Whole-grain Chinese vegetable fried rice
My husband and I are usually on opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to Chinese food. This version of Chinese fried rice is the only exception. The colorful medley of vegetables combined with the goodness of whole grain and the crispiness of bean sprouts, simmered in Chinese seasoning, caters to every taste.


Ingredients: (serves 2)


long grain brown rice - 1 cup
scallion (spring onions) - 1/2 cup (chopped fine)
diced carrots+peas - 1/2 cup (cooked separately)
bean sprouts - 1/3 cup
sesame seed oil - 1 1/2 tbsp
vinegar - 1 tbsp
light soy sauce - 2 1/2 tbsp
crushed ginger - 1 tsp
sesame seeds - 1/4 tsp
pepper - 1/4 tsp
salt - 1/2 tsp

Method:
Soak brown rice in 6 cups of water overnight (or soak in warm water for a couple of hours) and microwave for 35 minutes (or until cooked). Keep aside and allow to cool. Heat sesame seed oil in a wok and fry scallion till done. Add prepared rice, carrots+peas and ginger. Mix in the soy sauce, vinegar and bean sprouts. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle sesame seeds and serve fresh.

Notes:
Adjust seasoning according to taste.
Grilled veggie sandwich
This has been a "back to basics" week for me - getting back to good health, starting off on a new project, minimal cooking, etc. Just to give a fresh start to my kitchen as well, we settled for this refreshing bite today.


Ingredients (makes 5 sandwiches):

whole grain sandwich bread - 10 slices
red bell pepper - 1
green bell pepper - 1
yellow squash - 1
mozzarella cheese - 5 tsp (grated)
zucchini - 1
olive oil - 3 tbsp
hot paprika or crushed red pepper - 1/4 tsp (adjust according to taste)
turmeric powder - a pinch (optional)
salt - 1/3 tsp (adjust according to taste)

Method:

Cut bell peppers into 4 slices (removing the seeds, stem, etc.) Cut zucchini and squash into 2 or 3 parts (about 2.5 inches long each), depending upon the size of the vegetables. Then cut them lengthwise into half (as shown in the picture).

Mix olive oil, paprika/red pepper, salt and turmeric in a small bowl. Brush a coating of the spiced oil mixture over the vegetables and bread on both sides. Grill each type of vegetable and bread separately as per your grill's instructions for each.

Assemble the sandwiches by placing a layer of each vegetable on a slice of grilled bread while still warm, sprinkling a teaspoon of mozzarella cheese, followed by a slice of bread on top. Serve warm and fresh.
Stuffed mushrooms with creamed spinach and nut filling

Most party foods, especially appetizers, end up being rich and greasy. This is a great option for someone looking for a healthy appetizer that would be a definite party hit. Well, it does take a while to prepare, but the results are well worth the labor!



Ingredients:

large mushrooms - 30 (stems removed)
bread crumbs - 1/4 cups
olive oil - 3 tbsp (for brushing)
broken cashews - 2 tbsp (roasted)
creamed spinach - 1/2 cup (refer link for recipe)
salt to taste

Ingredients for creamed spinach filling:

spinach - 5 oz (about 150 grams)
cream cheese - 2 oz
mozzarella cheese - 2 tbsp
parmesan cheese - 1/4 cup
cayenne pepper - 1/2 tsp

Method:

Add a little salt to the olive oil. Brush mushrooms with the salted oil. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees (Fahrenheit) for 10 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the creamed spinach (refer link for receipe). Stir the bread crumbs into the creamed spinach. Drain any excess liquid from the baked mushrooms. Arrange the mushroom cups on a baking tray and fill them with some roasted broken cashews, followed by the spinach mixture. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and bake for 15 more minutes, or until golden brown.

Notes:
Any nut of choice can be used.
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