Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One Pot Wednesday: Crockpot Sundried Tomato Risotto

When I saw this recipe for making risotto in the crockpot on the Year of Slowing Cooking blog , I was rather intrigued....can you really make risotto in the crockpot??! I figured I would test it.

The recipe seems simple enough....4 ingredients:

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 1/2 cup Arborio rice
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese (to add later) {I couldnt help it...I used Parmesan instead...I mean its risotto!)


  1. Use a 4-quart slow cooker. Put the sundried tomatoes into the bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Add the rice and swirl it around in the oil, until the rice is well-coated. 
  3. Add the chicken broth. 
  4. Cover and cook on high for 2 to 4 hours, or until the rice is tender (if you're out of the house, set the timer for 2 hours, then check when you get home so you don't end up with gummy rice--you can always flip it to high if the rice is still crunchy).
  5. Remove the lid of your cooker and stir in the cheese. Turn off the cooker and let the risotto sit for 10 minutes with the lid off before serving.

You know I cant leave well enough alone i sliced up 2 portabello caps and drops those in about 10 minutes before the rice was done.  You have to watch it.....because it will get gloppy pretty fast. I really liked the way this tasted....but both my mom and my brother said they thought it was too sour...i guess there are a couple of ways to make it less sour: 
  1. Use less sundried tomato....but that means less flavor...
  2. Add some chicken (you could use rotisserie chicken so you dont have to cook it separately)
  3. Add a little bit of sugar
  4. Ive also read that you could add alternating pinches of baking soda and sugar until its not so sour, but you cant taste the baking soda (Sounds interesting...but I'm curious if it will work)
Or you could just cook it this way....I liked it...but then again....I like really tart things. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

1AM trip to Walmart = Chili?!?!!?

I was at my parent's house on saturday night and I knew that I was planning on making the Sundried Tomato Risotto (recipe to come later this week!) on Sunday and I wanted to run to the 24hour Giant to grab some sundried mom said she didnt want to go, but for me to bring her back an popsicle. Me and my big mouth....I said "No popsicle unless you come with me!" So of course my mom comes with me, Giant turns out not to be 24 hours anymore, my mom has the bright idea that Walmart is 24 hours, we roam around the aisles of Walmart at 1am, my mom gets the bright idea that she wants me to make her chili,  and $100 worth of crap I don't need later.....I'm making Chili

This is some rocking chili--my brother and my best friend's brother once ate like 10lbs of meat of it in one make alot if you are feeding people who like to eat lols. I use turkey, rather than beef cuz my brother doesnt eat beef and so its less fattening :) I think the original recipe came from Cooking Light....but I adjust it whenever I make it is:


6  ounces  hot turkey Italian sausage
2  cups  chopped onion
1  cup  chopped green bell pepper
8  garlic cloves, minced
1  pound  ground sirloin (I replace this with ground turkey)
1  jalapeño pepper, chopped (I usually dont add this, but i will add about a teaspoon of     ground chipotle and or cayenne pepper
2  tablespoons chili powder
2  tablespoons  brown sugar
1  tablespoon  ground cumin
3  tablespoons  tomato paste
1  teaspoon  dried oregano
1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1/4  teaspoon  salt
2  bay leaves
1 1/4  cups  Merlot or other fruity red wine
2  (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped
2  (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese


  1. Heat a large dutch oven/pot over medium-high heat. 
  2. Remove casings from sausage. 
  3. Add sausage, onion, and the next 4 ingredients (onion through jalapeño) to pan; cook 8 minutes or until meat is browned, stirring to crumble.
  4. Add chili powder and the next 7 ingredients (chili powder through bay leaves), and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. 
  5. Stir in wine, tomatoes, and kidney beans; bring to a boil. 
  6. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  7. Uncover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Discard the bay leaves. 
  9. Sprinkle each serving with cheddar cheese.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

One Pot Wednesday: Chicken with Potato and Kale

I have some interesting things in the works for this blog.....the first being: One Pot Wednesdays.....every Wednesday I am going to post a 1 pot/pan/dish recipe.....first up this week: Chicken w/ Potato and Kale. Hopefully these recipes will give be easy enough that it inspires you to try them in your own kitchen.....and as always...stay consumed!

This Chicken with Potato and Kale is simple but flavorful.  You basically throw everything in a roasting pan and pop it in the oven. The veggies help keep the chicken moist. Give this a wont be disappointed!

8 chicken legs (I used the thighs....but you can also use whole chicken legs or chicken breasts. If you use the whole chicken leg or big chicken breasts, make a cut at the joint so the chicken will cook all the way through )
1.5 lb kale (I "cheated" and used the ones from the grocery store that have already been stemmed, cut, and washed)
1 medium onion sliced very thinly
1.5 lb potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/4in thick
Olive Oil
Fresh Ground Pepper
Lemon wedges (optional, for serving)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. In a large roasting pan toss the kale, potatoes, and onions with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Make sure that the kale, potatoes, and onions are well coated with the olive oil. 
  3. Sprinkle the chicken (top and bottom) with salt and pepper and paprika. I didn't really measure how much salt and pepper I used...just kind of guesstimated. Sprinkle generously with the salt and the paprika. 
  4. Set the chicken in the pan on top of the vegetables (nestle them in a little bit)
  5. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and put in the oven for 25 minutes
  6. Remove the foil and cook for another 30 minutes
  7. Serve the chicken and veggies with a lemon wedge for extra flavor. 

