Category Archives: Get Well

Oven Baked Spring Vegetable Risotto

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Oven Baked Spring Vegetable Risotto. Quick, simple, and delicious!

 

Oven Baked Spring Vegetable Risotto. Quick, simple, and delicious

Risotto is one of my favorite indulgence meals. Sometimes I serve it as a side dish, and sometimes I serve it as the main dish with a side salad. Making risotto the traditional way takes at least 30 minutes standing over the stove and stirring constantly. When I do not have time to do that, I make this wonderful oven baked risotto. I found an oven baked risotto recipe from Barefoot Contessa via the Food Network a couple of years ago. After making it the first time, I felt like it lacked some of the flavor you get from making it the traditional way. So, I tweaked the recipe a bit, and I think it is fantastic now! Actually, I rarely make it the traditional way anymore because this method is so simple, absolutely delicious, and perfect for feeding a crowd!

I bring this dish to many family gatherings. I am also bringing this dish to a friend and neighbor  who just got out of the hospital late last week. Her 3 week old son got RSV and had to stay in the PICU for a week and a half. She also has two young children to take care of at home, is completely exhausted from lack of sleep and worry, is recovering from a c-section, and housework piled up while she was in the hospital. This momma needs a break!!! I thought I would bless her with a tasty meal of oven baked risotto and a green salad. And since it’s spring time, I thought a few roasted spring veggies such as zucchini, squash, and asparagus would be perfect mixed in to the risotto.

Oven Baked Spring Vegetable Risotto. Quick, simple, and delicious

Oven Baked Spring Vegetable Risotto 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
5 cups simmering chicken stock, divided
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 clove of garlic, pressed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Half of 1 Zucchini, cut into 1/4 in. half moons
Half of 1 Yellow squash, cut into 1/4 in. half moons
10-12 stalks ofAsparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1 in. size pieces
4 oz Sliced Baby portobello mushrooms (optional)
olive oil
salt & pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place the rice, wine, pressed garlic, and 4 cups of the chicken stock in a Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente.
3. While Rice is cooking, roast the vegetables (see below)
4. Remove from the oven, add the remaining cup of chicken stock, the Parmesan, butter, salt, and pepper, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. It will get creamier and creamier as you stir.
5. Add the roasted vegetables and stir until heated through. Serve hot.

To Roast Vegetables:

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2.Place vegetables in a single layer on a sheet pan.
3. Season with kosher salt and pepper; drizzle with olive oil (enough to lightly coat the veggies) Toss to coat.
4.  Bake for 10 minutes or until just fork tender.

Recipe Source: Inspired by Barefoot Contessa via the Food Network

Baking Tips:

*Do not stop stirring the risotto too soon… stir the ENTIRE 2-3 minutes! The stirring is what makes it creamy!

Bake and Share Ideas:

  1. Bring the risotto to your next family gathering
  2. Take the risotto to a friend in need of a meal
  3. Take some extra leftovers to work and invite a co-worker to join you for lunch!

 

Recipes From Friends

Yummy Recipes by Zeven Up Media

Triple Cinnamon Scones and The Ultimate Act of Kindness and Love

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Triple Cinnamon Scone Recipe

Triple Cinnamon Scone Recipe

Triple Cinnamon Scone Recipe

I had the honor and pleasure of making these triple cinnamon scones for a special little girl named Ava, her family, and the family who donated the heart that Ava received. Ava is known as “Amazing Ava.” Her story and the story of the family who donated the heart of their precious little boy has been shared throughout the country. You may have even caught wind of it yourself! As I write these words, my hands are shaking and my eyes are watering just thinking about what both families have been through in the past year to bring them to this gathering. I do not personally know either family. However, one of my good friends is cousins with Ava’s father and has kept me updated on Ava’s condition for the past year. I have been praying for her since this past summer. She is one tiny amazing little girl who has overcome so many obstacles in her first year of life. If you want to read more about Ava’s journey, and how she received her new heart, please check out her Facebook page. Her story was covered in numerous newspaper articles and news telecasts. Here is one article. If you scroll through Ava’s Facebook page, you will find more articles about her story. Photos of the families meeting are also posted on the page. The story of both families is inspiring, encouraging, and a true definition of love and kindness.

My friend asked me if I wanted to bake a few things for the two families that were meeting for the first time. I was so honored that she asked me! I decided to make heart shaped cake pops (of course something had to be heart shaped), chocolate chip cookies, and these triple cinnamon scones. As I was making the heart shaped cake pops, I could not get the family that donated the heart to Ava out of my mind. I hope that they find healing and comfort in the choice they made to give the gift of life during an incredibly tragic and heartbreaking time in their lives. If you want to find out more about organ donation, click HERE. You can also read an article about the two families gathering  HERE. 

