Meatless Monday: Easy Baked Risotto


Italian, Meatless, Sides / Monday, November 15th, 2010


So, what have you heard about risotto?

That it’s fussy? That it’s time-consuming? That if you stop stirring the rice, baby unicorns will die?

What if I told you that, instead of constantly stirring the rice and gradually adding broth to it, you could combine your rice and broth in a Dutch oven, cover it, bake it for 45 minutes and get the same creamy risotto? No stirring it. No checking it. No worrying about it.

YOU CAN!

When I tried Donna Hay’s technique this afternoon, I was a skeptic. I didn’t believe you could take a dish that typically requires an hour’s worth of babysitting and streamline it down to maybe five hands-on minutes, but her technique WORKS. First, you bake the risotto. Then, uncover the pot, grab a wooden spoon, and start beating in your Parmesan, butter, salt and pepper. You’ll see the rice continue to release its starch and get creamier and creamier.

One of the nice things about having a big pot of basic baked risotto is that you can divide it and create variations, so there’s no need to get bored with leftovers. Divide the pot in half, and stir in some frozen peas on the first night and chopped apple, walnuts and goat cheese on the second night. Or sauteed mushrooms. Or roasted butternut squash.

Yep, this recipe actually lets you do more with less effort. It’s a slacker’s reward.

Easy Baked Risotto

Adapted from Donna Hay’s “Instant Entertaining”

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 1/2 cup Arborio rice
  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken stock, if you’re not going meatless)
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • Sea salt (or kosher salt) and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the rice and stock in a 10-cup baking dish (or Dutch oven), and stir to combine. Cover with foil (or the lid of the Dutch oven, if using), and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the stock is absorbed and the rice is al dente.
  3. Grab a wooden spoon, and beat in your Parmesan, butter, salt and pepper. Stir in the peas. When the peas are warm, serve immediately.

237 thoughts on “Meatless Monday: Easy Baked Risotto

  1. I think your writing is awesome. You always make me laugh out loud (baby unicorns dying?! who says that!? too funny..). I dig your humor girl!!

  2. Well, I don't know if you can call it a shortcut but when I finish something while baking and have time to burn while waiting for it (like waiting for the egg whites to be ready or waiting for the dough to rise) I just wash all the dishes I used in the process, saves a lot of time…:P

  3. Dried buttermilk is my new favorite thing – makes it so much more likely I have all the ingredients I need without going to the store, and is never rotting in my fridge.

  4. This risotto looks fabulous! My favorite kitchen shortcut is definitely boxed brownies. I can't lie, I sometimes use them.

  5. Although I'm a big fan of immersion blenders, Kitchenaid stand mixers, and crockpots (which make the densest no-fail New York-style chocolate cheesecake), it comes down to two things: a 6-qt Lodge Dutch oven and dumpling presses. The dutch oven is a workhorse, doing soups, stews, braises, no-knead bread, and carnitas that start on the stovetop and get a crispy bark in the oven. The dumpling presses make 18-24 dumplings in almost no time. Perogies, empanadas, cheater's kasha knishes — fast and easy. Flash freeze on a tray and bag 'em for the freezer. Looking forward to reading everyone's responses!

  6. Wow! This is so easy, I think I can finally make risotto with a college student's budget of money and time!

    As for my kitchen shortcut, I find canned beans to be a blessing, whether for soup or for homemade tacos. I like that I don't have to use so much prep time to make something delicious.

  7. Store bought chicken stock! I know it's easy to make at home, but the store bought stuff tastes good and is super convenient! This looks like a delicious meatless weeknight dinner.

  8. I have never made much risotto, but now have a vegetarian daughter and am always looking for new things to make for her! She would love this.
    Pillsbury pie crust are my favorite shortcut…I love to make homeade pies and do it much more often because of these crusts!

  9. Apple pie or pumpkin pie spice for my morning oatmeal! I don't have to fuss around with my spice cupboard when I'm barely awake this way. Just sprinkle on some steel-cut oats, stir in honey and my pre-made spice and you're good to go! :)

  10. Holy moly! My husband loves risotto. I will have to try this.

    I do like the make one, freeze one tactic. I also like putting things in the crock pot. Can that be considered a shortcut?

  11. Meal planning makes my time in the kitchen more efficient. It helps to avoid the frozen stare into the fridge deciding what to make every night!

  12. I definitely will be giving this recipe a try tomorrow hopefully!

    My shortcut is canned beans and canned tomatoes! For the life of me I can't properly cut a tomato, so for soups, stews and chili's I use the canned stuff.

