Bibimbap Rice Bowl with Meat and Vegetables

It may not roll off your tongue (if you’re not used to it), but bibimbap means a variety of ingredients mixed with rice. So, essentially, a Korean rice bowl. You make this meal in layers, building up the rice, then the meat, the veggies, sauce, and finally top it all with an egg. It’s really flexible though, sort of a Korean spin on cleaning out the fridge.  This particular bibimbap rice bowl recipe is loosely inspired by a recipe I found on Korean Kitchen.

However, I didn’t have all the ingredients she used, such as sprouts or seaweed, and under current circumstances, I didn’t really want to go out looking for them. The idea was to make this easy for myself, and for you too.  In addition, I also wanted to focus on “sturdier” ingredients, such as cabbage and carrots that will last in the fridge, rather than sprouts. You could even use frozen veggies (cook them for less time), like broccoli or one of those frozen stir fry mixes. Definitely not authentic, but still good.

Since I was using cabbage, which takes longer to cook, I just chopped the carrot up, instead of julienning it. That way, the two vegetables would be ready at the same time.

You make this in several stages. If you are using brown rice, start that first, and let it cook while you put the meat mixture together and let that sit so the flavors blend together. If you have white rice, start the meat mixture, and then put up the rice about half way through.




Bibimbap Rice Bowl Substitutions and Variations

  • try different vegetables, such as broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper, or zucchini
  • swap the beef for ground chicken or even leftover fish
  • this should properly be made with gochujang, which is a spicy Korean pepper paste; if you have it, use it and add about 3/4 tsp water.

 

More Cabbage Recipes

chinese chicken noodle cabbage soupChinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

Wonderful comfort food when. you’re stuck inside. Just enough soup for a generous serving for one.   The spicy hot broth helps clear your head , the garlic, ginger, and chili sauce have anti-bacterial (not viruses, bacteria) qualities, and it’s delicious.

asian chicken salad with cabbageSingle Serving Asian Chicken Salad with Cabbage Recipe

Colorful, spicy, and frankly more colors makes a dish look and feel more appetizing.  Works with chicken, leftover pork, or even add some cooked noodles or rice instead.

 

unstuffed cabbage roll recipeSmall Batch Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Stuffed cabbage is delicious, and pantry-friendly. But making all those separate rolls is a pain. So don’t bother.  Layer it like lasagne instead!

 




Garlic Ginger Turmeric Rice

An online food group I belong to is celebrating “rice month.” The idea is to highlight a recipe featuring, well rice.  Someone suggested that nearly every culture uses rice so everyone ought to be able to find something to fit the theme.  Unfortunately, I come from a long line of noodle and dumpling people.  So, at first I was stumped.  What could I possibly make for this challenge?  Then I had an idea.  I could borrow a “sister” culture!  Eastern European Jewish people focus heavily on noodles, but the Sephardim (from Asia, India, the Middle East, etc.) have plenty of rice dishes.  So, I looked through my cookbooks and found garlic ginger turmeric rice.

It’s a Bene Israel recipe, meaning that it was created by the Jewish population in India.  You might almost call it a pulao. I’ve adapted this recipe from The Book of Jewish Food.  Her version served six.  Mine is about three servings (because extra rice is always good; more on that later).

This particular rice dish is packed with garlic, ginger, green cardamon pods, and a pinch of turmeric for that beautiful yellow color. It’s tasty (and it fights germs too, which made it even more appealing since I’m still fighting the creeping crud!).  Don’t be put off by all the garlic and the ginger, both start out spicy and sharp but mellow and become almost sweet as they cook.  The cardamom adds a complex taste; it’s a bit minty, with a hint of citrus and a spicy/warm flavor.  The original calls for basmati rice (which I didn’t have), but ordinary long grain white rice will do just as well. If you use the basmati rice, rinse it several times before starting to cook it.

.

 




Turn Your Garlic Ginger Turmeric Rice Side Dish into A Main Dish

As is, this is a side dish. But with a bit of extra effort, it can become a main dish too.  There are a couple of ways to do this. For example, you could make it more substantial by cooking up some chicken or adding leftover pre-cooked chicken to the rice. Or, cook up some spinach and fry and egg (in the same pan if you want), and add that to the top.  You can do the same thing with the leftovers a few days. later. Instant food!

The recipe says that for special occasions, this dish was often served topped with blanched almonds and raisins. While this wasn’t a fancy occasion, I decided to do it anyway. I didn’t have blanched almonds, so I just roughly chopped a few whole ones.  Soak the raisins in water a bit before you use them, in order to soften them.

More Rice Recipes

easy lentils and rice recipeEasy Lentils and Rice Recipe

Super easy to make, and has a surprise ingredient you probably don’t expect.  Maybe not pretty, but healthy and tasty! And uses pantry ingredients too.

 

black beans and rice recipe one personBlack Beans and Rice Recipe for One Person

A complete meal (and complete protein too). I’ve adapted this from a Cuban-Colombian friend’s recipe.  It can also be adjusted to make soup!

