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Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

2 Jan

Here is the recipe that I promised last week.

I have never made risotto before.  Everything that I read said that it can be difficult and time consuming to make.  When Tony requested that I make it to go with the Pomegranate Roast I got out my new rice cooker cookbook and searched for a recipe.   I found the perfect accompaniment to the roast: Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto.  I made a double recipe since we had 6 adults to feed and the original said it served 4-6.  This was my first recipe in the rice cooker and it was perfect.  I don’t think I will ever make a risotto the regular way.


Saute your shallots in the butter and oil.


Add the rice.  Heat until the rice becomes transparent but still has one white spot on each.


Add veggies and broth.


Cook on porridge setting.


Asparagus & Mushroom Risotto

From The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook

Serves 4-6

  • 3/4 lb. Fresh Asparagus
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. Butter
  • 2 Tbs. Minced Shallots
  • 1 Cup plus 2 Tbs. Medium Grain Arborio Rice
  • 2 oz. Fresh Mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 tsp. Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Snap off ends of asparagus stalk. Cut the spears on the diagonal into small pieces.
  2. Set the rice cooker to the Regular Cycle.
  3. Place olive oil and butter in rice cooker bowl.
  4. When the butter melts, add the shallots.  Cook, stirring a few times until softened, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the rice and stir until the grains are evenly coated and hot.
  6. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the grains are transparent except for a white spot on each, 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add the mushrooms and asparagus, stirring for a minute or two.
  8. Add the broth, stir to combine.
  9. Close the cover and reset the rice cooker for the Porridge Cycle.
  10. Once the rice cooker is finished, stir the risotto.  The risotto should only have a bit of liquid and the rice should be al dente, tender with just a touch of tooth resistance.
  11. If needed, cook for a few minutes longer.  The risotto will keep Warm on hold for an hour or so.
  12. When ready to serve, add the butter and cheese and mix.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Sprinkle extra cheese on top just before serving.
  14. Enjoy!

You could use vegetable broth if you want to make the risotto vegetarian.  Also any other vegetables would be delicious.  I will be trying this soon using some squash and zucchini!

Have you ever made risotto before?  How hard was it to make?

I’m going to stick with the rice cooker recipe from now on!


Christmas Dinner…

31 Dec

On Wednesday night Tony and I hosted his family for our Christmas dinner.  I really like to host dinners.  They give us a chance to spend quality time with our guests as well as a chance to use our fancy china!

Dinner and dessert were delicious.  Presents were exchanged and champagne was toasted!

On The Menu:

  • Cheese & Cracker Sampler
  • Pecan & Bleu Salad topped with Cranberry Vinaigrette
  • Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto
  • Roasted Brussel Sprouts
  • Pomegranate Roast
  • Pecan Pie
  • Christmas Cookies

Tony & I both worked on Wednesday but I was able to do lots of prep work on Tuesday night.

The table was set…


with our Kate Spade Lenox China!


Appetizers were served:

34 degrees Crispbread and Stonewall Kitchen Roasted Garlic Crackers

Havarti, Gouda, Cheddar, Soft White, & Goat Cheese Platter

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Salads were served:



And then we finally enjoyed dinner.





Pecan & Bleu Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette


  • 1 Cup Bourbon Pecans
  • 3 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Cranberries
  • 1 Tbs Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 Tbs Splenda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbs Water


  • 1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. Crumbled Blue Cheese
  • 1 bag Mixed Spring Greens
  1. In a blender, combine the vinegar, oil, cranberries, mustard, garlic, Splenda, salt, pepper, and water. Blend until smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the pecans, onion, blue cheese, and greens.
  3. Serve dressing with salad.


Pomegranate Roast

From A Year of Slow Cooking

  • 1 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 3 lbs. Sirloin Tip Roast
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Fire-Roasted Crushed Tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 Cup Pom Pomegranate Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tbs Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 Cup Golden Raisins
  1. Coat the bottom of a 5-quart crockpot with the olive oil.  Add the onion.
  2. Combine the spices and rub on all sides of the roast.
  3. Place the roast on top of the onions.
  4. Add the garlic, tomatoes, pomegranate juice, balsamic vinegar, and syrup.
  5. Sprinkle the raisins on top.
  6. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
  7. Serve with sauce on top.
  8. Enjoy!

