Spaghetti with Kale Pesto

Hi everyone!  Happy Tuesday :)  My blogger friend, Becca at Two Places at Once contacted me to do a guest post on her blog while she is off getting married.  If you’ve been a frequent reader, you will remember that we did a swap back in February.  Blueberry Scones on this blog & Steamed Mussels on hers.  Of course, I didn’t pass up the opportunity to appear on her blog.

I love pesto, but my basil plant is not yet producing enough leaves so I put a spin on it & tried kale!  It was super delicious so head over to Two Places at Once to see my post & the recipe!

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Speedy Parmesan Thyme Risotto

{creamy, savory goodness}

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If you follow along with me on Instagram, you most likely saw my picture of my visit to the meat market.  I was introduced to this little gem and will be headed there on a weekly basis.  The place is called Market Place Meats & Deli and is relatively close to our house.  It was bright and sunny 2 Sundays ago so I went on a solo adventure to the meat market.  I fell in love.  Not only are there a huge selection, but the prices are amazing.  Added bonus, my butcher is Polish and said each Sunday he will teach me a couple of words/sayings.

He suggested some “petite steaks” which were sliced flat iron pieces.  He said they are great for weeknight meals because they can be put on the grill for a few minutes and be done.  I got a couple of other things:  chicken breasts, chicken sausages, and ground chuck, all for $19.00.

The night I planned to make the steak I wanted to pair them with some bold side dishes.  I planned to make my Lemon Parmesan Risotto recipe, but knew I had to hurry home from work in order to get it going in time.  Needless to say, I didn’t get home early enough.  However, I still wanted to make it.

PHOTO BOMB!!!!!

PHOTO BOMB!!!!!

Do you have a recipe that you love, but wish it was easier/quicker to prepare?  Risotto is one on my list.  I love risotto.  I don’t have time for risotto.  Therefore, our relationship is very weak.  To make an absolutely delicious and A+++ risotto you must be prepared to be patient and have about an hour to stand around, periodically stir a pot for about an hour.  This working lady ain’t got no time for that kinda dinner.

Fear no more.  I cheated on the slow cooking risotto and sped up the process resulting in a creamy risotto.  I even used brown rice!  The key to my speedy risotto is to cook the rice according to the directions on the package and before all the water is absorbed you add a little more at a time.  At first I thought there was no way this was going to work, but it did and I am happy & ready to experiment with different flavor combinations.

In the next few posts, you will notice that I will be featuring a lot of side dishes.  This is because the meat market pieces don’t require a lot of jazzy sauces and recipes.  They are simple and can be accompanied by a fancy side dish for a perfect weeknight meal!

Sara’s speedy parmesan thyme risotto

Recipe by:  Sara
Prep Time:  5 minutes   |||   Cook TIme:  25 minutes   |||   Servings: 4-6  |||   Difficult Level:  Low

Ingredients:
1 cup brown rice [preferably 15 min or less cook time rice]
2 cups water + an additional ~2 cups
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

Directions:
1.  Combine rice and water in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat.
2.  When a small bit of water remains, add 1/2 cup and increase heat to medium.  Stir often.
3.  Slowly add 1/4-1/2 cup water at a time until the rice start to become creamy.
4.  Add butter, parmesan and spices.  Stir to combine.  You may need a small amount of water again.
5.  Stir in thyme and season with salt and pepper.IMG_4016

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Taste of Tuesday: Olive Garden Breadsticks

{a new link-up!}

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Sunday night blogging led me to stumble upon this link-up hosted by Jessica & Ashley called Taste of Tuesday.  It’s a pretty simple concept that is right down my alley.  Each Tuesday post a little something related to food, whether it is a new restaurant to try, a healthy snack, or a delicious recipe.  Those participating will linkup on their blogs.  I look forward to increased traffic with this fun new hangout.

For my first Taste of Tuesday, I am sharing with you my copycat Olive Garden bread sticks ***Warning:  this is a      D  O  U  G  H  I  E      recipe***  I mean come on, IT IS DOUGH!

I will share that I greatly despise the Olive Garden.  However, I am a fan of their salad and bread sticks.  I wanted to try to bake bread sticks for a while and did a little research before I dove in.  These really are excellent and, in my opinion, are pretty damn close to the ones the serve.  I hope you enjoy & be sure to check out Blissfully Miller & Let’s Get Bananas!

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Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees, no more no less)
1 packet yeast
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp salt

For topping
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
pepper
sprinkle of parmesan cheese

DIrections
1.  In a standing mixer (or bowl), combine yeast, water, and a small pinch of the sugar.  Let stand 10 minutes or until frothy.
2.  Add  1 cup of the flour, melted butter, salt and sugar.  Attach bread hook.
3.  Slow start mixing on low, adding remaining flour until combined.
4.  Allow dough to be kneaded on medium speed for about 2 minutes.  Adding additional flour if dough is too sticky.
5.  Place dough in an oiled bowl, covered tightly with plastic wrap.  Let sit in a warm area for at least an hour.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
6.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces.
7.  Roll each piece into a thick snack and place on a greased baking sheet.
8.  Bake for about 8-12 minutes or until golden brown.
9.  Combine all ingredients for topping, except parmesan in a small bowl.
10.  As soon as bread comes out of the oven, use a kitchen brush to paint the butter mixture on the cooked bread sticks.  Sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

enjoy.

xoxosara

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