Mongolian Beef

Hello all–  We’re nestled in for the night here in Madison Wisconsin.  Loved our Laurel and John’s “Wisconsin wedding weekend in the woods!”  plus a little woodsy hiking and a lot of water-parking with grand-girls since then.  So actually, I haven’t been cooking up much lately!!

But here’s super at our house back in California a couple weeks ago.  Rich brown sauce wrapped around tender chunks of beef –all over brown rice.  Simple and so good.

MONGOLIAN BEEF
1 cup brown rice
2 tab. cornstarch
1 pound flank steak
2 tab. olive oil
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled & minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine
1 cup brown mushroom, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
garnish: green onion, chopped

sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch

Put the rice on to cook according the directions on the package.

Then put the sauce together.  In a container with a tight fitting lid shake together the soy sauce, water, brown sugar and 2 tsp. cornstarch until it is thoroughly blended.  Set aside.

Cut the flank steak into 1/4 inch strips.  Toss it in a bowl with the 2 tab. cornstarch.  Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet. And then drop the meat in an even layer int he bottom of the skillet.  Cook on high for just about a minute on each side so it has a nice crisp char.  Remove to a plate.

In the same skillet, drop in the ginger and onion.  Cook 2 or 3 minutes until the onion is translucent.  Then add in the mushroom and garlic and cook a couple minutes more.

Give the sauce ingredients one more good shake and then pour it all into the hot pan over the onion mixture.  Stir until it thickens and then add in the beef.

Layer the cook rice and beef & sauce onto a plate.  Sprinkle the top wit green onion.  Done!

Honey Ginger Pork & Sugar Snap Pea Bowl

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Hello all– We are happily in a series of rain storms here, after years of drought.  The impatience in the front yard are bright and blooming and the mountains north of us are white with snow.  There are fires in the fireplace and heavy sweaters.  It’s real winter weather and we’re loving it. Unfurl the umbrellas!

So when it’s soggy outside, a hot savory bowl of pork and crispy sugar snap peas is really welcome.  You might like this no matter what your weather these days…

HONEY GINGER PORK & SUGAR SNAP PEA BOWL
1 cup white or brown rice.
2 tab. olive oil
1/2 pound pork loin cutlets, cut to small strips
salt & freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups sugar snap peas (about 5 oz.)

sauce:
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. minced ginger (or powdered ginger)
2 tab. soy sauce
3 tab. honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tab. cornstarch

Cook the rice according to the directions on the package

Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Drop in the pork cutlet strips.  Liberally salt and pepper them as they cook. Stir to brown the pork evenly for 4 or 5 minutes until it’s brown around the edges.  Throw in the red pepper bits and cook 1 minute more.  Remove the meat and peppers from the skillet to a plate.

Cut the tough tips from the ends of the peas and then add them to the same skillet.  Cooking for just 2 to 3 minutes in the pork juices (you want them to stay crisp!)

Shake together the sauce ingredients in a tightly closed container until they are thoroughly blended.

Then put the meat and peppers back in the skillet with the sugar snap peas.  Stir in the sauce mixture over medium high heat.  Stir until the sauce thickens, just a minute or two.

Layer the pork and peas over a bowl of cooked rice, scraping all the sauce from the pan.  Makes two bowls.  Enjoy it nice and hot!

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Ginger Peanut Broccoli Slaw

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Hi there– I am an avid cole slaw fan.  I’m always up for a new version, especially with summer right around the corner.  Lately I’ve been buying this bagged Broccoli Slaw at our market.  So much crunch and more veggie flavor than the cabbage I usually chop up.  And it’s easy!  Just open that bag and pour it into the sauce.  5 minutes.  Done.  And delicious!

GINGER PEANUT BROCCOLI SLAW
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup peanuts
1 lime, juice (about 2 tab.)
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tab. canola oil
1 tab. rice wine vinegar
2 tab. sugar
1 tsp. ginger, peeled and minced fine
1 bag “Broccoli Slaw”*

In a mixing bowl whisk together the cilantro, peanuts, lime juice, salt, oil, vinegar, sugar and vinegar until it’s all well blended.  Then mix in the bag of broccoli slaw and set it on the table!  What could be easier than that?!

*If you life in So. California, Broccoli Slaw is available at Stater Brothers.

