Sunday, August 19, 2012

California No-Beef Rice Yummy

I'm sure you're wondering about the strange post title. I'll explain. The other day, it was getting really close to dinner time, and I had nothing prepared. Worse yet, I didn't have a lot of stuff to work with. I was stumped. I asked my hubby if he had any ideas. While he was pondering this, I immediately had a flash of brilliance - "What if I make California Beef Rice Skillet?" His reaction? "Oooooooh, yeah!"

What is California Beef Rice Skillet, you ask?

Well, it is one of my hubby's favorite childhood meals. His Mom used to make this all the time, and it was one of the first recipes she handed down to me after we were married. I suspect California Beef Rice Skillet was a recipe that came from a magazine, but I don't know the actual source for certain. But anyway, when we were first married, I used to make this dish all the time. I wanted to give my hubby a little taste of home (we were living in Germany), and it was simple enough to make that even a cooking-challenged person like me could make it. Funnily enough, I remember buying the ground beef at the commissary on base and the meat was vacuum-sealed and sourced from Europe - this was the time of all the mad cow craziness, and beef from the US wasn't allowed to be imported. I don't know why I remember that.

So, California Beef Rice Skillet (or, as my hubby and his siblings fondly called it, California Beef Rice Yuck-it) was a dish comprised of ground beef, onion, white rice, beef bouillon, tomato, green pepper, and cheddar cheese. You cooked everything in one skillet, topped it with the cheese, and let it get all melty. It was kind of like eating a messy cheeseburger. We ate it a lot, since I didn't really know how to cook anything else.

Obviously, since I've been vegan for almost 6 years, it's been a while since I've made or even thought about California Beef Rice Skillet. But it totally popped in my head the other day. I had to dig out my old recipe notebook and find it.

Look how cute I was....

Hmmm....the wheels started a'turnin'.

What if I replaced the beef with tempeh or beans?
What if I replaced the beef bouillon with similar seasonings?
What if I used jasmine rice and Daiya cheddar cheese?
I think I'm on to something here....

Boo-yah! It was just like we remember, but without mad-cow beef. Excellent!

Even though my hubby loved it as-is, I think it would have been even better (and more authentic) with crumbled, sauteed tempeh. Next time. Because there will definitely be a next time!

Ahhh, memories!

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