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.
- 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
- Salt & pepper
- In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Add leeks and mushrooms. Cook until leeks have softened and the mushrooms begin to brown.
- Add garlic, thyme and barley. Cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
- Add white wine to deglaze the pan. (Skip if not using)
- Add broth and stir.
- Cover saucepan and simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until barley is cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Add parmesan and parsley and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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.
- 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
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Boil the cabbage in a large pot of water until it is soft, about 5-10 minutes. Take out and allow it to cool.
- 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.
- 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.
- After the cabbage has cooled, peel off the cabbage leaves.
- Grease a baking dish and cover the bottom with the outermost leaves.
- 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.
- Put each cabbage roll into the baking dish, creating tight rows of side-by-side rolls.
- 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
- Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for about 1 hour 30 minutes.
- Serve each roll with a bit of tomato sauce on top.
My sister sent me a coupon for a free week of Hello Fresh, and since I had decent success with Blue Apron, I decided to try it out. In general, I think Hello Fresh meals were quicker and easier to put together, but Blue Apron meals felt more interesting and more “gourmet”. Blue Apron had more recipes I would’ve never attempted on my own, while Hello Fresh had recipes that were very accessible and closer to my everyday set of recipes.
This recipe was our favorite from the week. I don’t think there’s an online version so I’ve just written the recipe below for convenience. This recipe is specifically for 2 people, so adjust for your family size. The recipe also included an arugula salad but it was “meh” so I’m leaving it out.
- 1 large sweet potato, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tsbp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp fig jam
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 tbsp butter
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Toss diced sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Put sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
- Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Season chicken breasts on all sides with salt and pepper.
- Cook chicken in pan, about 5 minutes per side, until center is no longer pink.
- Remove chicken from pan to rest.
- To the same pan, add shallot, rosemary and olive oil over medium heat. Cook until softens, about 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in balsamic vinegar and fig fam and simmer for about 1 minute.
- Add chicken stock and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and swirl in the butter until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve chicken with sauce drizzled on top and sweet potatoes on the side.
As a wedding gift, my husband and I received a month long Blue Apron subscription. It’s a little expensive but super convenient, since it gives you the exact ingredients you need and a recipe. It’s been fun because we cook things we wouldn’t have cooked otherwise, but there were only a few recipes I would want to try again on my own. Still debating if we’ll continue with a subscription.
This recipe with chicken, squash and apples was really delicious and easy to make! Plus all the ingredients seem easy to find. The sage-brown butter sauce with almonds was really delicious. A perfect meal for fall.
The website has more detail but I’ve pasted the recipe below for convenience. Also, please note this was intended for 2 people only, so adjust accordingly.
- 2 boneless, skin-on chicken breasts
- 1 gala apple, medium diced
- 1 honeynut squash, peeled and medium diced
- 1 Yukon gold potato, medium diced
- 1 bunch of sage, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp roasted almonds, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
- Place squash and potato on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Toss to coat and spread in an even, single layer. Roast for 16 to 18 minutes.
- Add apple and shallot to the sheet pan of vegetables. Stir to combine and roast for another 9 to 11 minutes.
- While vegetables are roasting, season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat.
- Add chicken, skin side down, and cover loosely with foil. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until brown and cooked through.
- Remove chicken from pan, leaving behind any browned bits.
- Add butter to pan and heat on medium-high until melted. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until deep golden brown and fragrant.
- Add the sage, almonds and vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally, up to 1 minute. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Split the vegetables and chicken between your dishes. Top with a few spoonfuls of the sage-brown butter sauce.
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!
- 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)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the panko and milk. Let sit for 5 minutes, until all the milk is absorbed.
- Add ground chicken, eggs, onions, garlic, parsley, sour cream, salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix well. (The mixture will be pretty wet)
- Set your oven’s broiler to HIGH.
- Lightly coat your baking sheets with cooking spray or oil.
- Place meatballs on the baking sheets (about 1 1/4 inch sized balls) in a single layer.
- Broil on HIGH for 6-7 minutes, or until meatballs are halfway cooked but still pink on the inside.
- Remove meatballs from the oven and let stand at room temperature while you start the rest of the recipe.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Save about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the pasta water before you drain.
- In a large saute pan, heat up the tomato basil pasta sauce.
- Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stir to combine.
- Add the mozzarella balls and gently stir to combine.
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.
- 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
- Cook rice according to package instructions. (I use a rice cooker!)
- Brush about 1 tbsp olive oil onto your chicken breasts and, if necessary, onto your grill.
- Season the chicken with pepper.
- Grill chicken for about 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
- Let chicken rest for 5 minutes and then dice into cubes.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.
- Add all vegetables and garlic. Saute 4-5 minutes until tender.
- 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)
- Turn off the heat. Add cubed chicken and sauce to the saute pan and combine.
- Serve over bowls of rice.
I wanted to try out more “spiralized” vegetable recipes so I went to the Inspiralized website to research. They had a surprising variety of recipes but the most common zucchini recipes were “pasta” ones with tomato sauce. This one with goat cheese and asparagus seemed interesting, so I gave it try.
In the end, we liked it; the goat cheese gave it a nice flavor and the asparagus was a nice touch. However, shaving asparagus was really hard, so I think next time I would just cut bigger asparagus chunks. Also, the can of diced tomatoes I bought didn’t have that much juice, so my sauce was not as liquid and more chunky than I wanted. (However, the moisture from the zucchini helped a little) If you’re sauce is already thinner, you may want to remove moisture from the zucchini before cooking.
Since the meal was low calorie, I bought a fresh loaf of bread to make some garlic bread on the side. I posted the recipe below for convenience.
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup red onions, diced
- 14oz can diced tomatoes with juices
- salt and pepper
- 5 large asparagus spears
- 2 medium zucchinis
- 1 tbsp basil, chopped
- 2 oz goat cheese
- red pepper flakes, to garnish
- Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
- Add garlic and onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the onions become translucent.
- Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
- While the sauce cooks, shave the asparagus and and spiralize the zucchini. You can choose to include the asparagus tips or not.
- Once the sauce is done, cook the zucchini and asparagus in a separate skillet for 2-3 minutes, until al dente.
- Add basil to the tomato sauce and stir for 1 minute.
- Remove sauce from heat and stir in goat cheese.
- Add the noodles to the pan with the sauce and toss.
- Serve and top with goat cheese, basil and red pepper flakes to garnish.