Thursday, July 7, 2011

Veggies and Rice and Everything Nice!

I've been going through pictures from my trip and putting together an Italian food blog, however in the process I made one of my favorite healthy recipes - so I thought I'd share.  This "Veggies and Rice and everything Nice" meal is about the easiest thing on the planet to make,  it comes out looking like you've labored in the kitchen for hours - which makes the people who eat it appreciate you THAT much more :). Did I mention it tastes amazing!? Now you'll notice from the pictures I've done a great job of keeping the images cropped in tight to hide the mess I tend to make in the kitchen! I may not be a tidy cook but thats what dogs (I mean brooms) are for ;)!

Ingredients you'll need:

Fat Free Italian Dressing (get the no name brand and save 2 bucks - $1.99)!
"Rice Sides" Herb and Butter Packaged Rice (Walmart $1.00)
Veggies of your liking I chose : Sliced Baby Portabella Mushrooms, Peppers, Red Onions, Broccoli, and Zucchini. (about $5.00 for all of these)
Seasoning to taste (I recommend Mrs Dash)

Total cost for 2 Meals = $8.00

To start you will take your Portabella Mushrooms and put them in the skillet. Cover with about a 1/4 cup of FF italian Dressing. I don't use any oil or butter when I cook the FF dressing will keep the mushrooms moist enough so they don't burn. You'll want to stir them around for about 5 minutes on a medium heat. While the mushrooms are cooking get your water boiling for the rice.

Follow the VERY SIMPLE instructions on the rice bag.  It should only take 7 minutes to cook and then it will be just the right temperature when your veggies are complete.  If the rice you use calls for any additional oil leave it out. Water is all you need to cook rice.

Now that your rice is off and running, get your knife and start chopping! Start with veggies that have less of a water content and will take longer to cook such as broccoli.  Slice the zucchini thin enough that it will get tender, cut strips of peppers after taking the seeds out, and finish with the red onions for a bit of sweetness.

Once all the veggies are added to the skillet add about 1/4 cup additional FF Italian Dressing to the mix. Turn the heat to medium/high and continue to move the veggies around in the skillet so they brown and dont burn.  Now the fun part - seasoning!

All of my friends always ask how I make veggies taste so good.  Well the trick is - seasoning! I'm a vegetarian so I consume a TON of veggies - if they tasted bland I wouldn't know what to eat.  A good rule of thumb to go by is this : IF YOU LIKE THE WAY THE SPICE SMELLS, YOU'LL LIKE THE WAY IT TASTES. Don't be afraid to experiment you'll get it wrong sometimes but once you figure out what you like, you'll be golden! My go to spices are as follows:

Tomato Basil and Garlic by Mrs Dash (this line has some amazing seasonings)
Sea salt
Dried Basil

Generously cover the veggies in the skillet the spices you choose. Go heavy on the spice because it will mild out as you cook. If at any point your veggies start to get a bit dry add more FF dressing to the skillet and continue to move the veggies around.

Oh - look at that! Your rice is done. Take it off the burner and allow it to firm up while it cools. Your veggies should be making a sauce at this point and be simmering on the stove top. Like this:

Wow - I'm getting hungry just looking at this post! The awesome thing about not using oil is that none of this meal feels heavy or tastes greasy.  The FF italian dressing actually starts to caramelize as you near the end of the veggie cooking.  Your heat should still be at Medium to High and you'll start to see the veggies stick a bit to the bottom of the pan and brown. If the veggies are done you should have a film around the edges of the skillet from the veggie juice and FF dressing making the sauce. Let the veggies cool for about 5 minutes and once done serve!

While the rice is still hot, press it into a 3/4 measuring cup to form it into these awesome rice cups.  Makes the meal look that much more professional! :) Garnish with pieces of veggies on top and your meal is complete.  For more ideas for meals check out my sister's blog : Cheesecake Yum! Next time I post a recipe it's going to be my WORLD FAMOUS pizza on the grill! I know you'll be waiting with drool dripping down your mouths!

1 comment:

  1. Yay! My little food blogger in training :) I have to say, your cropped pics are nice - no surprise there that the pics look nice, even of your food! I feel like we're about to switch places in our blogging style. I feel some serious crafty/redone furniture posts coming up and I think food is on your radar. We should guest blog on each other's pages... or something like that! Do you know if that FF Italian has any sugar in it? If it's low in sugar, I might make this (with some chicken added) this weekend.