Tag Archives: Nut-free

Vegetarian Risotto

Rissoto

 

Ingredients

1 cup white basmati rice

1 onion finely diced

2 cloves of minced garlic

1 carrot

5 mushrooms

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup vegetable stock

1-2 cups water

1.5 tbsp grated Parmasean

2 tbsp olive oil, salt & pepper to taste

Method

  1. Mix the vegetable stock and water together and add to a saucepan and warm. In a separate saucepan heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and warm on low heat. While it’s warming, finely dice your onion and mince the garlic. Once olive oil is warm, add onion and fry for 5 minutes on low heat. Then, add garlic and fry for 3 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally
  2. Add rice and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Turn heat up to medium-high and fry the rice with the onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes, stirring
  3. After 1-2 minutes, add about 1 cup of warmed vegetable stock and some salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high fire for about 3-5 minutes, while you chop the carrot and mushrooms into small cubes. After 3-5 minutes, or when the rice absorbs most of the stock and just starts to boil, reduce heat to a simmer and the carrots and more warm liquid, mix. You want the rice to cook slowly, gaining a sticky consistency – adding liquid as it absorbs into the rice
  4. Next, add the mushrooms – you’re the judge of when and how much liquid to add, as you the one watching the rice cook and absorb, so if you need more liquid at this time, add more. All together, you will probably use about 2-3 cups of the liquid
  5. Continue to simmer, occasionally stirring, tasting the rice to check if its nearly cooked. This will probably be another 3-5 minutes. When the rice is nearly cooked, add the peas, tiny bit more liquid and salt and pepper. Let the rice now cook another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Once the rice is cooked, turn the heat off, add the grated parmesan, mix and cover. Leave to rest for 2 minutes. This is when the rice really takes form as a risotto and becomes a lovely, sticky consistency. Mix and serve
  7. Voila!

Rissoto_1

Risotto requires a little bit of love and attention while preparing to ensure that the rice cooks well, and the grains achieve a smooth and sticky consistency. It might be worth setting a timer, maybe on your smart phone, for each stage to remind yourself to continuously check the rice. You don’t want to overcook it, and it does require constant liquid ladling. It might sound complex, but honestly, it’s such a simple dish. Cooking risotto is like making toast – you can’t really mess it up.

White rice is as cost effective as pasta, it’s definitely toddler approved and it’s more easily digested than pasta, so it’s a good alternative to what might seem like a constant rotation of pasta dishes in your house. You can make this recipe with risotto rice, but I use white basmati rice because I always have it in the house, and it cooks faster. This recipe can be prepped and cooked in about 30 minutes, and it requires no planning – spontaneous cooking at its best! You can add whatever vegetables you have in the house: carrots, mushrooms, green beans, butternut squash, sweet potato, leeks, kale – just try to add the more dense vegetables in the early cooking process, so they have time to soften.  If you want a more hearty meal, you can use homemade chicken stock instead of vegetable stock, and add chicken or salmon to the risotto. The chicken or fish stock will add depth and flavor galore, boost the nutrient profile, and make the dish a complete protein, containing all essential amino acids. Adding an oily fish like salmon will also up the essential fatty acid profile which is so important in developing infants, babies and toddlers.

Cooking risotto fills the house with a beautiful smell that is unmistakable in its aroma. I would often cook it while both girls were taking their afternoon nap, and as Number 1 approached 2.5 years old, she would wake and come downstairs and ask, “did you make rice!?!” It’s a favorite of my girls, and of mine because they can easily feed themselves the sticky rice, there’s always enough for leftovers, it can be vegetarian or non-vegetarian and it feels gluttonous, but it’s actually very healthy. Hooray for risotto!

Additional Note

This will serve 4 – two toddlers and two adults. Or, if you’re having fish or chicken to accompany it, which is what we do, this recipe will serve 4, with leftovers.

Enjoy!

