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Lime Cilantro Rice

If you are lime me and a big fan of the fresh Mex restaurants like Costa Vida, Cafe Rio or Chipotle give this recipe a try.  This saved us when we lived in Hawaii and there were no restaurants like this on any of the islands!

Makes 8 cups of cooked rice

  • 4 c. uncooked rice, (long-grain, white rice is best but you can use any rice)
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced (or 4 tsp of minced garlic from the jar or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 2 Tbsp  freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 8 cups water (or up to the “4” line if using a rice cooker)
  • 1 Tbsp & 1 tsp “Better than Bouillon” chicken stock or 4 bouillon cubes

 

  • 4 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • ¾ cup fresh chopped cilantro

 

1-Put the first 6 ingredients in a rice cooker and start the rice cooker. (If you don’t have a rice cooker, put the first 6 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat.)

 

2-In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.

 

*This is perfect for soft tacos, burritos or taco salads.

Adapted from https://therecipecritic.com/2012/08/cafe-rio-copycat-cilantro-lime-rice/

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Shoyu Pork Roast

This is a very simple, fast to prepare & yummy meal. It’s a classic pork roast with a slight Asian taste to it from the added soy sauce.

Ingredients

1/3 c. Soy Sauce (I like Kikkoman)

2 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce

1 tsp Garlic Salt

1 Tbs Brown Sugar

1 or 2 small pork roasts (I like the ones from Costco)

Put the pork roasts in the crock pot (they can be frozen or not) and pour the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt & brown sugar over the roasts.

Cook on low for 8 hours (or 4 hours on high, if you don’t have that much time.)

Serve with rice or potatoes and some steamed vegetables.

*You can also add fresh, frozen or canned pineapple and juice to make this more of a Hawaiian styled pork roast.

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My tried and true, amazing classic Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes (about 8 Medium) Red Potatoes and Russets work as well, but Yukons are my favorite in this dish!
  • 4 whole Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 1-1/2 cup Real Mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip)
  • 1/4 cup Prepared Yellow  Mustard
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 8 whole Small Dill Pickles
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (more To Taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped thinly (or 1 teaspoon dried chives)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (optional, but I love the crunch it adds!)

    Preparation Instructions

    1-Boil your eggs (you can find really great and easy to follow instructions here) and let them completely cool. (I like to do this a day or 2 before if possible so there’s 1 less step.)

    2-While your eggs are boiling and cooling, wash the potatoes really well (no need to peel unless using russets.)

    3-Cut the potatoes into bite size chunks (the size you like in your potato salad), then boill until fork tender. Drain. And let them cool in large bowl in the fridge. (If you’re in a hurry you can run cold water over them, even adding ice, just be sure to drain them well and then put them in the fridge.)

    4-While the potatoes are boiling and cooling, wash and cut up your green onions and chives (kitchen shears work great for this!) If you’re using a yellow or golden onion make sure you dice it into really small pieces, unless you like bigger pieces of onion in your salad.

    4-Cut up your dill pickles and cold boiled eggs ans add them to the large bowl with the potatoes.

    5–In another smaller bowl, mix together the  mayonnaise, mustard, green onions, salt, pepper, and spices, saving a little of the chives and paprika to sprinkle over the top of the salad at the end.

    5-Pour this mixture over the potatoes, pickles and boiled eggs. Gently mix everything with out smashing the potatoes or eggs too much. Make sure all the potatoes are well covered in everything, being sure to check the potatoes at the bottom of the bowl.

    6-If you like you can transfer the salad to a pretty bowl now or keep it in the same bowl and sprinkle the salad with the rest of the chives and paprika.

    7-Cover the bowl with a tight lid or aluminum foil or plastic wrap and put in the fridge. (Potato Salad is great after it’s aged a day so if possible, make it a day a head of time and let it chill in the fridge.)

    8-Make sure your potato salad stays cool when you’re serving it and store any leftovers (not likely!) in the fridge for up to 5 days or so.  A good way to keep it cool at a picnic is to put your bowl of salad in a larger bowl that is filled with ice. You can also buy a variety of bowls that stay cold for hours, here are some examples on Amazon.

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Irish Fare for St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! Coming from Irish heritage (my grandmother was a Riley) St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal and we celebrate it every year with a big Irish inspired dinner and party. I thought it would be fun to share some pictures and recipes of the food we enjoy.

