Sunday, October 5, 2008

Creamy Seafood Risotto with a little forethought for the week

I did it! After my last post about disorganization in the kitchen, I've decided to take some initiative and plan out meals for the week. I know many of you probably already do this, but for me this is a huge accomplishment. For some reason, I find it challenging to commit to what we'll be eating each day of the week.

What if I "schedule" tacos for Wednesday night, but Wednesday rolls around and that's the last thing I want to eat? Whatever happened to living on the edge? Ahh, cheers to growing up.

Well, for one I usually end up going to the grocery store just about everyday for just one more ingredient. During each of those trips, I typically add three to four unplanned grocery items and obviously, this becomes a costly dilemma. Though some choose not to believe it, we're in a recession, folks and it ain't pretty. {Pardon my folksy talk.}

I started off this week's meal list with a Creamy Seafood Risotto packed with jumbo shrimp, calamari and bay scallops with a touch of color from saffron. Arborio rice simmers in a mixture of broth and clam juice - risotto style, requiring a lot of stirring and a little bit of patience. All in all, this dish is not too time consuming if you don't mind standing by the stove. Before serving, cream adds a rich touch and binds the flavors and ingredients together. I wavered about adding the cream at the last minute, hoping to save some fat and calories, but I highly suggest you go for it. Some things in life are worth it, and this is one of them.

Lastly, I adapted this recipe from October's Cooking Light that had a feature about meals for two. Hubby and I quickly realized we must have oversized portion expectations, because this meal for two could have been bigger. If you're hungry people like us, try doubling the recipe.

Oh, and without further adieu, here is my meal plan for the week:
  • Sunday - Creamy Seafood Risotto
  • Monday - Asian Stir Fry (usually made on the go, sans recipes)
  • Tuesday - Italian Goat Cheese Fritatta
  • Wednesday - leftovers
  • Thursday - Jamie Oliver's le migliori polpette di tonno, the best tuna meatballs
  • Friday - eat out
  • Saturday - I can't plan that far ahead

Creamy Seafood Risotto
Adapted from Cooking Light, October '08

2 cups fish or chicken broth
1 8 oz. bottle clam juice
2 teaspoons butter
1/8 cup chopped shallots
1/8 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup uncooked Arborio rice
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
4 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 ounces bay scallops & calamari rings
2 tablespoons whipping cream
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

1. Bring broth and clam juice to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

2. Spray a large saucepan with cooking spray. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add shallots & onion to pan and cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add rice and saffron to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add lemon juice to pan; cook 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/2 cup hot broth mixture; cook 2 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next. If the liquid is cooking off too quickly, turn the heat down a little.

3. Stir in tomatoes; cook for 1 minute. Stir in shrimp, calamari and scallops; cook for 4 minutes or until seafood is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in cream. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve with toasted bread.


Anonymous said...

Can I come over every day, I have serious meal planning issues too! Love the risotto.

Anonymous said...

Your risotto looks so amazing! I love the menu plan and I know what you mean about committing. The good thing is you have lots of good ingredients if you change it up!

Unknown said...

i love creamy risotto so much! hmmmm...i dont plan my meals much...just go with the flo most of the time :)

Jennelle said...

We just recently began planning out our meals, and it's so nice to not have the "what do you want for dinner?" "I don't know, what do you want?" conversation every night. Although, you're such a good cook you may not have that problem! We usually just come up with enough meals and then figure out what we're having each night that day.

Lauren said...

I've been planning out meals every week for years. I sit down on Thursday or Friday and figure it out based on what's on sale, what I want to try, and what we have in the pantry. It's saved us a lot of time (only one trip to the store per week) and money (fewer impulse buys). I'm ridiculously organized though so I don't think I'm normal.

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Hooray for meal-planning!! It DEFINITELY makes life easier, let me tell ya.

kat said...

