Tag Archives: appetizer

Baked Onion Rings

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (2 of 8)

As people start increasing their awareness about what goes into our mouths — is it low fat/low carb/low sugar? Gluten free? Organic? Paleo? — it seems we’re also allowing ourselves to be more judgmental of other people’s food choices. I think eating should be enjoyed; food should be relished. Its taken some real struggles and work for me to get to that point in my life. However, at the ripe ‘ole age of 30, I have come to the decision that calling people out for their food choices isn’t a healthy behavior. I don’t believe in food shaming — shaming people for what they choose to put into their bodies doesn’t simply create feelings of guilt (I shouldn’t/ should/ can’t/ won’t eat this/that) — it can feed into heightened concerns about following “perfect” diets, causing obsession and removing the joy of eating all together.

That isn’t to say I want to merely eat crap and not have any responsibility over such choices. I do think moderation for any choices is smart. As a kid, I ate my share of fast food, sodas, copious amounts of sugar… Was Taco Bell my lunch choice at least a few times a week? Oh yes. When we went out to breakfast with family friends occasionally on the weekend, was Burger King often my choice (because… well, french toast sticks)? Most certainly. I don’t eat that way now, mainly because it doesn’t make my body feel good afterwards.

There are times I crave foods for pure nostalgic reasons, other times simply because they taste good, never mind the stomachache I’ll probably have later on. Throughout my childhood, I remember the deciding factor on whether to go to Burger King or McDonald’s came down to two things:  the first had chicken tenders and onion rings, the latter chicken nuggets and french fries. When the desire for onion rings hit with full force recently, I knew a trip to good old BK wasn’t in my future, and I wanted to find a better alternative to deep fried batter coated onion rings. The following recipe is a crispy baked version, and it’s both tasty and fully satisfies the craving for what could be a much unhealthier snack!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (5 of 8)

Baked Onion Rings

Serves 6-8

2 large yellow onion
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 cups panko breadcrumbs
4 eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
canola oil
dipping sauce of choice (ketchup, ranch, etc.)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (7 of 8)

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Generously brush a couple baking sheets with canola oil.

Peel off the outermost layer from the onions and discard. Cut off the ends, sparing as much of the onion as possible. Slice the rest of the onion into rings about 1/2-inch thick. Separate the rings, placing them in a bowl of cold water while you cut the rest of the onions.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, seasoning salt, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder Place the panko breadcrumbs in a separate bowl. In a third bowl, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk.

Take one onion ring, gently toss it in the flour, being sure to coat all sides well. Lightly shake off any excess. Next, dip it in the egg mixture, being sure to coat all sides. Lastly, toss the ring in the panko crumbs to coat. You can somewhat firmly press the egg-coated rings into the breadcrumbs to make sure they stick to the onion. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat this process with the remaining onion rings.

Lightly drizzle the tops of the onion rings with canola oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown, flipping once about halfway through the baking time. Remove from oven and serve with your favorite dipping sauces.

*Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container then reheated at 350 degrees F until hot and crisp (about 10 minutes).

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (8 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (6 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Oven Baked Onion Rings (1 of 8)

Cheesy Stuffed Twice-Baked Potatoes

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cheesy Stuffed Twice-Baked Potatoes

Alright, alright… I have been meaning to share this recipe since the Super Bowl happened. Let’s not backtrack to how long ago that was. While I’m not a huge fan of potatoes in general (albeit, for no good reasons), twice baked potatoes tend to serve up as excellent comfort food. They are filled with creamy mashed potatoes, covered in melty cheese, but also have a crispiness that one would find in really good french fries. A win-win situation.

The filling can offer itself up as a vehicle for creativity. The things you can throw into the mix are endless. However, I was making these to share with young kids and I wasn’t sure how adventurous I could get before they wouldn’t touch the potatoes at all. That said, these are easy. Creamy, cheesy, flavorful… and while the kids didn’t know how to eat a twice baked potato (as in, pick it up with your hands and shove it in your mouth… don’t use a spoon to scoop out the cheesy mashed potatoes and throw away the skin!), the adults may or may not have topped theirs with vegetarian chili, a little more cheese, and certainly a little more sour cream.

Even better, the leftovers can be reheated and just may be even more delicious the next day!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cheesy Stuffed Twice-Baked Potatoes

Cheesy Stuffed Twice-Baked Potatoes

Makes 30 stuffed potatoes.

15 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed well
8 ounces low or full fat sour cream
6 tablespoons milk
8 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and position racks in top and bottom thirds of the oven. Use a fork to poke 10 to 12 deep holes all over the potato so that moisture can escape while it’s cooking. scBake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the skin feels crisp, but flesh beneath feels soft.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cheesy Stuffed Twice-Baked Potatoes

Slice each potato in half, lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the inside of each potato skin, being careful to not break the skin. Leave a small rim of potato to keep the skin from falling apart or tearing. Place the scooped out insides in a large bowl, then lay the hollowed out potato skin on a baking sheet, hollow side facing up.

