dinner for three.

Well, hello there. I don't know where time went, but some light traveling really derailed my blog time, and I'm so happy to get back in the swing.

It's been two weeks now that I've been journaling dinner, and I'd say it's got us going in the right direction. I'm cooking with [red] kale, for goodness sakes. And I'm meal planning a little more. The market trips have decreased - not by much - but we're not there everyday. Which is a major milestone for our household, though we do love the friendly neighborhood Vons and all those who take good care of us there.
In the summer, we all want to eat lighter, don't we? I prefer not to log a lot of hours in a hot kitchen, but we're committed to eating with Mari, so we've accepted that we're going to eat lots of warm food, good grains and all-things-rice, like risotto, which happens to be one of my all-time favorite meals. It's like a blank canvas with endless possibilities, and over the weekend, we enjoyed it with roasted kale, pine nuts and chicken, thanks to Tyler Florence.

On recommendation from The Haystack Needle, I've been reading and loving Florence's Start Fresh, which is giving me just the confidence and inspiration I need to cook for three. This risotto was a good first step. 

Because risotto isn't complete without Parmesan, I added a good dusting. I also cooked this without bacon (sacrilege, I know) and omitted the pine nuts when I lightly pulsed Mari's portion, but we all sat down and ate this together. It was so liberating to cook only one dinner, and it was good comfort food that I could feel good about. Here's my method to this delicious dish.
Tyler Florence's Chicken and Kale Risotto with Pine Nuts and Bacon (adapted so very slightly)
From Start Fresh, page 65
Serves 4 to 6 adult servings or 8 to 10 kid servings

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 or 3 large kale leaves, ribs removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
1 small yellow onion, cut into wedges, layers separated
1 slice thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
3 tablespoons pine nuts
4 cups organic chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup (or so) of freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a pyrex or shallow glass baking dish, drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 35 minutes or until chicken has reached an internal temperature of 155 degrees. Remove from oven and cover with foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and toss kale, onion, pine nuts and bacon (if using) with a very light sprinkle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Pop in the oven for about 15 minutes or until kale is crisp and pine nuts are lightly toasted.

While chicken and veggies are baking, bring the chicken stock to a light simmer in a saucepan over medium heat; keep warm.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the rice, toss in butter and cook for a good 2-3 minutes or until the rice is opaque. Add 1/2 cup (or so) of hot stock to the rice and cook, stirring constantly until all the stock is absorbed. Continue adding stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until the stock is gone. Off the heat, add a 1/4 cup of Parmesan and stir until rice is creamy and tender. Keep warm.
For your babe: transfer chicken, kale, onion, bacon (if using) and pine nuts (if using for kids) to a food processor and pulse on and off until coarsely chopped to desired consistency. Fold into a small portion of rice and serve warm.

For you: dice chicken in large chunks and fold it, along with kale, onion, bacon and pine nuts to the risotto.


beachcitylifestyle said...

looks delish and healthy. risotto is one of my faves and i must try this one! Teri

Belle on Heels said...

Yum, this looks divine! I started actively meal planning about 18 months ago and it's been such a positive change. We eat healthier, spend less money, and enjoy a wide variety of foods. It's the best.