Easy Cheesy Spanish Rice

Spanish Rice

I love being able to help people out, so when someone asked for our Easy, Cheesy Spanish Rice recipe, I excitedly said, “Sure!”

My kids love this rice.  They cheer every time I make it and fight over the leftovers – of which there’s never much.  It’s easy to throw together, full of flavor, and makes a great side dish.  We love to eat it alongside tacos, enchiladas, nachos, or just beside a big taco salad.

Everyone in our house loves rice, so I tend to make a double batch each time we make it.  That means we’re ending up with a large bowl of this Spanish rice, but that’s okay – it’s good and moist, so it reheats well.  Not that there is much of this left – we usually eat the majority of it.

I make this rice in my rice cooker; I bought this appliance at a great discount last year after struggling to cook different varieties of brown rice properly.  The procedure should work just the same, however, for preparing regular not-minute rice.

Easy Cheesy Spanish Rice

Ingredients

  • rice
  • chicken stock
  • water
  • olive oil
  • salsa
  • shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, or cheddar)

Instructions

  1. Measure your rice directed.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Replace 1/2 of the water with chicken stock.
  4. Add 1/2 c. of salsa.
  5. Replace the remaining missing liquid with water.
  6. Cook as directed.
  7. Stir in 1/2 - 3/4 c. of shredded cheese.
  8. Cover rice again, let sit for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  9. Serve hot.
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Grandma’s Whoopie Pies

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I hear it’s long been a debate between Pennsylvania and Maine bakers as to who first created the whoopie pie.  My great-aunt even joined the fun and always told the story of one of her ancestors naming the treat at their family store; in my hometown they’re usually considered an Amish thing, but that doesn’t stop the rest of us from making – and loving – them.

They’re my absolute favorite baked treat, and I have many fond memories of them.  My mom used to bake large quantities of them, wrap them individually in waxed paper, and hide them around the house and in the freezer.  While she was at work, my dad and I would seek them out and enjoy them.  I even remember some emerging from the freezer and then dancing impatiently beside the woodstove, watching them as they sat on the brick barrier beside the stove, waiting for them to thaw just enough for us to nibble and gnaw on them.

My great-aunt seemed to bring them to every family get-together and often served them to visitors, too, and Aunt Mary was an excellent baker.  My great-grandmother, though she made them more rarely (at least by the time I came along) could bake absolutely anything, and when she offered you a whoopie pie, you happily sat down and enjoyed it with a glass of fresh milk – and maybe angled for an extra one.

whoopie Pies

I love having some of their recipes, and since we recently lost Aunt Mary and my kids never got to meet Grandma, it feels a bit like introducing them to my Big Helper and Little Man when we make their recipes together.

whoopie pies

Yesterday we tackled Grandma’s amazing whoopie pies.  It was hard not to be impatient as they danced around in excitement and flour flew, but in record time we had a finished batch of whoopie pies, ready for sharing consumption.

whoopie pies

Making whoopie pies is a bit more work than traditional cookies, as you have to making icing, too, (and I hate making icing) but they’re worth it.  Since the kids (and a visiting aunt) made the process happen speedily yesterday, I definitely see whoopie pies appearing – and probably disappearing – in my kitchen more often from now on.

whoopie pies

 Want to make Grandma’s Whoopie Pies?  Try her recipe here:

For the cookies:
1 c. Crisco
2 c. sugar
2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
4 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 c. cocoa powder
1 c. sour milk
1 c. hot water
 
For the icing:
2/3 c. Crisco
5 T. milk
1 t. vanilla
pinch of salt
3 c. powdered sugar
 
Directions for the cookies:
Cream the Crisco and sugar until fluffy.
Mix the rest of the dry ingredients together.
Mix the dry ingredients alternately with the sour milk and the hot water.
Bake the cookies at 350 for about 8 minutes on a greased cookie sheet.
When the cookies are completely cool, ice the flat side and place a cookie of the same size and shape on top, flat sides together. 
Store in an airtight container or wrap well in waxed paper.
For the icing: 
Combine all ingredients and mix until fluffy.
 
What are your favorite treats?
 

Grilled Zucchini Pizza

Zucchini

I’m always trying to find new ways to get veggies in my people. 

Since My Little Man ate a head-and-a-half of Romaine for lunch yesterday – by itself, like an apple – it’s not that I’m worried about rickets or anything. 