  13. My shortcut is Hatch enchilada sauce – Might be a little hard to find but I get it at the Fresh Market – Its a green chili sauce that you can use to make enchiladas from leftovers (fish/chicken/pork) -or add to chicken chili or a soup to make a quick tortilla soup.

  14. Will be trying out that risotto recipe asap. Hmm favorite kitchen shortcut…probably eyeballing all of the ingredients haha! might not work for everyone but I hate measuring and it usually turns out just fine.

  15. I am indebted to my mother for teaching me to clean as I cook. I've been baking with my neighbour a lot and have seen, first hand, how much NOT doing this can slow things down and create a long, irritating clean-up. She doesn't even put the cap back on the vanilla!

  16. mmmm, may have to try the risotto. The shortcut in the kitchen is to have my 2 year old helper prep a veggie so I can work on another dish, that she cannot help with. My AM shortcut is to have waffles ready made to put in the toaster. Kids love em.

  17. Taco made with canned everything. It comes together so quickly and feeds so many. boxed cake mix and tubs of frosting for cake pops, microwaving a stick of butter for 7 seconds to help it come to room temperature and frozen broccoli.

  18. My favorite shortcut that is really useful for the holidays, is always making double or triple recipes of cookie dough and freezing it. As soon as I have a visitor I just pop a couple frozen cookie dough balls in the oven and the house will smell amazing. :)

  19. I like having to think right after waking up … I make posole quite often, and if I'm not in the mood or don't have all the ingredients for cooking down the chilis, peppers and tomatillos, then blending, then cooking the blended mixture, and THEN adding to the heating broth, I simply skip the whole process and add thin tomatillo- or tomato-based salsa to the broth. Works like a charm!

  20. My time saving trick in the kitchen is that when I make spaghetti sauce, I make double or even triple the amount and freeze the extra. Then, the next time I'm craving Italian, all I have to do is defrost the sauce and boil some noodles! Simple!

  21. Having my daughter help me out in the kitchen saves a lot of time and effort. She does all the chopping and pureeing while I start cooking!

    Thanks for sharing this recipe just in time for the holidays!!!

  22. My favorite shortcut is, when making yeast doughs, to boil a couple of cups of water in my microwave for 5 minutes and then to place my covered dough in the warm, moist environment to rise. This always cuts the rising time for me by at least half! It's a great time saver!

  23. My favorite kitchen shortcut is freezing ingredients. When I'm making something that has several pre-prepared ingredients I make enough for two and freeze half, that way when I'm ready to make that dish again all I have to do is defrost the ingredients and combine them. This way I still made it that day fresh, or so I say.

  24. Ready peeled garlic is my favorite shortcut. For recipes that have just a clove or two, the peeling isn't a problem, but I am happy to pay a premium for peeled garlic when I am using lots (i.e. pesto). (Thanks for the contest!)

  25. With three little boys, my schedule is crazy. So one day a week I'll do as much mise en place for the weeks meals as I can. I'll make a HUGE roast and turn it into three different meals for quick weeknight suppers. I also freeze pre-mixed meatloaf– just defrost and pop into oven.

  26. My favorite kitchen shortcut is actually to make risotto in my pressure cooker – it only takes 7 minutes to cook! I'll have to try baking it one day. I am also enjoying reading other peoples shortcuts.

  27. Umm… this looks delish! I'll have to give it a try with a turkey sausage and sundried tomatoes. SO GOOD, but such a pain to make it the old fashioned way.

  28. Oh- I got so excited about the non-fussy risotto I forgot. Favorite kitchen shortcut… I use my grapefruit spoon for a million things… like getting the seeds out of jalepenos, peeling fresh ginger… you name it, I'll use it.

  29. My favorite kitchen shortcut is adding 1 T. white vinegar to 1 C. milk when I am in a pinch for buttermilk. Let the mixture sit ~5 minutes and you're ready to go!

  30. My favorite shortcut is making a game of the cleaning. I try to make sure everything is cleaned up by the time the hands on cooking is done, and I have to do it fast without interrupting the actual cooking. Makes things go faster and ensures my kitchen will be clean (it might not get clean if I leave it until after dinner, then it is the next mornings job).

  31. I cut all my bacon in half before cooking. It doesn't curl, and is the perfect size for BLT's, Grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches and much more. Also will saute bacon and onions and put in containers to have ready when making special dishes Liver & onions, stuffings, omletes etc. Also, make olive oil dough double batch so we have homemade pizza any night we choose & fabulous bread/rolls on other nights.
    I make risotto with other rices when I don't have aborrio, and it is wonderful, trying with brown rice.

