Rice

The primary grain for large parts of the world. Cheap, easy, and filling. A good vehicle for a complex sauce or meat course.

Rice Pilaf, Pork Chops, and Green Beans and Tomatoes

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The plan tonight was to make a risotto again. Then I forgot to buy the mushrooms. Unfortunately, I still had some beef stock to use up. So, as I had been perusing some coffee table books, I came across a recipe for rice pilaf.

Making pilaf is pretty simple: Melt some butter, sweat some onions, cook the rice a bit, then add the stock, boil, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed. For improvisation, it turned out fantastic (and now that I think of it, Spanish Rice is very similar to Pilaf...)

The same cookbook had a recipe for green beans and tomatoes, which turned out pretty well, but I forgot the basil, which likely would've made it better.

All this was in accompaniment to some pork chops I picked up and pan-fried with some Lawry's.

Altogether it turned out terrific, but I need to keep working on my vegetable sides.

Pork chop, rice pilaf, and green beans and tomatoes on a plate

Mustard Chicken and Mushroom Risotto

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This is a good show of how much I've learned over the last 2 years:

  1. The chicken breasts were seasoned with Lawry's, pan-seared on a hot pan with a bit of oil for browning, and then finished in a 400° oven
  2. While the chicken finished in the oven, I prepared the risotto, mostly from this recipe from myrecipes.com (though I've learned from Emeril's recipe, and these risotto techniques from The Awl
  3. A cup of milk deglazed the pan, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, 2 tbsp of dijon mustard, some salt, some pepper, and 1 tbsp of flour created a pan sauce

And one thing I haven't learned:

  1. Frozen broccoli looks kind of silly next to the rest of this...

Altogether I like the formula: One difficult or involved thing (risotto), one moderately-complex thing (the pan sauce), and the rest easy things (chicken and broccoli). I spent about an hour in the kitchen, and created something wonderful!

mustard chicken with mushroom risotto on a plate

Bean and Rice Burritos

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Another one from the dawn of my culinary bachelor past. This dish is easy, cheap, nutritious, and delicious. It's so easy, I've lost the recipe, I haven't made it in 5 or more years, and still I was able to figure it back out from scratch.

This is a classic easy weeknight meal. Make some rice (20 minutes), build the burritos (5 minutes), and bake for 20 minutes, and you're done. The main ingredients, rice and beans, are pantry staples. The most expensive ingredient is the cheese, but it's good to keep some cheese around for cheese emergencies (though, in my opinion, the only emergency is not having cheese).

Get the recipe for Bean and Rice Burritos

bean and rice burritos on
a plate

Gruyere Shrimp Risotto

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I love risotto. It takes some effort, but that effort is rewarded with a delicious, creamy, flavorful rice dish. I've been making risottos for a while. I made a mushroom parmesan barley risotto with poulet au vin blanc, a few months back.

This gruyere and shrimp risotto was a departure from the recipe I found, which called for asiago and a pressure cooker. I made mine in the classic way, on the stove, slowly. I had some gruyere left over from the potato dauphinois a few weeks ago, and some shrimp that were starting to get a little freezer burn (leftover from shrimp etouffee).

It turned out amazing. The gruyere is sharp but not overpowering. The shrimp lends a wonderful flavor. And it went great with the poulet, which I'm always a fan of.

See the gruyere shrimp risotto recipe

Gruyere shrimp risotto with poulet au vin blanc and roasted
cauliflower

Buffalo Chicken Bowls

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When I started this blog, my refrigerator was practically empty. Now, I've got half-used bottles of dozens of condiments, all waiting for their return to the limelight. Today's recipe, Buffalo Chicken Bowls from Pretty Providence, brought back the buffalo hot sauce (leftover from an interesting pasta concoction that didn't see the publish button), and hot sauce's natural frenemy: Ranch dressing.

This recipe was a piece of cake with a slow cooker. The magic formula for slow-cooking chicken seems to be:

  • 2-3 pounds chicken
  • 1-2 cups flavorful liquid
  • 2-4 cups vegetables (beans, corn, potatoes, onions, carrots, celery)

(for other instances of this formula, see Taco Chicken Bowls and Indian Spiced Stew)

The ingredients for Buffalo Chicken Bowls, and a crock
pot

I left out a few ingredients from the recipe, leaving only:

  • Chicken
  • Buffalo sauce
  • Black beans
  • Corn
  • Rice
  • Ranch dressing

In short, this was the Taco Chicken Bowls recipe with buffalo sauce instead of salsa, and no need for the spice blend.

Like the Taco Chicken Bowls, this goes great in a bowl with some rice, a bit of ranch dressing and cheddar cheese, or wrap the lot in a burrito skin, which is like a tube-shaped bowl you can eat!

The finished recipe served in a bowl over rice with cheese on
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