Tag Archives: cheesy

Spring Risotto Primavera with Crispy Lamb Sausage

9 May

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I got inspiration for this dish from last month’s Food & Wine. This dish screams Spring with every bite! While the sausage and risotto pair perfectly together, feel free to mix and match these recipes in with others. The risotto would be great with a poached egg.

Time: 1 hour                     Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • Risotto


  • 1/2 cup cherry, grape, or mini heirloom tomatoes – halved
  • 1 large carrot, peeled then shaved into ribbons with veggie peeler
  • 1 parsnip, peeled then shaved into ribbons with veggie peeler
  • olive oil
  • sea salt & black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch asparagus tops (reserve rest for another use)
  • 1 cup cubed yellow summer squash
  • 1/4 pound baby bella mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 small leeks, cleaned well cut in half and sliced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1 small bunch green onions, bottom white and light green parts only – chopped
  • 1 cup packed pea shoots
  • 1/4 cup assorted herbs, such as basil, chervil, chives, mint, parsley, and tarragon – chopped
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • toasted pine nuts – for garnish
  • chive blossoms – for garnish
  • Sausage


  • 1 fennel bulb, minced – reserve fronds for garnish
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 slices bread, cubed (I used Udi’s Gluten Free Sandwich Bread)
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 pound ground lamb

How to make it


  • Risotto


  • Preheat oven to 400F. Toss tomatoes in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a lined baking sheet and roast in oven for about 25 minutes.
  • Rub parsnip and carrot ribbons with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a wire rack and bake in oven for 6-8 minutes until dry & crisp but not too brown.
  • Toss asparagus in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a lined baking sheet and roast in oven for about 10 minutes until charred and tender.
  • Place 1 tbsp olive oil each into 2 large skillets over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and zucchini to one, and leeks to the other. Season each with salt. Cook stirring for about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add garlic to mushrooms and zucchini. Cook an additional 2 minutes, then remove from heat.
  • Add risotto to leeks once tender, about 4 minutes. Cook until all risotto is coated with oil and is lightly toasted 1-3 minutes.
  • Add white wine and cook, stirring, until no liquid remains, about 2-3 minutes. Begin adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding more. This process takes about 20 minutes in total. Rice should be creamy (not mushy) and slightly firm in the center.
  • Add red pepper flakes, lemon zest, cheese, peas, and green onions.
  • Add roasted tomatoes, roasted asparagus, squash, mushrooms, garlic, and pea shoots.
  • Top with cooked crispy lamb sausage and garnish with parsnip and carrot chips, fennel fronds, chive blossoms, and toasted pine nuts.
  • Sausage


  • Coat the bottom of a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Set aside to cool
  • Combine bread cubes and milk. Allow to absorb as fennel cooks.
  • Combine cooked fennel and garlic, soaked bread cubes, seasonings, and lamb. Form into four 1″ logs.
  • Heat a cast iron grill pan rubbed with olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook lamb until browned on all sides, turning every 2 minutes – about 8 in total. Let rest for a few minutes before slicing.
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Chicken Pot Pie Mac & Cheese

25 Apr

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I’ve been back in Detroit for almost two weeks and Spring has definitely come through here and there but it’s still not in full swing. This comforting dish is nice on a rainy, cool spring evening and reminds me of the saying “April showers bring May flowers” because of how colorful it is,  incorporating fresh spring produce. This was my beau’s brainchild and I’d say an experiment gone

Time: 1 hour           Serves: 10

Ingredients


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast (b/s), poached in 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, shredded*
  • 8 oz. elbow quinoa pasta, cooked al dente (or short cut pasta of your choice)
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced (about 1 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup corn, frozen
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (or flour of your choice)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground  (I used about 1/2 tsp each)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 8 oz. New Zealand white cheddar, shredded – divided
  • handful pea sprouts, for garnish

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 1 13×9 or 2 8×8 or 2 quart casserole dishes with cooking spray.
  • Melt butter in a large 5 qt. pot. Add onion, cook until softened. Add carrots, cook for 2 minutes. Add celery, cook for 1 min. Add garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Add flour. Cook until a lightly brown roux forms around the veggies.
  • Slowly add stock, and whisk to incorporate. Remove from heat. Add shredded chicken, mayo, cooked pasta, corn peas, and half shredded cheese. Mix to incorporate. Pour into casserole(s), I set one aside at this point to cool completely to freezer for another great dinner.

