Monday, September 28, 2009

Cheddar Risotto

I love risotto. It's like the cheesy rice I used to make as a kid, just all grown up. Just about every risotto recipe out there calls for at least 1/4 cup of wine or a bottle of beer, depending on the recipe, but with the little guy on the way, my risotto is strictly a virgin affair. Nevertheless, this recipe, based on this one from Made by Melissa, is fantastic. We added 3/4 cup of peas to give it some green and make us feel like we were being healthy, but feel free to add or subtract veggies as you see fit!1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. EVOO
1 small onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
5.5 cups of chicken broth
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
3/4 cup green peas

Pour chicken broth into saucepan and warm.

Heat large saute pan over medium-low heat. Add butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Heat just until butter is melted. Add onion and saute for 3-5 minutes, or until union is soft and translucent. Turn heat to medium-high and add garlic. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just until fragrant.

Add rice and saute for 2 minutes, stirring constantly until opaque, adding more olive oil as necessary to coat the rice.

(At this point, if you're making risotto with alcohol, deglaze the pan with either 1/3 cup of dry white wine or a 12 oz. bottle of beer. Stir until the liquid is just about gone and the alcohol is burned off. Then continue on with the rest of the recipe.)

Turn heat back to medium-low and add the chicken broth one ladle at a time, stirring until liquid is gone before adding another ladle. (You may not use all of the broth.) Risotto should be creamy and slightly al dente.

Remove from heat and stir in cheeses and peas. (If you prefer it sharper, use more cheddar; milder, more mozzarella. It's up to you!)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

White Chocolate Strawberry Bread

I know, my last post was all about pumpkin, but I can't forget the last strawberries of the season. I have made this several times over the summer, but I'm just now getting around to blogging about it. If you have fresh strawberries where you live, or if you'd like to try this with frozen, it's amazing. My husband doesn't even want to eat strawberries now, he just says, "ooh these are getting old, better make some strawberry bread!" as soon as he comes in the door from buying berries.

1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
1.5 cups plus 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1.5 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup and 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
Pam with flour (the one for baking)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x5 loaf pan with with Pam with flour.

Slice strawberries and place in medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in large bowl and mix well. Stir oil and eggs into strawberries. Add strawberry mixture to flour mixture, blending until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in white chocolate chips.

Pour batter into pans. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan.

Source: Adapted from All Recipes

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pumpkin Waffles

Happy fall! Ok, ok, it's not quite fall yet, but I have already shifted over. My fall wreath is out, the scarecrow is in the front yard, and it's time to start cooking with PUMPKIN!! I love the flavor of pumpkin in all things, both sweet and savory. The health factor of pumpkin is just an added bonus.

My first foray into pumpkin this season was pumpkin waffles - something I have been itching to make since this time last year. They did NOT disappoint, especially when topped with a little maple syrup. Note, if you don't have all of the spices listed, a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half of pumpkin pie spice would be a good alternative. (Sorry, the picture is a bit blurry!)

Yields 4 Belgian waffles. Could also be used with a traditional waffle maker.

3/4-cup flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger (I used a little less than this - I think ginger can be overwhelming at times)
Tiny pinch of salt
1 egg
2 Tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)
7/8 cup milk (just eyeball it - a little less than a cup and you'll be fine. Remember, you can always add more but you can't really take it out once you've put it in.)
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat waffle iron. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.

In a second, medium-sized bowl, mix eggs, sugar, pumpkin, milk, and butter, beating well. Gently fold into flour mixture.

Divide into four even-sized portions (I used about 3/4 to 1 cup each), and cook according to your waffle iron's directions, typically around 4-5 minutes each.

Source: RecipeZaar

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pizza Sauce

Pizza sauce from a jar is just so easy. But, at the same time, it's just, well, there. So I decided that we had plenty of fresh herbs in the garden and crushed tomatoes in the cupboard, so it was time to try to make our own.

One small disclaimer: This is what my mom and I call a "Joann White Recipe." Joann White was my grandmother, and she often just grabbed whatever looked good from the cabinet and tossed it in. Never had a bad meal at her house, so I think that's a pretty good way of going about things! So, should you feel I'm missing anything, feel free to play Joann and toss it in for yourself!

1 can crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. marjoram
2 gloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. onion flakes
2 tsp. sugar

Combine ingredients over medium-high heat and stir until flavors combine. Reduce heat and simmer until ready to use.

This is also fantastic frozen. I intend to make a few batches before the little guy comes to make pizza nights this winter much easier!