook the lentils in a pot of water until tender with a little salt. Pull out lentils with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Meanwhile, measure out rice and rinse well with cold water.
Add the rice to a rice cooker (so easy) and add the lentil water. Remember for every 1 cup of rice you need 1 1/2 cups of water. Add more water if needed.
Add butter to taste. If you like salt then you should add more at this stage too.
After the rice is done fold in the lentils gently.
Make the Kabob patties:
Combine the ground turkey and the kabob seasoning. Make into patties and either put on the grill outside or in a pan on the stove top.
Cook until the meat is done. Seriously easy!
Serve with salad and you have a perfect healthy dish! A great salad dressing for Middle East dishes is little oil, lemon juice, salt and a dash of pepper. Keep tasting. You need more salt than you think to counter the lemon juice. This dressing is easy, fast and delicious with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and if you like onions. But I don’t like raw onions. 🙂
My Mom’s Red Rice with Chicken
This is a one pot dish! My mom made it for me when I was a kid.
2 Chicken breasts (you can use beef, my mom did when I was little)
1 Small can of tomato paste
Tomato Juice 64 oz container is more than you need.
2 cups Basmati rice
Butter (or Smart Balance)
Salt and pepper (paprika for color if you want)
Chop onions and toss in a little olive oil.
Cube chicken and add to onions. A few shakes of pepper makes almost anything better. Brown and cook through.
Add two cups of rice, butter and salt to taste.
Add the tomato juice. Remember 2 cups of rice calls for 2 1/2 cups liquid, but you have meat in there, so add 3 cups of liquid. If you feel like you need more liquid, then add more liquid. If you ran out of tomato juice, add water. My mom would say “your rice will be sticky” but I kinda like it like that since I don’t add the yogurt. Read on for the yogurt bit.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low.
Now this part is important! Cover the lid with a clean dish towel or doubled over paper towel. This way the rice steams itself.
Check the rice two or three times so it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom. Should be done in about 30 minutes.
Serve with salad and you have another easy healthy dish. If you like to hide puree veggies in food for your kids, this is the perfect dish to do that.
My mom used to always serve this to me with plain yogurt. I loved it! Ever since I became lactose intolerant I had to stop with the yogurt. But you can just imagine a big dollop of greek yogurt on top of this dish! Oh geez! Best flavor combo!
So there you have it. Two easy new rice dishes that have some flava-flav! I hope you enjoy.