Chicken in Parchment

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The other night I made one of my all-time-favorite weeknight dishes, Chicken in Parchment, and I thought, Holy cow! This is a super easy, super delicious, super healthy meal — why haven’t I shared it with my readers yet?! And the answer is…I have no idea, because it’s totally something you guys will love. The only special element this recipe requires is parchment paper, which many of us have in our kitchens anyway, and a some mad scissor skills (but if you can cut a paper heart, your golden!). Honestly, this is the most flavorful and healthy way I’ve found to cook white meat. You see, baking the chicken (or fish, which I’ll post next week) in parchment packets, with just a trace amount of liquid, allows you to steam the meat in it’s own broth, making it really moist and tender — kind of like a personal sauna for your chicken. Continue reading

Stuff My Kid Eats: Beet Risotto

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Beets are one of those things that people either love or hate, kind of like boy bands or the Twilight series. I, for one, am definitely in the “Team Beet” camp, and so is my toddler. I don’t know what it is about them, but they just scream summer to me. Maybe it’s because their smell reminds me of cut grass, or their bright color is worthy of a beach ball, but as soon as the weather starts getting warm, I crave them in my salads and pastas. I served this beet risotto to my family last week and when my toddler saw the colorful rice she said, “Oh Mommy, I’m going to eat all of my dinner tonight!” — and she did.

Beet Risotto

Serves 4

  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups fish stock, or chicken or vegetable stock (see recipe in Homemade Stocks)
  • 1 roasted beet, coarsely chopped (*see How To)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 4-5 chives sprigs, chopped
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese for serving

In a food processor or blender add beet and 1 Tbsp. oil and blend until smooth, set aside.

In a saucepan, bring stock and wine to a low simmer. Meanwhile, over medium-low heat, melt butter and oil in a large straight-sided skillet until bubbly. Add shallots and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add risotto and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

Using a large soup ladle, pour 1 ladle-full (about ½ cup) of stock into risotto and stir until liquid is absorbed. Gradually stir in remaining broth 1 ladle-full at a time, cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladle. Continue this process until all but 1 ladle-full of stock has been used, approximately 25-30 minutes. Add the last ladle of stock with puréed beet, stir, then reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, covered. Uncover and stir until all remaining liquid has evaporated, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with a sprinkle of chives and grated parmesan.

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*How to Roast a Beet:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Scrub beets clean, then wrap in tin foil. Place in oven and roast for 1 hour, or until easily pierced with a fork. Let cool, then peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut into ¼-inch cubes. Set aside. (I always roast about 3-4 beets at a time, then freeze the extra in a resealable plastic bag to use later, like in my Creamy Roasted Beet Soup.)

Tip: Beets can stain hands, clothing, cutting boards, and light-colored sinks and countertops. To avoid turning everything in your kitchen red, wear cooking gloves while handling beets, and peel over an open plastic bag set in the sink.

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Sidekick: Serve with a chilled glass of Riesling, Chablis, Rosé, or Pinot Blanc.