Friday, November 29, 2013

Roast Brisket for Chanukah

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday and to those of you who are celebrating Chanukah, Happy Chanukah!  In my family Chanukah has always meant latkes and brisket.  This recipe is from my grandma but the recipe card says Mother-In-Law's style so I think it is probably my great-grandma's recipe.  When this is cooking my kitchen just smells like Chanukah to me.

One of the great parts of this recipe is that it is even better if you make it the day before so then you have one less thing to worry about the day that you are having a bunch of people over to your house to celebrate.  It is super easy, but it does take a long time.  It is mostly hands off time though so you can get a bunch done around the house while this cooks.

Start out by peppering both sides of the brisket and then searing it well in a large dutch oven that has a lid.  I wanted to have a bunch of leftovers so I made two briskets and doubled the sauce.  While your brisket is browning, halve and slice a couple of onions. 

Once your brisket has been browned on each side, remove it from the pan and set it aside.  Then add the sliced onions to the pan and saute for a few minutes until the onions are just glazed.

Take some of the onions out, put the brisket back in the pan, and then put the removed onions back on top.  You want onions underneath and on top of the brisket.  Because I had two briskets, I had onions underneath, in between the two, and on top of the brisket.  Get a packet of onion soup mix, I used Lipton, and sprinkle it all over the brisket and onions.

Then cover the top with a bunch of ketchup and an equal amount of red wine (you can use water instead, it just won't be as flavorful).

Put the lid on your dutch oven and cook at 325 for 4 hours, flipping it halfway through cooking.  Let it cool some and then refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove it from the fridge, skim off any fat from the top, and take the brisket out of the pot.  Slice the brisket against the grain and then put it back in the sauce.  Reheat by putting it in a 325 oven for about 30 minutes.  Serve the brisket with the onions and sauce on top.

This freezes well so do what I did and make two briskets.  I used a 3 pound brisket and a 4 pound brisket and just doubled the rest of the ingredients.  Then you can have a delicious, homemade dinner in no time at all.  The extra effort to make two is minimal and it is totally worth it.  Enjoy!

Roast Brisket for Chanukah
  • 5 lb end cut brisket, well trimmed
  • black pepper
  • 2 onions, halved and sliced
  • 1 package onion soup mix
  • 14 oz. ketchup
  • 14 oz. red wine
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Generously pepper both sides of the brisket.
  3. Sear both sides well in a dutch oven that has a lid.  Remove from pan and set aside.
  4.  Add sliced onions to the same pan and saute until just glazed.
  5. Remove half of the onions from the pan and put the brisket on the onions that are still in the pan.
  6. Top with the remainder of the onions and sprinkle the onion soup mix all over both.
  7. Cover it all with the ketchup and red wine.
  8. Cover the dutch  oven and bake for 4 hours, flipping the brisket half way through.
  9. Let cool slightly then refrigerate overnight.
  10. The next day skim off any fat then remove the brisket from the pan and slice against the grain.  
  11. Put the meat back in the pot and reheat in a 325 oven for 30 minutes.
  12. Serve with onions and sauce on top. 

I'm linking up with Link Party Palooza, Show Stopper Saturday, Marvelous Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Busy Monday, Inspiration Monday, Tasty Tuesdays, Wake Up Wednesday, Made By Me, Whimsy Wednesdays, Real Creative Life, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Pin It Thursday, Less Laundry More Linking, and Pin Junkie.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday - Red & Leopard

This is a crazy week for us.  Chanukah comes early this year, craaaazy early.  In fact, it starts tonight.  Because I'm due in about a week and a half we aren't traveling so our family is coming to us for the holidays.  We have my sister's family coming tonight and then tomorrow my in-laws are coming for Thanksgiving.  Added to that, I'm helping at the Thanksgiving feast at Jake's school today.  This all means that we are super busy, but at the same time, I'm trying to take it easy because we do not want an early arrival.

