Baked Nutty Brown Balls – Cooking with Chaya

I had two cups of leftover rice so I decided to mix some other ingredients in and bake myself brown rice balls. I knew right away, I wanted nuts and veggies, in this recipe so off I went to create. I did read a bunch of recipes for something similar, but when push came to shove, I used what was in my fridge and cabinets and did not worry about anything, I had read about.

Baked Nutty Brown Rice Balls 

2 cups fully cooked and cooled brown rice 
1/2 cup ground walnuts 
1 carrot, shredded 
1 zucchini, shredded 
1 onion, shredded 1 teaspoon soy sauce 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/4 cup sliced green onions 
1 beaten egg 1/4 cup flax seed meal
  •  Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 
  • Combine all of the above ingredients. Mine did not stick well so I suggest either another egg or a little bit of liquid, added. Mix well. 
  • Fill 18 mini muffin cups with rice mixture. I used a tablespoon cookie scoop to get approximately the same size balls. 
  •  Bake in a 325 degree oven for 23 minutes. They brown a little. Remove from tins and serve. These have a nutty flavor to them. 

CHINESE FRIED RICE: Try a New Recipe

Every month, I participate in a fabulous food blog event called Taste & Create. (for more details about the event, read to the end of the post)

In September, one of my partners was PJ of Seduce Your Tastebuds. PJ and I had been partners before, but it had been a while. I always love being paired with her so I can try totally new things! I previously made her delicious Vegetable Kurma, and did some experimenting with her Meethi Paratha and Homemade Paneer recipes!

This time, it didn’t take me long to decide to make PJ’s Chinese Fried Rice. I happily discovered that we actually have all the ingredients, every single one! Well, except for the ginger garlic paste, but I’ve made that before.

The only problem, for me, is that many of the ingredients need prep. I don’t mind chopping, but you have to cook the rice, boil and shell the edamame, I had to cook my sprouted lentils, make the ginger garlic paste…whew. I used the same pan/lid first for the rice, then the lentils, then the edamame (mine are frozen). But still, all that felt like it took forever.

Lucky I even had sprouted lentils in the pantry! I had found and picked up a bag of dry truRoots Organic Sprouted Bean Trio…including lentils, mung and adzuki beans. We’ve been cooking the beans and tossing them on salads, which I love, so I was excited to use them another way.

So after everything, this rice is worth it! It is healthy and delicious, I think my dad called it “excellent.” Try this soon!!


Chinese Fried Rice
2 cups cooked rice
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
1 onion, finely chopped (I had huge onions, so I used about 4 thin slices)
1 firm tomato, finely chopped (I used 1/2 a big tomato)
1 small green pepper, finely chopped (I used 1/2 a big green pepper)
a handful sprouted lentils (I used sprouted lentils, mung and adzuki beans)
1/4 cup boiled edamame (my family loves edamame, so I used almost 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon soy sauce (I used tamari)
Salt to taste
Spring onions, chopped to garnish

  1. Prepare all ingredients.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok on high heat add the ginger garlic paste.
  3. Stir once and immediately add the onion and saute.
  4. Add the tomato and pepper and stir for a couple of seconds,
  5. Add the sprouts, edamame and the soy sauce.
  6. Keep stirring continuously for a minute and add the cooked rice and lower the flame.
  7. Check for salt and add a little. The soy sauce will have some salt so check before adding.
  8. Stir and cook for a minute for the flavors to blend. Remove from flame and serve hot garnished with spring onions.

Taste & Create is a monthly food blog event, created by my friend Nicole of For the Love of Food. Participants are randomly paired, and must choose and create a recipe from their partner’s blog. It is FUN. If you’d like to sign up, check out How it Works or email me at cowgirlmin07[at]gmail[dot]com by the 8th of every month!

Don’t forget to visit me at The Bad Girl’s Kitchen for more fabulous recipes!

STIR FRIED RICE – Lovin’ The Leftovers


I love Asian food, using up leftovers, and cleaning out my fridge. A wonderful and versatile dish, stir fried rice, does all three with ease and delight.


