Pokémon: Indigo League

Episode: Showdown at Dark City
Omurice

There are a ton of shows out there that I’m crazy about. And then there are the few shows that I’m CRAZY about. Those are the ones that truly define who I am and never fail to make me smile. They’re also the ones I obsess over to the point where it’s probably unhealthy. Pokémon is one of those shows. (Particularly Indigo League.) After watching it over and over all of these years, I still can’t get sick of it. I love the show. I love it as much as…as much as…as much as Pikachu loves ketchup!

Man, that really takes me back. All the way back to Dark City when the Yas and Kaz Gyms were in the middle of a gang war over becoming an official Pokémon Gym. When Ash, Misty, and Brock enter the city, they’re puzzled by its ghost town appearance and a woman’s fear of Pokémon trainers. Before Ash and friends have a chance to do anything, they encounter some rock-throwing kids who dislike anyone who works with Pokémon. Fortunately, a friendly restaurant owner steps in and invites Ash and Co. inside and explains the city’s situation. Since they’re in a restaurant, they might as well eat. Ash is served up some tasty looking omurice, but it doesn’t stay pretty for long. Pikachu is just loving a bottle of ketchup and when Ash asks Pikachu to pour some on, Pikachu is happy to share the good stuff. And by share I mean dump on enough that you can’t see the omurice anymore and Ash has to take the ketchup away from Pikachu. (Which Pikachu quickly wrestles back from Ash.)

Recipe makes 2 servings.

Ingredients

Fried Rice:

1 tablespoon butter

½ cup onion, finely chopped

½ cup mixed vegetables, finely chopped (I use a mix of peas and carrots, but use whatever you like.)

4 ounces chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 cup cooked rice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons ketchup, plus more for decoration

Salt

Pepper

 

Omelettes

4 large eggs

4 tablespoons heavy cream or milk

Salt

Oil or Nonstick Cooking Spray

 

Directions

Fried Rice:

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and vegetables and cook until onions become translucent and vegetables begin to soften. Add the chicken, salt, and pepper. Once the chicken is fully cooked, add the rice and soy sauce and stir until any clumps of rice have been broken down and the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Add the ketchup and mix until the ketchup is evenly distributed throughout the rice. Adjust seasonings and remove from heat and set aside.

Omelettes:

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cream or milk, and a pinch of salt.

Putting It All Together:

Heat oil in a 10-inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Pour in half the egg mixture and tilt the pan to evenly spread it. When the bottom of the egg has set but the top is still runny, reduce the heat to low. Spread half of the fried rice in the middle of the omelette. Fold the left and right sides of the omelette over the rice. Move the omurice to the edge of the pan and flip it onto a plate. Cover the omurice with a clean towel and shape it into an oval. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Drizzle the omurice with ketchup (Or drown it if you’re like Pikachu!) and serve!

Pokemon OmuricePokemon Dark City Omurice

So maybe the omurice doesn’t look as pleasing after Pikachu’s through with it, but I’m sure it’s still delicious. I tend to be a bit heavy-handed with the ketchup myself. It’s good for everything, except aliases. But “Tom Ato” isn’t very good either. (Don’t get me started on “Ann Chovy” and “Caesar Salad.”) Ash should’ve picked a better name, but that’s not what’s important. What’s really important is that the Yas and Kaz Gyms know that it’s wrong to use Pokémon for street fighting. And the kids finally realize what I’ve known most of my life: Pokémon are the coolest, especially Pikachu.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Captain Planet and the Planeteers

Episode: Mind Pollution
Blintzes

“I’m your powers magnified. Haven’t you heard the song? ‘Captain Planet, he’s our hero…’” Isn’t Captain Planet just the greatest superhero? He sings his own theme song! And when he’s not singing or quoting, he’s making some bad joke or pun. (He’d fit in just fine at my house.) But the greatest thing about Captain Planet is that he’s a hero for Earth, which honestly needs all the help it can get. With the invaluable aid of the Planeteers, Eco-Villains are thwarted, animals are saved, pollution is stopped, and people are educated. Yes, this is an educational show. And it’s a darn good one because it inspired me to be part of the solution and not the pollution.

