Rice Pilaf

I live in a neighborhood filled with Armenian and Lebanese businesses. Or, as I like to think of it, filled with Armenian and Lebanese food. Falafel (sadly, not available to me as nobody around here makes a gluten-free version), kebabs, hummus (oh, the hummus!), and, of course, rice pilaf. Unfortunately, many of the establishments in my ‘hood cook their pilaf with wheat-based vermicelli, so finding tasty pilaf is a bit tougher than it should be.

Hence, making my own. This recipe is fairly simple, and you can make the rest of the meal while the rice is cooking and resting. I like doing this in the oven, but you can do it on the stovetop if you prefer. I was discussing the recipe via Facebook with a friend; she talked about how her mother made pilaf…and there was no skimping on the butter! I try to be a little more health conscious these days, but do sometimes increase the amount of butter when I make this dish.

Seriously, butter. Use it liberally!

Quinoa and Vegetable Stuffed Bell Peppers

Another weeknight quickie, especially if you’re using leftover quinoa (or rice). It’s a great vegetarian option that is highly flexible when it comes to ingredients. For example, instead of spinach, I’ve used dandelion greens or kale. In fact, you can mix up the ingredients all sorts of ways…to the point where instead of a bell pepper, maybe you’re stuffing an acorn or butternut squash (note: this may increase cooking time!).

Broccoli Slaw with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

This is a quick and easy way to serve broccoli on a hot summer night (or any other time!). It’s a great salad for parties as well. The buttermilk dressing is creamy and refreshing. The nuts and berries add tastiness, and experimenting with flavors is a definite bonus in this salad.

The broccoli can be just the florets or a mix of florets and stem (the stems add a lot of body to this salad. If you aren’t into the stems, omit them.

You’ll probably end up with more dressing than you need. If it’s too thick for your taste, thin it with a bit more buttermilk. If you’re making the salad in advance, use some of the leftover dressing to freshen up the salad right before serving. Or, use the dressing on you favorite green salad.