Tag Archives: red pepper flakes

Food Matters Project #26: Veggie Stir Fry

Another exciting recipe for the Food Matters Project!

This weeks host is Big Girls Small Kitchen College.  It’s a blog written by college students across the country on how to cook, eat, drink and live on and off campus.  There are a number of contributors that provide recipes and college stories.  Today’s contributor, Jen, chose the Crispy Rice Cakes with Stir-Fried Vegetables and Chicken; check out her version of the recipe here.  For all Food Matters Project contributors recipes, look under the comments section on this page.

I really enjoy making Asian food, especially since the home version is always healthier than the takeout!  Although I glanced over Mark Bittman’s recipe in the Food Matters Cookbook, I decided to do my own version of this dish.  First, we didn’t have chicken, so we enjoyed a vegetarian dish (you can also add tofu, chicken, beef or shrimp).  Secondly, although the rice cakes sounded great- I just wanted some regular stir-fry.  Sounds like everyone had some fun making the rice cakes, so check out Mark’s original recipe on page 324.  I was going to add water chestnuts, which I forgot about- so definitely add that into yours.

Veggie Stir Fry
Fifth Floor Kitchen Original
Servings: 4

1 cup uncooked rice
2 tbsp stir fry oil
1 large onion, chopped
7 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, peeled & chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
1 head of broccoli, chopped
1 1/2 cup snow peas, halved or quartered
1 jalapeño, chopped (optional)
2 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Cook rice per package instruction.  The cooked rice should yield about 2 cups.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp stir fry oil in a skillet.  Once it’s hot, add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes.  Next, add the garlic and carrots- cook for about 3-5 minutes.  Then, add in the ginger and broccoli, cook for 2 minutes.  Finally, add in the snow peas, jalapeño, fish sauce, soy sauce, 1 tbsp stir fry oil, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Cook all of these ingredients, while stirring, for about 5 minutes.  If you don’t want your broccoli or snow peas to be crunchy, cook for another 5 minutes.

Place the rice on the plate, add the stir fry veggies.  Then sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds.  Serve with some chopsticks!

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Mexican Meatballs with Rice

When I was making our grocery list over a week ago, I mentioned to Sam that I was planning to make meatballs.  To his surprise, they were Mexican-flavored meatballs.


These were a great alternative to enchiladas or tacos.  Something a little different, but still having the spicy, Mexican flavors.  Rather than using breadcrumbs, I used oats (the same one’s we use of oatmeal)- and it was still just as tasty.  Feel free to play around with the heat items (jalapeño, habañero or red pepper flakes) to your preferences.  We didn’t have fresh cilantro, which definitely would have made this dish better, but I used some dried cilantro and it worked out fine.

Mexican Meatballs with Rice
Adapted from: Branny Boils Over
Serving: 5 (5 meatballs; 1 1/2 cups of rice)

1 cup of dried rice
1 lb ground turkey
2 eggs
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup oates
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
6 tbsp olive oil
14 oz can of chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried cilantro
1 habañero, chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 can of 12 oz black beans
juice of 1/2 lime

In a small pan, heat up water and add rice.  Heat up the rice until it is soft.

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, eggs, onion, garlic and oates.  Then add 1/4 tsp of each: chili powder, cumin, cayenne and red pepper flakes.  Then add 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper.  Mix all of the ingredients well, and shape them into individual meatballs.  I had made about 25 of them, each were the size of golf balls (or smaller).

In a cast iron skillet or large saucepan, heat up about 4 tbsp of olive oil.  Add about 10 meatballs at a time (if you have smaller pan, don’t add as many meatballs).  Let them sit on each side until they brown, for about 3 minutes.  Cook it on all sides until they feel firm.  When you take them out of the pan, place them on a plate with a paper towel (soaks in the extra olive oil).

In a separate saucepan, heat up about 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Add the tomatoes, cilantro,  habañero, jalapeño, black beans and rice.  To give it some flavor, add 1/4 tsp of each: chili powder, cumin, cayenne and red pepper flakes.  Then add 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper.  Heat it up for about 3-5 minutes, until most of the tomato juice is absorbed.  At the end, add the lime juice and stir it into the mixture.

Finally, serve the rice mixture on a place, and add some meatballs on top.  Feel free to add cheese if you’d like, although we enjoyed it without.

Colorful Slaw

Whenever I think of coleslaw, the images of lots of mayonnaise pop into my head.  I recently bought Jamie Oliver’s book, Jamie’s America, and was flipping through the recipes.  This slaw caught my eye- especially since it did not use any mayonnaise.

