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One Pan Chicken & Mushroom Risotto

Oh hey, guys! I turned my back for TWO SECONDS and it’s suddenly Fall. (Side note: I’ve also learned since our last chat that I will never be able to turn my back for two seconds again with a 6 month old.)

In honor of Fall, it seemed appropriate to share with you my latest comfort food creation coming out of our kitchen as the evenings get cooler. Risotto is a regular star in our dinner rotation but I was reluctant to try it without dairy. But like so many tiny tummies, our little man isn’t doing great with dairy and 80% of his calories are still coming from me so it’s it worth a short term hiatus to try and reinvent some favorites dairy free.

Brought to you by my favorite shopping list, known as “what’s in the freezer/pantry that might resemble a meal I can prepare while a baby loses his shit over dropping his teething cookie?”

  • 3-4 Chicken Thighs
  • 1/4 tsp Salt + more to season the chicken
  • Black pepper to season the chicken to taste
  • 1.5 Cups Arborio (Risotto) Rice
  • 3.5 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 4-6 Cloves of Garlic
  • 3 Cups Crimini Mushrooms (about 8 large caps, stems discarded)
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil

I just realized I listed the ingredient in the exact reverse of how you’ll use them. I should claim I did it on purpose. In reality I’m reverse engineering a recipe with mom brain 24 hours after the fact.

Preheat your oven to 400 while you begin to prep. Heat your cast iron to medium high heat with the olive oil.

Slice your mushrooms and chop or crush your garlic. I used a press because it’s quick and easy, even if it seems inconsiderate to the integrity of the goodness that is a garlic clove.

Sauté the mushrooms and garlic for about 7-10 minutes until the mushrooms have reduced to about half their size.

Turn off the heat and add your rice, salt and broth. Stir and make sure the rice is distributed in an even layer across the bottom of the pan.

Salt and pepper your chicken thighs and arrange in the pan. I would note that I have a very deep cast iron. If yours doesn’t have sides at least 2” tall I’d recommend a Dutch oven. If you have neither I’m sure this would work in a casserole pan, but our kitchen is pretty addicted to cast iron, so perhaps consider treating yourself – it can’t be beat for so many cooking applications!

Bake for 1 hour until all the liquid has been absorbed.

That’s it. Cool and eat. No need to stir. You won’t miss the cheese (much) I swear. It’s still amazingly starchy and creamy and delicious. After 24 hours it’s officially gone and a repeat batch has been requested.


One Pan Chicken & Mushroom Risotto

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

A quick one pan meal for an easy week night complete dinner.

Ingredients

3-4 Chicken Thighs

1/4 tsp Salt + more to season the chicken

Black pepper to season the chicken to taste

1.5 Cups Arborio (Risotto) Rice

3.5 Cups Chicken Stock

4-6 Cloves of Garlic

3 Cups Crimini Mushrooms (about 8 large caps, stems discarded)

2 Tbs Olive Oil

Directions

Preheat your oven to 400 while you begin to prep. Heat your cast iron to medium high heat with the olive oil.

Slice your mushrooms and chop, press or crush your garlic.

Sauté the mushrooms and garlic for about 7-10 minutes until the mushrooms have reduced to about half their size.

Turn off the heat and add your rice, salt and broth. Stir and make sure the rice is distributed in an even layer across the bottom of the pan.

Salt and pepper your chicken thighs and arrange in the pan.

Bake for 1 hour until liquid is absorbed. Cool and eat.

I would note that I have a very deep cast iron. If yours doesn’t have sides at least 2” tall I’d recommend a Dutch oven. If you have neither I’m sure this would work in a casserole pan, but our kitchen is pretty addicted to cast iron, so perhaps consider treating yourself – it can’t be beat for so many cooking applications!

Five Baby Must-Haves That Saved The Last Five Months

I’ve been thinking about how I may want to incorporate this new found life of motherhood as I jump back into my previously food, fitness, and apartment life blog and I realized it’s a no brainer… I’m here to share what’s going on in my life and right now it’s baby, food, baby food, and fixing up an older home.  So welcome to shifting gears. Life is in overdrive and I’m deliriously exhausted and I love it.

