Kale and Bacon Baked Risotto

Kale and Bacon Baked Risotto

 

 

I really enjoy risotto. But I do not make it because I just do not have the time and patience needed to stand and stir for 45 minutes while the arborio rice absorbs the stock. Nope, not this gal.

But luckily, you can make a baked risotto that tastes really, really good. I admit, a baked risotto will never be as creamy as a properly made stove top risotto, but I can let go of some of that creaminess for not having to stir and stir and stir. And then stir some more.

Kale and Bacon Baked Risotto

 

 

I do admit you do have to stir a bit while making this recipe, but I promise it will not be 45 minutes. Unless something goes terribly wrong. Seriously.

Be sure to use arborio rice, or a rice that is labeled specifically for risotto.

I used a bag of Tuscan Kale from Cut ‘N’ Clean Greens, but you can substitute with a large bunch of kale. Just remove the stems and cut it into strips.

Kale and Bacon Baked Risotto

 

Kale and Bacon Risotto

Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, small dice
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bag (10 ounce) Tuscan Kale
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 4 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3-4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 350° F.

  2. In a large oven proof pot over medium heat, cook the bacon until the fat is rendered. 

  3. Add the onion, stirring occasionally,  cook 4-5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.

  4. Add the salt, thyme, red pepper and kale. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted.

  5. Add the rice, stirring to mix it into the vegetable mixture.

  6. Add the hot stock, stir to mix well, cover and place in the hot oven.

  7. Bake the risotto for 30, then remove from the oven.

  8. Carefully, stir in the cold butter, a few pieces at a time, until all the butter is incorporated.

  9. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

I used a bag of Tuscan Kale from Cut 'N' Clean Greens, which was already prepped for me. You can substitute with a large bunch of kale, stems removed and cut into strips.

Orzo Salad with Fava Beans, Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes

Orzo Salad with Fava Bean, Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes

Everybody needs an easy pasta salad in their recipe repertoire. A salad that can be thrown together at the last minute using pantry staples that you have on hand.

Melissa’s Produce has a line of steamed, ready to eat vegetables, which can be stored in your refrigerator for weeks before use. You can grab a package at the last minute to make a side dish, add to a main dish or create a new dish!

I had some peeled and steamed fava beans and artichoke hearts in my fridge, and a pint of tomatoes that were getting close to being added to my garden composter. Those ingredients were perfect for a light and healthy vegetarian pasta salad.

Orzo Salad with Fava Bean, Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes

Orzo Salad with Fava Beans, Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12 servings
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces orzo pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup champagne vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 package (6.4 oz) steamed artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1 package (8.8 oz) peeled and steamed fava beans
Instructions
  1. Place the cooked orzo in a large bowl.
  2. In a smaller bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, tarragon, salt and Aleppo pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the pasta, mix well and let it sit for half and hour to let the flavors meld.
  4. Add the tomatoes, artichokes and fava beans.
  5. Mix the vegetables into the pasta, adjust seasoning if needed.
  6. Serve at room temperature for the best flavor.

 

Optional add-ins are feta cheese, olives, arugula or chopped kale.

 

Orzo Salad with Fava Bean, Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes

 

I may receive compensation in either monetary or product form for my recipe development. I take pride in working with products that fit my brand and will be beneficial to my readers.  All opinions are my own.

Ramen with Choy Sum and Pork

Ramen with Choy Sum and Pork

A big bowl of ramen is such a beautiful thing.

I wax poetic, but really, how can you not love a bowl of chewy noodles, unctuous broth, healthy greens and succulent meat? Not to mention a soft boiled egg, which when opened oozes a golden yolk , the texture like that of smooth custard.

 

Ramen with Choy Sum and Pork

The list of toppings for ramen is endless, so you can choose to add what you want i your ramen. While attending an event at Melissa’s Produce, they were kind enough to let us take a variety of samples. I took some lovely petite choy sum, which is a Chinese Flowering Cabbage. Bok choy is another type of cabbage you may be familiar with. Feel free to use bok choy, or napa cabbage or even Chinese broccoli. What ever green vegetables you have on hand will be good in a bowl of ramen. Except brussels sprouts. I mean, really.

Change the broth from chicken to a long simmered pork bone broth, or a fast fish stock. Shiitake mushrooms make a lovely vegetable stock.

The only constant needed for this recipe is good ramen noodles. I like a brand of straight ramen noodles that come already portioned out for you. If you cannot find them, you may substitute with curly chuka soba ramen. Check your local Asian grocery stores if you have one in your area.

Ramen Noodles | Black Girl Chef's Whites

Ramen should be a fast and easy, a dinner that can come together in about 15 minutes. A big bowl of comfort that when eaten properly means you are making a lot of loud slurping sounds.  And don’t forget to belch.

 

Ramen with Choy Sum and Pork

 

 

 

Ramen with Choy Sum and Pork
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sweet soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon good quality fish sauce, such as Red Boat
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 ounces straight ramen noodles
  • Garnishes
  • Coked pork slices
  • Petite choy sum
  • Sno peas
  • Soft boiled eggs
Instructions
  1. In a large sauce pan, bring the stock, water, sweet soy sauce, fish sauce, salt and ginger to a boil.
  2. Reduce to a simmer, cook 10 minutes to let the flavors meld.
  3. While the stock is coming to a boil, bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil.
  4. Add the ramen noodles, cook for 4 minutes or cook according to the package directions.
  5. Drain the noodles, divide them between between two large bowls.
  6. Ladle the seasoned stock over the noodles.
  7. Garnish with your choice of meat, or vegetables.

 

I may receive compensation in either monetary or product form for my recipe development. I take pride in working with products that fit my brand and will be beneficial to my readers.  All opinions are my own.

Ramen Salad with Roasted Eggplant and Shishito Peppers

Ramen Salad with Roasted Eggplant and Shishito Peppers | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

There is so much more to ramen than the sodium laden noodles with dehydrated vegetable and seasoning packs.  Don’t get me wrong, those packets of Top Ramen got me through college, but my palate has since become more refined.

Traditionally ramen noodles are served in a bowl of rich broth, with assorted accompaniments such as pork belly, fish cake, soft boiled eggs and seafood.

Beyond soup, ramen noodles lend themselves to stir fries and other dishes, like this salad. Extremely simple yet packed with flavor, this salad is wonderful as a main dish salad or as a side dish.

 

Ramen Salad with Roasted Eggplant and Shishito Peppers | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

Please visit Zester Daily for my recipe for this simple and simply delectable salad.  While you are there enjoy the other food, drink and travel articles by the talented Zester Daily writers.

 

 

Lemon-Tarragon Tuna Melt with Provolone

Lemon-Tarragon Tuna Melt with Provolone | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

Once upon a time a chef entered a contest for the best grilled cheese sandwich. It was only a grilled cheese after all, how hard could it be to come up with the winning recipe?

That is how I began my post about the Brie, Gorgonzola and Pork Loin Grilled Cheese recipe I developed for a contest. Well, here is the second recipe I entered into that contest . . . and the second one that did not make the cut.

So, it occurs to me that it may indeed be fairly hard to come up with a winning recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich.  Could someone pass me that humble pie please?

This tuna melt starts with extremely flavorful tuna with lemon zest and fresh tarragon, with gooey provolone cheese and creamy avocado.

And to really make it really special, I threw on some potato chips for crunch.

Lemon-Tarragon Tuna Melt with Provolone | Black Girl Chef's Whites

Damn good grilled cheese, if you ask me.