  32. I am a big fan of buying the whole garlic that is aleady peeled and jarred at costco. That cuts down on the prep time when cooking things with garlic.

  33. I really love trying to convert recipes into being one pot meals for when I'm in a hurry. It makes for less to wash up and certainly helps things go a LOT faster. One of my favorite one pot meals is cheesy potato soup!

  34. I am excited to try this new recipe! My favorite short cuts is marking larger quantities of dinners and freezing part for another dinner. With karate and soccer, we need quick meals, but I want them to be healthy. My freezer is stocked full of homemade enchilada sauce, spaghetti sauce, cinnamon rolls, re-fried beans, etc.

  35. Rice. I am apparently incapable of making rice the normal way, so I've given up and only buy those bags that you put straight into the microwave. Totally worth it.

  36. My favorite shortcut is when a recipe calls for minced or shredded anything, I just bust out my trusty food processor. It really helps when you need to chop an onion to avoid the annoying tears!

  37. My best shortcut is to assemble everything I need on the counter before I even begin and then put it away/clean as soon as I use it.I hate running all over the kitchen trying to find something at the last second.

  38. My favorite kitchen shortcut is White Linen Marinara Sauce. It is THE BEST! It tastes just like a homemade sauce. I use it for anything that needs sauce. Like last night I decided to make a lasagna sans the noodles and used spaghetti squash instead. It was fantastic. I don't know what I'd do with out this sauce but I should probably practice making my own marinara, just in case I can't get a hold of White Linen Marinara Sauce.

  39. Love that risotto short cut! I hate peeling and chopping ginger. So I buy a big hunk, peel it and throw it in to the freezer in a ziplock bag. When I need ginger, I pull out the hunk from the freezer and my micro-plane and grate it right into the pot. It it so much easier and I don't end up wasting ginger pieces and time.

  40. We eat a lot of beans in our house so I often make huge batches of different varieties and stock our freezer full of 2 cup portions (roughly equivalent to 1 can). We don't have to plan meals around soaking beans overnight, etc anymore!

  41. Grab two forks to use instead of a whisk for mixing small things. When making french toast turn down the heat and put a lid on the pan after turning once. The small bit of moisture makes steam and puffs the bread up nicely. And the biggest thing I know to save time is to use cold water for washing up or wiping down anything with flour in it. It somehow breaks the bond and easily dissolves where hot water turns it into glue.

  42. I bake beef stew in the oven in a heavy casserole dish for 2 hours. It fills the house with the smell of spices and tastes just as good as leaving it in a crock pot for 6-8 hours

  43. I'm a fan of canned tomatoes… and using them to make LOTS of sauce so I can freeze extra. Also, I'm a fanatic about cleaning up as I go… spending an hour plus cleaning a trashed kitchen makes me very sad after a yummy meal.

  44. Love your blog and have been sharing it with friends–we're all excited about the veggie Thanksgiving suggestions. My family is big on homemade soups, and my shortcut is to always double or even triple recipes. We don't freeze stuff very often; instead we have good leftovers for lunch for a day or two. BTW, soup on Saturday was the curried pumpkin you wrote about a while back–it was triumphant! Going to become one of our family staples.

  45. Sadly enough, I have a lot of shortcuts but my favorite are Minute Rice brown rice cups. I even have a rice cooker but I just love being able to toss a cup of rice into my lunch bag without thought or planning!

  46. I've had a jar of arborio rice in my pantry waiting for this recipe for…a long time. As far as my favorite shortcut- I've recently started meal planning and and doing the week's grocery shopping on Sunday. I used to make frequent grocery stops after work every night. It takes more planning, but it's a huge time saver on busy week nights!

  47. my favorite kitchen shortcut has to be the dutch oven… all of the goodness of a crockpot combined with the ability to be put into the actual oven!! although, pre-cooked chicken for taco and fajita recipes is definitely a close second.

  48. YUM, that looks delicious. My favorite kitchen shortcut is to use a crock pot – minimal prep at the beginning, wonderful results!

  49. When I first started baking, I was pretty young, and so I'd take everything out of the cupboards that I needed, and measure it. (Many years later I learned that this was called mise en place…) As I used something, I'd put it away, providing a useful check that I didn't forget to add anything in! This might not be a timesaver persay, but when you're making fudge, it's nice to be prepared with everything you need to add in, so that you're not abandoning your pot of boiling sugar!

  50. My favorite short cut is the muffin pan. I'm OBSESSED! I make everything in it. When it's time for dinner, pop a few out, save the rest. Have another little cup for lunch, and maybe even dinner again. I wonder If I could do this with the easy baked risotto…?