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Ginger Apricot Chicken

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Hello dear friends– I think we all know the hardest part of fixing dinner is deciding what to try to summon up with the ingredients on hand– in our fridge there’s always chicken breasts lurking and jam and soy sauce…  and happily I had one little nub of ginger in the drawer. So we ended up with this chicken on the table– It’s sweet and savory with just little bite of ginger.  I think you’ll like it…

And can I say, I love that this dish is so easy? Ten minutes to get it into the oven and then it just bakes itself.  Gives you enough time to check your phone, get a drink, set the table and rustle up a salad or some broccoli and a sturdy loaf bread.  That’s it –dinner!

GINGER APRICOT CHICKEN
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 tab. soy sauce
2 tab. minced ginger*
2 shakes cayenne pepper*
2 tab. cider vinegar
2 large chicken breasts, filleted
1 tab. cornstarch (optional)

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In a saucepan, combine the jam, soy sauce, ginger and pepper.  Heat until the jam is melted.  Then stir in the cider vinegar.

Cut the chicken breasts horizontally to produce 4 thin fillets.  Dip the chicken into the warm jam sauce.  And set it into a baking dish.  Pour the rest of the sauce over the chicken.

Bake the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven, basting the chicken with the sauce a couple times while it bakes.  When done, remove the chicken to a platter and pour the sauce from the baking dish over the chicken.**  Bon Apetit!

*If you like your meals nice and spicy you can, of course, up the ginger and cayenne (me, I’m a spice whimp, so this little amount is just fine.)
**If you want the sauce to be thicker, pour the sauce rom the baking dish into a small sauce pan and set it to simmering.  In a container with a tightly fitting lid, shake together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water.  When it’s thoroughly blended, stir it into the simmering sauce for a minute or two until  it thickens.  The pour it over the chicken on the serving platter.

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Ginger Pork Meatballs

IMG_0034Hello there–  It’s meatball time again around here, a grand-girl fave!  I like this quick, easy  dinner,  fills up a big platter to feed all 7 of us (4 bigs and 3 littles).  Just add a greenish bowl of veggies, a salad and some kind of yummy bread and it’s a meal!  Happy eating!

GINGER PORK MEATBALLS

Rice– 2 cups–cook according the the package directions

Meatballs
1 pound ground pork
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
3 cloves garlic, minced*
1 tsp. ground ginger**
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Combine all the meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl– I just like squishing them together with my hands– and then form smallish balls (kind of like roll up play dough)– and set them on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

Put them in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on how large you rolled out your meatballs)– until they are cooked through and a bit brownish around the edges.

While they are cooking–make you sauce and the can drop the meatballs into that yummy sauce as they come out of the oven.

Sauce:
2 tab. butter (or olive oil)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tab. soy sauce
1 tab. rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tab. cornstarch
1 tab. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground ginger**
1 cup water (or white wine or apple juice–if you have either on hand)
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped fine

2 green onions for garnish

Melt the butter in a skillet.  Put the other ingredients for the sauce into a container with a tightly sealing lid.  Shake until all the ingredients are well blended and pour into the hot skillet with the butter.  Keep it on medium heat and stir until the sauce thickens (a couple minutes).

When the meatballs are cooked through, add them to the skillet with the sauce and stir to coat them completely.

Thai Cole Slaw with Ginger Peanut Dressing

 

IMG_0051Hello all– I was excited when I came across this recipe– so many of my favorite flavors tumbled into one crunchy, bright, cheerful bowl of slaw!!  I’m a cole slaw fan–  but add in peanuts, honey, sweet chili sauce and cilantro– better yet!

OK, is can see you’re saying–“too many exclamation points!”  But try and maybe you’ll exclaim as well.  It really is a scrumptious addition to any summer meal!!

THAI COLE SLAW WITH GINGER PEANUT DRESSING

Dressing:
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tab. soy sauce
2 tab. peanut butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Thai sweet chili sauce*
1 tsp. ground ginger**
2 cloves garlic, minced fine

Add all ingredients into a container with a tight fitting lid and shake, shake until it’s all well blended.

Cole Slaw:
4 cups cabbage, shredded
1 cup carrot, peeled & grated
1/2 cup red bell pepper, cut to tiny bright bits
1 cup edamame
2 green onions, green parts, chopped
1/2 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Add together all the ingredients for the cole slaw and pour over the dressing.  Mix to coat it all well.  Set it into the fridge until your ready to eat.  Then stir it up again for get all that dressing that’s settled to the bottom and eat up!