Heart Shaped Cake Pops

Heart Shaped Cake Pops

Triple Cinnamon Scone Recipe

Triple Cinnamon Scone Recipe

 

Triple Cinnamon Scones

Ingredients

3/4 cup (6 oz.) half and half or evaporated milk
1 cup (6 oz.) cinnamon chips (These can be purchased through Amazon and some grocery stores carry them)
2 3/4 cups (11 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (2 3/8 oz.) sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (4 oz.) cold butter, cut into pats
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FILLING
3/4 cup (5 oz.) Baker’s Cinnamon Filling* (This can be purchased through Amazon or King Arthur Flour)
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz.) water
*Or substitute 4 tablespoons softened butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar and 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon for the Baker’s Cinnamon Filling mix and water. This alternate filling works well, but it may leak out of your scones a bit so be sure to use parchment paper

GLAZE
3 1/2 cups (14 oz.) confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
7 tablespoons (3 1/2 oz.) water

Instructions

1.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it’s OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
2. Add the cinnamon chips
3.  Mix the eggs, half and half,  and vanilla, stirring to combine.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together. This is a very moist dough.
4. Scrape the dough onto a well-floured work surface. Pat/roll it into a rough 9″ square, a scant 3/4″ thick. Make sure the surface underneath the dough is very well floured. If necessary, use a giant spatula (or the biggest spatula you have) to lift the square, and sprinkle more flour underneath.
5. Spread the filling over the dough. Fold one edge into the center and over the filling, as though you were folding a letter. Fold the remaining edge over the center to complete the three-fold. You’ll now have a rectangle that’s stretched to about 4″ x 12″. Gently pat/roll it to lengthen it into a 3″ x 18″ rectangle; it’ll be between 3/4″ and 1″ thick.

Triple Cinnamon Scone dough
6. Cut the rectangle into six 3″ squares. Transfer the squares to a lightly greased (or parchment-lined) baking sheet. Now you have a choice. For large scones, cut each square in half diagonally to make a triangle; you’ll have 12 scones. For medium scones, cut each square in half diagonally again, making four triangular scones from each square.

Triple Cinnamon Scone Dough  Triple Cinnamon Scone Dough

7. Gently separate the scones (if you like scones with crunchy edges), leaving about 1″ between them. For softer scones, separate the scones just enough to break contact between them.
You may also choose to make scone strips, or tiny squares. Cut each 3″ square into three 1″ x 3″ rectangles, for a total of 18 scone strips. Gently separate the strips, leaving about 1/2″ between them. Or cut each 3″ square into nine 1″ squares, to make 54 bite-sized mini scones.
8. For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.
9. Bake the scones for 16 to 20 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven, and allow the scones to cool right on the pan.
10. Make the glaze by stirring together the sugar, cinnamon, and water. If the sugar seems particularly lumpy, sift it first, for an extra-smooth glaze.
11. Now you’re going to coat each scone with glaze. Place a cooling wrack on top of a baking sheet or parchment paper.Dip the bottoms of scones in the glaze, swirling them around a bit to coat their bottoms.  Place them on the cooling rack. Then drizzle the remaining glaze over the top. Use a pastry brush to brush the glaze over each scone, to coat it entirely. The glaze is very thin, so this is easily done . Allow the glaze to set before serving the scones.
Yield: one dozen triangles, 5″ x 3″; 2 dozen triangles, 2 1/2″ x 3″; 18 strips, 4″ x 1 1/2″; or 54 mini (1 1/2″) squares.

Recipe Source: King Arthur Flour

Baking Tips: 

*These scones can be ahead. Shape them and freeze them on a baking sheet. Then place them in a zip top bag and freeze. Bake them directly from the freezer.

*This is a moist, messy dough, but so so worth the messiness! Be sure to use plenty of flour when rolling and shaping the dough

*Refer to my Tips and Techniques page for the proper way to measure flour.

Bake and Share Ideas:

  1. Participarte in the Bake and Share Challenge #2 and bake these for someone suffering from an illness. These will definitely brighten up their day!
  2. Bake them to share at Easter breakfast or brunch
  3. Bake them for someone you need to say “thank you” to or show your appreciation towards.

Calzones, One to Keep and One to Share

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This calzone recipe is one of my “Go To” recipes when I am either making dinner for a large crowd, or making a dinner for someone in need whether they are ill, just had a baby, or just lost a loved one. The recipe makes two large calzones. It is perfect for sharing because I can feed my family with one calzone and share the other calzone with a family in need. It is also great because you can customize your filling to the liking of your family and the recipient. The calzones are absolutely scrumptious! I love bread and I love pizza, so this is a match made in heaven!!

