Category Archives: rice

Veggie-stuffed peppers

This is a quick and yummy meal that I thought up at the last minute. I was watching the Food Channel and saw someone making a traditional stuffed-pepper meal, meaning hamburger and bread crumbs. Uhm, not gonna work. But I remember loving my Mom’s stuffed peppers when I was a kid. So, with my daughter by my side, we came up with an even better, gluten-free, vegetarian version.

Quick and easy veggie-stuffed peppers

Veggie-stuffed Peppers

3 large peppers (I prefer red or orange since they are a little sweeter)

1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms

1/2 chopped zucchini

1 large sweet onion, diced

olive oil/salt/pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 bag Trader Joe’s frozen Jasmine rice (about 2 cups)

1 cup shredded Mexican cheese

Oregano, basil (dried)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place olive oil, onions and garlic in saute pan and cook till tender. Add salt and pepper.

3. While onions are cooking, slice the top off the peppers. (when choosing peppers, try to pick out ones that will stand on their own.) Clean out the peppers and leave whole, placing them in a glass baking dish or pie pan so they stand on their own, then dice up the tops and reserve those for the filling.

4. Add peppers to the pan and saute till tender, then mushrooms to the pan and saute till brown.

5. Add zucchini last and cook for a few minutes until just tender.

6. Finally, add the rice, a bit more olive oil, oregano, basil, salt & pepper to taste. Cook until the mixture is warm and mixed well.

7. Fill each pepper halfway, then add a pinch of cheese (a little less than 1/4 cup) in each one.

8. Finish filling peppers and mound it on top.

9. Top off each pepper with another pinch of cheese.

10. Bake for about 30 minutes, then let sit for about 10 minutes. (These are piping hot inside and so good you’ll burn your mouth for sure.)

These can also be made with brown rice (which I didn’t have at the time) and any veggies you have hanging around in the fridge. It’s a great way to use up any leftover veggies, just saute with some rice and stuff a pepper. Enjoy!

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Filed under cheese, cooking, dinner, dinner parties, dinner party, egg-free, gluten free, mushrooms, quick meal, rice, squash, vegetarian, zucchini

Gluten-Free Foodie Tour-Full of Awesome Goodness

I was so lucky to be included in the Gluten-Free Foodie Tour this month, coordinated by Ken Scheer of Rock a Healthy Lifestyle fame. This month’s treat was Bombay Spice Grill & Wine in Paradise Valley. And what a treat it was. There were 50 gluten-free patrons and a meal fit for royalty. Four appetizers, all gluten free, dairy free, egg free and soy free. Three of these were vegetarian! Yippee. Imagine how excited Daughter and I were to find that we wouldn’t be passing on all the good stuff.

And for an incredibly busy restaurant, we were so pleased at the amazing service. Food just kept coming, refills on drinks were plenty and even $4 mimosas were served.

First off, a Mango Salad with baby greens, nuts, dried cranberries and a light mango dressing. A perfect way to start the meal. No photo of that, the bowl was on the table and everyone dove in before I could snap a photo. Trust me, if you go there, give it a try. The dressing was sweet and light, and the dried and fresh fruit made it a refreshing way to start any meal.

Lentil Cake Towers

Next up, Lentil Cake Towers. Beautiful little stacked goodies of warm lentil cakes topped with coconut milk yogurt, tamarind reduction (which tasted like a lovely, sweet balsamic reduction), crispy crumbled poppadum (crackers made with garbanzo) and a tomato/onion mixture. My only complaint would be that I’m not a fan of raw onion on many things. Next time, I’ll order them without the onion. But aside from that, Daughter and I ate a few of them. The cakes reminded me of felafel and I was dying for a pita to plop it in.

Chickpea Ceviche, oh yum!

Next, my favorite appetizer was the Chickpea Ceviche. A clever vegetarian twist of beautiful, cold chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, tamarind, coconut milk yogurt and once again those lovely crunchy poppadum crackers crumbled on top. I could have eaten the entire bowl of this sweet, crunchy goodness. The chickpeas were cooked perfectly and the dressing gave it a bit of a kick. I’ll be returning just to make a meal of this fabulous salad, but than again, I’m a fan of chickpeas in most everything. Once again, raw onion will be omitted, but that’s just me.

For meat eaters, there were Tandoori chicken wings that were being snatched up left and right. In fact I heard there were multiple orders. Not for me, but if you’re a meat eater you may want to check them out.

Luke Brady working his “Magic”
Bending forks!

