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From My Personal Stash: Pasta, Rice and Chili, Oh My!

Jan 21, 2015 10:56AM ● Published by Kevin

In our January-February edition of Mansfield Magazine, Cookin' With Carol's Carol Ritchie discusses "One Dish Wonders," the easiest ways to throw a dish together.

Carol shares recipes and techniques for pasta, rice and soup. These dishes are great in the winter months. If you're low on time and big on hunger, try some of the recipes I share from my personal cookbook below.

Do you make tamales each year? Share your favorite techniques, tips and sides in the comments below.

Pasta

One healthy spin on pasta is replacing the boxed stuff with spaghetti squash. This winter squash averages 42 calories per cup, as opposed to the near-200 calories a regular box of pasta will net you. It's also rich in vitamin A, potassium, folic acid and beta carotene.

To prepare, simply take a big, sharp knife and cut the ends off of the squash and then cut it in half. Spoon out the innards. Add just a little water to a baking dish, and place both sides face down. Bake for 40 minutes (at 350). Remove from the oven and let it cool until you can safely handle it.

With a fork, start pulling the inside of the squash into a bowl. It should look like small strands of spaghetti.

I like to add pesto sauce. You can buy a jar at the store, or make your own by blending together fresh basil, chopped garic, pine nuts, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and Pecorino cheese. Mix it well with the pasta and add your favorite mix of sautéed vegetables. For added flavor, you can add prosciutto or pancetta to the mix, as well as chicken.

Rice

I love Asian food. Pork fried rice is a favorite here in America, so here's my spin on it:

Ingredients

-        2 eggs, beaten

-        1 tsp soy sauce

-        1 tsp sesame or vegetable oil

-        1 clove minced garlic

-        1 TBS cooking oil

-        1 stalk celery, thinly bias-sliced (about ½ cup)

-        1 pound marinated pork

-        1-2 pouches cooked white rice

-        1 medium carrot, shredded

-        2 TBS soy sauce

-        ½ onion, chopped

Before You Begin

Cook the rice according to package instructions. You can also use a rice cooker if you have one. Once the rice is done, place it in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least a half hour.

The pork should be pre-cut into bite-sized pieces and marinaded at least a half hour before cooking. I like to marinade my meats over night. For the marinade, combine the pork with 1/3 cup water, 2.5 teaspoons sugar, 3 tablespoons oyster sauce, 2 tablespoons sesame oil and 2 cloves of minced garlic.

Directions

1.)   In a small bowl, combine eggs and 1 tsp soy sauce. Set aside.

2.)   Pour 1 tsp oil into wok or large skillet. Preheat over medium heat. Add garlic and egg mixture and stir gently to scramble. When set, remove egg mixture from work. Cut up any large pieces of the egg mixture. Remove wok from heat.

3.)   Pour cooking oil into wok or skillet (add more as necessary during cooking). Return to medium-high heat.

4.)   Add onions and pork to skillet and stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes.

5.)   Add and stir-fry celery for one minute.

6.)   Add rice and carrot. Sprinkle with 2 TBS soy sauce. Cook and stir for 4 – 6 minutes or until heated through. Add cooked egg mixture.

7.)   Cook and stir about 1 minute more or until heated through.

For Shrimp Fried Rice: Add a can of mini shrimps to mixture when adding the rice. Do not use pork if using shrimp

Chili

Another healthy version of a tasty recipe, I use 95-percent lean ground turkey. Be careful with your portions. Once you start eating, you won't be able to stop!

Ingredients

-        1 lb. lean ground turkey

-        1 cup chopped onion

-        2 cups tomato sauce

-        1 TBS chili powder

-        1 tsp salt

-        ½ tsp black pepper

-        Dash cayenne

-        Dash oregano

-        Dash basil

-        Dash parsley

-        ½ cup taco sauce

-        ¼ cup of your favorite buffalo sauce (I use Texas Pete)

-        Dash Tabasco

-        Dash paprika

-        Assorted pepper, chopped

Directions

1.)   Brown ground turkey over medium heat, along with peppers and onions. Drain excess grease.

2.)   Add spices first and mix well - this incorporates the essential flavors right into the meat. Add the liquid ingredients and mix well again. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low.

3.)   Simmer for 20 minutes, then transfer to a crock pot. Cook up to 8 hours. Makes four generous servings. Double the recipe if desired.


For Carol's recipes, make sure you read the January-February issue of Mansfield Magazine, and then tell us your favorite ways to cook dishes like these (or your favorite local restaurants that offer them) in the comments below.

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