Spelt Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash

Spelt Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash

My dinner options for Wednesday were very slim. I had already used the “egg” option on Tuesday night with Mini Goat Cheese, Bacon and Leek Quiches. I was contemplating the grilled cheese cop-out since I need to be out the door and on the ice for 7pm.

This box of Spelt grains in my cupboard was calling to me for sometime. I have never cooked Spelt or even made a Spelt Risotto. I did know that the grains could be cooked in the same method of risotto.

I had all the ingredients for a risotto and decided to tackle it in the short time frame.

I love cooking Risotto. And I think I have pretty much mastered the process. 😉 Risotto is a great change-up from rice or pasta.

I found that the Spelt grains were much more forgiving than Arborio rice. I could actually walk away from the stove which is something you shouldn’t do. And I used a little more stock than when I cook a regular risotto. I tasted the texture of the spelt  a lot through the last part of the cooking process.

If I had planned better I would have used sage instead of the herbs listed in the recipe below; it tasted fantastic with that combination. It was a hit with the family. And an awesome vegetarian option especially since it is high in protein.

I recently hosted a birthday dinner for my friend Emma. The Menu’s theme for the Dinner Party was Spring even though the weather was NOT. I made an awesome Risotto with Roasted Shrimp, Peas and Edamame.

Birthday Dinner Pictures below:

Appetizer: Marinated Salmon Rollup

Appetizer: Marinated Salmon Roll-up

Appetizer: Brie, Figs and Pear

Appetizer: Brie, Figs and Pear

Asparagus Salad

Asparagus Salad

Risotto with Shrimp, Peas, and Edamame

Risotto with Shrimp, Peas, and Edamame

Dessert: Homemade Lemon Sorbet with Maple Syrup Blueberries

Dessert: Homemade Lemon Sorbet with Maple Syrup Blueberries

Always check out my Instagram @the5oclockrush  to see my daily dinners photos.

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Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

Life has been very busy since the holiday season ended. Of course I’m feeding my family and making daily dinners. I just haven’t had the opportunity to blog the recipes I have been developing. The recipes are on many Post-its in my Recipe Journal. I need to light a fire under my fingertips and get typing.

Over the holidays, my friend and professional photographer, Lana was visiting and she gave me some great DSLR lessons. Since I take all my blog and Instagram pictures in ‘real time’ as I’m cooking my family’s dinner and the end plate is my dinner plate. She helped me with my camera settings, i.e. ISO, f-stop etc. and lighting for my night shoots in my kitchen and at my permanent staging table. What a wonderful difference from the iPhone pictures I was using previously on the blog. The pictures are visually more appealing and more professional. Check out Lana’s Facebook Viva Image Group – Photography and Videography Service

Tonight’s dinner, as with most of the 5 o’clock rush dinners, came to fruition at about 5pm 😉 with what was available in the fridge and freezer. Swedish Meatballs smothered in gravy and served on a spaetzle is very comforting for a late January dinner. And it is very simple to whip up.

If you are a regular reader of the 5 o’clock rush, you will know that I stock pile a LOT of ingredients ahead and save leftover components in the freezer. The kids are disappointed when is no room for ice cream!

The caramelized onions were made ahead from previous recipe. Caramelizing onions are very time-consuming so when I make them I usually double up.

If you have leftover kale from your kale chips or salad, remove stems from cleaned kale and place in a Ziploc freezer bag and it can be chopped to add to soups or sauces

And the balsamic mushroom enhancers are also in the freezer from a previous adventure Flavour Enhancers for Future Recipes ** but with reduced balsamic vinegar for added flavour.

Check out my Instagram @the5oclockrush to see my daily dinners photos.

Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

Makes about 40 Mini Meatballs Serves 4-6
Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

My Dinner Plate Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

Mise En Place

Mise En Place

Mise En Place

  • 1-500g pkge. Bechtleâ„¢ spaetzle or egg noodles

Meatballs

  • 1 lb. extra lean ground turkey
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup cooked caramelized onions *
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic mushroom enhancer **
  • ¼ cup frozen kale or spinach, chopped ***
  • 1 tsp. rosemary, stem removed and finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

Gravy

Mise En Place

Mise En Place

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ cup cooked caramelized onions
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 3 tbsp. butter or canola oil
  • 3 cups chicken stock, homemade or terra packed
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic mushroom enhancer
  • 1 tsp. coarse grain Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • green onions, sliced
  • finely chopped rosemary

Garnish

  • fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • olive oil or melted butter
  • sour cream

Place a large pot of heavily salted water on the stove to boil.