*The recipe I worked from called for 1 tsp. of Siriacha sauce– but that’s a little too much heat for wimpy me.  I like this sweet chili sauce a lot.
** You can used fresh ginger if you have it on hand (I didn’t).

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Almond Ginger Cookies

IMG_9265Hello Cookie Eating Friends–  Loving these tender little cookies.  They’re sort of a shortbread with an almond crunch and a bit of ginger bite.  If you like ginger beer or ginger cat cookies from Trader Joe’s, I think you’ll love these sweet guys!

ALMOND GINGER COOKIES
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup candied ginger, minced fine
1/2 cup sliced almonds*
little more sugar for coating

With an electric mixer, beat the butter** and sugar until they form a fluffy paste.  Then beat in the flour and salt for a few minutes more until the dough resembles coarse crumbs.  It will take a several minutes.  Persevere!

Then, finally, beat in the almonds and ginger until the dough is sticky crumbs.

Divide the dough into two halves and roll each into a log on a piece of plastic wrap.  Pop them into the fridge a couple hours (or overnight).

Unwrap the logs and roll them in sugar to coat the sides.

Then slice the logs into 1/4 inch circles.  It will slice best while the dough is still cold!  Place the cookies on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray– about 1″ apart.

Cook them up for about 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees– just until the edges start to brown and they smell gingery good.

Cool them on a wire rack.  Makes about 30 cookies.

*I like the sliced toasted almonds from Trader Joe’s– pretty and crispy
**If the butter comes straight from the fridge, microwave it for a few seconds to bring it close to room temperature.

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Apple Cider Glazed Meatballs

IMG_8734Hey there–  It’s been a bit tricky, figuring out just what the grand-girls like to eat for dinner, now that they’re here from Shanghai with us.  Larry and I have been eating grown up food for so long.  I’d forgotten all about “fun food!”

Frozen yogurt, of course is up there, as well as pink cupcakes.  They like things served on noodles and have met up with tacos and like them just fine.   I’ve discovered meat in little balls is the preferred meat form for small girls.  So here is a grand-girl approved recipe–and I’m pretty sure most adults would find this dish yummy as well…

APPLE CIDER GLAZED MEATBALLS

MEATBALLS:
1 pound ground beef (85%)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. salt

GLAZE:
1 cup apple cider
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tab. brown sugar
1 tab. cornstarch
1 tsp. ground ginger
1tsp. butter

3 green onions for garnish

Mix together all the meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl.  You can be tidy and use a spoon, but I think mushing with you hands works best to get it all well combined.  Make 30 smallish meatballs by scooping out a spoonful and rolling it into a ball.

Set them on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

To make the glaze, put the cider, soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch and ginger in a container with a tight lid.  Shake it and shake it again until it’s thoroughly combined.  Melt a tsp. of butter in a skillet, then pour in the cider mixture and stir until it thickens.

When the meatballs are browned, drop them into the pan of sauce and simmer just a couple minutes.  Then serve them over a bed of rice, topped with the green onions.

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Here’s the grand-girls after a run threw the hose water with Grandpa Larry in the back yard.

Baked Gingerbread Pecan French Toast

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Good morning breakfast buddies– Loving this spicy version of French toast.  It’s the kind you make the night before and pop in the oven just before breakfast.  We had it for the first time on Christmas morning– along with the cranberry preserves and  lots of maple syrup–thanks to the Bigarels maple trees! (You’re the best Alfie!!)   So easy on a busy morning.

It’s hot from the oven and a little spicy and lot of sweet. I think you’d like it…

BAKED GINGERBREAD PECAN FRENCH TOAST
1 loaf French bread, sliced
1/4 cup melted butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
pinch of salt
1 cup pecans, chopped

Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast them at 325 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.  Keep your eye on them, because they can burn easily.

Whisk together the melted butter, milk, 1/2 cup maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon allspice and salt.  Dip the sliced bread in the egg mixture and  layer it in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Pour the  extra egg mixture over the top.  Cover the pan with foil and leave it overnight in fridge.

Take it out to warm up a bit while oven preheating. Then bake it, uncovered,  at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  Top it with foil if it starts to get too browned.

Serve it up warm with ample maple syrup and the toasted pecans to your own breakfast buddies.  It’s good.

