Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Yum Yum Sauce


Rice bowls have become a regular part of our dinner rotation. It's a great way to get protein, carbs, and veggies all in one place, and it's a particularly great summertime meal since you don't need to bake anything. (You CAN, but you can also grill, air fry etc.)  I just wanted to talk about summertime for a moment because it's almost Easter but we're in the middle of a snowstorm. Ahem.

I also love how versatile these are. While I tend to make them the same way each time, I have changed it up a little depending on what I have on hand, or what veggies need to get used up. But one thing that doesn't change, is that the bowl must be drizzled (or covered?) in Yum Yum Sauce. Yum Yum Sauce is the famous sauce at hibachi restaurants that you put over the fried rice and meat. There's a reason it's called Yum Yum Sauce. It's really good. It's also not cheap to buy at the grocer's. So after trying a bunch of variations, I came up with a sauce that we love, and that's much less expensive than buying the premade jar. 

So here is the rice bowl before it gets drizzled with sauce. This is typically what we do: rice (jasmine rice in the Instant Pot), protein (here it's salmon but there's a picture of shrimp below, and I've also done pork tenderloin), pickled cucumbers, pickled onions, edamame and spring mix. I've also thrown in broccoli, snow peas, asparagus, carrots, whatever you like! 

Then drizzle with the sauce, and dive in. Some people in my family mix it all up together, and others eat all the parts separately. It doesn't matter. 

And here it is with shrimp. In this case, the raw shrimp got sprinkled with Old Bay and then went for a quick saute before adding them to the rice. 

Now Yum Yum Sauce is not just for rice bowls - it has lots of other applications. We've used it on steak sandwiches, fried eggs, even a "dip" for quesadillas. We do use it for rice bowls 90% of the time though!

Try it yourself and let me know how you like it - and what you put in your rice bowls!

Yum Yum Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. ketchup
1 1/2 tsp. creamy horseradish 
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. sugar

Add all ingredients to a small bowl, and whisk well to combine. Refrigerate until serving, and to let the flavors meld. Keep leftovers covered in the refrigerator.  Serves 6.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Rigatoni Alfredo with Chicken and Kale


We love pasta at our house, and I especially love it when it can be loaded with veggies. I also especially love it when it can be made in ONE POT. This is both.

This also fits my weeknight trifecta: delicious, easy, fast. AND it's "fancy" enough to serve to company, too - just add a green salad and some sort of garlicky carb, and you've got a great dinner. (Chocolate lava cakes for dessert, anyone?)

Kale is a veg that is so good for you, but I have to admit it's not my favorite. So when it can get chopped up and then wilted in a dish like this, it's a lot easier to take.

Since I last made this, I've actually figured out that I can tolerate kale a lot better if I chop it super fine in my food processor - here I've just roughly chopped it by hand, which was ok because of the wilting factor. But that's a tip I gladly share with you for salads or other raw appearances of kale - mince it up in the chopper, and it's WAY better!

However you choose to deal with the kale, this is a delicious dish that won hearty approval from everyone around the table - young adults PLUS their friends. So that's a major win in my book.

  • Rigatoni Alfredo with Chicken and Kale
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 small chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 8 ounces rigatoni
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3-4 ounces kale, chopped
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 6-7 minutes, turning after the first 2 or 4, until browned and cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Add the chopped onions to the skillet and cook over medium heat until they turn translucent; then add the garlic and cook and stir for 30 seconds. Add in the pasta, milk, and broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 10 minutes at a light simmer.  
  • When the pasta is al dente, stir in the cream and the Parmesan, leaving a little cheese for garnish. Add the kale, stir, and cover again and let the kale wilt for 2-3 minutes. Add in the chicken and stir to distribute it through the dish, letting the chicken warm back up. 
  • Sprinkle with pepper, parsley and Parmesan before serving. Serves 6.

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