Mushroom Risotto

I absolutely LOVE this dish. If it didn’t take so long to make, with constant supervision, I’d make it much more often. But when you have the time, it is SO worth the effort.

I tend to use baby Bella mushrooms, but you can honestly use most types of mushrooms. I’ve made it with plain white buttons and it tasted fine. While the recipe calls for 1/3 cup of parmesan, I use less because I’m not a fan. Doesn’t effect the taste that much – promise. ūüôā

Enjoy!

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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.
  2. Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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Cheesy Zucchini Rice

And we’re back again to zucchini! ūüôā One of the best wedding presents we were given was a rice cooker. While this recipe can easily be done without one (and I’ve included those instructions below), I find it much easier because, again, I’m lazy. Toss it all in and leave it alone. Plus, it can stay in there on warm for a while. The ratio is two cups of water to one cup of rice.

I used chicken stock with the rice, but you can easily use vegetable stock or even plain water if you like. I also upped the amount of cheese (because CHEESE!) from the original recipe that I found. This turned out pretty good!

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Shred the zuchinni - either in a food processor or with a mandolin. Zuchinni contains a lot of water, so to help with this, lay out your shredded zuchinni on some paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for bit and then blot well with paper towels as much as necessary to get rid of the excess water.
  2. Before beginning: decide how you want to cook rice. If you use the rice cooker, do this first, using the stock instead of water. If not, just follow the directions below.
  3. In a large saute pan, melt butter.
  4. Toss in garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes
  5. Stir in rice and broth and bring to boil. Cover and allow to cook for 15- minutes or so, when rice is done. OR Toss in already cooked rice.
  6. Toss in zucchini, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and turn off heat. Cover and let sit for a few minutes to allow cheese to melt.
Recipe Notes

This is pretty simple to do and to change up as your taste desires.

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Zucchini Au Gratin

I love zucchini, which is saying a lot since I don’t like many veggies. Something that my taste buds have changed their mind about over the years. This is why I recommend trying things you may not have like the taste of previously. I do it about every 7-10 years.

Anyway, I like finding new ways to cook it. This is one that looked interesting and it involved cheese, so why not? Adding cheese to most things makes it tastier. However, I can tell you that this particular recipe needs tweaking. I added more cheese, because cheese, but if you prefer less, cut down the amount of cheddar by half.

 

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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 350.
  2. Slice zucchini - about 1/4 inch
  3. Blanch zucchini - see notes below.
  4. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
  5. Add milk, paprika, garlic powder, nutmeg, allspice, salt, and 1 cup of cheddar cheese.
  6. Stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and add egg.
  7. Pat dry the zucchini one more time. Lay zucchini out in dish.
  8. Pour cheese mixture over zucchini.
  9. Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese and fontina over the top.
  10. Crumble up crackers and sprinkle on top.
  11. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Take foil off and broil for 5 minutes to brown top.
Recipe Notes

To blanch: Set up an ice bath in a bowl big enough for your colander to fit into. Boil enough water that will cover all your zucchini. Once water is boiling, toss in zucchini for one minute. Drain into colander and plunge into an ice bath to stop them from cooking more. Lay out zucchini on paper towels and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.

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Ambrosia

Ambrosia is the food of the Gods. Seriously, look it up. Now, ambrosia “salad” has been around¬†since the late 1800’s and any “true” ambrosia recipe includes orange¬†(of some variety) and coconut. After that, add whatever the hell you want. I was first introduced to this decadent salad by my late grandmother, Astrid. As a kid, of course I looked forward to summer time and being free of school and homework. But more importantly, it meant fresh corn on the cob from the farm across the street and my grandmother’s Ambrosia salad that she would bring to the house when we had a bbq.

I literally would have been happy to just eat the corn and the ambrosia. Pretty sure you can’t live off of it, but I would have tried! It was one of the most delicious things I ate as a child and brings back all the happy memories I have of summers and my wonderful grandmother.

I don’t have her exact recipe (I don’t think the woman used any) but I do remember exactly what ingredients she used. Going off of that and making it taste as close to hers as I can, this is my personal recipe.

 

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Great for summer time bbqs!
Course Side
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 3 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Side
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 3 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Whip up your fresh whipped cream or take your softened Cool Whip and go directly to step two!
  2. Add in the sour cream and whisk together.
  3. Using a spatula, stir in all the fruit, mini marshmallows, and coconut.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. I prefer to let it sit overnight. Technically, you can eat it right away, but it is better chilled.
Recipe Notes

There really are so many varieties to this. One common substitution is using plain yogurt instead of the sour cream. A lot of people also like to add some kind of nut - best suggestion is almonds or pecans, preferably toasted first.

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Loaded Potato Casserole

I snagged this recipe off of Pinterest but of course altered it. If a recipe calls for “packaged bacon bits”, I am going to ignore that and make real bacon. ūüôā

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 (16oz) containers sour cream
  • 4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1lb bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 packages Ranch Dip mix
  • 1 large¬†(28 – 30oz)¬†bag frozen hash brown potatoes, cubed style or shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400¬įf.

