Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jalapeno Popper Cups

I found this twist on the standard, deep-fried jalapeno popper on the Pillsbury website. These Jalapeno Popper Cups turned out to be a huge hit on the appetizer table at the Easter dinner that we attended. Guests snatched them all off of the plate within 20 minutes of our arrival at the party. Next time, I will double the recipe....

This recipe was really simple. It came together in 15 minutes or less.

To begin, mix the filling ingredients: diced green chiles,shredded cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, bacon, and dried minced onion. I stirred the ingredients all together with my Pampered Chef Mix n' Scraper. I love this multi-purpose tool. It's perfect for both stirring and scraping. No need to wash both a spoon and a rubber spatula when you've got a Mix n' Scraper!

Then pop open a tube of Pillsbury Grands Jr. Golden Layer Biscuits. (The smaller-sized Jr. biscuits happen to be the perfect size for a mini-muffin tin.)

Separate each biscuit into halves.

Press each half into a mini muffin tin using your fingers or a mini-tart shaper.

Fill the cups with a heaping teaspoonful of the filling.

Then top each cup with a slice of jalapeno pepper.

Bake at 375 degrees for 13-19 minutes. Remove from the muffin tin and cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. And that's it! A no-fuss, crowd-pleasing appetizer in minutes!

Jalapeno Popper Cups from Pillsbury

1 can (12 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® Jr. Golden Layers® refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1 can (4.5 oz) Old El Paso® chopped green chiles, drained
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (2 oz)
1/3 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
2 tablespoons cooked real bacon pieces (from 3- to 4.3-oz jar or package)
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
20 Old El Paso® pickled jalapeño slices (from 12-oz jar), drained

Heat oven to 375°F. Separate each biscuit into 2 rounds. Press 1 round in bottom and up side of each of 20 ungreased mini muffin cups.
In small bowl, mix remaining ingredients except jalapeño slices. Spoon heaping 1 teaspoon mixture into each cup; top each with 1 jalapeño slice.
Bake 13 to 19 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from pan to serving platter; let stand 5 minutes. Serve warm.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft):
Bake 16 to 22 minutes.

Nutritional Information:
1 Serving (1 Appetizer)Calories 100(Calories from Fat 60),Total Fat 6g(Saturated Fat 1 1/2g,Trans Fat 1g),Cholesterol 5mg;Sodium 290mg;Total Carbohydrate 8g(Dietary Fiber 0g,Sugars 1g),Protein 2g;Percent Daily Value*:Vitamin A 0.00%;Vitamin C 2.00%;Calcium 0.00%;Iron 4.00%;Exchanges:1/2 Starch;0 Fruit;0 Other Carbohydrate;0 Skim Milk;0 Low-Fat Milk;0 Milk;0 Vegetable;0 Very Lean Meat;0 Lean Meat;0 High-Fat Meat;1 Fat;Carbohydrate Choices:1/2;*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

* Instead of pre-prepared bacon, I used 2 bacon strips, fried crispy and crumbled.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lemon Cupcakes

After the delicious lemon cookies that I baked last week, I stil had some leftover lemons and lemon drops. I decided that my contribution to the Easter dessert table would be lemon cupcakes. A quick online search for lemon cupcakes turned up this Lemon Drop Cupcake recipe on the Better Homes and Gardens website. With the frosting colored a light Springy yellow and topped with a Peep, these were a festive addition to the buffet. They were pretty enough to serve as a center-piece!

Before I began mixing up the little lemon cakes, some prep work was in order. First, the butter and the eggs should be set out 30 minutes prior to making the batter to allow them to come to room temperature.

Also I grated the peel off of a lemon using my wonderful new Pampered Chef microplane grater.

Then using my new super sharp utility knife, I cut the lemon in half. This knife is crazy sharp, it just glides through fruits and vegetables.

Finally, I have a juicer! The Pampered Chef Juicer is dishwasher safe and a durable reamer strains juices for less pulp. The clear 8-oz. base has standard and metric measures, a non-skid ring, and an easy pour spout. I realize that I am shamelessly promoting my PC products in this post, but I really do love my new juicer. : )

Finally, I "set up shop" next to my mixer. I had everything at the ready, the room temperature eggs and butter, the combined dry ingredients, the lemon juice mixed with milk, the lemon zest, and the sugar.

Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds, then add in sugar and lemon peel. Beat again until combined.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat after each addition.

