Mushroom Barley Risotto

I had some leftover pearl barley and wanted to make something with it. I found a Mushroom Risotto recipe from the YouTuber, The Domestic Geek, that looked easy and perfect.

In general, it was very delicious and filling but I ended up cooking it for about 15 more minutes than the recipe called for. (I was waiting for more of the liquid to absorb) I also used vegetable broth because I could not find mushroom broth, but I bet the mushroom broth tastes better.

I pasted the recipe below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups leeks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup white wine (optional)
  • 4 cups mushroom or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • Oil
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add leeks and mushrooms. Cook until leeks have softened and the mushrooms begin to brown.
  3. Add garlic, thyme and barley. Cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
  4. Add white wine to deglaze the pan. (Skip if not using)
  5. Add broth and stir.
  6. Cover saucepan and simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until barley is cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed.
  7. Add parmesan and parsley and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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Polish Stuffed Cabbage (Gołąbki)

I grew up in a Polish family and one dish my mom always made was gołąbki (pronounced like goWUMPkee), or stuffed cabbages. They are a huge comfort food for me, but they are both labor and time intensive. (At least 2-3 hours to prepare and cook) My mom would surprisingly make them for weekday dinners! However, I save them for the weekend and make a big batch. (Plus, they reheat great as leftovers)

My mom made them with minced meat and rice filling and a tomato sauce on top, but there are other variations. For example, for Wigilia (Polish Christmas Eve), my aunt makes a vegetarian variation with mushroom and rice filling. However, I much prefer the tomato and meat version!

See the recipe below. My recipe is mostly from my mother, but I’ve also taken inspiration from other Polish recipes I’ve found. You can also cook these in a deep pan if you want but I find it comes out best in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1/2 lb ground beef & pork mix (like meatball mix or just ground beef)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups cooked white rice (from 1 cup dry rice)
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Boil the cabbage in a large pot of water until it is soft, about 5-10 minutes. Take out and allow it to cool.
  3. In a frying pan, heat up a small drizzle of oil or a small pat of butter. Fry the ground meat and onion until browned.
  4. In a bowl, mix the cooked rice, ground meat, onion, egg and salt and pepper. Feel free to add more seasoning if you want to taste.
  5. After the cabbage has cooled, peel off the cabbage leaves.
  6. Grease a baking dish and cover the bottom with the outermost leaves.
  7. Put a small amount of meat and rice mixture into the center of each cabbage leaf. Fold two opposite sides toward the center and roll up from the bottom to create a small cabbage roll.
  8. Put each cabbage roll into the baking dish, creating tight rows of side-by-side rolls.
  9. Pour the tomato sauce over the rolls. You want the liquid to fill about halfway up the dish. Add some vegetable broth or water if you need more liquid
  10. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for about 1 hour 30 minutes.
  11. Serve each roll with a bit of tomato sauce on top.

Maple Glazed Pork Chops with Apples, Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts

I love watching the Domestic Geek on YouTube and recently she posted a video outlining 3 easy recipes that only use one sheet pan. I thought all of them looked delicious, but I especially wanted to try the pork chop one. I’m happy to say it was incredibly easy to make and super tasty! It was so good, my husband literally licked some off his plate. I think the combination of ingredients is perfect; you can’t go wrong with some squash, Brussel sprouts and apples. A nice and satisfying (and easy!) dish to make.

This recipe (and the other two) can be found on this blog post. I’ve pasted it below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops, center loin cut
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp grainy or Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced (I used a little extra)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 apple, diced (I used honeycrisp)
  • 2 cups butternut squash, diced
  • 1 cup Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, mustard, thyme, garlic, oil and some salt and pepper.
  2. Put pork chops into a large plastic zipper bag. Pour glaze into the bag and evenly spread it all over all the pork.
  3. Put the bag into the refrigerator to marinate for at least 10 minutes. A few hours or overnight would be better.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the apple, squash and Brussel sprouts.
  5. Season the mix with salt, pepper and a drizzle of oil. Toss to combine.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the squash mix onto it.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven. Push the squash mix to one half of the pan and place the pork chops on the other half of the pan.
  10. Pour the remaining glaze over the squash mix and toss to evenly coat it.
  11. Return the baking sheet to the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until pork is cooked through.

Italian Meatloaf with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Green Beans

This was another Hello Fresh recipe that I enjoyed and it was easy and quick to put together. The recipe also included mash potatoes but you can prepare them however you like. My husband and I enjoyed it, even though I don’t usually like meatloaf. I think the sun-dried tomatoes made it taste different enough that I liked it.

I don’t think there is an online version of the recipe so I’ve pasted it below for convenience. This recipe is meant for 2 people, but you can adjust it for the size of your family.

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 oz sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 slice of white bread
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 8-10 oz ground beef
  • 6 oz green beans
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, soak break in chicken stock, then break up the bread with your hands.
  2. Add beef, sun-dried tomatoes, shallot, garlic, rosemary and a large pinch of salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix with hands until combined.
  3. Form two oval loaves from the meat and place onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through.
  4. Mix a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper with the green beans.
  5. With 15 minutes left of cooking, add the green beans to the baking sheet around the meatloaves.