Ginger Peanut Salmon

IMG_2435Hello friends–  Maybe it’s just because I was raised on good old peanut butter sandwiches, but I do love peanuts in just about anything.  The years we lived in Spain, we’d drive 3 hours south to Gibraltar to find the British grocers so we could buy peanut butter!  And in between times, I’d grind up peanuts and salt in the food processor for my own lumpy version of peanut spread.  So, or course, when I saw this recipe i just had to give it a try.  Spicy peanut-y good.
GINGER PEANUT SALMON
1 tab. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger grated
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tab. soy sauce
1 tsp. Thai sweet chili sauce*
juice of 1/2 lime
2 or 3 tab. water–optional
2 tab. olive oil
1 pound salmon, cut in 4 pieces
salt & fresh ground pepper
1 green onion, chopped to bits,  for garnish

Heat the oil in a pan.  Drop in the garlic and the ginger and cook 1 minute.  Then stir in the peanut butter, soy sauce, chili sauce and lime juice.  If the sauce seems too thick, add a bit of water.  Set it aside.

Heat the 2 tab. olive oil in a pan.  Season the salmon with salt and pepper.  Brown it on high heat, 1 minute on each side.  Then slide it into a 350 degree oven for 4 or 5 minutes, to keep it moist and cooked through.  Serve the salmon topped with the peanut sauce and a sprinkle of green onion.

Crunchy Broccoli Coleslaw

IMG_2470Hey there–  It was a potluck a Jeff & Betty’s and it couldn’t have been more fun!  Everyone wandered in, setting one of their best dishes on the table to go along with Jeff’s bar-b-qued brisket.  Oh yes!  It was eating heaven– along with tables full of convivial friends.  My contribution was this bright, crunchy cole slaw.  I hope you try it next time you bar-b-que with friends…

CRUNCHY BROCCOLI COLE SLAW
2 3 oz. packages ramen noodles
1/2 cup sliced almonds
4 tab. rice wine vinegar
1 lime, juiced
4 tab. sugar
1/2 tsp ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
6 cups napa cabbage, thinly sliced
2 cups broccoli, cut into small bits
1 carrot, grated
1/2 cup red pepper, cut fine
1 cup jicama, peeled & cut to bits

Set the oven to 350 degrees.  Toast the ramen noodles 10 minutes and the almonds only 7 minutes.  Set them aside.

In a large bowl mix together the vinegar, lime juice, sugar, ginger, garlic, oil and salt.  Whisk them together to blend thoroughly.  Then toss in the cabbage, broccoli, carrot, red pepper and jicama.  Toss them to coat everything with dressing.

Just before you serve it up, stir in the noodles and almonds.  So fresh and crunchy!

Salmon and Spicy Chinese Eggplant

IMG_9438Hello there–  Back from a weekend away.  It was just grand, but nice to be home– and back to school.  Funny how 3rd graders miss their teacher when she’s gone.  It was hugs galore this morning!  And I’m back to the kitchen after eating those lovely meals cooked by someone else for 4 days.  So here’s dinner–simple, quick and full of flavor…

SALMON AND SPICY CHINESE EGGPLANT
2 skinless salmon filets
2 smallish Chinese eggplants, cut in slices
3 to 4 tab. olive oil
garlic salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tab. soy sauce
1 tab. rice wine vinegar
1 tab. Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tab. brown sugar
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. minced ginger*
1 tab. cornstarch
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine

In a nonstick pan, splash in just a tablespoon or so of olive oil.  Brown the salmon filets, about 3 minutes on each side (depending on how thick they are).  Salt them lightly with garlic salt as they cook.  Remove them from the pan and cover them on a plate to keep them warm.  Then add the rest of the olive oil to the pan and throw in the sliced eggplant.  Cook about 5 minutes, turning it to brown on all sides.  Eggplant really soaks up the oil, so you may want to add a big more.  Sprinkle with garlic salt as it is cooking.  Remove it from the pan and keep warm.  While the eggplant is cooking, in a container with a snug lid, shake together the garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce, brown sugar, ginger, cornstarch and water until it’s thoroughly mixed.  Then pour it into the hot pan.  Stir until it thickens, just a couple minutes.  Add the salmon and eggplant back to the pan and warm it a couple minutes before you serve it up.

