Roasted Red Pepper Risotto

2013-09-08 21.07.10Sorry for the short post today. It was a busy weekend and over way too fast. And with fall here the weekends are only going to get busier!

This is a recipe I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I developed this recipe several years ago based off a few different flavored risotto recipes I’ve used in the past. I love this dish with just straight aborio rice. But last year, while down in DC I had the chance to try barley risotto, and it just seemed to work so well. It took a while to find barley at the grocery store, and even longer to find a package small enough to give this a try. I personally like to pair this dish with a small steak, but you could certainly eat it alone or as a side dish for any protein. Enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper Risotto

Time: 30-45 minutes

Yields: 4 servings

  • 2 large red peppers
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ½ medium onion
  • 1 ½ cup quick barley (or aborio rice)
  • 1 cup white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 2+ cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

First turn the oven to broil. Coat the peppers in 1 Tbsp of oil, and place in a casserole dish.  Place under the broiler until the pepper skin is charred, turning periodically. It should take about 10 minutes a side. Once done, remove from the oven and tent with aluminum foil for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the peppers to steam, and for the skin to more easily release form the flesh.

Once the peppers have steamed, cut off the tops, drain out the seeds, and scrape off the skin. Place pepper flesh in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Put the pepper puree to the side.

Place the remaining tbsp of oil in a large skillet. Heat on medium high heat. Mince the garlic and onions, and cook in heated oil until onions are translucent. Once cooked, turn the heat down to medium, add the barley, toss, and cook for 5 minutes. Add wine – there should be enough to just cover the top of the barley – and simmer until the liquid has cooked off. Then add the chicken stock one ½ cup at a time, allowing the liquid to cook off, until the barley is cooked al dente. Remove from heat, and add the puree, butter, and cheese. Stir until combined. Serve immediately.

Note: I used quick barely. If you used normal barley or aborio rice you may need to adjust the amount of chicken stock used.


Cajun Chicken Alfredo

2013-08-24 22.31.33 HDRI have finally found something Adam will eat! Okay that’s a lie; he will eat anything I put in front of him. But he’s used to eating dinner that comes from a freezer bag or is ready in 2 minutes from the microwave. So having a home cooked meal most nights has been an adjustment I’m sure.

As for me, my ego is directly tied to how well my food is received. You could not like me personally, and I’d take that better than if you didn’t like my food. Weird I know. So while Adam has eaten everything I’ve given him, and hasn’t complained about any of it, I was thrilled when I made this dish and he actually ate seconds! Success! Victory! This will certainly be a recipe I keep in my back pocket.

While I love the (almost) one pan nature of this meal – you do have to boil water in another pot, but please humor me – I will say this is a bit more work than I’d like in a typical evening meal. So I think this will be reserved for more special occasions, where I don’t mind extra work or not fitting into my pants the next morning.

I will also say this has the making of a good base recipe, perhaps using some other type of vegetable or a different collection of spices on the chicken. Also I’d say feel free to use normal milk in the sauce if you’re trying to watch your fat intake. Just keep in mind it will be a thinner consistency.

Happy Eating! Enjoy!

Cajun Chicken Alfredo

Courtesy of Comfortably Domestic

Yields 6 Servings

  • 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 ½ Tbs. Cajun blackening spice (like Paul Prudhomme’s brand)
  • 2 Tbs. butter, divided
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil (or more if needed)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 C. (1/2 pint) grape tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ C. dry white wine (or chicken broth) – I used just enough to coat the bottom of the pan
  • 1 ½ C. half-and-half
  • 1 ½ C. Italian cheeses, or more (I used the Italian Blend from Trader Joes, which has Asiago, Fontina, and Parmesan, but you could use freshly grated too.)
  • 3 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt (or more, to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper (or more, to taste)
  • 1 pound cooked pasta (I used penne)

Start with the chicken. I had thin sliced chicken breasts on hand, but if you don’t make sure to pound out the breasts with a meat mallet before cooking. Sprinkle both sides of the breasts with Cajun spice – I was very heavy handed with this – and press spices into the meat. Heat 1Tbps of butter and olive oil in a skillet pan over medium high heat, until butter begins to brown. Place chicken in pan and cook on each side until chicken is cooked. Remove from heat and place to the side. Once slightly cooled, cut into strips or bite sized pieces, depending on your preference.