Now that I’m an expert in child rearing after a cool five months (please roll your eyes as hard as I just did) I figured I’d share while it’s fresh the top things that have made life SO much easier (or as I see it, marginally survivable) with a newborn. I still don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but I know I wouldn’t want to do it without a few key items.

The BabyBjorn Bouncy Chair $199

I can’t speak to any other chair on the market, and I never will. (if you want expert comparisons, go to Lucie’s List – actually, go there anyways, that blog alone should have probably taken my top spot.) This thing is IT! It has multiple reclining positions that have grown seamlessly with our little man, it takes zero batteries, moves silently. It folds flat for the car, to shove under the couch if you have other walking humans coming over, and the cover is a simply one piece cotton fabric that you can toss in the wash and it dries quickly back on the chair overnight. The price tag? Yeah, I know. Trust me, you won’t regret a penny. And if you do, order from Amazon with their great returns policy or put it up on any buy/sell site and it’ll be off your hands in an instant. (I don’t think you’ll want to do this, though.)

BABYBJORN Bouncer Balance Soft - Black/Dark Gray, Cotton

Spectra S1/S2 Breast Pump $159

If you’re breastfeeding, a pump becomes a non-negotiable early on.  I ordered the Medela through my insurance and it’s certainly an old faithful, but my little guy is huge for his age and eats so. much.  We’re talking 32-36 ounces a day. I was running thin on my end of the supply and demand chart and decided in a late night leap of faith to click buy on this thing and it was the game changer.  It’s so much more comfortable with it’s “suckling” action versus a vacuum on your boob and I’m getting another 1-2 ounces per session. It adds up quickly.  My extinct freezer stash has replenished 5 feedings after having it just a week.  I would have given someone the last slice of pizza to tell me about this sooner (and if that doesn’t sound that serious, you aren’t breastfeeding a giant that’s stealing all your calories – trust me, it’s serious.)

Spectra Baby USA - S2 Plus Premier Electric Breast Pump, Double/Single, Hospital Grade

 

Halo Bassinest $199+

I was on the fence about a bassinet style sleeper versus just a crib from day one, but I wouldn’t have traded a minute for the time we used our side sleeper.  The ability to pick him up, feed, and go back to sleep without ever getting out of bed was a dream come true for late night feedings.  We haven’t reach a sleep through the night situation yet and every time I get up I think “Are we sure he’s too big for that?” and then in the morning I remember he was almost too long for it after a month.  There are multiple models that have various levels of features – I loved the night light on ours – but keep in mind this is another thing that is short lived and on the buy/sell market for a discount. I scored ours in like new condition for $100.  Find it. You need it (or something like it) unless you have a baby that decides from day 1 to sleep through the night. (If you baby sleeps like this, never tell anyone. We hate you.)Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper LUXE PLUS Gray Melange

 

Boppy Lounger Pillow– $29

I can’t tell you how many hours our little guy spent in this thing, and for probably about a month longer than his size and mobility would suggest he should have. But he LOVED it. He slept in it (sorry, warning tag, I know that’s against the rules), and also was so much more content during couch time (also allegedly against the rules, we’re rebels over here).  Unless you expect to be holding your little one every waking moment (this is not realistic), get one of these.  Everybody relaxes happy.  Including the dog, who you’ll have to kick out of it. Sorry, pup. Boppy Newborn Lounger, Elephant Love Gray

 

Electric Kettle – $69 (for the version we’ve got)

Oh you thought it was just how European’s made their coffee? I mean, yes, it’s perfect for a pot of french pressed coffee (which you will absolutely need) but it also heats up in record speed to take the chill off of all those pumped bottles when your little bundle of love is screaming bloody murder and your nipples feel like they’ve been run through a meat grinder. Or your husband says “I’ll get him” when he wakes up 7 minutes after you’ve finally drifted off to sleep. (Side note: also make sure you’re having a baby with a husband that says these words, they sound better than I Love You for the first few weeks.) I didn’t want a bottle warmer or other items to clutter my counter, and since it brings the water to a boil I also use it to do a quick final rinse of cleaning the nipples for his bottles to make sure everything is clean and sterile.  This may not be the most obvious thing on the list but we use it every. Single. Day.