Next, add the dry ingredients....

alternately with the lemon juice/milk mixture. Beat until just combined after each addition. You really want to beat this as little as possible. Over-mixing after the flour is added strenghthens the gluten bonds in the flour and will toughen the cupcakes. We're going for a light, tender product here, so less is more in the mixing department.

The original recipe called for limoncello (Italian lemon liqueur) or suggested substituting for the limoncello with more milk. I didn't have any limoncello, but I didn't want to skimp on the lemon flavor either, so I added fresh lemon juice to the milk. The addition of lemon juice will make the milk thicken and curdle. That's okay. (I often substitute for buttermilk in recipes by adding lemon juice to regular milk.)

If you can't find limoncello at your local store, you can always make your own! Check out THIS recipe for homemade limoncello at La Buona Cucina.

Scoop the batter into paper lined muffin cups until each is 3/4 full.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes until the cupcakes spring back when touched. Cool completely on a cooling rack.

As you can see in this picture, my cupcakes sunk down a bit in the center rather than puffing up on top. Fine by me, because this resulted in a nice little well in the center of each to hold more frosting!

I mixed up a batch of lemon frosting (recipe below) and piped it onto the cupcake with my big decorating tip. I sprinkled some of the cupcakes with crushed lemon drops and some with candy sprinkles. I really liked the idea of the crushed lemon drops to add a nice crunchy lemon punch. If you're serving them immediately, then topping with lemon drops would be alright. But as they sit, the lemon drops dissolve into the frosting. I made these the night before and by the next day, the crushed lemon drops were non-existent. Next time, I think I will stick with candy sprinkles, fresh lemon zest, or even candied lemon slices for a garnish.

I placed a Peep atop each creamy, lemon frosting nest. Mmmm.

Lemon Drop Cupcakes from Better Homes and Gardens
Makes: 20 ( 2-1/2-inch) cupcakes
Prep: 40 minutes
Bake: 18 minutes
Cool: 45 minutes
Stand: 30 minutes

3/4 cup butter
3 eggs
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup limoncello (Italian lemon liqueur) or milk (I subbed with 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of milk)
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons finely shredded lemon peel
1 recipe Lemon Frosting
1/2 cup lemon drop candies, finely crushed, or Glazed Lemon Slices
1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line twenty 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a 2-cup glass measuring cup combine milk and limoncello; set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and lemon peel; beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and milk mixture to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.

3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out batter in cups.

4. Bake about 18 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks.

5. Up to 1 hour before serving, generously spread or pipe Lemon Frosting on each cupcake. Place crushed candies on a plate. Roll the edges of the cupcakes in crushed candies to coat. Or top cupcakes with a Glazed Lemon Slice. Makes 20 (2-1/2 inch) cupcakes.

Lemon Frosting: Allow 1/3 cup butter to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a large mixing bowl beat butter, 1/3 cup shortening, and 1 teaspoon vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating well. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Gradually beat in 2 cups additional powdered sugar. Beat in 1 to 2 tablespoons milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until frosting reaches a spreading consistency. Makes about 2-1/3 cups frosting.

Glazed Lemon Slices: Slice 2 small lemons into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Remove seeds. Roll slices in sugar to coat well. Coat a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Arrange lemon slices in a single layer in skillet. Cook 3 to 4 minutes per side or until sugar dissolves and lemon slices appear glazed (do not let brown). Transfer to a piece of foil; cool completely. Roll cooled slices in sugar again before using.

Make-Ahead Directions: Store unfrosted cupcakes in a single layer in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Or store unfrosted cupcakes in a single layer in an airtight freezer container in the freezer for up to 1 month. Thaw cupcakes at room temperature before frosting.

Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 20 ( 2-1/2-inch) cupcakesCalories350, Total Fat (g)14, Saturated Fat (g)7, Monounsaturated Fat (g)4, Polyunsaturated Fat (g)1, Cholesterol (mg)59, Sodium (mg)150, Carbohydrate (g)53, Total Sugar (g)42, Protein (g)2, Vitamin C (DV%)2, Calcium (DV%)4, Iron (DV%)4, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Meal Plan 4/25- 5/1

I hope that you all had a wonderful Easter. I am so full right now I can hardly think about the meals that I will prepare this week! We attended a family Easter dinner at the home of good friends and feasted on everything from the traditional American favorites that I am accustomed to like ham and a cheesy potato casserole to Slovakian fare such as Halušky and Pierogies, Stuffed Cabbage, and Easter cheese. Then there were the Lebanese Tabbouleh, the Greek Stuffed Grapes Leaves, and a wonderful batch of Pad Thai Noodles. All of this AND a number of additional salads, appetizers, and too many desserts to mention. It was quite a multi-cultural smorgasbord! I was in foodie paradise. At one point I wondered if they would have to roll me out their front door when the festivities ended!

