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21 Jan

An Underappreciated Easy Weeknight Meal

Posted in 70 meals one trip to the store, side dish, vegetarian on 21.01.11 by Smart Ingredients

Easy Weeknight Risotto


The recipe title is a bit of an oxymoron as a true risotto is the conclusion of many hours of slow-stirring arborio rice with delicate combinations of cheese and broth. For an easy weeknight dish that is still rich and satisfying, try a quicker-cooking rice and our simpler prep method.

What I love about Risotto as an easy weeknight dish, is that like so many of my favorites, it is flexible! If you follow the 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store shopping plan, (or even have a basic stocked pantry) you have the rice, broth and Parmesan cheese on hand. The remaining ingredients can be made up of “whatever you are in the mood for” or “what you have in the refrigerator today”.

Another thing that is great about a simple risotto is that you can cook for one, or 6 with the same amount of effort.

Here’s the recipe…

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and garlic for one minute. Add the rice, and stir until the rice is coated in oil and has started to brown.
  2. Add the broth one cup at a time, pausing between cups, and stirring often.
  3. Reduce heat and continue stirring until desired consistency is achieved.
  4. Add additional ingredients as desired*. Add the Parmesan cheese and pepper. Stir to blend, and serve.

*Additional ingredients to risotto can include cooked chicken, Italian sausage or shrimp, and almost any kind of vegetable already cooked or steamed. Some of the most popular variations include mushrooms, spinach, squash and pumpkin (sauteed first in butter), tomatoes or asparagus.

 

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20 Jul

Smart Ingredient: Chicken Broth

Posted in Smart Ingredients on 20.07.10 by Smart Ingredients

We’ve already talked about cleaning out our cabinets of “ingredient clutter”. Now you have room to stock up on “Smart Ingredients”, those ingredients that can be mixed and matched to add up to dinner success. I plan to show you how using fewer, Smart Ingredients can lead to more mealtime success. The key is knowing what ingredients to buy. These may not be the same for everybody, you have to learn your family’s tastes to perfect your personal “Smart” ingredients list. But over the next few weeks, I’ll give you my favorites and you can see if they do, in fact, bring you success in your own kitchen.

Chicken broth is an ingredient at the very top of my Smart Ingredients list. Just having it on hand brings dinner one step closer to the table. It’s inexpensive, it’s versatile, and it’s the base of many sure-fire dishes for my family. If I have rice, I know I can use the broth, any veggies I have on hand and some shrimp out of the freezer to make an easy weeknight risotto. If I have some leftover rotisserie chicken, the broth will help me make a delicious pot pie. If I have ground beef, my family’s favorite, salisbury steak.

Following is the recipe for Risotto, a delicious, flexible, easy to make family meal.

Easy Weeknight Risotto Recipe

*Note: Arborio rice is the “recommended” rice for making risotto as it best provides the chewy texture risotto is known for. If you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal with ingredients you have at home, any rice will do. If you’re using quick-cook rice, the cooking time will be a bit less. Brown rice will take about twice as long.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the rice, and stir until the rice is coated in oil and has started to brown. Add the broth one cup at a time, pausing between cups, and stirring constantly. Reduce heat and continue stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Add additional ingredients as desired*. Add the Parmesan cheese and pepper. Stir to blend, and serve.

*Additional ingredients to risotto can include cooked chicken or shrimp, and almost any kind of vegetable already cooked or steamed. Some of the most popular variations include mushrooms sauteed in butter, and sauteed spinach, tomatoes or asparagus.

 

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01 Feb

The Smartest of the Smart

Posted in Chicken Recipes, Smart Ingredients on 01.02.10 by Smart Ingredients

Using chicken broth as your base, you would be surprised the number of things you can make for dinner. Do you have rice in your pantry? Great, you can make a nice risotto. Some leftover chicken? Soup or pot pie. Beef?…Salisbury Steak.

Chicken broth is the number one “Smart” ingredient that I recommend you keep on hand in your pantry. And if you buy the dry broth granules in bulk, it’s something you will always have on hand, saving you endless times of having to run to the store in order to have something you can make for dinner. Try out some of the recipes listed below to see how chicken broth can help you get dinner on the table with less stress.

Risotto Recipe

*Note: Arborio rice is the “recommended” rice for making risotto as it best provides the chewy texture risotto is known for. If you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal with ingredients you have at home, any rice will do. If you’re using quick-cook rice, the cooking time will be a bit less.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the rice, and stir until the rice is coated in oil and has started to brown.
  2. Add the broth one cup at a time, pausing between cups, and stirring constantly.
  3. Reduce heat and continue stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.
  4. Add additional ingredients as desired*. Add the Parmesan cheese and pepper. Stir to blend, and serve.

*Additional ingredients to risotto can include cooked chicken or shrimp, and almost any kind of vegetable already cooked or steamed. Some of the most popular variations include mushrooms sauteed in butter, and sauteed spinach, tomatoes or asparagus.

Following is a great chicken soup recipe that is much more elegant than a basic chicken soup, and not thick and heavy like a traditional cream soup. It’s rich yet light, and can stand alone as a great meal.

Delicious Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 packages seasoned rice
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 can corn

Directions

  1. In a stock pot over medium-high heat, brown the chicken and the fresh vegetables in the oil until all browned, stirring often, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the broth, and continue simmering.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour until smooth. Add salt and pepper. Whisk in the milk, and continue cooking until mixture is bubbly and thick. Add some of the broth mixture to the milk mixture, continuing to stir, then stir all of the milk mixture into the broth mixture.
  4. Add the rice packages and both cans of corn, and simmer for an additional half hour or until rice is cooked through. Additional water may be added to thin out soup as desired.

Chicken broth is a vital ingredient in our 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store cookbook. If you have ground beef on hand, or even some left over hamburger patties, there is a recipe for melt-in-your-mouth Salisbury Steak that simmers the meat in broth for 25 minutes and results in a perfect gravy. Our delicious Chicken Pot Pie recipe uses one and a half cups of chicken broth for a quick and hearty weeknight meal.

 

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