Hacks from my Happy Place – XXV

I know that it’s been a long while since I’ve shared anything under this theme. It is not for laziness, because I spend at least 30 minutes most days (for at least two months so far) looking for recipes. However, some of those I share these meals with have dietary restrictions – lactose intolerance, gluten-free and/or low sodium – and I’ve not been able to find too many recipes that I’d like to try that don’t include at least one of the restricted items. If a recipe meets those requirements, then I also have to see what ingredients it calls for that I don’t have and decide whether I want to invest in an ingredient for one recipe that I may not like. Added to that, I have to make them first and sample them to make sure they are worthy of my readers! So here are a few recipes I think are worth trying:

Zippy but Sweet Asian Sauce

1 tablespoon canola (or similar) oil
1 garlic clove, minced (or 1 teaspoon minced garlic)
1/2 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add garlic to the pan, stirring while cooking for 1 minute. Stir in broth, brown sugar, soy sauce and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium low and let cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, mix together cornstarch and water until smooth (called a slurry). Slowly add small amounts of this mixture into the broth until desired consistency is achieved (it thickens quickly so it’s important to add this mixture slowly; you may not need it all!). Serve with cooked chicken or pork chops with a side of rice drizzled with sauce. Also consider it as the sauce to make for stir-fry meals such as beef and broccoli or chicken and snow peas. I also think it would make a nice glaze on a meatloaf for a change of pace!

Cheddar Cheese Quick Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 350° Grease/spray a loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, garlic powder and salt. Stir in shredded cheese. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, egg & butter.
Add liquid ingredients to bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Do not over-mix.
Spoon/pour into loaf pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes. Top should be a golden brown.
Cool on wire rack. Remove loaf from pan, slice & serve.

As Good as Takeout Fried Rice

3 cups cooked white rice (day old or leftover rice works best!)
3 tablespoon sesame oil (use olive oil and add toasted sesame seeds as an alternative)
1 cup frozen peas and carrots (thawed)
1 small onion, chopped
2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup soy sauce
Diced or shredded cooked chicken or pork (optional but highly recommended)

On medium high heat, heat the oil in a large skillet or wok. Add the peas/carrots mix, onion and garlic. Stir fry until tender. Lower the heat to medium low and push the mixture off to one side, then pour your eggs on the other side of skillet and stir fry until scrambled. Now add the rice and soy sauce and blend all together well. Add optional meat. Stir fry until thoroughly heated.

I have a few other recipes which I still have to try before sharing them, but I can recommend these tried recipes if you so choose to give them a chance! Mangiare and bon Appetit!