In a large bowl, combine extra lean ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, balsamic mushroom enhancer, kale, and cooked onion; season with salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon or your ‘gloved’ hands, stir until well combined. Using a small spring-loaded ice cream scoop, fill scoop with mixture and form about 40 meatballs.

Meatball Mixture

Meatball Mixture

Using enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Add meatballs, in batches, and cook until all sides are browned, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

To make the gravy, melt butter in the same cast iron skillet. Add the finely minced garlic and caramelized onions. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Add in the grainy mustard and balsamic mushroom enhancers. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Stir in meatballs, rosemary, sliced green onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through and thickened, about 8-10 minutes.

Cook spaetzle according to package instructions.

Drain noodles, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.

Serve immediately, garnished with sour cream, if desired.

Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

My Dinner Tonight Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

My actual Dinner Plate of Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle (6:45pm)

* To make a quick version of caramelize onions:

Caramelizing onions is a long slow process to develop the sweet, rich flavours which can take up to 90 minutes to prepare. This is a ‘cheater’ version.

Chop a large onion into a medium to fine dice.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become soft and rich brown colour, about 10-15 minutes. Add a little sugar to speed up the process.

Dinner Tonight-Swedish Meatballs

Dinner Tonight-Swedish Meatballs iPhone photo (6:45pm)

Loaded 'Baked' Potato Pizza

Loaded ‘Baked’ Potato Pizza

If you are regular viewer of the 5 o’clock rush especially on Instagram, you will notice that I like to include a starch with my daily dinners. This could be rice, pasta, bread and especially potatoes.

So when I had this awesome opportunity to create a unique potato recipe using The Little Potato Company ® I was more than thrilled.

 

The Little Potato Company Potatoes

The Little Potato Company Potatoes

The great features about these potatoes are:

  • Proprietary potatoes – grown to full maturity
  • Available year-round and always in stock
  • Even cooking time
  • High quality – grown with care and hand-sorted
  • Fresh – straight from the farm
  • Quick – pre-washed, no peeling, no waste or extra prep
  • Nutritious – fat, gluten, and cholesterol free
  • Thin skinned – excellent source of potassium
  • Easy to prepare – roast, microwave, oven, BBQ
  • Great plate appeal

I received two of The Little Potato Company ® varieties:

Something Blue ™ has a unique, beautiful contrast of colours – yellow flesh with purple streaks, and bright blue/purple skin. Something Blue delivers a well-balanced, slightly exotic flavour that has great colour retention, and is excellent for roasting or barbecuing.

The Little Potato Company Potatoes

The Little Potato Company Potatoes

Blushing Belle â„¢ is extremely versatile, and adapts well to a variety of cooking methods. Named after its blushing red skin and buttery yellow flesh, Blushing Belle delivers a soft, light texture with mild, delicate flavor. Excellent roasted or mashed.

The Little Potato Company ® potatoes are also available in a MICROWAVE READY varieties.

Providing freshly steamed, perfectly seasoned potatoes in just minutes, Microwave Ready kits are all about making wholesome and delicious that much easier. Simply microwave in the conveniently included steam tray, toss with the precisely pre-mixed seasoning and voila – full-on flavour the whole family will love. The only hard part will be deciding which flavour to try first!

My ‘chef’ thinking cap came up with this recipe for A Loaded ‘Baked’ Potato Pizza.

Some of the components of a Loaded Baked Potato that I enjoy are bacon, chives, broccoli and loads of cheese or cheese sauce put on another favourite of mine…..PIZZA! And then add sour cream for dipping.

I decided to make a homemade crust for this recipe. The pizza crust recipe is from The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Ree Drummond who is an adventurous and creative food blogger. Ree’s recipe below is better made ahead at least 24 hours in advance. But it is super easy and very user-friendly.

There is always the option to use a store-bought pizza crust or even Naan bread.

My Favorite Pizza from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Makes 2 Crusts

Mise En Place

  • 1 teaspoon Active Dry Or Instant Yeast
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water.
In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low-speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined.

Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you need it.

*** It’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better.

Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Mise En Place

Mise En Place

Mise En Place

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup extra old Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup Herb cheese
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. Red Hot sauce

In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; whisk in flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, salt, pepper, and Red Hot until cheese is melted.

There is a new cheese sauce available on your grocery store shelves, which can be used in a pinch.