This week's meal plan consists of leftovers and easy recipes that I have prepared before. I will post the links to the recipes, so no need for a grocery list this week. In the place of the meals I would usually post, I will be writing about a few of the dishes I provided for the Easter pitch-in.

Here's what's on the menu at our house this week:

Monday April 25th

Easter Dinner Leftovers

Tuesday April 26th

Egg Salad (I need to use up all of the hard boiled eggs we colored over the weekend)
I've got my eye on THIS RECIPE.

Wednesday April 27th

Crock Pot Chicken Soft Tacos
This tried-and-true favorite is often on our menu. If you're looking for the perfect chicken taco meat, this is the recipe for you!

Thursday April 28th

Fabulous Focaccia Sandwiches

Friday-Sunday April 29th-May 1st

I'm going out of town. While away, I'll be cooking at a Pampered Chef Party and a Dinner Club Party, so I'm sure that I'll have some new recipes to share when I return!

I hope that all of you have a wonderful week!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!

The cupcakes are baked and decorated.

The Cheesy Potato Casserole is chillin' in the fridge and ready to be baked toted to a family dinner.

with these Jalapeno Popper appetizers. They'll just need a quick re-heat....

*Recipes for the cupcakes, Cheesy potatoes, and jalapeno popper cups will be posted next week.

And let's not forget the traditional breakfast casserole, it's ready to pop into the oven and bake while we all put on our "Sunday best"!

The eggs are colored.

The Easter dresses (and accessories) are pressed and waiting.

The annual Easter Eve rolling-of-the-hair is complete, insuring bouncing locks to be tamed with pink bows and headbands.

The Easter story has been read, prayers have been said, and...THE KIDS ARE IN BED!

What am I forgetting? Oh, the baskets.... Well, they're still in the trunk of the car...ready for hiding before we turn in for the night.

I just need to put a couple more stitches in my Easter dress and we are totally READY for one awesome Resurrection Celebration tomorrow!

I hope that all of you are ready too. Wishing everyone a wonderful day with your families and a blessed Easter!

An Easter Prayer:

Time for joy and time for giving
Time for remembering
Love while living.

Take this message Easter Day
Show kindness, care
At home and play.

It's in our very acts of giving
Easter's joy
Makes life worth living.

Children round the globe now hear
Keep Easter
In your heart all year.

May joy and love spread land to land
Linked heart to heart
And hand to hand!

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lovely Lemon Cookies

These delicate lemon cookies just scream Springtime to me. They were perfectly soft, with a little built-in crunch bites courtesy of crushed lemon drop candies. I mailed a box of them to one of my sisters today. She's days away from delivering her third baby. On top of those final miserable days of pregnancy, she's chasing after her energetic 3 and 6 year old boys and teaching 3rd grade full-time! Talk about having her hands full! I thought that a box of these cheerful lemon cookies (lemon has been her major craving throughout the whole pregnancy), with a good book tucked into the bottom, might be just the thing to make her day. I'm banking on the fact that she doesn't have time to read this, so hopefully she'll be surprised!

Before I boxed em' up, I had a few too. The weather here has been so gloomy this week and these were like sweet little rays of sunshine!

Before I started mixing up the cookies, I prepared a couple of the ingredients. First, the lemon drops.

You have to crush them. I put mine into a plastic zip-top bag and pounded away at them with my meat mallet. You'll still get some lemon drop powder that sifts out through the holes made in the baggie by the jagged edges of the broken lemon drops, but this is the least messy way I could think of to smash the candies.

The recipe called for finely crushed lemon drops. I did leave some small chunks in the mix, which made for awesome bursts of lemon in the cookies. So, don't completely pulverize the lemon drops! Crush enough lemon drops for 1/2 cup. This came out to about half of the package.

The other bit of prep work that I did was to grate the lemon peel. I know that I bragged about my new Pampered Chef Microplane Grater in the Orange and Raspberry Muffin post, but it truly is the best tool I have found for grating citrus peel. Love it!

The recipe calls for a teaspoon, but I think that I used closer to a tablespoon.

