Tag Archives: risotto

30 Minute Meals with Cheese

5 Jul

Now that I’m training once again for a half marathon, my summer evenings are quickly being whittled away. It’s not always easy to find time for running, family, chores, friends, and cooking. Rather than settling for a packaged meal, or going out to eat all the time, I strive to make dinner most nights of the week.

30 Minute Meals with Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

That’s where these 30-minute meals become incredibly handy. Healthy food doesn’t always have to take long to make. A combination of vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats makes the perfect dinner. And in my life, cheese often plays a big part of that 🙂 The uses are endless, and it can really elevate a dish to be something your whole family can look forward to eating.

Thanks to the Wisconsin Cheese Mart, I was able to develop three nutritious, quick, cheesy meals for your enjoyment, plus a bonus dessert recipe! Yes, a sweet treat made with cheese 🙂 Head over to the Cheese Mart’s blog to get the full details on all these tasty meals!

30 Minute Meals with Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Spicy Vegetable One Pot Pasta

This pasta is the perfect quick weeknight dinner. All the ingredients cook together in the same pot, at the same time. It’s packed with vegetables and the spicy Ghost Pepper Monterey Jack cheese gives it a bit of a kick.

30 Minute Meals with Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Roasted Sweet Potato Rosemary Risotto

Risotto is an elegant classic dish that may seem daunting and time-consuming, but can actually be made in 30 minutes, start to finish. Roasted sweet potato makes this a hearty main or a side dish to just about any protein. The Parmesan cheese is the perfect finishing touch.

30 Minute Meals with Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Baked Spinach Quesadillas

Quesadillas can be a quick, healthy meal for the entire family when you add vegetables! Make them even easier by baking them in the oven. Customize the fillings to your heart’s content. Make sure to choose cheeses that melt well, such as provolone or a spicy pepper jack.

30 Minute Meals with Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Gjetost Filled Shortbread Cookies

No dinner is complete without a sweet treat! This simple shortbread is filled with a layer of Gjetost – a cheese that looks and tastes like caramel candy. The end result is a buttery cookie layered with a sweet, salty caramel cheese that’s sure to please everyone!

30 Minute Meals with Cheese | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

I received free product from the Wisconsin Cheese Mart and was compensated for my time. All opinions and creations are my own.

Spicy Vegan Mexican Risotto

17 Jul

I think most people tend to hold risotto as an exclusively Italian dish, that’s loaded with butter and cheese. And while that version IS delicious, it doesn’t always have to be so heavy! I whipped up this “Mexican” risotto, with the initial intention of making Mexican rice. But a few ingredients later, and a healthy glug of wine in the pan, and this basic meal transformed into a spicy, healthy, vegan risotto!

Spicy Vegan Mexican Risotto | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Enjoy for yourselves – add vegetables that YOU like, make it more or less spicy for your tastes, and garnish as you see fit!

Spicy Vegan Mexican Risotto | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Spicy Vegan Mexican Risotto, inspired by Damn Delicious

Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1.5 C arborio (risotto) rice
  • 1 C tomato juice (preferably low/no sodium)
  • 1.5 C vegetable broth (or water with dried herbs)
  • 1/2 C red wine
  • 1 C frozen corn
  • 1 C black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • chopped cilantro, to garnish

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; saute minced garlic for a couple minutes until fragrant.

Stir in rice and let it get toasty, about 2-3 minutes. Next, stir in tomato juice and as much of the broth/water as your skillet will hold. Let it get bubbly, and keep stirring the rice so it doesn’t stick. Cook about 15 minutes. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan. Keep stirring!

Mix in the corn, black beans, jalapeno, and spices. You may need to add more water again. Cook until the rice is al dente – taste to check.

Now, stir in the tomatoes. Serve into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro.

This can be made spicy by leaving in the jalapeno seeds, which I did – and pairs well with a nice cold beer!

Spicy Vegan Mexican Risotto | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Black Tea Risotto

22 May

It’s time for another Recipe Redux! This month’s challenge was “cooking with tea.” And boy, was it a challenge!