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  • Top with remaining cheese. Bake on middle rack for 15-20 minutes until bubbling. Transfer to top rack and turn on broiler. Broil until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Allow to set for 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnish with pea sprouts.

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Arancini

23 Apr

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I’ve had the pleasure of eating arancini several times. One memory stands out more than others, Angelina Bistro in Detroit. I had never made them before, so when my chef asked me to prepare them for a tasting for a wedding I was excited! He put me on all of the family recipes for Italian classics as according to him I am an “Italian specialist”. Family recipes, huh…Oh and did I mention the groom is a chef too and the family recipes are his?! Well, the arancini were an absolute hit. And I must admit, and I can here, that I did leave a fingerprint.

Time: 45 minutes              Serves: 12 pieces

Ingredients


  • 1 cup short grain risotto rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese + more for garnish
  • 1-2 oz. fresh mozzarella, cubed – enough for 12 pieces
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used fresh)
  • oil for frying
  • handful basil, chiffonade

How to make it


  • Preheat oil to 375F in a deep fryer or wok.
  • Cook rice uncovered until tender, but firm – about 20 minutes. When done, remove from heat and add butter. Mix to incorporate. Spread out on a large parchment lined tray to cool.
  • Once cooled, place in a large bowl and add egg yolks and parmesan cheese Mix well.
  • Take about 1/3 cup of rice mixture and shape into a ball in the palm of your hand. Make a well in the center of the ball and place a piece of mozzarella in the center. Rework the ball to enclose the cheese.
  • Put the egg whites in a bowl, beat until stiff.
  • Put bread crumbs in a shallow dish.
  • Coat rice balls with stiffened egg white one by one, then roll in bread crumbs, pressing around to coat evenly. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Fry for about 4 minutes until golden brown and crispy all around. Remove and transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet.
  • To serve, garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and basil chiffonade. Enjoy as is or with a delicious sauce such as my Tomato Butter Sauce.

Stovetop White Cheddar Jalapeño Mac

8 Apr

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I’ve been meaning to make this at home for quite some time. I made it up while in a local brewery restaurant. I love the contrast of the sharp creamy cheddar with the spicy peppers.

Time: 15 minutes             Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 8 oz. mini shell (Conchiglie) pasta (I used quinoa & corn – GF)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour (I used brown rice flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp 0% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup diced & seeded jalapeño peppers

How to make it


  • Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
  • Reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain pasta.
  • Meanwhile, add butter to a medium saucepan – large enough to house all ingredients eventually – over medium-high heat. Once melted, add flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until sauce is smooth and begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
  • Add pasta, cheese, Greek yogurt, and diced jalapeños. Add some cooking water, about 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency is met. I used 1/2 cup.

Chicken Wild Rice Casserole

4 Apr

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Although spring is trying to peak out, it’s still chilly here in SoCal where I’m currently based. I don’t mean to wine, I know it’s warmer than my native land. But I thought it would be nice to introduce a Midwestern favorite. A big salad is great for lunch but for dinner a hearty, satisfying, comfort food is in order. The array of vegetables not only pack a nutritional punch but they lend their colors to make this dish really pop. A great make-ahead meal. Prepare it up until the baking, cool completely and freeze, I usually divide into 2. Just defrost in fridge before baking, or up baking time by about 45min. I meant to add mushrooms to this dish but forgot, maybe next time.

