Dinner, Lunch, Recently Discovered

Dairy-free mozzarella cheese

I love cheese. I could blame the lasting effects of French colonization and its influence on my heritage or it could just simply be that foods taste so good with cheese. I do have dairy cheese in my house, but because of the allergies in my household, I always stock dairy-free cheese. Which one is best? There are so many choices for dairy-free cheese. I know, because I have purchased and tried most of them. I usually buy Daiya’s dairy-free cheese products. They have a variety of styles  (shredded, slices, block, wedges, etc) and flavors (mozzarella, cheddar, provolone, etc). I typically purchase Daiya products at Whole Foods, but when I saw that Trader Joe’s now sells a dairy-free mozzarella shredded cheese for less than $3.50, I was elated! I still buy Daiya products (which are never less than $5), but love the idea that a convenient, cheaper option exists.

It was almost hidden. I regularly frequent Trader Joe’s and I am always on the lookout for new and edible products. I even check different Trader Joe’s locations, as they tend to stock based on customer demand. Initially, I always only noticed that they have a soy-cheese alternative block style, but it isn’t dairy-free. It has dairy in it. This dairy-free shredded mozzarella package is located among the other packages of dairy cheese shreds.

I use it in a variety of ways like for pizza, manicotti, salad toppings, lasagna, even Alfredo sauce when I don’t have dairy-free parmesan cheese in stock. Enjoy!

  

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Dinner, Lunch

Extra Chipotle rice, please?

Undoubtedly, the rice at Chipotle is delicious with whatever other food item you choose to add from their menu. It is so good that I always ask them if I can please have extra rice. The variety of facial and verbal responses that I have received from their server staff doesn’t deter me from asking for more rice each time I go to Chipotle. The long lines don’t deter me. The recent price increase doesn’t deter me, either. I really like the white and brown options they offer. I just had to find out if I could have this rice at the drop of a dime, at any moment. I can and you can, too.  This extremely easy recipe makes you feel like a professional chef (or at least a chef who can work at Chipotle)!

Ingredients:

  • Jasmine rice (3 cups)
  • Oil (2 tbsp)
  • Salt (1 tsp)
  • Fresh cilantro (1/4 cup)
  • Lime or lemon (1/2)

I will preface the steps for making this rice by saying that I always use a rice cooker to cook white or brown rice. I never successfully learned how to make rice in a pot on the stovetop nor do I have plans to master that skill.  Rice cookers are an absolute required appliance (and nice convenience) in my life.

Add the uncooked rice, 1 tbsp oil, and salt to the rice cooker pot and press cook. Finely chop the fresh cilantro. I never chopped cilantro before, so I admit that I just chopped everything (including the stem) and it is fine and aesthetically acceptable in this rice. Then squeeze 1/2 of a lime (through a strainer or sieve to avoid seeds in your rice!). Add this lime juice to your cilantro with a pinch of salt and 1 tbsp oil. Stir the cilantro, salt, oil, and lime juice. Add this cilantro mix to your cooked rice. Fluff rice with a fork and enjoy.

*You can tweak the cilantro mix and add more or less of any ingredient, if you want more of a particular flavor. I didn’t want my rice turning too green from the cilantro mix, so I didn’t put too much cilantro. I also didn’t want a strong lime flavor, so I used 1/2 a small lime instead of a whole lime.

 
Pair this with whatever you desire or eat alone (but why would you not eat it with chicken, or steak, and beans, and lettuce and…).


Quick and easy, but mostly delicious!

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