Rice Cooker Whole Tomato Rice

I hate Mondays!  Mondays = hectic.  Yesterday, Alycia told me this “mummy, if there is one word to describe Mondays, it is HATE!  I wish there was a ‘I Hate Mondays’ shirt that I can buy to wear to describe how I feel!”  LOL!!

Since Sunday, Cass has been telling me how much she hated Mondays too. She hates Mondays as everyone has to listen to boring lectures in the school hall for hours, first thing in the morning…. in Mandarin!  And she tells me that she only comprehends 50% of what’s being said most of the time.

One of the reasons why I hate Mondays is that I have to cook something that is really really easy and fast (and MUST BE TASTY for my 3 fussy eaters!)  as the drama queen has hip hop dance class at 7pm.  I have to start cooking at 4:30pm and pick her up from the enrichment center by 5ish pm. Back home, everyone has to have dinner latest by 6pm.

The only thing fast to whip up on Mondays is a one-pot meal.  Yes, 1-POT.  My favorite words when it comes to cooking for my fussy girls :)

Lately I’ve heard of this amazingly easy dish to cook in a rice cooker that everyone’s been raving about — the whole tomato rice! Actually I have cooked tomato rice twice last year, even before I heard wind of this famous tomato rice.  My own version was tomatoes cooked with rice.   Then the mashed tomatoes and rice were transferred into a wok where other ingredients were added to make fried rice.

Yesterday, my whole tomato rice was cooked in the rice cooker alone and I did not do any stir-frying. No oil splatters. A fuss-free and sweat-free one-pot whole tomato dish, cooked in the rice cooker!

One word describes this one-pot meal – SIMPLICITY at its best!

 

First, wash rice grains and put into rice cooker. Dump in any ingredient that you want into the rice cooker with the whole tomatoes, of course.  I used long beans (a handful), 3 whole ripened tomatoes, sliced shiitake mushrooms, garlic oil, pepper, 2 tablespoons of spaghetti sauce and pink sea salt.  Since my girls are carnivorous, I bought some char siew and roast chicken in the morning. That was dumped into the rice cooker too. Once everything is in, press START and please wait patiently for 30 minutes before the aroma wafts  the air in the house.

 

 

Once the rice is cooked, mash the tomatoes.  It’s kind of therapeutic to see the tomato juice splattering out when you poke the tomatoes :D

Mix everything up well.

 

My little drama queen decorated her plate of tomato rice with seasoned Korean seaweed (a staple in our house!), chopped scallions, fried scallions, cherry tomatoes and black pepper.   Note that since no frying is involved, the taste can be a tad bland. If you have fussy eaters who expect intense flavors, then you can season this dish with flavorful condiments like dried herbs, fresh herbs, scallions, seaweed, pepper, curry powder and anything you fancy.  For  not so healthy condiments, you can squeeze in some mayo, chilli sauce and tomato ketchup.

Note: do not put too much water to cook the rice as the tomatoes produce water too.  You should put lesser water than usual, else the rice will be mushy and sticky.

 

With all the right combo of condiments and ingredients used to cook this one-pot meal, it was very tasty.  It tasted even better the next day, when reheated.     Cass and Sherilyn liked it so much that they asked to bring this to school today.  I’m happiest when my girls like what I cook and ask to bring them to school to eat and ‘show off’ to their friends.  Sherilyn tells me that her friends are envious that she gets to bring home-cooked meals to school for recess almost everyday! :D

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 26

Braised Chicken Drumsticks and Eggs For Lunch Today – 20 January 2015

This pot of yummy braised chicken drumsticks and eggs in soy sauce, organic blackstrap molasses, garlic and star anise is awaiting the girls when they come back from school today…

 

I dished this up for dinner last night and kept 4 drumsticks for lunch today. I boiled 3 eggs just now and added them into the pot of boiling sauce. My girls are looking forward to their lunch, I know!  *YUMS*

And today marks my last day as temporary cook, phew! The mil will be back from New Zealand tonite!  :D

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 333

First Week Of School (12 – 16 January 2015)

I survived the first week of school! And so did Cass (who started Primary 1)!

