Tag Archives: risotto

Weekly Eating – 10/22/18

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Wow, weddings always go by in a flash don’t they?! The weekend in Chicago was a ton of fun, food, and fast paced sightseeing. The boy had never been, so of course we had to hit Millennium Park to see the Bean, the Chicago River, the Magnificent Mile, and Navy Pier.

Chicago downtown Millennium Park

The town was lovely, as was the church and the wedding itself. The reception was at a cool glassblowing studio, where they had some live demonstrations going on! The food was divine, as expected, and we danced the night away. No joke, I had 24K+ steps Saturday! Of course, I’m sure I negated that with the obligatory deep dish pizza.

Chicago deep dish pizza

In the airport, we ate at a cafe that had a brilliant device: you press the button to order, or get a check. I think that is just the smartest thing. No more getting interrupted every two seconds when you don’t want anything, and waiting around trying to flag someone down when you do.

restaurant button

Also of note, I’ve got baby beets, radishes, collards, and wheat popping up all over! Fingers crossed I actually get something edible before Jan/Feb freezes it all.

seedlings sprouting

Monday:

Breakfast – Berry oatmeal with chia and walnuts

berry oatmeal

Lunch – Leftover bayou chicken pasta I’d pulled from the freezer

Dinner – pasta, because when you’re exhausted from traveling and the fridge is empty, you don’t want to go to a store. And a box of pasta plus a jar of sauce is as easy as comfort food gets.

desperation pasta

Tuesday:

Breakfast – berry & kefir smoothie

berry smoothie

Lunch – leftover defrosted veggie burgers with hummus, sauerkraut and avocado

veggie burgers

Dinner – the Butternut Squash Risotto that lit up Twitter. Yes, it really is as delicious as it looks, and you should go make some. Now.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Sage

Wednesday:

Breakfast – ham egg and cheese breakfast bagel sandwich; I found these bagel thins in the freezer too. Can you sense a theme? Oncoming winter always prompts a drive for freezer clean out for some reason.

bagel sandwich

Lunch – Leftover Thai sweet potato and carrot soup over rice, with a small chunk of leftover brisket

leftover mishmash

Dinner – Thawed pork chops with cranberry sauce, sweet potato and carrot casserole, and green beans. Basically Thanksgiving prep for taste buds. Eaten by a fire, as all fall meals should be.

Thanksgiving dinner practice by the fire

Second dinner – So uh, we went out to meet up with a friend for a beer. And we chatted and had a great time catching up. Then as we were about to leave we got on the topic of sushi (which, you should know by now, I freaking LOVE). And of course I perked up like, we can has sushi now?!? And the boy. said. yes. !!! I don’t care that I had dinner and it’s 8:40pm and they close soon. We goin! And, we went. And it was glorious. #sorrynotsorry

second dinner sushi

Thursday:

Breakfast – PBJ toast, which, I ended up not eating until the way home from work later bc I was still kinda full… weird…

Lunch – leftover risotto! and homemade soda.

butternut squash risotto

Dinner – Burritos! Always satisfying.

burritos

Friday:

Breakfast – sad bowl of cocoa puffs…

Lunch – I forgot to pack a lunch, so I dipped into my emergency food drawer at work for canned soup.

emergency work lunch drawer

Dinner – “Make Room In The Fridge Dal”, that gives the Angry Leftovers Man heart palpitations. It was super good though.

leftovers dal

The Weekend

Saturday is the big Halloween party! I haven’t thrown a good holiday party in a long time, and I finally know enough people in NC to pack the house, so I’m pretty excited about it. Been decorating, cleaning, planning, and cooking all week.

Halloween decoration

There will be a bonfire outside, lights all around the porch, games set up inside and outside, and creepy music on YouTube. I’m making a couple dips and a veggie tray, and people are bringing all kinds of goodies too. But the real highlight will be the Trick or Treat shots!

trick or treat shots

Food Total: $64.43 + 28.05 = $92.48

Weekly Produce Box and a trip to ALDI for last minute party foods. We were also down to our last container of coffee, which is a good reason for all out panic. I picked up some cute fall scented candles as well, because we will have a housewarming to go to soon!

Crescent roll dough was on sale, which if I get motivated and have enough time Saturday morning, I’ll turn into cute dough ‘fingers’ with marinara ‘blood’ dipping sauce. I also picked up tortillas in anticipation of a taco night next (next) weekend.