Alright, now for the cookies. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.

Add in an egg, heavy cream, and the lemon peel.

Combine flour, crushed lemon drops, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the dough.

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of the dough onto cookie sheets. I used my hands to roll them into balls for perfectly rounded cookies. Then bake for 8-10 minutes until they start to brown a bit on the bottom. You're going for a soft cookie here, so watch them carefully so that they don't overbake.

Let sit for a minute or two before removing the cookies to a cooling rack. You don't want to let them cool on the baking sheet for too long or the lemon drops in the cookies with start to harden and they will stick.

A little decorator's sugar on top of these would give a nice extra crunch. I might try that. I think that these would also make excellent sandwich cookies. Next time I'm going to come up with a lemon frosting filling. Watch out!

Lemon Drop Cookies from Taste of Home
Prep/Total Time: 25 min.

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon half-and-half cream
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely crushed lemon drops
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
•In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat
in the egg, cream and peel. Combine the flour, lemon drops, baking
powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.

•Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 3 in. apart onto greased baking sheets.
Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly
browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks. Yield:
about 3-1/2 dozen.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (2 each) equals 120 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 22 mg cholesterol, 97 mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 1 g protein.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chicken with Rosemary-Onion Sauce

I've had this simple baked chicken recipe from the February/March 2007 edition of Light & Tasty magazine bookmarked for some time. The woman who submitted the recipe to the magazine wrote, "This is a perfect dish to serve guests because it tastes like you fussed."

I loved the fact that the sauce was perfectly creamy and loaded with flavor, but not loaded with fat and calories. This main dish is a delicious weeknight dinner and it only took about 15 minutes of preparation time + 20 minutes of baking time.

My kids weren't big fans of the "gravy", but once I scraped it off, they loved the perfectly cooked chicken breast.

To begin, you just salt and pepper some boneless skinless chicken breasts and brown them in a skillet heated with a teaspoon of butter. You're not actually trying to cook the chicken through with this step, you just want to get a little color on each side.

Transfer the chicken to a baking dish.

In the same skillet, heat 2 more teaspoons of butter and saute a chopped onion and a clove of minced garlic until tender. Then stir in 4 teaspoons of flour until blended.

Mix 1/2 cup of milk with 1/2 cup of chicken broth and gradually stir it into the onion mixture in the skillet. Sprinkle in a teaspoon of crushed rosemary and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook and stir until thickened.

Pour the pan sauce over the chicken breasts and cover the dish with foil. Place the baking dish in a 350 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the chicken juices run clear and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.


Chicken with Rosemary-Onion Sauce from Light and Tasty Magazine and found on the Taste of Home website
4 Servings Prep: 15 min. Bake: 20 min.

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 teaspoons butter, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
•Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet,
brown chicken in 1 teaspoon butter. Transfer to an 11-in. x 7-in.
baking dish coated with cooking spray.

•In the same skillet, saute onion and garlic in remaining butter until
tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in broth and
milk. Add rosemary. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or
until thickened.

•Pour sauce over chicken. Cover and bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes
or until chicken juices run clear. Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 1 chicken breast half with 1/4 cup sauce equals 247 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 102 mg cholesterol, 501 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 37 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 5 lean meat, 1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Meal Plan and Grocery List 4/18- 4/24

I'm back to meal planning this week. It's time to get back into the groove after a few weeks off.   I had no idea that our Spring would be so busy! Really, I'm just easing back into meal planning. I only needed to plan 3 dinners (+ 1 night of leftovers) this week since it's a holiday week and we have plans for 3 dinners away from home. I knew that I would be making at least one dinner with ground beef. I ended up with 4 lbs of ground chuck that needed to be used after a couple of people didn't show up for a class that I taught last week.  I browned it and put it into my freezer on Friday.  The first recipe I choose to make with all of this beef is my sister's enchilada casserole. Even though it was featured as a guest post in the early days of my blog, I have never tried it. (You can click the link below to view the recipe)  Since I have all of that beef browned and in my freezer, I pulled up some other ground beef recipes that I've written about on this blog.

Just in case any of you ever find yourselves with an abundance of ground beef, here are some great ways to use it up. All of these recipes work well with fresh ground beef as well as beef that has been browned, then frozen.