I recently shared my calzones with a friend who had her third baby.  I dropped it off at her house right at dinner time with a salad and fruit. If you want to take the calzone to your friend before dinnertime, or make it as a freezer meal, you can bake it half-way, then your recipient can either freeze it, or finish baking it at dinnertime. If you want to make the calzones ahead of time for a party, you can bake them half-way then freeze them. The day of the party, let them thaw in the fridge in the morning, then finish baking them during your party. I have done this on numerous occasions and they are always a big hit!

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Calzones

Ingredients

2 cups lukewarm (110°F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon or packet active dry yeast
6 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon salt

Filling Ingredients of your choice:

Cheese-Mozzarella, Parmesan, Provolone, Cheddar

Sauce-Pizza Sauce, Marinara, Spaghetti Sauce, Pesto

Meat- Italian Sausage, Ham, Prosciutto, Pepperoni, etc

Herbs-Pizza Seasoning, Basil, Parsley, Crushed Red Pepper, Thyme, Oregano

Vegetables-Chopped or sautéed vegetables of your choice

Instructions
Dissolve yeast and sugar in lukewarm water in a large bowl. Let proof for 5 minutes or so; mixture should begin to bubble.

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Stir 1 cup flour into yeast mixture. Add salt, then stir in an additional 4 1/2 cups flour. When dough begins to hold together and pull away from the sides of the bowl, it’s ready to knead.

Knead dough, using remaining 1/2 cup flour for work surface. Knead for 3 to 4 minutes, then let dough rest while you clean and grease your bowl. Knead an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Dough should be smooth, elastic and no longer sticky. I knead the dough in my stand mixer using the dough attachment. I almost always need to add the entire remaining 1/2 cup of flour.

Form dough into a ball and place in greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover bowl with a damp towel or piece of plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours depending on where you set the bowl (as well as the humidity level in your kitchen.) I place the bowl of dough in my oven with the oven light on to rise.

Punch dough down, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface (alternatively, you can leave dough in bowl and let it rise again, for about half the time of the initial rising; this will produce a finer-grained product).

Cut your bread dough into 2 pieces. Roll out each piece into a rectangle about 10 x 14 inches. Spread a thin layer of sauce on first. Then layer it with your choice of ingredients. Leave a half inch border around the dough.

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Starting with the long edge, roll the dough around the filling jelly-roll style. Pinch the seam and ends together very tightly and place the roll on a parchment lined baking sheet seam side down.

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Cover the calzone with a damp towel or plastic wrap (grease the underside of it so it won’t stick to the dough). Let it rise for 45 minutes to an hour.

Fifteen minutes before you want to bake the calzone, preheat your oven to 450°F. To make the crust crunchy, preheat a roasting pan on the oven bottom along with the oven. Just before the calzone goes in, pour in 3 or 4 cups of water.

Slash the tops of the loaves, brush with the egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 TBS water) and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds if desired.

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Bake for 15 minutes at 450°F.  *If you plan to freeze or half-bake your calzone see Baking Tips for Instructions. Turn the heat down to 400°F and continue baking for a further 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

To serve, allow the calzone to cool and “set” for 10 or 15 minutes. Then cut in slices. I like to serve mine with any extra sauce for dipping.

Recipe Source: King Arthur Flour

My Marinara Recipe:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4-1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes if desired
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes-I like to use San Marzano Tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1-2 teaspoons pizza seasoning
3-4 teaspoons sugar

Heat a small pot over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, pepper flakes if. Cook 2 minutes. Add parsley, tomatoes, salt, pepper, pizza seasoning, and sugar. Stir sauce, bring to a bubble and simmer 5-30 minutes over low heat. If you are short on time, 5 minutes will do the trick. But I love to let this sauce simmer the full 30 minutes when I have time. The flavors are wonderful!

Baking Tips:

*To Freeze: Bake the calzone for the first 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Wrap tight in plastic wrap and tin foil then freeze. When you want to bake it, remove calzone from the freezer the morning of the day you will be baking it and place it in the fridge to thaw.  When ready to bake, let calzone rest on the counter while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

*To half-bake and deliver to recipient: Bake the calzone the first 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool completely and wrap tight. Deliver it to your recipient with baking instructions. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

*Be careful not to make your filling too juicy or use too much sauce

*Don’t be afraid to use strong flavors.

Bake and Share Ideas:

  1. Bake the calzones and feed your family with one and share the other with a family in need
  2. Invite friends or family over for a game night and serve the calzones
  3. Take the calzones to your next potluck. You walk out a rockstar!!!