Crouton Cups for Pasta Salad – HaliPawz

Italian Dressing

I shared my crazy steps to get to this recipe here, but I figured I would make it easy to navigate by putting it in simple form for those interested in JUST the recipe and not the story!

Ingredients:

12 slices of bread (I used Sara Lee Honey Wheat Bread but any regular bread would work)

Italian Dressing

Set the oven to 375 degrees

Trim the crusts off the bread slices. You want them somewhat square in shape, but mine were definitely not even!

Flatten the slice.  You can use a rolling pin for evenness if you prefer. I just used my hand.

Baste the bread on both sides with the Italian dressing, don’t over saturate! That was my mistake with my first batch.  Make sure you get all the way to the edge.

italian dressing

Trimmed Bread Slices for Crouton Cups

Next, pick the slices up and carefully place in a muffin / cupcake tin.  They will be slightly soggy, so the weight will pull them to the bottom with little help from you.  Let them slide in, then position the corners so they are up, out of the tin.  Be careful not to tear the bread

bread in muffin tin for crouton cups

Place in the oven 13-16 minutes, making sure not to burn them, but you want them to be crisp.

They will come out nice and brown, let them cool about 5-10 minutes, then pop then out of the tin and place in a flat surface to finish cooling.

Baked Italian Dressing Crouton Cups

When ready to serve, carefully fill cups with pasta salad and serve! Nice way to have pasta salad as an appetizer.

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz 

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Copycat Chipotle White (Basmati) Rice – HaliPawz

Basmati Rice, Cilantro, Copycat recipes

Earlier I posted the story of why I decided to try to make my own Chipotle style meal at home, but I wanted to post just the rice recipe by itself.  It is good enough to make on it’s own.

CopyCat Chipotle Basmati (White) Rice

Ingredients

1 tbsp butter

(I always cook with real butter, you can also use 1 tbsp oil)

1 Cup Basmati Rice

2 cups water

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 lime

2 tbsp Fresh Cilantro

Melt the butter over a medium heat, add the rice and saute it.  You want it to have almost a translucent (or wet) appearance.

Add the water, turn the heat up to high, and bring it to a boil.

As soon as it begins to boil, turn the heat down to low, place your lid on your pan, and let the rice simmer for 15-20 minutes.  You want the water to be absorbed

Turn off the heat.  Now the tough part….and trust me, you will be tempted, but DO NOT LIFT THE LID for 30 minutes after you turn off the heat.  The steam will help the rice be nice and fluffy and you want fluffy rice.  🙂

While it is steaming, in a small dish, mix the salt and the lime juice together until the salt is dissolved.  You can also get your cilantro ready at this time.  If you know how to chop cilantro with a knife, go for it, but I use my mini chopper because it works best for me.

After the tortuous, tempting 30 minutes of steaming WITHOUT CHECKING ON IT…..lift the lid, allowing the steam to escape and put the rice into a mixing bowl. Fluff the rice with a fork while adding the salt / lime mixture.

Add the cilantro slowly while continuing to fluff.

My Chipotle Night at Home: Steak Bowl with White Rice, Chips & Mild Pico – HaliPawz

Chipotle, Copycat recipe, Basmati Rice

I love Chipotle.  It is one of those restaurants I could eat a couple nights a week.  There are times when I’m driving home at night and will weigh the cost of Chipotle over another fast food restaurant and Chipotle will almost always win.  One day recently, I started thinking about it and realized I am spending money for four ingredients.  I get the steak bowl with white rice, cheese, and lettuce.  I already make their Chips & Pico De Gallo so I wondered how difficult would it be to make their white rice and their steak?  I decided to tackle the task.  I was going to have Chipotle at home, I was going to attempt to make their steak bowl with the white rice to go with my Chips & Pico De Gallo.

I’m not a fancy cook.  I’m not someone who can just whip stuff together.  I use recipes when I’m trying something new.  After I’ve made it a few times, I might tweak it here or there to get it where I want it.