After 3 days of waiting in the school to guide Cass and to give her moral support, parents were not allowed in the school anymore yesterday. Yesterday was the first time Cass sat on Aunty J’s van, along with her 2 sisters. We have been using Aunty J’s transportation for 4 years and this is our 5th year. I asked Aunty J to pick me up from my place at 12:30pm yesterday to follow her to school to pick up the kids. I wanted to make sure that Cass knew what to do after school dismisses. On arrival, I could not find Cass, albeit school had dismissed. I looked for her everywhere but could not find her. Suddenly, I heard “MUMMY!!!!” with a hard smack on my butt. I turned around and saw Cass… and she was chewing something in her mouth. This rascal had gone to buy JUNK FOOD from the canteen. She must have smuggled some money from her piggy bank to school. She proudly told me that she bought sausage (fark, rubbish!) and even treated her friend, Nicole to the sausage! I had expected this to happen. When Alycia and Sherilyn first started Primary 1, the same thing happened. To a kid, this is independence and new found freedom! I chided Cass for going to the canteen after school had dismissed and told her that in future, she is not allowed to buy food from the canteen after school as Aunty J would be waiting for her at the lobby and would not know where to look for her. I had a fun ride on the van with the kids. There were about 19 kids in the van and they were surprised to see me there haha! By the time we got home, I was feeling woozy from the ride in the cramped van. By the time I finished preparing fruit smoothie for the girls, it was already 3pm and I only had my lunch at 3ish pm.

The past 4 days had been very hectic for me. My cough, flu and sore throat resurfaced as I was  brutally grilled by the scorching hot sun when we had to walk to the car park and into a car that was as hot as an oven!  Then we were stuck in the murderous traffic jam for over half an hour in the car park in my oven hot car.  Now, I have flushed cheeks and a tan on my face and arms. You see, I am just a puteri lilin and not used to doing chauffeuring in the afternoon.  Plus the lack of sleep and anxiety all contributed to a compromised immune system. Today I can finally get back my ME TIME in the morning. We had to eat out twice a day for the past 3 days and finally I could find the time to cook dinner again yesterday. Today, I could cook lunch and dinner again. My kids are so happy! They are sick of eating out too.

This was what I dished up yesterday, something quick, which the girls loved.

Maggie Mee goreng, ala Mamak style. I used organic multi-grain noodles, one head of organic cabbage, 5 free-range chicken eggs, 1 carrot julienned, meat balls and 2 bulbs of garlic.

 

What made the maggie mee goreng tasted like mamak mee is the fish curry powder.  It was my first time trying Baba’s range of curry powder and I must say that it is good and cheap. Plus it is free from MSG and other additives – only consists of spices like coriander seeds, cumin, pepper, turmeric, fennel, fenugreek and other milled roots and seeds.   A small packet only costs 70 sen and I used half a packet. The spiciness is mild and my girls could stomach it.

I used an entire packet of organic multi-grain ramen noodles of 6 pieces.

 

What made me dish up maggie mee goreng was a disappointing order of maggie mee goreng last Saturday when Sherilyn ordered a plate from the Mamak restaurant but it tasted horrendous. I told her that mummy will cook an even better one and so I did!  The girls loved it so much that they brought some to school for recess today.

How was your first week of school? For many, it is a new routine and stressful week but I am sure we all mothers overcame all the difficulties presented to us :)

Glad that the weekend is here again. I so need my beauty sleep! Happy weekend peeps :)

 No. of times viewed = 185

Grilled Crispy Sandwich For Lunch – 7 Jan 2015

Here’s a simple and wholesome lunch for Alycia, Cass and me today…

Grilled crispy sandwich with egg mayo, sweet corn kernel, mashed avocado, butter and cheese.

 

I also lightly toasted some macadamia nuts in the oven (while the sandwich is grilling in the oven.  Killing 2 birds with 1 stone!),  for us to snack on whenever we are hungry.  Our snacks consist mostly of nuts at home.

 

As for desserts, we had Haagen Dazs ice cream… our guilty pleasure for today :D

 

 

What’s for lunch for you today?

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 183

Lovesick Cass

Cass is lovesick ever since her 2 sisters and grandma left for Auckland yesterday morning.  She  was down and broody the whole day and kept asking me whether her che ches have reached NZ.

