Shrimp Pizza w/ Artichoke & Garlic Sauce

It’s hard to get bored of pizza, but sometimes you want to change things up a bit. In addition to trying new toppings and cheeses, consider using an alternative to tomato sauce on pizza.

Pizza night is a cherished tradition in many households, but sometimes, it’s good to break away from the routine and experiment with new flavors. One of the easiest ways to do this is by trying out different alternative pizza sauces.

The other day Brion & I were in a Winners/Homesense store. Of course, my favorite spot is always the area where they have all the cookware and specialty food items. I saw bottled sauce made with artichokes and garlic. Immediately my thoughts were as to how I could use it. It was quite pricey, so I opted to try and make a copycat version at home.

While tomato sauce has long been associated with traditional pizza, there is a whole new world of flavors waiting to be discovered by breaking from tradition. Tradition of course has its place—there’s a reason classic tomato-topped pizza has been a staple for generations. But there is more to pizza sauce than regular tomato. There are exciting flavors, interesting textures, sweet things, spicy things, cheesy things, even exotic things!

Here are some ideas for making pizza without tomato sauce:

  • White pizza – Make a white sauce with olive oil, garlic, parsley, and a dash of salt and pepper. Spread it on the pizza dough instead of tomato sauce. Top with cheeses like mozzarella, ricotta, or feta, and veggies.
  • Pesto pizza – Spread pesto sauce on the dough instead of tomato sauce. Top with veggies and cheeses.
  • BBQ chicken pizza – Use BBQ sauce as the base instead of tomato sauce. Top with chicken, red onion, cheddar cheese, etc.
  • Mediterranean pizza – Make a tahini sauce base. Top with artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, feta, red onion, etc.
  • Breakfast pizza – Scramble eggs with veggies and meats. Spread it on the dough. Sprinkle with cheeses.
  • Buffalo chicken pizza – Spread buffalo wing sauce on the dough. Top with chicken, blue cheese, mozzarella, celery, onion.
  • Thai pizza – Make a spicy peanut sauce base. Top with chicken, carrot, onion, cilantro, mozzarella.
  • Carbonara pizza – Spread an alfredo sauce base. Top with bacon, onion, Parmesan, egg, parsley.

The best thing about pizza is that there are endless ways to enjoy it. So here you have it … shrimp pizza with artichoke & garlic sauce. Yum!

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Shrimp Pizza w/ Artichoke & Garlic Sauce
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Instructions
Sauce
  1. Place all ingredients except oil in food processor. With motor running, Add olive oil in a slow stream to make an emulsion. Place in a dish & set aside.
Pizza Toppings
  1. Fry bacon until done but not crisp. Drain on a paper towel then chop into bite-sized pieces. In the same skillet, sauté shrimp until just cooked & remove it from skillet.
  2. Sauté sliced mushrooms & sliced onions until just cooked.
  3. Slice cherry tomatoes in halves & prepare fresh herbs.
  4. Shred mozzarella cheese.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Spread each naan bread with artichoke & garlic sauce.
  3. Top pizzas with onions, mushrooms, shrimp & bacon. Sprinkle shredded cheese over all then dot with halved cherry tomatoes & herbs.
  4. Bake 10-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly & tomatoes are roasted. Serve.
Recipe Notes
  • You will no doubt have extra artichoke & garlic sauce. Store it in an air-tight container for up to one week. Enjoy it on toasted bread or swirl into cooked pasta.

Boursin French Bread w/ Pork & Shrimp Stuffing

Today, March 21, our family celebrates the birth date of my father. Although he left this earth many years ago, I have so many memories of the wonderful childhood I enjoyed due to the parents I had. As my life unfolds, I realize more each day the impact having had a strong role model has made on my life. The word ‘thank you’ is so inadequate.

In the early 1950’s, my father was able to purchase another piece of land about 4 miles from our home place. Between the two farms it became the equivalent of a ‘section’. Before this time, the cattle had to be moved to a community pasture in the foothills where they would have enough grass to graze on over the summer. At that time to transport them, you had no choice but to herd them down the road allowance for approximately 20-30 miles on foot. To say the least it was a long grueling event for both the cattle and family members.

The ‘other farm’, as we referred to it, had originally been a slaughter house for the town meat market. It consisted of one large building, corals and a few other buildings. There was a slough on the land which dad had converted to a ‘dug out’ where the cattle could go and drink freely. The land was used for grain crops where in turn the cattle could be pastured on.