  51. My boyfriend's daughter is positively enamored with homemade pizza. For a while I made the crust homemade, but it's $1.99 at Trader Joe's. Makes my pizza slinging a whole lot quicker!

  52. I make stock and freeze it in one cup portions — one big pot of stock gives me goodness to add to rice (which we eat a lot!) for weeks and even months to come.

  53. My favorite kitchen shortcut is whenever I unwrap a stick of butter, I keep the wrapper in the fridge. Then, whenever I have to grease a pan, I just use the butter wrapper – there is usually enough residual butter to adequately grease the entire pan! No more trying to grease a pan with a stick of butter and getting it all melty.

  54. Let me just say CROCK POT, CROCK POT, CROCK POT!!! Soup, stew, whatever! Leave it in the morning….eat it in the evening! Hmmm…Wonder if it does risotto?! :-)

  55. Blatantly plagiarizing your post here, but my favourite shortcut is indubitably the "make one, freeze one"…although in my case, it's usually "make one, freeze five" because it's the pragmatic student-preferred approach.
    =)

  56. I use a large mixing bowl as my "garbage bowl" on my counter next to my cutting board so I'm not running across the kitchen carrying food scraps. If you line it with a plastic bag, you don't even have to wash it!

  57. Thanks so much for this post! I have to make four batches of risotto this week and have been dreading it. I will do this!

    My favorite kitchen shortcut is using pre-shredded cheese for pizzas………

  58. The kitchen shortcut I use most is to double the batch of any bread recipe I'm making so I can freeze half for a quick fix in the future!

  59. Pre-washed bagged organic spinach and salad greens. Best modern lazy shortcut ever. If I'm serving others I still like to rinse & spin the greens…but if it's just for me, I'll eat them straight out of the bag like a ravenous fork-wielding hyena.

  60. boil in a bag rice! I don't think I would eat rice nearly as often if it wasn't such an easy prep.

    We use that and pureed frozen butternut squash to make a mock risotto when we are really lazy. (But this recipe sounds so easy, it may be a new favorite)

  61. My favorite kitchen shortcut is to prepare all the ingredients, and assemble whatever is possible during my son's naptime. That way, when it's time to cook, I can be quick and efficient.

  62. My favorite kitchen shortcut is to get all of my ingredients together and ready to go before I start preparing a recipe. It takes a little effort but goes a long way when you're in the middle of say, frequently stirring a rue so that it doesn't burn, but need to grab the red wine out of the wine cabinet. It helps to have everything set out (and even pre-measured) before beginning.

  63. Instead of making curry from scratch, me and my roommate use Patak's preblended spices like crazy! It's easier and cheaper!

  64. I almost always make extras so I have leftovers for lunch the next day. Saves me that 10 or 15 minutes in the morning that can be used for better things. Like sleep. Or coffee.

  65. Oh my, a risotto recipe that doesn't need elbow grease? I'm coming over. The new shortcut I've been using is peeling a lot of ginger and garlic, grinding it in a mini food processor and storing the paste in the fridge. It keeps for a month, and despite the initial work, it makes cooking later on such a breeze every time a recipe calls for ginger or garlic or both. just spoon out a dollop of the paste and you are done!

  66. I have a Magic bullet and I use it to chop 5-6 heads of garlic cloves at a time. Hardest part is peeling all the cloves. I store the garlic in a jar in the fridge for weeks, using it in stews, soups, marinades, regular cooking, etc.

    I love Penzey's Pizza spice mix. I buy plain tomato sauce (the tiny cans) and mix a teaspoon of the mix into about 4 oz of tomato sauce. I also add some minced garlic. This is the BEST pizza sauce ever. Will never buy pre-made pizza sauce again.

  67. My favorite short cut is my food processor. I can grate cheese and vegetables fast plus make pie crust. It saves me a lot of time. I love it especially for Thanksgiving.

  68. I love risotto, so I've got to try this technique! My favorite shortcut is to make one or two dozen muffins and then stash them in the freezer. I defrost one every day for a homemade treat, without having to turn on the oven!

  69. I have a couple of great crock pot recipes that basically require opening cans and spice enveloped and dumping. These are great when the day will be busy and there is no prep time at the end of the day. My beer bread is quick but with a texture and taste close to yeast bread-a great time-saver. With pasta and tortillas always at had nearly any leftovers can be turned into a 2nd meal with little time or effort.

  70. My favorite kitchen shortcut is undoubtedly my bread machine. I adore making breads, and while I've done the old fashioned way — knead, knead, rise, rise — my bread machine allows me to make the same excellent bread and be able to provide ample attention to other elements of the meal. It's so convenient that I can give perfect, two-pound loaves of bread as gifts! Bread machine, how I adore you!

