Chicken and Mushroom Risotto

This isn’t the first time I have made risotto, but it didn’t turn out nearly as good as this recipe did.  I knew the basic idea of it, slowly boil rice with stock until creamy and tender.  This needed to be quite savory since it was going to be as a main and not a side dish.  Big slices of mushroom, thick chunks of chicken, and creamy rice.  An ideal meal to welcome fall.  This recipe makes a perfect portion for a main dish for two, and is easily doubled for a family size meal.   It is my new favorite dinner, well for the next few weeks until I try some other combination or a new dish.  Don’t be afraid of risotto, I have a few tips to come out with perfect risotto without broken rice bits or it turning glugie and like oatmeal rather than a lovely creamy rice dish.  Once you get comfortable with the basic risotto you can add in anything you want in any combination you would like, it’s open to many possibilities.

The fundamental of risotto is simple.  Slowly cook the rice by adding a little bit of liquid at a time turning it into creamy happiness.  With the use of a second pan you save time by cooking the mushrooms and chicken with spices.  The amount of stock used in the rice will vary so in the recipe I give a range of cups to use.  I used two kinds of cheese, romano and parmesan.  I felt that the parmesan makes it too salty and the romano just perfectly balances it out, being a slightly milder hard cheese.  A great thing about this dish is it comes together in under 30 minutes.  You can have a hearty meal in no time, which is what most of us need.  You’re often tired by the time you get off work, you’ve battled traffic, and when you finally get home you don’t want to invest too much time in dinner. Want to spend that time in more productive ways, like making dessert?

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Black Beans & Rice with Eggs

Just a little background on me.  When I first go to any restaurant I am really not adventurous when it comes to choosing off the menu.  Hence, my New Years Resolution, my husband orders off the menus for me this year.  As I tend to stick to meals I have had before or what my husband calls bland/boring.   So, when I seen this on the menu at a local Cuban restaurant I was intrigued.   Beans and Rice sure, I’m latin, it’s a staple food, but add in eggs?  It almost lost me.  Now?  This is my favorite breakfast ever.  Which is funny because when I first had it was the only thing on the menu that sounded like would be a good first step, a typical ‘me’ choice.  When I finally got to dig into it, it was anything but bland and boring the spicy beans over the rice with the soft creamy eggs was happiness on a plate.   Add in a cup of steaming hot Cuban coffee and it was perfection.

I wanted to make this at home one winter because with 3 feet of snow outside, and more coming down as I peeked out the blinds, going to this restaurant was not high on my to do list.  So, a few tweaks and modifications it finally came to be.  I cheated with using canned Organic Whole Black Beans for this recipe and now it only takes around 20 min to prepare.  The list of ingredients are pretty minimal and typical to what most have in their pantry.  It makes a great go to breakfast for a busy summer day.  Tons of flavor, protein, and carbs to get you through a day of shopping, or a day trip to the locals farmers market.

Black Beans & Rice w/Eggs

  • 1 C Jasmine Rice
  • 1 1/2 C Water
  • 1 strip of Bacon, diced
  • 1/8 of a Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1  can (15 oz) Whole Black Beans, undrained
  • Small Pinch of Cumin
  • Very Small Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 eggs, per serving
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Over medium high heat, place a small sauce pan with the rice and water.  Once it comes to a boil turn down to low, put on lid, and cook for 20 min.

While the rice is cooking.  Head up a 10″ skillet to medium, once hot add the bacon to pan and cook until crispy.   Remove all of the bacon grease.

Add the diced bell pepper to the bacon and cook until the peppers turn a vibrant red, slowly add in the can of beans, with liquid and all.  Add in a pinch of cumin and salt to taste, and simmer until liquid is reduced by half.  About 10-15 min.

By now your beans should be almost done, and your rice should have all the liquid cooked out.  Take the rice off heat and fluff with a fork.

Place a small pan over medium heat, pan should have a lid.   Once the pan is hot add the olive oil, after about 30 seconds oil should be hot.  Add in eggs and place the lid on the pan.  Cook for 3 minutes if you like your yolks easy, 4 min for medium, and 5 min for hard yolks.  By placing the lid on the pan you’re cooking the top slowly as you cook the bottom, I found this makes for a softer egg yolk and creamer texture.

