Over holiday break last year I spent the majority of my time painting the main floor in our townhouse. We picked a generic beige color since the flow is open between the living room, dining room and kitchen. A red accent color is carried throughout via accent pieces like pillows, area rugs and artwork.
Inspired by our friends chalkboard painted wall that is heavily commented on by frequent guests, we decided to paint a chalkboard area on the largest wall in the kitchen just above the bookcase my dad and I made together. Since then I’ve filled the chalkboard with the week’s dinner menu and needed grocery items. It’s a great visual representation of what we’re having and helps me determine in what order to serve the menu from most perishable items to pantry staples.
And so I thought I would share a few of the chosen menu items with you as who doesn’t enjoy hearing about the trials and tribulations of a home cook.
Our nosh for the week of 11/14 included a few vegetarian items and some standards like beef tacos and pork tenderloin. I chose to share these three recipes since they were quite tasty and one presented a new challenge for me, risotto. I tried taking photographs of each meal to help inspire you to try the dish too, but my noshtography is greatly lacking so no pics this go around, maybe next time.
Asparagus Stir-fry by 101 Cookbooks
Thanks to my friend Julia who shared this little ditty with me. A vegetarian herself and experienced tofu cook I decided it was worth a try.
The preparation for any stir-fry always takes longer than the actual cooking of the meal. Keeping consistent size across all veggies is key since you want them to cook at the same rate. We can’t have our asparagus done before the chopped red pepper I decided to add. I was fortunate to locate some quite large asparagus while shopping at Harris Teeter this weekend and it was on sale, SCORE 1 for Michelle. As with all good tofu prep, I pressed out the liquid from the tofu before cutting so that it will better absorb whatever marinade or other liquids from the dish.
The flavor was fresh and vibrant, and definitely a MUST make again.
Grilled Mushroom Risotto by Jamie Oliver
Having never made a true risotto before I found this recipe to be a bit of a challenge considering I had to juggle quite a few elements at the same time. I served roasted asparagus and crusty bread alongside this dish, which meant keeping a watch on the asparagus while stirring the risotto like crazy for over 30 minutes. And grilling the various mushrooms in three batches until nice and soft. Let’s just say I was juggling quite a few things all at once as the cooking neared completion.
Looking back I could have spent a few more minutes stirring more starch from the risotto into the dish so that when plated the risotto didn’t sit in a puddle of chicken broth. The combination was quite yummy and earthy tasting. I found one of the mushroom species to be quite chewy, however I have no idea which one it was, possibly oyster? I will make this dish again but be more selective of the mushrooms I choose by doing some research beforehand.
Chicken Wild Rice Chowder via my Mom
My mom recently passed along this recipe so I saved it in my Springpad recipe notebook for future meal planning.
For the chicken, I placed a lightly salted whole chicken in my crock pot with 1/2 a cup of water and cooked it on low while I was at work. By the time I came home the legs were falling away from the breast and the meat was very tender. After carving the chicken and chopping it into bite sized pieces I began preparing the dish.
By the time I plated this chowder it was more like a casserole. My mom advised me that the key to not having casserole is using the ready-to-serve rice instead of the store brand I purchased that is NOT ready-to-serve, which makes sense since the ready-to-serve will soak up less broth.
The dish was very comforting and filling. I could see serving it with some flaky biscuits next time.
- 2 cups sliced fresh carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cans Progresso ® Chicken Broth (14-1/2 ounces each)
- 2 2/3 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
- 1 package Uncle Bens ready-to-serve long grain and wild rice (8.8 ounces)
- 1/4 cup half-and-half cream or whipping cream
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
In a large saucepan, saute the carrots, onion and celery in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended; gradually add broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the chicken, rice, cream and pepper; heat through.