When I watch Captain Planet and the Planeteers, I get so angry at the stupid Eco-Villains that I just want to reach in my TV and start smacking them around. They cheat, kill, destroy, and pollute just to satisfy their own greed and cause trouble. And it’s not just the environment that’s in danger. People get hurt too, especially when Verminous Skumm is out causing the most insidious kind of pollution by dealing drugs. Linka’s cousin Boris becomes hopelessly addicted to Skumm’s drug, Bliss, and puts her in danger in order to get more. Linka’s too smart to do drugs, but she’s in a world of trouble when Boris slips Bliss into some blintzes and she eats one.

Recipe makes about 10 filled blintzes.

Ingredients

Filling:

2 pounds ground beef

2 medium onions, finely chopped

2 teaspoons parsley flakes

1 ½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

 

Blintzes:

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 cups milk, room temperature

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ¾ cups flour

Oil or Nonstick Cooking Spray

Butter

 

Directions

Filling:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the ground beef, salt, pepper, and parsley and cook until meat is browned. Stir occasionally while browning to break up the meat. Remove from heat and set aside.

Blintzes:

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, oil, sugar, and salt. Gradually whisk in the flour and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth and has the consistency of heavy cream.

Place a crepe pan or 10-inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a little bit of oil. Pour 1/3 cup of batter in, tilting the pan to evenly spread it. When the edge of the blintz begins to brown and curl, flip it over using a thin spatula or your fingers if you’re careful. Cook for another 20-30 seconds and set it on a plate with a bit of butter on it so it doesn’t stick. Top the blintz with a bit more butter so the next one won’t stick to it. Repeat the process with the remaining batter.

Putting It All Together:

Place about ¼ cup of filling slightly off from the middle of a blintz and spread out into a cylinder shape. Fold in the top and bottom sides and roll up the blintz. Repeat with the other blintzes. Now you can enjoy a tasty, 100% Bliss-Free blintz!

Variations:
After folding the blintzes, you can heat some oil in a pan over medium heat and brown the blintzes on both sides. Blintzes can be filled with anything you want. I just assumed it was ground beef because people have compared the blintz to a burrito. If you don’t want the large burrito shape, you can place the filling in the middle, bring the left and right sides completely over the filling, and roll up the blintz from the top. This shape doesn’t need as much filling, so you should be able to cut the filling recipe in half.

captainplanetblintzCaptain Planet Blintz (2)

This episode sticks out in my mind for a few reasons. Yes, the blintz is one of them, but the main reason is because this episode gets downright scary. The Planeteers are in the middle of a zombie siege. Boris breaks through a window and cuts his arms badly and bleeds everywhere. Then Boris…he…you know. And I wasn’t expecting that! This show has shocked me a few times, but that was the biggest. There are real dangers out there, so I’m proud of this show for not sugar-coating anything. We may not have those specific Eco-Villains around, but our world is in peril. I wasn’t given a magic ring, but I can still help protect the Earth. I’m a Planeteer and you can be one too! Remember, “THE POWER IS YOURS!”

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Justice League Unlimited

Episode: The Balance
Pasta Shells with Peas

The number one reason I’m such a superhero nut, is because I stumbled into the DC Animated Universe at a very young age. (I didn’t get to really know Marvel until later.) I watched every episode of every show I could and I still wanted more superheroes. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to wait long before Justice League Unlimited was born. I already loved Justice League, but adding all of the extra superheroes just made everything more fun. The core seven will always be my favorites, but I got to fall in love with so many new people and I felt like I was becoming quite the hero expert. The greatest thing about JLU, is getting to go beyond the masks and capes and seeing the superheroes as “regular people” living and working together, fighting and playing, and even dating. (I wasn’t the only one falling in love.) Every interaction is so cute.

Just seeing the heroes eating together at the commissary in the Watchtower is enough to make me giggle. That still applies even when they’re being huffy with each other, like Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl. The Flash was trying to be sweet and have them eat dinner together, but they just couldn’t get along. (Their food wasn’t even a safe topic.) Judging from their trays and the trays of most of the other heroes, I’m figuring that pasta shells with peas is that day’s special. I don’t know who cooks up there, but they are feeding superheroes so I’d have to assume the food’s pretty good.

