Category Archives: Dinner

Classic Fettuccine Alfredo

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (2 of 8)

We’ve been hosting sleepovers nearly every weekend for the last few weeks. My dilemma is never that I adamantly don’t like children (OKKKK that’s not the dilemma MOST DAYS). I often find myself trying to think of a vegetarian meal that will go over well with non-vegetarian guests, especially if it’s a type of cuisine they’re not used to.

Growing up, if I didn’t want to eat what my mom made (sorry, Mom) then I could: 1) eat it anyway or 2) make my own food. In my adulthood, I find myself trying to appease 9-11 year old appetites. WHAT.

I decided to take a chance and make fettuccine alfredo one Friday night when I knew we were hosting one of Silas’s friends. To my amazement, Silas demolished his dinner. His buddy ate two big platefuls AND the next week when he slept over again, he said to me, “Auntie J, that pasta was SO GOOD! OH MY GOODNESS!” So, here’s the recipe for you to have as well!

Note:  I’ve learned that when a recipe calls for scarce ingredients, using quality products is important.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (2 of 8)

Fettuccine Alfredo

Serves 6-8 folks.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds dried fettuccine noodles
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
salt and fresh ground pepper, to your liking
a pinch of fresh ground nutmeg

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (4 of 8)

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water (this is your chance to flavor the pasta as it cooks, so don’t be afraid to salt profusely). Cook the pasta until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, add the heavy cream, butter, and lemon juice to a medium-sized pot of their own, over medium heat, whisking occasionally to combine. Continue heating and stirring until the butter completely melts and the mixture is well combined. Add the cheese, a half-cup at a time, stirring with each addition until the sauce is smooth. Taste, then add salt and pepper to your liking. Add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Reduce heat to low.

Drain the cooked pasta, reserving about one cup of the cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pot, then pour the sauce over the noodles. Gently toss well, until all the noodles are covered with sauce. If you need to, add some of the pasta cooking water to help make everything more smooth.

Serve immediately, topping with a bit of fresh ground pepper if you’d like.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (5 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (5 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Fettuccine Alfredo (5 of 8)

Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (5 of 8)

Everyone should have some recipes in their go-to repertoire. Things you KNOW you can make that everyone will enjoy eating. Around here, the go-to staples probably revolve around Mexican food. Enchiladas? Hell yes. Tacos with homemade corn tortillas? Indeed.

My husband is a big fan of soups. I’ve learned to keep a few go-to soup recipes at hand (even though I am not a particular soup enthusiast). One flavor that goes over particularly well in our house, even with the kids is potato leek soup.

I think a good soup encompasses layers of flavor. Enriching the flavor of each ingredient can help to deepen the complexity of the final soup. For that reason, this potato leek soup includes oven-roasted potatoes, roasted shallots and roasted garlic. The potato still adds creaminess while the roasted shallots and garlic add a faint sweetness. The combination of flavors is delicious!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (7 of 8)

Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, roughly chopped
4 medium shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
6 cloves garlic, peeled
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
6 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme, plus more for garnish if desired
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (6 of 8)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the diced potatoes, shallots, and garlic in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Toss until everything is well coated. Spread the mixture on a large rimmed sheet pan in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the potatoes are lightly browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking in order to ensure even browning. Remove from the oven and set aside until needed.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (2 of 8)

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the leeks and cook, stirring regularly, until soft and wilted, about 10 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary so as not to brown.

Add the potato/shallot/garlic mixture, broth, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper to pot and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are very soft.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (3 of 8)

Remove the thyme sprig and bay leaves, then purée the soup with a hand-held immersion blender or work in batches in a high-speed blender, until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, add water or more broth to thin it out to your liking. Gently bring back up to temperature and serve hot.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (4 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegan Roasted Potato and Leek Soup (8 of 8)

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (3 of 5)

Are you one of those folks who plans their family’s meals a week at a time? I try to be that person… but let’s be real. I really suck at meal planning. Part of the deal is I frequent the grocery store often enough that purchasing the ingredients for just one dinner isn’t a huge deal — often I know I’ll be back in the store again the next day at some point, thus being able to shop for tomorrow’s dinner… tomorrow. The other aspect I somewhat enjoy is the flexibility of not knowing what the hell I’m going to cook. Sometimes I wake up at 8:30 in the morning and think what am I going to make tonight? Then I peruse recipes over my morning cup of coffee for ideas. (Some days this isn’t a pleasant activity; I wake up wishing I knew what was coming so I could cut out the extra work!)

