Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bacon and Mushroom Risotto with baby Spinach

Hello out there!  I haven't been updating my blog at all, but I have been cooking!  Life is just getting busier as baseball is officially beginning.  Didn't you just FINISH baseball season?? you might ask... well, yes about 3 months ago!  But, my boys are geared up and ready for another fun season!!!  I guess I'm ready too, but I'm going to have to get a little more creative with my meals.  My mind just can't go there yet...

Anyway, I made this dish for dinner tonight and it is SO worth every minute of the stirring!!  I got this recipe from my sweet friend and I must say, it's going to become a new favorite in our home.  It's got everything you need for a perfect one-dish meal.  Round it out with a little salad and bread and your good to go!

Bacon and Mushroom Risotto with baby Spinach { original recipe: Cooking Light }

  • 4 cups Chicken Stock
  • 6 bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 cup shallots, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced {I didn't have these, so I left them out}
  • 4 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio Rice
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh asiago cheese {I used romano and parmesan}
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan; keep warm over low heat.  Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Add bacon to pan, cook 8 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally.  Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon.  Pour out all but 2 Tbsp. of bacon drippings.  Add olive oil, shallots, thyme, and garlic to bacon drippings in pan; cook 6 minutes.  Stir in mushrooms and cook 8 minutes.  Add rice and cook 1 minute stirring constantly.  Stir in sherry and cook until almost all of the liquid is absorbed.  Stir in 1 Cup of stock.  Cook 4 minutes or until it is almost all absorbed.  Add the remaining stock, 1/2 Cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion is absorbed before adding the next (takes about 30 minutes total).  Stir in spinach.  Remove from heat and stir in cheese, salt, and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with bacon.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Toasted Orzo with Parmesan

It's almost Valentine's Day.  I'm usually much more prepared with little gifts for the kids and a plan of what I'll make them for breakfast and dinner, but this year I'm just not ahead of the game.  I need to get with it, but at the same time, I know they'll be getting treats galore at school tomorrow!!
This side dish has become a staple in our house!  It goes well with any sort of meat, grilled chicken, pork tenderloin, or fish.  Super easy to make and can be modified to serve a lot or a little.  I like to make enough to have some for lunch the next day!

Toasted Orzo with Parmesan { recipe adapted from All Recipes }

INGREDIENTS: {serves 6}
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Stir in orzo and saute until lightly browned.  
Stir in chicken broth and bring to boil.  Cover; reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.  
Mix in parmesan cheese and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pretzel Bites. A perfect snack.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been in the baking mood lately.  It's super rare, but I've been home a lot the past couple of weeks.  I'm usually, on a good week, home maybe 1 day out of the week.  With commitments at my kids school, meetings, or appointments, my week gets filled FAST!
Thankfully, I've had some down-time, which has allowed me to really tackle my house cleaning, organizing, and has even left some time for a little reading and baking :)
On Sunday I made these little pretzel bites which were a HUGE hit with the family!  I was a little uncertain if they'd notice that I used whole wheat flour, but thankfully no one said anything!!  The recipe really isn't difficult, maybe a little time-consuming, but not difficult at all!  If you've never tried making homemade pretzels, I highly recommend it. Your family will thank you :)

HOMEMADE SOFT PRETZEL BITES {recipe by Two Peas and their Pod }

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water {not hot}
  • 2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 packet active dry yeast {I used perfect rise yeast}
  • 3 oz. unsalted butter,  melted {I used salted butter}
  • 2 1/2  tsp. kosher salt {I reduced the salt to 1 1/2 tsp. because I used salted butter}
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour {I used about 2 1/2 cups of TJ's White Whole Wheat Flour}
  • cooking spray
  • 3 quarts water
  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 whole egg beaten with 1 Tbsp. cold water
  • coarse sea salt
  Combine the warm water, brown sugar, yeast and butter together in a bowl with a stand mixer.  Mix with the dough hook to combine and let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed until combined.  Increase the speed to medium and continue to knead until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 minutes {mine didn't take that long}.  If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour 1 Tbsp. at a time.  Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead into a ball with the palm of your hands.
Spray a bowl with cooking spray, add the dough and turn to coat with oil.  Cover with a clean towel and place in a warm spot until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.  
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Bring water to boil in a large pot over high heat and add the baking soda.
Have a couple of baking sheets ready, sprayed with cooking spray.
 Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a floured surface.  Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/2 ounces each.  Roll each piece into a long rope measuring about 22 inches. Cut the dough into 1 inch pieces to make the pretzel bites.  Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches, about 15 bites at a time.  Boil for about 30 seconds.  Remove bites with slotted spoon and place on prepared baking sheet.  Make sure the pretzels are not touching.  Brush the tops with egg wash and season liberally with the coarse sea salt.  Place into the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.
 Serve with mustard or make your own cheese sauce.  The original recipe over at Two Peas and their Pod has a cheese sauce to go with the pretzels.  