Recipe makes seven 1-cup servings.

Ingredients

1/2 pound large pasta shells

4 cups frozen peas, thawed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion

3 cloves garlic

1 cup chicken broth

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon parsley

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt

Pepper

 

Directions

Sauce with Peas:

Add the oil to a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth, heavy cream, peas, parsley, salt, and pepper. Simmer until the sauce has thickened, 5-6 minutes.

Pasta Shells:

Bring a large pot full of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles have cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Drain.

Putting It All Together:

Lightly toss the hot noodles in the sauce. Add the Parmesan cheese and dish out!

JLU PastaJLU Pasta Peas (3)

This dinner is pretty humble compared to Flash’s overloaded tray, but I don’t burn through calories as quickly as he does. I have to say though, the pasta shells with peas taste better than most ( Okay, all.) of the cafeteria food I’ve had. I don’t know if it’s the pasta or the sauce or the two of them coming together to do some good. Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl may be like oil and vinegar, but everything in this dish mixes perfectly.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Rugrats

Episode: Angelica Breaks a Leg
Chocolate Pudding

Wow! If anything is going to make me feel old, it’s the fact that Nickelodeon Animation is celebrating their 25th. I’ve been there from the get-go and have loved my fair share of Nicktoons. Although it’s much harder to play favorites now, when I was little, Rugrats was at the top of my list. I don’t know what it was about those babies, but I just couldn’t get enough of them. I’ve got the toy collection to prove it. While looking through all my stuff, I realized that most of it is Angelica-related. She’s a bully and a brat, so she’s not the best role model for youngsters, but that girl’s got guts. The stuff she’s pulled to get what she wants is amazing. She’s impersonated her mom to get sweets, “kidnapped” her own doll to get a new one, and feigned a broken leg to get people to wait on her hand and foot. Sure, nothing really ends well for Angelica, but I wish I could’ve given one of her schemes a go.

When Angelica fakes her brake, she even asks for the same stuff I would: a big TV and some chocolate pudding. I could never push someone to the point of a 3 AM pudding run or beyond, but it is fun to watch. I always laughed while Stu’s life spiraled out of control, but it’s scary how much I empathize with him now. I’ve had many of those moments, but never any involving pudding. If I’m making chocolate pudding at four o’clock in the morning, I hope it’s because I can and not because I have to.

Recipe makes 4 cups of mix and Pudding Recipe makes 1-2 servings.

Ingredients

Pudding Mix:

1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (Use darker cocoa powder for a darker color)

1 cup instant non-fat dry milk powder

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon salt

 

Chocolate Pudding:

1 cup Pudding Mix

2 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions

Pudding Mix:

In a large mixing bowl, combine cocoa powder, milk powder, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Move mixture to an airtight container and store until ready to use.

Chocolate Pudding:

Combine Pudding Mix and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook, still whisking, until the pudding has thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove the pudding from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the pudding into a bowl or divide into servings. Serve warm or cover with plastic wrap and chill before serving. Enjoy!

Rugrats Choc PuddingRugrats Pudding

Whether I’m in control of my life or not, it’s nice knowing just how easy it is to make chocolate pudding. (I never know when someone’s going to break a leg.) Anyway, the more I look at it, the easier it is for me to see why I never tried to emulate Angelica. (She didn’t even eat the pudding!) But her crazy, villainous antics are just one of the things that keep me coming back to the show after all these years. Sure, Rugrats (and I) have gotten older, but that doesn’t mean we have to act our age.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Lady and the Tramp

Tony’s Spaghetti Especiale

For the longest time, Lady and the Tramp was my favorite movie. There are so many good things about the film, but I really loved it because of the title characters, especially Lady. I loved the Tramp, but I completely adored Lady. I grew so attached to her, that I needed my own Cocker Spaniel. I got her and I guess what I named her? Princess Candy Cane. (Yeah, I have no idea what was going on in that pea brain of mine.) Princess wasn’t a thing like Lady, but I wasn’t at all like Jim Dear and Darling. I get the whole baby thing, but my dogs are my babies. At least they aren’t nearly as bad as Aunt Sarah. (Is it wrong that I wish bad things on her?) Okay, enough with the silly humans. I watch this movie for the doggies.