Grease/spray 9×13 pan

Combine first 4 ingredients well.  Mix in hash browns.

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Spread into a 9×13 pan. ¬†Bake for 45-60 minutes, depending on your oven.

The Man loved this. You can also substitute the frozen potatoes for fresh, just make sure you cook them but only lightly, so they don’t become mash when mixing.

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Super good the next day too. This didn’t last long in our house!

Potato Salad

Okay, there are a million ways to make potato salad. Everyone has their preferred method, tricks, secret ingredients, etc. And while I would *never* claim to have the best, it’s pretty damn good. ūüôā

I will recommend making it a day early. It tasted way better the second day, but isn’t that the way with a lot of things?

Ingredients:

  • 3 large Yukon gold potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds); cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons sweet relish
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¬†2 scallions, thinly sliced

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and spread out on a sheet pan to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the onion, celery, relish, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and the mayonnaise. Fold in the potatoes and scallions. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Side Notes: ¬†I don’t peel my potatoes … ever. Partially due to laziness and partially due to the fact that it is unnecessary. It is a matter of what you like – just make sure they’re clean. I find cutting them and tossing them into a pot of cold water not only keeps them from turning before cooking, but it also helps get the dirt off. I drain them before putting them into a pot to cook. ¬†Also, this original recipe called for eggs, but I don’t like having eggs in my potato salad – macaroni salad is another story. ¬†ūüôā

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes. I love them and have yet to find a way to make them that I don’t like. Well, unless you add something nasty like broccoli. Yes, I have a few foods I don’t like. *grin*

These are a different way to use mashed potatoes – either leftovers or what I did recently, for a potluck I was heading to – and they went over very well.

Ingredients:

  • 5 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (around 6-7 large baking potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 3 green onions
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 slices bacon crispy cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Peel, quarter, and boil potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until soft. Drain potatoes and beat with a mixer until smooth. Add milk, cream cheese, sour cream, green onion, parsley, garlic powder, and salt and pepper – these are to taste. Beat at a medium-high speed until nice and creamy.

Spoon into a 9×13 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

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Top with cheddar cheese and bacon. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

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Zucchini Tots

Another addition to getting the Man to eat more veggies. I saw this recipe on Pinterest and it looked pretty good. It could also be used as a side for breakfast as well. And if you didn’t know, you can find me on Pinterest here – I have two recipe boards (one for pinned recipes I want to try and one for those I *have* tried) and one for cooking tips/advice/etc.

This recipe I ended up doubling – what was posted on the site was utter BS as far as number of servings. When doubled, it will do roughly 10-12 tots; depending on how full you make them. Honestly, the taste was a little ‘off’ for me. The Man liked it, but to be honest, the Man will eat anything. I feel it’s missing something, so I will make these again but with some alterations.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup zucchini, grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray

Preheat¬†oven to 400¬į.¬†¬†Spray¬†a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.¬†Grate¬†the zucchini into a clean dish towel.¬†¬†Wring¬†all of the excess water out of the zucchini. In a medium bowl,¬†combine¬†all of the ingredients and¬†season¬†with salt and pepper to taste.

Fill¬†each muffin section to the top, pushing down on the filling with your spoon so it’s nice and compacted so they don’t fall apart when you take them out of the tin.¬†Bake¬†for 16-18 minutes, or until the tops are golden.

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

If you want really good seafood, do not go to Red Lobster. Honestly, I have never had a good meal there. I have, however, had the most addicting biscuits in the world there. Really, I think there is actual crack in them, because you cannot eat just one.

There are a few recipes out there for these biscuits, but this was simple and turned out awesome enough for me to need to eat four of them. I pretty much have all these ingredients around the house anyway, so makes it even simpler for me.

I will be making these … a lot, I think. The Man really loved them!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Bisquick biscuit mix
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 1/4 cup butter (melted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Old Bay Seasoning (optional – you’ll only find it around the mid-Atlantic region)

Preheat oven to 450 degree. Mix biscuit mix, milk, cheddar cheese, and Old Bay (optional) until soft dough forms; beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Mix melted butter, garlic powder, and dried parsley; brush generously over warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet. Serve warm. Make 10-12 biscuits.

Baked Mac ‘N Cheese

I spent a lot of my childhood wanting my mother to make her ‘from scratch’ mac ‘n cheese. Kraft is more convenient, but let’s face it – it’s no where near as good. This is not her recipe, it’s from someone else who does a great job in the kitchen – Alton Brown. If you don’t know who he is, get out of the kitchen.

This is the link to Food Network, where the great Alton Brown works.

Now, this recipe is good. I’ve made it twice now. But, the addition of a touch of garlic powder with the milk mix is a great addition. And you can always add bacon – which I plan on doing next time I make it. *grin*

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter for topping
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.¬†In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.¬†While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.¬†Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.