Add the sour cream, milk, half of the shredded cheese, scallions, garlic, pepper, salt and mustard powder to the scooped out insides. Mash this filling up until smooth and creamy, using a potato masher. Set aside until needed.

Brush each of the hollowed out potato skins with half of the melted butter. Place in the oven for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven, then flip over, so the skin is facing up. Brush with the remaining melted butter, then return to the oven for another 2-3 minutes, until slightly crisp to the touch.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cheesy Stuffed Twice-Baked Potatoes

Fill each of the potato skins generously with the filling. Top each potato with a little more grated cheese, then bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown on top and warmed all the way through.

Serve hot/warm for best flavor and consistency.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Cheesy Stuffed Twice-Baked Potatoes

Meatless Monday: Broccoli Cheddar Beer Soup

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Its taken me a while to get used to the comfort found in a bowl of soup.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised; there are no particular reasons for my certain kind of soup-avoidance-crazy.  I think I spent most of my life regarding soup as the thing to serve sick folks.  Or cry babies who are on a soft-food-only regimen due to dental work.  Maybe it’s because “soup” often correlates with the canned varieties that line grocery store aisles, in my brain.  You know – the ones laden with extra things that don’t belong in soup, or the ones sorely lacking in flavor.

Although its taken some time, I can appreciate a good bowl of soup these days.  My favorite is possibly broccoli cheese soup – the pureed variety, not chunky.  My second favorite as of late is beer cheese soup.  (Apparently, soup, when filled with cheese, is a win-win situation in my food-brain.)  I decided to combine my favorite elements of both soups: creamy broccoli soup, filled with sharp cheddar cheese, and beer.  This soup is ridiculously, deceivingly filling.  As with most soups, I preferred the flavor the second day – you can plan ahead and make this 24 hours in advance, then reheat for serving.

I suggest serving this with a great big salad and perhaps some homemade (or fresh) bread.  As I shared yesterday, I adapted Tracy Shutterbean‘s recipe for no-knead pizza dough to make cheesy/garlic/herb bread stick rolls to go with our soup.  Super easy: make the dough from her linked recipe, roll it into a rectangle, brush the top with olive oil or butter.  Sprinkle on some dried herbs of your choosing (I used basil, thyme and oregano).  Sprinkle on some sea salt and cayenne pepper, parmesan cheese and red chili flakes.  Roll up the rectangle, flatten it a bit, cut into strips that are about 1-inch wide.  Place on a baking sheet, brush the tops with heavy cream/melted butter/oil/buttermilk (whatever of those you have handy).  Sprinkle with more parmesan.  Let the dough rise again for 25-30 minutes.  Bake at 425 degrees until golden brown (15-20 minutes).  Serve with the hot soup – it makes great dipping-bread.

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Broccoli Cheddar Beer Soup

Delicious fuel for 8-10 people, easily.


1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 large onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
2 cups half and half
1 cup No-Chicken or vegetable broth
4 medium broccoli crowns, broken into large chunks
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to your liking
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar (I use half sharp, half extra-sharp)
22 ounces beer (a lighter ale works well)

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For more, read on here…

Creamy Herb Potato Leek Soup

Sometimes I forget what it’s like to cook with additional little hands in the kitchen. That sounds really creepy, I know. I’m referring to cooking with kids, not miscellaneous spare body parts I’ve failed to confess to owning. I have mentioned before that I really prefer cooking solo. It isn’t that I’m unaware of how to be a good team player. Sometimes it’s just quicker and easier to know what the plans are in my head, for preparing a meal, without having to dictate them to anyone else. Plus cooking is as good as meditating in my day; it’s peaceful for me, even when things are chaos and there’s flour in my hair, butter up to my elbows, or chunks of raw vegetables on the floor.

That said, once upon a time I thought it would be a good idea to have Silas help prepare dinner at least once a week, in the short three nights we have him here. He was ecstatic. My insides fluttered, knowing I was willingly giving up control of the kitchen to a seven year old. Schedules and real life don’t always make it plausible, but we’ve done alright at making room for kid cooking nights.

When I was a kid, I remember being fascinated by my mom’s cookbooks. I’d go through recipes all the time. Silas hasn’t been one for cookbooks… I did check out a dinosaur cookbook from the library last week, but was quickly turned off by the recipe ideas. Food can be fun without having to sacrifice flavor! Even when you’re little! (I rushed that book back before a certain 7-year-old saw it, because I was NOT going to eat a dinosaur cut out of a piece of lunch meat, placed on a plate with a cheese stick tree, featuring shredded cabbage grass.)