 

Baby gear is expensive and exhausting and the list I just made here may not work for you. But I wish I’d had this earlier so I could have had added it to the registry for Great Aunt Muriel who desperately wants to buy something for your baby.  We got tons of amazing stuff but some of the best things were found after reading two dozen amazon reviews in delirium around week two. Don’t be me. Buy these things and I promise your baby will be so much cuter when some of the other logistical problems these items solve get sorted out.

Let me know if you want more thoughts on this topic. Parenting is an immersion based learning experience that I know nothing about but am happy to share when I figure out something good along the way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thin Crust Pizza Dough

Happy Memorial Day weekend! ‘Tis the season for grilling but with the crazy wind outside I decided to move cooking inside.

The art of perfect pizza has been a labor of love – and a lot of cardboard crust. The biggest key to a good flavor? Patience. I’m not good at it, but it’s the key to the texture and taste. There’s just something to the slow raised, fridge fermented dough.

This recipe makes 3-4 pizzas that feed 2-3 people depending on toppings, appetite, size, etc.

The one pictured was 1/4 of the dough. And I ate the whole thing.

I wish you all a happy bonus weekend Monday – it’s my last one of maternity leave and I’m eating my feelings. Cheers!


Thin Pizza Crust (Gluten Free)

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

A classic thin crust pizza. Gluten free.

Ingredients

2 Cups water

3 Tsps Active Yeast

4 Cups GF Flour – I used Better Batter

1 Tbs Honey

3/4 Tsp Sea salt

1 Tbs Oil – coconut or olive

Directions

Proof yeast with 1 cup of water at 110 degrees for 10 minutes.

Add honey, salt, and melted coconut oil along with the rest of the water.

Add 2 cups of flour and mix with dough hook, adding more flour little by little until a soft ball has formed.

Turn dough out into a well floured surfaces and knead gently into a ball.

Place in a bowl, cover, and place in the fridge for at least 24 hours, up to 72 hours before baking or freezing.

When you’re ready, using hands, press 1/4 of the dough into a circle the size of your pan or pizza stone (which I recommend for a crisp crust) on a piece of parchment.

Place crust in a warm spot to raise for 30 minutes while your preheat the oven and stone to 500 degrees.

Top your proofed crust as desired and bake on a hot stone in a 500 degree oven for 12-15 minutes until edges are golden brown.

You can cook this dough immediately after mixing after raising for 30-60 minutes in a warm place, but you’ll get a better tang and bite if you let it slow raise in the fridge.

A stone is a great investment for home pizza if you don’t have one.

I prep my pizza on parchment cut to the size of my stone for easy on and off on the stone.

Classic Burger Bun

Oh, heyyy 👋🏻 Long time no see!

I posted these buns on Instagram the other day and I realized I’ve been a bad friend for not sharing.

Ok it’s worse than that. When I downloaded the WordPress app on my new phone it reminded me it’s been over a year since my last post.

In my defense, it was a busy year. Husband. House. Baby. Basically all at once – but I’m back. Ok, back-ish. Let’s see how much the boss baby allows!

I discovered Better Batter GF flour from Nicole at Gluten Free on a Shoestring who has an amazing library of resources for new and seasoned GF bakers alike. While it’s more expensive than making your own blend, my goodness is it a handy, versatile solution and baking at home is always better and cheaper than surrendering to the $7 pack of hockey puck hamburger buns.

This dough is so easy and so quick. Start the dough before you start prepping your burger/chicken/portobello for the grill and they’ll be ready in time to make a stack of summer delicious. The best part? These buns will hold it all in to the very end – no fork and knife needed.

classic burger buns

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2.5 Tsps Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 1/2 Cups Warm Water (110*)
  • 2 Tsps Salt
  • 2 Tbs Honey
  • 3 1/2 Cups Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
  • 1 Egg White, lightly beaten with a dash of water
  • 2 Tbs Seasame Seeds or Everything But The Bagel Seasoning from Trader Joe’s

Directions

Preheat your oven to 400 Degrees

Proof the yeast with a cup of water for 10 minutes.