I made her favorite grilled herbs and turmeric drumsticks for dinner but even when she savored the drumstick, she put one hand on the side of her face and appeared dreamy.

While at the dining table, she kept telling me this: “why does it feel so different without che che and er che?”

I asked her if she is happy that her sisters are not around since there was now no one to fight with her over the iPad, laptop, TV and food but she shook her head and said that she is not happy.  I asked her if she misses her che ches and she said yes, very much.  Oh dear, that really put a lump in my throat!

Cass gave me an A++ for the chicken drumsticks and commented that they tasted even better than KFC, wah!!! :D

The both of us shared this plate of 2 drumsticks, a butter bun, baby tomatoes, avocado and veggies (there was a big plate of veggie though).  Cass is not a rice lover and so am I, so yay, no need to cook rice!!  Yup, we are that small an eater, thus our size.

And I must say that cooking for only 1 child is SOOOOO easy peasy!!    So little to cook, and so little to wash up and clean up!  Even boiling the radish soup was SO easy!

 

 No. of times viewed = 273

Breaded Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs

I have been wanting to try grilling breaded boneless chicken thighs for the longest time and finally tried them last week.  I googled around to get an idea of how to prepare this dish and then adapted the recipes that I found online to my kids’ liking and to the availability of my ingredients. For families with hungry meat-loving children, these Breaded Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs (you can use breasts too) are the answer to your prayers. Quickly bread and bake them in a large batch. Then store them in the refrigerator or freezer for the kids to warm in the micro or pack in their lunch bags.  Perfect for a busy weekday dinner too.

For a first-timer, I would say that I aced in this dish with an A+++!  ;)

INGREDIENTS:
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts.  I like using boneless chicken thighs as the meat is smoother and juicier and not as dry as breasts.  I used 6 boneless chicken thighs.
3 eggs, beaten
Multi-purpose flour. The only flour that I could find in the kitchen cabinet was my MIL’s cake flour, so yep, I used cake flour :)
Bread crumbs
Parmesan cheese to coat the chicken
Cooking oil.  I used Knife sesame oil + peanut oil.

MARINATE INGREDIENTS:
I pre-marinated the chicken thighs in the morning with my usual spices and seasonings such as soy sauce, pepper, coriander seeds, turmeric powder and garlic steak seasoning.    You can use garlic salt or whatever spices and seasoning you fancy or have in your kitchen.

Grill in oven for about 20-25 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius or until the coating turns golden brown and the meat inside is thoroughly cooked.

METHOD

I pulsed 6 slices of bread in my Blendtec blender.  I used Gardenia wheat and bran bread.

 

Make sure you toast your bread lightly in the oven/toaster, else the bread will stick to the blender and blades. You need dry and toasted bread so that the crumbs are light and easily poured out from the blender.  Make sure not to over-toast your bread or your coating will be dark/burnt later.

 

Below are the raw marinated chicken thighs,  flour, beaten eggs and bread crumbs with parmesan cheese.

Dip the chicken first into flour, shaking off any excess. Then dip it into the egg, shaking off any excess. Finally, dip it into the bread crumbs + parmesan cheese.
Lay the breaded chicken on a greased baking sheet (I used a few tablespoons of oil to grease the baking sheet).  Sprinkle some drops of  oil over each chicken piece so that the chicken will be crispy.

 

Fresh from the oven. Oh my…. the aroma of it!! Can send you to food heaven instantly!

 

Using a pair of scissors or knife, cut the chicken thighs into smaller pieces.

The chicken tasted so so so good!  The outside was crispy and inside flesh was very juicy.  My kids commented that it tasted even better than KFC!   As I had  removed the fatty skin of the chicken, my girls and I ate the coating of the chicken without guilt.  Since the coating comprises of flour + bread + egg + cheese, this meal is complete on its own and can fill you up easily.  A piece of chicken is more than enough for your kid. It is an all-in-one delish meal with protein and carbs.

I had a piece of leftover chicken that night and I kept it for lunch the next day.  To reheat the chicken, just wrap it in a piece of aluminum foil and heat it in the oven covered for about 15 minutes.  Then unwrap the aluminum foil and heat for another 5-10 minutes.  The overnight chicken tasted even more like KFC.