Let’s start with the rice. I have to admit, I have never made rice before.  Not in a real way.  I would buy box versions of flavored long grain and wild rice, but never a bag of rice I was preparing from scratch.  I didn’t even know there were so many varieties of rice.  I started doing research and learned I had to use Basmati rice.  I was excited.  I knew if it turned out well, I would probably make it often because I really like the rice.  After looking at a few different recipes for both the rice and the steak, I decided what I liked or didn’t like from various recipes to create my own.

CopyCat Chipotle Basmati (White) Rice

Ingredients

1 tbsp butter

(I always cook with real butter, you can also use 1 tbsp oil)

1 Cup Basmati Rice

2 cups water

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 lime

2 tbsp Fresh Cilantro

Melt the butter over a medium heat, add the rice and saute it.  You want it to have almost a translucent (or wet) appearance.

Add the water, turn the heat up to high, and bring it to a boil.

As soon as it begins to boil, turn the heat down to low, place your lid on your pan, and let the rice simmer for 15-20 minutes.  You want the water to be absorbed

Turn off the heat.  Now the tough part….and trust me, you will be tempted, but DO NOT LIFT THE LID for 30 minutes after you turn off the heat.  The steam will help the rice be nice and fluffy and you want fluffy rice.  🙂

While it is steaming, in a small dish, mix the salt and the lime juice together until the salt is dissolved.  You can also get your cilantro ready at this time.  If you know how to chop cilantro with a knife, go for it, but I use my mini chopper because it works best for me.

After the tortuous, tempting 30 minutes of steaming WITHOUT CHECKING ON IT…..lift the lid, allowing the steam to escape and put the rice into a mixing bowl. Fluff the rice with a fork while adding the salt / lime mixture.

Add the cilantro slowly while continuing to fluff.

For just the Rice recipe without everything else, click here.

Basmati Rice, Cilantro, Copycat recipes

Copycat Chipotle Rice

 I always get the steak option when I go to Chipotle.  I love it.  As I am not a fan of spicy food, there are times I do feel like I would like it better if it wasn’t quite as spicy at times.  By making it at home, I realized I could control the spice level.  Many of the ingredients are used in my Pico De Gallo recipe as well, so it’s a great way to not waste ingredients when you make them at the same time.

Copycat Chipotle Steak Marinade

Makes four 8oz servings

2lbs Steak of your choice

(Recommend Skirt, Sirloin, or Ribeye)

1/2 cup Cilantro (Finely chopped)

1/2 Jalapeno

(Remove the seeds for a milder taste)

6 cloves of garlic

1/2 red onion

1/2 tsp Cumin (use up to 1 tsp to taste)

1/2 tsp kosher salt (or sea salt)

1/4 olive oil

1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper (use up to 1 tsp to taste)

1/2 tsp pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.  Rub the mixture onto the steak making sure to coat both sides really well.

Place the steak into the refrigerator for at least an hour but not longer than 24 hours.  The longer it marinates, the richer the flavor.  I recommend about 2-4 hours.

Prepare the meat either on the grill or by heating up some olive oil in a pan to medium heat and then searing the steak.  Cook the steak to 135 degrees (Medium rare)

Remove the steak from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes (this allows the juice to set and helps maintain the flavor)

Cut the steak into bite size pieces by cutting lengthwise then across with the cuts about an inch apart.

To make the Bowl

Put a layer of rice on your plate or bowl

Add the steak

Sprinkle with a combination of shredded white cheddar and Monterrey jack cheese

Add lettuce

I didn’t have the right cheese in the house so I ended up using a mixture I had, that is why it’s yellow cheese in the picture, but trust me, I will make sure to use my shopping list at the bottom of this post to make sure I don’t forget the cheese again!

(That’s the end of mine, but you can top with anything else you would like….guacamole, pico, sour cream)

ENJOY!

To make it easier, here is a shopping list for this whole meal

  • 2 lbs Steak
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 3 Limes
  • 6 Roma Tomatoes
  • Basmati Rice
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Bag of White Tortilla Chips
  • Shredded White Cheddar Cheese
  • Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Lettuce

You will also need the following if you don’t already have at home

  • Kosher Salt (or sea salt)
  • Cumin
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • Pepper
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • (Vegetable Oil if substituting for the butter)