In between the appetizers and the entrees, we were entertained by Luke Brady, a friendly and fun magician in town. He sat with the adults and kids in the room and wowed them with card tricks, bending forks and even crimping a few coins. It’s nice to be entertained and fed well all at once. Thanks Luke!

Back to the food, you say? Each person chose one of four entrees. Vegetable or Chicken Tika Masala (tomato-based sauce) and Vegetable or Chicken Curry. All entrees could be served over white rice, brown rice or quinoa. Nice, huh? I love having a choice.

Vegetable Tika Masala

Daughter chose the Vegetable Tika Masala over Jasmine rice. I loved it. The sauce was a bit sweet, but not too sweet. Light and tomatoey (is that a word?) with just a slight bite to it (we order mild). Lots of veggies that were nice and crisp, not overcooked at all.

Vegetable Curry

I ordered the Vegetable Curry over quinoa. I loved the quinoa, it adds such a wonderful flavor to most meals. I have to admit I was much more in love with Daughter’s dish than mine. The curry was good, but nothing I would drive out of my way for. I think if I were a huge curry fan, that would be different. In any case, a spicier version might have been better for the curry. But I’ll get the Tika Masal with quinoa for sure.

Mango Sorbet

Last, but certainly not least, came a lovely, sweet/tart bowl of mango sorbet with a mango coulis and chopped pistachios on top. I was already full from eating everything else, but I just couldn’t resist trying this fabulous end to an eventful lunch. It was like a frozen, silky bite of fresh mango with a hint of sweet and crunchy goodness. I wanted to eat the entire bowl but I didn’t have the room. I’ll save room next time!

Thanks again to Ken Scheer and his GF Foodie Tour. Check out the hashtag #gffoodietour on Twitter for a recount and check out his Web site if you’re interested in attending the next one. He’s also got a Facebook page here. Follow it and watch for the next one. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Disclaimer: All participants payed for their meal and I was not compensated for this review in any way. And I was glad to pay, it was wonderful!

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Filed under chickpeas, gluten free, lentils, lunch, Middle Eastern, quinoa, restaurants, rice, tandoori, vegetarian

Crunchy Wild Rice Salad


I had no idea that wild rice had so much protein in it. It has just about twice the protein as brown rice and it takes great. It’s chewy and has a wonderfully nutty taste. So, when a friend made a cold wild rice salad, of course I had to go home and modify it.

I’m sure this can be changed according to the seasons. I love small sweet peppers and it’s a great time for apples in season. But perhaps later in the year carrots and onions will work well. It’s a great dish to bring to a potluck or take to school or work. I love that it’s filling and satisfying with crunch and sweetness. Give it a try…

Crunchy Wild Rice Salad
1 cup wild rice
4 cups water
1 apple, chopped
1 cup yellow/red/orange peppers, chopped
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds

Dressing:
2 Tbs Olive oil
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Agave syrup

1. Cook wild rice using package directions. I just add 1 cup rice per 4 cups of water, then simmer for about 45 minutes. Drain any water that’s left.
2. Toast pine nuts in a 350 degree oven for just a few minutes. Be careful, they burn quickly.
3. Make dressing and adjust ingredients to your taste. I like mine a little sweet so I add a little more agave. Add some lemon juice if it’s too sweet.
4. After the rice has cooled for about 30 minutes, mix all ingredients together and refrigerate. This lasts for a few days and tastes better each day as the flavors blend.

Enjoy!

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Filed under gluten free, rice, salad, vegetarian

Savory Bean and Spinach Soup


While taking advantage of some free time, I sat back and read a magazine. This happened to be the April issue of Fitness magazine. In the very back, I spotted a recipe that looked beautiful. Those magazine photos make food look so good, don’t they? Well, I spotted this, realized I had it all in my kitchen already (and more) and jumped up to make dinner. Success…we had it for dinner, breakfast for two days and even gave some to a friend for dinner. It sounds like a lot, but with brown rice and beans, it’s filling and wonderful with a salad on the side.

Even though the recipe didn’t have cabbage or yellow squash in it, I had those left in the fridge…so in they went. It was great since the cabbage gave it a little crunch and the squash gave the soup a pretty yellow. Try it and add whatever you have in the fridge. I’m sure you’ve got most of it in the kitchen already.

