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12-Minute Rice

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I cook a lot of rice.  It’s an easy side.  I do white rice, brown rice, wild rice.  I make rice pilaf, rice pudding, risotto and fried rice.  Rice is an easy and inexpensive pallet for a cook to get creative.  It’s not difficult to make on the stove top, it really isn’t, so even though I have owned this Pampered Chef Microwave Rice Cooker for years, I really never paid it much mind.

Then one day, I was in a hurry and just wanted a quick side.  I already had like three other pans that I was using and would need to hand wash and it occurred to me I could just use the microwave rice cooker I had sitting on my pantry shelf collecting dust.  So, I rinsed it out.  I remembered the instructions because they are super easy and I took the liberty to even get a little creative adding a pad of butter, tossed in some chopped onions that I had on hand from the rest of the meal, some salt and pepper and popped it in the microwave.  The best part was that the microwave beeped when it was ready and I didn’t have to worry about burning it, it was done and just waiting nice and hot for whenever I was ready to get to it!

Well, that did it.  When I opened my microwave, it was still hot and perfectly steamed.  When dinner was through, we still had some left over so I put the lid back on and popped it in the fridge, then the next day when it was time to heat, into the microwave it went again.  Then right into the dishwasher.  By my estimation, it saved me 1 pot, 2 serving dishes, 1 Tupperware container worth of dishes. It was ready in half the time and I didn’t have to worry about burning the rice or the rice sticking to the bottom of my pan leading to soaking and possibly scraping.  That works for me.

So, I thought I would send out a quick tutorial on how to make the very basic rice.  This is plain white Jasmine rice.  Instructions differ for brown or wild rice of course, but still much less time because you are essentially pressure steaming the rice.

Start by placing one cup of rice in the bowl.

I like to add 2.5 cups of water per cup of rice.

A healthy pinch of salt. (1/2 tsp. or so)

Mix.

Place the guard on top.

Then seal on the cover.

Place it in the microwave.

Set the time to 12 minutes on high (my microwave is 1100 wats, adjust this to the wattage of your specific microwave per instructions)

And 12 minutes later, this is what you will have.

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12-Minute Rice

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup white rice

2 1/2 cups water

1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

Place ingredients in Microwave rice cooker.  Seal up rice cooker as directed.  Set microwave on high for 12 minutes.  Remove from microwave when ready.  Fluff and serve.

***Gluten-free

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Pizza Dough

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Have you ever wished you could make a perfect pizza dough?  Does working with yeast intimidate you?  If you have never worked with yeast and if you like to save money while having endless possibilities of different meals and snacks you can make for your family and friends, this is the perfect recipe to start with!

Pizza dough can of course be made into a great pizza or calzone. But, don’t forget cheesy bread with a marinara dipping sauce, hot dogs wrapped in pizza dough, bread sticks, or even sugar and cinnamon twists, yum! The possibilities are endless once you have a good basic dough under your belt.

This recipe is easier if you have a stand mixer of course, but totally doable if you only have your own two hands, remember Italians have been making pizza for long before electricity was even invented!

Start with some super warm water, about 110-115 degrees.

Add water into the bowl of an electric mixer.

(I keep my yeast in a resealable bag in the fridge because I use so much of it, I don’t buy in packets) Use one packet of Active dry yeast or 3 tsp.

Add yeast into warm water.

Add sugar into water with the yeast.

Stir.

Add one cup of the flour.

Stir.

Don’t worry if there are lumps.

Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

This is what it should look like… if your mixture is not foaming, your yeast may not be good.

Add in the remaining flour. Stir.

Add in salt.

When your dough starts to look like this, it’s time to use the dough hook on your mixer.

This is my dough hook.

Mix for about 30 seconds to see how wet it is… This one is a bit too wet.

Add in one tablespoon at a time and mix until the dough isn’t quite as sticky, but not too dry either.

I set my mixer’s timer for 5 minutes and knead on level 2. If your mixer does not have a time, be sure to set one.

Add in oil.

Continue to knead another 2 minutes until oil is incorporated. Move to an oiled bowl and let rise 20 minutes.

This is what your dough will look like. Remove and place on a floured surface and knead by hand into a ball this should take about 2-3 minutes.