This is a very successful recipe and I will definitely try it again and this time, I will use chicken wings and drummets.

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 588

Cheat Pizza With Wendy’s Fried Chicken

Hubs bought a box of Wendy’s fried chicken home on Sunday night. The RM10.99 for 6 pieces fried chicken is an on-going promotion at Wendy’s.  But the girls and I had already eaten our dinner.  So I refrigerated the fried chicken.  The next day, I gave the fried chicken a make-over and dished up a cheat  pizza for Cass…

Baked wrap pizza with Wendy’s fried chicken (de-boned and de-skined), cherry tomatoes, cheese and tomato paste.

 

This is the lazy mommy’s way of tricking a kid that this is pizza ha!  But it is healthier than store-bought pizzas as it is free from deli meat and is low in sodium.  In our household, deli meat is a prohibited food item as is deep fried food. The girls and I only get to eat deli meat once in a purple moon during hotel stays or when we eat out.  Deep fried chicken is allowed occasionally but with the skin (the culprit!) removed.  Yeah, you can rightly call me a health freak mommy! :D

 

Lately, Cass is into writing me sweet appreciation and thank you notes during meal times when she likes the food that I cook.  After wolfing down the pizza, she wrote me this little note…

 

Can you see how high my score is for this pizza? WOW, the pizza must be really yummy!

And I scored an A+++ with 4 stars!

And a ‘very good’ too.

Go to My Kitchen Rules! Again, Cass asked me to take part in My Kitchen Rules TV reality show.  My girls think that their mummy is the best cook in the whole wide world and have even asked me to open a restaurant!  To an outsider, this is the ultimate joke.  I won’t even call myself a good cook.  I only cook for the love of my angels.  But in the eyes of my girls, their mummy’s cooking rocks! :)

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 370

Crispy Beef Taco

Alycia had been bugging me to get some taco shells ever since she saw a taco recipe at her daddy’s Flavors magazine.   Taco shells are not as common as pasta, spaghetti or tortilla chips where you can easily get them from mini marts and supermarkets.  They can only be found at places like Jaya Grocer or Village Grocer.  I finally got a pack of taco shells and her wish was my command, I whipped up a crispy beef taco, about 2 weeks ago.

 

 

The girls wolfed down the crispy beef tacos like some feral dogs.  I think each of the girls devoured at least 3 tacos and I was left with only one!  One of the pros of having kids with ravenous appetite is that you eat less, thus have a svelter frame :D

 

It is pretty simple to dish out crispy beef tacos.  Just toast the taco shells briefly in the oven or toaster.

The beef filling is cooked ala bolognese.  You can cook a big batch of beef bolognese and store them in containers in the freezer.  You could use them for crispy beef tacos, spaghetti or for wraps.   Deep-freezing beef bolognese is very handy for busy weekday dinners.  Just defrost the container of beef in the morning.  In the evening, pop it into the microwave oven or pan, boil some pastas or toast up some wraps or bread and you’ll have a great dinner in a jiffy!

 

 

 

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 370

Crock Pot Maple Dijon Chicken Drumsticks

I stumbled upon this recipe at skinnytaste.com while searching for some recipes to dish up. Chicken drumsticks cooked with maple syrup and dijon mustard in a crock pot seems pretty easy and delish. Best of all, not many ingredients are needed for this dish.  I was excited and very eager to try out this dish, so  off I went grocery shopping for maple syrup (this ain’t cheap ok!) and dijon mustard.

I adapted the recipe (can’t help it. I am too adventurous when it comes to cooking!) with an oriental touch by adding a few tablespoons of organic soy sauce and some freshly cut garlic.

As you can see from the picture, the chicken literally falls off the bone and is so delish! Kid-friendly, healthy and very easy to prepare too.

I hate Mondays as they are hectic for me. I need to pick up the Drama Queen from the enrichment center at 5ish pm, then cook, serve kids dinner, send Drama Queen for hip hop dance class, dinner myself and fetch Drama Queen back from dance class. So this dish is easy and fast enough for me to dish up on a maniac Monday. I started preparing at 3pm. Preparation only takes about half an hour. Once the drumsticks are cooking in the crock pot, I am free to do other stuff.