To serve spoon the beans over the rice and serve eggs on the side.  This goes great with a fruit salad on the side.  Toast is optional.

Makes 4 Servings

Spaghetti Carbonara

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to make when I don’t know what to make and don’t really want to spend a lengthy amount of time in the kitchen.   Not to mention that it does well as a left over for next days lunch, my husband is a very big fan.

The combination originally was something that I was slightly apprehensive about, cream and bacon?  However after a few changes to the original I love this!  I know you will too!  The recipe originally was for a large amount of people.  However, being as I only need to feed two people and even have made this for a quick lunch for one it is easily altered to serve 1 or 6!  This recipe below makes 2-3 Servings.

Spaghetti Carbonara

  • 3 oz of Thin Spaghetti
  • 4 Slices of Bacon, diced
  • 1 Shallot, diced
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1/2 c Heavy Cream or Half and Half
  • 1/2 c Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1/4 c Frozen Pea’s (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Parsley, finely chopped (reserve a pinch for garnish on each plate)
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan, grated for garnish

Your sauce takes little to no time to make so make sure you start you’re pasta first.   Bring 2 quarts of lightly salted water up to boil.   When you’re water is at a slow simmer in a sauce pan over medium heat start to brown off your bacon.  Once it is brown and crispy, depending on the fat content you may want to drain a tbsp or two of the oil out.  At this point your water should be boiling, drop in your pasta.  Add the shallots and garlic to the bacon and saute till the shallots become translucent.   Take about 1.5 cups of the hot starchy pasta water and set aside, drain the pasta.   Add the cream to the bacon mixture, once mixed in and heated up add in the Parmesan, once melted add around 1/4 c of the starchy pasta water & parsley and bring to a light simmer.   If you chose to at this point add in the peas before you toss the pasta on top of sauce mix.   Toss the pasta with the sauce if it looks too thick like it’s not going to coat the pasta add about a tbsp of the pasta water at a time until you get the desired coating consistency on your pasta.    Serve and garnish with remaining cheese and parsley.

Adapted from: Martha Stewart – Great Food Fast

Parmesan Risotto

It’s been a while since I have cooked something new as been so busy we’ve had old stand by’s and some awesome sandwiches.  I was very excited to make this!  Mostly because I wanted to cook something new but really yummy.  I have been dying to try my hand at risotto, and so i went for something easy for a first attempt.  Just simple Parmesan risotto to start with now i got all kinds of combination’s going through my head!  I did use a technique that I learned watching Masterchef Australia, about how to agitated the pan and not stir with a spoon as it will break up the rice and make it gluggy and just not a nice smooth texture.  It’s kinda like making Jiffy Pop pop corn from when you were a kid just shake the pan in circular motion over the burner and then front to back to gently stir the mixture with out a spoon.

Parmesan Risotto

  • 6 to 8 cups Chicken Stock, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Clarified Butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots, (about 2)
  • 1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 4  tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for grating or shaving
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat stock in saucepan over medium heat; keep at a low simmer. Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots to oil, and cook, stirring, until translucent. Add rice, and cook, stirring, until rice begins to make a clicking sound like glass beads, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add wine to rice mixture.  Mix by gently moving the pan in small circles and then in back and forward motion to very gently stir, if your rice sticks then only in this step use a spoon, mix every 30 or so seconds until wine is absorbed by rice.  Using a ladle or measuring cup add 3/4 – 1 cup hot stock to rice. While keeping the pan on the flame, mix by gently moving the pan in small circles and then in back and forward motion to very gently stir every 1-2 minutes should mix at least twice before you add the next batch of stock.  When the rice has absorbed about 75% of the liquid add another 3/4 to 1 cup of the stock.
Continue adding stock 3/4 cup at a time and stirring constantly until rice is mostly translucent but still opaque in the center. Rice should be al dente but not crunchy. As rice gets close to being done, watch carefully and add smaller amounts of liquid to make sure it does not overcook. The final mixture should be thick enough that grains of rice are suspended in liquid the consistency of heavy cream. It will thicken slightly when removed from heat.  Remove from heat. Gently fold in the butter and Parmesan cheese season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the mixture among four shallow bowls, mounding risotto in the center, and grate or shave additional Parmesan over risotto, sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately.

Adapted: Parmesan Risotto – Martha Stewart Recipes