I like expanding our palates, though, and it’s always fun to cook and eat a wider variety of foods.  Since everyone here frowns at the sight of zucchini on the kitchen counter, I decided to start with that – and I’m glad I did.

We like this best when the zucchini is sliced then.  Grill it long enough to soften it a bit and get the pizza toppings sizzling.  You can add whatever you’d like to make it your own perfect pizza bite.

While this may not be the *healthiest* way to eat your veggies, it’s certainly a tasty and healthier way to eat your pizza!

Grilled Zucchini Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini
  • pizza sauce
  • shredded mozzarella
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • dried oregano
  • pizza toppings of your choosing

Instructions

  1. Wash zucchini.
  2. Slice zucchini thin - about 1/4".
  3. Brush both sides of each zucchini slice with a light layer of olive oil.
  4. Layer each slice with a small amount of pizza sauce, cheese, herbs, and your favorite pizza toppings.
  5. Grill on a hot grill until toppings are sizzling and zucchini is cooked through.
  6. Serve.
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How do you eat your veggies?

Mile-High Buttermilk Pancakes

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I’ve got this thing for pancakes.  I love fluffy, rich pancakes dripping with syrup.

Of course, I don’t actually like the huge amounts of empty calories that accompany those tall stacks of sticky goodness, so for years I’ve been trying to create a recipe that would keep the tasty goodness but put some nutrition back into those calories.

I think this one will do it. Pancakes

These are the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever seen.  They beat out all those pancake-house offerings by far.  In fact, when I made them a few weeks ago, the batter rose so much that it spilled over the edge of my bowl and creeped down the sides!

Pancakes

The rising continues on the griddle.  These pancakes are definitely fluffy – and they’re made with white-wheat flour and ground flax seed, so they’re also full of fiber and nutrients. 

Topped with a bit of butter and some real maple syrup, and I’ll choose a stack of Mile-High Buttermilk Pancakes over those empty restaurant ones any day.

Mile-High Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 2 c. white-wheat flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 2 T + 2 t. baking powder
  • scant 1/4 c. ground flax seed
  • 2 T. melted butter
  • 2 c. buttermilk
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Stir together dry ingredients.
  2. Add the wet ingredients and combine until just mixed.
  3. Fry on a hot griddle, flipping when pancakes rise and get bubbly on top.
  4. Serve with your favorite pancake toppings.
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How do you like your pancakes?

This is my favorite pancake gear!

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R & R Wednesday

 

Double Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

Cheesecake

My husband took me out for Valentine’s Day about bought the most amazing piece of cheesecake for our dessert.  I’ve never had anything like it – it was the perfect chocolate food.  Smooth, silky, and rich, it was absolutely wonderful.

So color me thrilled when he decided later that he’d try to make one for me himself.

This is what he came up with.

The texture is a bit different than the restaurant version, but it’s no less amazing.  It’s chocolate-y and rich and completely decadent. 

I think that he needs to make these on a very regular, frequent basis – right??

If you like cheesecake or chocolate or dessert, grab your supplies and get baking.  You won’t be sorry.  (The extra-good news, besides the it’s-delicious part?  This cheesecake is easy.  No water baths, no foil bibs for the pans, no myriads of ingredients necessary.  All told, for a cheesecake, it’s pretty simple – which means you get to enjoy it sooner.)

Oh – and be prepared to hide the results.  You won’t want to share.

Double Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 18 crushed chocolate sandwich cookies with the icing removed
  • 2 T. melted butter
  • 3 8-oz packages of cream cheese
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3/4 c. hazelnut liqueur
  • 8 oz. semi-sweet Baker's chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • 3 eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Mix cookie crumbs and butter.
  3. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9" springform pan.
  4. Bake crumb crust for 10 minutes.
  5. Beat cream cheese, sugar, liqueur, and vanilla with mixer until blended.
  6. Add melted chocolate and mix well.
  7. Mix in eggs individually.
  8. Pour cream cheese mixture over crust.
  9. Bake for 50 minutes.
  10. Chill for 4 hours before removing from pan.
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Are you a cheesecake fan?  Try this amazing Black Magic Cake, which has a cheesecake center, or these Party Perfect Cheesecakes.  Yum!

