Monday, May 23, 2011

Mid-Spring Spice-n-Rice

Between the fickle, on-again-off-again Seattle spring weather and a baby who, at 38 weeks, seems disinclined to acquiesce to any requests to leave the womb, I figured it was time for a little spice. Who knows? Maybe it would send some cosmic spark out into the world (and, in turn, my uterus) and start a little warmth.

The menu last night consisted of things that weren't necessarily seasonal - as is still my goal of this here blog-o-food - but, as I was thinking about it, the ingredients weren't entirely anti-seasonal, either. I think it was more of a "staple" dinner; things that we usually have in our pantries and refrigerators anyway, so why not use them up?

Mid-Spring Spice-n-Rice menu
Spicy Citrus Meatballs, Rice, and C&C Honey Cornbread

Spicy Citrus Meatballs
1 family-sized package of frozen meatballs
1 1/2 cup Johnny's Jamaican Me Crazy marinade
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
3 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs cinnamon sugar

Place frozen meatballs in a 2 - 3 qt, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat.
Add marinade, orange juice, and ketchup and cover for 10 minutes allowing the sauce to come to a boil.
Stir gently, and add brown sugar before turning the heat down to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Add cinnamon sugar, stir, and serve

Prepare rice as you typically would. For a family of four adults and one toddler - and planning on leftovers to make rice pudding with the next day - I use at least two cups of rice, four cups of water, and 2 tsp salt. I've found that Jasmine rice is the best all-around rice, but Basmati is also great! Bring the rice and water to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring regularly. When it comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, cover, and let stand for 18 - 22 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and serve.

C&C Honey Cornbread
1 box Krusteaz Natural Honey Cornbread mix (any honey cornbread mix will work)
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbs fresh cracked pepper
2 tsp salt
1 chipotle bouillon cube (find these in the ethnic food aisle)

Follow the directions on the box for preheating (400 degrees F.) and adding the first four ingredients
Evenly scatter the shredded cheese and stir into the batter before adding pepper and salt
Crush the chipotle bouillon cube in your hand, and mix into the batter
Follow the directions on the box for baking, depending on the pan/muffin tins you decide to use, let cool for 5 minutes, and serve.
(I buttered an 8x8 metal pan, which I've dubbed "The Cornbread Pan" since I've only ever used it for such, and baked the mix for 27 minutes.)

Start-to-finish, this dinner took 35 minutes and, even better (!), will provide dessert for tonight in the form of rice pudding. Sometimes, it pays not to plan!