Simple Shrimp and Veggie Risotto

Wow!  What a busy August it has been.

The kids and I took a road trip and were away for two weeks.  Then we returned to crazy Back-To-School mode.  Phew!  I’m pooped!

And while I’ve been cooking (we DO have to eat, after all!) I haven’t been blogging.  I’m just too worn out at the end of the day to actually think.

But I made something tonight that I wanted to share with you.  As usual, it was pretty easy. I did most of the prep work while the kids told me about their day and did homework. Then I cooked it while I let them watch a show.

My daughter came down with a stomach bug this morning and was on the BRAT diet all day.  So I knew she needed to have rice for dinner.  I found some Arborio Rice in my pantry and decided to run with it — I would make plain risotto for her and something a little more substantial for my guys. 

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Plus, I had a ton of veggies in my fridge that were on the fringe.  It was either use `em, or lose `em.  So I came up with this dish: 

Shrimp and Veggie Risotto

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  • 1 cup risotto
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bag of frozen, raw shrimp
  • 1 heaping Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 green zucchini squash, chopped
  • 1 yellow zucchini squash, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 oz mushrooms, quartered
  • salt
  • pepper
  • shredded parmesan cheese (to sprinkle on top)
Start by getting the risotto going. In a heavy saucepan, put 2 Tbsp olive oil and melt 1 Tbsp butter with it. Saute the onion.  ImageWhen the onion is opaque, add the cup of arborio rice and saute that for 2 minutes.  Then, start adding your chicken broth — over low heat, add 1 cup at a time and allow it to come to a boil until the liquid is absorbed.  ImageYou’ll need to keep an eye on this and stir it regularly so it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
*Note:  I’ve seen recipes that instruct people heat the chicken broth in a separate sauce pan and adding it a little at a time. I’ve done this before, and found it doesn’t really make a big difference in the outcome.  So I just use the chicken broth straight from the container.  
After adding your first cup of chicken broth to the risotto — get started on the shrimp and veggies.  ImageSaute the garlic in remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil. Once the garlic is becoming more clear, add your tomatoes, salt and pepper and allow them to start to cook down (but not too much!)
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As the tomatoes are starting to soften, add your zucchini squash, mushroom and shrimp and cook it until the shrimp is pink and cooked through. (the shrimp and veggies took about 15 minutes to cook.)   
Ohhhhh — this was SO pretty and smelled SO good!!
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Once the veggies and shrimp are cooked through and the risotto is deliciously creamy — you’re ready to serve.  I put a scoop of risotto into a bowl and then a heaping scoop of shrimp and veggies on top.  Sprinkled with a little parmesan cheese and – YUM!
Personally, I thought this was delicious.  It was creamy and chock-full-of-veggies.  Plus, you can make it without the shrimp and substitute vegetable broth to make a vegetarian meal.  I was hopeful the kids would like it, too. So — moment of truth.  How’d the Hubs and the kids take to it???
  • The Hubs loved it, saying ‘It’s great.’
  • My 3 year old didn’t eat the shrimp and veggies since she was on a bland diet. But she loved her plain risotto and asked for seconds.
  • My 5 year old was in love.  He ate the entire bowl in record time.
  • My 7 year old ate it under duress (this is how he does EVERYTHING these days.  Even trying to get him ready for a trip to the pool turns me into a broken record: “Put your bathing suit on.  Put your bathing suit on.  Put your bathing suit on.”) He complained about how ‘EVERYONE’ knows he HATES zucchini and how DARE I give him zucchini!!!!  (The NERVE!!!)  I asked him to give it a try and promised he would not get dessert if he kept up his Oscar-worthy performance.  Low-and-behold… he actually didn’t hate it.  He ate it.  And if he wasn’t so set on being so difficult about EVERYTHING these days… he may have even had seconds.

I hope that getting back into the school routine gets me back on the blog routine.  I’ve missed writing these past few weeks.  The cooking…. well…. not so much!  LOL!

Happy eating!
Sharon
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Whole Lotta Cookin’ Goin’ On! Three Nights of Dinner…

There’s been a lot of cooking (and eating!) going on in our house.

Blogging? Not so much.

Life caught up with me this weekend, and I got a bit behind in my posts. So I wanted to bring you up-to-date on the meals I’ve made over the past couple of nights.

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Pork Noodle Stir-Fry

Grilled Leg of Lamb, Corn on Cob, Grilled Mushrooms

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Shrimp & Grits, Steamed Green Beans, Cucumber Salad

  • Tonight: Grilled Leg of Lamb, Corn on the Cob, Grilled Steak-cut Mushrooms
  • Last night: Shrimp and Grits, Cucumber Salad, Steamed Green Beans
  • Two Nights Ago: Pork & Noodle Stir-Fry (A Leftover Extravaganza)

Pork & Noodle Stir-Fry

Let’s start with two nights ago, when I was out with the kids all day and came home at 4pm with no dinner plan in mind. So I grabbed whatever was in my refrigerator, threw it in my Wok and came up with this concoction: Pork & Noodle Stir-Fry.