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Pizza Dough

Makes 2 full size pizza crusts

Ingredients:

5 – 6 cups All purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar (shallow cup)

3 tsp. Active dry yeast

Shallow 1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp. salt

2 cups warm water (110°-115°F)

Instructions:

Bloom yeast in warm water with sugar for 2 minutes, once bubbling add one cup flour, mix, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.  Once bubbly continue.

Add 4 cups flour and salt.  Add remaining flour 1 Tbs. at a time if too wet and not kneading well.  Once desired consistency is reached, knead for a timed 5 minutes.  Add in most of the oil saving some to oil bowl.  Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise for about 20 minutes.

Turn out onto a floured surface, knead by hand about 2-3 minutes until dough comes into a ball.

 

To this peel and roughly chop a carrot... I like to cut it down the middle ot maximize open carrot area.  Roughly chop a couple stalks of celery with or without the leaves.  Then add in one onion halved and a bunch of parsley.  (Again if you are planning to mostly make mexican based dishes, you could add in cilantro instead of parsley)

Simple Chicken Stock

add veg

 

A simple chicken stock is something that every home cook should master.  Not only is it much healthier that then stuff you can buy in cans at the grocery store, but it can save you a bundle!  A good chicken stock can make a quick meal taste like you slaved over a hot stove all day long 🙂

This particular recipe is a basic one.  I like to have a basic recipe on hand in gallon zip lock bags in my freezer because I never know what I will want to make with it… But, if you know that you always like a certain recipe that calls for ginger and soy, then by all means cut up some ginger and toss it in.  If you love the taste of a hearty traditional chicken soup, then add in some thyme and rosemary.  Once you get this basic recipe down, the sky is the limit.  I have used this chicken stock in recipes right here on this blog time and time again.  Check these out… Lemon Chicken Soup (Canja)Slit Pea Soup and Lobster Risotto.  And when you are done with making your stock, you’ve got some delicious cooked chicken meat to use in recipes like Cran-Raisin & Walnut Chicken Salad Wrap.

This is probably one of the most simple recipes you will see… you may wonder why you haven’t been freezing your own stock for years!

Start off by adding one whole chicken to the biggest stock pot you have on hand.

Start off by adding one whole chicken to the biggest stock pot you have on hand. Be sure to remove the packets with the gizzard. As for the neck, that is great for stock too, I remove it, but you can certainly keep it in the pot.

To this peel and roughly chop a carrot… I like to cut it down the middle to maximize open carrot area. Roughly chop a couple stalks of celery with or without the leaves. Then add in one onion halved and a bunch of parsley. (Again if you are planning to mostly make mexican based dishes, you could add in cilantro instead of parsley)

The next thing I like to add is a good handful of salt… I like to control the salt in my stock and I am making a good amount here so I add in about 1/8 cup of kosher salt. (Adjust salt to your taste and health requirements) This also helps flavor the chicken for later use. (This is also when you could choose to add in other herbs and spices like cracked black pepper, coriander, garlic, jalapeno, thyme, rosemary, sage, or ginger etc.)

Add water. You will want to add water up to about 2" from the top of your pot. Just to allow room for boiling.

Add water. You will want to add water up to about 2″ from the top of your pot. Just to allow room for boiling.

Boil this for about 1 hour with the lid on. Then shut it off without uncovering. Allow to cool completely. This will take at least 4-6 hours. Once completely cooled, you can skim off the fat if you so choose as well.

Once liquid and chicken have completely cooled, strain into containers. You can use the stock or bag in 1 gallon freezer bags, old cool whip containers or ice cube trays and freeze. The stock will also be great in your fridge for 3-4 days.

At this point, I usually can’t resist making some kind of soup right away, usually a chicken noodle or a mexican tortilla soup or something… then I freeze the rest.  I get about 3-4 gallons of stock from this process.

Recipe for Simple Chicken Stock:

1 whole chicken

1 onion, halved

2-3 carrots, roughly chopped

2-3 celery stalks, roughly chopped

1 bunch parsley

1/8 cup kosher salt

water

Directions:

Add all to pot cover with water (up to 2″ from top of large stock pot).  Boil for one hour (Add water to replace evaporated water). Cool completely over 4-6 hours.  Use, refrigerate or freeze.

*note – this is a gluten-free recipe