Mexican Rice

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I LOVE Mexican rice.  It's SOOOOO yummy and tastes fabulous as a side or in a burrito or tacos.  This recipe takes awhile but it is WORTH it!  I created it by taking the best parts of several recipes I have tried, plus adding a little Elizabeth flare!  Because I have two little boys, I don't like to make my food super spicy, so instead of using jalapeños  I used homemade jalapeño jelly.  If you don't want to use the jelly, you can definitely use jalapeños.   I think you will agree that this rice is pretty amazing!

Mexican Rice

  • 2 cups uncooked long grain white rice (I used basmati- DO NOT USE INSTANT)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1/2 stick butter (or 1/4 cup grape seed oil)
  • 1/4 cup jalapeño jelly (or 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced)
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350.  Rinse the rice in a mesh strainer for about 2 minutes (this step is really important).  In a food processor or blender, add the diced tomatoes, onion, and jalapeño jelly (or diced jalapeño).  Process until pureed and set aside.  Melt the butter in a large, oven proof dutch oven (if you don't have an oven proof dutch oven you can transfer the rice when it's time to put it in the oven to a casserole dish and cover with a lid or foil).   Add the rice and garlic to the butter and sauté until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomato puree and chicken stock, green chilies, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.  Place the lid on the pot and transfer to the oven.  Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, stirring after about 20 minutes.  When rice is done baking, squeeze lime juice over the rice and stir to mix.  

Until next time, happy and HEALTHY cooking! 

Honey Wheat Sandwich Loaf

Monday, June 16, 2014

I have taken the final step in eliminating unhealthy processed chemicals from my family's diet.  We've always been very clean eaters, but one thing I have wanted to master for a long time was making bread. Bread is one of those things that is laden with chemical ingredients and HFCS, and organic bread can be expensive. I used to make bread all the time, but it was never very good.  My bread machine broke a few months before moving from Iowa to Washington and I had a baby, so I stopped making bread.  For Christmas, David got me a new bread machine and I bought a baking stone, so I felt it was FINALLY time to learn to properly make bread.  I now make all my bread from scratch and it is SOOOO delicious!  This honey wheat sandwich loaf is super soft and delicious.  It is REALLY important that you use bread flour for both the white and the wheat flours as it has a higher gluten content which makes the bread less dense.

Honey Wheat Sandwich Loaf

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups white bread flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 cup wheat bread flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 2 1/2 tsp. yeast
Place the ingredients in the bread machine in the exact order listed and set to the dough cycle.  Once the dough cycle has finished, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan with cooking spray or butter.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Do a little karate chop action to punch the dough out into a rectangle - about 8 inches by 10 inches.  Roll up the rectangle tightly and fold the ends over.  Pinch the seams tightly.  This is important because otherwise you will have a hole in your loaf.  Place into the loaf pan and cover with a towel, allow to rise until doubled in size about 30 minutes.  Once doubled in size, bake the loaf 30-35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 190  to 210 degrees (I take the temperature with my digital meat thermometer).  

Until next time, happy and HEALTHY cooking! 

Honey Lime Chipotle Grilled Chicken

I have a SERIOUS addiction to grilling chicken!  I have been posting a ton of grilled chicken recipes lately because quite frankly I LOVE our new barbecue!  I absolutely LOVE playing around with marinades and then serving the beautiful grilled chicken over a lovely salad, folded into some delicious tacos, or served alongside some brown rice and asparagus.  YUM!  It's the perfect answer to dinner in the summer!  This particular marinade was an experiment gone RIGHT!  I served it over a beautiful bed of romaine lettuce, sautéed bell peppers and onions, and brown rice- what I call chicken fajita bowl!  Yum!

Honey Lime Chipotle Grilled Chicken

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 2 tbsp. honey (I use a really lovely local organic honey)
  • 1/4 tsp. chipotle chili powder (you can use more if you want it spicy but chipotle chili powder can be VERY strong and a little goes a long way)
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
Place the chicken in a large ziplock bag.  In a bowl, whisk the rest of the ingredients together.  If you taste the marinade and it is too hot, add a little more honey.  Pour the marinade over the chicken in the bag.  Seal the bag squeezing the air out as you seal.  Massage the marinade into the chicken and place in the fridge to marinate 2 hours up to 8 hours (the longer you marinate, the better the flavor). 

Until next time, Happy and HEALTHY cooking!

