Earlier this spring I purchased four white square bowls from T J Maxx on a whim. It was one of those purchases I wasn't planning on, felt a little guilty about, and it caused me to question my shopping habits. I could have returned the bowls and eliminated my guilty conscious, but instead I decided to embrace the bowls. And now three months later the bowls have turned out to be one of my best decisions! I definitely don't fell guilty anymore and am actually proud of my purchase. The bowls have completely transformed my weekly meal planning. I find it is easier, healthier and a lot more fun to eat dinner out of a bowl.
I typically start with a theme like Southwestern, Mediterranean or Asian. I steam rice, marinate protein and add fresh vegetables and a vinaigrette based on my theme. I think the kids love it because I allow them to make the bowls their own way. Yes, they need to include fresh vegetables, but that is my only rule. If they want to add pickles, crushed up taco chips or hot sauce I say, "go for it". Let's live on the edge, break the rules and add a little creativity to our dinner time.
Jack and Grace especially love Southwestern bowls. I add a little cilantro and fresh lime juice to the rice which reminds them of one of their favorite take out food restaurants. Jack loves to add fresh avocado and Double Take Verde Good Chile Salsa to his bowl. Grace prefers sour cream and shredded Monterey Jack cheese. I always add fresh greens and kale to every meal. My husband likes roasted bell peppers. All of our bowls are a little different, but that is ok. We are sitting down eating a meal together and that makes me happy.
Cilantro Lime Rice:
- I steam 6 cups of white rice for our family of four. We all love leftovers.
- When the rice is finished add juice from 1/2 of a lime, 3 tsp oil, 1.5 tablespoons of fresh cilantro and .5 tsp of garlic salt for each 1.5 cups of white.
- If I steam 6 cups of rice I would quadruple this recipe.
- Our favorite rice cooker is the: Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5-1/2-Cup (Uncooked) Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer, Premium White, 1.0-Liter. You can find it online at many retailers. We use our rice cooker at least two times a week. White rice is the perfect compliment to so many different types of cuisines. I also love that using a rice cooker allows you extra prep time when you are trying to get dinner on the table in 30 minutes. This rice cooker can be set 11 hours before you plan on serving dinner. It is a huge time saver.
- I rely on a manual citrus squeezer. My hands are not very strong and sometimes I struggle to squeeze lemons and limes. There are many great options online.
- We cook a lot of rice in our rice cooker, but I always keep Grain Trust Steamed White Rice in my freezer for times when I need rice in 3 minutes straight from my microwave. Grain Trust, "grains are always: ethically sourced from farmers who earn living wages, organic, naturally gluten-free, and grown without the use of GMO's."
- If you are following the low FODMAP program the garlic salt in this recipe could work well for the challenge phase of your diet.
Southwestern Chicken Rub Recipe:
For each pound of protein combine:
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1.5 teaspoons cumin
- .75 teaspoon garlic powder
- .5 teaspoon ground oregano
- .25 teaspoon salt
- .25 teaspoon ground thyme
- .25 ground red pepper
- I use this same rub recipe on flank steak and shrimp.
- You can prepare the meat in advance and let it stay cool in your fridge until you ready to cook it.
- If the weather is nice I prefer to grill my protein. However, we live in MN and occasionally during our freezing cold winters I am forced to broil the protein or saute it on my stovetop. If I saute protein I like to add 1 tsp of oil to the recipe.