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Monday, November 30, 2015

Arabic Saffron Rice

I absolutely love saffron rice. I have so many memories of my grandmother making this dish every holiday. I would eat plate fulls of it at a time. She was an incredible cook and estimated all her recipe measurements by hand. Unfortunately, her recipes are often difficult to recreate (at least for those of us who are amateur cooks) because she rarely wrote down her recipes. My dad was on a mission though to make saffron rice for thanksgiving, and it turned out pretty darn good. I liked it so much that I decided to share it with all of you. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Ingredients:
  • 1 box of saffron (usually comes in 1 gram or .03 ounce boxes)
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt
  • 4 cups basmati rice
  • 5 cups chicken broth 
  • Slivered almonds
  • Raisins  
  • Olive oil
Recipe:
  • Place saffron in a pestle and mortar. Add a pinch of sugar. Grind until the saffron is in powder form (or grind it as fine as you can). 
  • Pour saffron mixture into a mug, add 1 cup of hot water, cover, and let it sit for approximately 20 minutes until you see the dark rich saffaron color.
  • Rinse the rice thoroughly with water to remove any excess starch.
  • Soak the rice with plenty of water for about 30 minutes.
  • Drain the water.
  • Add the soaked rice to the pot.
  • Add the liquid to the pot with the rice: 1 cup of the saffron water and 5 cups of chicken broth. 
  • Bring to a boil under medium-high heat, uncovered.
  • When it starts boiling, cover and lower the heat to low.
  • Keep the top of the pot on at all times, but stir the rice occasionally to make sure you have enough liquid. If you don't, add more liquid as needed. 
  • After fifteen minutes, take the lid off. If there is any excess water, allow it to boil off. Fluff with a fork.
  • Place about two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and add slivered almonds. Fry the slivered almond at low temperature. Once they start browning, take it off the stove top. Repeat with raisins. 
  • Add salt as needed. 
  • Serve the rice garnished with almonds and raisins. 

 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Steak and Roasted Asparagas

There is nothing that makes me happier than natural night. I always know on bright sunny days that I can capture a great photo like this. I made this dinner the other night, and it was super yummy and easy. I've been sticking with protein and veggies for my meals lately to keep things light before the holidays get here. The trick to this meal is that there is no grill required. Sometimes I find it easier to cook steak on the stove versus my grill especially with the cold weather coming. If I had a cast iron pan, I'd probably finish the steak off in the oven, but you deal with what you have! Here are my tips and tricks for this simple and light dinner!

Ingredients:
  • Steak
  • Pam (I used pam instead of butter to keep things light)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Asparagas
  • Minced garlic  
  • Blue cheese, sauteed mushrooms, or your other favorite toppings!
Recipe:
  • Take the steak out of the fridge about 30 minutes before cook time to allow it to come to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut off the ends of the asparagus.
  • Spray a baking sheet with Pam, place the asparagus on the baking sheet, and sprinkle with minced garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Roast the asparagus in the oven for about 25 minutes. 
  • While the asparagus is cooking, heat a pan on maximum heat and spray with pam. 
  • Season the steak with salt. 
  • Add the steak to the pan, and flip the steak to sear on both sides. You should only flip once, so I would say about 3 minutes on each side. It usually takes 6-7 minutes total to cook the steak medium rare. If you want to be sure, its best to use a meat thermometer. I don't have one, so I've just fine tuned my cooking time as time has went on. If you don't have a meat thermometer either, 6 minutes is a great place to start. 
  • After the steak is done cooking, place the steak on a cutting board and let it sit for 5 minutes before cutting. 
  • Serve the steak with your favorite toppings.
 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lottery Ticket and Liquor Birthday Bouquet

I was on the fence whether or not to post this. First, the picture isn't the best quality, and second, I made this literally 4 months ago (around the same time that I disappeared from the blogging world whooooops.....).  I figured I would post this anyways because one..I LOVE IT and two...these posts seem to be very popular. It's really such a great DIY gift. I made something similar for my brother's 21st birthday three years ago and it remains one of my most popular blog posts yet. You can see that here. I had so much fun making this birthday gift. I love making bouquets/baskets (or whatever you call it) for birthdays or other special events because you can personalize it and decorate it based on the their favorite things. It also looks so darn good.

What you'll need:
  1. Some type of pot or can
  2. Styrofoam ball or block to fit in can 
  3. Wooden skewers 
  4. Tape
  5. Lottery Tickets, Liquor, Decorations (your choice!)
It is really quite easy to assemble! Place the styrofoam ball or block into the can. You can cut around the edges to ensure that it fits. Tape the lottery tickets and liquor bottles to the skewers. Stick the skewers into the styrofoam, arranging it so that small items are in the front and large items are in the back. Decorate around the bouquet with ribbons and other decorations.

 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Cheesy Pizza Dip

I love football Sundays. It gives me the excuse to hang out in my sweatpants and indulge in my favorite comfort foods. Even though you may not like football...I know you love cheese..and pizza..and yummy goodness. Voila....pizza dip. It is so delicious and requires minimal effort..the best of both worlds. I've been making this dip for a while now. In fact, it was one of the first recipes that I posted on this blog. Back in the day, my pictures were not the prettiest, so I decided to respost this yummy creation again. It's crazy what a DSLR camera and some good lighting can do. Now excuse me while I get back to this......
Ingredients:
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • pepperoni slices 
  • tortilla chips 
  • french bread
Recipe: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix cream cheese, oregano, basil, cheddar cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese.
  3. Spread cream cheese mixture into casserole dish, and top with tomato sauce.
  4. Sprinkle remaining cheeses followed by pepperoni.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is browned.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips and chopped bread.
 
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