Pineapple Chicken Tacos with Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Saturday, June 14, 2014

I know, I know, I have been posting a lot of taco recipes lately.   We have Tacos Tuesday every week and since we got our new grill I've been big into experimenting with different marinades for chicken and fish tacos.  My aunt, who is the chef, was here last weekend and we made a winner recipe!  The chicken is marinated in a mixture of pineapple juice and taco seasoning and then grilled to perfection. I then piled the chicken in warm corn tortillas and topped them with my Auntie Teri's black bean and corn salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.   You could also serve this over rice, or in a salad.  YUM!  

Pineapple Taco Grilled Chicken

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup 100% pineapple juice
  • 2 tbsp. taco seasoning (I use the Trader Joe's brand  or I use Frontera taco sauce)
Put the chicken in a large ziplock bag.  Mix the pineapple juice and the taco seasoning together and pour over the chicken.  Close the ziplock, pressing out all the air as you do so.  Massage the marinade into the chicken and place in the fridge for 2 hours up to overnight.  Grill about 5 minutes on each side or until internal temperature is 165 degrees.  

Black Bean and Corn Salsa
  • 2 ears corn, kernels removed from cob (I look for NON GMO corn)
  • 1/2 can black beans, rinsed (if you buy organic black beans the cans do not contain BPA)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pineapple, finely chopped
  • a handful of cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. jalapeño jelly (or 1 fresh jalapeño finely chopped if you like it spicy...I am not a fan of spicy so I like the taste of the pepper jelly)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Saute the corn and the onion in olive oil (or grape seed-if you are going to cook with olive oil, do not use extra virgin, it is not safe when heated at high temperatures) until the onion is starting to sweat and the corn begins to caramelize about 5 minutes.  Remove from pan to a bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients.  Place in the refrigerator to cool or serve warm.  

Until next time, happy and HEALTHY cooking!

Halibut Tacos with Tomato Corn Salsa and Lime Cream

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

We have tacos in some shape or form every Tuesday.  We call it Porter Tacos Tuesday in our house.  With the grilling season underway, and also many of our beautiful Northwest fish in season, I decided to make my beautiful halibut tacos.  My 5 year old absolutely LOVES these, and in fact last night he ate 4 of them!  It has been a long time since I've made them since we only recently moved back to the land of good fish!  Halibut can be somewhat pricey, so you can also use cod but make sure when choosing a fish for these you pick a "meatier" and mild white fish that will stand up to grilling.  


  • 1 lb. halibut or other firm, mild white fish
  • Juice and zest of one lime
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. Rub with Love Seafood Rub (if you can't find this rub, use 1/4 tsp each of- cumin, garlic powder, ginger, cinnamon, and brown sugar, and 1/8 tsp chipotle powder)

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 olive oil or grape seed oil
Place fish in a large ziplock bag.  Whisk together ingredients for marinade in a bowl and pour over the fish.  Marinate 2-8 hours.  Grill the fish on an outdoor grill or grill pan on the stove for about 5 minutes on each side or until the fish turns opaque.  

Tomato Corn Salsa
  • 2 ears sweet corn (I look specifically for NON GMO sweet corn)
  • 1 can petit diced tomatoes (organic canned tomatoes come in BPA free cans)
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. chipotle chili powder (or regular chili powder) - BE CAREFUL- Chipotle powder is HOT so only use a little bit.
Peel and wash the corn.  Cut the kernels off the cob using a sharp knife.  In a large, deep sided skillet, sauté the corn in the butter, cumin, and chipotle powder for about 5 minutes or until the corn starts to release its starch and caramelize- over medium heat.  Add the tomatoes and the green chills and continue to cook down about 10-15 minutes longer. 

Lime Cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • juice and zest of one lime
  • 1/8 tsp. chipotle chili powder (more if you like it HOT)
  • salt to taste
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld.  

Taco Assembly

  • 16 small corn tortillas, hot (I have found the easiest way to heat the tortillas is to wrap them in foil and heat them in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes).
  • coleslaw mix
  • Shredded cheese (I like cheddar and jack blend)
  • Fish (from above)
  • Lime cream (from above)
  • Corn salsa (from above)
To assemble the tacos, place a small amount of fish in the middle of the tortilla, top with lime cream, salsa, coleslaw, and shredded cheese.  YUM!

Until next time, happy and HEALTHY cooking!