One of my fondest memories about the other farm was our picnic lunches. In the summer when dad would be working on the land, instead of my mother just packing a lunch for him that he could take in the morning, she would fix a wonderful ‘picnic lunch’. At about 11:30 in the morning, mom would pack up the lunch she had prepared, complete with plates, silverware, a tablecloth, etc., and we would drive to the ‘other farm’. There was just the right amount of space between two grain buildings to set up a make-shift table and stools. We would put the table cloth down and spread out our little picnic ‘feast’. Dad would be so surprised and we would all enjoy our lunch immensely. Mom always knew how to make the most simple things fun for us.

Lunch was always different from the usual lunch box meal and my mother never seemed to be short on tasty ideas. Today’s stuffed French bread meal is definitely a more elevated version of a picnic meal but it did bring me back to those wonderful cherished memories from childhood.

This meal seems so fitting to have today in honor of my father’s birthday. He loved bread, pork & seafood so I’ve got it covered.

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Boursin French Bread w/ Pork & Shrimp Stuffing
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Instructions
Shrimp Stuffing
  1. In a saucepan, cook rice & barley in vegetable broth until tender. Drain (you can use this broth elsewhere) & transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Sauté celery, onion & mushrooms in 2 Tbsp butter until tender-crisp. Combine sautéed vegetables with rice/barley mixture. Stir in shrimp & seasonings & cook for a few more minutes until shrimp is just cooked. Remove from saucepan & set aside.
Boursin Cheese Sauce
  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir in the spices. Add the milk & adjust heat to steaming -- do not simmer or boil. Add Boursin to the milk mixture, break it up into pieces with the side of a large spoon & stir until Boursin has melted into the mixture. Remove from heat & cool.
Tenderloin
  1. Remove silver skin & butterfly tenderloin. Using a meat mallet, pound out the tenderloin to about 3/4-inch thickness. Heat a griddle & sear meat on both sides. Set aside.
Assembly /Baking
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Cut the French bread in half lengthwise & scoop out the soft insides. Remove only just enough to be able to fit the tenderloin in the cavity. Spread the hollowed out cavity with the Boursin cheese sauce (save some for inside the butterflied tenderloin). Cover bottom & sides completely.
  3. Spread remaining cheese sauce over inside of butterflied tenderloin. Close the tenderloin so you can fit it inside the bread cavity. Once you have it in there, open it as much as possible & fill it with the shrimp stuffing. It will be slightly mounded.
  4. Using a large piece of foil paper, place the bread 'boat' in the center & pull the foil up around it. Lightly cover the top just to keep the stuffing from drying out until the rest is cooked.
  5. Bake for 1 1/2 hours in a baking pan with a wire rack in the bottom to prevent the bottom of the bread from burning.
  6. Remove from oven & allow to sit for about 5 minutes then remove foil & place on cutting board & slice.

Shrimp & Chicken Sausage Pasta Shells

With Christmas right around the corner, pasta meals are an easy quick fix on those busy days leading up to the big day. Stuffed Shells are truly the perfect meal to make ahead of time since you can prepare everything but hold off on baking them until you’re ready to eat.

Stuffed shells are a tasty dish that is usually made with ricotta cheese or other types of cheese inside the pasta shells. Tomato sauce is another common ingredient in the dish. However, there are so many ways to jazz it up and one might be surprised just how many unique ingredients one can put into a shell.

I have always loved stuffed pasta shells and over the years I have stuffed them in every way I could imagine. There are endless variations such as using different cheeses and herbs or making some homemade marinara or sun-dried tomato sauce.

There’s a reason surf and turf is often one of the most desired items on a restaurant menu — it’s because meat and fish are the perfect complement to each other! The light flavor of fish and shellfish is a great addition to the richer, heartier flavor of meat.

Today, I’m combining some shrimp and chicken sausage in my filling and topping it with a nice smoky sun-dried tomato parmesan sauce. Should be good!

