Monday, April 2, 2012

Some Savory Sides

I tried a couple new recipes again last week. These were for new sides to accompany main dishes that I already make. The first is for Baked Brown Rice Balls. This recipe originated from Cooking During Stolen Moment's blog. I made these to accompany breaded pork chops and pan-fried green beans.

  • 4 cups fully cooked brown rice, cooled (I used 2 1/2 cups dry rice + 5 cups water)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (I used a heaping 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (I used a heaping 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (I used a heaping 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • Olive oil for drizzling
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients, except the olive oil. Mix well to combine.

Using about 2 tablespoons of rice mixture at a time, roll into balls and line up on a baking sheet. I lined my baking sheet with parchment paper first to save myself from needing to wash it. :) To make it easier to roll out the balls, rinse your hands with cold water every so often to keep them a little damp. If your hands are too dry, the rice will stick to them.

Drizzle some olive oil over all of the rice balls. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until slightly browned and a little crispy. I baked them for closer to 30 minutes.

Serve as a side dish with any meal. These are especially good with a saucy main dish where you can dip them in the sauce too. Or, cover with marinara for a fun twist. If you are doing that and want to up the Italian flavor, add 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese to the rice mixture.

I loved these! Hubby and I quickly gobbled them up. :) The great thing about this recipe is that it makes a ton of them, so you can freeze them and thaw however many you need on nights when you are rushed to get dinner ready quickly. This initial batch was a lengthy process when you include the time it takes to cook the rice (the kind I bought required 50 minutes of cooking time + 10 minutes standing), then it also needed to sit and cool too. I helped this along by putting my bowl in the refrigerator after it had cooled on the counter for a bit. So, total time from start to finish was at least 2 hours for this side dish. Keep this in mind so you don't start dinner at 7 pm, thinking it will be ready in time! This might be a good dish to make ahead of time on the weekend, then just thaw it when you need it.

The next recipe is for Cilantro Lime Quinoa. This recipe came from Sarcastic Cooking's blog. The recipe includes a blackened chicken component to serve atop the quinoa. I also made this to accompany the quinoa dish, but simply used a blackened cajun seasoning I found at the Fresh Market instead of making my own seasoning. As I have posted before, I love this seasoning, so I didn't figure I needed to mess with a good thing! ;)

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 limes, juice and zest
  • Salt and pepper, dash of each
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

Add the chicken stock and quinoa to a medium saucepan.

Bring to a simmer over medium/low heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for ten to fifteen minutes with the lid on, until all the stock has been absorbed. Add the warm quinoa to a large bowl. Toss in the lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper, and chopped cilantro.

Mix to combine. Serve with blackened chicken.

Instead of topping with the avocado cream sauce, as suggested, I drizzled the chicken with honey. I love combining the hot, spicy flavor of the Cajun seasoning with something sweet, like honey. The chicken was delicious, but I have to say that the quinoa is not something I would make again. Hubby informed me, after I had already made dinner of course, that he isn't a big fan of lime anything. Fail. I guess I had never discovered that before since I have never cooked with lime until now! So, he was really not a fan of this dish. One bite and he was done with it! :( I, on the other hand, did finish mine, but I added more honey to get through it. The flavor of the lime and cilantro was a bit too overwhelming and not very pleasant to me. Perhaps in a smaller amount it would be ok? It may be worth trying that way. If you do, let me know!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love hearing what you have to say! Show me some love! ;)