Chicken and Dumplings

I had Chicken and Dumplings for the first time when I went to Disney’s Food & Wine Festival and always wanted to try my own. I found this recipe from Rachael Ray that is not only yummy but easy to put together on a weeknight. It’s thick and hearty and perfect for the chilly fall nights we have right now.

One problem I had was finding biscuit mix; my local grocery stores did not have them! Instead, I bought Bisquick mix and added as much water as they said on the package in order to make biscuits. It turned out great. I also find that using chicken breast tenders (instead of chicken breasts) really makes a big difference. My husband bought just chicken breasts by accident once and the chicken got really tough. Meanwhile, the tenders were perfect.

I’ve pasted the recipe below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb chicken breast tenders
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 quart chicken stock or broth (I used stock)
  • 1 cup biscuit mix (like Jiffy or Bisquick)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • Small handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Dice chicken breast tenders into bite sized pieces.
  2. Put a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Add oil, butter, vegetables, and bay leaf and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Season with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.
  4. Add flour to the pan and cook for 2 more minutes.
  5. Stir in broth or stock and bring to a boil.
  6. Add chicken to broth and stir.
  7. Place biscuit mix in a bowl and combine with water and parsley.
  8. Drop 1 tbsp balls of dough into the pot, spaced evenly.
  9. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Steam for 8-10 minutes.
  10. Remove cover and stir to thicken. Stir in peas.

Orecchiette with Baked Mini Chicken Meatballs

I love easy dinners, especially ones involving pasta! I found this recipe from Little Broken and it was perfect. It’s pretty easy to make and the chicken meatballs turn out really moist and delicious.

I did end up modifying it a little bit. I doubled everything except for the amount of pasta, which resulted in a solid 4-5 servings. I think if I would’ve stuck to the original, it would’ve been a good dish for 2 people, but then I would have ingredient leftovers. By doubling it, I was able to use everything I bought from the store.

Also, since the meatball mix was very moist, I used ice cream scoop to form my meatballs, but they didn’t hold their shape well and ended up with flat bottoms. I broiled them for 6-7 minutes because they didn’t seem remotely cooked at the 3-4 minute mark, like the recipe advises.

I’ve pasted the recipe below the way I made it. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp grated onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp parsley (fresh is better but I used dried)
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 box orecchiette pasta
  • 1/4 – 1/2 reserved pasta water
  • 1 jar of tomato basil pasta sauce (I used Barilla)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mini mozzarella balls/pearls (or you can dice fresh mozzarella)

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the panko and milk. Let sit for 5 minutes, until all the milk is absorbed.
  2. Add ground chicken, eggs, onions, garlic, parsley, sour cream, salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix well. (The mixture will be pretty wet)
  3. Set your oven’s broiler to HIGH.
  4. Lightly coat your baking sheets with cooking spray or oil.
  5. Place meatballs on the baking sheets (about 1 1/4 inch sized balls) in a single layer.
  6. Broil on HIGH for 6-7 minutes, or until meatballs are halfway cooked but still pink on the inside.
  7. Remove meatballs from the oven and let stand at room temperature while you start the rest of the recipe.
  8. Cook pasta according to package directions. Save about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the pasta water before you drain.
  9. In a large saute pan, heat up the tomato basil pasta sauce.
  10. Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer.
  11. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer on low for about 5-10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly.
  12. Add cooked pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add more pasta water.
  13. Stir to combine.
  14. Add the mozzarella balls and gently stir to combine.

Grilled Chicken Teriyaki over Rice

I’ve mentioned previously how to make a vegetable stir fry featuring teriyaki sauce, but sometimes you want some protein too. It’s a similar recipe, except that I cook the chicken and vegetables separately, and then combine then with some warmed up sauce. I don’t have a real grill at home, just a small George Foreman grill, so keep that in mind if you try this at home!

This can be made using whatever vegetables you want; I’ve just included the ones I like the most. You can add as much or as little sauce as you like and you can also replace the rice with noodles or quinoa or your favorite starch. (I should try my veggie spiralizer to make noodles for this …)

I’ve adapted this from the Cooking Classy recipe, but I’ve changed parts of it to suit my tastes. Personally, I find using teriyaki sauce from the grocery store that is already slightly thick is better than making teriyaki sauce from scratch. I also like to mix in a few other things.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb thin chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, diced or cut into matchsticks
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, diced
  • 3/4 – 1 cup teriyaki sauce (I like to mix two parts island teriyaki with one part light soy sauce, with some hot chili sauce for a kick)
  • Cooked rice

Instructions

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions. (I use a rice cooker!)
  2. Brush about 1 tbsp olive oil onto your chicken breasts and, if necessary, onto your grill.
  3. Season the chicken with pepper.
  4. Grill chicken for about 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
  5. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes and then dice into cubes.
  6. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.
  7. Add all vegetables and garlic. Saute 4-5 minutes until tender.
  8. While vegetables are cooking, heat up sauce in a small saucepan and let thicken slightly. (If necessary, you can add corn starch for more thickness)
  9. Turn off the heat. Add cubed chicken and sauce to the saute pan and combine.
  10. Serve over bowls of rice.