April has been lovely! We’ve turned the corner in my brain not needing to juggle nearly as much. T is at school full-time now and I think/hope that the multitasking nature of our own schedules with a kindergarten zoom schedule wrapping up means I less often feel like I’m just treading water.
This month, I loooved these Cuban Rice Bowls – maybe the most in my fam. It has great flavors and really diversifies pulled pork.
I made Breakfast Totchos, like nachos but with tots as the base with breakfast goodies like bacon, eggs, cheese, beans, green onions. I added a spicy maple drizzle. Delicious!
April was a good chance to intro some summery things while getting those last chances for wintery foods! We grilled and also ate lasagna. April to me is that reminder from Mother Nature of ‘did you want to wear a sweater one more time?’
The Little Girl: She suddenly wants to walk out of the stroller more often. The pace is slow but she listens well to hold hands or to get back in so I’m OK with it. For about a week straight we watched the diggers building sidewalks up the street. So fun. It is a-dor-able to hear her say “I’m so happy for chocolate/daffodils/swinging”. She occasionally wants “some lots” for desserts and also asks why things have the name they do- why is that called the deck? She’s so cute.
The Big Guy: School 5 days a week has been great. He loves it- though finds it tiring. He is into school lunch and I love giving him the 2 choices and guessing what he’ll pick. I have 99% accuracy. The convenience factor of not prepping or cleaning up from lunch is greatly appreciated and his astonishment that chocolate milk exists is comical. He’s starting tee-ball and I’m psyched he’s being brave and doing it. We just finished reading aloud Mouse and the Motorcycle.
Goals: Year of the fun mail! I sent off a birthday treat and also sent cards for the very best college friends as we’ve dubbed our apt number to be a holiday on that number-turned-into-a-date. More breakfasts: Totchos! Lunches coordinated or prepped in advance: it’s all leftovers or these Chicken, Broccoli & Rice Warm Wraps I’d like to get the house a bit neater: I’ve been going to town with a magic eraser. Bullet journal – I’ve been keeping a meals list. What I’m reading: I read Eight Hundred Grapes which was light and moderately entertaining and The Only Woman in the Room which was stellar and I couldn’t put it down. What I’m Watching: the Food Network Tournament of Champions is hands down, the best competition out there – they’re judging blindly! We did a few movies during school vacation: The Lands Before Time and Cars 2.
Think of a broccoli & rice & cheese but as a warm wrap- instead of a casserole! These wraps were so fun and an ideal way to use some leftovers!
Chicken, Broccoli, & Rice Warm Wraps Ingredients: (for 2 wraps) 1 cup brown rice (+ water/broth according to required prep) 1/2 broccoli head, cut into small florets 1 cup roasted chicken 1/2 cup white cheddar cheese, chopped or grated 2 large wraps 2 tablespoons dressing (optional – creamy caesar or Parmesan Peppercorn)
Directions: Prepare the rice (mine was brown rice for 10 minutes in the pressure cooker). Keep warm. Roast the broccoli with a drizzle of olive oil in a 400-degree oven for ~10 minutes until getting golden and crispy.
Assemble the wraps with half of each the rice, warm chicken, broccoli, and cheese.
Drizzle dressing, if using any. Heat a pan to medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. If the wraps had been refrigerated (or a touch stale!) warm in the microwave for 10 seconds to be the most pliable. Roll the wraps by tucking the sides in then rolling from the bottom and tucking the sides in further until completely rolled. Then pan sear on each side, starting with the seam side down first. Cook for a few minutes on each side- a cover will help the cheese to melt. Let sit for 1-2 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
I loved these! It is like a burrito – just without any particular identity. I like the balance of a whole grain (rice), as much veggie (broccoli) as protein (chicken) and some decadence (cheese & dressing) with just a few ingredients!