2013-08-24 22.31.15 HDRNext add white wine to pan and whisk to remove the browned Cajun spices off the bottom. Add garlic and tomatoes, and cook until tomatoes are softened, stirring occasionally. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Reduce heat to medium low and add half and half, stirring constantly. Add salt, pepper, and remaining butter, stirring as the butter melts and the sauce simmers. Add the cheeses and continue stirring until all the cheese melts.

(Note: I like to work in batches when working with cheese, so start with ½ cup, stir until combined, then add another ½ cup and continue until the sauce is to your desired cheesiness.)

Remove from heat. Add cooked pasta and chicken. Toss to combine, and then eat! You could add some fresh basil or parsley if it’s on hand. This would be a great dish to serve family style, or simply out of the skillet like we did.

Chipotle Peach BBQ Pulled Pork

2013-08-16 19.43.17 HDRWho knew making pulled pork could be such an ordeal! Short version – Adam and I have been in our new apartment for about a month. It’s great, we love it. But the move didn’t fare well with all of our stuff – mainly Adam’s electronic equipment. When I decided to give this recipe a try it was the night after Adam’s speakers had finally given out. In our apartment no speakers = no TV sound. We had yet to receive a working cable box for said TV, so it wasn’t really a problem. But as anyone who has moved knows, one broken item is just one more thing to buy.

So I start with the whole coking thing. I pull out the crockpot – I purposely used a recipe that could be cooked for 24 hours so I wouldn’t have to watch it for a full day – start cutting onions, garlic, put the meat in the pot, season, put the lid on, hit the on/off button, and…no light. The thing wouldn’t turn on! Imagine having all the scent of spiced in your kitchen only to know you won’t be eating this yummy treat tomorrow because the crockpot won’t work! Adam tried to fix it, but it was long gone. Electronics 2, Adam/Geri 0.  The next day, Adam bought us a new crock pot, and finally we could get rolling on the deliciousness that is pulled pork. Raw pork goes into the new crockpot and in a day the meat is falling off the bones.

This is the first recipe from my Pinterest challenge. I found the Peach BBQ Sauce recipe relatively recently on Pinterest. With the end of Google Reader I have just to find a suitable substitute to manage all the blogs I used to follow. I know there are other reader sites out there, but none provide the easy access or distraction Google Reader did from my ever open Gmail account. So I’ve substituted my lack of new recipe ideas by perusing Pinterest. The pulled pork recipe I had to track down the old fashioned way – a good ol’ Google search.

2013-08-16 19.42.54 HDR

Note: In my opinion the pork was a little dry, so I’d suggest coming back on the cooking just a bit. Also the BBQ sauce was a bit sweet for my taste, and not quite spicy enough. Next time I’ll adjust the spices a bit more.





Crock-Pot Pulled Pork

Courtesy of Generation X Finance

Time 12-24 hours

Serves 10-12 people

  • 5-7 pound whole pork shoulder (mine was about 5 pounds)
  • 1 medium to large onion
  • A few cloves of garlic
  • BBQ Rub Seasoning (enough to cover the whole pork shoulder)
  • 2-3 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
  • BBQ Sauce (I used the Peach Chipotle BBQ Sauce, but any kind will do. This is more based on personal preference. I ended up using all of the BBQ Sauce I made, but if your pork is juicier than mine you shouldn’t need as much sauce.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mince the garlic and cut the onions in quarters or eights. You’ll discard them in the end so there’s no need to cut them any smaller. Place them in the bottom of your crock pot. Next rub the pork shoulder with BBQ rub. Make sure you’ve got a nice thick layer on the entire shoulder, not just the top. I used several tablespoons for this.  Next place the pork in the crockpot over the onions and garlic. Sprinkle the Liquid Smoke over the top of the pork shoulder, cover the pot, and turn on your roast. I assembled mine after dinner the previous night, set it to low and let it go for 24 hours. However you could easily make this in the morning and cook it at a higher temperature.

Once the pork is finished, pull it out and place it in a separate bowl. Discard the liquid in the crock pot. You could make stock out of it, but it’s a bit too fatty for my taste. Shred the pork in the bowl with a pair of forks. Add BBQ sauce, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve on buns or eat plain.  I didn’t quite do the math before cooking the pork, so we also ended up with a LOT of pork and were eating it for a few days.

Peach Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

Courtesy of Cookie Monster Cooking

Yields about 2 ½ cups

  • 1 ½ cups ketchup
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ½ cup peach preserves
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced chipotle in adobo sauce (I ended up using about 2 tablespoons)
  • ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • dash of hot sauce (or more to taste)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Whisk together all ingredients in a medium bowl. Use for Pulled Pork above, or store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.