Food is fuel, but food is also culture, connection, and comfort. Sharing meals with loved ones (even if it needs to be virtual right now) is a great way to add joy to your cooking routine.
These are three recipes that go great with good conversation and lots of love. The recipes are open for interpretation (as all great family recipes are!) and can easily be adapted for your health, taste, or personal needs.
Crazy “Rich” Rice (Serves 4)
Fried rice that comes together quickly and is “rich” in protein and flavor!
- 1 bag of Right Rice Original or 1 cup of uncooked rice of choice
- 3 chicken breasts
- ½ medium yellow onion sliced
- 4 cloves diced garlic
- 1 bunch of kale hand torn or sliced (cabbage)
- ½ bag of frozen peas
- 2 green onions sliced
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
- 2 tsp. avocado oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. Peanut or toasted sesame oil
- Cook rice of choice and set aside.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet or sauté pan on top with 1 tsp. avocado oil
- Season chicken breasts with ½ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. ground black pepper, add to pan and cook until done. About 8 – 10 minutes (internal temperature in the middle should be 165˚F), then set aside.
- In the same pan, add remaining avocado oil and add sliced yellow onions, cook until translucent.
- Add chopped garlic and stir until fragrant. Add torn or sliced kale and cook until bright green.
- Add ½ bag of frozen peas and stir everything together.
- Add cooked rice and stir everything together.
- Season with ½ tsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 Tbsp. oyster and soy sauce, ½ tsp. of peanut or toasted sesame oil. Mix well and turn off the heat.
- Slice chicken breasts and you can add to rice.
- Garnish rice and chicken with sliced green onions and optional sesame seeds
Fried rice or Yangchow is a dish from the Sui dynasty. It is a quick way to use up leftovers and feed families. You can easily change out the vegetables and the protein to your liking.
Right Rice is rich in protein that comes from legume sources such as lentil, chickpea, and pea, but you can definitely use brown rice, white rice, wild rice, or red rice instead of Right Rice. Day-old rice is best or you can cool your rice in the fridge before adding it to the pan.
“Pass – ta” Bolognese, Per Favore (serves 4 – 6)
A classic family comfort meal cooked low and slow for the perfect sharing meal.
- 1 ½ pounds Pappardelle/ Tagliatelle/ Rigatoni/ Bucatini/ or pasta of choice
- 3 Tbsp. avocado oil
- ½ lb of ground turkey (you can also use beef)
- ¼ lb of ground pork
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 medium carrots, finely diced
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 – 14.5oz canned diced tomatoes with juice
- 1/3 cup of dry white wine or red wine
- 1/3 cup of milk
- Water as needed
- 2 tsp. salt and to taste
- ½ tsp ground black pepper and to taste
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Italian parsley
- Follow the pasta box cooking instructions and set them aside.
- In a medium-sized pot on medium heat, add 1 Tbsp. of avocado oil, add onions, and cook until translucent then add celery and carrots. Cook for about 2 minutes then remove from the pot and set aside.
- In the same pot, add 2 Tbsps. of avocado oil, add ground meats, and 1 tsp. of salt and ¼ tsp of ground black pepper, stir, break it up into pieces, and cook until done.
- Deglaze the pot with wine and scrape the bottom of the pot. Cook until the wine has evaporated.
- Return your onion, carrot, and celery mix to the pot and stir together.
- Add canned diced tomatoes, stir, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 45min-1 hour. Check every now and then and stir.
- Add milk and let simmer for another 30-45 minutes.
- Add a pinch of nutmeg, 1 tsp salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper, stir and cook down some more if there is any liquid left then turn off the heat. If needed, season with more salt and pepper as desired.
- Toss cooked drained pasta in the sauce (you can add more oil or 1 tsp of butter to the tossed pasta if desired.)
- Serve pasta on dishes and top with grated parmesan cheese.
In Italy, Bolognese sauce is known as Ragu Alla Bolognese and originated in Bologna, Italy. It is great served with a tossed salad or roasted vegetables.
The onion, celery, and carrot mix are called a soffrito (fried slightly/ slowly). It is used as a base for a lot of Italian sauces, soups, stews, and braises.
The brown bits stuck at the bottom of your pan are called fond. It is the caramelized bits after cooking meat. Not the same as burnt bottoms.
Let’s “Kraut – Wickel” and Roll! (Also called, Kohlrouladen) (Serves 4 -5 / 2 rolls per person)
This recipe is for a great cabbage roll originating in Germany. This dish is also great for cooking with a loved one!
For the cabbage
- 1 ½ – pound head cabbage
- 1 – 2 tsp. salt
For the filling:
- 6 oz. ground turkey (or beef for original recipe)
- 6 oz. ground pork
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
- ½ tsp. paprika
- ½ tsp. marjoram (or oregano)
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper (and more to taste)
For the cabbage roll:
- 1 tsp. avocado oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 cup chicken broth (or beef broth)
- Twine or string to keep cabbage roll intact
For the sauce:
- 1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
- ¼ cup water (cold)
For the cabbage:
- Peel off the first few layers of the cabbage if it looks bad or torn. Remove or cut the bottom part/ stem out of the cabbage by making a V shape cut towards the inside of the cabbage.
- Fill a big pot with just enough water to cover the whole cabbage, add your 1-2 tsp. of salt. Bring your cabbage pot to a boil, add the cabbage, and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Remove cabbage from the pot and let it sit for about 5 minutes. (Save pot with boiling water just in case some cabbage leaves don’t peel off the first time).
- Peel the cabbage leaves carefully to keep them as intact as possible
For the filling:
- In a large bowl, mix all the filling ingredients together careful not to overmix
- Portion the mixture into about ¼ cup servings for 10 to 12 meat rolls.
- Lay the cabbage down and cut the thickest part of the cabbage vein, if necessary, to make rolling easier.
- Place your mixed meat in at the tip of the cabbage where it is not cut and curls up, then fold the sides and roll it towards the thickest part (towards the V cut), like a burrito, and then tie it like a packaged gift with your twine or string.
Cooking the cabbage rolls:
- Heat a large pot or saucepan on medium-high. Add your 1 tsp. avocado oil, add chopped onion until nice and golden, then set aside.
- In the same pan, sear your cabbage rolls both top and bottom until the cabbage has gotten some coloring, golden brown.
- Turn down heat to medium and add enough broth to cover ¼ inch of the pot, cover with a lid and simmer for 45 to 50 minutes. Check on it every now and then and add the remainder of broth as needed to make sure you have a ¼ inch of broth the whole time. You can use more broth if needed.
- After 45 – 50 minutes, take your cabbage rolls out, cut the strings, place them on a serving dish, and set them aside. Keep your pot of broth simmering after taking out cabbage rolls.
- In a small bowl, add your 1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder and ¼ cup of water until fully mixed.
- Add your arrowroot mixture to your simmering pot of broth and stir constantly until thick.
- Season with salt and pepper as needed, pour over cabbage rolls and garnish with bacon bits if you want.
Kohlrouladen or Krautwickel is quintessential German comfort food. Although there have been many debates and variations to this cabbage roll, it is said to have originated in Germany.
This is usually served with boiled or mashed potatoes. The original German recipe uses beef broth and a mixture of ground pork and beef. The bacon is optional; you can add tomato paste and sour cream to your gravy sauce.