Loaded ‘Baked’ Potato Pizza

Loaded "Baked" Potato Pizza with Sour Cream

Loaded “Baked” Potato Pizza with Sour Cream

Loaded Baked Potato Pizza

Loaded ‘Baked’ Potato Pizza

Mise En Place

Toppings Mise En Place

Toppings Mise En Place
Bacon, Green Onions, Chives and Broccoli

  • Pizza Dough recipe above, halved
  • 1 cup favourite pizza or tomato sauce
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese sauce, recipe above
  • 2 cups mozzarella, grated
  • 6 The Little Potato Company ® Blushing Belles potatoesâ„¢, cooked and sliced
  • 6 The Little Potato Company ® Something Blues potatoesâ„¢, cooked and sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, blanched
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and cut into pieces
  • 4 green onions, cleaned and sliced on the bias
  • 2 tbsp. fresh chives
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

NOTE: I cooked The Little Potato Company ® Blushing Belles potatoes™ and The Little Potato Company ® Something Blues potatoes ™ for 9 minutes as I wanted to ensure that the potatoes remain the ‘circle’ shape. 😉

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Drizzle olive oil on a large baking sheet using HALF the pizza dough, and lightly coat the dough with a little olive oil and lightly flour both sides. Pull and stretch on the dough, working it into a thin rectangle shape. No rolling necessary; the dough will be very thin, which is what you are looking for. The dough is very forgiving, if a hole or tear develops in the crust just pinch to seal.

Pizza Crust

Pizza Crust

Once you achieve the desire size and rectangle shape lightly drizzle some olive oil over the crust using your fingers to spread it all over the dough.

Coat the pizza dough with the pizza or tomato based sauce and cheddar cheese sauce leaving a ½ inch border for a crust.

Pizza Crust with Sauce and Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Pizza Crust with Sauce and Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Sprinkle with mozzarella.

Add The Little Potato Company ® Blushing Belles potatoes™ slices and The Little Potato Company ® Something Blues potatoes™ slices alternately as you would pepperoni.

Add the remaining toppings of bacon, broccoli, and green onions.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly. Remove from pan. Sprinkle with fresh chopped chives.

Slice with a pizza cutter. Serve with sour cream for dipping.

TIP: Use your kitchen shears to cut the cooked bacon and to finely cut the fresh chives.

The Loaded ‘Baked’ Potato Pizza was a hit with the family especially with the sour cream for dipping.

All of the toppings including The Little Potato Company ® potatoes could be the leftovers from a previous dinner. The other crust was made into a traditional pepperoni and cheese pizza.

Loaded "Baked" Potato Pizza

Loaded “Baked” Potato Pizza

Loaded 'Baked' Potato Pizza

Loaded ‘Baked’ Potato Pizza

All views are my own. I was contacted by @LittlePotatoCompany to write my honest review about their products. The 5 o’clock rush was not paid to write this post.

‘Pulo Cuisine’ A Twist on Tacos

the 5 o’clock rush was pleasantly surprised and honoured to be chosen to participate in the Pulo Recipe Challenge.

The challenge is to develop a recipe using the products from Pulo Cuisine.

the 5 o’clock rush was given sample products to review for this post. The package arrived with 2 cooking sauces and 3 marinades.

Pulo, which means ISLAND, is an authentic collection of sauces and marinades inspired by the 7000 islands of the Philippines – the original fusion cuisine where East (Asia) meets West (Spanish)

NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVOURS, COLOURS, OR PRESERVATIVES. VEGAN.

Pulo Philippine Cuisine  

The Malay, Chinese, Spanish and Indian cultures are the culinary influences of the Philippines, using the Samal Island ‘Pulo Cuisine Pineapple Tamarind Marinade’ I developed a meal of tacos with an asian twist.

 

Pulo Cuisine Selection of Products

Pulo Cuisine Selection of Products

Samal Island Pineapple Tamarind Marinade balances sweet and sour aromas with a refreshing fruity flavour.

About the SAMAL ISLAND

An idyllic oasis of hidden coves and beaches, Samal Island boasts a tradition of stout and hearty dishes featuring a wide range of fruit and meat.

Pineapples, one of Mindanao’s key crops, are a feature of the region’s cuisine.

Pineapple Tamarind Marinated Chicken Tacos with Grilled Pineapple

Pineapple Tamarind Marinated Chicken Tacos with Grilled Pineapple

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Catch of the Day! Pickerel and Silver Bass

We were lucky enough to enjoy this Pickerel and some Silver Bass for dinner from when my DH and DD went fishing on Lake Erie.

Look Mom! Dinner tonight is Pickerel caught on Lake Erie.

Silver Bass, is a fish that my DH and fishing buddy usually throw back when they are out on the lake. My DH decided to keep a few to give the fish a try. After doing some research, many fishermen do keep the Silver Bass and recommend soak the fish in milk for at least an hour or overnight.

Always check out my Instagram @the5oclockrush  to see my daily dinners photos.

Catch of the Day! Pickerel and Silver Bass

Pan Fried Pickerel with Green Beans on a bed of Cream Polenta

Pan Fried Pickerel with Green Beans on a Bed of Creamy Polenta

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