Sunday, April 22, 2012

Baked Risotto

With a new born around the house it has been hard to make the same foods we ate before I was pregnant. One dish we love is risotto, and anyone who knows about risotto it is very time consuming. You are chained to the stove stirring rice for a good 45 minutes and having a newborn does not allow me much free time.

I saw a recipe for baked risotto on a cooking channel so I began to look at different recipes and started to make my own combination.

1 ½ cup arbor rice (I make a lot because we love it for left ovens)
Olive oil
Tablespoon garlic
Tablespoon heavy cream
1 cup white wine
5 cups chicken broth
Parmesan cheese for garnish
Asparagus, peas or anything else you would like to add (shrimp, pancetta etc.)

I prefer to roast my asparagus before hand. I feel it gives the veggie a deeper flavor. I cut the asparagus in thirds and on a cookie sheet sprinkle olive oil, salt and pepper. I place the cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 15 min. After the first 15 min. I take the asparagus out and re-toss to make sure everything is properly coated and place it in the oven for another 15 min. Once done I set aside.

You will need a Dutch oven to prepare the risotto. I don’t know exact measurements so bare with me. Drizzle approx 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of the Dutch oven, add garlic and rice to toast. The rice does not take long to toast, approx 2-3 minutes. Feel free to also add onion, currently I am trying to limit onion and garlic in my diet because I am breastfeeding.

Once the rice is toasted add white wine and stir. While you are toasting the rice in a separate pot start to warm up the two cups of chicken stock and reverse the other three cups. Once chicken stock is at a slight simmer pour into Dutch oven, give a quick stir before placing into the oven.

Place Dutch oven in preheated oven for 425 degrees. Let cook for 10 minutes, take risotto out and stir if needed add ½ cup of the remaining chicken stock. Place back in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Take risotto out and add remaining chicken stock, heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Add more chicken stock if you like your risotto a bit more moist. Then, add asparagus or whatever veggie or protein you prefer.

The finished product in.

The bowl for my husband. He likes alot of cheese.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sugar Coated Pecans

I enjoy all types of nuts but when I was pregnant, I cut them completely out of my diet. I had been reading some articles about how eating nuts while pregnant could cause your child to have a nut allergy. Well of course, I freaked out and cleared the entire house of all nut products. It wasn’t until my third trimester I felt comfortable enough to eat peanut butter toast.

Since I am no longer pregnant, I have been on the hunt to find as many recipes as I can that include nuts. One of my favorite things to eat are the roasted pecans that are covered in sugar that they sell in carts around the monuments here in DC.

The nuts actually help to satisfy my sweet craving so I am not eating cookies and cake. I also add a bit more salt then you see with the recipes on the internet this allows you to have the salty sweet taste. I can’t wait to try this recipe with some almonds. I used pecans this time around because I love the buttery taste of them and the sugar just made them that much better.

1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1 pound any variety of nut ( I used pecans)
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoon salt (I like the salty sweet taste. You may want to add less if you want a sweeter taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees

With a whisk mix together egg white and water until combined. The mixture will have a froth to it. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, salt and cinnamon.

Add the nuts to the egg white mixture and stir to coat the nuts. Once the nuts are covered evenly with the egg white mixture add to the bowl with sugar. Mix until the nuts are coated.

Once nuts are covered with the sugar mixture spread nuts onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake the nuts at 250 for about an hour. Stir the nuts every 15 minutes, make sure you keep an eye on the nuts. If you have ever burned nuts you will know it is the most awful smell that takes forever to leave the house.

This picture shows the nuts after their egg bath and coated in the sugar mixture.

This is not the best picture but the nuts after ther are done roasting. I have already made two more batches!!!! Enjoy

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Homemade Cheez-its

My husband and I are both trying to lose that baby weight we gained (only 10 pounds to go). In an effort to support my husband I have stopped buying snack foods, including cheez its, which are my husband’s favorite late night snack. I personally don’t like them I find them too greasy but whatever makes him happy.

My new favorite obsession is pinterest. You can find ideas for dinner, desert and multiple crafts. I can’t wait to try some of the awesome things I found. So the first thing I had to try was a recipe for homemade cheez its. The first batch I followed the recipe to the letter and found the dough was too crumbly and the cheese flavor a bit too mild. Therefore, I altered the amount of cheese and milk added. I do have to say this is now one of my husband’s favorite and I have already made two other batches with different types of cheese (cheddar and pepper jack). I am sure these will also be a family favorite in your house as well.

2 ½ cups of cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, parmesan etc.)
¾ cup flour, you will need more for dusting and rolling out dough
4 tablespoons of salted butter cut into pieces
½ teaspoon salt and pepper
3 table spoons milk (this was perfect for the cheddar I would probably do 2 tbl for the pepper jack )
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In a mixer, combine the cheese, butter flour salt and pepper. Mix until the butter is the size of peas and the mixture is course. Add the milk and mix until the dough forms a ball.

On a lightly floured surface, with a rolling pin roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/16 inches. An easy way to accomplish this is to place the dough in between two rulers and once the rolling pin hits the ruler, the dough is perfect. I used a pastry cutter to cut out the cheez its. I eyeballed the size of the cheez its. The recipe says 1x1 inch but I was running into feeding time and wanted to get them into the oven before I had to feed the baby.

Once the cheez its are cut place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a chop stick or anything with a dull end poke a hole in the middle of the cheez it. You can sprinkle with sea salt but I opted out because I used salted butter and the cheese is also salty.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the ends are browned. Remove from the oven and let cool. These will not stay in your house for long so make sure you get to eat some before they are gone.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Baby O is here

There have been many changes in the past couple of months. The biggest would have to be the birth of my daughter “Baby O”. She is the light of my life. I am lucky enough to have the next six months to spend with her. I already want to stop the clock because she is growing up too fast.

The good news is now that I am home for the next six months I have started to cook, clean, organize and do some projects around the house that I am very excited to start sharing with everyone again. Thank you for anyone who is still reading my blog I know it has been awhile but I promise to start updating on a regular basis.