Monday, April 11, 2011


I know that I have been writing a lot about eating out lately.....but I haven't had much time to cook at home....but I will try to post some recipes this week. In the meantime, here is another restaurant review.  

Ever since a friend of mine mentioned this place...I have been wanting to check out Assaggi Mozzarella Bar in Bethesda....I mean......the name itself is a huge attraction....."mozzarella bar" implies there are different types of that was enough of a draw.....the website describes it as a "variety of Italian and US made mozzarellas, homemade pastas, and fresh seafood"....I was super excited.

The meal was EXCELLENT.....totally lived up to expectations....and it was gorgeous out so we got to sit outside.

We started with the mozzarella tasting--Buffalo Mozzarella, Ricotta, and Burrata. The Buffalo Mozzarella was good, but pretty standard for that type of mozzarella. Burrata is one of my favorite cheeses, nice and creamy and  mild. The star/surprise of the night though was the ricotta. It was delicious--strong ricotta flavor, refreshing, light, and creamy. I was surprised.....I think I liked it more than the burrata because it had such a great flavor. The mozzarella tasting came with 4 homemade condiments: green tomato marmalade, roasted eggplant, organic roasted peppers, basil marinated zucchini. While the other three were good, the green tomato marmalade was the best--sweet, yet tart with the tomato still firm (not mushy like a lot of pickled veggies get)--and paired well with the mild mozzarellas.


Next I had the baked arancini and beth had the carrot, roasted beet, and celery root salad. The baked arancini was interesting, but not as good as some real arancini I have had before. Beth's beet salad was good, but she was a little disappointed in it because the beets didnt taste as "roasted" sweet and smoky as other roasted beets we have had. 

For entrees I got the bigoli pasta with duck and porcini ragu. Bigoli is like a spaghetti noodle only really big/thick. The ragu was amazing, the porcini was very flavorful. The homemade bigoli was my favorite thing of the night. The pasta was al dente, soft, but not mushy, chewy but not tough.....probably some of the best home made pasta Ive ever had. I took the leftovers home with me and it was even better the next day. I have been devising a way I can get more of this without having to "hike" to Bethesda all the time. (Sorry about the blurry pic. I was really hungry and my hand wouldnt stay still and I tried to take this pic like 5 times already and finally gave up!) 

Beth got the Cavatelli with herb pesto. The herb pesto wasnt quite what I would normally expect from a was basil-y but you could taste there were other herbs in there, slight hint of garlic, a little bit of saltiness from the Parmesan cheese, not very oily. It was very light and refreshing (light isnt a word you would normally use with pesto....).

For dessert we got the Almond was only OK. Nothing to write home about.

Rating: Excellent, loved it! Definately worth a 2nd trip! 
Cost: Average....around $20-$25 for the entree. 
Insider Tip: If you love home made pastas.....this is the place! 

As always....stay consumed! :P

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Tea, A Scavenger Hunt, 32 Hidden Doors!

Angela and I went to a Sunday afternoon dessert tea at the Mansion on O Street. I had a LivingSocial coupon. Regularly....the Dessert tea is $25 and the Treasure Hunt is an extra $ $70 for 2 people...but I got it for $25! Score! :)

The House is about 1.5 blocks from the Dupont Circle easy walk....or if you want to double park outside and go in the mansion and give the keys to the butler (yes...the butler! :P). The house definitely does not look like anything special on the outside....but inside....its a sight that is rather hard to explain....

I guess I'll start with the house. There are over 100 rooms and 32 secret doors, built into bookcases, or behind painting, etc. Each room is filled with artwork, statutes, many of the walls, floors, or ceilings are painted.....There is a secret wine cellar that can only be found if you figure out where the hidden door is. A room with a jukebox, a room with a pool table, a kitchen and dining room space decorated like a 60s diner, a  chess table inside of a bathroom.....everything in the house is fun and eclectic!

The dessert tea was great....the tea itself was OK....not a great brand (If you do a private get better tea cuz I saw the waiters walking around with Tea Forte teas....)....The dessert offering was great! Delicious Tiramisu, cookies, whoopie pies, lemon bar, 5 different scones, regular & cinnamon clotted cream, candy, chocolates, and a bunch of other things I cant even remember. There is also a giant cheese platter with like 10 different types of cheese and crackers.
The room where we had our tea--Museum 5
Part of the Spread
Ginger scone, Cranberry scone, lemon bar, tiramisu (delish!), chocolate cake, orange creme pudding (good!), pistachio pudding (not so good!), brie, some other type of white cheese.

After stuffing ourselves it was time to start the scavenger hunt. We were told that there were 32 secret doors....and that if we found 3 we were having a really good day....we found 5 + 2 that were labeled (lols)....we rocked the hunt! :P We had to look for things like a bear wearing a top hot carrying a basket of berries, a butterfly playing a french horn flying, and a chess table inside a bathroom. Ang and I played a quick game of chess in the bathroom--I mean come on! when would we get another chance to play chess inside a bathroom.....lols :P 

Rating: Excellent, loved it!
Cost: a bit expensive ....but worth it for the experience 
Insider Tip: Great for a girls brunch or a mother/daughter day ....they also have rooms for renting out at reasonable prices! Many of the rooms can be rented as a hotel room too. Go and try to beat my score of 5 secret doors! 

As always....stay consumed!