(Re) Make it Monday: Jazz Up a Cheap Meal (Rice-a-roni)

This will be my first over time, to doll up basic boxed dinners like Hamburger/Tuna Helper, Rice-a-Roni, and Knorr Pasta/Rice sides.

Today, I’m starting with a Rice-a-Roni dinner. They’re about a buck, and you add meat (chicken, turkey, pork, certain fish), and you have the meal there. But this one, *my* version, adds a twist!

So start with browning your meat.

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Add diced veggies you’d like out of:
Onion
Tomato
Any color bell pepper
Mushrooms

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If you want to make it breakfast-y, add scrambled eggs. Past that, follow the directions on the back of the box of how to cook the rice!

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Some other possible add ins might be:

Salsa
Shredded Cheese
Diced Chiles
Jalapenos
Ro-Tel

How do you make your simple rice-a-roni a little fancy? Which one is your favorite to make? Is there one you can’t stand?

Taco Tuesday: Taco Salad Editon

I was soo¬†feeling tacos, so here we are. Babe’s been struggling with illnesses off and on, as this weather won’t just pick one (winter or spring), so I took to a mild form of taco salad, that I got from my ex’s sister in law. It’s different, but good, and you can add in all the spice you want, while not hearing everyone else eating, complaining “It’s too spicy!!!!!”

What makes it different, you ask? Well, take to these ingredients, and take a guess:

-Ground meat or substitute. I like ground turkey
-taco seasoning
-onion
-tomato
-lettuce or spinach
-shredded cheese or substitute
-Catalina dressing (I like Kraft’s sweet honey one for this)
-sour cream, or substitute
-refried beans
-soft tortillas, or Doritos (spicy nachos, cool ranch, or nacho cheese, all will do)
-anything else you want, like chives, rice, hot sauce, jalapenos, etc

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Start by dicing up some onion, and put in a hot pan with oil. Let it start cooking, and put some taco seasoning in with it, then your meat substance. While the meat is cooking, dice up any more onion you’d like, and all the other veggies. If you’re using tortillas, rip a few tortillas into bite sized pieces. If you have rice, cook that too.

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Once the meat is almost done, add some more taco seasoning. Once it’s done, add refried beans, and if you want cooked rice in there, add the cooked rice here as well. Let the refired beans and rice get warm, and soak in the seasoning.

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From there, grab a big bowl, layer some tortillas or chips (kind of crunching them as you go), some veggies, then the meat mixture, cheese, and dressing. Rinse and repeat.

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At the top, add some sour cream, and if wanted, either put some salsa in now, and mix it all up. Serve, and add any spicy condiments, as desired (or not).

I hope you enjoy this simple and milder take on taco salad. I enjoy it both with chips and tortillas. Which one is your favorite? Try them both, and get back to me!

Homemade Sushi: Remake it Mondays

So last Tuesday, I finally made sushi again. I’ve been craving it for awhile now, and while my dad and I were in Pittsburgh over Easter weekend, we visited the Strip District. There’s an oriental shop there, and we picked up a good bit. I took home some pickled ginger, nori, and some teas.

For this week’s remake it Monday food, plus with my craving of sushi, I’m bringing you, well, sushi. It’s easier than you think, but it takes a sharp, wet knife, and patience.

Most of the work is in the rolling and cutting of it, so be warned.

To start off, decide what you want in your sushi rolls. Feel free to look up different types of sushi, or just go for whatever sounds good. For meats, it’s always seafood. You can have vegetarian options, with no meat, but with cream cheese and veggies, or vegan options, with veggies.

This time, I did lobster and crab, with veggies. I did two rolls of each. Trust me when I say, that when eaten by themselves, you’ll eat slightly more than what you think you will. But don’t over do it, as the fullness factor WILL hit you.

Ingredients:
-short grain rice (search sushi rice on Amazon)
-veggies like cucumber, avacado, sweet potato, carrots)
-nori (seaweed sheets. this one comes with a bamboo mat)
-seafood, like crab, lobster, salmon, or tuna.
-soy sauce
-wasabi (optional. look here.)
-cream cheese
-pickled ginger (optional. look here.)
-bamboo rolling mat (Amazon FTW)
-clear wrap
-sharp knife (like, sharpen your knife, seriously. then wet it each time you slice)

Starting off the cooking, get your rice going, according to the package. The sooner the better, as you’ll want to have it warm, cool enough to touch, but not room temperature.

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Roughly speaking, as your rice is going (it depends on how much you have to cut, and how much you’re making in terms of sushi rolls), cut up the “guts” of your rolls (veggies, meats).

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Set up your bamboo mats as well, at this time, with a near cut-to-size clear wrap piece, then nori, and it’s waiting for the rice (or if you’ve become comfortable in putting rice down first, then nori, go ahead and wait on the nori).

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Once your rice is done, and “touchable”, layer that on the nori on your bamboo mat (or the rice, then the nori), not covering the whole thing though. Cover the middle third (eyeball the nori into 3’s, and do the middle, very lightly…lighter than you think or would want to…trust me. You’ll have a burrito in no time, if you’re not careful).

Then from there, almost sparingly (yes, you’ll use less than you think, on everything), add in some “guts”. It’s okay not to have everything in there. That’s part of it.

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At this point, you should wet one end of the nori, whichever end you want to roll towards (I usually wet the top, furthest away from me, and roll away from me). Then, roll baby roll. Watch this how-to, BEFORE TRYING, if you’re new.

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From here, throw the clear wrapped rolls into fridge or freezer (depending on how fast you want to eat them), and let cool. You can do roll by roll, or throw them in at the same time. After that, make sure you have a sharp knife and a bowl of water, to wet your knife each time you slice.

Once it’s cool to your desire, cut it into bite sized (or 2-bite sized), making sure to wet the sharp end of the knife each time you cut. One day, it’ll turn out like mine did. And keep in mind, this is a roll in, where it looked better.

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This was my endevour. What is yours? Share your experience or pictures below!