Here is my current version of this dish today using the ingredients of:
2-3 cups cooked white rice (brown rice is also delish)
1 to 1 1/2 cups of chopped fresh vegetables including broccoli, carrots, green onions. *
1/4 cup diced ham
1 egg beaten
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup toasted nuts, toasted lightly in a seasoned pan, then set aside
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil for stir frying

Sauce
Mix in measuring cup or small bowl with whisk:
4-6 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1-2 tablespoon Ponzu sauce
1-2 tablespoons Rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Asian style salad dressing
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar

  • Heat oil in wok or fry pan over medium high heat.
  • Cook minced garlic until translucent, approximately one minute.
  • Add vegetables, brown for 1 minute while stirring with spatula. Cover with lid to steam for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add cooked rice and mix ingredients, allow to heat through.
  • Add diced ham, stir ingredients thoroughly, and then push rice mixture to one side of pan.
  • Use this open area to scramble the beaten egg.
  • After the egg is scrambled, stir into rice mixture.
  • Add the sauce to pan, stir fry for another minute until bubbling and hot.
  • Sprinkle toasted nuts prior to serving.

Other ingredient suggestions include tofu, pineapple, leftover pork, chicken, or steak, peas, corn, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and whatever else you have in your pantry, freezer, or refrigerator.


*Drained and defrosted frozen vegetables can also be used. 
Thank you so much and what variations and ingredients do you enjoy?

Wild Rice Casserole with Sausage and Pecans

One of my favorite go-to meals. For those days when you haven’t really made any real plans for dinner. I always try to keep sage pork sausage in the freezer. It is quick to put together and cooks for the most part, in the oven. Serve with a side salad and bread and you have dinner. Try not to skip the pecans they make the dish.
Wild Rice Casserole with Sausage and Pecans
* 1/2 cup chopped pecans
* 1 (1-lb.) package sage ground pork sausage
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 1 cup chopped celery
* 2 (6-oz.) packages long-grain and wild rice mix (I use Uncle Ben’s brand)
* 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 tsp. dried rubbed sage
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1. Heat 1/2 cup chopped pecans in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 5 minutes or until toasted. Remove toasted pecans from skillet.
2. Brown sausage in same skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Remove sausage from skillet using a slotted spoon; reserve drippings in skillet.
3. Melt butter in hot drippings over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and sauté 10 to 15 minutes or until celery is tender.
4. Remove 1 seasoning packet from rice mixes; reserve for another use. Combine sausage, vegetable mixture, remaining seasoning packet, rice, and next 3 ingredients in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Stir in chicken broth until well blended.
5. Bake, covered, at 325° for 1 hour or until liquid is almost absorbed. Let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top.

Fire Day Friday: Vegetable Burritos

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, I made a recipe for vegetable burritos that came from a recipe pamphlet from RoTel. Okay, carbon dating and fossil records show it was actually just over 15 years ago.

We loved it back then and thought it was an impressive recipe. That was back when I was just learning to cook for Alexis and my new family. Tonight we dragged this one out of the archives and upgraded it to how we would have made it now compared to back then.

Fire Roasted Vegetable Burritos with Cilantro/Roasted Pepper Queso

Source: NibbleMeThis

1 cup long grain rice
2 ea vidalia spring onions (green onions if you can’t get them)
1 ea red bell pepper
1 ea poblano or cubanelle chile
1 ea cherry pepper
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
1 ea serrano pepper, finely diced (skip if you want mild, double if you want hot)
1 cup refried beans
1 cup salsa
6 ea flour tortillas (mission sized burrito tortillas)
6 oz Mexican Dipping Cheese (We get El Viajero brand)
4 oz milk
1/4 cup cilantro

Start your grill to direct high heat at about 500f (skip if using your broiler and oven)

Cook your rice according to directions.

Grill the green onions just enough to get a slight browning on them (about 1 min a side). Fire roast or broil your peppers until blackened on all sides. The fire roasting brings out the best of the veggies.


Don’t be afraid that they are “too charred”. That makes them easier to peel and won’t affect the final flavor. This one wasn’t done enough yet, just to give you an idea.


Place the peppers in a plastic zip top bag, they’ll steam on their own for 5 minutes.

Cut the ends off each pepper and slice down the length of one side to open them up. Remove the seeds from the inside. Flip and lightly scrap the charred skin off with the sharp edge of a knife.

Dice the green onions.

As soon as the rice is finished, stir in the green onions, red bell pepper, and cubanelle/poblano pepper (reserve the cherry pepper for the cheese sauce). Stir in 1 cup of the cheese and the serrano pepper.

Taste the rice mixture for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.

Repeat for each tortilla:
Spread about 3 Tbsp of refried beans on the tortilla. Top with 1/2 cup of the rice mixture. Sprinkle more cheese and 3 Tbsp of salsa on top. Roll up burrito style and place seam side down in a casserole dish. (Click here for a photo tutorial of how I fold mine.) Top with a few sprinkles of more shredded cheese.

