Me & Risotto have a love affair situation going on. It’s creamy & flavoursome, warm and comforting, it’s like a hug in a bowl really. It has long held a bad reputation for being difficult to master but that is far from the truth. It takes a little loving with the time to stir & tend to it, but difficult?… No. This version has beautiful vibrant green asparagus & peas & a note of sweet & nutty manchego cheese. You can have a nice comfy portion for 9 propoints (7 on F&H). Serves 4. Here’s the skinny:
240g Arborio Risotto Rice
8 Lean Bacon Medallions Diced
2 Large Shallots Diced
80g Frozen Garden Peas
A Bunch of Baby Asparagus
1 Clove Garlic
45g Manchego Cheese Grated
1 & 1/2 Litres Chicken Stock made with 1 Stock Cube
A Handful of Fresh Thyme Leaves
Salt & Black Pepper
Place your stock into a saucepan over a low heat for the duration of cooking so it stays nice and hot. Heat a large based saucepan over a medium heat & spray it with oil. Cook the Bacon & Shallots for about 5 minutes until the bacon is cooked and the shallots are soft. Trim the ends off the asparagus & add it & the frozen peas to the pot cook for another 3 to 4 minutes stir it gently so you don’t break up the asparagus. Add the crushed garlic & stir for a further 30 seconds. Add the rice to the pot & cook for 2 minutes stirring regularly until the rice goes a bit translucent around the edge with a white centre. Start adding the stock 1 ladel at a time and gently stir the risotto regularly. Wait until the ladel of stock is absorbed before adding the next one. You probably won’t use all the stock just use as much as the risotto absorbs within the cooking time. It will take 20 minutes to fully cook the rice.
About 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time season with salt & pepper and the fresh thyme. When it’s cooked take the pot off the heat & stir in the grated manchego cheese. Put a lid on the pot and allow the risotto to rest for 3 to 5 minutes prior to serving. Serve & enjoy!
I know how you feel, it’s Monday, it’s dreary, the rain is pelting down the window & it feels more like Winter than Autumn. Well here’s some comfort food dinner inspiration for you. This cost me just 3 propoints – yes 3 for the entire plate! Now that’s good points value. The cream cheese & bacon stuffed mushrooms would make a delightful starter for a dinner party on their own but I decided to revisit cauliflower mash which I haven’t made in quite some time, it’s a great substitute for mash if you’re low on propoints or just watching your carb intake. I roasted some lovely garlic to infuse some more flavour into the mash & the addition of stock serves this purpose also making for a yummy tasty comforting warm mash. This is 3 pro points (& just 2pp on F&H) and serves one. Here’s the skinny: For the Cream Cheese & Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms:
2 Large Mushrooms (stalks removed, chopped & reserved for the filling)
½ an Onion Finely Diced
2 Lean Bacon Medallions
1 Clove Garlic
100g Philadelphia Lightest Cream Cheese
A Handful of Chopped Chives
Salt & Black Pepper Heat a frying pan over a medium heat & spray with oil. Fry the diced onion, chopped mushroom stalks & bacon for 8 to 10 minutes turning the bacon halfway through to cook both sides. Crush in the clove of garlic a minute before end of cooking time & fry for the remaining minute. Place the onion & bacon & chopped mushroom mixture in a bowl & set aside to cool. When cool break apart the bacon into small pieces. Add the Philadelphia, chives & season with salt & black pepper & mix thoroughly. Place your mushrooms cap side down on a baking tray lined with foil & stuff half the mixture into each mushroom. Bake the mushrooms for 20 minutes or until cooked through & the cheese & bacon is starting to brown.
For the Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Mash:
½ Head of Cauliflower
A Few Tbsps Chicken/Vegetable Stock
1 Clove Garlic
Salt & Black Pepper
Spring Onion to Garnish (optional)
Baby Asparagus Place the clove of garlic (keep the skin on the garlic) on the baking tray the same time as your cooking the stuffed mushrooms & bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile cook the cauliflower in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 minutes or until soft drain the water off & return the cauliflower to the empty pot, place the lid on & allow the cauliflower to steam dry for 2 or 3 minutes. Prepare a small mug of stock. Just before serving & while still hot, place the cauliflower in a food processor with a couple of tablespoons of stock, squeeze the now soft roasted garlic out of the skin into cauliflower & season with salt & black pepper. Blitz until smooth & the cauliflower takes on a smooth mash like consistency adding a tiny bit more stock to loosen if required. If the cauliflower doesn’t blend very well you may have overcrowded the food processor depending on the size of cauliflower used, simply remove some & blend in two batches mixing together well at the end. You can also use a hand blender to blitz the mash. Cook some baby asparagus in boiling water for about 5 minutes to accompany everything & serve the warm mash garnished with a few slices of sliced spring onion if desired, asparagus & stuffed mushrooms with some chives sprinkled over & enjoy!
A Beautiful & extremely easy Summer Pasta Lovely Soft Roast Chicken with a Delicate Zesty Lemon Creamy Sauce, Fresh Asparagus & Petit Pois. Seriously quick to make due to the ready roasted chicken. Serves one but quantities can be easily multiplied if feeding more. This is 10 propoints or can be made for free on the filling and healthy plan 👌💕
75g Ready Cooked Roast Shredded Chicken Pieces (you can use up to 90g for the same 2 propoints this is what was left in the packet I used so add a bit more if you like or alternatively you can cook & point your chicken if following F&H)
220g (Cooked Weight) Tagliatelle (use wholewheat if following the F&H plan)
1 Large Heaped Tbsp of Quark Cheese
6/7 Fresh Asparagus Spears
A Squeeze of Fresh Lemon Juice (about a Tbsp) & about 1/2 the Lemon Zest Grated Finely
A Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves
1 Tbsp Frozen Petits Pois Peas
Salt & Black Pepper
A Tiny Bit of Dijon Mustard (*Optional)
Prepare the Tagliatelle according to packet instructions in a large pot of already boiling salted water. When there is about 6/7 minutes left on the Pasta cooking time add the Asparagus Spears in to the same pot (Trim the hard stems off the bottoms of the spears first). Meanwhile heat another Saucepan over a medium heat, spray with oil & add the Cooked Chicken & Peas for about 4 minutes (add the Chicken for much longer about 12 minutes or until fully cooked through if you’re not using precooked Chicken). Add in the heaped tablespoon of Quark to the Chicken & Peas & a few Tbsps of the starchy cooking water from the pasta pot to thin out the quark & melt it into a creamy sauce. Add the squeeze of Lemon Juice & season with salt & black pepper (you can add the tiny bit of Dijon Mustard at this stage if using). Stir well thinning out the sauce with more pasta cooking water if needed. Drain the Pasta & Asparagus & add to the sauce. Add in the Basil Leaves & Lemon Zest & Stir well coating all the Pasta with the sauce. Serve immediately & Enjoy!