I love to drink tea, and have since a very young age. My Opa ALWAYS drinks tea, and in my family, tea is a cure-all potion. Stomach ache? Drink tea. Headache? Drink tea. Foot ache? Drink tea. Ok, you get the point. We were taught that tea is a beneficial, tasty, and versatile drink, and because of Opa’s love for tea, I now drink many kinds multiple times a day! From fruit-flavored, to green, to herbal, to black. I love it all, and have successfully gotten even my boyfriend to enjoy the warm beverage!

When I found out that the challenge for this month required that we cook with tea, I was pretty excited – the options are endless! But in an effort to be creative and really shine in the kitchen, I wanted to do something different, rather than just bake with tea. I’ve made oatmeal with tea, in place of water or milk. But what recipe could I develop that would really set it apart? The answer: tea risotto. Yep.

Black Tea Risotto

Risotto is traditionally made with butter, onion, rice, wine, broth and cheese. Pretty easy, despite the generally large amount of time and effort that goes into the dish. That’s also a fairly unhealthy combination, especially if you indulge in this frequently. Rice is high-carb, wine is…well alcohol, and the broth and cheese are really high in sodium. SO: to cook with tea, and to make a healthful dish, I decided to experiment and replace the broth with freshly-steeped antioxidant-rich black tea.

Aside from upping the antioxidants, using tea instead of broth drastically reduces the sodium count. Even low-sodium vegetable broth still has a fair amount of salt in it. And while sodium IS necessary in a balanced diet, Americans often get far too much of the stuff, and reducing it is a step in the right direction. Of course, we ARE still using cheese. But that can even be made better by using high-quality cheese. My friends Mitch and Matt at the local cheese shop and tap room were kind enough to provide the cheese for this experiment: award-winning SarVecchio Parmesan (being a Wisconsinite has its perks!). Improve the flavor of your end product and use good cheese, please! It’s worth it, and much better than the kind that comes in a shaker bottle, filled with chemicals.

You didn’t think I’d ditch the wine, though, did you? Instead of the traditional red wine, which is usually used in risotto, I wanted to make sure the black tea didn’t become overpowered. So, I opted for a white zinfandel (at the suggestion of my boyfriend). The sweetness of the white zin played well with the hearty black tea – a combination that makes this light enough for a spring dinner.

Alright, enough of the healthy talk. Quality ingredients + patience + love = this delicious dish, which I suggest you test out for yourself!

Black Tea Risotto

Black Tea Risotto

Serves 4-6 as a side dish

  • 6 tsp loose black tea
  • 5 C water, to boil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1.5 C risotto rice
  • 1/2 C white zinfandel wine
  • sea salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 C high-quality shaved/shredded Parmesan cheese

Bring 5 cups of water to an almost-boil. Steep black tea for 4 minutes. Remove tea leaves and set aside. If you don’t have a large teapot, then simply steep the tea in a stainless steal bowl, and separate the tea leaves using a fine-mesh strainer.

Black Tea Risotto

Loose leaf black tea – it smelled so good!

Heat olive oil over medium-high in a large saute pan. Cook the diced onion for 5 minutes. Once the onions start to brown, add the rice and the wine. Stir and continue to cook until the liquid has been absorbed. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper. TIP: my friend Anna told me that her Italian family has a trick: let therice brown in the pan a couple minutes before adding the wine. The end result is supposed to be even better!

Black Tea Risotto

Pour in one cup of tea, stir, and let it cook off before adding more tea. Continue to do this, cup by cup, until all tea is used up and the rice absorbs the liquid.

Remove from heat when the rice looks moist and a bit sticky. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until completely melted.

Serve hot and sprinkle with extra freshly cracked pepper and leftover parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Black Tea Risotto

Melty deliciousness

Feeling bold? Why not try this with other varieties of tea? Green tea might do well, if paired with a light white wine. You could even test this with other flavors of Parmesan. Sartori makes a raspberry kind, and even a basil & olive oil kind! Play around with this, make it your own, and impress your friends and family – without giving them a sodium overload.

As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy! Click on the below frog link to view other posts featuring this month’s theme! (Please note that this is a closed link-up for Recipe ReDux posts only. Any links added to this collection for non-ReDux posts will be deleted.)

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