Cauliflower Risotto Cakes

I had all intentions of getting this typed up this morning before I headed out for the day but that just didn’t happen.  It is an absolute gorgeous day.  I walked for about an hour and a half today and I was in a tank top.  Loving all the vitamin D I’ve been getting lately.

Last night’s dinner was the first (yes, there will be a third and final one) transformation of the risotto that I prepped on Monday night for dinner.  Creamy risotto is mixed with roasted cauliflower, breadcrumbs, parsley, an egg, S&P, plus some cheese before being shaped into cakes and sautéed in a little EVOO.  If you want to save yourself time (and I think it’s totally the right thing to do), purchase pre-“riced” cauliflower.  My local Walmart carries it where you’ll find the bagged salads and it’s a LIFE saver for this recipe.  The cauliflower is roasted (beware, there’s a bit of a “funky” smell during the beginning of the cooking process) for 40 minutes before being mixed with all the other ingredients.

Also take my advice here – don’t make the cake mixture in advance.  I was trying to be “wonder woman” and prep dinner so that when I got home at 6:15pm all I had to do was patty the cakes and cook ’em.  Well I think the mixture dried out a little big and the cakes fell apart in the pan.  Learn from my mistakes!

caulicakes

The cauliflower cakes are served with a tangy dipping sauce that’s so simple to whisk together.  Duke’s mayo, lemon juice, chives, garlic and some S&P.  Despite the fact that they fell apart, they were delicious.  And if you don’t think you like cauliflower (I’ll be honest, it’s not my favorite veggie raw), this may turn you into a believer.

I’m using the last of the risotto tomorrow nigh…

I can promise you, risotto will not be on the menu this weekend.

Sweet Onion Risotto with Sautéed Kale

Welcome to another edition of “cook once, eat 3 times.”  I prepared this dinner on Monday night and will be using the leftover risotto to make dinner tonight.  Risotto is not a “quick” dinner due to the time that’s needed to allow the rice to absorb the liquid but if you do this on a night or day when you have more time, you can easily prepare two more meals that week using the leftovers.

This risotto recipe is unlike any other risotto I’ve prepared in that you use brown rice instead of arborio rice and you precook the rice.  First you bring liquid (I used chicken stock) to a boil along with the rice and simmer for about 15 minutes.  You drain the rice, reserving the liquid.  The reserved liquid is combined with more chicken stock.  Lots of chopped onion is sautéed in olive oil with lots of garlic and then you add in the rice.  Add in the wine and once it’s cooked off, turn the heat down and begin adding the stock mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until it’s absorbed.  This whole adding liquid and stirring constantly game goes on for about 25 minutes.  Once all the liquid is absorbed, reserve some of the risotto for another night and then add in the salt, pepper and cheese (I used manchego because our store wasn’t hitting on much Monday).

And then you prepare the kale sauté that tops it all off.  Kale (I used baby kale) is sautéed in a  little bit of EVOO.  Once wilted, add in golden raisins and chopped pecans along with salt, pepper and a splash of vinegar (I used white wine vinegar).

risottokale

I was incredibly impressed by how creamy the rice was despite not using arborio rice and I adored the kale topping.  Especially the raisins (sweet) and pecans (nutty and salty).

Stay tuned for how I use the leftover risotto….

Fluffiest Multigrain Pancakes with Almond Butter Drizzle

Oh man!  I wish we were devouring this breakfast right this moment.

fluffypancakes

We enjoyed this plate of flapjacks and bacon on Sunday after a long, long walk.  And while the bacon isn’t the healthiest breakfast option, the pancakes are incredibly good for you.  The pancakes start with soaking rolled oats in buttermilk.  While the oats are soaking, mix together the remaining ingredients (the only change I made was using gluten-free flour instead of whole wheat) and making the drizzle.  I think the drizzle was my favorite part because well, I love nut butter.  The drizzle was made by thinning out the almond butter with some warm water and a little maple syrup for sweetness.

The pancakes were fluffy but didn’t make you feel stuffed.  I also loved the almond butter drizzle as I’m not really a “sweet” breakfast kind of gal.

Do you call them “pancakes” or “flapjacks”?

They’re definitely pancakes in my world.

Lemon Buttermilk Cake

I was very uninspired by the internet this week.  Well, minus finding out that George Clooney’s wife is having twins.  George > Beyonce.  End of story.

