Tasty Tuesday: Spicy Rainbow Rice

Happy Tasty Tuesday y’all!

I’m excited to share this recipe with you because it’s one of my new favorites. It requires little prep work & is balanced enough (or nearly enough) not to require a side (but don’t let me hold you back!). It’s also a versatile recipe that could use almost any seasonal vegetables. In addition, it’s got just enough kick to impress the Hubs without sending me into a heated fury to refill the Brita pitcher every five seconds. Plus: this recipe yields about 8 servings so you can eat for days with little effort! Win!

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A few weeks ago I saw The April Blake‘s pot full of color on Instagram. My admiration led to April generously sharing the original recipe (from Oh She Glows who had adapted it from the Vegan Yum Yum Cookbook) with me. Here’s my spin on it!

Spicy Rainbow Rice and Black Beans

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
  • 1 TBSP oil (I prefer EVOO)
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 cup baby carrots, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 3 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tsp Earth Balance (or butter)

Directions:

1. Begin by cooking the basmati rice according to the package directions.

Secret from my Momma’s kitchen: make sure you cover the rice & do not lift the lid before it’s done. You’ll know it’s done when you see little holes peeking through from the lid.

See the little holes - that's how you know the rice is ready!

See the little holes – that’s how you know the rice is ready!

2. Chop the onion and baby carrots.

Lazy cook tip: chop these bad boys up on Sunday to save time after work.

Gather all your ingredients before you start.

Gather all your ingredients before you start.

Another tip: if spices are being added at the same time during the recipe (like in this one), measure them out in a small bowl and set aside until you need them.

3. In a skillet, heat oil over medium. Add the onion and saute. Once the onion begins to turn golden (~3-4 mins.), add carrots and continue to saute for about 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add spices and garlic. Stir until mixture is evenly coated with spices.

4. Stir soy sauce & black beans into mixture. Heat for about 5 minutes.

Always drain & rinse canned beans.

Always drain & rinse canned beans.

Lazy cook tip: invest in a sieve and use it to rinse any canned beans you cook with (this cuts the sodium making canned beans a great time-saving alternative to dried beans).

5. Add the frozen peas and corn to the mix (stir well) and heat for about 5 minutes.

Since your pan is starting to fill up, now’s a good time to utilize your furry helpers in case you have any runaway peas or carrots.

Meet Twitch. If there's cooking in the kitchen, he's there - ready to catch any run-away carrots.

Meet Twitch. If there’s cooking in the kitchen, he’s there – ready to clean up any spills.

6. Fluff the rice and stir in the teaspoon of Earth Balance (or butter).

I’m pretty sure you could omit the Earth Balance or butter altogether to save some calories, but I was really curious to try out Earth Balance so I’ve been keeping this step in.

I swear this tastes just like butter y'all!

I swear this tastes just like butter y’all!

7. Grab a large bowl and add the rice then top with the bean mixture & stir until evenly mixed. Serve & enjoy!

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Tasty Tuesday: Mini Lasagnas

I ran across 2 recipes for mini-lasagnas on Pinterest a few months ago and meshed them to make my own lazy version! I’m a sucker for Italian food – especially lasagna, but who’s got the time to wait an hour for it to cook?! (Have I mentioned I’m also an impatient cook?)

Solution: mini lasagnas! They’re not just for parties.

Not only are they adorable, they're delicious!

Ingredients:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (any high heat oil will work)
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped (you could substitute a zucchini, a squash, mushrooms or any other vegetable you have on hand. You only need about 1 cup)
  • 24 wonton wrappers (most packs will include 48 so as a bonus, you can make it twice!)
  • ~ 1 cup mozzarella (fresh, slices or shredded – whatever your preference!)
  • ~ 1 cup of spaghetti / marinara sauce
  • ~ 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • optional: shredded / grated Parmesan cheese
  • optional: 1 garlic clove, minced

Directions:

1. Chop the onion.

2. Heat about 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until light brown, stirring often. If you are using the garlic, add it with the onion.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

4. Lightly spray cupcake pan with oil (if you don’t have spray, put some oil on a paper towel and wipe the cups to coat).

5. Place 2 wonton wrappers in each cup & press down gently (you will want to layer them so that they are overlapping slightly at the bottom of the cup and will cover all edges so your lasagna doesn’t fall out once it’s cooked).

Overlap 2 wonton wrappers (so the bottom & edges are covered to form the "shell") & press the bottom into the cups.

Overlap the wonton wrappers & press into pan.

6. While the onion is cooking, begin layering a spoonful of ricotta in the bottom of each wonton lined cup.

7. Once the onion is lightly browned, divide among the 12 cups.

8. If you are using the optional Parmesan cheese, sprinkle a little on top of the onion in each cup.

9. Add a spoonful of marinara / spaghetti sauce on top of the onion.

with sauce

10. Last, top the cups with the mozzarella.

11. Bake the mini lasagnas at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes. When the edges of the wontons begin to brown, the lasagnas are ready!

{On our last batch, Hubs had the brilliant idea to fold the excess wonton wrap back over the cheese before baking them. I have to say, he’s on to something!}

cooked

*BONUS Recipe!*

If you end up with an odd number of wonton wrappers left over, you can use them to make cheese sticks! I usually have string cheese on hand (PAIR it with a PEAR & you’ve got a balanced mid-morning snack!), but if you didn’t you could use your leftover fresh mozzarella or even roll up your slices.

You can make as many or as few as you’d like.

Cut the string cheese sticks into thirds. Lay the pieces diagonally on the wonton paper. Fold the edges in first and then roll up. Place the rolled cheese sticks on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes (you can also save time and energy by baking these with the lasagnas – you’ll bake them at a slightly lower temperature so they may take just a smidge longer). Be sure to flip once. My cheese always oozes out, but the crispy cheese tastes so good I don’t mind. If that bothers you, you could brush on some egg (or just use a little water) to seal before baking or cut the cheese in quarters instead of thirds. Use your leftover marinara for dipping.

Enjoy! 🙂