Ingredients:

  • The main ingredient was simply the leftovers from when I made Grilled Pork Chops with a Honey Glaze two nights before. Thinly sliced.
  • Whatever veggies I had on hand: frozen sliced green, yellow & red peppers, a can of button mushrooms (drained), baby carrots, snow peas.
  • A jar of Kikoman Stir-Fry sauce
  • Angel Hair Pasta (cooked)
  • Toasted Sesame Oil

Here’s how I threw it together (literally)

  • heat up a little sesame oil in the wok
  • cook chopped carrots over high heat for 3-4 minutes — until cooked just a tad
  • toss in the snow peas and peppers
  • add in 1/2 jar of Kikoman Stir-Fry sauce
  • toss in the cooked Angel Hair Pasta and button mushrooms
  • STIR the entire time
  • It’s all done and ready to serve in about 10 minutes. (including veggie chopping time.)photo-42

Was it a hit? Yes and No. Earlier that day, my kids were at a taste-testing event for our public school system (more on that in a future post) and had eaten some foods that are not part of our usual repertoire. So, by the time our long & busy day was over, the kids were (I think) ready for some chicken nuggets or something more ‘kid-friendly.’ But they still liked this meal… particularly the noodles… and ate their dinners. My husband also really liked this. I’ve made Tofu Stir-Fry this way before with similar success, so I would serve it again.

((A word about the Kikoman Stir-Fry Sauce — I always have this on hand in my pantry because it’s a great way to help use up the veggies that are getting tired in the fridge. But it’s a bit on the salty side. So I water it down as I see fit.))

Shrimp & Grits, Cucumber Salad & Steamed Green Beans

Sifting through my kitchen to find the makings for the Pork Noodle Stir Fry inspired me to try to use up everything in my refrigerator and freezer. That’s when I found the fixin’s for this menu: shrimp in the freezer, grits and diced tomatoes in the pantry.

Trouble is: I’m trying to lose a few L-B’s and Shrimp & Grits isn’t always considered the most low-cal meal. That’s when I found Bobby Dean’s lightened-up version of his mom’s Shrimp and Grits recipe.

Bobby Dean's Lightened-up Shrimp & Grits

Bobby Dean’s Lightened-up Shrimp & Grits

It’s more tomato-based, less cheese. I used turkey bacon instead and omitted the hot sauce. My kids tend to love shrimp dishes, and this was well-received. Even my 6 year old who is less-than-enthusiastic about other recipes for Shrimp and Grits that I’ve tried, ate this with little grumbling.

The steamed green beans — well, that’s all they were.

The Cucumber Salad was the most-favored dish on this menu. My kids all LOVED this.

Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad

I based mine on this Ellie Krieger recipe. The biggest differences in mine: 1) I didn’t have any red onion, so that was left out, and, 2) I substituted dill for the fresh basil from my herb planter. Oh — and I used regular cucumbers, which I tend to always have on hand in my fridge. Saying my kids loved this is an understatement. If your kids like cucumbers – give it a try. It’s definitely a keeper in our house!

Grilled Leg of Lamb, Corn on the Cob and Grilled Mushrooms

Grilled Leg of Lamb, Corn on Cob, Grilled Mushrooms

Grilled Leg of Lamb, Corn on Cob, Grilled Mushrooms

That brings us to — last, but not least — tonight’s super-simple, super-yummy meal. All of the ingredients were on sale at the grocery store today, including the boneless, butterflied leg of lamb. So I just couldn’t resist. Leg of lamb is my absolute favorite meal. And grilling it makes it less messy than it is when you roast it. Not to mention it’s so much better to grill when it’s 82 degrees outside!

All I do for my lamb is:

Leg of Lamb on the Grill

Leg of Lamb on the Grill

  1. spray grill with cooking spray
  2. sprinkle lamb with garlic salt on one side, garlic powder on the other (I find this gives it the garlic and saltiness that I love, without either being too overpowering)
  3. put a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary on top, sort of tucking them into the crevasses of the lamb.
  4. grill on low heat until done.(about 45 min-1 hour)

Yummmmmmmmmm………

The Hubs loves this.

The kiddos love this. My 6yo wanted the leftovers in his lunchbox for tomorrow. He’ll have to arm wrestle my hubby for them.

I love this.

So there you have it — three nights of dinner in one extra-long post.

Sorry for the delay, but you know how it goes. 🙂

Happy eatings!

Sharon