Lady is so sweet and innocent. And I love how caring all the dogs are, even when the humans aren’t. The Tramp can’t resist lending a helping paw by sharing his experience with Lady and later rescuing her. Sure, he was first interested because he’s got a weakness for pretty girls, but it doesn’t take him long to fall under the spell of true love. You can kind of blame that on Tony’s. Had the Tramp shared a meal with Lady at any one of his other stops, it wouldn’t have been nearly as romantic. (Imagine them sharing a big piece of corned beef.) But, Tony pulls out all the stops for “Butch” and we get the mega iconic “Bella Notte” spaghetti sequence. We’ve got the singing, and the spaghetti kiss, and the Tramp giving Lady the last meatball! It’s too much! I can’t take it! Plus, that plate of spaghetti looks so good! I know. Way to ruin the romantic moment by focusing more on the food, but I’ve thought it since the very first time I watched the movie. It’s about time I make a plate of my own.

Recipe makes 6-8 servings.

Ingredients

1 ½ pounds spaghetti noodles

Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups beef broth

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

½ cup onions, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pepper

2 teaspoons oregano

2 teaspoons parsley

2 teaspoons basil

2 teaspoons sugar

 

Meatballs:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground pork

4 slices white bread

½ cup milk

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon parsley

1 teaspoon oregano

¼ cup onion, finely chopped

1 ½ cloves garlic, minced

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Directions

Sauce:

Add the oil to a large skillet or medium pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the beef stock and crushed tomatoes. Add salt, pepper, sugar, oregano, parsley, and basil. Allow the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomato paste.

Meatballs:

Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.

Tear the slices of bread into pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Pour milk over the bread and allow it to soak the bread through. Add the salt, pepper, basil, parsley, oregano, Parmesan, and eggs. Add the cooled onions and garlic and mix thoroughly. Add the meat and mix until just combined. Scoop out meat mixture the size of two tablespoons and place on a baking sheet. Form meatballs into rounds and chill for an hour to help the balls maintain their shapes while cooking.

Heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Lightly coat the meatballs in flour and give them a quick browning on all sides, about 5 minutes. Finish cooking the meatballs in the sauce for 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Any meatballs that can’t fit in the pot will just need an additional 5-10 minutes in the skillet.

Spaghetti Noodles:

Bring a large pot full of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles have cooked through, 8 minutes. Drain.

Putting It All Together:

Lightly toss the hot noodles in the sauce. Place the noodles and meatballs on a plate. Enjoy!

ladyandthetramp (2)LadyTrampSpag

Who would’ve thought that, along with the rest of the world, I would fall in love with a couple of dogs eating a plate of spaghetti? It’s not a pretty sight in my house, but that’s Disney Magic for you. Thanks to a little bit of my own magic, I can enjoy Tony’s Spaghetti Especiale whenever I want, bella notte or not.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius


Short: Hyper-Corn
Creamed Corn

I never got the chance to see Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius in theaters. My parents just didn’t understand the greatness that is Jimmy. I, on the other hand, knew and loved him and his family and friends for months. Before I ever started to get hyped for the movie, I was content just watching the shorts over and over. Which I did because Nickelodeon played them a lot! (Smart move.) I love the shorts even more now because I can see how they progressed into the movie and then the show.

My favorite one of the bunch has always been “Hyper-Corn”. I couldn’t understand why Jimmy’s mom would make nothing but creamed corn for dinner. Or why it jiggles. But I sure didn’t want to eat it. Although, I did change my tune after the Hypercube spewed corn everywhere. I begged my mom to make heaping blobs of creamed corn, but for all the wrong reasons. It didn’t amuse her. Now here’s my chance to make my own. (I still want to throw it on everything, but I can’t bring myself to waste food or clean my walls.)