 

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Cheesy Flourless Muffins

DSC_0003

 

 

Ingredients

1 tbs hemp seeds

2 tbs chia seeds

3 tbs Greek yogurt

2 eggs

1/2 cup grated cheese (less if desired)

Any herbs you like. I added 1 tsp green tops of onion, a pinch of chopped parsley from my garden and black pepper. You can add basil, oregano or keep it simple with only black pepper. Salt is not needed in this recipe.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375F, 190C, Gas Mark 5
  2. Whisk the eggs together then add yogurt and whisk
  3. Add seeds and spices, whisk
  4. Add cheese and whisk
  5. Using a 1 tsp measuring utensil, add 2 tsp of mixture to each large greased muffin cup
  6. Bake for 18 minutes or until muffins bounce like a sponge when lightly pressed upon
  7. Voila!

Dad has the sweet tooth; I prefer savory. I was a little bored of sweet breakfast muffins, but I needed something quick and nourishing with good quality protein to keep me and the family energized, so I whipped these up. They are very dense, which is a tribute to the Greek yogurt and they are very moreish. I made them in about 3 minutes, popped them in the oven, and while they baked I went to get the girls from bed.  Brilliant! Great breakfast for an on-the-go family as well.

Greek yogurt in baking is becoming more popular, and I love it! It’s more nutritious than milk and regular natural yogurt, lovely and tangy, less hassle than flour, thickens your batter like flour, the only drawback is that the heat destroys the probiotics in the yogurt.  Oh well. Or, as the British say (one of my new favorite phrases), Nevermind!  Just move on, appreciate the good, and not focus on the bad…

Enjoy!

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Frittata aka Eggy Pizza

Frittata

 

Ingredients 

6 eggs

1/2 onion

1/2 red bell pepper or Romano pepper

2 mushrooms

1 cup of chopped spinach

1/4 – 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (depending how cheesy you want it)

2 tbsp whole milk

Salt, Pepper, pinch of Basil

Olive oil for frying

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400, 200, gas mark 6
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet on med-low heat for a minute then add chopped onion *see note below
  3. Let the onion cook for 1-2 minutes while you chop the red pepper. Add pepper to onions
  4. Wile the onion and pepper cook, wipe and chop mushroom. Add mushroom to skillet. Let cook for 2 minutes while you wash and chop the spinach
  5. Add spinach and wilt for 30 seconds. Grate cheese over the top of all the veggies. Let this all melt together, stirring occasionally. Crack eggs, add milk, salt, pepper and pinch of basil. Whisk together
  6. Add eggs to the veggies. Mix together. Grate cheese over the eggs and veggies. Let the eggs cook for 2 minutes until the eggs begin to set at the edges of the pan
  7. Put the pan in the oven to cook for 8-10 minutes. The eggs will rise, but as they cool they settle again
  8. Voila!

Frittatas are fairly new to my cooking repertoire, and I honestly don’t know WHY it took me so long to adopt it as a regular dish. It’s such a great variation on poached or scrambled eggs, and I find it’s easier then an omelette. It can be served as breakfast, or load it up with bacon, sausage, chicken, any veggie or herbs you like and have breakfast for dinner! That’s the brilliance of a frittata – its versatility.

This recipe feeds two adults and two toddlers with ease. We love it in our house and the girls call it Eggy Pizza. It takes 7-10 minutes to chop and fry the veggies, then pop it in the oven and forget about it for 8-10 minutes. I find 6 eggs in a frittata goes further than 6 scrambled eggs. I always use mushrooms because the girls love mushrooms, and I always use red pepper (well, if I have it in the house) because the red pepper adds a subtle sweet flavor, as does the onion. Sometimes we have bacon and buttered sourdough bread on the side, sometimes fruit or a fruit smoothie – depending on how much time I’ve got in the morning.  Use this recipe as a base and then get creative with your future frittata cooking experiences.

Enjoy!

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