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Shrimp & Chicken Sausage Pasta Shells
Instructions
Pasta / Filling
  1. Cook pasta shells in a pot of salted boiling water for about 10-12 minutes. Drain well & lay on a wire rack to keep them from sticking together until ready to fill.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add onion & mushrooms; sauté until tender & moisture has evaporated from mushrooms. Add chicken sausage & minced garlic. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add wine & cook until sausage is no longer pink about 4-5 minutes more. Drain well & transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Peel & devein shrimp; chop into 1/2-inch pieces. In a small bowl, whisk together broth & flour. Set aside.
  4. In the same skillet, heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add shrimp; cook, stirring constantly, until shrimp begins to turn pink. Stir in flour mixture. Add cream, Old Bay seasoning, garlic powder & Italian seasoning; stir until thickened. Remove from heat & stir in sausage mixture. Set aside until ready to use.
Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
  1. In a skillet, heat oil. Add onion & cook for 2 minutes until it starts to soften. Add garlic, oregano, thyme, paprika & sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring. Add vegetable broth; bring to a boil & simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in cream & parmesan cheese into the sauce. Remove from heat & cool for a few minutes. Pour sauce into food processor & process to a fairly smooth consistency. It will not be completely smooth but that is fine.
Assembly / Baking
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Spread half of the sauce over the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Divide filling between cooked shells. Lay in rows over sauce. Pour remaining sauce over top carefully covering all the shells.
  3. Loosely lay a piece of foil paper over baking dish and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbling nicely.

Asiago Shrimp Risotto

Risotto is one of those dishes that’s purely Italian in nature. Most traditionally made with Parmesan cheese, which is stirred in right at the very end of cooking to not only boost the rice’s creaminess but also lend its signature salty, nutty flavor to the dish. Don’t get caught up in tradition though, because risotto is one of the most flexible meals you can make.

While there is nothing wrong with Parmesan, the cheese possibilities for risotto are nearly endless and you quickly discover that the world of this comfort-food staple really has no boundaries.

Risotto is one of those gourmet meals that is really not difficult to make, and it doesn’t take long either. You can have it on the table in 30 minutes or less. It takes some work stirring — not the kind of stirring where you must stand at the stove and stir constantly. You can step away for brief moments, but you do want to do lots and lots of stirring. It’s the stirring that breaks up the starches in the rice and makes the risotto so incredibly wonderfully amazingly creamy.

This rich and creamy risotto with tender shrimp, uses Asiago over Parmesan cheese for a semisweet touch, plus tarragon and flat leaf parsley to give the dish some freshness.

Asiago is a whole milk cheese that originated in Northern Italy, around the Po River Valley where Italy borders Austria. Coming from the mountains, Asiago is similar to other mountain cheeses, such as Switzerland’s Gruyere or France’s Beaufort. Asiago is made in large wheels designed for long-term aging to get through tough winters. Dense and flavorful, Asiago’s flavor profile changes as time polishes the wheels over the course of several months or years. Taken from the milk of cows grazing on the grasses and wildflowers of the mountains, Asiago can have a fresh, fruity flavor or a savory, zesty taste on the palate.

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Asiago Shrimp Risotto
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
Ingredients
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Instructions
Risotto
  1. Heat 1 tsp oil in a LARGE POT or DEEP SKILLET over high heat. Add bacon & cook until fairly crisp. Blot on paper towel & crumble. Transfer to a small microwave-proof bowl. Leave about 1 Tbsp bacon drippings in pot & discard the rest. Add mushrooms & cook until browned. Remove to a dish, set aside.
  2. Turn heat down to medium & return pot to the stove. Add butter & melt; then add garlic & onion. Sauté for 3 minutes or until softened. Turn up heat, add rice & stir until grains become partially translucent, about 1 minute (do NOT overcook).
  3. Add wine & cook, scraping the bottom of the pot to get any brown bits, about 2 minutes. Turn down heat to medium-low; add about 3 cups of chicken stock. Leave, uncovered, stirring just once or twice, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Check firmness of rice & add 1/2 cup of broth at a time, stirring in between until absorbed & rice is cooked to YOUR taste.
Spicy Shrimp
  1. While the risotto is cooking, combine spice mix in a plastic bag. Add shrimp & shake to coat well. In a skillet, heat butter & olive oil; add shrimp & sauté for 2-3 minutes, just until cooked. Keep warm.
  2. Add the mushrooms back into the risotto towards the end, just to heat through. Right at the end when the risotto is ready, add a 'splash' more chicken broth to make the risotto slightly soupy, then take it off the stove.
  3. Add butter & Asiago cheese, then stir vigorously (this will activate the starch & make it super creamy). Add shrimp & gently stir to incorporate them into the risotto.
  4. Serve immediately. Garnish with reheated bacon & extra Asiago if you wish.

