August 27, 2011

BBQ Meatballs

My wonderful boyf, PDubbs, has graciously agreed to write a guest post recapping tonight's cooking adventure. Take it away, PDubbs! -MegJo

So today I woke up feeling very crummy from my allergies. I was congested and had a sore throat. But, Megan took care of me preparing breakfast and coffee, and later some hot tea. We watched the series premiere of Pioneer Woman’s new cooking show on Food Network. The show was great, and I can’t wait for next week’s episode! Inspired by Pioneer Woman, we decided to make a dish from her cookbook for dinner. We agreed on her BBQ Meatballs, and it was definitely a good choice! I started off by preparing the potatoes for the side dish, while Megan prepared the meatballs. She formed them into perfect sized balls.

After a quick 10 minutes in the freezer, the meatballs got covered in flour.

Then they were ready for some sizzling in our new cast iron skillet!

After lightly browning them, they got covered in the yummy tomato sauce Megan prepared and baked in the oven for 45 minutes.

They came out hot and sizzlin’.

We served them alongside “Polish style” potatoes (just plain boiled to perfection potatoes), as well as a nice “Baja Corn Medley” we picked up at Sams Club the other day.

The meal was perfect and tasted amazing! There’s nothing better than doing the things you love with the person you love.


August 20, 2011

Dinner for Two

In honor of moving into our new apartment (pictures to come!), PDubbs and I decided to make a fancy dinner. Something new and adventurous and fresh. During our shopping trip to Publix, we spotted beautiful asparagus bundles that we couldn't turn down. While thinking of something to do with our first ingredient, PDubbs mentioned a shortcut recipe for risotto using short grain rice instead of the typical (expensive) arborio variety. Asparagus risotto it was!

I perused Tasty Kitchen when we got home and found a recipe for Simple Asparagus Risotto from Erica Nicole of Pearls in the Kitchen. We substituted a few ingredients for what we had on hand and browned up some spicy mango with jalapeno sausage we had in the fridge. Nom nom nom!

To start, we poured in 4 cups of broth (we used chicken) to a saucepan and cover. Heat the broth over medium-low to low heat. Keep it warm throughout the cooking process to help your little rice soak up as much juice as they can.

In a separate saucepan, we added about a tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter melted, PDubbs added 1/2 an onion & garlic. We opted for lots and lots, about 5 cloves but we would probably add more next time for a richer garlic flavor. Like I always say, it's not enough garlic if you don't wake up the next morning to garlic breath. Just kidding, girls don't get garlic breath.

After about 5 minutes, add all 1 1/2 cups of the short grain rice and stir to coat with that delicious buttery-garlicky-oniony juice.

Once the rice is coated in yummy, add 1/2 cup of the warm broth and all of your asparagus.

And commence the stirring!

And stir and stir and stir. Once the rice has absorbed all of the liquid, add another 1/2 cup of the warm broth. Continue until all of the broth has been added to the pot. Our asparagus was still a little undercooked so we added our last 1/2 cup and put the lid on to let the asparagus cook by steam.

While the asparagus did it's thing, we browned up some sausage. We bought the fully-cooked variety so it only needed a couple of minutes on each side.

Once the asparagus was nice and tender, we stirred in some shaved parmesan and salted to taste. Then just spoon it in a bowl and plop some sausages on top. I'm not going to lie, risotto has always intimidated me with the constant stirring and after seeing Jyll's risotto disaster unfold on Next Food Network Star, I had my doubts. But this recipe was super easy to follow and the results were delicious! The short-grain rice plumped up beautifully and released it's starches to make that signature risotto consistency just like arborio. Plus, with just a splash of water, it reheated beautifully in the microwave the next day. And it's significantly cheaper - win-win! This recipe is also a great base for a variety of add-ins.

Tomatoes & basil? Yum. Lemon & rosemary? Mhmm. Black olives & sundried tomatoes? Yes, please!

Now it's time to prepare for my last fall as an undergrad. Where has the time gone?