Rice, Bean and Citrus Salad

16 05 2016

This tasty side dish was a brainchild of a bean and orange salad I’ve had at family parties over the summer. It’s light and refreshing, perfect to serve along with a big piece of meat like steak and surprisingly, it feeds a crowd!

Rice Bean and Citrus Salad

The following serves 6 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat): 

  • 3 cups brown rice
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup diced bell pepper, whatever color you have (I used yellow here)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cilantro
  • 4-5 nectarine/halo/cutie oranges, peeled and separated

Cook rice according to package directions. While the rice is still warm, mix in the lime zest and salt to taste.

Meanwhile, in a medium-large bowl, add the lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. While whisking, stream in olive oil until thick and emulsified, just eyeball it.

Add the black beans, bell pepper, carrots, shallot and cilantro and toss well. Allow to sit in the dressing for a few minutes, then add in the rice and toss to combine.

You can leave this out covered at room temperature for a few hours until ready to serve. Before serving, add the orange segments and toss to combine. Note: the oranges are not in the picture above because I wasn’t ready to serve this at the time of photographing.





Harissa Lentils and Cauliflower

10 02 2015

This meatless lentil and cauliflower dinner is loaded with good nutrients and offers a unique middle eastern flavor. The homemade harissa is a little spicy, but not overpowering. By using chipotles in adobo rather than other chili peppers, you actually get a smokey flavor.

Harissa Lentils and Cauliflower

The following serves 2-3 (adapted from Naturally Ella):

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 and 1/2 cups small cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup reduced-fat, low sodium chicken stock, plus more as needed

For the Harissa:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime (reserve the zest and toss with cooked rice)
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted/charred, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce, along with a little of the sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup cilantro

Add all the harissa ingredients to a high-powered blender in the order listed. Turn on high and pulse until well combined. Remove from blender and set aside.

Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for a minute or so until beginning to soften. Add the cauliflower and cook 5 minutes. Stir in the lentils and toast for a few minutes. Next, add the tomatoes, harissa and 1 cup of broth. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce to low, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Check often to make sure the liquid hasn’t evaporated too much. If it looks like it needs more liquid, add a little more broth. Taste and season with salt.

Serve over brown rice and garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley.





Leek and Carrot Rice Pilaf

1 08 2014

Here’s a great rice pilaf recipe for a quick weeknight side dish. I like using whole wheat orzo and brown rice for a healthier starch. This is also versatile, you can easily swap out the leek and carrot for other veggies you have on hand.

Leek and Carrot Rice Pilaf

The following serves 4 (adapted from Rachael Ray):

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped onion or shallot
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat orzo
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 leek, white and green parts, chopped
  • 4 small carrots, peeled and chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 and 1/4 cups brown rice
  • 3 and 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 lemon zested, and some of the lemon juice
  • Parsley, chopped for garnish

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute a few minutes. Add orzo and toast, stirring occasionally, until deep brown and beginning to smell nutty. Add garlic, leeks and carrots and saute a few minutes until they begin to soften. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Next, add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and cook until the stock evaporates.

Next add the rice, the remaining 3 cups of stock and the lemon zest. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover. Cook 15 – 20 minutes covered and on low, until rice is tender and liquid is almost evaporated. Remove lid, stir and season with more salt if needed. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice and chopped parsley.

Serve alongside a protein of your choice. Pictured here is grilled quartered chicken.





Pork Stir-Fry With Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas Over Pineapple-Ginger Brown Rice

23 01 2014

A from-scratch stir-fry sauce helps you avoid the extra sodium and sugars most bottled sauces contain. This one is easy and delicious, and has half the sodium of a typical Chinese take-out dinner. The recipe says you can get this all-natural stir-fry on the table in 30 minutes. I timed myself and it took 40. I could have shaved some time off if I had done a little prep ahead of time though.

Pork Stir-Fry With Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas Over Pineapple-Ginger Brown Rice

Pork Stir-Fry With Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas Over Pineapple-Ginger Brown Rice

The following makes 2 servings (compliments of Cuisine Lite Menus for Two):

  • 8 oz pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
  • 4 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 and 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen snow peas or sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup carrot strips (run a vegetable peeler along the full length of the carrot to make long, thin strips)
  • 2 Tbsp sliced scallions
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 cup brown rice (10 minute rice)
  • 3/4 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Combine pork strips and 1 Tbsp soy sauce; cover and refrigerate while preparing the rice and sauce.

For the rice: boil 1 cup broth, half the ginger (1 Tbsp) and rice in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Simmer rice until water is absorbed, 5 minutes or according to your package directions. Leave covered off heat for 5 more minutes. Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and stir in the pineapple, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil and 1/4 tsp salt (if you feel you need the extra salt). Keep rice warm and covered until ready to serve.

For the sauce: whisk together 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 cup broth, sherry, cornstarch, honey, tomato paste and a pinch of pepper. Set aside.

Preheat work (or large skillet) and spray with non stick spray. Heat 1 tsp canola oil and stir-fry half the pork until cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Transfer pork to a plate and stir-fry the remaining pork; transfer to same plate.

Add remaining 1 tsp canola oil, garlic and the rest of the ginger (1 Tbsp); stir-fry 10-15 seconds. Add sugar snap peas; stir-fry 2 minutes. Return pork to pan; add sauce and cook until sauce thickens; 1-2 minutes. Add carrots; stir-fry 1 minute.