As a result, we are keeping the holidays very casual this year.  No getting dressed up in our house.  The boys are thrilled because this means they can wear their football jerseys on Thursday.  For me, it means these jeans.  These under the belly legging jeans from GAP that my sister is lending me are seriously the most comfortable things ever (other than actual leggings of course).  All of the maternity pants that cover the whole belly leave me very itchy and uncomfortable so I prefer under belly styles but a lot of them are really tight.  These are not.  They have an adjustable waist (like toddler pants) so they have continued to fit as my belly has grown.   Unfortunately, it doesn't look like GAP has them anymore but if you can borrow a pair of these from someone who was pregnant before, I highly recommend them.

This top is also my sister's.  I love thermals because they are so cozy!  The heart shaped pocket is adorable and gives me a warm place to put my always freezing hands so this top is a win in my book.  I decided to add in some leopard flats because I really like the combination of red and leopard and this does it in an understated way.  These flats dress up a casual outfit and add a little pop of interest.

Top - borrowed
Jeans - GAP maternity - borrowed
Flats - Payless  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cookie Butter & Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I'm really missing peanut butter right now.  I made these cookies about a month ago but somehow forgot to post them.  Back when I made them I had a month and half to go, which sounds like a tiny amount of time until this little man will be here, but it sounds like a really long time until I am able to eat peanut butter again.  Somehow the closer I get the more I miss it.  Peanut butter's siren song just keeps calling my name.  I know some of you out there can feel me on this one, right?

To try to fill the hole peanut butter has left in my life, I decided to make my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe with cookie butter instead.  If you don't have a Trader Joe's near you, you can use Biscoff spread.  It is the same thing.  Because I've been craving chocolate lately, I decided to chop up some dark chocolate and add that in as well.

Obviously cookie butter and peanut butter don't taste the same, but they have a similar texture and these were really, really delicious.  The spices in the cookie butter were also reminiscent of fall so these are seasonally appropriate too. ;)

Start out by preheating your oven to 375 and lining some cookie sheets with parchment paper.  The parchment paper isn't necessary, but it does save you from a lot of dishes which I am always a fan of.

Beat together a softened stick of butter and some cookie butter with your mixer on medium-high for about 30 seconds.

Add in some sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder and beat until it's combined.

Crack in an egg and add some vanilla then beat until combined.


Then add in the flour and wrap a sheet of plastic wrap around the bowl of your mixer (this is a trick I learned in a cake decorating class to keep it from making a mess).

Beat in the flour, I usually turn it on slowly at first and then once the flour is partly incorporated, turn it up.

Stir in the dark chocolate chunks (regular chocolate chips will work well too).  Shape into balls and place on your cookie sheet.  I used my cookie scoop to scoop them into my hands before rolling so I would have uniformly sized cookies.

I used a fork to flatten them slightly and make criss-cross marks like I would have with peanut butter cookies, but they flattened out a lot when I baked them.  Next time I would just roll them and bake them.  I would also maybe refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes or so first.

Bake for about 7-9 minutes or until lightly browned.  These were baked for 9 minutes.  Slide the parchment paper onto a wire rack to cool.

I recommend eating these with a nice cold glass of milk.  Yum!

Cookie Butter & Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book Peanut Butter Cookies 
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup cookie butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chunks or chopped dark chocolate
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and cookie butter on medium-high for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add in the sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder and mix until combined, scraping as needed.
  3. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  4. Add in the flour, wrap the top of the bowl with plastic wrap if desired, and beat until combined.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chunks.
  6. Roll dough into balls and place on cookie sheet.   
  7. Bake 7-9 minutes or until lightly browned.
  8. Put parchment sheet on a wire rack to cool.

I'm linking up with Tasty Tuesday, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Whimsy Wednesdays, Wonderful Food Wednesday, Create It Thursday, Link Party Palooza,  Show Stopper Saturday, Marvelous Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Busy Monday, and Inspiration Monday.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pasta with Tuna, Lemon, & Peas

Who likes one dish meals they can make using mostly pantry ingredients in 20 minutes or less?  Me too!  This meal is exactly that.  A while back I pinned this recipe because I try to serve fish once a week but my husband is not the biggest fan.  Also, while I love fish, I don't really love cooking it.  Add to that the fact that it is such an expensive protein (especially my favorite varieties) and it is hard to fit it into our diets even though I know how good it is for us.

