Sunday, January 27, 2013

Risotto Cakes With Simple Tomato Sauce

Today’s potluck theme was Italian. I wanted to make something different and developed the idea for this recipe. I used my basic risotto recipe but added some chopped cooked bacon and fresh herbs to it right at the end of the cooking process. Then I spread the mixture in a sheet pan to chill overnight in the fridge. The next morning before worship, I formed the risotto into patties, dredged them in beaten egg and breadcrumbs, and sautéed them with a little olive oil and butter. The results were delicious!

Risotto Cakes With Simple Tomato Sauce
Make the risotto the day before serving to allow time to chill the mixture.
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
2 (32-oz.) cartons chicken broth

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 thick-cut bacon slices, chopped and cooked
Salt and pepper to taste

2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. milk
2 cups breadcrumbs
4 Tbsp. butter
Simple Tomato Sauce

1. Sauté onion in hot oil for 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in rice, and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in wine; cook until wine is absorbed. Stir in 1 cup chicken broth, and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed. Gradually add in remaining chicken broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring regularly until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in herbs, Parmesan cheese, and bacon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Spread risotto onto an aluminum foil-lined sheet pan, and refrigerate overnight.
3. Combine eggs and milk in a pie plate. Place breadcrumbs in another pie plate. Shape chilled risotto into patties, and dredge in egg mixture and then breadcrumbs.
4. Heat olive oil and 2 Tbsp. butter in a skillet. Cook risotto cakes in batches, using additional oil and butter, until golden and crisp on both sides (about 4 minutes per side). Serve warm with tomato sauce.

Simple Tomato Sauce:
1 onion, chopped
Olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

1. Sauté onion in hot oil, stirring often, 10 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in garlic and next 2 ingredients, and cook 1 more minute. Stir in tomatoes and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Use immersion blender to puree mixture until smooth. Simmer for 5 more minutes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chili Verde Cheese Fries

This is my current favorite quick-fix meal. All you need are some frozen french fries, a little chili (I keep a stash of this tasty recipe in quart-size bags in the freezer), and shredded cheese. Simply cook the fries in the oven until crisp, spoon chili over the top, and sprinkle with cheese. Then bake it at 400° for 10 minutes or until the chili is warm and the cheese melts. Serve with a dollop of sour cream. Yummy!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Grape Tomato-and-Onion Sauté

Tonight I needed a quick side dish that required minimal ingredients. As I dug around in the fridge, I found a red onion half and about a cup of grape tomatoes that needed to be eaten—that gave me an idea. After thinly slicing the onion, I sauté it in a little olive oil to caramelize it. Then I stirred in some minced garlic and the tomatoes, and let them cook until they broke down. A splash of balsamic vinegar and some salt and pepper were all that was needed to make this a delicious side. The texture of the tomato mixture reminded me of jam and would be terrific as an appetizer spread on crostini. The tomato dish was served with oven-fried tilapia and grits. Enjoy!

Grape Tomato-and-Onion Sauté
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
Olive oil
1 garlic cloved, minced
1 cup grape tomatoes
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1. Sauté onion in hot oil over medium-low heat for 15 minutes or until onion begins to soften and turn a light caramel color. Turn heat to medium. Stir in garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Add in tomatoes, and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes or until tomatoes begin to pop. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in balsamic vinegar. Cook for 5 more minutes, slightly mashed the tomatoes as you stir.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Creamy Chicken-and-Rice Soup

The inspiration for this soup came from the chicken-and-veggie mixture that I make for chicken pot pie (this was originally what I had planned to make for dinner). After sautéing the veggies and making the velouté sauce (the flour-thickened broth mixture), I decided to add in more chicken broth and some rice to turn it into a soup. It seemed like just the thing for a cold winter night. Enjoy!

Creamy Chicken-and-Rice Soup
1/4 cup butter
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
2 tsp. herbs de Provence
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 (32-oz.) cartons chicken broth, divided
1 lb. chopped cooked chicken or turkey
1 (10-oz.) box frozen green peas
2 cups rice

1. Melt butter in Dutch oven. Add chopped onions and next 2 ingredients, and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 15 minutes. Add in garlic, and cook 1 minute. Stir in salt, pepper, and herbs de Provence. Stir in flour, and cook 2 minutes. Gradually whisk 4 cups chicken broth into flour mixture; cook, stirring often, until mixture is thickened. Stir in chicken, peas, rice, and remaining 6 cups chicken broth. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes or until rice is cooked through. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chicken and Waffles

Andy and I are members of a house church that meets in our neighborhood. This is definitely a new experience for us, but God has been faithful to show us this is where we belong. Because we meet in homes, we have the privilege of eating a potluck meal together each week. This is our month to host our group, which means that I plan the theme for the meals. One of our friends suggested we have chicken and waffles today. Several folks signed up to make waffles, and we had traditional slightly sweet ones as well as some savory beer-flavored ones. My contribution was the fried chicken. I had planned to make my usual recipe but replaced the panko with a little cornmeal in the flour dredge. The texture of the cornmeal was a delightful addition. Everyone agreed that the chicken-and-waffle experiment was tasty—I think we’ll have them again. Enjoy!