Green tossed salad and dressing, my mother-in-law’s amazing “Dilly Bread” cream cheese mashed potatoes, corned beef and cabbage.
The recipe for the corned beef & cabbage is very simple: cut open the package of corned beef and dump it into your slow cooker, juices, spices and all and pour about 1/4 to 1/2 c of water over it, put on the lid and cook on low for 10-12 hours or on high for 5-6 hours. For the last hour add a washed and cut up head of cabbage. Slice up the corned beef on a plate and dish up the cabbage and enjoy!
Lime Jello Jigglers (cut out with a cookie cutter) and whipped cream

Recipe for Jigglers can be found here. My kids think these are extra special because we very rarely eat jello 🙂

Rainbow made fruit pizza style: sugar cookie dough shaped like a rainbow and baked, cream cheese & whipped cream topping spread over it and rows of sliced fresh fruit + chocolate gold coins for our “pot-o-gold” makes any easy and fun to make dessert

The recipe I used for the sugar cookie dough can be found here I love that you don’t need to chill the dough before hand! I do recommend increasing the baking time a few minutes more than the recipe says.

Shamrock shaped sugar cookies made from the extra dough from the rainbow, topped with butter cream frosting and green and rainbow sprinkles.

I frosted these cookies with this butter cream recipe.

Some of the other simple and fun things we enjoyed was having the kids taking turns being “the Leprechaun” and hiding chocolate gold coins for the other kids to find and listening to Irish music. Lots of fun!

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BLT (or BLTA) Sandwiches

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10 strips of Bacon, about 1lb (2 per person)
10 slices of bread per person (2 per person)
1 head of Lettuce (I like Romaine)
2 Tomatoes, sliced
1 Avocado (optional)
Mayo, mustard and anything else you like on your sandwich

 

My favorite way to cook bacon is to bake it in the oven.  So much easier, turns out perfect and easy to clean up. (from http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/breakfastcookery/ht/bacon.htm)

 

1-Line a baking sheet with foil. This will make cleanup easier later.
2-Arrange the bacon slices on the foil and place the baking sheet on the center rack of a cold oven. (Try not to stretch the slices out. Just gently drape the bacon across the pan.) Close the oven door. Turn the oven on to 400°F. Walk away.
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3- Come back 17 to 20 minutes later. As soon as the bacon is golden brown, but not excessively crisp, it’s done. The exact time will depend on the thickness of the bacon slices, and also on how quickly your oven reaches the target temperature.
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4- Remove the pan from the oven. Transfer the bacon to another sheet pan lined with paper towels to absorb any excess fat.
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Have everyone build their sandwich however they like it.  I serve this with salad.
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Beef Stroganoff (in the crock pot or stove top)

Ingredients:
1 lb of beef stew meat, cubed, frozen or not (you may want a more tender cut if you’re doing the stove top version)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup (10.75 oz)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 small can of sliced mushrooms (optional)
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 oz. (1/2 a bar) of cream cheese or ½ cup sour cream
Egg noodles, or any kind of pasta noodles or rice

Crock Pot Directions:
1-Put everything BUT the cream cheese or sour cream  and egg noodles into the Crock Pot.  You do not even have to brown the stew meat!
2-Mix together.
3-Cook on High for 5 hours or on Low for 8 hours.
4-When you are close to serving dinner, prepare about a half bag of noodles according to the package directions.  Mix in the cream cheese or sour cream about 20 minutes before serving.
5-Top the noodles with the Beef Stroganoff and enjoy.  We love this with peas or broccoli on the side.

Stove Top Directions:
1-Follow the directions on your pasta package to boil the noodles.
2-While the pasta is cooking, cut up the meat in small squares, then cut them in half to make them thinner.
3-Put a frying pan on the stove and turn the burner to medium. After it has heated up, put the meat in the pan and brown in on each side until it is no longer pink in the middle.
4-While the meat is browning, peal, wash and dice the onion and add it to the meat to cook for the last few minutes of cooking.
5-In a sauce pan add the cream of mushroom soup, water and Worcestershire sauce (and mushrooms if using them) and stir all together while you heat the mixture on medium. When everything is combined and warmed, turn the burner to low and add the sour cream (or cream cheese) and melt into the sauce.
6-Add the cooked onions and browned meat to the sauce.
7-Drain the noodles and serve the sauce over the noodles and enjoy.

