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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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 ™ 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 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 potatoes™, cooked and sliced
  • 6 The Little Potato Company ® Something Blues potatoes™, 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.

Stuffed Peppers using the Flavour Enhancers

As a child, the dish of stuffed peppers were in the regular rotation of meals that my Mom versed us in preparing while she was at work. My brothers did not enjoy the pepper part of the dish so to avoid a debate, we would make extra large meatballs. My Mom’s recipe used green peppers and my DH can’t stand them so I tweaked the recipe using the coloured varieties.

Stuffed Peppers using the Flavour Enhancers

Serves 4

Stuffed Peppers using the Flavour Enhancers

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Flavour Enhancers for Future Recipes

Flavour is a huge component to a dish and to cooking it. If a dish is under or over seasoned it can really affect the taste and experience of the dish. Simply over salting a dish will make all that work inedible and you will be ordering pizza in. 😉

As I was rummaging through my fridge, I found some ingredients that once cooked and purée would be similar and even better than a store-bought version of  ‘marinade’ or ‘spice package’. I can control the amount of salt, fat etc. leaving the chemicals out.

Bonus: Not wasting the mushrooms that might be on the edge….

The following are recipes for what I’m labelling as ‘Flavour Enhancers’.

I will be using them in future recipes on the 5 o’clock rush

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Breakfast for Dinner, BFD or BRINNER!

“Brinner”Breakfast-For-Dinner, or BFD is a fun option for last-minute dinner change-up and it is also very economical.

Sweet, savory, or both, Brinner options are simple, nutritious, and filling. Many recipes can be altered based on what you have available in your fridge and pantry: Just swap meat, veggies, fruit, cheeses, and herbs to make it work for you.

Eggs are one of the staples in my home kitchen pantry.

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

Baked Eggs with Italian Sausage and Two Kinds of Potatoes Hash Browns

Makes 4-6 servings

Baked Eggs with an Italian Sausage and 2 Potatoes Hash Browns

Baked Eggs with an Italian Sausage and 2 Potatoes Hash Browns

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