That is why this recipe is so perfect.  It uses canned tuna so I always have it on hand and since it is already cooked it is super quick.  Add in some frozen peas and fresh lemon and parmesan for both tang and salt and you have a delicious and easy complete meal on the table in no time at all.

Start out by boiling some water for your pasta.  I used the Barilla white fiber because I love how quickly it cooks up.   In the short time it takes your pasta to cook, the sauce will be ready.

When your water is almost boiling, add some olive oil and minced garlic to a pan over low heat (I was out of fresh garlic so I used a frozen garlic cube from TJ's).  After about a minute add in your tuna (oil packed) and some frozen peas using a spoon to break it all up and mix it together.  Remember that your tuna is cooked so you are just heating everything up.

When the pasta is ready, drain it and add it to the pan with your tuna and peas.  Add in a generous amount of parmesan (as usual I used the TJs Parmesan & Romano blend), the juice of a lemon, and a little bit of butter cut up into small pieces so it will melt quickly.  Stir it all together and once the butter is melted your dinner is ready.  You could also add some red pepper flakes here to add a little spice but we like it as is.

I love this meal because it has the comfort food quality of a tuna noodle casserole, but all in a few minutes without turning on the oven or dirtying a casserole dish.  So there you have it, fish for dinner in a few minutes, with a few ingredients.

Pasta with Tuna, Lemon, & Peas
  • 6 oz. Barilla white fiber pasta (half a box)
  • 2 tbls. olive oil
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 cans tuna packed in olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan, (the fresh kind, not the shelf stable)
  • 2 tbls. butter, cut into small pieces
  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pan heat olive oil over low heat.  Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. Add in tuna and peas, stirring occasionally, and continue to cook over low for about 5 minutes or until heated through.
  4. Add drained pasta to tuna mixture and then stir in parmesan, lemon juice, and butter.

I'm linking up with Link Party Palooza, Best of the Weekend, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Weekend Potluck, Super Saturday, Show Stopper Saturday, Sunday Linky, Marvelous Monday, Inspiration Monday, and Tasty Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday - Mixing Neutrals

Growing up I always heard not to mix black with blue or brown.  That rule seems to have pretty much gone by the wayside.  At least I hope it has because this outfit combines all three.  My leggings and scarf are black.  My striped top is actually white and navy, even though it looks sort of black.  Finally I have on my cognac boots.  I think it all goes together and in fact I really like this outfit.

That being said, I didn't realize how big I have gotten until I looked at these photos to write this post.  I am 37 1/2 weeks pregnant, but still I was surprised.  In the last couple of weeks I have suddenly been starving.  Like, if I don't eat right now I may pass out and/or murder someone, starving.  ALL. DAY. LONG.  I'm terrified to be weighed at my check up on Thursday.

Back to my outfit, this was super comfortable.  More importantly, the top was long enough to cover not only my bum (essential with leggings) but also my support tank that I literally can't go without at this point because my back is really starting to hurt.

What do you think about mixing neutrals?  Does it work?

Scarf - Target - old
Top - Banana Republic Factory - old
Leggings - Old Navy Maternity
Boots - Cathy Jean - old

I'm linking up with Style Sessions, The Pleated Poppy, and I Feel Pretty.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Brownie Batter Pecan Pie

I grew up disliking nuts so I never really got into pecan pie.  Then a couple of years ago I discovered that I actually like a few types of nuts (walnuts still gross me out) and pecans were one of them.  When I saw Bakerella's Brownie Pecan Pie I knew I wanted to try it.   Our annual "friendsgiving" was the perfect excuse.  Since this makes two pies, I froze one for Thanksgiving.

This was so good that I barely rescued this last little piece to take pictures of.  I will try to update the pictures when we eat the one that is currently in my freezer.

Bakerella has two versions, a super gooey version that looks like brownie batter and a more baked brownie version.  I decided to split the difference and make a version that fell in the middle of the two.