Shrimp Quesadillas w/ Guacamole

Quesadillas are basically toasted tortillas with cheese inside. The name in Spanish literally means ‘little cheesy thing’. What constitutes a quesadilla varies greatly between Mexico and its neighboring countries. They agree that the quesadilla and taco or burrito are different; the former being cooked after being filled or stuffed while the later two are filled with pre-cooked ingredients. Also they may be made with flour, corn or wheat tortillas as well as Mexican Masa (tamale version).

The quesadilla originated in central and southern colonial Mexico, beginning as a corn tortilla gently heated until soft enough to fold, then filled with cheese and toasted on both sides until golden and crispy on the outside and gooey with cheese on the inside. Over time, chopped, cooked vegetables and bits of roasted, shredded meat also found their way into these cheesy tortillas.

Influenced by the many micro-cultures of Mexico and Latin America, the quesadilla has been adopted and adapted by chefs and home cooks around the world, especially since the little cheesy things make it so easy to feed vegetarians and meat-eaters at the same table. A vegetarian quesadilla can be as simple as cheese folded into a tortilla. For the meat or seafood lovers, just add some shredded chicken, pulled pork or ‘roasted’ shrimp.

Speaking of shrimp …. to maximize the flavor, don’t sauté them – roast them! Much like roasting meat on the bone, roasting shrimp in their shells gives them a more intense flavor and keeps them from drying out as easily. The flavor from the shells penetrates the flesh, making them even tastier.

Something else I wanted to mention is a suggestion to help make your quesadillas nice and crunchy. Don’t use butter or oil to cook them in, use mayo instead. The fact that mayo contains a bit of sugar will promote browning and also give some extra crispiness.

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Shrimp Quesadillas w/ Guacamole
Instructions
  1. In a skillet, fry bacon to a cooked but not real crisp stage. Remove from pan to paper towel. Sauté mushrooms, zucchini & garlic until most of the moisture evaporates. Cut each shrimp in thirds & add to skillet with seasonings. Cook for another minute or until shrimp begins to turn pink. Remove from heat & add cooked bacon & combine.
  2. Grate cheese. Lightly butter one side each of 4 tortillas. Place on a griddle, & cook until warm & browned slightly. Remove 2 of them & keep warm. To each of the remaining 2, sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese, top each one with 1/2 of the filling then sprinkle with remaining cheese over filling. Place the 2 warm tortillas on top of the filled ones.
  3. Place a lid (or a baking pan) over the griddle for a few minutes to give the cheese a chance to melt.
  4. Remove quesadillas to a cutting board & cut each one into 4 pieces. Serve hot with your choice of toppings.
Recipe Notes
  • As I mentioned in the blog article, roasting the shrimp really intensifies the flavor. If you have the time, try it instead of just sautéing them.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • Place the shrimp (shells-on) on a lightly greased baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and minced garlic.
  • Sprinkle evenly with the seasoning (such as Old Bay) and arrange the shrimp in a single layer. 
  • Bake the shrimp for 8-10 minutes or until just pink and opaque throughout.
  • Remove from oven.

Shrimp & Broccoli ‘Hobo’ Packs

HAPPY LABOR DAY!

Once again, the last long weekend of summer has arrived. Here in Canada, families with school age children, take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer. Others enjoy the company of family and friends at barbecues, picnics, fairs, festivals and fireworks displays. Canadian football fans may spend a large portion of their weekend watching the Labor Day Classic matches live on television. Whatever your choice of relaxation is, you know good food will be a part of the holiday.

If you’re barbecuing, some hobo packs might just be perfect. Each packet can be prepared individually or collectively so even the pickiest eater can be accommodated. If the weather doesn’t cooperate with outdoor cooking, you can always cook indoors in your oven & there’s minimal clean-up afterward either way.

Essentially a ‘hobo’ pack is a bundle of cut-up ingredients wrapped up in foil and cooked over the coals of a campfire.

Although, foil pack meals seem like the new summer go-to dinner, creative cooks were making these long before they became trendy. Depending on your eating habits, taste preferences and ingredients on hand, you can make any combination of flavors.

During the depression, many people were homeless and lived in encampments. They were known as Hobos.  Whatever food they could find, whether it was wild caught, wild grown, in the trash, or given from a neighbor, they would cook all the food over the fire.  Because they were hungry, they would use even the peelings of vegetables that others would throw away.  Being resourceful was their survival.  I am sure that is where we get the term ‘Hobo Dinner’, because it is comprised of simple ingredients that are cooked together.