 

lamb merguez sausage with rice and vegetablesLamb Merguez Sausage with Rice and Vegetables

Bring some heat with spicy lamb sausage from Morocco. Don’t worry, the carrots, eggplant, and sweet spices tone it down.

 




Lamb Merguez Sausage with Rice and Vegetables

I spotted this wonderful merguez sausage (spicy sausage made with lamb) while shopping online and then went looking for some ideas on what to do with it.  I found a lamb merguez tagine recipe  but I had no squash, no chickpeas and no couscous (also no tagine, but a saucepan fixed that).  Time to adapt and improvise!  I’m calling it lamb merguez sausage with rice and vegetables.

First I replaced the couscous with rice.  Then, instead of squash or zucchini (which I didn’t have, and didn’t think ideal with the lamb anyway) I used the rest of a white eggplant I already had at hand. I am a firm believer in using what you have whenever possible (especially with all those steps, I’m not going up and down for one can or two items)!  

The result was this delicious lamb merguez sausage with rice and vegetables. It only takes about 35 or 40 minutes to cook. Plus, I reduced the original three pots to only two (one for the rice and another for the lamb and veggies). I wasn’t going to clean three pots!  Not to mention, the ingredients are now in the order you use them.

If you’re not familiar with merguez sausage, it’s a bit spicy, but not overwhelmingly so.  It’s flavored with chili peppers and cumin, but that’s tempered by the cinnamon, coriander, onions, and garlic, which mellow as you simmer them.  The richness of the eggplant and the sweet carrots also make an excellent foil for the spicy lamb.




Lamb Merguez Sausage with Rice and Vegetables Substitutions and Variations

  • If you have the chickpeas, add them to the dish
  • Or substitute some lentils for the eggplant
  • Try it with couscous instead of the rice
  • Or serve it over some pasta
  • If you can’t find the merguez, you can approximate the flavor by using ground lamb, increasing the garlic, cumin, and coriander and adding some harissa or sriracha or chili garlic sauce for heat

More Lamb and Eggplant Recipes

Rosemary Olive Oil Broiled Eggplant

Leftover Roast Lamb Eggplant and Spinach Salad for One

Moroccan Lamb Stew with Almonds and Raisins

Vegetarian Eggplant Sandwich for One Person




Black Beans and Rice Recipe for One Person

A friend’s mom made this black beans and rice recipe for me many years ago on Thanksgiving.  We had the traditional turkey, and also a slow-cooked pork roast that was divine.  The beans were so good I asked her to have her mom send me the recipe.

The great thing about this is that you feel you’re eating something rich and luxurious, even though it’s a “budget” meal.  This particular recipe is also vegetarian.  Of course, if you want, you can add some pork or bacon in with the seasoning mixture and cook that before you combine it all with the beans.

It’s also versatile.  Cook it down more and you have black beans and rice. Cook a bit less and you end up with black bean soup.

The recipe here is portioned to be a substantial main dish for dinner (or two lunches). Or, use it for two side dishes.

There are two ingredients in it that are a bit unusual for black beans and rice (at least unusual to me): balsamic vinegar and port.  You just use a little of each, but it adds an extra depth of flavor which wouldn’t be there otherwise.

I don’t usually have port, so I used brandy instead.

I nearly always get the dried black beans instead of the canned ones. The canned beans tend to have extra salt and additives to “keep them fresh” (which never made sense to me; canned food should last without preservatives). Besides the dried beans are a better value and will last indefinitely.

It does take a bit of time to make this (not so much because of the cooking as because of soaking the dried beans). However,  you can just let them soak overnight or use my quick soak method.  Or, if you’re in a big hurry, use canned beans.  Half the can should do it.

I used leftover rice that I already had.  If you don’t have leftover rice, start the rice while the bean and onion mixture is simmering.




Substitutions and Variations for Black Beans and Rice Recipe for One Person

  • Use brandy instead of port
  • If you don’t feel like opening an entire can of tomato sauce to use a small amount, use ketchup (add a little more water)
  • Add 1/4 pound pork stew to the onion mixture (when you start it)
  • Try some pork fat or bacon or a ham hock
  • For more kick, add some cumin or cayenne

More Recipes with Beans and Rice

tuna cannellini bean saladTuna Cannellini Bean Salad Recipe for One

Open a few cans, mix everything together and instant food! No actual cooking, heating, or baking required.

 

Brazilian chicken paprika stewBrazilian Chicken Paprika Stew

A Brazilian take on chicken paprikash.  Rich, satisfying, not too spicy, and only one pot!

 

pasta e fagioli soupPasta e Fagioli Soup (Small Batch)

A classic Italian soup that’s made entirely with pantry ingredients you likely already have in your cupboard.  And, as my mom would point out, beans and starch equals a complete protein!

bibimbap rice bowlBibimbap Rice Bowl with Meat and Vegetables

Layers of flavor piled into one bowl.  First the meat, then the sweet carrots, balanced by the sharp cabbage, and spicy chili garlic sauce. All topped with a slightly crispy fried egg.  A whole meal at once.