Dairy $9.24 Staples $22.89 Fruit/Veg $11.23 Extras $21.07
cream cheese 2.37 Coffee 4.79 vine ripe tomatoes 1.89 cake mix – for work party 1.7
berry kefir 3 6.87 Cooking spray 2 2.98 romaine 1.99 Graham crackers 1.25
crescent roll dough 1.78 celery 0.89 Marshmallows (s’mores) 0.89
Dipper chips 0.89 3pk bell peppers 1.99 Fancy choc bars 2 3.98
tortillas x2 3.28 butternut squash 1.57 Jello (shots…) 0.7
100% fruit juice x2 5.18 seedless cucumber 0.99 Mason jar candles 2 9.98
Red blend wine 3.99 pineapple 0.99 taco mix seasoning 0.29
bananas 0.92
Tax 2.28

 

And then my Harvest Box contained: Avocado XL green (1), Apple Cider (1), Green Beans, Fall Glo Tangerines (4), Garden Cucumber (1), Red New Potatoes, White Sweet Corn (3), Sweet Onion (1), Fuji Apples (4).

the Produce Box Harvest Box

So we are very well stocked up, and if I can contain myself and stay away from stores, I shouldn’t have to grocery shop at all next week!

Lessons Learned

Guyyyyyys. Avoiding plastic is SO hard. Especially when throwing a party, with many people you barely know. On the one hand, most of the things I already had (forks, plates, water bottles) and will do my best not to purchase more of in the future. I want to overall move more towards smaller dinner party style, with real plates and cups and silverware.

But plastic food packaging too. My beloved ALDI, the purveyor of low prices, why must you use so much plastic? I feel like we could get an additional savings if you just sold me peppers naked, as nature grows them.

Another lesson? A stocked freezer is so amazing. Especially when you get back from a trip and do not have the energy to go to the store for food. But also, you should look in there routinely and make sure to actually eat the stuff. I think it’s time for a big purge, a la my January pantry and freezer challenge.

 

How about you guys? Did you have a learning week or an awesome week of wins?

Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto: Stovetop or Instant Pot

 

Man, this fall I am hitting some serious home runs with new recipes!

The other rave review so far was my crispy spinach gnocchi with sage brown butter. You’ll notice this recipe also uses sage brown butter. Coincidentally, my sage bush is quite prolific this time of year, but is about ready to be fully harvested and cut back for winter. It is also squash season, so the butternut was from a local farm, fresh picked just days before I cooked it.

This tells me a few things.

  • Keep trying new recipes
  • If you or someone you love doesn’t like a particular ingredient, try it in a new way, or try it again a year later
  • Eating seasonally and locally makes it far easier to cook delicious meals with simple ingredients!

The inspiration came from this recipe on Serious Eats, but of course I tweaked it to what I had on hand.

This can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock rather than chicken, and can be vegan as well by omitting the cottage cheese and sprinkling with nutritional yeast rather than Parmesan. If you do eat cheese, I highly recommend the best, large curd cottage cheese you can find. It makes a great difference in flavor and texture.

You can also make this insanely cheap by using water rather than the stock. But you will lose a lot of flavor by doing so.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Sage

Ingredients:

  • 1 small or 1/2 large butternut squash (about 2 cups cubed)
  • 1 cup medium or short grain rice
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (or water)
  • Black pepper, sea salt
  • Handful of sage leaves
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Optional: 1/2 cup cottage cheese, sprinkle of Parmesan

I already had cooked the squash earlier in the week, but if you haven’t, do that first. I’ll wait.

There are 2 ways to do this: on the stove, or in an instant pot. I used the instant pot, because I have one now and it’s magical!

BUT

This is just as easy on the stove, it just takes a little longer.

Below are the steps for the instant pot, and then I’ll do stove top too.

Step 1: Add the rice and stock to the instant pot, close pressure valve, and cook for 8 minutes. Quick release the steam.

Step 2: Add the butternut squash, and cottage cheese if using. Close, and cook another 8 minutes. Quick release. Mash up the squash a little with a spoon, stir well to combine.

