The Yummy Side of Life…

A Triumph in the Kitchen: Risotto!
September 9, 2009, 7:32 pm
Filed under: Dinner, Sides

I *love* watching Hell’s Kitchen on Tuesday nights. I love the intensity in the kitchen, and then tension I feel when one of the chefs has to bring something (especially a risotto) up for service. Will it be well seasoned? Will Chef Ramsay throw the whole pan in the trash? It’s always a close call, and you can almost never tell which he is going to lean.

Because of this, many people I know (ahem, Krista!) have been discouraged from trying risotto, including myself. I decided to bite the bullet, however, and I’m so glad I did! I certainly didn’t expect it to come out well the first time, but lo and behold, I had a wonderful creamy, parmesan-y risotto in my bowl when I was finished.

I didn’t follow a certain recipe, just gathered tons of information from various readings about risotto. So, another recipe all my own! In fact, this is the first time (ever!) that I have cooked off the top of my head, just going by what I know. A major triumph in the kitchen today.

Okay, okay, on with it!!!


Parmesan Risotto for Two


  • 1 32-ounce box chicken broth
  • 1-2 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper
  • Parsley (fresh or dried)


  1. Warm the chicken broth in a 2-3 quart saucepan over medium heat. In a medium sized sauté pan, heat the olive oil on medium. Sauté onion and garlic until onion is nearly translucent, 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the rice and stir to coat. Toast the rice for 2-3 minutes until you can hear the grains clicking against each other. The rice should not be browned. Pour in the water while stirring, and let the rice absorb all liquid.
  3. Turn the heat under the rice mixture to medium-high. Ladle the broth into the rice until the rice is covered. Stir frequently (but not constantly) until the rice has absorbed the moisture.
  4. When the rice does not immediately come back together as you stir, add more broth to cover. Again, stir until the rice has absorbed the liquid. The rice should start to look creamy around this time.
  5. Add more broth as needed, tasting as you go to determine whether the rice is cooked through. The rice should be al dente–firm but not crunchy. This process should take 15-20 minutes from the time you add the water.
  6. Take the sauté pan off the heat, and add the two tablespoons of butter, stirring to incorporate. Add the parmesan, once again stirring until thoroughly mixed. Add salt & pepper, if needed.
  7. Garnish with parsley.

June 8, 2008, 6:47 pm
Filed under: Chicken, Dinner, Pork, Sides, Weekly Menu

It’s been abnormally busy for this time of year! I had a job interview two Thursdays ago which occupied my thoughts until this past Friday when I found out I didn’t make the cut. Ah well, such is life 🙂

Good news is: I’m in the mood to cook! Nothing fancy, I should say, but nonetheless, my tummy is rumbling at the creations I have planned for this week.

Monday: Burgers at the baseball game…

Tuesday: Free-for-all. I have ballet, so hubs usually has Subway or something frozen.

Wednesday: Rubbed pork chops with green beans and mashed potatoes.

Thursday: Black bean and salsa soup with tortilla chips and homemade salsa.

Friday or Saturday (depending on which night we eat out): Garlic cheddar chicken with a side salad (dressings of our choice) and French rolls.

Sunday: Egg Drop Soup with frozen egg rolls.

Will take photos for food…
May 26, 2008, 11:35 pm
Filed under: Sides, Vegetables | Tags:

and I’ll take them of food too 🙂

Yummy Green Beans with Cherry Tomatoes… The tomatoes were sauteed in an herbed butter sauce–Green beans were boiled until tender, then the tomatoes and butter sauce were poured over the green beans.

Even thoug h I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to, we still have yummy dinners every now and again! This particular night we had lemon-pepper chicken with a side salad (topped with balsamic vinaigrette and parmesan). On the side is a French roll (which I did NOT make myself LOL).

What a yummy meal this was! America’s Test Kitchen Pasta Caprese… Marinade some tomatoes in olive oil, basil, garlic, salt and pepper, toss with fresh mozzarella and penne rigate. Instant (and VERY quick) meal!

And last, but certainly not least, a photo from the store I work at (I took it for the website we are about to get up and running)… Stonewall Kitchen products are awesome!

May 26, 2008, 7:15 pm
Filed under: Beef, Dinner, Pork, Seafood, Sides

It’s been a while, I know. I feel out of commission. LOL. Last week was SO busy!! I had a job interview at Churchville Elementary for their 3-5 music position and the Buffalo Gap HS band director position. I find out early June if I got the job or not. ::crosses fingers::

Because of that, I cooking hardly anything last week. This week is going to be an EASY week as I’m just not up to it, and we had plenty of stuff in the fridge/freezer to use up! So, here is our menu for this week:

#1: Hot dogs (all beef franks) with chips… Hey today is Memorial Day!!! Even though we don’t have a grill, we still cook the food that people should have on days like this 🙂

#2: Barbecue beef on whole wheat hamburger buns(brand = Lloyd’s…you can find it in the meat section of the grocery store) with fresh fruit on the side.

#3: Popcorn shrimp with a side salad.

#4: Egg Drop Soup (the only thing I HAVE to actually make on this week’s menu) with egg rolls and mandarin oranges.

#5: Grilled pork chops (rubbed with spices), green beans, and mashed potatoes.

So there it is… An easy week for me. Hopefully I’ll be back in the swing of things next week. Summer is here and that means lots of fresh veggies and herbs!

Sweet Cornbread
January 6, 2008, 2:39 am
Filed under: Sides

submitted by Virginia Hanker on

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine the egg, sour cream, milk, and butter. Stir sour cream mixture into dry ingredients.

Pour into a greased 8×8 dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

A couple of Phil’s college friends came over tonight en route to Texas (from Pennsylvania). I also made a slow-cooker chili with ground bison meat, but that recipe comes out of my head and is different every time I make it. I finished off with brownies-from-a-box. I got the extra fudgy kind, and they were simply delish!

Oh… Before I forget: I did not alter this recipe in any shape or form (although I did use fat-free sour cream, but just because I happened to have it on hand). It was super moist and was the perfect side for the chili!

Tomato-Mozzarella Salad
July 9, 2007, 9:18 pm
Filed under: Sides, Vegetables | Tags: , ,

Tomato-Mozzarella Salad

2 plum tomatoes
4 oz. part skim mozzarella, cubed
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. dried basil, crushed
black pepper and salt to taste

1. Halve the tomatoes down the length of the the fruits. Mix together with mozzarella in medium-sized bowl.
2. Drizzle EVOO on mixture.
3. Sprinkle basil, pepper, and salt on top.
4. Toss with hands until mixture is well coated with oil and spices.

Serves 2.

I found the original recipe for this on However, I REALLY like basil, and it called for 3 leaves, not crushed (per serving). Eh… not enough for my taste. 1 tsp. per serving of salad really added the extra oomph that the salad needed for me (not to mention a tad of salt, which the original recipe didn’t have.