Start out by making your pecan pie filling.  Mix together brown sugar, flour, corn syrup, vanilla, melted butter, eggs, and pecans (I used raw pecan halves).

Then make your brownie batter.  I used my favorite Ghiradelli mix, the same one I used in my Salted Caramel Brownies and then because I LOVE chocolate, I threw in an extra 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

Divide your brownie batter evenly between two still frozen deep dish pie shells.  Then pour the pecan pie filling on top, gently spreading it around to cover but trying not to mix it in with the brownie batter.

Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes or until the center of your pie is set, but still a little wobbly.  Then cool completely on the counter.  You can serve it room temperature but if you refrigerate it the brownie layer will be a little more solid.

Because the pecan pie filling is gooey, it seeps down into the brownie layer giving you the consistency of brownie batter without the unsafe, uncooked eggs part.  All I can say is YUM!!!

This was my first attempt at a pecan pie of any type so I wasn't totally sure what it was supposed to be like.  According to my scientific research (googling it) pecan pie should still be a little wobbly in the center and then the residual heat will finish baking it.  Evidently overbaking pecan pie is a cardinal sin so I didn't want to do that for my first effort.  I found that even with baking it for 50 minutes it was still super fudgey and gooey so if you want it a little more done, I think you could bake it another 5 minutes or so.  Those of you experienced pecan pie bakers, what do you think?

Brownie Batter Pecan Pie
Adapted from Bakerella's Brownie Pecan Pie
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbls. flour
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups raw pecan halves (8 oz.)
  • 1 package brownie mix (I recommend Ghiradelli) and the ingredients you need to make it
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 frozen deep dish pie shells
  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. In a medium bowl combine brown sugar and flour.  Then stir in the corn syrup and vanilla until combined.
  3. Add in melted butter and stir until combined.  Then mix in eggs.
  4. Gently fold in pecans.
  5. In a separate bowl, make brownie mix according to the instructions on the box, adding in a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips at the end.
  6.  Take your pie crusts out of the freezer and divide the brownie batter evenly among the two.  Then top with the pecan pie filling using a spatula to gently cover the brownie batter, being careful not to mix the two layers together.
  7. Bake for 50-55 minutes covering loosely with foil if the crust starts to get too brown.  (I had one on each shelf of my oven so I switched them halfway through.)
  8. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
*To freeze, bake and cool to room temperature.  Then wrap in a few layers of plastic wrap and then put in a ziploc bag.  Let thaw completely before serving.

I'm linking up with Mad Skills Party, Tasty Tuesdays, Made By Me, Wonderful Food Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Wake Up Wednesday, and Wednesday Whatsits, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Real Creative Life, Create It Thursday, Less Laundry More Linking, Thrifty ThursdayPin It Thursday, Pin Junkie, Best of the Weekend, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Weekend Potluck, Super Saturday, Show Stopper SaturdaySunday Linky, Marvelous Monday, and Inspiration Monday.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Easy DIY Fall Mantle

Last year I saw this fall display spelling out the word thanks.  I loved it, but wanted to glam it up a bit so I decided to put my own spin on it.

I decided to use red wine bottles because those are something that we tend to have in this house (especially during the holiday season) and I like the variety in shape you can find.  The darker the bottle, the better this will look.  I actually made this last year and then this year remade the T and the H with darker bottles.  The bottle on the left is the one I made this year.  Look how much clearer the letter is.  The old one was good, but the darker bottle is so much easier to see!

In addition to your wine bottles you will need some repositionable vinyl letter stickers, Krylon glitter blast spray, and some wheat.  I used the bronze blast color.  If you haven't used this stuff before, prepare to be amazed.  I absolutely love it because while I love glitter, I hate the way it comes off on everything.  This stuff solves that problem and it gives such even coverage.

Start out by removing the labels from your wine bottles.  The easiest way to do this is to soak them in hot water with a little bit of bleach.  Leave them alone for about 30 minutes and when you come back the labels will be floating on the top.  No scraping or scrubbing required!  Rinse and dry your bottles.  I recommend letting them fully dry upside down overnight because if your bottles have a little water left in them then the wheat can get moldy.  I may have learned that the hard way last year.