Easy Ground Beef Recipes:

Sloppy Joes
Beefed up Ramen Noodles
Beef Chow Mein
Tater Tot Casserole
Shepherd's Pie
Italian Crescent Bake
Taco Salad

Here's the plan for this week:

Monday April 18th

Baked Chicken with Rosemary Onion Sauce

Tuesday April 19th

Enchilada Casserole

Wednesday April 20th

Happy Birthday to my husband!
Dinner Out

Thursday April 21st

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Pork

Friday April 22nd

Dinner with friends

Saturday April 23rd


Sunday April 24th


Here's the link to the Bunny Oreo Truffles I created last Easter. If you don't want to bother with the ears, decorate them like Easter eggs!

Grocery List


2 onions
green bell pepper


1 cup Mexican blend cheese


4-6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 1/2 lb. pork loin roast
1 lb. ground beef

Canned Goods

chicken broth
20 oz. can pineapple chunks
soy sauce
cider vinegar
Worcestershire sauce
vegetable oil
tomato soup
cream of mushroom soup
red enchilada sauce
refried beans

Dry Goods

crushed rosemary
brown sugar
corn starch
1 packet taco seasoning
1 package hard corn taco shells

Friday, April 15, 2011

Arancini di Riso

When I made Giada's Mushroom and Pea Risotto earlier this week, I was pretty sure that there no way to improve upon the recipe. It was creamy and cheesy and everything I ever wanted in a risotto. But NOW I know how to 1-UP plain ol' risotto. It goes like this: stir in more cheese, then shape the risotto into balls, then stuff the balls with even more cheese, then DEEP FRY the suckers! Holy cow, were these good! My whole family loved them. Even the picky kid who turned her nose up at the risotto as a side dish gobbled up the same risotto when deep fried (and asked for seconds). Probably Jaimie Oliver is on his way to my house right now to bury our deep fryer in the backyard....

Seriously, the Arancini di Riso (which I will refer to as "risotto balls" or just "balls" for the remainder of this post because I'm not even sure how to pronounce "Arancini" and I have to keep checking the spelling every time I type it.) is a great way to use up leftover risotto. These were kind of like a cross between a hush puppy and fried mozzarella sticks, but with more complex flavors. Am I making any sense? Maybe I'm in some kind of deep-fried, carbohydrate, food coma right now...

These really are simple to make. Just stir some eggs, Italian bread crumbs, and Parmesan into your leftover risotto.

I used my medium Pampered Chef cookie scoop to make perfect, uniform balls. You want them to end up about 1 3/4-inches in diameter.

Cut some mozzarella cheese into 1/2" chunks and press them into the center of each ball, then roll the risotto balls between your hands to cover the cheese and round out the shape.

Roll the balls around in some Italian bread crumbs to coat.

Then drop them into oil heated to 350 degrees. Fry for 4 minutes. You can either heat 3 inches of oil in a heavy skillet or use a deep fryer. I used our fryer because every once in a while he needs to come out and prove that he's worth the storage space. Plus, with the manual heat setting, a built-in timer, drop-in basket, and cover (no hot grease splatters) our fryer really does make frying easier.

Dump them onto a plate lined with paper towel to drain and cool before eating.

Serve with sauce for dipping if you like.

Mmmmm. Cheesy! And LOOK...there are peas in there! A vegetable. These really are good for you.


Everything in moderation, people.

Here's the recipe as posted on The Seventh Level of Boredom.

Arancini di Riso

• Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
• 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
• 2 cups Risotto with Mushrooms and Peas, recipe follows, cooled
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
• 1 1/2 cups dried Italian-style bread crumbs
• 2 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• Salt

Pour enough oil in a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches or heat your deep fryer. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees F.

Stir the eggs, risotto, Parmesan, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs in a large bowl to combine. Place the remaining breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Using about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture for each, form the risotto mixture into 1 3/4-inch-diameter balls. Insert 1 cube of mozzarella into the center of each ball. Roll the balls in the bread crumbs to coat.

Working in batches, add the rice balls to the hot oil and cook until brown and heated through, turning them as necessary, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rice balls to paper towels to drain. Season with salt. Let rest 2 minutes. Serve hot.

Mushroom Risotto with Peas courtesy Giada De Laurentiis altered slightly by me

•8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
•1/4 cup unsalted butter
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•2 cups finely chopped onions + 1 diced shallot (if desired)
•10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
•2 garlic cloves, minced
•1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
•2/3 cup dry white wine
•3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
•2/3 cup grated Parmesan
•Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional


Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan.Keep the broth warm over very low heat.

Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
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