What do you get when you mix rice with cheese and butter? Risotto! There is nothing quite like risotto that is well made. The buttery goodness of cheese and rice mixed with a few spices makes this one of my top foods on my comfort list. The problem is that risotto takes time and patience; one misstep and you can have either risotto that either is a runny mess or comes out to the consistency of sticky rice.
Traditionally, to make risotto involves taking rice and pouring in chicken stock a little at a time, constantly stirring it until it is nice and creamy. If you are imagining someone standing over a pot and constantly stirring and occasionally pouring in more stock, then you pretty much have a picture of what it takes to make perfect risotto. When risotto is done right, it is almost like mac and cheese but lighter. But once again, the work it takes to get there….
Luckily for me (and you), there is a simpler way if you own an instapot. The result of this pressure cooker dish is pretty much dead on AND it involves much less work. No one will be the wiser and everyone will love it (it’s kid approved too!).
2 tablespoons white wine (like Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc)
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 pound deviened and peeled shrimp
3/4 cup grated parmigiano cheese
In your instapot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over "saute".
Add onion and garlic and saute until soft, about 3-4 minutes.
Add rice and cook, stirring 1 minute.
Add wine and cook until evaporated, 30 seconds.
Add 3 cups of broth and season with salt and pepper
Close the lid on the instapot, turn the saute function off and then touch the "rice" button.
When the instapot beeps, release the valve pressure and remove the lid.
Reset the instapot to saute and add the remaining chicken broth, shrimp and cheese,
Cook the shrimp until opaque, occasionally stirring (about 3 to 5 minutes).
While risotto is considered "elegant" and can be pricey depending on the ingredients, the cost of this dish is relatively cheap, if you know where to source the ingredients. Without the shrimp, the cost is about $6.00. Everything was bought at Costco with the exception of the onion, garlic and rice.
A pound of deveined and peeled shrimp ($10.00)
Parmesan (1 pound) ($9.00 or about $2.00 per dish)
Arborio rice ($2.00)
Save a bit of money with this home made Hummus with garlic recipe. It can be augmented with roasted peppers, cucumbers, pine nuts and can be served alone, with vegetables or chips (as shown) or as a side dish with falafel.
When I told my wife, Vee, I was going to try to make hummus, she was all for it. We’ve always simply gotten store bought hummus (like Sabra) and used pita chips as mouth shovels but I started to wonder if I could make the same dish as easily for much cheaper; after all, a small 6 ounces of store bought hummus can cost roughly $5 and, at least in our household, is consumed in one sitting.
The primary ingredients to making hummus are chickpeas and tahini, a sort of ground sesame seed puree. To get perspective on cost, a pound of chickpeas cost roughly $1.50. The tahini I chose is store bought and was $5.99 for a pound (or 32 tablespoons). The total amounts to $3 for a full pound of hummus. Take that Sabra!
From a health perspective, a serving of hummus provides roughly 10% the RDA for fiber and B vitamins and before chips, amounts to roughly 170 calories.
This recipe is fairly simple and can be considered a basic hummus. You can easily build on the flavor profile by adding roasted onions or peppers, pine nuts or whatever you can think of that would taste good. On a side note, the book that inspired this calls for 4 cloves of garlic. Being Italian, that just seemed too little for such a big batch. I doubled up the garlic goodness. When I say salt to taste, you are going to want to go pretty heavy on the salt as the chickpeas devour the salt.
Looking for an easy, heavy on the flavor, low on the pocket book meal? Look no further than this spiced chicken “stew” with carrots. In this dish, I use bone-in chicken thighs, a few simple ingredients and a couple pounds of carrots at a cost of roughly $1.50/serving. And since, I’m using the slow cooker, it is literally prep and wait…
This slow cooker Moroccan flavored recipe was a crowd pleaser at my house. More importantly, it was approved by my 9 year old, who is funny about any food that doesn’t come fried or whose name doesn’t end with the word ‘tender’.
The sweetness of the carrots and raisins are perfect compliments to the meatiness of the thighs. The almonds elevate it ever so slightly; the nuttiness is good but the crunch factor is needed to balance out the dish. The recipe called for a slow cooker with a browning option, which I had no idea even existed so I browned the chicken thighs in a cast iron skillet before they went into the cooker.
I was actually quite shocked about the serving sizes with this one. Although it claimed to serve 4, we actually were able to pull six servings from it, albeit a smaller portion for me the next day.