Recipe makes 1 insanely large serving or about 6 smaller servings

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds fresh, frozen, or canned corn

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature

4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1 egg, room temperature

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoons white pepper

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

 

Directions

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly. As the mixture starts bubbling, whisk in the heavy cream. When the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat to low. Add the cream cheese and cook until the sauce is thick, still whisking. In a small bowl, begin whisking the egg. Add a small amount of the cream cheese mixture to the egg, while still whisking. Continue whisking in small amounts until the volume of the egg has almost doubled. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and stir to combine. Return the heat to medium and add the corn and sugar. Cook for a couple minutes to allow the liquid from the corn to thicken. Add the salt, white pepper, and onion powder. Stir and cook until the corn is warm and soft, about 5 minutes. The corn will set more as it cools, but if it’s too thick for you, just add more cream. Scoop out a heaping portion and enjoy!

Jimmy Neutron Creamed CornJimmy Corn

“Oh, that is good.” I totally agree with Jimmy even if I did deviate a bit from the standard creamed corn method in order to make it blobbier. It’s good for the digestion, right? We weren’t smart enough to build a Hypercube or move our house underwater, but we did start acting like Jimmy in our own way. In Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius fashion, we kind of ended up getting back at our parents for not taking us to see it. We didn’t sneak out or wish them to go away, but my little sister did buy the movie on Pay-Per-View without permission and we stayed up late watching it. (What stinkers!)

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

 

Mulan

Porridge

I know I’m opening the floodgates when I mention the “D word,” but I’ve been dying to start covering Disney movies. Naturally, I was raised on them and this lucky little person got to experience the Disney Renaissance first hand. The movie previews alone were enough to completely blow me away and then came the toy and food promotions. By the time opening night rolled around, I was a big bundle of nerves and excitement. One of these beautiful films carved into my memory is Mulan. It’s one of my go-to movies and has traveled by my side on just about every family vacation since its home video release. Hardly a day goes by where I don’t bust out a quote or a bit of song from this movie. It’s been like that since the days when my cousin and I would lock ourselves in her room and sing and dance to the soundtrack in our Mulan garb. (She had one wrap-around costume that we’d take turns wearing.) When that was no longer enough, my grandma whipped up the perfect Halloween costume for me that I’d still wear today if I could fit in it. You don’t meet a movie like that every dynasty, so it’s only natural that it would become a part of my life.

No, I don’t see myself defeating Shan Yu and saving China, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be Mulan in my own right. Whether I’m off to destroy people or just heading into work, the best way to start my morning is with a nice breakfast. And one that’s happy to see me to boot. Okay, so rice porridge can be pretty simple, but it’s delicious and comforting and I’d smile right back at it if I ate a big bowl of it every day.

Recipe makes 6 one-cup servings.

 Ingredients

3 cups water

6 cups chicken broth

1 cup rice, rinsed

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ of an onion, minced

¼ ounce piece of peeled fresh ginger

Salt and white pepper to taste

Soy sauce to taste (Optional)

Each serving will need:

2 large eggs

1 slice of bacon

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and white pepper

 

Directions

In a large pot, combine water, chicken broth, rice, garlic, onion, and ginger. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1-1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. You want a creamy, oatmeal-like consistency. If it gets too thick, you can add more water or broth. If it’s too thin, allow it to cook longer. Remove ginger piece. Season with salt, white pepper, and soy sauce.

Place a frying pan on medium to low heat. Coat the pan with olive oil. Crack eggs directly into pan and cook until the tops of the whites are set and the yolk is still runny. If the eggs start changing color, turn down the heat. Remove from pan with a spatula and season with salt and white pepper.

Place bacon in a cold pan and set heat to low. When bacon begins to curl, flip it to the other side. This can take about 7 minutes. Continue to cook, flipping it over every few minutes, until it’s browned and almost at your desired crispiness. The bacon will continue to cook after it’s removed from the pan. Drain excess grease by setting the bacon on a plate covered with paper towels.

Putting It All Together:

Scoop out a cup of porridge into a bowl. Place two eggs on top for eyes and add a bacon smile. Grab yourself a pair of chopsticks or a spoon and dig in!

mulan porridge DSC_0349 (2)

My family is the most important thing to me and I’d do anything for them. That’s why I made enough rice porridge to serve my entire household. I find it a little safer than stealing my father’s armor, running away from home, and impersonating a soldier. Mulan already has that covered, so I’ll just let my heart show me the way to my own greatness, or maybe just a second helping of porridge.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!