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Came home from church this morning with a desire to bake!  I was in the mood for cookies, but something a little healthy.  Then, I figured I'd make some soft pretzels for my boys.  I've come to realize that homemade pretzels really aren't too difficult to make.  I have one pretzel recipe on here already, but I'll blog about the other one soon!
Back to the cookies...I found this cute blog Food, Love & Life who had the recipe for my inspiration.  I do have an oatmeal peanut butter cookie recipe on here already, but this one is a tad on the healthier side...But it doesn't disappoint, trust me!!!
Her recipes look amazing and healthy too!  Anyway, the original recipe is a bar recipe, but I was in the mood for cookies, so that's what I made.  She also uses flax meal + water instead of egg, which I would really like to try sometime!  I've heard it works as a great egg substitute!!
Now that my baking is done for the day, I think I'll put my feet up and possibly even watch some football with my boys :)

 {recipe adapted from Food, Love & Life }

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup {if you don't have this, just increase brown sugar to 3/4 cup}
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter {I used TJ's natural creamy peanut butter}
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour {I get it from TJ's}
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips 
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, brown sugar and brown rice syrup until fluffy.  Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.  In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, oats and baking soda.  Slowly pour into the mixer and beat until blended.  Remove bowl from mixer and stir in the chocolate chips and coconut.  
Scoop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart and bake for approx. 10-12 minutes, or until light golden brown.  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fresh Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf

I've been craving something like this for a while and it did not disappoint!  My parents have an orchard full of lemons, oranges and limes.  Sometimes we get overloaded and I end up having citrus fruit coming out of my ears!!  My mom and I are always searching for citrus recipes and after she made a lemon cake last weekend, she spurred my desire to make this!  I knew this recipe was a keeper the minute I took a bite.  It's moist, not too sweet, and bursting with fresh blueberries.  The glaze on the top just makes it complete.  I modified it just slightly, but the original recipe says it will also yield 12 standard muffins {baking time adjusted}, or the recipe can be doubles and baked in a bundt pan {baking time adjusted}.

LEMON-BLUEBERRY YOGURT LOAF {recipe slightly adapted from Sweet Peas Kitchen }

INGREDIENTS: {yields 1 standard loaf pan}

For the loaf:

  • 1 12/ cups + 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tsp. grated lemon zest, set 1 tsp. aside for the glaze {approx. 3 lemons}
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed if using frozen {I used fresh}
For the lemon syrup:
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
For the lemon glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray bottom and sides of 9 inch loaf pan, or butter and flour.  Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  
To a stand mixer or large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with a paddle attachment {if using a stand mixer}.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping sides often.  Add the yogurt, sour cream, lemon zest and vanilla.  Mix well.  Slowly add in the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, gently toss the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour, remove bowl from stand and gently fold the blueberries into the batter with a spatula.  
Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing loaf from pan to a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.  While loaf is baking, make the lemon syrup in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Stir together the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Once dissolved, continue to cook for 3 more minutes.  Remove from the heat; set aside.
Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the warm loaf {after it's cooled 10 minutes}.  Brush the top and sides of the loaf with the lemon syrup.  Let the syrup soak into the cake and brush again {I didn't quite use all of the syrup}. LET THE CAKE COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE ADDING THE GLAZE.
To make the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, 2-3 Tbsp. of the lemon juice and the lemon zest.  The mixture should be thick but pourable.  Adjust measurements if mixture is too thick or too thin.  Pour the lemon glaze over the top of the loaf and let it drip down the sides.  Let the glaze harden about 15 minutes before serving.  


Related Posts with Thumbnails