So on a day I had already planned our dinner, and in fact decided I was going to make these burgers, while taking Silas to baseball practice he suddenly said, “Hey! Can we please have sloppy joes sometime soon?” I thought about what I had planned for dinner and realized I could probably transform my plan of burgers into sloppy joes, using ingredients we already had at home. “Sure! We can have them tonight,” I said, only to realize when I got home we were out of ketchup, a staple ingredient in sloppy joe mixture! (Who runs out of ketchup?!) Not wanting to run to the store at the mad-rush hour,  I did a little hunting online and figured out there are many quick homemade ketchup recipes, and simply made my own.

As a kid I remember loving when my mom made us sloppy joes — usually for a weekend lunch option. There’s certainly some childhood nostalgia when you first bite into one of these sandwiches. The culmination of those childhood memories and the deliciousness of the bite are unbeatable.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (2 of 5)

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Serves 8

Ingredients:

For the Ketchup:
2 6-oz cans tomato paste
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon cane sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon dried mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon all-spice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
small pinch of ground cloves
3/4 cup of water

For the Sloppy Joes:
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 tubes Lightlife Gimme Lean Vegetarian Sausage
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup water
1 full recipe of  ketchup (*see recipe below)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 heaping teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon vegetarian worcestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper to your desire

8 large hamburger/kaiser/onion buns (really, whatever your preferred type is)
8 slices American cheese (optional)
dill pickles (for serving)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (4 of 5)

Directions:

Make the ketchup: place all of the ingredients in bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate at least one hour to let the flavors come together.

Make the sloppy joes: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high. Once the oil is hot, crumble the Gimme Lean into the pot. Continue cooking until nicely browned, stirring frequently, breaking the larger chunks up.

Add in the green peppers and onions. Stir, and then add the 1 cup water, the ketchup and garlic. Stir to combine, and then add the brown sugar, chili powder, dry mustard, red pepper flakes, cumin, worcestershire, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine, and then cover and simmer over medium-low heat, another 20-30 minutes.

To serve, either steam or lightly toast the buns, open-faced. (I prefer steamed!) Add a slice of cheese if you’d like, then spoon a generous amount of the veggie-meat mixture onto the bottom roll. Top with the other bun and enjoy immediately, served alongside a crisp dill pickle (just do it).

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (5 of 5)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (1 of 5)

Meatless Meatball Subs

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (6 of 8)

During my first year of college, I lived in the dorms, which meant sharing an 11′ x 17′ living space with my roommate, on a floor made up of twelve rooms, filled with all ‘honor student’ females. Our floor also contained a kitchen — not a common commodity in these dormitories!  Dorm-livin’ meant cafeteria-eatin’ and there were many occasions in which the cafeteria dinner options sounded beyond unappetizing. Cereal or frozen yogurt seemed the most viable options. I didn’t cook in those days of dorm living. Unless you consider saimin (Top Ramen) cooking, which, at 15 cents a piece was doable on my student budget.

However, it turned out my friend Oliva across the hall was an excellent cook — her dad being a chef and all. If we purchased the ingredients, she was often more than obliging in cooking a delicious meal (granted we share the meal with her, too — understandable!).

I remember meatball subs being something I hadn’t eaten before, but one evening when ruminating over grumbling stomachs of what should we have for dinner? Olivia very matter-of-factly said “MEATBALL SANDWICHES.” When Olivia had an opinion on what was going to be cooked and eaten, you were better off just going with that (the alternatives being a mad dash across the street to 7-11 for lord knows what, or a run uphill to the cafeteria, just in case they may still be open, or let’s be real – vending machine pop tarts and Pepsi for dinner). So that’s what we had. Soft pillowy hoagie rolls, filled with homemade meatballs, marinara sauce and cheese. A fork-and-knife type of sandwich, but delicious.

This version isn’t what we had in those days. The ‘meatballs’ are entirely vegetarian, the sauce is homemade and filled with flavor. The fork and knife are optional, but probably helpful.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (4 of 8)

Meatless Meatball Subs

Yields 6 very hefty sub sandwiches.

Ingredients:

For the marinara sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium sized bell pepper, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, diced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dried basil
generous amount of black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup freshly minced parsley

For the meatless meatballs:
2 14-ounce tubes Lightlife’s Sausage-Style Gimme Lean
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
4 tablespoons COLD butter
olive oil

For the subs:
6 hoagie style rolls
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
16 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into pieces about 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
6-8 fresh basil leaves, julienned

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (7 of 8)

Directions:

Make the sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic, then sauté until the onion is very soft (8 to 10 minutes).

Add the mushrooms and sauté 2-3 minutes, just until the mushrooms slightly soften. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, basil, black pepper, oregano, thyme, and salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for 45-60 minutes. Stir in the fresh parsley at the last minute.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (1 of 8)

Make the meatballs while the sauce cooks:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside until needed.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Gimme Lean, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, eggs and liquid smoke. Use a box grater to grate the cold butter into the mixture. Using your hands (if you prefer a spoon that’s fine, but your hands make this easier!), mix together the mixture until well combined.