I will be posting the side dish recipes next week.

Time to figure out our New Years Eve plans!  Happy New Year!  Have a great night celebrating!

Just like Chick-Fil-A Nuggets

20 Dec

This recipe could save you a few trips to Chick-Fil-A.  Although they would be better with a side of waffle fries and lemonade.  Yesterday when making the Chicken Noodle Soup, we saved some of the boiled chicken.  My Mom wanted to make Pancake Chicken Nuggets to serve with the soup.  This is a recipe that my mom learned from her mother-in-law, my grandma or DoDo as we all call her.  This is a dish that mom remembers DoDo making and she loved it.  We decided that the chicken tastes like Chick-Fil-A nuggets.


DoDo’s Pancake Chicken Nuggets

Boil your chicken and tear into nugget size pieces.


Beat eggs and milk together.


Prepare you pancake mix.


Coat the chicken in the egg mixture.


Then toss in the pancake mix.


Make sure the chicken has a good coating of egg and pancake mix.


Coat all of the chicken before you start frying.  Your fingers can get quite messy from the batter!



Slowly add the chicken to the hot oil and fry for a few minutes until brown.



Flip the chicken so both sides brown evenly.



Let the chicken cool on a paper towel lined plate.



DoDo’s Pancake Chicken Nuggets

  • 4-5 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 3 Cups Complete Pancake Mix (We used Hungry Jack Light & Fluffy)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Salt
  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.  Season the water with a little salt and pepper.  Add chicken and boil for 30 minutes or until cooked fully.
  2. Once cooked, remove the chicken and let cool.  Cut the chicken into small nugget size pieces.
  3. Beat 3 eggs with the milk in a bowl.
  4. Add your pancake mix in a separate bowl.
  5. Coat your chicken in the egg/milk mixture and then the pancake batter.  Coat all chicken pieces before frying.
  6. In a skillet, add 1 inch of oil and heat it.
  7. Once the oil is hot, slowly add the pieces of chicken in.  Be careful!
  8. After about 3 minutes, turn the chicken so that it can brown the other side.
  9. Remove the chicken once both sides are brown.  It doesn’t need much time in the oil because the chicken is already cooked.
  10. Cool the chicken on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  11. Sprinkle the chicken with salt while it is cooling.
  12. Store the chicken nuggets in a warm oven until serving.
  13. Enjoy!

Not Just Mashed Potatoes…

30 Nov

I made the mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner this year.  I wanted to try to make them healthier.  Here is a recipe that is only half potatoes and butterless.  You would never know that the butter was missing and that they were full of cauliflower! I used half potatoes and half cauliflower to lower the calories.

Not Just Mashed Potatoes

potatoes final.jpg

Cook you potatoes and defrost your cauliflower.

mashed potatoes.jpg cauliflower.jpg

Add the yogurt and cheese.

yogurt.jpg add cheese.jpg


before chives.jpg

Blend until smooth.


Very smooth and fluffy!


Don’t drop the food processor on the floor,


Or you will find your dog with potatoes on his chin 15 minutes later.

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Add your chives and mix.

chives.jpg with chives.jpg

Garnish and Enjoy!

potatoes final.jpg

all 3.jpg

Not Just Mashed Potatoes

Inspired by Rachael Ray

Serves 12-16

  1. Cook you mashed potatoes in the microwave as directed.
  2. Defrost the cauliflower and drain the excess water.
  3. Add the potatoes, cauliflower, and yogurt in your mixing bowl.  Using a hand mixer, mix until all of the potatoes are mashed.
  4. Add the cheese and continue to mix.  Add just enough milk to make the potatoes have the consistency that you like.
  5. The cauliflower doesn’t mash as well as the potatoes.  Add the mixture to a food processor, small amounts at a time, and blend until smooth.
  6. Once everything has been through the food processor, mix in your chives.  Leave a few to garnish on top.

The other recipes I made on Thanksgiving can be found here:

I hope you enjoy this lighter version of your everyday mashed potatoes!

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