*I have this crock pot and highly recommend it!
Adapted from: http://www.thefrugalfoodiemama.com/2013/01/slow-cooker-beer-stroganoff.html#.U4ZI9PldUSF
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Barbecue Chicken and Potatoes

This one is so easy and basic it doesn’t really require a recipe but I’ve been requested to put it on the blog so readers can keep track of the groceries needed for this meal for their monthly meal plan.
1.5 lbs or 5 chicken thighs, boneless skinless (can be frozen or not, can use any chicken) I like these
½ to 1 cup Bottled BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s)
5 potatoes
1-Wash the potatoes, poke them with a fork and set them on the middle rack in the oven.  Turn the oven to 350 degrees.
2-Place the chicken in a 9×13” pan and pour the BBQ sauce over the top.  Place the pan next to the potatoes in the oven.
3-Bake for 30 minutes if chicken is not frozen and potatoes are smaller, or up to 60 minutes if chicken is frozen and potatoes are larger. (If you’re doing larger potatoes with non frozen chicken you can microwave the potatoes for 3-6 minutes and then put them in the oven to finish baking.)
*You can also make the chicken in the crock pot by putting in the chicken, pouring on the sauce and cooking on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 5.
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BBQ chicken thigh (boneless, skinless) with baked potato, steamed broccoli & baked sweet potato plantomakeitsimple.com
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Sweet and Sour Apricot Chicken-SO easy!

1 cup Apricot or Apricot-Pineapple Jam (Peach works too)
1 cup Catalina Salad Dressing (or Russian or  French)
1 envelope dry onion soup mix (like Lipton)
3-5 lbs chicken (breasts, bone-in/boneless, thighs, tenders etc. frozen or not)
*The amount of chicken you use is very flexible.  If you use less, you’ll just have lots of sauce, and if you use more- you’ll have less sauce to spoon over rice, but there’s plenty to cook that much chicken.
1-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
2-Place the chicken in a 9×13”  pan.
3-Put the jam, Catalina dressing, cider vinegar and the onion soup packet in a bowl and stir to combine and pour over the chicken.
4-Bake for 45 minutes (if not frozen and 60 minutes if frozen.) Eat over rice.
This is a great, super easy, yummy recipe. I’m working on a “real food”/unprocessed version that I’ll be posting on the website soon.
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Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Makes about 2 quarts (about 8 servings)
  • 2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1 cup finely diced onions
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano
  • 1 T dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ½ bay leaf
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups milk or cream, warmed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
1.  Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.
2.  Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
3.  About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper.  Add additional basil and oregano if needed (the slow cooker does a number on spices and they get bland over time, so don’t be afraid to always season to taste at the end).
4.  Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.

Stove-Top Version
  • 3 cups diced tomatoes with juice (you can use canned)
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onions
  • 4 Tbsp fresh basil or 1 Tbsp dried
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups milk or cream, warmed
  • 1 tsp salt
1.  Heat oil in 4 quart soup pot.  Add celery, onions and carrots.  Saute 5 minutes.  Add basil, oregano, bay leaf, tomatoes, and chicken broth.  Bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender (15 minutes).
2.  While soup simmers, prepare a roux.  Melt butter over low heat, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 5-7 minutes.  Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup.  Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth.  Add back into soup pot.
3.  Simmer, stirring constantly, until soup begins to thicken.  Add Parmesan cheese and whisk to blend.  Stir warmed half and half, salt and pepper.  Simmer over low heat 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.


from http://utah.todaysmama.com/2012/03/20/tomato-basil-parmesan-soup-in-the-slow-cooker-or-on-the-stove-top/
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Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or other meat cut into strips
2 Tbsp oil
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 sm can green chilies
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large bell pepper, seeded and sliced (I use half a green and half a red)
12 flour tortillas
Toppings such as cheese, sour cream, and guacamole – if desired
Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken strips in a greased 13×9 baking dish.
2. In a small bowl combine the oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt
3. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.
4. Next add the tomatoes, green chilies, peppers, and onions to the dish and stir to combine.
5. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Serve on tortillas with desired toppings.
(Recipe adapted from Real Mom Kitchen at http://realmomkitchen.com/9318/oven-baked-chicken-fajitas/)