web analytics

Blog

Basmati Rice Pilaf

This easy rice pilaf recipe takes things to the next level with basmati rice. We hope you'll add this classic dish to your repertoire. It's a perfect side dish or bed for a wide variety of meals. We love it with seared scallops.

Tip

Basmati rice is just as easy to prepare as plain white rice, but its flavor and aroma elevate this simple dish to next-level status.

The case for rice pilaf

Some recipes are so basic, so versatile, so good that every cook should know them. There's that pesky "should," I know. But I feel pretty strongly about this. Rice pilaf is one of those recipes. And basmati rice pilaf is pilaf's best version of itself.

Rice pilaf woke up on the right side of the bed this morning. And if you're new to this side dish and ready to learn a simple, easy recipe, then so did you.

Psst: speaking of beds, maybe you'll try this as a bed for seared scallops with chorizo. Just sayin. 

How to make rice pilaf

A few keys to a good pilaf: flavor, flavor, flavor. You don't want to overwhelm, but you definitely don't want to bore. Use good butter (I love Kerrygold salted butter like I love my children) and good stock (I almost never make my own but have a couple of boxed favorites such as this one for veg and this one for chicken). Brown the onions a little like the recipe suggests to develop the flavor. Basmati rice will speak for itself in the flavor department. And don't skimp on the salt and pepper.

I'm feeling a little bossy today I guess. Sorry not sorry. 🙂

Basmati Rice Pilaf

This is a best-self version of a classic recipe with plenty of flavor and zero complicating factors. It's a versatile side dish that I hope you'll build into your repertoire.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Serves Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper (see instructions)

To garnish (optional)

  • Minced chives
  • Chopped almonds

Directions

  1. In a wide pan with a lid (like this onethis one, or this one), melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and just starting to brown, about five minutes. While onion cooks, rinse rice in a fine-mesh sieve until the water runs clear and shake out any excess water.
  2. Add garlic to pan and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about a minute. Add rice and stir to coat with butter, then cook, stirring once or twice, for two minutes. Pour in stock and give it all a good stir. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then cover pan, lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook until broth is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. 
  3. Off the heat, place a clean kitchen towel between the pan and the lid to absorb excess steam and let pilaf rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chives and almonds if using and serve.

Notes

If you use salted butter and stock, you may not need additional salt. Just taste and adjust before serving.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 176 Total Fat: 6.4g Carbohydrates: 26.4g Fiber: 1.4g Protein: 3.3g

Tangy Green Juice Recipe

Hello hello. I’ve been drinking a lot of green juice recently. That’s the understatement of the year, which isn’t super-impressive since it’s only February 1. But you know what? It FEELS pretty impressive. And that’s something.

This is my favorite basic green juice recipe, and it’s been doing a lot of heavy lifting around here for the past month. And my go-to green juice recipe when I’m just sort of casually flirting with juice is this one. As the name strongly suggests, it’s balanced in flavor. All of that is great. But sometimes — like when you’ve been juicing all of the things all of the time — it’s nice to change it up and go a little extreme. The other day I was really craving some serious tang in my green juice, so I went for it with the turmeric, lemons and limes. 

Tip

Our bodies absorb fresh turmeric root better than dried, but it's still a good idea to incorporate some black pepper into your diet to aid turmeric absorption.

Tangy Green Juice Recipe

The other day I was really craving some serious tang in my green juice, so I went for it with the turmeric, lemons and limes. This recipe makes a lot — about seven cups of juice. Share it or keep it in the fridge for up to three days if you’ve got a masticating juicer, which preserves nutrients longer than centrifugal juicers. The citrus will keep it tasting fresh. Alternatively, it’s a great recipe for a day when you want to flood your body with micronutrients while taking it easy on the eating. Maybe tote this around with you until it’s gone and see what you feel like after that.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Serves 7

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch lacinato kale
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 4-inch piece ginger
  • 2 pieces fresh turmeric
  • 2 lemons
  • 3 small green apples
  • 3 limes
  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 1 bunch celery

Directions

  1. Chop ingredients as necessary for your juicer, then feed through the juicer in the order listed.
  2. Stir, strain through a fine-mesh sieve if you like, and pour into glasses to serve.

Notes

I use the Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer, a masticating juicer that juices pretty efficiently and preserves nutrients for a longer period than centrifugal juicers. You can make this recipe with any juicer.