Place the dish in your oven preheated to 350f (or in our case, a grill set up at 350f for indirect heat) and cook for 25 minutes.

Cut the queso cheese into 1/2″ cubes and put into a small sauce pan. Add the milk, cilantro, and diced cherry pepper and warm until melted over medium/low heat.

Serve the burritos with the sauce poured over the top or on the side.

Don’t let the minimal amount in the picture fool you. As soon as the pictures were taken and my burrito was cut up, I ladled a good bit of that queso sauce all over my burrito!

In case you’re interested, here’s the original version. It’s a lot easier and still good.

Vegetable Burritos
Yields: 6

Ingredients
1 Pam non stick spray
1 can (12 oz) Rotel (Diced tomatoes/chilis)
1 cup instant rice
1/2 cup water
1 Green pepper
2 Green onions
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 cup refried beans
10 8″ tortillas
1 cup salsa
Black olives to taste

Instructions
preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9x 12 x 2 baking dish w/ spray. In medium saucepan, combine Rotel, rice & water. Heat to boil, reduce heat, cover, & simer 1 minute. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in pepper, onions and 1 cup cheese. Spread 3 table spoons beans over each tortilla. Layer rice mixture over beens and sprinkle on more cheese & salsa. Roll up and place seam down in prepared baking dish. Cover w/ foil. Bake 25 minutes.

CHILE RICE CASSEROLE

Chile Rice Casserole

2 1/2 cups water
1 cup rice
2 cups Sour cream
Salt to taste
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
4 ounces Green chiles, diced
3 tablespoons Butter or margarine
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

  • In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Add the rice, cover pan, and slowly simmer over low heat until the liquid is absorbed, approximately 30 minutes. Let the rice cool. 
  • Mix the cooked rice with the sour cream, chiles and salt.
  • Mix together the 2 cheeses.
  • In the bottom of a greased 1-1/2 qt casserole, spread half the rice mixture. 
  • Sprinkle with half the grated Jack cheese mixture on top and then add the rest of the rice.
  • Top with the remaining Monterey Jack cheese mixture.
  • Dot with butter.  I also added a chopped tomato for color. 
  • Bake uncovered in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.Serves 8.

    Summer Squash, Zucchini & Pea Risotto

    I love risotto but I’ve never made it.  I’ve seen a ton of recipes for it and have been tempted.  But never made it.

    Until now.

    Peas are not a vegetable that you’ll see a lot of from me. My husband hates peas.  Like, “file-for-divorce-if-you-make-peas” kind of hate. So needless to say, we don’t eat a lot of peas. I happen to LOVE peas but clearly don’t get enough of them.

    So I saved this recipe for when he was at work! I hid the leftovers in the back of the frig and ate them for lunch the next day before he ever knew they were made.

    Whew!  Marriage saved!

    Luckily it was also a fairly cool day as it does take plenty of time of stirring in front of the stove.  (Ha! That’s what 13 year old daughters are for!)

    It turned out perfect and was delicious! 

    We ate this with a Honey Mustard Chicken with Pretzel Crust which paired nicely with the risotto. I will for sure make this again. – When the husband is gone again, of course!

    This is linked with Works For Me Wednesdays over at We Are THAT Family.
    Also linked with Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.

    Summer Squash, Zucchini and Pea Risotto
    Adapted from 990 Square

    1 tbsp. olive oil
    1 medium onion
    1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise and then in 1/4 thick slices
    1 medium yellow squash , cut lengthwise and then 1/2 in. thick
    1 quart of chicken stock
    2 tbsp. butter
    1 cup arborio rice
    1 cup peas
    juice of 1 lemon
    Salt and pepper to taste

    In a saucepan. heat the olive oil on high. Add the squashes, saute for 2 – 3 minutes. Set aside.

    Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over moderate heat and add the onions, sauteing them for about 3 – 4 minutes, then add the rice, stirring until it is well coated. Add 1/2 cup stock and cook, stirring constantly until the stock is absorbed.

    Continue adding stock, about 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently. By the time most, or all of the stock is added, the rice should be tender but still firm, the mixture creamy. Add the reserved zucchini, squash and peas and cook until they are heated through. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Add salt and pepper as desired.

