Meatless Monday: Tofu and Broccoli Rice Bowls

Today was a certain gentleman’s birthday. And this gentleman, who happens to be my favorite human ever, resents our Meatless Mondays! So for his birthday we skipped the meatless plan and gave him a special, fancy dinner of seared scallops over warm corn salad, followed by cake, of course! But last week I made these rice bowls and they were so easy and fast and delicious. You could add in more veggies, or change out the broccoli for something else, but consider this a solid base, and then take it any direction you like! Here you go.

* 14oz extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes
* 1T coconut oil
* 1/4t salt
* 3t (heaping!) minced garlice
* 4C broccoli florets, (about 2 average-sized heads)
* 1/4C vegetable broth
* 3T soy sauce
* 3T maple syrup
* 1T cornstarch
* 1t sesame oil
* 1/2t ginger paste
* 1 green onion, chopped
* brown quick-cook rice

Sprinkle tofu cubes with salt and set aside.

Place the broccoli florets in a large, microwave-safe bowl with a little bit of water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in it to let steam out. Microwave for just 2-3 minutes to steam lightly.  Set aside.

Prepare the rice according to box instructions. 

Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet or wok over medium/high heat. Add the tofu and cook for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile whisk together the broth, soy sauce, corn starch, sesame oil, ginger paste, and green onion in a bowl until well blended.

Flip the tofu in the pan, add the garlic, and cook 3 more minutes, until the tofu begins to turn golden brown.

Add the sauce to the tofu, stirring constantly until thickened.

Stir in the broccoli florets, and mix carefully to coat. Serve over the rice. Garnish with additional sliced green onion and serve with a little hot sauce, or a pinch of red pepper flakes for a kick (if that’s your thing).

The birthday boy may hate Meatless Monday dinners, but for the record, there were no leftovers from this meal! Enjoy!

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Today was My Tiny Sous Chef’s fifth birthday! I was prepared to make her whatever she wanted – when your tiny kid loves trying grown-up food and knows unusual ingredients, you may think they sky’s the limit, right? But when I asked what she wanted for her birthday dinner, her response was perfectly 5 years old: chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. I was, admittedly, a little disappointed. But then I decided to *make* her requested meal from scratch to help “special” it up. I made a version of this mac (the basic recipe with spinach), and then I made homemade chicken nuggets. You can bake or fry these up, but we decided to fry them tonight because, BIRTHDAY. Here you go.

* 1lb boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins, cut into chunks
* 1C flour
* 2t paprika
* 2t salt
* 1/2t black pepper
* 2 large eggs
* 3/4C Panko breadcrumbs + 1/4C Italian seasoned regular breadcrumbs, plus extra just in case
* oil for frying or nonstick spray for baking (we like to use vegetable oil, sunflower oil, or grapeseed oil)

If baking, preheat the oven to 400F and spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside.

Prepare three bowls or shallow dishes. Mix together flour, paprika, salt, and pepper in one; beat the eggs in a second; combine the breadcrumbs in the third.

Coat your chicken chunks first in the flour mixture, then the eggs, then the breadcrumbs.

If baking, place the coated chicken pieces onto your prepared baking sheet, spray the tops with the nonstick spray, and bake 20 minutes, flipping them over after 10 minutes.

If frying, heat about an inch-and-a-half to two inches depth of oil in a deep pot until glistening. Carefully place your coated breaded chicken pieces into the hot oil in batches, and fry 3-4 minutes per batch.

Serve with ketchup, barbecue sauce, honey, or honey mustard for dipping. Bon apetit!


Food for Thought: Birthdays!

Today was my birthday, and in an odd twist of fate, I had a random day off thanks to a company-only holiday, so instead of cooking a favorite meal, I decided to treat myself to a bunch of stuff I love, including driving up to one of our old ‘hoods to pick up a favorite meal we haven’t had in a while. But as I treated myself with edible/drinkable goodies all day (okay, fine, all weekend), it occurred to me how much food is a part of celebrating. My go-to birthday foods and sweets have changed a little over the years, but so have I, so I guess that makes sense. Anyway… so I wondered. What are your birthday food MUSTS? A favorite homemade dinner? A special restaurant? A cocktail toast? Ice cream cake? Here’s a sampling of how I food/drink celebrated my birthday the past few days. Now tell me how you do yours.