Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Texas Tornado, the Delicious Kind

Dear Lauren,

It would take days to list all the things I like about Aviva Goldfarb and The Six O'Clock Scramble. So instead I'll list the only thing I don't like about her. She doesn't live in Atlanta.

You do realize without Aviva, there would have been many years of your life that you didn't eat, right?

I just want to stop right here and say this: any recipe with yellow bell pepper is a sure-fire winner. What a happy looking vegetable!

I found The Six O'Clock Scramble in an article in Real Simple magazine years ago. We were living in California at the time and I'd been using another meal planning service but with mixed reviews from the family, I made the switch and we never looked back.

It's because of her you ate well-balanced, delicious, healthy, seasonal meals prepared and served in less than 30 minutes!  Does this sounds like an infomercial? I'm in training to one day be a host on HSN, so it would be a compliment if you said yes.

 Just kidding!

The recipe calls for spinach but I think Aviva would approve me adding in some beet greens. (Yep, from Dad's garden. Did you know you can eat the greens from beets?)

Did I tell you the story about how I lent my SOS cookbook to our friend, Patrick? I went to his house about a month later and this is what the cookbook looked like.

Yes, he'd cooked all of those recipes! I told him to keep the book! (He did.)

The only think I have left to say is this. If you want to eat well and not think too much about it, get a subscription to Aviva's service here. On a weekly basis, you will get 5 amazing recipes and a grocery list. No thinking required. If you have questions, let me know or read her FAQ's here. The first two weeks are free! If you want to think a little more, get both of her cookbooks, you can find them here and here. All nutritional information is included and allergy and vegetarian substitutes make the service and books so easy to use for everyone.

Texas Tornado was on the list this week. It is delicious!

I have to tell you I made some minor changes to the recipe because I try to always use what I have on hand. That said, Aviva's recipes are perfect as is. I say this because I am one of her recipe testers!

  • I used some of my Veggie Burgers made the day before and stores in the freezer. 
  • I also used white rice instead of brown because I had day-old white rice in the fridge. If you can use day-old or frozen rice I think you will like the texture of the rice in this dish better than if you make it fresh the day of. That's my opinion. I'm a big fan of day-old rice! 
  • And I really, really wanted to make this salsa to use in this recipe! But I had two salsas on hand so I used a 50/50 mixture of La Costeña Green Mexican Salsa and Herdez Salsa Casera.

Two last things. She always lists optional side dishes. I didn't make the recommended Mango, Avocado, and Pistachio Salad today but it sounds amazing and it would be a cool accompaniment to this spicy dish! And I cut the recipe in half because that fit our needs today. Her website will alter the recipes and the grocery lists to fit the number of servings you want. I just love that!

Texas Tornado
by Aviva Goldfarb of The Six O'Clock Scramble

This casserole is so easy to make (especially if you use frozen pre-cooked rice) and it’s stick-to-your-ribs satisfying and very tasty! Serve it with a mango, avocado and pistachio salad.


1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped 
1 yellow onion, chopped 
6 oz. fresh spinach, coarsely chopped 
4 cups cooked brown rice, pre-cooked or made from 1 1/2 cups dry rice 
2 cups fire-roasted salsa 
4 veggie burgers, such as Amy’s Texas Veggie Burger or Morningstar Farms Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burgers, (or mine!), defrosted and crumbled or chopped 
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, or a combination of the two 
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream, for serving(optional) 

Heat a large heavy skillet, over medium-high heat, add the oil, and when it is hot, add the bell peppers and onions. Sauté them, stirring occasionally, for 6 – 8 minutes until they are tender and starting to brown. Stir in the spinach, cover and steam it for about 2 minutes until it is wilted. Remove it from the heat. 

Meanwhile, spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook the rice, if necessary, and spread it evenly in the bottom of the dish. Top it evenly with the sautéed vegetables, 1 cup of salsa, the crumbled veggie burgers, and the cheese. Cover it with foil and bake it for 30 minutes, uncovering it after 20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly. 

Allow it to cool for 10 minutes, if time allows, and cut it into squares to serve it, topped with sour cream, if desired. Or cover it tightly and refrigerate it for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 3 months. (Tip: If you plan to freeze a casserole, completely cool it first to avoid condensation.)

Mango, Avocado and Pistachio Salad


1 mango, peeled and diced
1/2 avocado, peeled and diced
1 red onion, slivered
1 cup shelled pistachio nuts, or use pumpkin seeds
1 lime, juice only, 1 - 2 Tbsp.
1/8 tsp. salt

Combine all the ingredients and stir gently. Chill until ready to serve, up to 2 hours.



  1. I knew about this as a child and forgot about it. It is on the agenda this week. Bill will love it! Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Wow, I am so touched by your love letter to The Scramble, Sandra!! Thank you so much for your help, support, suggestions, and lots of laughs! I love your substitution of the beet greens for the spinach, too!

  3. I made something very similar last week. Ground venison instead of veggie burgers and layered tortillas instead of rice. Everything else was the same and everyone loved it!

    1. Beverly, for some reason I was never much of a rice fan til this year. I started making fried rice at home and love it! So when I saw this recipe I was all over it since I have cooked rice on hand all the time. And having the beet greens from Willie's garden was a bonus. I use all my veg now in some way. Either in a dish or the scraps go in the freezer to make broth.