    Total calories = 1395 calories
    6 big servings = 232 calories per serving

    Honey Mustard Chicken with Pretzel Crust + Summer Squash, Zucchini & Pea Risotto = 532 calorie dinner

    Check out my Honey Mustard Chicken with Pretzel Crust on Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

    Crab Salad Nigiri Sushi

    I first saw this crab salad nigiri sushi that my blogger friend Pikko had made on her blog Adventures in bento making . I thought I’d give it a try for a gathering at my husband’s work one evening. Pikko’s are much prettier, I’ll have to keep practicing. Her creation was a hit though. I put them in a deviled egg carrier to bring them in. Since we were all hanging outside behind the shop it didn’t have to be fancy.
    First off my rice cooker died on me. How frustrating. It would turn on and keep warm, but the cook button wouldn’t work. I went to check it and there it sat, all that water still hanging out on top. I transferred it to a pan and cooked it on my stove top, forgot to time it, but it turned out fine! Once in the bowl I added the already prepared sushi vinegar while it’s still warm. I don’t add much sugar at all to my sushi rice (personal preference).

    Using the stick version of the imitation crab. Chop up the crab and add mayo, I added a little wasabi powder to it, but not enough for it to be too much for those who don’t like it. I am a wasabi fan!
    It took a little while to get used to handling the sticky sushi rice, having a bowl of water on hand to help. I hand made the rice balls (I am using a rice ball maker next time, sounds like a good investment). A little adjusting on what size to make them. With scissors cut the nori sheets into strips, being careful to cut them straight because it will show if you cut it crooked.
    Wrap the strips around the rice, sealing it with water. With a tiny baby spoon I filled the cups with the crab salad. Those little spoons come in handy, good thing I saved them!
    I topped some with srircha, some with wasabi and left some without, because I know Maranda would like it plain. I have to tell you this it was funny. A couple showed up later, they came riding in on their motorcycles all noisy, just to make an entrance. (The owner’s brother and his girlfriend). She is acting all tough in her leathers. Someone is telling them what we have to eat. Now for a few of them this was the first time they’ve tried sushi. He pointed out the sushi, she says “No I only like real sushi”. Okay, alright then, now I was good, and I only said “this is real sushi”. Then I let her do her thing. After eating some 7 layer taco dip, she did try a piece and loved it. No wasabi for her, she doesn’t “do ” wasabi. Then she ate another one, then said “I wish we were here earlier and didn’t miss most of the sushi” She ended up eating the last one too. I just smiled to myself. Maranda and Wade did bring it up later, and we laughed about it.
    Thanks Pikko it was a hit.

    You can check out more of my food trials and ethnic ventures at The Tiny Skillet . Or check out The Tiny Bento for my bento lunches that are so popular in Japan!
    Have a great weekend!!

    Scrumptious Sunday ~ National Rice Month ~ Cranberry Rice Pilaf & Chicken Alfredo Rice Casserole


    Scrumptious Sunday hosted by Meredith at Mercedes Rocks

    CHICKEN ALFREDO RICE CASSEROLE
    1 cup alfredo sauce
    scant 1/2 cup milk
    1 can diced tomatoes
    1 teaspoon minced garlic, jar
    2 tablespoons Classico sun-dried tomato pesto
    2 1/2 cups cooked rice* (white, brown or wild – your choice)
    2 cups chicken, cooked (I like to grill it) and cubed
    1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
    1 bunch green onions, chopped
    1/2 teaspoon dried basil, revived
    1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
    1 tablespoon butter, melted
    3/4 cup italian bread crumbs

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • In a large bowl combine milk and alfredo sauce. Blend until smooth.
    • Add rice, chicken, basil, cheese and tomatoes and stir well.
    • Transfer to a PURE sprayed baking dish.
    • Bake covered for 30 minutes.
    • Mix melted butter and bread crumbs. Sprinkle on top.
    • Bake another 20 minutes uncovered until crumbs are golden.
    • Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

    *1 cup uncooked rice equals approximately 3 cups cooked rice

    TRIVIA TIP: According to Better Homes & Gardens May 2008, the first recipe for chicken and rice casserole appeared in the 1896 Fannie Farmer’s The Boston Cooking School Cookbook.

    CRANBERRY RICE PILAF
    1/4 cup butter, melted
    1 small bunch green onions, thinly sliced
    1 stalk celery, chopped
    1 cup sliced and chopped mushrooms
    1/4 teaspoon thyme
    1/4 teaspoon white pepper
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    1/4 cup craisins
    1/2 cup brown rice
    1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
    1 cup water

    • Melt butter in a 3 quart saucepan
    • Saute’ onions and celery until tender.
    • Add mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper and cook 2 minutes more.
    • Add bouillon, water and mix well.
    • Add rice and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender.
    • Add crasins and cook 5 minutes more.