 




Small Batch Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

I just love stuffed cabbage, but making all those individual rolls is just a big pain in the neck.  It looks good, but it’s labor-intensive and all that work is just not worth it (unless you want to impress company). And, most recipes make enough to feed a small army.  Great for a crowd, but not so great when you’re cooking for one.  What I really wanted was a small batch unstuffed cabbage rolls recipe. Something easy to put together.

I decided there must be an easier way.  I saw a recipe for unstuffed cabbage rolls, made with meatballs and shredded cabbage.  Make the meatballs, shred the cabbage, and pile the meatballs on the cabbage. It sounded good (and more of a savory, than sweet/sour recipe).  That’s still quite a bit of work.

Then, I hit on an easier method. Instead of making individual rolls, or shredding cabbage, I would layer it instead. Like lasagna!

So, that’s what I did.  It’s easiest if you cut the core of the cabbage off first. Then the leaves will come off more easily.

I started with Joan Nathan’s Chosen Stuffed Cabbage Recipe, cut out the raisins, reduced the quantities, and added sriracha for a bit of a punch.

I cut off a few cabbage leaves, made the filling and the sauce, and then put the whole thing in a square baking pan.  It was enough for several meals, and proved to be a life-saver as I got sick a few days later.  Since I had all that unstuffed cabbage, I didn’t have to cook much.

If you don’t want to eat cabbage every day for several days, cut it into individual portions and freeze them in plastic containers.

Also,  you may notice I used red cabbage instead of green. I bought the red to make no mayo healthy cole slaw.  I figured I might as well use it for this too. If you prefer, go ahead and use green. I think it looks prettier this way.




Substitutions and Variations for Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

  • use ground turkey instead of beef
  • try a combination of ground pork and beef
  • try adding 1/4 C raisins

Ingredients and Tools for Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Square Baking Pan

This pan is a staple for every kitchen. If you don’t have one, you should.  Use it for stuffed cabbage, large batches of brownies, or cakes.  It’s heavy-duty, so it won’t warp. The handles make it much easier to take the hot pan out of the oven too.

Cuisinart Mixing Bowls

I have had these bowls…forever.  They stack neatly inside each other (important in a small kitchen), and the lids mean you can use them for storing leftovers, or for something that has to marinate overnight. And, the lids seal nicely so your food won’t slosh all over the inside of your fridge.

More Cabbage Recipes

Quick Creole Cabbage and Sausage

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

Cranberry Chipotle Turkey Enchilada

One Pot Polish Sausage and Cabbage with Potatoes

 




Easy Lentils and Rice Recipe

I had a partial bag of lentils leftover from making lamb and lentil soup some months ago, and decided they’d make a good fairly last minute dinner. Unlike beans, lentils don’t have to be soaked, so you can make them quickly.

Lentils and rice go together just as well as beans and rice, plus when you put them together you’ve got a complete protein. My mom always stressed this when I was a kid; it makes me laugh now. It’s a fairly quick, tasty dinner and it’s also pretty budget-friendly.

I looked at several other lentils and rice recipes and didn’t like any of them. Some were too bland and simplistic, while others involved way too much work and some hard-to-find ingredients.

I try to keep my recipes tasty, but not complicated (and with ingredients that are readily available).  So, I did a bit of fudging, combining, and tweaking to get the results I wanted.

 

This lentils and rice recipe is fairly easy to prepare, and features a surprise ingredient you may not expect. It is, admittedly, not going to win awards for looks, but it did taste good!




Lentils and Rice Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • If you have the time, start by caramelizing the onions first; you’ll get a deeper, richer flavor
  • Make it Lebanese with the caramelized onions, a fried egg, and cumin (full recipe)
  • Or, go to Ethiopia with some cardamom, tomatoes, cumin, and red lentils (instead of brown)

More Easy Lentil Recipes

red lentil carrot soup

Red Lentil Carrot Soup

Carrots add sweetness, while the garlic, ginger, and garam masala add warm earthy spice.  For heat, add red pepper flakes (or if you really like spicy food, go for red chili peppers).

Spicyspicy lamb and lentils Lamb and Lentils

Fragrant with cumin and garlic, and just a smidgen of heat from red pepper flakes. This meal is largely pantry and fridge staples, and takes only a few minutes to make.

 

single serving lamb and lentil soupLamb and Lentil Soup Recipe

Exactly one portion of soup. Made with leftover lamb, this is hearty and filling. Great for changeable weather. I used lamb broth (since I had it). Beef broth will work too.

 

Easy Haham and lentil soupm and Lentil Soup for One Person

Ham and lentil is, of course, a classic combination. This is simmered slowly. It’s also got kielbasa for extra salty, smoky, peppery flavor.