Mexican Rice

Mexican night is pretty big in our house.  It’s one of the #1 requested meals, and it’s usually never made the same.  Top nights consist of two favorites, and they are deliciously simple:

  • Quesadillas: rice, steak or cheese
  • Rice:  tomato based, or cilantro and lime
Cilantro Lime Rice is super simple, but tomato based can get a little tricky.  I make this all the time and it is one of our favorites.
What you’ll need:
  • 1 cup of uncooked rice
  • 2 T Olive Oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • garlic salt
  • 2 cups chicken stock

What to do:

  1. heat olive oil in a non-stick pan
  2. chop up yellow onion and lay in pan
  3. add uncooked rice to pan, and let fry about 5 minutes, until the onion gets soft, but be careful not to let the rice burn
  4. add rice to 2 cups of chicken stock in a pot.  add tomato sauce, and garlic salt.  cook about 15 minutes, watching to make sure it doesn’t burn


Amazing Asparagus

One of my favorite veggies to eat is asparagus.  Have you tried it?

I didn’t eat it for the first 24 years of my life, and now it is my go to side dish of choice.  You can seriously whip this up sooooo quick as a side, and it looks and tastes fancy pants.  Some of my favorites to make it with are a steak, with some mashed potatoes.  I’ve also made it as a side dish with pasta, chicken fish and more more more.  I’ve also, admittedly, eaten it on its own as a dinner.  I loooooove.
This dish doesn’t have any specific measurements, and I wouldn’t use too much of anything, just a sprinkle. The flavors are amazing together.  Here’s what you need for this perfection:
1 bunch of asparagus
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil (stick to olive, nothing else)
  • Fresh asparagus.  Try to get the thickest and greenest you can find at your grocer.  Cut the white ends off the bottom.  I sometimes cut the stalks up into chunks, and sometimes leave them whole.  Delicious either way.
  • Olive Oil.  The first thing you want to do is to throw about a teaspoon of olive oil in a shallow pan (whatever will fit into your broiler)  Then toss your asparagus in, and drizzle a bit on top.  Mix it up in the pan to get the asparagus coated.
  • The good stuff.  On top of the asparagus, throw some pepper, a pinch of salt, about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and parmesan cheese.  Mix it up again to make everything mix.  Broil for 5 minutes, and then flip the stalks.
  • You can cook them to your desire.  I love my asparagus soft but still crunchy.  Yummmersss.

Holy Smokes Cinnamon Buns

I cook and bake a lot. It’s therapeutic for me. And, I mean, it’s a great hobby. Why punch a pillow when you can bake a cake? One thing I truly love about cooking and baking is when you just get something right. Like you make it 4 times, but the 5th, it just comes out right. Then you only make it that way from now on. I have that special relationship with a few things; a penne a la vodka recipe, cajun chicken alfredo, homemade chicken soup. And now, cinnamon buns.

I’ve made this recipe before, but somehow, I don’t think I kneaded the dough, or paid attention or something. Because I definitely don’t remember kneading the last time. I’ve made some bad cinnamon rolls in my time. Ones that stay tiny and don’t rise or expand, ones where the cinnamon and sugar slips out to the bottom and nothing is left in the roll (not fun), and ones where I smoosh the rolls when I’m cutting them (you know what I mean, take your time, and use a sharp, slightly serrated knife).

bun that was devoured .3 seconds following this photo

Here’s what I did.

Pink of Perfection’s Overnight Rolls

1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/2 cup white sugar
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs

1 1/3 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Stir in butter until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt; mix well. Add eggs and the milk mixture; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has just pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, adding more flour as needed, about 5 minutes.

Cover the dough and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together filling ingredients.

Roll out dough into a 9×12 inch rectangle. Spread dough evenly with filling mixture. Roll up dough from the long end and pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 equal size rolls and place cut side up in a 9×12″ baking pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, remove cinnamon rolls from refrigerator and let sit on the counter for about 30 minutes to take the chill off. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until browned.

Now, when it comes to the topping, I got particular. I’ve had some great fails there too, and NEVER made any good topping. So I did some googling prior to this, and discovered that the secret cinnabon recipe (which calls for a box of instant pudding-ick!) is always topped with cream cheese frosting…duh!

I had some of this in the freezer and it worked PER.FECT.LY. Could not be yummier people.

5 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Cream the cream cheese and butter until fluffy and add the sugar, tasting as you go. Spread this on these babies when they come out of the oven and try not to eat the whole pan. I dare you. I seriously contemplated eating a breakfast, lunch, and dinner of Cinnamon rolls today. I settled on a breakfast and a snack. 🙂

well now, I’m craving some salsa

any guesses as to what this will grow into? hint: it is most definitely a fruit tree 🙂

Yesterday, we started planting! Any by “we”, clearly I mean I went and got the supplies and R dug holes and by all definitions did all of the “planting”. Bahhaha. I picked up 3 kinds of lettuce, and radishes in plants, and also grabbed some peas and beans seeds. I can’t wait to taste all of this!

Let’s chat today about one of my most used veggies from the garden:

That right there is indeed a tomato bigger than my hand! And we grew it! Last year and the year before, we had an abundance of tomatoes that we seriously did not know what to do with them. Every year, we make a can a whole bunch of tomato sauce, but it takes time, and we just couldn’t keep up with it! I have two things I could basically eat everyday, summer or winter, that involve tomatoes: brushetta, and homemade salsa. This past summer, I was on a homemade salsa kick! I even made a HUGE batch for my family picnic and everyone loved it! So I share here my favorite ingredients and tricks for fresh salsa you won’t be able to put down.

Ingredients for the perfect salsa:
fresh tomatoes, chopped
red onion, chopped
garlic, chopped
fresh OR dried cilantro. either will be YUM
lime juice
jalapeno or other spicy (or not if you are a wimp like I sometimes am) pepper
avocado if you’re feeling frisky

THAT IS IT! I wish I could tell you how much of each, but that is the beauty of homemade salsa. Each time I make it, it’s a tuny bit different, and that’s the beauty of it. Add and taste, taste, taste! Here are a few things to remember:

I really prefer to chop my veggies by hand, but I know some people do it electrically. If you do, do it a tiny bit at a time and DO NOT OVERCHOP. The acidity of the tomatoes takes over when they get mixed too much, and you will loose all the fresh flavor of the salsa.
Fresh salsa definitely tastes better the more it sits. If I am making it for dinner, I try to let it sit at least an hour in the fridge, juice together, and mush. I have also made it the night before for picnics. I do not know how long it lasts, because I eat it all in 2 days (true story).
Don’t worry about messing up, because it’s always fixable. Always start with a little of each and add add add. Last year, when I was brining my HUGE batch to a picnic, I accidentally added WAYYYY too much habanero pepper and nearly burnt my mouth off. After crying about it for a few minutes, R instructed me to go get some more tomatoes and just add more of everything. It worked! He’s such a genius!

Have fun on your salsa making quest, and don’t say I didn’t warn you, this stuff is addictive!