Saturday, February 9, 2013

Wild Rice Two Ways

We're in the midst of a winter wonderland! I went into the city for work yesterday but ended up leaving around 3:00 since the snow was coming down like crazy. We definitely didn't get hammered by Nemo like northern New York and Mass., but I'll take any snow we can get. ;-)

When I arrived home from work yesterday to a cozy house with pajama-wearing boys, I was famished and in no mood to start cooking. Thankfully dinner was in the bag thanks to a little prep the night before. Veggie & wild rice stuffed peppers were already in the oven and steaming hot by the time I changed into sweats for a night at home.

During my last grocery shopping trip I picked up a few new items to add to my pantry, including some new rices. Sometimes plain old brown rice just gets boring, so I was excited to try out some new varieties. I've been loving the new additions, especially the wild rice.

The rice is nutty and has a great texture, and surprisingly it has fewer calories but more fiber and protein than brown rice. I used it to make dinner on Thursday night, which was a simple version of "shrimp creole."

This was so easy to make. I cooked some onions and red peppers in a little olive oil over low heat until they were soft and sweet, then added a jar of homemade canned tomatoes, some water, and a half cup of wild rice. I let it cook until the rice was tender, then added some cajun seasoning and salt & pepper. At the last minute, I tossed in two servings of fresh shrimp (seasoned with salt), and let it cook for a few minutes longer until the shrimp turned pink.

It was spicy and tomato-ey and really delicious. Cooking the rice with canned tomatoes & veggies gave it so much more flavor than cooking it with plain water.

Since I was already cooking rice for dinner on Thursday night, I figured I'd make an extra batch and get my peppers prepped for Friday night. Matt and I both dislike cooking on Fridays after a long work week (unless it's homemade pizza, which we already made last week), so I was glad to have dinner made for us when we got home last night.

To make the filling, I sautéed zucchini, soy crumbles, onions, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and hot sauce all together in a pan. Then I added some cooked wild rice, cheddar cheese and homemade chili sauce.

I blanched the peppers in boiling water for a few minutes until they were slightly cooked through, then stuffed them with the rice mixture. Then I wrapped them in plastic wrap for the night, and when Matt got home from work yesterday, he popped them in the oven for a half hour until they were hot and bubbly. So good. Even Riker happily ate them.

After dinner and play time with Riker, the rest of our night was spent sipping an oak-aged stout while working on my new puzzle and watching Almost Famous (one of my all time favorite movies) while the snow fell outside. Perfect little Friday night at home.

I finally finished Divergent yesterday, and before starting the second book in the series I figured it was time to start my annual winter puzzle. It's been sitting on the dining room table for weeks waiting to be opened, but now that it's out, I'll probably be spending every free second working on it. Love 'em!

I'm about to bundle Riker up in his snowsuit and take him out sledding for the first time. We're dropping him off later at the grandparents' so Matt and I can celebrate Heather's birthday in style down in Atlantic City, so I want to soak up some kiddie time with him this morning. Enjoy your Saturday!

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