Rice and Jeans

food, fashion, and life in Belize


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Zucchini Fritters

This is a very easy recipe that I randomly discovered a few years ago in an Allrecipes Cookbook, which I also randomly bought at Marshalls one day.  Luckily, they also have it on their website here.  Although they call them Zucchini “Patties”, but I like “Fritters” better, because they remind me of conch fritters.  They could also be a good vegetarian version of conch fritters.  Here’s my version of their recipe:

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Grate the zucchini, I leave the skin on because 1. I’m lazy and 2. Speckled green batter looks more interesting than boring one-coloured batter

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Then I put the grated zucchini in this nifty contraption called a potato ricer.  You are actually supposed to put potatoes in there and smash them through to make the smoothest mashed potatoes ever.  But it also doubles as a zucchini water-squeezer-outer.  Then I measured how much zucchini I had and adjusted the recipe amounts using Allrecipes convenient little “change serving” button that allows you to automatically increase or decrease the ingredients like magic.

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I ended up with 3 cups of zucchini.

So I had to add:

3 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup flour

1/2 of an onion chopped

And whatever cheeses I had in the fridge that added up to 1 1/2 cups grated.  This time, it happened to be parmesan, gouda, and sharp cheddar.

Salt and pepper to taste, and I like to add a sprinkle of garlic powder.

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Stir it up.

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Fry in vegetable oil.  Scoop into pan by spoon and then flatten them out.  The thinner they are, the crispier they will fry up.

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The thinner they are, the crispier they will fry up.

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Drain on paper towels.

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Serve with ketchup, marinara sauce, sour cream, or “yum-yum” sauce – which I will share the recipe for in my next post!! Stay tuned!


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Creamy Chicken with Mushrooms

It was a dark and stormy night, a frigid 65 degrees!  Freezing Belizeans needed something warm and delicious in their bellies

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Here is a step by step tutorial on how to make this creamy chicken with mushroom dish.

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You can use whatever part of chicken you want, but it’s best if it has skin and bones. I got the package called “chicken cuts”.  It had some strange looking “cuts” of chicken, for example, I swore one piece looked like a thigh, yet it had an appendage of rib bones(?).  But anyway, try to cut them about the same size, dry the chicken off, and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Then sprinkle a little flour on it.

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Now brown the chicken in olive oil.  You may have to do more than one batch to avoid overcrowding of the pan.

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While the chicken is browning, wash the mushrooms.  Yes, I said WASH.  I know the usually say “don’t put them in water” blah blah blah, just “wipe them”

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See that dirt? That’s why I wash them. I don’t care if they get “rubbery”, I don’t want to eat soil.

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Take the browned chicken out, and set aside.  It doesn’t matter if it’s still raw with bleeding bone-ends, as long as the skin is nice and browned.  Don’t worry, we will put them back in the pot shortly.

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Now add a little butter to the pot and throw in some onions with salt and pepper.  Cook them until they start to turn clear.

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Now, add the shrooms.

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Cook them till they’re nice and brown.

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Now, we’re gonna add white wine.

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Maybe 1/3 cup? Depends how you feel…

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Cook until the wine reduces and gets thicker, then add a spoonful of flour.

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Then stir it all around until it’s mixed in good.

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Add about 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, and put the chicken pieces back in the pot.

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Now cover and cook for about 20 minutes.  (I didn’t really need to show this step, but I just wanted to show off my awesome new green dutch oven, love it!)

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Now stir in maybe 1/4 cup of heavy cream

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and sprinkle some parsley on top, because it looked a bit boring and all brown.

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Yumm!!!

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Serve with crusty french bread, or rice, or mashed potato, or pasta.  In fact, this would probably even taste good on top of torn up pieces of cardboard, it’s SO good. MAKE IT!!


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Christmas Tree Pops

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Oh Christmas Tree,

Oh Christmas Tree!

…how icing are your branches?

I only knew those first 2 lines, shame on me!

However, I also knew I had to get this CUTE baby Christmas Tree silicone pan when I saw it.  Ok, ok, I got 2.  Well! what recipe makes only 6 cupcakes?

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But not only did I make Tree shaped cupcakes, I put them on a stick…making them 7 times cooler.

This is the recipe I used

Almond Pound Cake

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups white sugar

6 eggs, room temperature

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons almond extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until well mixed with an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Blend in flour and salt. Mix in almond extract.
  3. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 25 mins.

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Let the trees cool, then pop them out and cut off any extra cake…aka “Trim the Trees”

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I used candy melts to dip some of them.  Just melt them in the microwave with a little bit of shortening to thin it out.  Then place the bowl over the cutest baby crockpot filled with some hot water.  This makes a sort of double boiler, that will keep the candy melts nice and ‘melty’.

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I figured out it was best to dip the trunk first, then insert the stick and use a small spatula to kind of help it get coated.  Dipping the entire tree made it too heavy on the stick and ended up in deforestation.

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I used these big sprinkle thingys to look like ornaments on the tree.  I guess they could also pass for lights (wireless ones!) I also discovered later on that I had snowflake sprinkles and I used one for the star.

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This is how I had to stand them up to dry.  I saw this idea somewhere on pinterest.