But I was inspired by an excess of lemons and some leftover buttermilk in the fridge.  And with that inspiration, I baked a cake.  If there was ever a cake that deserves to be eaten at breakfast, this is it.  It’s light and bright and slightly sweet.

Does anyone else get a little anxiety when you pull a bundt cake out of the oven?  I mean, I pray to the bundt gods that it comes out beautifully while holding my breath and turning the pan.

lemonbuttermilk

And I always do a little bundt dance when it comes out perfect.

This weekend is rather low-key for us.  No real plans except a precious birthday party for our favorite one year old boy on Saturday afternoon.  But the weather is going to be GORGEOUS so I see a couple of long walks in my future and perhaps an adult beverage on the back deck.  I hope you have the best weekend ever – make it a little sweeter and bake a cake!

Cheers!

King Ranch Chicken and Quinoa Casserole

There is something so comforting about a casserole.  This casserole used the leftover quinoa from another dinner last week along with rotisserie chicken and a handful of other ingredients.  King Ranch Chicken Casserole has been around for a long time and it a popular Tex-Mex dish.  The name has nothing to do with a King or with Ranch dressing and instead refers to a large ranch in the United States.

Casseroles are one of those dishes that can be prepared in advance and then cooked whenever you’re ready.  I prepped this dish earlier in the day and Big Guy just popped it in the oven and it was ready when we were.

The casserole is full of cheese, quinoa, chicken, poblano peppers, onion, fire roasted tomatoes and green chiles.  It was so filling and delicious.  I actually loved how large the serving size was and didn’t feel like I was eating something “healthy.”

kingranch

I loved how the leftover quinoa was transformed into a new dish.  It’s nutty and a little spicy and a whole lot of delicious.

Do you have a favorite casserole?

I loved tuna noodle casserole growing up and chicken pot pie.

Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Chicken and Cashews

Wow!  What a game that was last night.  I didn’t have a dog in the fight but I was cheering for the Falcons.  And I can’t believe they didn’t win after leading on the scoreboard the entire game.  Unbelievable.  And the halftime show – I thought it was awesome!  Needless to say, I needed an extra cup of coffee this morning after staying up too late to watch the whole game.

Rewind to Friday night and an amazing yet easy dinner.  Friday’s have become pretty low-key around our house thanks to early Saturday morning commitments.  I’m not really complaining because our Saturdays have come so productive lately.  After a busy week with plans almost every evening, I was happy to have a relaxing dinner at home catching up on some of our DVRed shows.

cinnamonchicken

Sweet potatoes are topped with a sweet topping of chicken, cashews, dried cherries and raisins.  Thanks to a rotisserie chicken the topping comes together in a flash.  Simply sauté diced celery in a little EVOO and then add in the dried fruit, some freshly squeezed orange juice, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and salt.  Once warmed through, top the baked sweet potatoes with the chicken mixture and then a good sprinkle of green onions.

So good!  I adored the flavor combination.  It was kind of like a warmed chicken salad.

p.s.  Cashews are my favorite nut ever.

Poached Chicken Thighs with Ginger-Coconut Quinoa

I have literally been eyeing this recipe for almost a year now.  Every week as I plan our meal plan I would flip through my binder and almost alway stop and try to find a way to fit this recipe into our week.  Well this week it actually makes sense for our week of eats.

The recipe is part of a “cook once, eat 3x” series that Cooking Light has been featuring.  It’s a little misleading because you most definitely still have to cook but when I cooked this meal on Monday I prepared lots of quinoa that will take us through the rest of the week in a meal on Wednesday evening.

As always, I get nervous that my expectations of a dish are too high (I mean, ginger-coconut will get me every time) but this meal was incredible.  The flavors are absolutely amazing and there are so many flavors!

The chicken is marinated in EVOO, lime zest + juice, adobo sauce (think smoky, not spicy), ginger, garlic and soy sauce before being poached in the marinade along with chicken stock.  That same stock is then used to cook the quinoa the first time.  After you reserve quinoa for the rest of the week, you add in coconut milk and ginger that seriously adds a punch of flavor.  I find that coconut milk can sometimes get lost in recipes, but that didn’t happen here.

gingercoconutquinoa

If you’re unsure about quinoa, please give it a try.  I think this is a great recipe for quinoa because there are SO many flavors – the ginger, the garlic, the lime zest and the coconut milk infuse the quinoa for an insane layering for flavors.  Poaching the chicken keeps it super tender.  And the sprinkle of green onions add a little freshness and pop of brightness.

Stay tuned for how I used the rest of the quinoa!