I find since I started planning my weekly menu it has become much easier to eat at home & not be tempted to eat out. Also grocery shopping is a lot easier. I plan enough meals for the week but not what day we will eat them then we can decided each day what we feel like having.

Mandy said...

This risotto looks awesome. I’m making butternut squash risotto tonight, it’s my first not-from-a-box risotto I’ve attempted. Congrats on the meal plan, I love reading what other people are planning to make. Let us know where you are finding your great recipes too. Tuesday’s Italian Goat Cheese Frittata sounds fabulous.

Meandering Eats said...

I applaud the foresight! We're still flying by the seats of our pants. We tried everything... planning for the week, making several things over the weekend to cut down on prep time for the week, etc. Nothing works. Because we have a LOT of those days where we sit around and say "Eh... what do you want to eat?"

"Well, what do YOU want to eat?"

"Oh, eff it. Let's just go out."

So kudos for sticking to your plan! It looks great!

Aggie said...

Your seafood risotto looks wonderful! I want a bite!

I am the same way about planning meals for the week...I'm trying, but it really doesn't always work out for me. My kitchen has been very disorganized lately (as it pretty much always is) and I have planned "loosely" my meals for the last 3 weeks and it has helped! What I find helps is not so much committing a specific meal to each night but having a list of meals to make for the week (and having the ingredients on hand) and kinda going off of that. So that way if plans or tastes change I'm not completely thrown off but still prepared.

Can't wait to see the rest of your meals this week! Everything sounds great!

Any Little Reason said...

I inevitably stray from my meal plan at least once a week - I'm too susceptible to cravings! This risotto looks perfect - can't wait to read about the rest of the week!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Good luck keeping up with your plan! Your meals souns exciting and even the leftover must be great, lol!
I don't think I could plan it, I do plan it slightly in my head, but just general ideas. My meals are allways created at the moment, I like it that way, it's allways a surprise and depends on my mood!
That risotto made my mouth water!

Sharon said...

noble pig - of course, of course! Perhaps we can make a food trade and you can send me some of your Halloween treats! :)

thehealthyhostess - Thanks! I'm sure I'll end up changing the plan at some point.

mochachocolata - Yea, me too. I'm wondering how many weeks this will last!

jenelle - we don't fight very often but we have gotten into fights about "what's for dinner"!

lauren - now that's organization!

veggiegirl - not having gone to the grocery store two days in a row is progress already!

kat - grocery shopping was definitely a lot easier.

mandy - butternut squash risotto sounds fantastic! "real" risotto is so much better than out of the box.

moowiesqrd - We'll see how long this dedication lasts ;) Our dinner arguments usually end up at our local Thai joint.

aggie - I think that planning 'loosely' will be a happy medium. I usually find recipes in the middle of the week that I just need to make right away

any little reason - agreed! cravings always get the best of me.

clumbsy cookie - Your meals always look so fantastic!!

Katie said...

I'm coming to your house for dinner this week! ;)

krysta said...

yeah, i have serious planning issuses also but feeding 6 i have to plan something. so what i do is just have an overview of meals that i want to have for dinner, then i can just decided that morning what to cook.

Anonymous said...

ohh the risotto looks yummy! i've never made it before, but this sure looks easy enough!
and i am with you! i plan my meals every week! this really helps me plan my groceries because i take a look at what's on sale, and not go over budget! my friends all laugh at me because i'm so organized...and then of course ask which night they can come over!
(btw, i had asian stir fry monday night too!) :)

Leslie said...

I cant plan a weeks menu to save my life! I too am at the grocery store everyday! Aggghhhhh
I love your risotto!

Veronica said...

The risotto looks divine. I am impressed that you can plan ahead...I'm not even sure what I'm going to have for breakfast tomorrow.

That Girl said...

I am a huge fan of meal planning. I think it saves us SO much money. Our grocery bill this week was $17.26!

Andrea said...