Savory Bean and Spinach Soup
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1.5 cups chopped cabbage
1 yellow squash, chopped
1 package (about 2.5 cups) Trader Joe’s frozen pre-cooked brown rice (or 1/2 cup uncooked rice)
1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz. can great northern beans, drained and rinsed (or any white bean really)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper
2 cups frozen spinach (or about 8 cups fresh spinach)
4 cups vegetable broth
Parmesan or Romano for garnish

This is all made in one pot, adding as you go.
1. Saute onion and garlic in large soup pot with 1-2 TBS of olive oil.
2. When onions are translucent, add cabbage, a pinch of salt and cook for another 5 minutes till cabbage is getting translucent.
3. Add chopped squash and saute another few minutes.
4. Add basil, parsley, a little more salt and pepper.
5. Add rice and mix well. If you’re using the frozen rice, it will reduce the heat so mix well and cover for a few minutes to bring the heat back up. If you’re using uncooked rice, just add it in and mix.
6. Add tomatoes, beans and spinach. Mix well and cover for a few moments to bring up the heat with frozen spinach and wilt fresh spinach.
7. Finally, add broth and enough water to cover by about 1 inch. If you’re using frozen or cooked rice, just simmer until everything is hot and blended–about 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re using uncooked rice, you’ll need to add more water and give it at least 40 minutes to an hour of simmering to cook the rice.

Serve with a garnish of shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese.
Enjoy!

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Filed under beans, cabbage, gluten free, rice, soup, squash

Crispy Tofu and Squash

While trying to limit carbs, I’m also trying to improve taste. That’s not easy being on a gluten-free, vegetarian, mostly dairy-free diet. Making that low carb can put a crimp in what’s left to eat. But I’m learning to adapt. Last night I decided to stir fry up some tofu and some beautiful baby zucchini from Trader Joe’s. Yum. My daughter decided she wanted fried rice, so we combined the two for a wonderful two-way dinner.

Using a little nutritional yeast is the key. It gives flavor and crispiness to the tofu. Don’t be afraid of it, I had never heard of it before last year and I was pretty nervous about trying it, but it’s really great. I found it in the bulk section of Whole Foods. You only need a small handful to last a long time.

Crispy Tofu and Squash
8 oz. Extra firm tofu
1 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
7 baby zucchini
1 yellow squash, cut into small pieces
2 eggs
1.5 cups Jasmine rice
splash of wheat-free tamari
splash of sesame oil

Take about one cup of cubed firm tofu, drained and pressed to get out most of the liquid. Let that sit and drain while cutting the baby zucchini and yellow squash in small pieces. Stir fry squash and zucchini in a little olive oil and wheat-free tamari. Add a few tablespoons of water to steam after a few moments, then let them brown for a moment.

Take out zucchini, add olive oil to the pan and add tofu (I like to add a little butter also, it helps to brown the tofu). Sprinkle tofu with about 1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast. Stir fry until tofu gets crispy and browned on all sides. It doesn’t take long, shake the pan often to loosen tofu and brown it.

When tofu is done, add zucchini to the pan. At this point, I add a little garlic and salt and I’m good to go. Daughter wanted her rice, so to the pan (after I had taken my half out) we added two scrambled egg whites (or whole eggs) cooked earlier and broken into small pieces and one and a half cups of jasmine rice, precooked (Trader Joe’s). Stir fry this for a few moments, adding a little more tamari and a small splash of sesame oil.

Tofu with added rice and eggs

Either way, it’s beautiful. Without the rice, this is a high-protein meal with low carbs. You can also add the eggs in with the tofu and zucchini for an even bigger protein boost. With the rice, it’s a great, filling meal with lots of protein and veggies.

Enjoy!

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Filed under dairy free, gluten free, low carb, rice, squash, tofu, zucchini

Fridge Fried Rice

Here’s a quick idea for a dinner on the fly. The other night Daughter and I were hungry, and didn’t want to run to the store for anything. We decided to find something in the fridge. Half of a yellow squash, half of a sweet onion, and half of a tub of mushrooms. We found some frozen Jasmine rice in the freezer and of course had a few eggs in the fridge. Veggie fried rice it is!

This one was simple…chop everything up, saute in a little olive oil and garlic. Then when they were all cooked, add the rice (enough to fill the saute pan) and mix. Cook for a moment, then add some veggie broth. Let this simmer slowly till the broth is absorbed by the rice. Finally, add a little GF tamari and a scrambled egg chopped into little pieces (beautiful daughter did a great job with these. We like them well done so they don’t fall apart.)

Serve with a salad and you’ve got a great dinner. If I had tofu in the fridge, which I usually do, I would have tossed that in also to add some protein. But, since I didn’t, we just went with the fridge cleanout. Anything will do really, and it felt good to eat everything left in the bin before filling it up again at the farmer’s market on Wednesday.

Enjoy

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Filed under Asian, gluten free, rice, vegetarian