Time: 90 minutes           Serves: 6-8

Ingredients


  • 1/2 cup wild rice, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (I used orange cauliflower)
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3/8 cup AP flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • salt and pepper, to taste (I used about 1/4 tsp each)

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 2 8×8 or 2 quart casserole dishes with cooking spray.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, cook stirring occasionally for 4 minutes. Add carrots and cook, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes. Add celery and cook, stirring occasionally for another 4 minutes. Finally, add garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  • Drop broccoli and cauliflower florets into boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes then remove and drain in a colander. Run cold water over top until cooled through or drop in an ice water bath.
  • In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring. Add chicken stock in 3 parts, whisking to incorporate. Cook until thickened somewhat. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese and season to taste. Add all vegetables, chicken, and both kinds of rice. Mix well to incorporate. Spoon into prepared baking dish and top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, until bubbly and cheese has melted.

Roasted Butternut Squash & Garlic Enchiladas

17 Mar

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Have I told you lately that I love……..butternut squash?! Roasting it just sets it off and the addition of roasted garlic takes it to the next level. Trust me, this one’s is a goodie!

Time: 1 hour, 15 min             Serves: 3

Ingredients


  • Filling


  • 2 pound butternut squash
  • 1 head garlic
  • olive oil
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground – to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt, to taste – about 1/2-1 tsp)

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  • The Rest


  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 12oz. jar salsa verde/equivalent homemade
  • 3-4 slices pepper-jack cheese – Yogurt lactose-free from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 3-4 green onion tops, chopped
  • cilantro, roughly chopped – for garnish
  • lime edges, to serve

How to make it


  • Filling


  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Cut tops off of garlic clove. Place in center of a large square of aluminum foil. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with S&P.
  • Cut end and top off of squash. Cut in half and scoop out seeds with a spoon. Rub cut side with olive oil and sprinkle with S&P. Place on roasting pan/foil cut side down.
  • Remove garlic after 35 minutes, and squash at about the 45 min mark. You want the skin to just begin to brown and the cut side to brown.
  • Scoop flesh from squash and mash. Squeeze garlic cloves out of head and mash into squash.
  • Season squash garlic mixture with cumin, oregano, paprika, and salt.
  • The Rest


  • Place a moist paper towel on stack of 4 tortillas and microwave for 15 seconds. Keep paper towel over stack while working. Work in two batches.
  • Spoon mixture into each corn tortillas, roll, and place seam side down into an 8×8 pan. Continue until all are filled & rolled.
  • Top with cheese, follow with salsa verde.
  • Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Place under broiler for about 2 minutes if desired.
  • Top with sliced avocado, sprinkle with cilantro and green onions, and lime wedges on the side.

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Sear & Blast Steak

19 Jan

My beau developed this technique for the taste & tenderness of marinated steak when pressed for time a couple years back and we’ve been using it ever since.

Time: 20 minutes          Serves: 2

Ingredients


  • Steak


  • 2 sirloin steaks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • bleu cheese (cave aged bleu granite – 1 slice)
  • 1 oz tequila
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp malt vinegar
  • seasoning Mixture:
  • salt, garlic (granulated), onion (granulated), black pepper, red pepper, dill seed, fennel seed,mustard seed, coriander
  • Mushrooms


  • handful baby bella mushrooms, cut in thirds
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt & pepper to taste

How to make it


  • Place steak in a seal-able container. Pour tequila over top. Rub seasoning mixture into both sides of steak. Pour liquid smoke and malt vinegar over and seal. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  • Turn broiler on 425F.
  • Heat skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and butter. Once butter melts place steak in skillet. Sear on each side for 4 minutes.
  • Remove from skillet and place onto broiling pan. Broil for about 6 minutes on each side or until the steak has reached desired doneness.
  • While steaks are broiling, place butter in skillet and heat on low-medium. Add mushrooms, salt, and pepper and sautee for several minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Top steaks with mushrooms, then bleu cheese. Turn off broiler. Remove once cheese has melted.

  • Enjoy!