Risotto for One, Please!

It has happened, we are officially Empty-Nesters.
RatherTallOne has moved out and is now cooking for himself and his girlfriend.
Early reports from her are that he is quite the chef, making me rather proud.

We found out a few months ago that he has a wheat, barley and hops allergy. In solidarity I gave up all wheat (but not beer every now and then).
Cleaning the pantry and fridge of all things EVIL wheat was the way to go sadly.
I found out that a staple we eat a lot, Risotto from Trader Joes, had wheat in it to thicken the rice.
What is a mom to do? It has never occurred to me to make it from scratch because I thought it was hard to do.

Who hasn’t seen an episode of Hells Kitchen where Gordon Ramsey screams out that the Risotto is BLAND!

If professionals can’t do it who was I to try?
I’ve been hesitant to make foods I wasn’t trained in or comfortable with. Cooking rice, piece of cake. Risotto is scary.

So one day we were wanting Risotto with our salmon and I bit the bullet.
It was amazing!
I made it 3 times since and it comes out creamy, garlicky and really good.

The next 6 days Himself is in the Netherlands so solo food it is.
I was going to eat just chicken and roasted peppers when all of a sudden I wanted Risotto as well.
Math done, here is a recipe for Risotto for One.

1 TBS butter
1 TBS Olive Oil
2 TBS chopped onion or shallot
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup Arborio Rice aka Italian-Style Rice
About 1.5 cup of chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste (don’t make it bland!)
Any mushrooms and vegetables chopped up
Parmesan cheese to taste, I add at least 1/4 cup

Saute onion and garlic in butter and olive oil on lower heat for 3 minutes
Add rice and stir for 2 minutes
Stir in broth until rice is covered
I had leftover asparagus and mushrooms I added in.
I’ve added peas and mushrooms, it’s all tasty.

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Continue cooking a stirring until broth is absorbed.
Add more broth but make sure it’s absorbed before you add more.
Try the rice if it’s cooked towards the end of cooking before you add more broth. It’s not a timed process, more a “taste as you go”.
You are aiming for sticky, gooey rice as the cheese will bind it.

Once it’s fully cooked add the Parmesan and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

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My take on Macaroni and cheese, bacon style!

A few food items are always in my fridge, cheese, eggs and bacon.

A friend posted a recipe she tried last week on Facebook and I tinkered with it a little and came up with this new recipe.
I made it for The Boy and Himself and they deemed it good for a repeat.
If you can’t find the cheese I used you can substitute with cream cheese, garlic and parsley.

ETA: rinsing the pasta under cold water will stop the cooking process and also avoid melting the cheese too soon.
Also letting the meat cool off a little helps in this process.

Creamy, bacon bake.

1 box pasta (elbows, bow-ties or rotini)
Boursin cheese (not the low-fat kind)

boursib
1 cup grated cheese, I use half parmesan and mozzerella
4 slices of bacon
8 ounces of chicken
1/2 cup heavy cream

Cook pasta to almost fully cooked, drain and set aside
Cook bacon until crisp, crumble and set aside
Sautee cut up chicken in bacon grease (or in 1 tbs butter, but trust me cooking it in the bacon fat enhances the flavor)
Drain fat from chicken and mix macaroni with bacon, chicken, cream and the cheeses.
Preheat the oven at 350
Coat an ovenproof dish with butter.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until all the cheese is melted.
Halfway stir the pasta so that the cheese coats all over (it stays creamier that way)
If you have a broiler give the dish a quick broil to get a crunchy crust.

Enjoy!

food

 

Slight chance of rain!

3 meat Chili!

2 small cans of beans of your choice (I used red kidney beans) or 1 big can
6 slices bacon
3 sausages, I use mild Italian kind
1.5 pounds ground beef
2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes, 28 ounces total
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbs cumin
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs paprika (I used the smoked kind)
1 small can of tomato paste
Optional: 1 small can of spicy Mexican tomato sauce, I used El Pato

I use a Dutch oven.

Brown bacon and set aside
Brown sausage and beef in the bacon grease, drain and set aside
Add tomatoes and let simmer, add tomato paste and let the sauce come to a boil.
Add beef/sausage and bacon
Add half of the seasonings to the mixture, add the beans
Let simmer for around 20 minutes and taste! before adding more spices.
Finish off uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes.

I found Chiplote powder and it gave it a really nice kick without making it too spicy.

Aye Spicy!

Last week my friend Kev. posted a picture of Jalapeno Poppers he brought to a party and I was slightly jealous. I wanted some and he wasn’t sharing any.
Time to make my own then.

The recipe is decidedly simple as all out but it packs a nice punch of flavor.
Added bonus, I ended up with 8 medium poppers at a grand total of 240 calories.
Excellent little snack if you keep to eating only 2 or 3.

poppers

You will need for 2 servings:

4 jalapenos
4 tbs of cream cheese ( I used Boursin)
1 package of Prosciutto or 8 slices of thin bacon (ask the butcher to slice for you)

Cut jalapenos in half, scoop out seeds.
Fill evenly with cream cheese
Wrap with bacon and put on a cookie sheet.

WASH YOUR HANDS REAL WELL!(trust me)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and allow poppers to cook a little for 10 minutes.
Set broiler on low and place poppers on the middle rack.
Broil for about 10 minutes making sure bacon doesn’t burn.
For an additional 3-5 minutes broil on high.
Let cool a little and enjoy!