I totally know what you mean about menu planning. I just can't do it. I can't. I'm too scattered. Plus, I can't carry too many groceries home myself anyway, so I have to shop every few days (oh the joys of not having a car!). But I tell you, my finance and I love risotto and although he claims to hate fish, I might be able to sneak some in with this one! It looks great!

Esi said...

You're so good! I really need to start planning my week's recipes also. This risotto looks amazing. I just made my first risotto yesterday and I am looking forward to many more (the box of aborio was huge!)

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to that fritatta recipe in action. If possible, can you do more step by step photos as you cook??

I love risotto but I'm not feeling up to trying that yet! I've ruined far too many... they never come out thick and creamy :(

grace said...

i like your folksy talk, i like your menu plan, and i like your risotto. good for you, sharon! :)

Prudy said...

That looks amazing-definitely worth that bit of cream. I don't like to plan too tight a menu, but I try to plan for about four nights a week. Inevitably we get invited to dinner, or have too much leftovers or feel like grilled cheese on those other nights.

Anonymous said...

Wow! This looks delicious! Can't wait for the tuna meatballs? Sound intriguing!

Chibog in Chief said...

OMG, this is so creamy and delicious! Too bad weren't neighbors LOL

alexandra's kitchen said...

totally. and sometimes, I plan out meals for the week, and then something will come up and we'll have to eat dinner out and then I'm stuck with extra food. it is a dilemma indeed. it sounds as though you have a good solid plan here. this risotto sounds amazing!

Jenny said...

wow, my mouth is watering looking at this beautiful risotto! I've got to make some!

PG CakeCraft said...

hi Sharon, what a wonderful blog u have. ur creamy seafood risotto is a die for, what with jumbo shrimps, scallops and calamari rings. yum.....& ur meal planning is a good thing, i've been doing it 4 years & believe me it makes life more simple.

Emily said...

That's interesting about the portion size. I don't think I've ever cooked anything from Cooking Light.
It sounds delicious! Especially with the saffron.

Marysol said...

Love risotto and love seafood. But together they make a memorable meal.

Melanie Sheridan said...

I don't do seafood and have always wanted to try risotto.

Anonymous said...

Your risotto looks delicious and very creamy. I made a risotto too recently and it was good but yours looks better! :)

Sharon said...

diaryofadink - I've tried taking step by step cooking photos a la Noble Pig, but to be honest, I'm no Martha Stewart :) Things are usually chaotic in the kitchen! I'll try on a not so messy dish in the future :)

Try making this risotto, it's pretty easy! Just make sure you add the broth a little at a time and wait till it's fully aborbed. You'll be fine!

La Bella Cooks said...

Good job on planning the menu! I refuse to on the grounds that I will cook what sounds good at the end of the day, so kudos to you for sticking to it.
The risotto looks fantastic!

Roger said...

Jeez Sharon, I just had dinner but my stomach is growling again after checking up on your blog...

Bunny said...

Your risotto looks wonderful. I have to plan meals for 2 weeks as we go to the store every 2 weeks. It gets easier the longer you do it.

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

This looks awesome! I want to eat at your house this week.

ellen said...

oh sweet -- I was JUST thinking, wouldn't seafood risotto be yummy for NYE dinner? :o)

thanks so much for helping me out! I'm going to give this a try :o)

Melpy said...

Hey I just made your adaptation of the risotto with a few adjustments of my own. Thanks for the idea.

Dazy said...

This is a new one for me! Looks really yummy too..gearing up with recipes for the cold winter days
hopefully ahead!

Anonymous said...

I followed this recipe, sort of (didn't have tomatoes, calamari rings, and lemon juice on hand, so I used a diced carrot and salmon cubes instead). And I've got to say, out of all the seafood risotto recipes I've tried the past year, this is the only one that actually went right. Thank you so much.

Simply Life said...

Looks great!

Ronnie said...

I liked this recipe. However, I personally preferred this one-

The latter recipe uses mascarpone cheese which I personally love.