Whether you call them meals in foil, zip packs, hobo bundles, or some other name, meals in foil are easy and unmessy, camp-style cooking in your own backyard (or kitchen).

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Baked Shrimp & Broccoli 'Hobo' Packs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Cut 2 sheets of 14 by 12-inch (35 x 30 cm) heavy-duty aluminum foil then lay each piece separately on the countertop. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the spice mix: Italian seasoning, onion powder, salt, pepper, & smoked paprika & powdered vegetable or chicken stock.
  3. In a shallow plate, add shrimp; sprinkle with the spice mix, coating on all sides. Divide shrimp onto the aluminum foil near the center then place broccoli florets to one side of the shrimp.
  4. Add garlic over broccoli & shrimp, then sprinkle with lemon juice, red crushed chili pepper flakes (if using) and finish with salt and pepper. Divide butter pieces evenly among the shrimp foil packets, layering them over the shrimp & broccoli.
  5. Add a tablespoon of vegetable stock in each foil packet & wrap packets in; crimp edges together then wrap ends up. Don’t wrap too tight – keep a little extra space inside for heat to circulate.
  6. Transfer to a baking sheet & bake shrimp foil packets in the oven, sealed side upward until shrimps have cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  7. Carefully unwrap the baked shrimp & broccoli foil packets then garnish with fresh parsley and a slice of lemon.
Recipe Notes
  • Brion & I found some roasted cherry tomatoes were especially good with this meal. After drizzling the tomatoes with Golden Italian Dressing, I roasted them on their own  in the same oven as the hobo packs were baking.

Shrimp Zucchini Boats

Fresh garden veggies are what summer is made for. Eating fresh and in season not only tastes amazing but is so enjoyable.

I’m sure everyone is well acquainted with the zucchini ‘boat‘ idea. Basically zucchini sliced in half lengthwise, hollowed out and filled with whatever you choose. I think incorporating the zucchini you scoop out into the filling is a good idea. This versatile veggie takes on the flavor of whatever your cooking, so the possibilities are endless.

For this recipe, I’m keeping it simple and filled the zucchini boats with rice and succulent pieces of marinated shrimp then topped them with parmesan cheese. I find the best zucchini to use is a medium size, about 8-10 inches in length. Zucchini that is smaller than that really tastes the best but should be saved for other recipes because their not big or sturdy enough to hold the filling. Those super large zucchinis are best for grating to add to baked goods like bread and muffins.

It seems like just about the time you think you made everything possible with this veggie, one more idea pops up. Yay zucchini!

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Shrimp Zucchini Boats
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
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Instructions
Marinade
  1. In a container with a lid, place cleaned shrimp & remaining marinade ingredients. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Rice
  1. Cook rice in chicken broth until tender.
Zucchini
  1. Slice zucchinis in half lengthwise; scoop out centers, leaving 1/8-inch thick shells. Place in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  2. Chop zucchini flesh that was scooped out of centers. In a large skillet, melt butter; add chopped zucchini & sauté until tender crisp. Remove from heat & add cooked rice, garlic powder & some of the parmesan.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  4. Fill hollowed shells with rice mixture. Drain shrimp & place on top of rice mixture. Drizzle marinade over top of shrimp boats. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until shrimp is cooked & zucchini is tender crisp.

Pork Rolls w/ Seafood Stuffing

Stuffed pork tenderloin is an amazing way to amp up a simple cut of meat. Pork tenderloin is incredibly tender since it is essentially the ‘filet’. Because there is very little fat in a tenderloin, its perfect to stuff with all sorts of tasty things to bring in both moisture and flavor.

The ‘old-fashioned’ idea of surf & turf seems to still retain an odd appeal. Having seafood and meat on the same plate lets you alternate bites and flavors from two realms, but there is a better way of mixing ‘sea & land’. Actually, combining seafood and pork so they cook together produces something quite amazing. Pork with its mild but rich taste complements the clean, delicate flavor of seafood.

This seafood stuffing uses a blend of rice and barley along with crab, shrimp and some veggies. The seasoning brings it all together into a real special meal.

