Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Hibachi-style Japanese Ginger Dressing

I got back tonight from Odessa (I went to work a fire), and let me tell you, for a booming oil town, they have NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING to eat. I ate McDonald's twice and Subway once. I was dead tired when I walked in but I made myself make some dinner and boy, am I glad I did...I was so hungry and I feel so much better already! Amazing what comfort food will do for you...it truly warms the soul and heart.

This is an old favorite of mine that I got YEARS ago from Erin. I have done so many things with it over the years...I have made single servings, doubled it (which is what is below...the original recipe is half of the quantities listed below), quadrupled it and even made a diet version with canola oil, low-sodium soy sauce and Splenda. It is TRULY delicious and if you like the ginger dressing at the Japanese restaurants, you'll LOVE this because it seriously tastes JUST like it.

I find it best if you make this right before serving, but if you make it ahead of time, it will blend back together if you shake it vigorously. I like to serve this with a spring green salad with chopped carrots and sliced cucumbers. Yummo. It is fantastic to take to work.

Japanese Ginger Dressing

1/2 c chopped onions
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/4 c seasoned rice vinegar
1/8 c water
1/8 c chopped peeled ginger root
1/8 c chopped celery
1/8 c soy sauce
3 tsp tomato paste
3 tsp sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Serve immediately or chill to store.

The other thing I made tonight was something that I wasn't sure I was going to like because it was so simple, but it turns out that it was incredible and I loved it...talk about simple comfort food. Just what I needed on this cold night.

Potluck Casserole

1 c chopped onion
1 green pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1 lb ground beef
14.5 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 c long-cooking white rice, uncooked
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper **original recipe called for 1/2 tsp but after the Ranch dressing, I was scared
1 tsp chili powder

Melt butter in skillet and add onion and green pepper. Cook until tender. Add ground beef and brown. Drain and remove from heat. (I used 4% fat ground beef and thus did not need to drain anything.) Pour tomatoes into a lightly greased 13 x 9 baking dish and sprinkle with rice, salt, pepper and chili powder. Add ground beef mixture and stir to combine. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

What I liked about this dinner: I was exhausted when I came home, but the casserole was made in a flash and in the oven in less than ten minutes. Totally worth it and totally better than stopping for fast food on the way home.
What I disliked about this dinner: It did take an hour in the oven, but I didn't mind...it gave me a chance to open some wine, make my dressing, prepare a salad, change from the trip, kiss the puppies, etcetera.
Cool kitchen gadgets used: I just couldn't face chopping all those onions and peppers by hand, so I whizzed them in the food processor on pulse a few times and voila, they were ready.
Tastiness Factor: SO, so good. I don't know what it was that made this dish so tasty, but I gobbled it right up and now I feel better after eating fast food for two days in a row. And it was cheap...the only thing I didn't have just sitting around was the ground beef. Most of the stuff is stuff you already have if you cook on a regular basis. Plus, I had a leftover green pepper that I needed to use and now I have! I would definitely recommend this dish for sure!

Hey, by the way, if anyone tries any of the recipes posted here, please post back to me and let me know under the entry with the recipe...I'd love to hear how you changed it and how you enjoyed it!


Blogger Erin said...

My goodnesss, that *was* ages ago! LOL Glad to know you still love it. I know I certainly do. I've actually tried 2 or 3 copycat recipes since then, and this one is still the best, by far!

7:19 AM  
Blogger babarcat said...

Made the casserole tonight and it was very good. Hubby even liked it and he is not a fan of casseroles.
E in MD

3:53 PM  

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