 

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Home to 4 Kiddos

Tell It to Me Tuesdays

Menu Plan Monday – February 27, 2016

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Last week’s slow week?  It’s long gone. 

We’re back in business week with lots going on, so our meal plan is going to reflect that.  I’m also going to be picking up my first Zaycon chicken order and prepping all 40 pounds for the freezer, so  …. expect to see some chicken on the menu over the next few months.

Want more information about ordering hormone-free, fresh-from-the-farm meats from Zaycon?  Click here!

What do you have going on this week?

Breakfast:

Cinnamon Almond Granola @ A Nest in the Rocks

Dinner:

Last week didn’t end up being as slow as I’d hoped, and I never did get these made.  I’m determiend to give these Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies a try this week!

What are you eating this week?

For more Menu Plan Monday, visit OrgJunkie.

Garlic Alfredo Pasta

Garlic Alfredo Pasta

 

Every night’s a good night for pasta, right?  When a meeting got thrown into the mix at the last minute, the meal I had planned wouldn’t work.  I was stumped – I had a beautiful, cook-and-serve-immediately dinner on the brain, and now we needed something that could be prepped ahead of time.

That’s where this Garlic Alfredo Pasta dish comes in. 

I’ve been hungry for some pasta fettuccini Alfredo, anyway, and this dish has all of those flavors.  Instead of serving it as individual dishes, though, as I normally would, I combined it into a casserole that contained all the food groups – and lest that sound ‘weird,’ trust me – these are delicious combinations.

It’s not exactly a one-dish dinner, of course, since each component needs to be prepared individually, but it’s definitely a cut above your typical casserole.  It would be a great dish to double and stick the second into the freezer or to gift one to a friend or neighbor. 

So what is Garlic Alfredo Pasta, anyway?

It’s marinated chicken with steamed broccoli and pasta smothered in a light, garlicky Alfredo sauce and topped with gooey mozzarella cheese.

Yum.

Garlic Alfredo Pasta
Serves 4
A decadently creamy take on Fettuccini Alfredo
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646 calories
77 g
83 g
19 g
42 g
10 g
465 g
725 g
9 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
465g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 646
Calories from Fat 163
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19g
28%
Saturated Fat 10g
50%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 83mg
28%
Sodium 725mg
30%
Total Carbohydrates 77g
26%
Dietary Fiber 6g
25%
Sugars 9g
Protein 42g
Vitamin A
34%
Vitamin C
108%
Calcium
48%
Iron
17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 12 oz pasta
  2. 2 chicken breasts, cleaned, cut in 1-inch pieces
  3. Italian marinade
  4. 1 lb frozen broccoli
  5. 4 T. butter
  6. 4 T. flour
  7. 2 T. minced garlic
  8. 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
  9. 1 1/2 c. whole milk
  10. 3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  11. 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  12. salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Saute the chicken in the Italian dressing in a hot skillet. Toss frequently for 4-6 minutes until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat.
  2. Cook pasta. Add the broccoli to the pasta pot for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
  3. Drain pasta and set aside.
  4. In the empty pasta pot, melt the butter.
  5. Stir in the garlic and simmer for 2 minutes.
  6. Stir in the flour.
  7. Slowly add the chicken stock, stirring constantly.
  8. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens.
  9. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese.
  10. In a buttered casserole dish, layer the chicken, the pasta, and the broccoli.
  11. Pour the sauce over the top.
  12. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top.
  13. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly.
  14. Serve immediately.
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calories
646
fat
19g
protein
42g
carbs
77g
more
A Nest in the Rocks http://anestintherocks.com/
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Home to 4 Kiddos

Menu Plan Monday – February 15, 2016

 

We’re having an exciting week around here.  Weeknight events, back-to-back out-of-town field trips, and changing weather means I’m not sure what’s going to happen with the meal plan this week.  I’ve got a plan, and I’m going to try hard to work it, but … we’ll be flexible if we need to.

What do you have going on this week?

Breakfast:

Dinner:

Parmesan Potato Soup

My husband surprised me with a fancy dinner out for Valentine’s Day – just the two of us – and the dessert we had was amazing.  I found this recipe for Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake, and I think we’re going to give it a try.

What are you eating this week?

For more Menu Plan Monday, visit OrgJunkie.

