This morning was bright and sunny and then it started snowing. Hmmm. Jack’s at work and I have the day off. I’m getting ready to go to Omaha for a week, so I don’t have a lot of time. I have things in the fridge that I need to use up. So, I guess dinner tonight is going to be risotto! That way I can make something warm, use up my zucchini and asparagus, and have leftovers for Jack when I’m gone. It’s a win-win-win situation and I won’t ask for anything better than that!
Risotto is pretty easy to make and it’s a nice way to use some vegetables. The real key to making it healthy is to use lots of veggies and to control your portion size. Actually, the key to most “diets” is probably portion control. If you look at how much we ate in the 50’s and 60’s and compare it to what we eat today, you won’t be able to deny that our serving sizes have grown tremendously in the past 40 years or so. Along with that, our activity has decreased during that time, so it’s no wonder that we’re eating too much! Actually, I remember as a child going to McDonald’s for a meal and even my dad only had their regular sized hamburger, what would be a small fries today, and maybe a milk shake. Now, it’s a quarter pounder, large fries, and huge cola! But I’m digressing…………..
Back to the risotto. For tonight’s recipe you’ll need 2-3 chicken breasts, 1/2-1 pound asparagus, 1 small to medium onion,1-2 cups frozen peas, chicken broth or chicken bouillon, dry white wine (if desired), 2 1/2 cups arborio rice, salt, herbs Provence, and about 1-1 1/2 cups grated parmesan or Asiago cheese and a little freshly ground pepper. There is no “exact” amount of ingredients to use since it’s mostly based on what you have on hand. That’s just how I cook, so feel free to improvise and add any ingredients that sound good to you,
To begin, add 4 cups chicken broth to 4 cups of water (or 8 cups total water with 4 tablespoons chicken bouillon) and heat to boiling. Keep warm. Cut your chicken breasts into approximately 1″ sized pieces. Sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons herb Provence and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat a couple of teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet that has a lid. Add chicken and cook for about five minutes, stirring to cook through. Remove chicken and place somewhere to keep warm. Add about another 2 tablespoons oil and heat. Place asparagus that has been cut into 2″ sized pieces, sliced (about 1/8-1/4″ thick) and halved zucchini, and diced onion into pan. Cook and stir for about 2-3 minutes. Place somewhere to keep warm. I usually use a large, covered casserole dish to keep the chicken and veggies in.
In the same large skillet that you’ve been using, pour your 2 1/2 cups arborio rice and stir it to keep it from burning. Cook slightly, stirring, for about 2-3 minutes. Turn your burner to medium and add 1 cup of dry white wine or water. Stir to mix and let the liquid absorb. Add another 1 1/2-2 cups of broth, stir, and cover. Once again, let the liquid absorb, making sure that it doesn’t dry out. Continue this process until all of the liquid is used. When you add the last liquid, pour your cooked chicken and vegetables on top. Cover and cook until liquid is absorbed. Add 1-1 1/2 cups grated cheese and the freshly ground pepper and stir. Serve immediately.
Tonight I heated a little left-over, lightly buttered cornbread in a non-stick pan that had a lid and served that with our risotto. Delicious, and I got some extra vegetables into Jack!
Risotto with chicken, asparagus, zucchini, peas, and onion