Most of this could be prepared in advance: the rice, the chicken, the roasted broccoli. These freeze well too – when freezing any burritos, I wrap in plastic and defrost overnight or in the microwave. Then to finish, I pan sear or bake the in toaster oven with a spray of non-stick spray. The goal is to defrost or warm slowly enough to heat all the way through, then give a little crunch to the exterior.
The technique to roll a burrito takes some practice not to over-fill and roll keeping the ingredients in, here’s a video of tucking the sides in as you roll away from yourself:
Tots turned into nachos, for breakfast! We’ve been watching The Great Food Truck Race: Alaska! and there’s a truck called “Some Like it Tot” and while I don’t envision them winning, the concept is still fun (spoiler: also their serving is about 6 tots with toppings for $15 so let’s make these at home, shall we?)
These are like a loaded breakfast hash of sorts but with tator tots. I’m always seeking savory breakfasts and this was so fun! It has tots, beans, cheese, eggs, bacon, green onions, and an optional spicy syrup!
Breakfast Totchos Ingredients: (for 2) 3 cups of tator tots (about 8-10 tots per person) 4 strips bacon 2 cups cheese 3 eggs 1/2 cup beans 2 green onions 2 tablespoons salsa 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Directions: Bake the tator tots according to the package (mine were 20 minutes at 375 degrees). While the tots cook, pan fry the bacon until crisp- discarding the drippings. In the same pan, with a coating of drippings, cook the eggs to a soft-scramble. Layer half the cheese onto the tots and melt in the oven. Then assemble with half of the tots as a base layer, topped with half of the eggs, half the beans, half the green onions. Top with remaining tots and repeat, finishing with the remaining cheese. Bake to melt. Stir together the hot sauce and maple syrup. Out of the oven, add the salsa and a drizzle of spicy syrup. Enjoy!
There are lots of ways to customize these- any kind of beans, guac/avocado would be excellent, a sunny side up egg sounds good, or whatever you’re into for nachos. It is also a great use for any leftover nacho ingredients- not leftover nachos, that’s terrible.
Make them a build-your-own situation! There are a lot of tots made into a casserole for breakfast but the thought of them not being crispy is blasphemy in my book.
Normally I’d be very against maple syrup touching eggs but I was thinking of it like hot honey and the bacon seemed to be the connection there- and I went really minimally. Skip it or go just for hot sauce if you’re not feeling it!
Have you missed the grain bowls?! It has been awhile and I love love this format. We had these Cuban Rice bowls with inspiration from a cuban pressed sandwich – Pork, cheese, mustard, pickles. I didn’t have any ham but that would be traditional. These were fun for something different and have lots of ways to customize them.
Cuban Inspired Rice Bowls Ingredients: (serves ~4-5) 1 1/2 cups rice water/broth/bullion for the rice as dictated to prepare 1 1/2 cups pulled pork (or slices of cooked pork tenderloin) 2-3 pickle spears 1/4 cup white cheddar or swiss cheese 2 tablespoons yellow mustard 1 teaspoon honey 1/2 cup fried onions
Directions: Cook the rice – mine was 5 minutes in the pressure cooker and uses 2 1/4 cups water + bullion. Warm the pork in a pan until heated through. Chop the pickles & the cheese. Whisk or shake together the mustard and honey. Warm the fried onions in a dry pan for 1-2 minutes.
Assemble the bowls with rice, cheese, pork, pickles, and the crispy onions.
Then drizzle with honey mustard mixture and enjoy!
I loved these! Add in some chopped ham! Swap for the cheese you like! Use any kind of pickles you like- I like dill and the rest of the fam likes bread & butter pickles! Go for any grain or rice you’re into! I added the honey to the yellow mustard to mellow it out a bit but you could skip that too. The inspiration is a Cuban sandwich but I’d be open to more veggies or the mustard mixed into the rice too!
These were fun and a great deviation from other ways we enjoy pulled pork. I put a pork shoulder into the crock pot for 6 hours and this was one meal and we have ~4 more portions in the freezer for BBQ pulled pork or tacos or quesadillas or on pizza…the list goes on.