With the weather warming up, we’ve been eating our dinner upstairs on the rooftop.  This salad was perfect for a fast and easy dinner.  We accompanied this dish with some cheese (from Cowgirl Creamery)  and fresh bread, making it a perfect low-key dinner.

Jamie recommends this salad as a side with some chicken or pork chop.  He notes that you can change up the salad with different flavors.  Leave the onion, cilantro and white cabbage as a base, but feel free to add asparagus or fennel to further enhance the taste of this salad.


Colorful Slaw
Adapted from: Jamie’s America Cookbook

1/2 head of cabbage
1/2 head of red cabbage
20 radishes; trimmed & thinly sliced
4 carrots, peeled
1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
2 jalapeños, chopped finely
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 3 limes
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

The quickest way to make this is to use a food processor.  The mandolin attachment shreds the cabbages and carrots into tiny pieces.  If you do not have one, a grater will do the job as well.

In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage (white not red) with the radishes, carrots,  cilantro, jalapeños and onions.  Mix everything well.  In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Once the ingredients are integrated, pour over the slaw.  Once again, toss together.

Finally, fold in the red cabbage right before serving.  If you add it at the beginning, the red cabbage can stain all the other ingredients.

Tomato Soup with Basil

As the days get warmer, and the sun shines longer, no one wants to be stuck in the kitchen.  Especially with the oven on…too hot!  As I mentioned before, I try to search out recipes that are fast, simple, and require very minimal cooking.  But just because you want a simpler recipe, does not mean that flavor has to be lost.

This is a very simple soup, although I’ve noticed I say that quite a bit!  Nonetheless, it’s hearty enough to fill you up (thanks to the rice)- but not too much that you feel stuffed.  And, it’s easy since I cooked it between going for a run.  Once all the ingredients were boiling, I grabbed my shoes for a quick run around the Mall.  By the time I came back, the soup was done cooking.

We let it cool off a bit before we ate, a bit more “gazpacho” style.  And even though it was cooler, it still had the great flavor.  Tomato season hasn’t started yet, but this would be a great one to do with fresh tomatoes rather than the canned.  It would give the soup more flavor.  But that’s something we’ll have to wait for, and enjoy over the summer.

We bought some bread from the Farmer’s Market, and ate it with the soup.  The bread was dense, and it absorbed some of the liquid from the soup, giving it a little more flavor.  Yum!

Tomato Soup with Basil
Adapted from: A Chow Life Blog

4 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans whole tomatoes (28 oz each)
1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 chicken bouillon
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1/4 cup rice

In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic, let it sauté for about 8 minutes, until the onions are translucent.  Then add the tomatoes, basil, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Cook for about 1 minute.  Then add the bouillon, broth and water.  Stir in the rice, and cover the pot until the soup is boiling.

Let it simmer for 15-25 minutes.  Remove the tomatoes from the soup and add them to a food processor (or blender).  Blend until it turns into smaller chunks (choose the consistency to your liking).  Pour back into the pot, cover, and simmer for another 10 minutes.

When serving, feel free to sprinkle some basil as a garnish.

Broccoli with Sun-dried Tomatoes over Quinoa

It’s finally getting warm here, the weekend ended up being beautiful!  Although Saturday morning was gloomy and chilly, by the end of the day the sun was out.  We took a walk on the Mall, among all the tourists, and got a little sun.  For dinner we tried burgers at Good Stuff Eatery, which were delicious.  Spike Mandolhson is known from Top Chef, and he opened this burger join a couple of years back.  Both of us were very surprised how busy it was!  So if you’re in Capitol Hill, and enjoy a good burger- check this place out.

In order to counteract the (not so healthy) burger, I decided a quinoa salad would be much better for us.  So below is a great recipe, for a quick and easy salad.  As always with these, feel free to change the vegetables or keep these yummy one’s.

Broccoli with Sun-dried Tomatoes over Quinoa
Adapted from: Vegetarian Times

1 cup uncooked quinoa
3 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp grape seed oil (feel free to use another oil)
2 heads (about 1 lb) of fresh broccoli, cut into small florets
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (feta can be a substitute)

Cook quinoa per package directions.  Once it’s cooked, add to a large bowl.  Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Transfer to the large bowl.

Heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add broccoli and cook for 2 minutes, or until florets are coated with oil and begin to soften and brown.  Add water and cover tightly with lid.  Steam broccoli for 5-10 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the broccoli is tender.  Once cooked, add to the large bowl.

In a small bowl mix: sun-dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Stir to mix all of the ingredients.  Pour over the salad in the large bowl.  Mix the ingredients, so the vinaigrette is covering the salad.  Top the salad with goat cheese.