Baked Supreme Pizza Dip

Baked Supreme Pizza Dip

Sometimes I just crave pizza.  You know – the gooey, melt-y cheese, the spicy meats, the abundance of veggies.  That doesn’t mean that I always want to make a pizza, though, or that I’m interested in the crust, because as good as it can be, somehow I never get hungry for that specific part.

That’s when I started making this dip.  It has all the richness and yumminess of a pizza without the work or carbs of a crust.  It’s fun and share-able, and you can even use raw veggies, crackers, or baked pitas as the dippers.

Even better, you can top the dip with your favorite pizza toppings, so you can really customize it to suit you.

So you need an app for this weekend’s party?  Here you go.

Baked Supreme Pizza Dip
Serves 4
An easy, baked dip that's easy to customize with your favorite pizza flavors.
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
35 min
306 calories
8 g
86 g
26 g
11 g
15 g
139 g
433 g
3 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
139g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 306
Calories from Fat 232
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 26g
41%
Saturated Fat 15g
74%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 86mg
29%
Sodium 433mg
18%
Total Carbohydrates 8g
3%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 3g
Protein 11g
Vitamin A
24%
Vitamin C
20%
Calcium
22%
Iron
5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 8 oz cream cheese
  2. 1/2 t garlic powder
  3. 1/2 t oregano
  4. 1/2 t Italian seasoning
  5. 1 c. shredded mozzarella
  6. 1/2 c. pizza sauce
  7. 1/4 c minced onion
  8. 1/4 c. diced green pepper
  9. pizza toppings - pepperoni, black olives, etc. (opt)
Instructions
  1. Soften cream cheese.
  2. Mix cream cheese with 1/4 of the mozzarella and the herbs.
  3. Spread cheese mixture in the bottom of a pie pan.
  4. Top cheese mixture with pizza sauce.
  5. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella on top of the sauce.
  6. Add additional toppings.
  7. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly.
Notes
  1. Serve with sliced, raw veggies, crackers, or tortilla chips as dippers.
beta
calories
306
fat
26g
protein
11g
carbs
8g
more
A Nest in the Rocks http://anestintherocks.com/

Healthy Burrito Bowls

Healhty Burrito Bowls @ A Nest in the Rocks

I planned to make something new last week – a new kind of healthy Mexican recipe that the Big Helper and I were excited about.

Until one ingredient didn’t behave as expected.

At the very last minute, I needed to change things up, and these burrito bowls were the result.  We really liked them.  The veggies are spicy, and they’re easily customizable to suit everyone in your family.

Healthy Burrito Bowls
Serves 4
These burrito bowls are easy to customize and are full of flavor.
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753 calories
148 g
7 g
9 g
24 g
3 g
473 g
354 g
7 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
473g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 753
Calories from Fat 73
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
13%
Saturated Fat 3g
14%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 7mg
2%
Sodium 354mg
15%
Total Carbohydrates 148g
49%
Dietary Fiber 16g
65%
Sugars 7g
Protein 24g
Vitamin A
18%
Vitamin C
84%
Calcium
16%
Iron
30%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups rice, white or brown
  2. 3 small zucchini
  3. 1 onion
  4. 1 green pepper
  5. 1 T. olive oil
  6. 2 cloves of minced garlic
  7. 1 t. cumin
  8. 1/2 t. crushed red pepper
  9. salt and pepper to taste
  10. 2 cups black beans, cooked
  11. 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  12. diced tomatoes (opt)
  13. shredded cheese (opt)
  14. salsa (opt)
Instructions
  1. Cook the rice according to package directions.
  2. Slice the onion and the bell pepper.
  3. Preheat a large saucepan and add olive oil.
  4. Add chopped zucchini, onion, green pepper, and garlic.
  5. Cook through.
  6. Add cumin, red pepper, salt, and ground black pepper.
  7. Mix to combine.
  8. Push the veggies to one side of the pan and add the corn and beans to the clear side to heat through.
  9. Spoon rice into the bottom of each bowl.
  10. Top with beans, veggies, and then corn. Add additional toppings as desired.
  11. Serve hot.
Notes
  1. We enjoyed these bowls with the above ingredients. If meat is desired, add your cooked meat directly to the bowl above the rice and enjoy!
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calories
753
fat
9g
protein
24g
carbs
148g
more
A Nest in the Rocks http://anestintherocks.com/