Add the rest of the water, salt, and honey dissolve.

Sift the flour into the liquid and blend with a dough hook on medium speed for 4-5 minutes – your dough will look very soft, sticky, and loose.

Raise for 30-45 minutes.

With wet hands, form the dough into 6-8 buns depending on how big you want them.

Top with seasoning – seasame seeds are a classic, or a personal favorite of mine is the Everything But The Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s.

Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Pull from oven and brush with egg white wash, and bake another 5-10 minutes until golden brown.

Keep in the fridge and use within 3-5 days.

Summer Asparagus Penne with Artichoke & Cashew Pesto

I have a habit lately. I get a great picture of food and post it to Instagram and say “blog post to follow!”

A blog post never follows.

Like, ever.

Not today though. This one is too good not to share so I’m posting it while my belly is full, my mind is fresh, and my glass of rose is still cold.

The recipe makes two serving and each contains the following nutritional content. I share because I care. And because I entered it in MyFitnessPal in an effort to not undo deadly workouts with dinner.

Calories 390  |  Fat 13g  |  Carbs 51g  |  Protein 15g

Ingredients:

  • Pesto
    • 7 grams Cashews (about 2 tablespoons)
    • 1 Clove Garlic
    • 2 tsp Olive Oil
    • 1 oz Marinated Artichoke Hearts (about 3-5 sections)
    • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
    • 1 Cup Basil, loosely packed
    • 1 tsp Salt, to taste
    • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz Pasta – I used Ancient Grains Gluten Free
  • 1 Bunch Asparagus, use tender ends and soft stems only
  • 3 oz Crumbled Feta

In a food processor or chopper, blend everything but the artichokes into a pesto, leaving some texture. Add Artichokes at the end to chop finely and set aside. If the pesto seems dry, add a splash of water.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. When there’s about 5 minutes left, toss in your asparagus. You want it tender, not mushy!

Drain the pasta and asparagus, return to the burner (now off but still hot) and stir in your pesto. Sprinkle in the feta and stir in and it will gently melt into the pasta.

Serve. Enjoy.

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Gluten Free Soft Baked Pretzels

It’s Pride in Seattle and it turns out I live at the epicenter. In addition to the inspiring atmosphere of celebrating love (and people watching of epic proportions), there’s a street fair with all of the expected food typically reserved for closing time and cash only establishments. By the time I got home all I could think about was food on sticks and…

Pretzels. Gluten Free Bagels - 9 of 9I had not yet tried making my own, but my bagels were a success a few years ago and knowing that my flour blend has improved I figured it was worth a shot.

I based this off a regular flour recipe by The Kitchn and made modifications as I’ve learned for gluten free baking, including doubling the yeast, and using milk instead of water for the liquid.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Warm Milk
  • 4 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 2-2.5 Cups Gluten Free Flour Blend, such as my blend here or something similar
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Baking Soda
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • Coarse Sea Salt for sprinkling

Place warm milk, yeast, and sugar in a mixing bowl and let it bubble and simmer and froth up for about 10 minutes.

Mix your 1st cup of flour, salt and xanthan gum together and add it to your liquid, mixing on low speed with the dough hook attachment. Slowly add the second cup of flour until it makes a flaky and sticky dough ball.

Move the dough to your counter and knead a bit until everything begins to smooth. Gluten Free Bagels - 1 of 9Transfer into a bowl and coat with olive oil, cover, and raise in a warm spot until it’s doubled in size. I set my oven on warm, even though it’s around 80 degrees in my apartment. I may need to rethink my choices to heat up my apartment when it’s already an oven inside in late June.

You have an hour or two. Go watch an episode of Gilmore Girls. Or, you know, something equally cool.

When your dough has risen, turn your oven to preheat to 450 degrees and set about 4″ of water to boil on the stove.