Luckily, Silas has always had great taste for a little guy. He’s open to trying most anything. Although we don’t cook meat here, he tells me one of his absolute favorite foods is bacon. When I asked him what he wanted to make for dinner not so long ago, he decided on soup. We checked out what was on sale in the grocery store, discovering an abundance of fresh local leeks. “I LOVE potato leek soup!” he exclaimed and thus the following recipe was born.


Creamy Herbed Potato Leek Soup

Yields enough soup for 8-10 people.


4 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 leeks, washed and sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, sliced in 1” thick rounds
4-5 small sprigs fresh rosemary
3 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
3 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. ground coriander
pinch of fresh nutmeg
1- 32 oz. box No-Chicken broth
3 cups whole milk
½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
2-4 tbsp. cream cheese, optional
salt and fresh ground pepper



Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large stock pot. Add the leeks, stirring them around to evenly coat with the melted butter. Occasionally stir, cooking until the leeks are tender (8-10 minutes).

Add the garlic and diced onion, mixing everything together. Allow the leeks, garlic, and onion to cook until the onion is tender. Add the potatoes, 2 or 3 or the rosemary sprigs, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, coriander, nutmeg, broth, and milk. Stir to evenly incorporate all the ingredients. Reduce heat to medium, then cook until the potatoes are fork-tender (15-25 minutes).

Once the potatoes are cooked all the way through, remove the harder stems leftover from the rosemary (the tender parts will fall right off; simply “fish out” the stem with a slotted spoon). Work the soup in batches, pureeing in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Return the pureed soup to your stock pot, over medium-low heat. If the soup is thicker than you like, add a little more broth or milk. Stir in the cheeses, until they’re completely melted and incorporated. Taste, then add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve hot.

Roasted Poblano Guacamole

I kick myself every single time I need to buy an avocado. There are numerous foods in Hawaii that I miss incredibly much all the time, but one in particular I never expected to miss, let alone crave, are the gigantic avocadoes we so readily had available in our backyard. The avocadoes I find here in Southern Oregon are so little, often far from ripe when I need them to be, and expensive especially when attempting the organic route. So it goes. Avocadoes are full of fiber, folate, potassium, vitamins, and though a bit high in calories, I never worry about it because generally, we eat pretty healthily and the calories are coming from good fat.

I love guacamole. Once while on vacation with my husband in Vegas, we went out for Mexican food, where we were told multiple times to order the guacamole, simply because of the elaborate preparation that came with it table-side. A guacamole spectacle? Who can resist? Our server showed up with a large tray: ripe avocadoes pitted but still in their skins, tiny bowls filled with cilantro, chopped onions, diced tomatoes, diced jalapeños, fresh limes, salt and pepper. In two minutes, tops, we had a huge bowl of freshly prepared guacamole and hot tortilla chips sitting in front of us. It was divine and made me vow to only eat guacamole prepared equally as fresh.

My husband is an avid fan of poblano peppers. Roasted, in sauces, in tamales or enchiladas. He just told me he’d love a poblano margarita. I love the flavor roasted poblano peppers offer: smokey, but not overly spicy. The smokiness in the adobo sauce that I like in this guacamole works with the roasted peppers as well, balanced with the creamy avocado. This guacamole is delicious on its own, or on tacos, wrapped in a burrito. You can’t go wrong, really.



Roasted Poblano Guacamole


5 ripe avocadoes
2 poblano peppers, roasted and peeled
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 tbsp. onion, grated fine
1 tbsp. adobo sauce *
1 lime
salt and pepper, to taste

* Canned chipotle peppers are often stored in adobo sauce. Smokey in flavor, this is a great addition to this guacamole. You can incorporate a chipotle pepper as well, for added smokey, peppery flavor. If you just use the one tablespoon of sauce in this recipe, you can puree the remaining peppers in sauce, then freeze for later use (approximately one tablespoon of puree is the equivalent of one whole pepper).



In the small bowl of your food processor, or in a blender, combine the roasted poblano peppers, two of the avocadoes, and the garlic. Pulse until creamy and smooth (1-2 minutes). Transfer the blended mixture to a large bowl. Add the remaining avocadoes and mash until very few chunks of avocado are visible. I use a potato masher to do this – if you don’t have one, you can use a fork, wooden spoon, two butter knives, etc. Add in the grated onion, adobo sauce, and the juice from your lime. Stir until well incorporated. Taste, then add salt and pepper to your liking.

Serve immediately (the longer the guacamole sits before serving, the more brown it will get), either as a side dish, dip, or to go with tacos, burritos, etc.