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Japanese Hibachi style rice

After a recent trip to our local Hibachi grill, we realized that copying the food at home wouldn’t be that difficult. So after a quick internet search, we found exactly what we were looking for the fried rice recipe.

Ingredients:
4 cups White Rice, short-grained, cooked
1 cup Green Peas
2 tbsp Carrot, shredded (we ended up using about one and a half small carrots)
2 eggs
one Onion, diced
bunch of scallions, diced
1 1/2 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Soy Sauce

Directions.
The Rice: Cook rice according to package directions. Put in bowl and place in refrigerator to cool while getting the rest of the ingredients together. Eggs: Scramble the eggs in a small pan over medium heat. Separate the scrambled chunks of egg into small pea-size bits while cooking. When rice has cooled to near room temperature, add peas, shredded carrot, scrambled egg and diced onion to the bowl. Dump the bowl of rice into the pan with the eggs. Slowly add soy sauce plus a dash of salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Cook rice for 6-8 minutes over heat, stirring often. (We actually only cooked it for about another 5. This will depend on the Wok you are using and how hot your stove top gets.) Serve immediately.

My opinion:
I love this rice. It’s simple and filling enough to eat as a meal by itself.

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If you’ve seen Julie and Julia, then you know Beef Bourguignon can be so much more than just Beef Bourguignon. I can assure you, this dish is worth it. It is not a weeknight dish. It is not a leave it on the stove and forget it dish, but it is unfathomably delicious. Make this on a rainy day weekend, it is perfect for fall. Since I’m not lucky enough to have the Julia Child cookbook, My sister adapted this recipe from ABC’s Good Morning America. She’s the one who slaved over the stove for several hours and deserves all the credit.

Ingredients:
One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon (since no local grocer carries  this, we just used regular thick cut bacon)
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes  (or go with the already cut stew meat from your favorite butcher)
1 carrot, sliced (we used a mandolin at 1/4 setting)
1 onion, sliced (we used a mandolin at 1/4 setting)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy. HyVee, our go to wine retailer was out of these, so we went with their recommendation, which was a Bordeaux)
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock (we used the box variety)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
A crumbled bay leaf
18 to 24 white onions, small (the pearl onions worked fine for us)
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered (we cheated and used pre-sliced button mushrooms)
1 pound (bag) of egg noodles
Directions: Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long).Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Since we were using bacon we skipped the steps above and went right to sauteeing the bacon in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly (we used a cast iron skillet). Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust). Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees (this is when we moved everything to a casserole dish, seems our casserole pan is only oven safe to 400 degrees). Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet. Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly. Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside. Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms. Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat. When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan (We just used a mesh strainer). Wash out the casserole (we skipped this to leave all the delicious crusty bits) and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top. Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

My opinion:
Over egg noodles this dish is just divine. There are no additional words to describe it.

Like everyone else the two days before the holidays are hectic. Putting finishing touches on things, wrapping up at the office, there are a million things vying for our attention the last two weeks of the year. Which is why I’ve turned to the trusty crockpot to make our dinners this past week. After a quick search on my new favorite recipe finding site, Pinterest. I found this simple, basic Chicken Cacciatore (originally from this blog, I think) and it was wonderful.

Since we were out of a few ingredients (like mushrooms, feel free to include them if you want!) I made a few tweaks.

Ingredients:
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
1/2 large onion, sliced into half moons
1/2 large carrot, shredded
1 bell pepper, seeded and sliced 1/4 inch thick (I used green, it was what we had on hand)
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes (I used the ones with onion and garlic added)
3 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs minced garlic
Italian seasoning to taste
1 large spaghetti squash

Directions:
Chop up the vegetables and place them in the bottom of the crockpot. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and Italian seasonings. (Frozen is ok!) Place the chicken on top of the veggies. Mix the tomatoes, tomato paste and garlic. Pour the mixture over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. (I cooked on high for 4 hours. ) When there’s an hour left for the dish to cook, poke at least 12 holes in the spaghetti squash. Roast in a 375 degree oven for at least an hour, remove and let cool. If you want to reduce the liquid once the chicken is done cooking, remove the chicken from the crockpot and pour the vegetables and sauce into a large saucepan. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes uncovered, or until it is thickened. While the sauce is simmering, cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds and fiberous middle. Use a fork to pull the remaining flesh into strands. Plate the spaghetti squash and pour the sauce and chicken over the squash.
My opinion:
This was so easy, I made a freezer bag of the ingredients so I could just toss it in the crock pot on another super busy evening. I’ll add a bit more garlic and Italian seasoning next time. This would be equally good over rice or pasta. Enjoy!

Monday was a bit chilly and perfect for a crockpot soup. We tried a new one that come highly recommended. However, only after I started making it, did I realize we only had about half the ingredients, so we modified it. It was excellent. I can only imagine how great the original recipe will be!

Ingredients:
3 cups chicken broth
1 large chicken breast, diced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 can whole tomatoes with juice
Italian seasoning
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup barley

Directions:
Sautee the chicken, garlic and onions in the olive oil. Cook until garlic is fragrant, chicken is cooked and the onions translucent. Pour the tomato juice and chicken broth into the crockpot. (Note: Our crockpot is small. If yours is larger, you might need another cup of chicken broth.) Add the shredded carrot. Put the chicken, garlic and onion in the crockpot. Add the whole tomatoes (should be about 4 or five) to the same pan the onions and garlic and chicken were in. Sautee with Italian seasoning while mashing them. Allow the mixture to cook down. Add to the crockpot. Add 1/2 cup uncooked barley. Turn the crockpot on medium. Cook 6 to 8 hours.

My opinion:
The original recipe called for Italian diced tomatoes and celery. I think those additions would have made it a bit more like soup instead of stew, but this was still super tasty. It would even be good served chilled in the summer.

This recipe is similar to the one served in the United States Senate. “Bean soup is on the menu in the Senate’s restaurant every day. There are several stories about the origin of that mandate, but none has been corroborated,” according to the Senate website devoted to the topic. It’s super easy, very filling and wonderful on a cold night.

Ingredients (to serve 8):
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large celery ribs cut into 1/4 pieces
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 large carrot, shredded
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 small lemon
1 can (14.5 ounces) petite diced tomatoes
3 cans great Northern beans
16 ounces chicken broth PLUS 14.5 ounces of vegetable broth OR 2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound (or as much or little as you like) ham

Directions:
In a saucepot, heat oil over medium heat. Stir in celery, garlic, carrot and onion. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
Squeeze lemon juice into the saucepot. Add tomatoes and their juice, undrained beans and remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce to medium-low, simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes to blend flavors. Makes about 10 cups.

My opinion:
This soup was super easy. J made the entire thing start to finish in less than 40 minutes. It was flavorful and very filling. We will definitely be adding this to the regular winter rotation.

About Aurora

My father named me after Sleeping Beauty. The princess theme stuck. Unfortunately, the only castle I can claim is the one in Disney Land. These are the musings of a princess without minions, knights or fairy tales. I have to do my own bidding.

The views in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer or clients.

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