Citrus Chicken

Hello all– On a busy day last week, this was the perfect simple dinner.  Just put the chicken in the marinade for an hour and then it takes about 15 minutes to cook.  It’s pretty and has so much flavor.  I splashed that sweet tangy sauce on everything.  Delish.

CITRUS CHICKEN
4 chicken thighs
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tab. soy sauce
1 tab. honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. minced ginger
cooking spray
1 tsp. cornstarch

In a large zip loc bag, mix up the orange juice, soy sauce, honey, garlic and ginger.  Drop the chicken into the bag and let it marinate for an hour.  Then pull the chicken thighs out and set them on a pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them under a boiler on medium heat for about 8 minutes on each side until cooked through, depending on how big your chicken pieces are.

Meanwhile dump the leftover marinade from the bag into a pan and bring it to a real boil.  Put the cornstarch along with 1/3 cup water– into a container with a lid and shake it up to mix completely.  Then stir it into the simmering marinade for a couple minutes until it thickens.  Pour  this pretty sauce over the chicken when it comes out of the broiler.  How simple it that?  And yummy.

Honey Ginger Pork

Hi friends– Wish you could have dropped in for dinner tonight– tried this honey ginger pork recipe.  It was hearty and the sweet sauce was yummy spooned onto the rice we had with it on our plates.

HONEY GINGER PORK
2 pork loin chops
1 tab. olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tab. ginger, minced
2 tab. honey
1 tab. lemon juice
1 tab. soy sauce
1 tsp. cornstarch

Mix the honey, ginger, lemon juice and soy sauce.  Heat the oil in a nonstick pan.  Make sure the pork is well salted and sprinkled with freshly ground pepper.  Quickly brown both sides on high heat.  Then turn the heat down to medium and marinate it frequently with the sauce while you grill it for about 3 or 4 minutes on each side (to about about 145 degrees internal temperature).  Please, don’t over cook it as I’m prone to do!  As it cooks, the sauce will thicken and after you remove the meat, you can thicken it a bit more. Shake the cornstarch in the covered container along with 1/4 cup water and then stir it into the simmering sauce until it thickens and turns a beautiful glistening brown.  Pour it over the pork on your serving dish.  So pretty (and delish).

Crunchy Ginger Peanut Pasta Salad


Hi there– after a couple weeks away, eating our way across China, we’re ready for some simple, light suppers.  Here’s a fine end of the summer meal that you can make ahead and serve with a crunchy baguette and a simple grilled piece of salmon.

8 oz. of your favorite pasta
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tab. rice vinegar
2 tab. sugar
2 tab. soy sauce
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1 tsp. Thai sweet chili sauce
1 cup snow peas, trimmed and halved
2 carrots, cut in match stick shapes
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
6 radishes, cut into small strips
1/2 cup sliced green onion
4 tab. chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Cook up the pasta and drain it in a strainer.  In a container with a tight lid, shake together the dressing–oil, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, ginger and chili sauce.  Prepare all the veggies and then mix them into the pasta with the dressing and refrigerate for a couple hours.  Mix in the peanuts just before you set it on the table.  Enjoy!

Plum and Pork Stir Fry


Hey there–  I’m looking forward to some real Chinese food next week.  Larry and I are traveling to see our kids in Shanghai.  Our daughter-in-law Jodi is magic with her wok.  But in the meantime we enjoyed this simple stir fry to practice our chopstick skills!  Sweet, tart plums play well against the savory pork.  Hope you try it…

PLUM AND PORK STIR FRY
4 boneless pork cutlets
2 tab. olive oil
2 ripe plums, cut into small slices
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup water
2 tab. soy sauce
3 tab. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ginger (chopped or powdered)
1 tab. cornstarch
1 1/2 cup brown rice (or white*)
3/4 tsp. salt

Put the brown rice, salt and 3 cups water into a pan with the lid on.  Simmer on low for 25 to 30 minutes until the rice is soft.  Meanwhile cut the pork into small chunks.  Then brown it with the oil in a hot non stick pan.  When the meat is browned and cooked through, drop in the peppers and cook 2 minutes while you stir.  Finally add in the plums.

Sauce:
In a container with a tight lid shake the 1/2 cup water, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and cornstarch until it is all thoroughly combined.  Stir it into the hot pan of meat and plums until it thickens and makes a lovely brown sauce.

Spread the rice on a platter and pour the pork & plum mixture over the top.  Pass out the chopsticks and dig in!

*White rice only needs to simmer 10 minutes.