Scoop about 2 tablespoons of mixture and use your hands to roll it into a ball. Place on the greased baking sheet. Continue doing this until all the mixture has been used up, spacing the veggie meatballs about 1-inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes (turning once halfway through), or until the meatballs are nicely crisp and browned on the outsides.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (2 of 8)

Make your subs:

Turn your oven on its broil setting.

Mix together the 3 tablespoons melted butter and granulated garlic in a small dish.

Split the hoagie rolls in half lengthwise, being careful to try and keep one side intact. Brush the butter/garlic mixture on the split sides of the hoagie rolls. Place on a baking sheet, buttered side-up. Once all the rolls have been buttered, place under your broiler, watching carefully, until the bread is toasted to just-golden-brown in color.

Remove from the oven and spoon about 2 tablespoons of the sauce on each hoagie. Arrange 4 meatballs on each hoagie, followed by 3-4 more tablespoons of sauce. Top with pieces of mozzarella (as much or as little as you prefer), and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Return the subs to the oven, under the broiler, again watching closely so your sandwiches don’t burn. Broil until the cheese melts. Remove from the oven and sprinkle a bit of fresh julienned basil over each sandwich.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (8 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (3 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (5 of 8)

Bangkok Curry Noodle Bowls with Crisp Baked Tofu

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (11 of 11)

Some things I’ve enjoyed about the past few weeks: The stretches of days where we’ve had sunshine and weather warm enough to trick you into thinking Spring’s closer than it is. Slow walks through downtown, mostly to the grocery store. Our two old dogs, who are nearing the end of their days, following me around throughout the day then laying right under my feet later as I try to prepare dinner. Stretching homemade pizza dough into very OCD pizza rounds. Unintentional lazy weekend days (Sundays, after long sports-filled Saturdays). Not bothering to brush my every-growing-ridiculously-long hair for days at a time (messy buns to the rescue!). The rain we’ve suddenly been getting, with the threat of more rain and potential snow this weekend… Bowls of noodles.

Bowls of noodles of any sort are my go-to comfort food. Mac and cheese, ramen/saimin, cold udon or soba noodles… The following recipe is soup-like, but heavy on the noodle-to-soup ratio. The sauce is creamy, delicious, not overly spicy, but super flavorful. If you want things a little spicier, you can certainly add your desired amount of chili-garlic sauce!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (8 of 11)

Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Baked Tofu

Serves 8-10 people.

Ingredients:

For the Tofu:
15.5 ounces extra firm tofu
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp gochujang (I prefer Mother in Law’s 00 Fermented Chili Paste)

For the Coconut Curry Sauce:
2 tablespoon oil
3 shallots, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
4 tablespoons red curry paste
2 14-ounce cans regular coconut milk
1 cup No-Chicken (or vegetable broth)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons gochujang
6 tablespoons soy sauce

For the Bowls:
12 ounces brown rice noodles
2 tablespoon oil
half an onion, chopped thinly
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1 cup shredded carrots
2 cups chopped asparagus
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
black sesame seeds for topping
limes for serving
a handful of fresh thai basil for serving

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (9 of 11)

Directions:

Prepare the tofu: Drain tofu about an hour before you want to prepare your meal. Roll the tofu in an absorbent towel several times and then place something heavy on top to press. I use a pot on top of a cutting board and sometimes add something to the pot to add more weight. Do this for 30 minutes.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (1 of 11)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. While the oven preheats, cut the tofu into bite size cubes. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, minced garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar and gochujang. Gently toss the tofu in the mixture. Place the tofu on a nicely/generously oiled baking sheet, arranged in a single layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the tofu is nicely brown and crisp on the outside. Remove from the oven and set aside until needed.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (3 of 11)

Prepare the noodles: soak the noodles in a bowl of cold water for at least 20 minutes, until they’re soft. Drain and rinse. Set aside until needed.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (2 of 11)

Prepare the sauce: heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallots and ginger; stirring around for 3-5 minutes. Add the curry paste; cook for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, sugar, gochujang, and soy sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes or so while you prep the rest of the ingredients – it should thicken slightly.

In a large skillet or wok, heat the remaining two tablespoons oil over high heat. Add the onion, carrots, broccoli, and asparagus. Stir fry for about 5 minutes until the broccoli and asparagus are bright green and just slightly tender. Add the noodles and baked tofu, tossing them around with the vegetables. Add the sauce and toss together until just combined (if you cook it too long at this point, the noodles can get overly sticky).

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (4 of 11)

Prepare the bowls: serve bowls topped with the purple cabbage and sesame seeds, along with a squeeze of lime and chopped basil leaves. Enjoy!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (7 of 11)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (5 of 11)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (6 of 11)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (10 of 11)