Indian Rice Pudding

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lately it seems like it takes all my effort just to be able to pull together an easy-to-fix dinner each night, let alone trying a new recipe and actually taking pictures of it.  Couple that with my effort to cut refined sugar out of my diet and this poor blog is getting more neglected by the week.   This recipe is one that I've had in the files for a couple of years now and one that I've been making more often now that we're trying to eat more simply. We use brown rice and coconut sugar in place of refined sugar and serve it with some fresh berries for a dessert that's wholesome and delicious!   Rice pudding looks humble, but with its subtle coconut flavor and creamy texture it's one the kids love too.  I usually make a double or triple batch and put some in their lunches for a special treat! 

Picture shown using brown rice and coconut sugar, so it's darker than it would be if you used white rice and white sugar. 
Click here for printable recipe

Posted by Lara.

The ingredients:
1 cup cooked long grain or basmati rice (brown or white rice is fine)

1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar (it was good with coconut sugar as well)

1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup golden raisins (optional)
1/3 cup unsalted pistachios, chopped (optional)

In a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat, combine the cooked rice and milk. Heat until the mixture begins to boil. Decrease the heat to low and cook at a simmer until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring frequently, approximately 5 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium, add the heavy cream, coconut milk, sugar, and cinnamon and continue to cook until the mixture just begins to thicken again, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Use a whisk to help prevent the cinnamon from clumping. Once the mixture just begins to thicken, remove from the heat and stir in the raisins and pistachios (if using).
Transfer the mixture to individual serving dishes or a glass bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding, to prevent a film from forming on the surface of the pudding (we skipped the plastic wrap and didn't have any issues).
Serve chilled or at room temperature.


Recipe Adapted from:  Food Network


Baked Spaghetti with A-1 Sauce

Monday, February 11, 2013

When my son was in the hospital for several months last year, we had wonderful friends who brought our family meals 3 or 4 times a week.  It was a HUGE blessing to us and allowed us to focus on taking care of our family, instead of stressing about what was for dinner each night.  Along the course of those 118 days and nights that he was in the hospital, we had a lot of amazing food brought to us.  We sincerely liked everything that was brought to us, but there were a few of the meals which my family raved about so much that I decided I better get the recipe for so I could make it again later.  This meal brought over by my friend Melissa was one of those meals.   I normally shun cooking anything that calls for condensed soups, but my family was so insistent (my husband in particular) that I make this again, that I set aside my prejudices and took a special trip to the store for the cream of mushroom soup.    My family cheered when they realized that this Melissa-invented recipe made not one pan, but TWO pans of the spaghetti.  We could freeze one for another day or share the love and bring one to another family just as Melissa had shared with us.  

Check out the printable tag at the end of the post, that you can tape onto the spaghetti before freezing or before bringing to a friend! 

Click here for printable recipe.

Posted by Lara.

The ingredients:
V-8 juice not pictured

2 onions, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 lbs. ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 packet dry beefy onion soup mix (Lipton's)
1/2 cup A-1 steak sauce
1 box (16-ounces) spaghetti noodles
1 large can (28-ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 can (14.5-ounces) stewed or diced tomatoes
2 cans (10.5-ounces each) cream of mushroom soup
2 cups of V-8 juice
1 can (2.25-ounces) sliced olives, drained
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or mozzarella)
1 Tbs. dried parsley

In a large soup pot, saute the chopped onions in oil for 3-4 minutes.  Add the ground beef, salt, and pepper and cook until browned. 

In another large pot, cook the spaghetti noodles as directed on package. 

Drain meat, return to pot and add dry beefy onion soup mix and A-1 steak sauce.   Stir and simmer for about 3 minutes.  Add crushed tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, V-8 juice and cream of mushroom soup. 

Stir on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes, or until well blended.  Add  sliced olives.  At this point, the noodles should be finished cooking.  Drain noodles and combine with sauce mixture. 

When everything is combined, divide between TWO 9x13-inch pans (7-8 cups  per pan) and top with 1-1/2 cups shredded cheese and 1/2 Tbs. dried parsley each casserole.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 10-minutes, or until top is browned slightly. 