Step 3: While the second cooking session is going, melt the butter on the stove. Toss in the sage leaves, and let it sizzle until they look brown and crunchy. Watch carefully, you don’t want it to burn, it honestly only takes a minute or two.

Step 4: Serve the risotto topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan, some sage, and a grind or two of black pepper and sea salt.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Sage

As for the stove top:

Step 1: Put the rice and 1 cup water/stock in a pot, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, and simmer 10-15 minutes, until water is absorbed.

Step 2: Add more water 1/2 cup at a time, simmering for a few minutes in between. Stir every few minutes or so, until all liquid is absorbed. Should take about 30-40 minutes total.

Step 3: Add the butternut squash, and smash it up a little with a spoon. Stir to thoroughly combine.

Step 4: Same as above if you want to serve with crispy sage!

Mushroom & Asparagus Barley Risotto

 

As summer is winding to a close, I am still in denial.  I don’t want to let go of the beautiful unfolding of spring, the delicate greens and fragrant blossoms, the heavy fruits ripening on the vine, the cornucopia of riotous color at the farmer’s market.  Spring and summer make this farm-loving, healthy-cooking, veggie-eating foodaholic girl’s heart sing.

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So when I saw some end of season asparagus and some shiitake mushrooms on sale, I had to nab them.  For a fleeting taste of spring, summer & autumn all rolled into one, this risotto is earthy and vegetal, and completely delicious.

And the best part is, if you use canned mushroom & frozen asparagus you can make this all year round!  A well-stocked fridge/freezer/pantry can bring any season to your plate.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pint chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 pound asparagus
  • 1 cup barley
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • Optional add-ins: diced tomato, garlic, onions, spices to taste

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Step 1: Rinse your asparagus and wipe off any dirt from the mushrooms. Dice them into bite-sized pieces.

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Step 2: Put the barley in a pan with 1 cup of stock or water. (This can be vegan if you use vegetable stock or water in place of the chicken stock). Bring to a boil, and then simmer.

IMG_8535

Step 3: Let the barley cook, watching the liquid level. When it gets low, add a few more tbsp of stock and stir. Continue for 20-25 minutes, until barley is chewy and nearly cooked through. Add the diced veggies for the final 5-10 minutes of cooking.

IMG_8536

At this point, you can season to taste, I only used a little garlic salt. This tastes amazing on its own, or you can add any of the option mix ins suggested, or anything else you happen to have laying about.

IMG_8538

This recipe makes about 2 cups worth of risotto, enough for 4 small side dish servings or two full meals.

Mushroom & Asparagus Barley Risotto

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pint chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 pound asparagus
  • 1 cup barley
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • Optional add-ins: diced tomato, garlic, onions, spices to taste

Instructions

  1. Rinse your asparagus and wipe off any dirt from the mushrooms. Dice them into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Put the barley in a pan with 1 cup of stock or water. (This can be vegan if you use vegetable stock or water in place of the chicken stock). Bring to a boil, and then simmer.
  3. Let the barley cook, watching the liquid level. When it gets low, add a few more tbsp of stock and stir. Continue for 20-25 minutes, until barley is chewy and nearly cooked through. Add the diced veggies for the final 5-10 minutes of cooking.
  4. At this point, you can season to taste, I only used a little garlic salt.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://www.budgetepicurean.com/vegan/mushroom-asparagus-barley-risotto/

 

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  • Calories 246.8
  • Total Fat 2.2 g
  • Saturated Fat 0.5 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.6 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0.8 g
  • Cholesterol 3.6 mg
  • Sodium 178.2 mg
  • Potassium 399.9 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 49.8 g
  • Dietary Fiber 9.3 g
  • Sugars 3.8 g
  • Protein 9.3 g
  • Vitamin A 4.2 %
  • Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
  • Vitamin B-6 15.2 %
  • Vitamin C 8.0 %
  • Vitamin D 0.0 %
  • Vitamin E 3.9 %
  • Calcium 2.6 %
  • Copper 32.9 %
  • Folate 17.0 %
  • Iron 10.8 %
  • Magnesium 13.9 %
  • Manganese 41.1 %
  • Niacin 25.7 %
  • Pantothenic Acid 15.0 %
  • Phosphorus 17.2 %
  • Riboflavin 15.5 %
  • Selenium 44.6 %
  • Thiamin 13.2 %
  • Zinc 12.5 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.