BBQ Pepper Jack Turkey Burgers on Homemade Brioche Buns

Sunday, June 01, 2014

It's almost summer and the weather has been amazing!  We just bought a new barbecue and we've been using it A LOT lately!  I love turkey burgers and I just mastered how to make really delicious burger and hotdog buns from SCRATCH!  I like to try to make bread myself because store-bought bread has an amazing amount of undesirable ingredients like HFCS and other chemicals that I just don't feel comfortable serving my family.  I find that even brands that say they are "all natural" are not.  These burger buns are SUPER easy because they are done mostly in the bread machine.  I use my bread machine EVERY time I make bread and pizza dough because it's so easy to just set the dough setting and it does all the work for me!  Then I shape the way I want and bake in the oven!  These buns freeze well also, just wrap them tightly in foil and put them in a ziplock freezer bag!  I use this same recipe to make hotdog buns.  I don't usually like hotdogs but I have discovered Applegate Farms organic, grass fed, minimally processed beef grown on sustainable farms hotdogs and they are YUM-MY!

Brioche Buns
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened 
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp. dry active yeast
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
Place all ingredients, except the 2 tbsp. melted butter, in your bread machine in the order they are listed.  Set to the dough setting and press start.  
When cycle has finished, remove the dough onto a floured surface and gently form into a ball.  To make burger buns-using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a circle about 1 inch thick.  Using a large biscuit cutter or an inverted glass, cut the dough into rounds and place about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet (or I like to use baking stones). 

 To form hotdog buns- cut the dough ball in half, and in half again, repeating until you have 12 small balls.  Using the rolling pin, roll the balls out slightly to about 1 inch thick and roll up lengthwise, tuck the ends and pinch together.  Place about two inches apart on a baking sheet or stone.  Preheat the oven to 350. Cover and let rise until doubled in size about 30 - 60 minutes. 

 Brush the tops of the buns with melted butter and bake 15-20 minutes or until the tops are slightly browned and the internal temperature taken with a baking thermometer (or meat thermometer) reaches 190 degrees (the temperature is REALLY important, less than 190 degrees and your rolls will be dense, more than 200 degrees and your rolls will be dry and hard).  

BBQ Pepper Jack Turkey burgers
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp barbecue sauce (I like Annie's because it does not have HFCS)
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp. minced onion
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic or 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 slices pepper jack cheese
In a bowl, gently mix the turkey, barbecue sauce, worcestershire sauce, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper (I mix with my hands).  Divide the turkey mixture into 4 equal parts and form each part into a patty.  Grill on an outdoor grill or in a grill pan on the stove for about 5 minutes on each side.  You will know they are ready to flip with the juices run clear at the top of the burger.  The burgers are cooked through when they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.  When they reach 160 degrees, place a slice of pepper jack on top of each burger and close the lid to the grill or cover with a foil "tent" to melt the cheese. Serve on buns with your favorite burger toppings.

Until next time, happy and HEALTHY cooking!

Yummy Greek Chicken and Gyros

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I have never been a huge fan of Greek food.  The reason being that I don't really like raw onions or raw garlic.  I love onions and garlic when they are cooked, but they are too strong for me raw, and I end up feeling sick.  My husband, on the other hand, LOVES Greek food, especially gyros.   A few months ago we moved to a new house and there is a Greek restaurant down the street.  People have been raving about their gyros, so I thought we'd give it a try.  I ordered a chicken gyro sans onions, and it was fabulous!  I told my husband that they probably wouldn't be that hard to make at home, and I was right!  These turned out SO yummy and I even made the chicken again a week later and served it on top of a Caesar salad!   The chicken tastes even better if you grill it on the barbecue!  I made my own pita bread, but you can use store bought.  

Greek Chicken

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil (or grape seed oil)
  • 2 tbsp. minced red onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
Place the chicken breasts in a large ziplock bag.  In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken.  Squeeze the air out of the bag and marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours to overnight. The longer you marinate the chicken the better the flavor will be.  Grill the chicken (you can use an outdoor grill or a grill pan on the stove) for about 5 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  Allow the chicken to rest about 5 minutes before slicing.  

  • Greek chicken, sliced or cubed
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cucumber peeled 
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (you can add more if you like garlic, I don't so I add the minimum)
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or grape seed oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • shredded lettuce 
  • chopped red onions (if you like raw onions- I do not so I leave them off but my husband likes them)
  • 4 pitas
Shred the cucumber using a cheese grater and squeeze out the water in a kitchen towel or paper towel.  To make the Tzatziki, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, and oil then stir in the cucumber.  Place Tzatziki in the fridge for at least one hour to allow the flavors to meld.  To serve, place some sliced chicken down the middle of the pita (like a taco), top with tzatziki, tomato, lettuce, and onions (if desired).  Enjoy!

Until next time, happy and HEALTHY cooking.

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