  Serve hot with breadsticks and a tossed green salad

FREEZER DIRECTIONS:  Wrap the 9x13-inch  pan of unbaked spaghetti with foil.   Freeze for up to 2-months.   To use, place directly into the oven from the freezer and bake at 350 degrees for about 2 hours. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10-minutes, or until top is browned slightly.



Just for fun, I've made this printable tag you can attach to your 2nd pan of baked spaghetti.  Whether you give it to a friend or put it in your freezer, you've got a cute tag with all the directions you need!   Simply right click on the image then copy and paste into a word processing program and adjust to the size you need before printing.  :) 



Turkey Sweet Potato Chili in a Slow Cooker

Friday, February 1, 2013

As the weather turns colder, I find myself turning more and more to meals like this Turkey Sweet Potato Chili.  It's hearty, filling, tasty, and full of good healthy foods (like pumpkin, sweet potato, peppers, mushrooms, etc).   I've made it several times now and my family has declared it our new go-to not-too-spicy, not-too-sweet chili recipe.  All the chopping makes the prep time a little lengthy, but since it makes such a humongous batch (it filled my 4-quart crockpot), that it's perfect for sharing with a friend or for freezing part for another day, it makes the chopping worth the effort.   See the easy freezer directions below and enjoy! 

Click here for printable recipe.

Posted by Lara.

The ingredients:
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 bell peppers, diced  (I used a red and a green pepper)
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (take care NOT to touch the seeds or to include them in the chili, because they will make it very spicy)
1 lb. ground turkey
1 pkg. (12-ounces) chicken Italian sausage, halved and sliced
8-ounces mushrooms, minced
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chili powder
1-1/2 tsp. paprika
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cans (14.5-ounces each) diced tomatoes
2 cans (15-ounces each) black beans, drained and rinsed
2-1/2 cups beef broth
1 can (15-ounces) pumpkin (make sure it is not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 tsp.  cinnamon
1 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
Desired toppings:  sour cream, sliced avocado, fresh lime juice, chopped cilantro, crumbled crackers


Over medium high heat, in a large skillet add 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil and add onion, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapenos.  Saute for about 5 minutes, until veggies are soft.    Add to crockpot.
In the same skillet, heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil.  Add turkey and mushrooms and stir to combine.   When turkey is almost cooked, add in the sliced sausage and saute until the sausage is lightly browned and the turkey is cooked through.  

Sprinkle on cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder and  paprika and stir to combine.   Add turkey/sausage mixture to slow cooker.

Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beans, broth, pumpkin, cinnamon, and cocoa powder to slow cooker. (Your crockpot will be very full) Stir til combined.    Cook in covered crockpot until sweet potatoes are tender, 4-6 hours on high, or 8-10 on low.     (I cooked mine over the stovetop for about an hour, then put it into the crockpot to keep it warm. )

Before serving, remove the lid and turn the crockpot off and allow chili to sit for 10-15 minutes.    Season with additional salt to taste before serving.  Serve with desired toppings. Makes about 16 cups.

STOVETOP DIRECTIONS:  If you don't have time for the crockpot, simply follow the directions through adding the seasonings to the meat, then add the remaining ingredients to a large stockpot (instead of the crockpot).  Simmer over medium-low heat until sweet potatoes are tender (about 45-60 minutes)

FREEZER DIRECTIONS:   To freeze, simply pour the chili into a freezer container (I used a square disposable pan). Cover with plastic wrap and  foil and place in the freezer.  When you're ready to thaw it out, just pop it out of the disposable pan and place into a microwaveable bowl.  Heat until hot (or if you prefer to heat it over the stovetop....just heat in the microwave until thawed, then you can place it in a pan on the stovetop).


 Recipe adapted from:  Our Best Bites



About This Blog

My name is Lara and while I'm definitely not a gourmet cook, I do love preparing tasty, healthy meals for my family. Finding new recipes to try and sharing the ones we've already fallen in love with is a passion I've had since college and the reason why I've started this blog! With five kids, I'm usually in a hurry, so you'll find most of these recipes kid friendly and simple to make.

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