The fried rice was cooked by the girls’ grand aunt.

Crock Pot Maple Dijon Chicken Drumsticks
Recipe from Skinnytaste.com

Ingredients:

8 skinless drumsticks
1/4 cup pure Maple syrup
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp garlic salt
Fresh cracked pepper

The above is the original recipe from skinnytaste and I adapted it by adding some honey, soy sauce and garlic. I also seasoned the chicken with garlic steak seasoning. No marination is required.

Directions:

Season chicken with garlic salt and pepper and place in slow cooker. Combine maple, balsamic, and Dijon in a small bowl and whisk until smooth (I only used a spoon to mix all the ingredients). Pour over the legs, making sure the chicken is covered.

Left to right: Dijon mustard, balsimic vinegar, honey, organic pure maple syrup, pepper and the combined mixture in the bowl.

 

The original recipe uses garlic salt but since I only had garlic steak seasoning, I used whatever that I have.

 

 

Before cooking…

 

After 3 hours in the crock pot in high temp setting…

 

 

Do give this recipe a try. It is easy to prepare and perfect for a weekday dinner. You can dump  the drumsticks into the crockpot and set in low temp before you leave the house for work in the morning. By the time you are back in the evening, your entire house will be wafting with the sweet aroma of chicken, waiting for you to dig into :)

No. of times viewed = 760

Wednesday Night Dinner – Healthy Fried Rice

My part-time maid, M screwed up my day again yesterday.  I have always reminded her that should she be unable to come in for work, she has to send me a text message latest by 12 noon so that I can start doing chores myself.  But she just can’t seem to take instructions well and only messaged me at 5pm again yesterday!  What is wrong with her flipping mind?!  So at 5pm yesterday, I quickly started to work myself up like those hourly paid maids, rushing to complete every single freaking chore within 2 hours.  Thank God we have a small yet cozy condo unit that is pretty fast to clean up. Within an hour, I  accomplished quite a bit from sweeping and mopping the floors, washed 2 bathrooms and ironed a few pieces of clothes.

I could not decide yesterday whether to go ahead to cook fried rice or to eat out.  I had planned to cook fried rice, thinking that M would come to help me clean up.  But Alycia who is revising for her exam did not feel like going out.  So just like Nike’s tagline (which I like), I  ‘JUST DO IT’  and whipped up Alycia’s favorite food – fried rice.

So here’s my healthy fried rice with garlic, tomatoes, cauliflower, sweet corn kernels, crackling minced pork, lots of scallions and eggs.

 

I added 2 big organic tomatoes and sweet corn kernels into my  jar rice cooker just when ‘holes’ started to form on the rice.  By doing so, the rice will be more aromatic and the skin will peel off effortlessly from the tomatoes when in contact with heat.   I mashed up the tomatoes and mixed everything  well before dumping the rice et al into my wok of garlic + minced pork + cauliflower.

 

The minced pork this time was crackling and tasted like bacon bits (brown meat bits in the below pic). This added intense flavor to the fried rice.  And the secret to getting crackling bacon-like minced meat?  Just fry it long enough in the wok and make sure the minced meat does not get burnt or stuck to the base of the wok.

 

Seasonings used for fried rice are a few dashes of Lea & Perrin sauce, few dashes of organic soy sauce, pepper and garlic steak seasoning.

 

Composition of Mc Cormick garlic steak seasoning: salt, onion, garlic, sugar, black pepper, mustard flour, ginger, bell pepper and parsley.  I love to add a few shakes of this seasoning to marinate meats and fried rice – adds so much flavor to my food.

 

Raw of the day was alfalfa and radish sprouts and cucumber slices.

 

Salad dressing used was tangy Citron Sesame sauce from Japan.

 

I was totally knackered by 9pm after a hard day’s work slogging in front of the computer, chauffeuring the princesses and sweating it out in the kitchen.  All the hard work put in to dish out the fried rice was worth it when my three rascals commended how tasty it was.  And Miss Drama Queen gets to bring a portion to school for recess today :)

 

 

 

 No. of times viewed = 439