You can easily double this recipe by doubling the ingredients.
I think you’ll want to because mine were gone as soon as TallOne found out I made them.

Chicken Alfredo

Sometimes the best laid plans don’t work out.
I work a long day on Monday and always fix something easy for the boys.
TallOne wanted pasta with Alfredo Sauce.
I was SURE we had canned sauce in the pantry only to find out when I got home we had none.
With no back-up plan for dinner that night I needed to figure out how to make Alfredo from scratch.
Turns out it’s pretty easy and very very good!
Most of the staples are in my fridge so after a little research I whipped up dinner pretty fast.
Theirs was served over spinach noodles, I had mine with arugula.

Easy Alfredo
2 chicken breast, cut in strips and pan sauteed seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
(keep warm while you make the sauce)

Sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat.
Add cream and simmer for 5 minutes, then add garlic and cheese and whisk quickly, heating through.
Stir in parsley and add to chicken.

Easiest chicken ever!

I need to get back to cooking for 3 because TheGirl has left for college.
Also BubbleWrapBoy seems to have left the clumsy/for ever hungry stage indicating he might very well have stopped growing. For now.
Less food is being eaten, we’ll see if in a week or so he reverts back to his inhaling everything food wise.

This is one of those really simple dishes, easy to adapt because it’s one chicken breast per person.
Count on 1 ounce of cheese per person and 2 slices of prosciutto ham.

Chicken with mozerella and ham

4 chicken filets
4 ounces mozerella, cut in 4 slices
8 slices prosciutto ham
2 tbs olive oil
2 sprigs rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
Cut chicken filets in half but not all the way,
salt and peper
layer with mozzerella
roll and wrap ham around.
cook on both sides for 3 minutes on each side.
transfer to oven proof dish
add rosemary sprigs and cook in 350 oven for 15-20 minutes

Enjoy!

Happy Friday!

Cod with Blue cheese.
For 4 people:

12-16 ounces True Cod or Rock Cod
2.5 ounces Blue cheese, Stilton, Danish Blue
4 ounces of Creme Fraiche or
Sour Cream but use less and use 3 ounces of Blue Cheese.
1/2 cup to 3/4 Cup sliced almonds, I like the ones with the skin on them
Parsley for decoration

Wash the fish and dry it.
Preheat oven to 325.
Mix Creme Fraiche and Blue Cheese until it becomes a paste.
Spread the mixture over the fish, I try not to get the edges. It will melt and coat the rest of the fish.
Sprinkle with almonds, use as much as you want.

Bake the fish for 20 minutes, less for thin pieces.
Fish should be flaky, so check it after 15 minutes.
The cheese will melt but should not burn.

Any side dish is good, we eat beets with it and my carbo-peeps like potatoes.

Super simple and fresh.

Sometimes I make something just because I have ingredients and I want to experiment.
We were having a warm day and today’s harvest from the garden is cherry tomatoes and basil.
I only had a handful of tomatoes, not enough to feed 4 people.
But I had my heart set on Caprese Salad.
Bit of digging in the fridge yielded a cucumber and one ball of mozzarella.

I liked it, they thought it was good.

Summer Salad

1 cucumber cut small
8 ounces cherry tomatoes
6 basil leaves, cut small
1-2 balls mozzarella, cut in chunks
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs lemon juice

Combine cucumber, tomatoes and basil
Mix olive oil and lemon juice, taste if it is too tart add a bit of olive oil.
Salt and pepper to taste
Add cheese to vegetables and drizzle the dressing over salad.
Toss lightly, that cheese wants to fall apart.

Enjoy!
A perfect salad for the 4th of July or any BBQ.

Artichoke dip

I love the little hand-outs from the grocery store with recipes.
So much so that when cleaning out my purse I found 5 such leaflets.
I’m going to try this recipe for the weekend, I’m changing out the cheese and adding red pepper flakes to give it a bit of a kick.

12 oz. canned artichoke hearts, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons grated onion
2 cups cheddar Cheese, grated
dash of pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients and spoon the mixture into an 8 inch baking dish.
Bake for 30 minutes at 300° F. Serve with assorted vegetables for a low-carb treat.

(recipe altered, originally from http://www.kerrygoldusa.com)

Caprese Salad

Resident Teen recently bought herself a GOOD camera and has offered to be my food photographer. I’m hoping by adding pictures appetites will be stirred up and you’ll feel more inclined to make a dish! Her first picture is featured today.
I’m going to add pictures to the old posts as soon as we get going with making the old recipes and taking pictures. Stay tuned!

Caprese salad with basil.

  • 4 vine ripened tomatoes
    10-12 basil leaves cut in half
    1 ball fresh mozzarella
    3tbs extra virgin olive oil
    1 tbs balsamic vinegar
    (optional) 2 tbs pine nuts toasted
  • Cut tomatoes and mozzarella in slices
    Layer in a circle on the plate as follows:
    tomato, basil leave,cheese, tomato, basil leave,cheese
    Repeat until you run out of slices.
    sprinkle olive oil over plate.
    if you are serving it right away sprinkle vinegar and pine nuts over cheese and tomato

    Enjoy!

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