Last night my little guy couldn't sleep and so we let him stay up late watching cooking shows with us, and he said, "Oh, I want mac and cheese!" It was late and I wanted him to go to sleep, so I said, "I'll make you mac and cheese for breakfast."
This morning came, and I knew the rice cooker mac and cheese was going to save the day. And was I ever right! This is exactly the kind of easy recipes I was wanting to share when I started this blog, so here it is and I hope you love it!
In under 20 minutes we had creamy mac and cheese with slightly crispy edges just like baked mac and cheese.
Mix all ingredients in rice cooker and stir as well as possible. Then set rice cooker to cook and set a timer for 5 minutes. At 5 minutes, stir, and then set for another 5 minutes. At the 10 minute mark, stir again and taste (it may be sticking to the bottom a bit, just gently scrape away). If the noodles still need some time, give it another 2-3 minutes and check again. Mine took exactly 13 minutes total this morning, and it was PERFECT.
Check out some more of my recipes using the rice cooker HERE.
Baked eggplant with garlic mayo, herb and lemon rice, oil-free grilled zucchini and bell pepper with balsamic reduction, and a fresh cucumber tomato salad with za'atar.
Back when we lived in Texas, there was this great Mediterranean buffet that had lots of vegan options, and you'd end up with a crazy overfilled plate and a full tummy. I just love the variety and colorful options when you can eat several things with similar flavors that all blend well.
As my grandpa would say, "It's all on it's way to the bay anyway," so I was never one to dislike food that touched. In fact, I like a perfect bite with a little bit of everything on the plate- like a Buddha Bowl or Thanksgiving dinner.
Last night was Sunday, which means Next Food Network Star. I fantasize about being on the show, but honestly it just doesn't feel vegan-friendly or mellow Erin-friendly. I don't want to race, I just want yummy food and smiles.
Anyway, I was inspired to make something really fantastic for dinner- and it was the last day of the week before my grocery run, but we stopped at a farm stand on our way back from the beach on Saturday, so we had some good produce to work with.
The Gadgets, Meal, and Method
First thing, I started two cups of rice in the rice cooker per directions on bag of rice. It's different for each variety, but cooking in the rice cooker generally takes about 20-30 minutes. If you don't have a rice cooker, just make it in a pot on a back burner out of the way.
Next, I preheated oven to 375 F and peeled and sliced my eggplant in about 1/2 inch thick rounds. and placed them on aparchment paper lined baking sheet. The parchment paper keeps the eggplant from sticking, so I didn't have to add any oil to the pan. On top of each round, I spread out a thin layer of homemade garlic mayo. You could use a store bought vegan mayo with chopped garlic blended in instead if you liked. I baked those for about 30 minutes while I prepared everything else.
George Foreman Grill
Another gadget that kept things low-oil was my George Foreman Grill. I sliced a zucchini in thirds lengthwise and cut a yellow bell pepper into 1 inch strips and filled up the grill with them. A sprinkle of salt and pepper was the only seasoning they needed, and no oil was necessary. Those cooked for about 20 minutes, flipping once half way through the time.
For a tangy, umami, yummy richness, I simmered a small pot with about 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp brown sugar, and a dash of salt until it was a thick syrup. It took about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then I let it cool slightly before serving.
The final side to this colorful meal was a fresh salad. I cut a large tomato and an English cucumber (didn't peel) into small cubes and tossed with a splash of extra virgin olive oil, some pink salt, and about a 1/2 tsp zata'ar seasoning. Once it was all chopped up, I put it in the fridge to chill.
While the salad chilled, I went out to the garden and picked a sprig of mint, 2 green onions, and a few sprigs parsley. I chopped that all finely and mixed with the zest of one lemon (you can use a zester or the fine grate side of a box grater- which is my preferred method- or if you don't have either you can carefully cut just the yellow of the skin off in sheets and finely chop them).
Finally, the plating.
One scoop rice with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and those fresh herbs subbed out an overly salty or oily sauce, keeping the meal light and refreshing for summer. I sliced the grilled veggies and served the veggies and eggplant drizzled with the balsamic reduction. The cold salad was scooped on last and after pictures the meal was inhaled.
Overall, a delicious, seasonal, fresh, and crisp summer dinner made in less than an hour and with lots of flavor!
In our house, we love our veggie sushi rolls, and the bamboo roller mat gets used regularly. Our picky eater will always eat avocado rolls, so that's a good sure thing (plus it's healthy and we all like it).
Lots of my friends marvel at our sushi creations with envy and desire, because it is an art to learn to roll sushi well (my husband is better than me, but we can both get the job done).
The game is changed now, though.
I saw this method on a friend's Facebook page and was delighted! I'm all about making cooking more fun and easy, and what could be easier than this! I started the rice cooker and put some Gardein Fishless Filets in the George Foreman Grill (my favorite way to heat them up) while I prepped everything else.
You get the toasted seaweed snacks, scoop your seasoned rice on top (I used a cookie scoop and it worked great), and the top with whatever you like. For the kids, that meant just avocado and nothing else. For me, I added avocado, some vegan mayo mixed with sriracha, fresh jalapeño, and sesame seeds. You just fold it up like a taco and eat! My kids LOVED it! I LOVED it, and it took next to no time to make!
You could top with any of your favorite veg sushi toppings, or even do a "buffet" with just rice on you wrappers and a variety of toppings on the table, like a taco bar but with veg sushi.
I love how easy this is for everyone, no matter there level of rolling prowess.
This meal embodies the message of the Kitchen Gadget Vegan- have fun and make it easy!
I wrote a children's book, How Our Vegan Family Celebrates, to help vegans and vegan allies know how to include vegans in their celebrations and give affirmation to vegan kids who may feel alone. The book goes through holidays throughout the year and has a section at the back with parent tips!
Order your copy here today!
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I love cooking and playing in the kitchen with my toys, so let me share that joy with you and your family to bring the FUN back into the kitchen!