Punch the dough back down and knead about a minute back into a soft ball and divide into four sections. Gluten Free Bagels - 2 of 9Take each of the four sections, and working very gently, roll into four long ropes and twist into a pretzel shape. Don’t ask me how, ask YouTube. It’s not at all intuitive, and I’ve tried 25 times to write out how I did it. Honestly I have no idea. Good luck, and God speed. They taste good even if they’re ugly (25% of mine proved that nicely). Gluten Free Bagels - 3 of 9Bring about 4 inches of water to boil and add the sugar and baking soda, stirring until dissolved. Take the water back down to a low (but still bubbling) simmer and carefully boil each pretzel 2-3 minutes. Most recipes will tell you to flip them. I don’t recommend it. It will work without doing so, and you won’t have to cry over broken pretzels. Gluten Free Bagels - 4 of 9Transfer each to paper towels to drain excess liquid then to a parchment lined baking sheet. Once each has boiled, coat with a wash of an egg whipped with a couple tablespoons of water and sprinkle with sea salt. Gluten Free Bagels - 5 of 9Bake for about 18-22 minutes. I checked mine after about 12 minutes, added more egg wash because I thought they were nearly done and not turning golden, and then at 15 minutes discovered they weren’t nearly done enough and put them back in. I’m telling you this because the result you see below is completely delicious but looks completely overdone. Over zealous egg washing due to impatience. We all have our flaws.

I would love to report back how these store, but as it stands, there are only 2 left (fine, 1.75) and Game of Thrones is about to start, so I think I’ll see how it pairs with an ungodly amount of classic yellow mustard and a corona for dinner.

 

Have you tried it? Any suggestions? Comments? Questions? Is Aria going to get her revenge tonight? Am I getting off track?

Happy Sunday. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Cauliflower Fried “Rice”

Where’s Whole30 week 3? Yeah, there’s not. Life got too hectic to control every bite I ate and I didn’t feel I was going to get the full benefit doing it half way (more on that later).

For now, I’m still keeping it fairly light hoping my pants will respect my efforts. I bought cauliflower to make a creamy ‘bisque’ like this one, but in my pinterest rabbit hole got caught up in the idea of making cauliflower fried rice.

I’ll preface this with saying that I’ve tried cauliflower “mashed potatoes” and “pizza” and god knows what and I didn’t like any of it. But the texture of this seemed promising, and it was a good chance to use my new little Ninja chopper that’s been lurking since Christmas with no love. IMG_2212IMG_2213

I pulverized half a head in the chopper. I was surprised and impressed by the rice like texture. Promising.

Repeat with some mushrooms, garlic, and a shallot.

So turns out? A wok would be a helpful piece of kitchen equipment to have. Add that to the list for the next time I’m at Ikea.

Either way, I used a large pot on the stove and sautéed the mushrooms, garlic and shallot in a tablespoon of butter, pushed it aside to scramble two eggs, added the cauliflower and about a cup of stir fry veggies and mixed it all together.

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This was not the most technical of recipes. Who needs that on a Tuesday?

To season I added some tamari, rice vinegar, salt, pepper, and cayenne. (Ok and a few other random spices, see below).

Oh, and a chicken leg. Because I had them. But this would truly stand on its own as dinner!

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For two servings, it’s about 225 calories a plate. Pretty guilt free for something that I’d be psyched to dive in to after closing time on a Saturday.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Large Head of Cauliflower
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Shallot
  • 1 Medium Portobello Mushroom
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tbs Butter
  • 1 Cup Stir Fry Veggies (mine included show peas, carrots, broccoli, and water chestnuts)
  • 2 Tbs Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • 1-2 Tbs Rice Vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Celery Salt, Coriander, Parsley, Cayenne, and Paprika, to personal taste

Directions:

  • Chop cauliflower, garlic, shallot, and mushrooms
  • Sautee garlic and shallot in butter
  • Push aside and scramble two eggs, push aside in the pan
  • Add cauliflower and veggies, cover and steam for 5 minutes
  • Mix all together with tamarin, vinegar, salt, pepper, and personal taste seasonings

Enjoy.

With some meat too, if you like.

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