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!

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It’s starting to feel like Fall finally!

I love soup and Split Pea is comfort food for me.

It’s a slow simmer in the crock pot so once you done the prep it’s a straight shot all by itself for hours.
This recipe is how my mom used to make it, there are variations where leeks and carrots are used but it comes out too heavy for me.

Oma’s Split Pea Soup

This recipe is for 4 people with enough left over for another meal. Reduce the peas and water by half if making it for 2 people or if you want no left overs.

2 bags green split peas (or 2 pounds)
1 medium sized celery root
1 pound beef shank
1 package salted pork
1 smoked sausage

Rinse peas, place in crock pot ( I have a 6 quart one)
Clean celery root by peeling it,cut celery root and salted pork in chunks
Add celery root, salted pork and beef shank to the crock pot
Cover with water, stirring a few times to get the peas wet.
Cook on low until peas fall apart, 6 hours depending on your crock pot.Stir occasionally to prevent the peas from sticking to the bottom or sides.
Remove bone and salted pork.
Using a stick blender or food processor blend the soup until smooth.
Cut up smoked sausage and add to soup.
You can cut up the salt pork in small pieces and add it to the soup. Be aware you need to let it sit for a little bit before you add salt in order not to oversalt it.
The soup will thicken if refrigerated, when reheating add some chicken stock to it and heat it slowly.

Enjoy!

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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.

I’m cooking up a feast, Turkey, cranberries, stuffing and “peertjes” pears in red wine sauce.

Repost from last year my recipe for “peertjes”

Ask any Dutch person about “peertjes” and they might very well drool.

Growing up this was the one dish my mom could cook to perfection, maybe because she was the queen of all things simmered/cooked forever.

I’ve always made it for Christmas, and for the last 21 years for Thanksgiving as well, because it is a bit of a fancy side dish. One that doesn’t really fit well with an every day meal for us.

 

Peertjes or Pears in Red Wine sauce.
(this will serve up to 6 people)

6, hard Anjou pears
Bottle of cheap red wine
1/2 cup sugar
2 cloves (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Peel pears and cut in 4 parts
Bring pears, wine and all other ingredients to a boil
Lower heat and let simmer until pears are soft.

You can bind the wine sauce with a little bit of corn starch if you want to eat it warm.
I always let the pears cool off and we eat it cold.

 If you do bind it with corn starch, take a little bit of the sauce and stir a table spoon of corn starch until smooth.

Transfer to pan with pears and gently mix corn starch mixture in with pears/wine sauce.

 

Enjoy!

The blog will be back on Monday!

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Chicken Waldorf Salad

When I was in Culinary school I learned how to make this salad.
I can’t believe it took until today to make it again.
It has the sweetness of the grapes and the crunchiness of the apple making this a nice fresh salad for lunch.
I added chicken and swapped out one tbs of mayo for a tbs of yogurt.
(and until I find out what caused my allergy reaction there are no walnuts)

4-8 ounces of chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup chopped, slightly toasted walnuts
1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red seedless grapes, sliced
1 sweet apple, cored and chopped
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt
Pepper

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and the lemon juice.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt,
1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper.
Mix in the chicken, apple, celery, grapes, and walnuts.

Enjoy!

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!

Greek Salad, for a hot day.

This salad is fresh and easy to make on short notice and requires no cooking.
It goes well with anything from the grill.

Cucumber tomato salad.

1 container cherry tomatoes or
2-3 vine ripened tomatoes
1 cucumber
3 ounces of feta cheese
16-20 Kalamata olives
2 table spoons olive oil
1/2 to 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
If you are using regular tomatoes cut them in 8 parts (quarters?)
Peel and cut cucumber in 1-2 inch cubes
Combine olive oil and vinegar with salt and pepper and set aside.

Toss all ingredients together.

I don’t like to make this too much ahead as the tomatoes get mushy and the cheese tends to take on too much of the dressing.

 

I serve ours a bit “deconstructed” because tomatoes give me heartburn, CollegeGirl doesn’t like Feta and BubbleWrapBoy doesn’t care for Kalamata olives.
So everyone is free to make their own on their plate.

Enjoy!

Make ahead Lunch

This is a recipe from last year, made by Himself.

On the rare occasion Himself has to fend for himself for dinner he has been making Frittata. Not just eggs and cheese, no this is a Man’s Dish not your frou-frou girlie kind of food. (or so I was told)
It starts with eggs and anything he can find in the fridge, literally. The base remains the same but the sky is the limit as for the filling.

Anything goes Frittata

4 eggs
1 cup cream
2 tbs butter
1/2-1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup cheese
6 ounces ham, chopped
2 shallots
2 cloves garlic
1 cup spinach
1 tomato
1/2 cup mushrooms

Mix cream with egg, salt and pepper
Add ham, shallots,garlic, spinach and mushrooms
Melt butter in medium sized skillet.
Mix well and pour into skillet
Slice tomato into thin slices and evenly layer them on top of the egg mixture
Sprinkle cheese over the whole mixture
Cook on low, covered, until egg is set.
You can swap out the vegetable, artichoke hearts instead of spinach. Bacon instead of ham. If you want a thicker frittata add an egg.

Enjoy!

Criss Cross Apple Sauce.

Today College Girl is getting her wisdom teeth out and yesterday we stocked up on all the foods she can eat for the next few days.
In the produce box from last week there were 4 apples, perfect for home made apple sauce.
Any sweet apple will do, you might adjust the amount of sugar or use Stevia or Splenda to make it sugar-free.

4 sweet apples (I use either Gala or Honey Crisp apples)
1 cup apple juice (or water)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cut apples in wedges
Add all ingredients together in a pan and let simmer until apples are soft
Add a dash of nutmeg to the apples.
You can mash the apples or leave as is.
We like to eat them cold so refrigerate the sauce if you do too.

Enjoy!

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