Once your bottles are dry carefully apply the stickers to the bottles.  Since the stickers are repositionable don't worry if you don't get them on straight the first time.  I decided to stagger my letters with every other one being lower.

Then take your bottles outside and spray them with the glitter spray.  Spray from top to bottom all the way around the bottle.  Don't spray on a thick layer, it will get drippy.  Just let it dry and then spray again.  I did 3 coats because I wanted the glitter to be thick but you could probably just do 2 coats.  Let them dry overnight and then peel off the stickers.

Now take your wheat and just stick some in each bottle until they look the way you want.  I decided to add some fake fall leaves to fill in the mantel a little bit.  I bought them last year on clearance at the end of the season but right now all fall stuff is on clearance at the craft stores so you can get some for a great deal.

I'm linking up with Thrifty Thursday, Pin Junkie, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Best of the Weekend, Show Stopper Saturday, Sunday Linky, Inspiration Monday, Craftastic Monday, Marvelous Mondays, Monday Funday, Mix It Up Monday, Busy Monday, Retro Repin, and Mad Skills Party.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday - Patterned Maxi Dress

We had yet another 80 degree November day so I busted out another maxi dress.  This is a non-maternity dress that I've been able to make work throughout my pregnancy.  This was wonderfully comfortable and with just a few weeks to go, comfort is at the top of my list.

I wore my black wedges again and by the end of the day I realized that they were a mistake.  I've officially reached the point where wearing heels all day is no longer a good idea.  My feet hurt and were swollen so I changed into my emergency flip flops.

I'm hopeful that the weather cools off because I have some really cute cold weather maternity clothes to wear from my last pregnancy and I want to wear them while I still can.  By the way, see my cute fall mantel behind me?  I'll be posting a DIY of those fabulous bottles on Friday so be sure to stop on by...

Dress - Banana Republic Factory - old

I'm linking up with I Feel Pretty, Style Sessions, and The Pleated Poppy.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Blueberry & Lemon Curd Muffins

A while back I made this delicious recipe for Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Loaf and we loved it.  I've made it a few times and this morning I was going to make it again but then I remembered the jar of lemon curd I picked up at Trader Joe's.  If you have never had lemon curd, you definitely should.  It is smooth and sweet and lemony all at the same time.  Usually it is served with scones at tea but I thought it would make an excellent addition to that recipe because I wanted to amp up the lemon flavor which I love.  I decided to make them in muffin form because then I could be sure that the lemon curd would be evenly distributed, plus muffins are faster and I was hungry.

Start out by lining your muffin tins with paper liners.  I got 18 out of this recipe.  In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a 4 cup measuring cup (or a bowl but I'm lazy and like less dishes) combine some fat-free Greek yogurt, vegetable oil, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and lemon zest.  (If you are looking for something to make with the juice from those lemons, this kale salad is amazing!)

Once it is good and combined add it to your dry ingredients and whisk it all together.

Then add in some blueberries, I used frozen (still frozen), and mix it all together gently.  If you want you can toss the frozen blueberries with some flour but I don't mind the little bit of discoloration.  I actually think it is kind of pretty.

Scoop a little bit of muffin batter into each cup (I used my cookie scoop).

Then top it with a heaping 1/2 teaspoon to a scant teaspoon of lemon curd.

I got a little greedy with my lemon curd and used a full teaspoon for each muffin.   I was rewarded with lemon curd baked onto my muffin tin, don't be like me.

Finally top it all off with one more scoop of muffin batter.

Then bake at 400 for about 20 minutes or until  a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Let them cool a little bit so you don't burn your mouth on molten lemon curd (this will be difficult because they smell really, really good.  Enjoy!