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Pork Rolls w/ Seafood Stuffing
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Seafood Stuffing
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Seafood Stuffing
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Instructions
Seafood Stuffing
  1. In a saucepan, cook rice & barley in vegetable broth until tender; transfer to a large bowl. Sauté onion, celery & mushrooms in 2 Tbsp butter until tender-crisp.
  2. Combine sautéed vegetables with rice/barley mixture in large bowl. Stir in shrimp & crab meat; sprinkle with seasonings & toss to combine.
Pork Rolls
  1. Using a meat mallet, pound out the tenderloin strips very thinly, then divide stuffing between them. Roll tightly, encasing the filling inside. If necessary tie with kitchen twine.
  2. Roll the pork rolls in seasoned flour to coat lightly. Heat the butter & oil in a large skillet & brown the rolls well on each side. Remove rolls to a plate.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  4. Add veg (or seafood) broth to skillet, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer making sure to stir in all browning bits from pork rolls; cook for 5 minutes. Season the broth with salt & pepper to taste, then pour into a casserole & place stuffed rolls on top.
  5. Bake for about 45 minutes. Serve.

Sweet Corn Risotto w/ Sauteed Shrimp

Comforting, creamy risotto is one of those dishes that isn’t difficult to prepare but it can be quite time consuming. I find it works best for me when I’m doing other things in the kitchen at the same time.

Risotto is typically made with arborio rice, but pearl barley is a good substitute; it produces a similar texture but with a nuttier taste.

Over the years, I have made various kinds of risotto. Brion is the eternal rice lover. He could eat rice everyday of the week. Even though his favorite is just plain white rice, I can’t resist adding risotto to the mix now and again.

As a rule, if you are using corn in risotto, it would probably be fresh. In February, ‘fresh’ is not happening in our part of the country yet. One of the most favorite canned vegetables in North America is corn. Personally, I love corn no matter if its canned, frozen or fresh. Without trying to sound like an advertisement, I found that Green Giant Steam Crisp was real nice for this recipe. It’s supposedly picked at its peak and then quickly steamed in the can to preserve as many vitamins and nutrients as possible. I added some bacon and mushrooms to give it some extra pizzazz!

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Sweet Corn Risotto w/ Sauteed Shrimp
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring chicken broth to a simmer.
  2. In another large saucepan, saute bacon until lightly browned but not crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Drain off fat & wipe out pan with paper towels.
  3. Add butter to pan & melt over medium heat. Saute mushrooms until moisture evaporates; add onion & green pepper. Saute for 5 minutes or until tender crisp then add barley (or rice) & hot chicken broth; simmer, stirring occasionally until all broth is absorbed, 15-20 minutes. If you need to make more broth, do so but be sure it is hot before adding it.
  4. When barley (or rice) is cooked & broth is absorbed, remove from heat & stir in corn, butter, Parmesan & parsley. Season with salt & pepper & transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Add remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil to skillet & heat over medium-high heat. Add garlic, shallot & red pepper flakes & cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp & cook until pink & beginning to brown, 3-4 minutes. Add 1/4 cup chicken broth & let simmer until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt & pepper & stir in basil. Add risotto & bacon back to skillet, stirring to combine with shrimp. Serve.

Chicken & Shrimp Risotto

Over centuries the unique cooking technique combing rice with other ingredients was developed resulting in the classic Italian dish known as ‘risotto’. The key ingredient for authentic risotto is Arborio rice. 

Arborio rice is named after a town in Italy called Arborio, located in the Po Valley where the rice is grown. Its characteristics and cooking properties allow it to absorb the flavors and retain a certain firmness through the unique risotto cooking procedure.

In this recipe, I used a chicken sausage made with Asiago cheese and roasted red peppers. One of the grocery stores in our area makes the sausage in store so you can purchase them fresh in the quantity you need. The flavor of this meal is amazing. The tomatoes totally disintegrated and the rice took on a great smoky flavor from the bacon. The mushrooms added earthiness and the sausage gave the risotto a tiny kick of heat.

Brion and I found this meal sooo— good!!


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Chicken & Shrimp Risotto

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Instructions
  1. In a skillet, brown sausage & set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, slice crosswise & set aside. In skillet, saute onion & sliced mushrooms; stir in rice & toast for 20 seconds. Add the diced tomato & start ladling in the broth 1 ladle at a time. Once that broth is absorbed, continue adding another ladle of broth & so on. The rice should take about 30 minutes to cook over a medium low heat. About half the way through, add bacon. When there is about 10 minutes left add sausage & shrimp so the sausage warms & the shrimp cooks ONLY until done. Do Not overcook shrimp. Garnish with parsley or basil if you wish.