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There’s the snowflake star!

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So after the batch of candy melts ran out, I was too sleepy to make more, so I decided to just glaze the rest.

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tbsps mik

few drops of Almond extract

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Let them dry and put them in nifty cellophane bags tied with silver string.

By the way I learned that Almond extract that says it’s expired from 2009 still tastes good!

Now, who wants one?


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Lemon Cream Cheese Crinkles

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This recipe is SOO easy, and makes chewy, delicious cookies.

You will need:

1  box lemon cake mix aka “Pack Cake”

1 8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

Powdered Sugar for rolling them in.

Mix all of the ingredients together (except the powdered sugar)

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Then use a cookie scoop, and drop them into a bowl of powdered sugar

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Roll them around in the bowl, and try to make them into balls.

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Arrange them on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.  I doubt you will find parchment paper in Belize, so if you don’t have a silicone baking mat, get one asap!!!  They are awesome! Nothing ever sticks to them, and you don’t even get the cookie sheet dirty.  I HATE gross cookie sheets, you know, the ones with burnt on crud that people just keep using…Well, these will prevent that.

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Bake at 375 for 12-15 mins.

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YUM!!

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AND this batch made 47 cookies!!

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I can’t wait to try them with different flavours of “pack cake”.  Red Velvet is high on the list!


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Spider Crostinis

Here’s a quick and easy recipe that you can serve tonight. Grown ups will appreciate a non-sweet snack while the devils, oops i mean kids, are on their sugar hyper crazy candy mission.

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For the cheese spread:

1 4 oz package goat cheese, softened
1 3 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 tsp thyme

Mix all together in a bowl. Set aside.

For the caramelized onion webs:

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced thin on the mandolin
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Cook the onions and other ingredients over med-low heat until caramelized

Slice up a loaf of French bread into 24 slices, spray or drizzle with olive oil and toast until crispy.

Now to assemble:
Spread a nice generous portion if the goat cheese spread in the toasted slice of French bread. Then arrange some onion strands on top to look web-like. Then you take a black olive, slice it in half. This is the spider body. Then u cut 8 pieces of olive for the legs. Make sure you put 8 or else it won’t be a spider, it will be a tick!!!
Serve these creepy crostinis and see who is brave enough to devour the spiders.


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Spicy Witch’s Fingers

Try this deliciously disgusting recipe for Halloween: Spicy Witch’s Fingers

I kept seeing this recipe around the web, but it was always for the sweet cookie version.  Finally, I found one for some savory fingers.

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Here’s my version:

In a food processor, chop up:

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon salt

1  teaspoon cayenne pepper (you can reduce this if you don’t like it too spicy)

1 cup flour

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Then turn it out onto the cutting board and form a dough ball, it will be quite soft.

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Then take small pieces of the dough, and roll it, like if you were rolling play-dough snakes in kindergarten.
After you get the snake shape, squeeze it in your hand to get the “knuckles” imprinted on the snake.

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Get a small amount of ketchup and some almond slices.

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Dip the almonds into the ketchup, and then push them into the end of the fingers to make the nails with bloody cuticles.

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Take a small knife and make three lines on each knuckle for the wrinkles

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Now, you need to put them in the freezer for a few minutes so that they firm up.  Otherwise they will spread out too much and you will get the wicked Witch of the West’s fingers (after she got mashed by the house).  In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350.

Before you put the fingers in the oven, mix an egg yolk with 1 tbsp of water, and lightly brush it on them.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes.  They will puff up slightly, and the ketchup will turn to dried blood colour.  If you’re lucky, some nails will get brown edges.

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Now serve them with some spooky dip, and see who’s brave enough to eat one!

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You could also serve “finger sandwiches”

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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

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I finally  had the chance to make something with “PUNGKIN”.  It was a very difficult decision.  Pinterest was full of delicious looking pumpkiny goodies:  Pumpkin cupcakes, cookies, cheesecakes, even pumpkin spice lattes!  I decided on the muffins because you can eat them for breakfast too (and not feel that bad)

For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

Mix them together in a bowl until smooth, then put the bowl in the freezer so the filling can firm up

For the topping:
½ cup brown sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter

It said to cut the butter in with a pastry knife, or whatever.  I was lazy so I just chopped it up in the food processor.  Then put it in the refridge until you are ready to use it.  Do NOT put it in the freezer, as I learned the hard way, and got one big rock stuck on the blade that wouldn’t come out.

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For the muffins:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

Sift all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

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In the mixer bowl combine:

4 large eggs (I had EXACTLY 4, which I took as a sign that I was meant to make this, and it would be delish!)
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ cups vegetable oil

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Add the dry ingredients

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Mix just until combined, or else your muffins will be tough

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Line the muffin pan with papers, and put 1 blob of batter on the bottom of the cup.

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Then take the cream cheese mixture out and scoop a hunk into the middle of the batter, trying not to touch the edges.

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Add another blob of batter on top

Sprinkle on the crumb topping

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Bake at 350 for 20 mins

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I got 24 muffins, plus 6 babies (with no filling though)

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YUM!!

Now wipe the drool off and get ready for the next post:

Zombie Nails!!! NOM NOM NOM!!!

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