This gorgeous glass is from the equally gorgeous Isabella Sparrow in Chestnut Hill, PA.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size:

1 cup

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 55 Total Fat: 0.5g Carbohydrates: 8.3g Fiber: 0g Protein: 1.6g

Vegetarian Quesadilla Recipe with Refried Beans

This vegetarian quesadilla recipe is packed with satisfying flavor, not to mention a nice hearty dose of fiber from refried beans and sautéed spinach. But it also makes use of some seriously easy ingredients. Canned refried beans and shredded Mexican cheese blend, anyone?

Tip

You've got two great options for topping this vegetarian quesadilla: awesome it up with pickled onions and cilantro sauce, or make it super easy with jarred salsa and some sour cream.
Well, hello there. It’s Tuesday, and Tuesdays are not usually new recipe days on Umami Girl. But we had these quesadillas over the weekend, and Sunday is the Super Bowl, and it just seems crazy not to share this easy vegetarian happiness right this minute.Why hoard happiness, right? That’s not how it works. That’s DEFINITELY not what the Superb Owl would do. WWTSOD? Not that.I love these recipes that are equally at home as a quick family dinner and a game-day appetizer. I love, too, that you can awesome these guys up a little bit with pickled onions and cilantro sauce, both of which have been big winners around here for years and can be made in advance.Or you can just break out your favorite jarred salsa and some sour cream and expect a lot of happy campers without a minute’s additional work.Things don’t have to be fancy to be good. But sometimes they have to be NOT fancy to be good.This is one of those times.Happy weeknight dinner or game day party. May the peace of the Superb Owl be with you always.

Vegetarian Quesadilla Recipe with Refried Beans

This easy and satisfying vegetarian quesadilla recipe is equally at home as a family dinner or a party appetizer.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Serves Serves 8

Ingredients

For the quesadillas

  • 8 12-inch flour tortillas (burrito-sized)
  • 32 ounces canned vegetarian refried beans
  • 16 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 5 ounces baby spinach

To serve

  • Pickled onions
  • Cilantro sauce
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sour cream

Directions

  1. Place four of the tortillas on work surface. Spread each with 1/4 of the refried beans and sprinkle evenly with 1/4 of the cheese, leaving about a 1/4-inch border around the edge to account for melting. 
  2. In a 12-inch skillet (nonstick or cast iron), warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook until just wilted. Transfer spinach to a colander and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Divide spinach among tortillas and arrange over cheese.
  3. Place one of the four remaining tortillas on top of each quesadilla. 
  4. To cook, you have two options. (1) Wipe out the skillet and set over medium-high heat, then cook quesadillas one at a time until lightly browned and crisp on the outside and melty on the inside, flipping once, about 5 minutes per side. Or (2) Preheat oven and two sheet pans to 400°F. Spray hot pans with cooking spray. Place one tortilla on each sheet pan (or two if you have very large pans and can fit them) and bake for 5 minutes, then flip and bake about 5 minutes more. Psst...I don't often bother with this, but if you're the type of cook who likes top-secret pro-tip lifehacks, you can bake your quesadillas between two sheet pans to crisp both sides at the same tine and not have to flip them.
  5. Cut into wedges, top with pickled onions, cilantro sauce, sliced avocado and sour cream if you want to go nuts like I always do. Otherwise, they're great with sour cream and your favorite jarred salsa.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 423 Total Fat: 16.9g Carbohydrates: 43.9g Fiber: 5.8g Protein: 25.1g

Greek Scrambled Eggs and Veggies with Savory Roasted Potatoes

Thanks to McCormick for sponsoring Greek Scrambled Eggs and Veggies with Savory Roasted Potatoes, which makes a great breakfast, brunch, or dinner with lots of fresh veggies and vibrant colors and flavors. And thanks to you for supporting our partners.

Tip

Psst...this recipe is excellent with or without the spice blend. Add a generous pinch of salt to both the eggs and the potatoes if you omit the packaged seasoning. 

Small changes can make a big difference

You guys. How is it the end of January right now? Every time I think I’ve gotten used to time speeding up and whisking us into the future, I swear it accelerates again. Dude. Lady. Whoever you are with your hand on the dial. Knock it off, please. Thank you.

I’ve spoken with a few friends and colleagues about this fleeting January, and how we’ve all gotten a heck of a lot done, but not nearly as much as we’d hoped. I don’t know why we do this to ourselves, quietly setting unreasonable expectations that we’re perpetually just shy of meeting. I’m proud to say I’ve been consciously trying to show myself as much compassion as I show others so far this year, and it’s going pretty well. And yet. It’s not a perfect system.

The good news is that even small changes in attitude and behavior can make a big difference in how we feel about these daily challenges. Better yet, those changes can start at breakfast.

