Salmon Risotto

Sometimes I make a dish that I must be shared immediately.  This is one of those times.  After a long, unplugged weekend in Michigan, it was a bit of a struggle to get back into the swing of things.  I decided grocery shopping was unnecessary since I’d be out-of-town again soon which left me working with what I had on hand for dinners this week.  This probably wasn’t my best idea ever, but I survived.  Wednesday night I was feeling uninspired and ended up eating some of those freezer burritos with some carrots and half a pear; I know, totally lame.  Yesterday though, yesterday inspiration struck hard during a lull at work – salmon risotto.

I was expecting a tasty result, but what I got was even better than I expected.  Simple, flavorful, fairly light for a risotto dish, and totally addicting.  I could not stop taking bites.  Risotto is one of those dishes that seems all fancy and difficult to make, but the truth is it’s pretty damn simple.  The key is keeping the broth warm while you’re cooking the rice.  If you want more guidance, check out Julie‘s post on How to Make the Perfect Risotto.

Salmon Risotto

by Stina

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

 

Ingredients (Yields: 4, 1 cup servings)

  • 2 1.2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup arborio rice
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill, divided
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 9 oz cooked salmon
  • 1 oz smoked gouda cheese, shredded

Instructions

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm chicken stock.

In a large stock pot of dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic cooking 3 – 5 minutes until soft and translucent.

Add rice and toast, stirring once or twice, for another 2 – 3 minutes.

Add 1/2 teaspoon dill and pour in wine. Cook until wine is reduced to a glaze.

Add chicken stock in 1/2 cup increments allowing rice to fully absorb the stock before each addition; stir frequently until rice is tender. NOTE: you may not need all of the broth. Check rice after about 3 1/2 cups.

Once rice is tender stir in the cooked salmon, remaining dill, and smoked gouda until cheese is melted and salmon and dill are incorporated.

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Other thoughts:

  • This is a great way to repurpose leftover salmon, but you could just as easily use canned salmon.  I didn’t have either, so I pan-fried two filets I had in my freezer in a little bit of olive oil and soy sauce.
  • This would be excellent with a splash of lemon juice added – made 1 – 2 teaspoons.
  • I originally intended to use parmesan cheese but didn’t have any on hand.  The smoked gouda worked well, but parmesan would be just as good I think.
  • Feel free to add some veggies when you add the salmon.  I just didn’t have any that I thought would go well.)

Also, let’s not think too hard about that fact that I have the ingredients on hand to throw together a salmon risotto, but I don’t have any fresh veggies or parmesan cheese…I don’t get it either.

Perfect Refried Beans

me: So, the other day I decided (and just redecided right now) I want a robot that will make me homemade refried black beans on demand.

Laura: Hahaha! That’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever said

me: Hahaha, surely that can’t be the most ridiculous thing I’ve EVER said! Maybe in a while, but ever? 🙂

Laura: Ever

me: Hahaha! Well I still think it would be awesome. I mean it could do other household chores, like laundry and the dishes, but its primary duty would be to make me refried beans.

I’m not sure there are words to adequately express just how much I love refried beans, but that conversation with Laura is probably a pretty good illustration. In fact, I’m pretty sure my love of Mexican food actually stems from my love of refried beans. When we were in Mexico for Christmas two years ago, I swear I ate refried beans at every single meal. This is also where I became obsessed with refried bean and cheese omelets. (I know; I know. It sounds weird, but it’s delicious. Trust me.)

I’ve been making homemade refried beans for at least a year now, but I never really measured my spices or wrote anything down. Then a couple of weeks ago I set out on the quest for the perfect pot of refried beans. I started measuring, and writing, and tasting, and I am confident in saying I have finally perfected my recipe.

But before I get on with sharing it, can we take a moment to discuss the fact that refried beans are easily Top 5 on the list of least photogenic foods. The chip + Instagram was my attempt to make my bowl of refried beans look appetizing and photogenic. How did I do? Yeah…on to the deliciousness!

Prefect Refried Black Beans
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Yields: about 3, ½ cup servings Points Plus: 3

Ingredients

  • 1 – 15 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ – 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Method

  • Pour beans into small sauce pan and add enough vegetable broth to just cover the beans. Add garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cilantro, and cumin and stir until spices are dissolved.
  • Bring to boil over medium-high heat.
  • Once boiling, remove from heat and mash beans with a potato masher. NOTE: This will result in there still being some larger chucks of black beans in the mix. For smoother refried beans use an immersion blender or carefully pour mixture into a blender.
  • Spray a skillet with a thin coating of cooking spray, add mashed bean mixture and “fry” over medium heat for 1 – 2 minutes stirring occasionally.

Serve your favorite way! Nachos, tacos, enchiladas, toastadas, with chips, in an omelet, the possibilities are endless!

Operation Grab and Go Freeze Meals

When it comes to breakfast and lunch recently, I’ve been going out to eat far too often. And if we’re being really honest here, that’s really just a nice way of saying I have been supremely lazy.  The worst part is that the meals I’m buying (especially breakfast) aren’t even very good!  It’s 100% laziness/ convenience.

[Source]

In order to (hopefully) remedy this problem, I’ve decided I am going to spend a day (this Sunday) stocking my freezer with quick and easy options. I’ve never really done any sort of batch cooking or frozen meal prep before, so I’m pretty much flying blind here.  Rather than jumping into the deep end to sink or swim, I’m attempting to create a plan of attack.  I will be sure to report back next week on my success (or lack thereof!)

SO…My goal: make the six recipes below on Sunday afternoon.  I have no idea if this is a realistic goal or not, but I’m going to give it the ole college try.

Breakfast Recipes
Heat and Eat Quiche Breakfast Sandwiches also from Cassie
Green Monster and Smoothie Quick Packs inspired by Samantha at The Peanuts Gang (I also want to make her French Vanilla Banana Muffins at some point, but I’m not sure if those will make it to the freezer!)
Steel Cut Oats

Lunch Recipes
Freezer Black Bean Burritos from Cassie at Back to Her Roots
Freezer Black Bean Burgers from Mom on a Mission
White Chicken Chili (I believe one of my Weight Watchers cookbooks at home has a recipe.)

The Plan:

As it stands right now, I’ve got a grocery list, and I’m planning to shop sometime tomorrow.  This way, I can make the black beans for the burgers and burritos in the crock pot overnight on Saturday, and the steel-cut oats can cook in the crock pot during the day Sunday while I cook the rest of the stuff.  Hopefully once I’ve got all my ingredients and work space in front of me, I can come up with an efficient way to make everything quickly.

Other Thoughts:

I considered making waffles to reheat in the toaster and pancakes for the microwave, but those aren’t quite as “grab-n-go” as the sandwiches.  I also thought about of casseroles and pasta dishes as they generally freeze very well, but getting dinner on the table in the evening isn’t usually much of an issue for me. I really love cooking, and most of the time it’s a de-stresser for me so when I’ve had a really rough day is often when I look forward to cooking really complicated meals. (I’m sick; I know.)

Breakfast is a big issue for Nik since he doesn’t give himself time to make and eat breakfast before leaving. He needs options he can heat up and eat on his way out the door. I struggle more with lunch especially when I don’t have leftover to take. So pre-portion breakfast options that Nik can warm up in the microwave on his way out the door and lunch options I can reheat in the microwave at work were my priority, and unfortunately casseroles and pasta dishes don’t work super great for either of those meals.

If this works out well, I can definitely see it becoming something I do regularly.