Serve pork stir-fry over the pineapple rice and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.





Spicy Orange Chicken with Asparagus and Brown Rice

4 01 2014

Usually you’ll find orange chicken battered and fried in restaurants…delicious, but not very healthy. This is a fast, better-for-you spin on the classic Chinese take-out. It’s extremely flavorful and offers a nice kick of heat, although as the cook, you can control the level of spice. Since the hubs and I enjoy spicy foods, I played around and added some Sriracha to the sauce which we really enjoyed. Will be making this meal again very soon!

Orange Chicken with Asparagus and Brown Rice

Spicy Orange Chicken with Asparagus and Brown Rice

The following serves 2 (adapted from fitnessmagazine.com):

  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed or sliced into strips
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp red pepper flakes (I use more because I like it spicy)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, chopped
  • 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • Juice of two oranges, zest from one orange
  • Sriracha sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • Handful green onions, chopped

Cook rice according to package directions, but rather than using water to cook the rice I recommend using chicken or veggie stock. It helps add flavor to the rice. Season with salt to taste.

Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the garlic and red pepper flakes for a minute until fragrant, then add cubed or sliced chicken and saute about 8 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the asparagus and cook another 4-5 minutes.

In a bowl whisk the soy sauce, honey, sesame seeds, orange juice and the rest of the zest. This Girl’s Tip: If you want it a little spicier, add a squirt of Sriracha sauce. Add the mixture to the skillet with the chicken and cook for another few minutes until well combined and sauce thickens a bit. Taste and season with a little salt if needed.

Divide the rice among two plates and serve the chicken, asparagus and orange sauce over rice. Don’t worry if the sauce is a little thin, the rice will suck it right up! Garnish with green onions.





Chicken With Creamy Lemon Brown Rice and Brussel Sprouts

11 06 2013

I found this recipe on foodnetwork.com, which offered a creamy orzo side dish as a stand in for rich risotto. It’s certainly not the same as risotto, but it’s a nice healtly option. This is also a creative way to sneak brussel sprouts into the dish…either to help kids eat them or for someone who doesn’t typically like them!

Chicken With Creamy Lemon Brown Rice and Brussel Sprouts

Chicken With Creamy Lemon Brown Rice and Brussel Sprouts

The following serves 2:

  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup brown rice or whole wheat orzo
  • 1 cup brussel sprouts, thinly sliced
  • 2 oz crumbled feta cheese, at room temperature
  • Couple Tbsp fresh herbs such as parsley

Whisk together the ricotta, 2 tsp of the oil, garlic, lemon juice and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper in a medium bowl until well combined.

Grill or sautee chicken until nicely marked and cooked through, 5-7 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes.

Saute the sliced brussel sprouts in a skillet over medium-high heat with a little oil until browned.

Cook rice according to package directions, then stir in browned brussel spouts. Stir the rice and brussel spouts into the ricotta mixture, along with the feta cheese and half of the fresh herbs. Stir in warmed chicken broth to complete the sauce (about 1/2 cup).

Serve the chicken over the rice. Sprinkle with lemon zest and the remaining fresh herbs.





Simple Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry Over Orange-Ginger Brown Rice

2 04 2012

You know the saying, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it? Well that’s how I feel about the basics of this simple stir-fry that my Mom used to make when I was growing up. The secret is in the store-bought sauce and even though I enjoy making things from scratch…I don’t mind cutting a corner here and there , especially when I know it works. Trust me, this dinner is fresh, delicious and couldn’t be easier!

Simple Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry Over Orange-Ginger Brown Rice

The following serves 2 to 3:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • House of Tsang Classic Stir-Fry Sauce (look for the bottle in your grocery store’s ethnic food section)
  • 1 bell pepper, whatever color you want, cubed
  • Half of a large red onion, cubed
  • Half a head of fresh broccoli, florets chopped
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups dry brown rice, use instant or quick 10 minute rice
  • 3 and 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • Zest of half an orange
  • 1 tsp fresh minced ginger (I use minced ginger in the tube, it’s so much easier)
  • Green onions / scallions, chopped

Cube the chicken into nice bite size pieces and set in a bowl. Add pepper, onion and broccoli to another bowl. Drizzle some of the stir-fry sauce in both bowls. Mix well and add more sauce if needed – you want enough to completely coat both the chicken and the veggies. Marinate for 30 minutes to an hour. I marinate these in separate bowls because I like to get the chicken cooking first and this step makes it easier.

When your chicken and veggies have marinated long enough, start the rice. You can make it straight up as the package directs, or put a little spin on it like me. Either way, you’ll want to follow the directions on the package…here’s how I made mine: Combine chicken stock, orange zest and ginger in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the rice and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover; simmer for about 9 minutes. Remove from heat and stir; cover again and let stand for about 9 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

While you let the rice stand, make the stir-fry. I like to use an electric wok, but you could make this on the stove as well, the trick is to get your pan or wok nice and hot (about 375 degrees). Then add about a Tbsp vegetable oil. When the oil is shimmery (which will happen fast), add the marinated chicken and juices and stir-fry for a minute or 2 (stir-fry means continuing to tossing / stirring the ingredients while cooking over high heat). Next add the veggies to the wok and stir-fry everything together for another 4-5 minutes or so.

Serve the stir-fry chicken and veggies over the rice, top with chopped green onions / scallions.