Easy Paella

I actually call this my "cheater" paella because you cut a few corners but it still turns out delicious!  Jason and I first had paella on our honeymoon in Cancun and we both fell in love with it.  Please know you can add or take out anything you don't like, this recipe is super versatile!

What you'll need:
  • - 4 tablespoons butter
  • - 1 onion, chopped
  • - 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • - 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • - 1/2 lb chorizo
  • - 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts - cut into small pieces
  • - 1 (12 ounce) package uncooked Arborio rice
  • - 5 cups chicken broth
  • - 1/2 cup white wine
  • - 1 pinch saffron
  • - salt and pepper to taste
  • - 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • - 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • -12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Heat butter over medium heat until melted.  Add in your onion, garlic, red pepper and rice.  You will want to cook for a few minutes until onion is softened and your rice just starts to brown.  Then, add in your chicken and chorizo "meat balls" and cook for about 5 minutes.

While that is cooking, heat your wine for about 30 seconds or so in the microwave.  It doesn't need to be piping hot but at least room temperature.  Add in your 1/2 C white wine which will absorb quickly.  Before it has all been absorbed add in about a cup of warm chicken broth. 

Stir in your saffron, which is my favorite part! 

As the liquid is absorbed continue adding 1/2 C of the chicken broth at a time until most of the chicken broth has been used.  You don't want to drown your rice or let it dry out, just slowly add the liquid as it cooks.  Your rice will double or triple in size! 
When the rice has just about reached the consistency you like, stir in the tomatoes and peas and cook for 2 minutes or so. 

Add the rest of your chicken broth and then add your shrimpies on top and cover, you can use foil if you do not have a lid.  (you can also add in some muscles here if you would like)  Cook for 3 - 5 minutes, until shrimp are cooked (curled up and pink). 

Uncover and look at the goodness you have created, YUMMY!
***recipe adapted from one I found on AllRecipes.com***


Spicy Guacamole

This makes a HUGE portion of guacamole but it is the only way I make it. It has become so popular and goes quickly (and lets be honest, you can never have enough guacamole.)  If you really don't need much, you can easily half this recipe.

You will need:

  • 6 Avocados
  • 1 Large Tomato, chopped
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 5 - 6 Jalapenos, chopped (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 - 2 limes depending on how juicy they are
  • Fresh Cilantro (I go pretty light on the cilantro, that's just me)

I slice my avocados like this.  It is easy to do in the skin and it makes mashing go a lot faster!

Yummy avocado... add a little bit of salt here.  I usually just eyeball it, maybe a tsp or so.  You can always add more salt later...

Mash it all up to the consistency you like.  Sometimes I mix a few pits into the mix as well in hopes of it not browning.  (Not sure if it ever works or not but my guac is always green)

Throw all of your chopped goodies in the bowl together... Tomato, Onion, Jalapenos and Cilantro

*** Tip I learned from a friend, if you gently roll your jalapenos (like you do to lemons and limes to make them juicier) it will release the spice from the skin and will give your jalapenos a little more kick***
Add some lime juice and mix it all up!

Make sure you taste it here.  The flavors will combine more but this batch needed more salt and lime juice.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a half hour, the flavors mix together and get better with time!


Garlic Seasoning

Yummy!  One of my favorite seasonings that goes on just about everything is my All Purpose (seriously, tastes great on everything) Garlic Seasoning.  You can make as much or as little as you like, I usually make a big shaker full because I use it so often.

Brace yourself, here come the ingredients...

1/2 Garlic Powder
1/4 Salt
1/4 Black Pepper

Shake it up, use on Grilled Potatoes, Salmon, Chicken, anything you like.  I sprinkled this on pumpkin seeds last week, added some fresh grated Parmesan and baked for about 15 min. at 350... DELICIOUS!

Cooking Aborio Rice/ Risotto

Here are a few things I have learned from cooking with Aborio rice

- Cook with real butter (yum), not olive oil

- Lightly brown your rice before you add in your liquid, this lock in the starch and make for a creamy risotto.

- Cook with a wooden spoon, it will not retain heat and will help cook the rice more evenly.  It will also bruise the rice a little when you stir it releasing more starch.

- Any liquid you add, it needs to be warm.  If you add cold liquid it can "shock" your rice and it will stop absorbing liquid.  Also, if you live in a dry climate like I do, you will probably have to add much more liquid than the recipe calls for.

- You will want to stir the rice frequently.  This helps to make sure it does not burn on the bottom as well as allowing the liquid to reach every grain of rice.

- The flavors you add in the beginning of cooking will be the most prevalent as they are soaked into the rice first.  Also, as the liquid evaporates the flavors become more intense in your rice.

- You will probably cook this longer than you would expect.  Because risotto absorbs so much liquid it can triple in size.  Taste your rice, you do not want a rock hard center. You will want it to be "al dente," creamy but not mushy.   This is a rice and if not cooked long enough will leave that grainy texture in your mouth.

- Have fun with it!  Risotto is so versatile that you can add just about anything to it.  Try making it with Wine, onions, mushrooms, sea food, a side dish for chicken or steak or anything!  Play around with it and let me know any ideas you have.
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