Blueberry & Lemon Curd Muffins
Makes 18 muffins
Adapted from The First Year Blog's Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Loaf 
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup plain, fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries, still frozen
  • heaping 1/4 cup lemon curd
  1. Line muffin tins with paper liners and preheat oven to 400.
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a 4 cup measuring cup combine yogurt, oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
  5. Add in frozen blueberries and stir gently to combine.
  6. Use a cookie scoop to scoop some batter into each muffin cup.  
  7. Top each with a heaping 1/2 teaspoon to a scant teaspoon of lemon curd and then another scoop of muffin batter.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

I'm linking up with Tasteful Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays, Mad Skills, Whimsy Wednesday, and Wonderful Food Wednesday, Pin It Thursday, Create It Thursday, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Real Family FunThrifty Thursday, Pin Junkie, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Best of the Weekend, Show Stopper Saturday, Sunday Linky, Inspiration Monday, Craftastic Monday, Marvelous Mondays, Monday Funday, Mix It Up Monday, and Busy Monday.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Red Wine & Sausage Risotto

Risotto is one of those things that tends to intimidate people but is actually really easy.  There is some stirring involved, but it doesn't really take that long and if you have it prepped in advance you can still get dinner on the table in a reasonable amount of time.   Sorry about the pictures with this post.  My camera was not cooperating with me, but this is a really yummy dinner so I decided to post them anyway.

This recipe is very easily adapted.  I used red wine because that is what Josh had open but I have made this exact dinner with white wine instead.  (It will be a prettier color if you use white wine.)  You can swap out the protein if you don't like sausage.  Some rotisserie chicken is a quick and easy swap.  As far as the vegetables go, use what you like.  I had spinach that needed to get used so spinach it was.  Now that I've told you how you can completely change this dish to suit your own tastes, here is the version I made this time.

Start out by browning your sausage in a deep saucepan.  When it's browned drain off any fat, and then remove it from the pan and cover it to keep it warm.

In the same pan, saute a chopped onion in some melted butter and olive oil (yes, you want to use a combination of the two).  Once your onion is soft add in some minced garlic and saute for about 30 more seconds.  Then add in the arborio rice and toast it for a few minutes but don't let it get hard.  You can do this part it advance, just turn off the burner, cover your pan (and refrigerate your sausage) until you are ready to make dinner.

Add in a cup of wine, stirring once or twice until it is absorbed.  Meanwhile, heat 3 cups of chicken stock over low heat.  Add in the stock one ladleful at a time, stirring occasionally until absorbed, adding some basil, oregano, and thyme with the first ladleful of stock.

When you add the last ladle of stock, stir in the sausage, some baby spinach, and 1/2 a pint of halved grape tomatoes.  Once the stock is absorbed, stir in some grated parmesan cheese, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a little more butter.   Serve with extra parmesan on the side.  Dinner is served!

Red Wine & Sausage Risotto with Spinach and Tomatoes
  • 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 4 tbls. butter, divided
  • 2 tbls. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 bag baby spinach
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. Spray a large, deep saute pan with cooking spray and brown sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it up as it cooks.  Drain off any fat and set aside, covering to keep it warm.
  2. Turn heat down to medium and melt 2 tbls. of butter with the olive oil.  Once the butter is melted, saute the onion until it is soft and translucent.
  3. Stir minced garlic into onion, saute for about 30 seconds, and then stir in rice.  Cook rice for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is toasted, but not hard.
  4. Meanwhile, heat chicken stock over low heat.
  5. Add in wine and stir occasionally until absorbed.  Stir in a ladleful of chicken stock as well as the spices.
  6. Stir in the stock a ladleful at a time as it is absorbed.  With the last ladleful of stock, stir in the sausage, spinach, and tomatoes.
  7. When the stock is absorbed to the consistency desired, stir in the remaining 2 tbls. butter, Parmesan, and red pepper flakes.
  8. Serve with extra Parmesan.

I'm liking up with Link Party Palooza, Super Saturday, Show Stopper Saturday, Sunday Linky, Marvelous Mondays, Mix It Up Monday, Inspiration Monday, Craftastic Monday, Monday Funday, Mad Skills Party, Tasteful Tuesday, Pin It Thursday, Create It Thursday, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Real Family Fun, and Pin Junkie.