Yay for breakfast

Umami central

McCormick Good Morning breakfast seasoning is a breakthrough line of products to help you do just that. You literally just sprinkle it right onto your already fabulous meal, and it amps up the flavor in all the right ways. McCormick makes sweet and savory breakfast seasonings, and of course I am all about the savory ones, because hi, have we met? I opted to use the Bell Pepper Salsa seasoning in this recipe, but you could substitute Garden Herb and be equally happy. They’re both seriously tasty and well-suited to these Greek Scrambled Eggs and Savory Roasted Potatoes.

The packaging says “sprinkle on cooked eggs OR hash browns,” so of course I sprinkled it on both eggs AND potatoes. I am not sorry and I am not looking back.

Breakfast, brunch, or dinner

This recipe makes a great family breakfast, but I also kinda can’t shake the idea of doubling it for brunch with friends, or sneaking it in once in a while as breakfast for dinner. Just putting that out there.

Greek Scrambled Eggs and Veggies with Savory Roasted Potatoes

This easy breakfast or brunch (or breakfast for dinner!) is full of fresh ingredients and satisfying savory flavors. It’s the best of all possible worlds.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients

For the eggs

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 2 tightly packed cups)
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick Good Morning Bell Pepper Salsa Breakfast Seasoning
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 6 pitted kalamata olives, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the potatoes

  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick Good Morning Bell Pepper Salsa Breakfast Seasoning

Directions

For the eggs

  1. Warm olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add shallot, pepper and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers have softened and tomatoes have burst, about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, crack eggs into a bowl and scramble.
  3. Stir spinach into pan and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.
  4. Pour in eggs and sprinkle with McCormick breakfast seasoning. Cook, stirring frequently, until eggs are almost set.
  5. Sprinkle in feta and olives and continue cooking until eggs are set to your liking.
  6. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

For the potatoes

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F with a 12-inch cast iron skillet or a rimmed sheet pan on a rack in the center.
  2. Cut potatoes into 1-inch chunks.
  3. Carefully remove skillet from oven, add potatoes and olive oil and toss to coat.
  4. Roast for 15 minutes, then toss with a spatula and return to oven for about 15 minutes more, until potatoes are tender inside and nicely browned outside.
  5. Remove from oven and toss with breakfast seasoning to coat evenly.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 420 Total Fat: 24.1g Carbohydrates: 33.5g Fiber: 6.1g Protein: 18.8g

A Basic Green Juice Recipe that’s Easy to Love

Here’s something for you. A basic green juice recipe that’s easy to love. It’s fresh-tasting and mildly flavored and full of all sorts of gentle goodness.

Around here we embrace a wide variety of green juice personality types, from assertive but well-balanced to mellow (oh, hi!) to a seriously tangy version. We also like green smoothies, from chill (that’s a great one for beginners and aficionados alike) to cheeky to tangy. (I need to get out more, I know. It’s fine.)

Tip

You can make this recipe with or without a few kale leaves depending on your preference. It tastes great either way.

Finding the best juicer for you

As for juicers, I have the Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer. It’s a masticating juicer (which I will remind you means CHEWING, you perv), so named to my great chagrin because it kinda chews up your fruits and vegetables and before sending the juice through a strainer. This, as opposed to centrifugal juicers, which win the award for least terrible name but most terrible nutrient retention. Both kinds of juicers are totally great if you’d like to drink your fresh juice right away, but masticating juicers are better at preserving nutrients for up to a few days, in case you like to juice in batches. I like to juice in batches because cleaning either type of juicer is definitely a royal PITA and the worst part of the process.

Okay. I think I should go before we see whether this conversation could get even worse. ?

Talk to you soon.

Basic Green Juice Recipe

This simple, fresh-tasting green juice is a great basic addition to your green juice repertoire. It's perfect if you're just easing into the green juice situation, or when you want a mellow vibe from your greens.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 4 large leaves lacinato kale, optional
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 2 lemons, peel and pith removed
  • 2 small green apples
  • 1 bulb fennel, including fronds
  • 1 bunch celery

Directions

  1. Feed all ingredients through juicer in the order listed.
  2. Strain juice through a fine-mesh sieve if you like.
  3. Stir and serve, or keep in the fridge for up to three days if you use a masticating juicer.

Notes

I use the Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer, a masticating juicer that juices pretty efficiently and preserves nutrients for a longer period than centrifugal juicers. You can make this recipe with any juicer.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size:

1 cup

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 81 Total Fat: 0.7g Carbohydrates: 9.4g Fiber: 0g Protein: 2.8g