  71. Not sure if it's much of a short-cut, but I using fishing line to cut desserts like cheesecake. It makes for a clean presentation, no dirty knives, etc. It's just so much prettier!

  72. My shortcut in the kitchen is prepping the veggies when I get home from the store. I chop and store everything so it is ready to go. It just saves time when throwing a meal together.

  73. That looks delicious! I love using frozen veggies when i'm in a pinch for fresh. I also like to make soup bases and freeze them, that way when I need a quick dinner idea, I can thaw and go from there and just throw in some spices and whatever veggies or meats we have on hand. Thanks! :)

  74. wow, maybe even I can do a risotto! that looks delicious. my favorite shortcut(and I'm not sure if its really a shortcut) is to triple the recipe and freeze the other 2 portions in zip lock bags. By laying the bags flat they take up much less room in my freezer. On the days when I'm too busy to cook I simply defrost the bag.

  75. Something that really helps me in the kitchen is planning my menu for the week. I'll write out all of the recipes and ingredients, make one grocery trip, and I'm set for the week!

  76. I will definitely try this delicious-sounding risotto! One of my most relied-on kitchen shortcuts is to cook an entire bag of brown rice in a large stockpot, then parcel it out into 1- or 2-cup portions and freeze it. It's so quick and easy to defrost and add to soups, casseroles, etc.

  77. The answer for me is easy peasy. The Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker is a godsend for me. I can cook rice or potatoes in 6 minutes. I can also use to can pint jars. I regularly can my own pinto beans which takes no time at all, saves money and reduces sodium in our diet since we eat a LOT of beans.

  78. Definitely going to be making this as soon as my store is plugged in! My favority kitchen gadget is my 10", deep swiss diamond skillet. Stove to oven, to broiler and Nothing sticks, not even the caramel sauce for candied yams. I use this skillet every day!

  79. As a baker I Hate to admit this but cake mixes are amazing! Doctoring them up to create the most outrageous treats, you'd never guess!

  80. Love your blog! Favorite short-cut? Always baking extra. Cakes and cookies all freeze beautifully and thaw in relatively short order, too! Super easy to put together a cookie platter when guests pop in.

  81. I just discovered baking risotto and I LOVE it!

    But one of my favorite shortcuts is to always buy potatoes with thin skins and make SMASHED potatoes instead of MASHED potatoes. I HATE peeling potatoes… so I just don't.

  82. I can't live without my rice cooker. It actually surprises me that I ever made do without one. Not only does it make perfect rice, I also cook couscous, pasta, steamed veggies, soups, and polenta in mine. I'm fairly convinced that I could make just about anything in my rice cooker, and in a way that requires minimal work. Like the article, I even make a risotto that requires no babysitting. Rice cooker saves the day!

  83. My favorite kitchen shortcut would have to be using a crockpot. You can just throw everything in there and let it cook while you're out all day. It really helps when it comes time to eat dinner and your food is already ready!

  84. Mmmm… Risotto is so very good! Good to know you can make it easily too.

    I have a few dishes that I love and make over and over again that involve chopping a lot of vegetables. The veggie step makes them a bit more work than I like to put into weeknight meals, so I came up with a solution. These vegetables will end up being cooked, so I buy a ton, chop them up in one big marathon session, and freeze portions in individual bags. When I want to make one of those favorite dinners quickly, I can just pull out a bag of pre-chopped, pre-measured veggies and dump them into the pot! I usually cook them a bit longer than the recipe calls for and skip the defrosting step too.

  85. This is my current fav: baked potatoes in the crock pot. I do not use a microwave and this allows me fresh baked starchy goodness on a work night. I wrap them in foil and butter and salt and stick them in the crock pot and walk away!

  86. I use a baking scale with a tare function…I can add all the ingredients to the pot or bowl, with no measuring cups to wash. Funky ingredients like corn syrup and honey are super easy with this method, too, and it's more accurate for flour.

  87. i use Dale's brand marinade to marinate my chicken/pork every time i make a quick cooking dish like fried pork chops or grilled chicken breast. it gives it a smoky/salty/delicious flavor that i'm too lazy to take the time to acheive.

  88. My shortcut is cooking 2 or 3 meals for the coming week on Sunday. That way I don't panic on busy weekday nights and run to the fast food alternatives. It also saves money!

  89. my favorite shortcut? my second best friend in the kitchen (next to my husband of course) is a rice cooker…set and forget it!

  90. My favorite kitchen shortcuts are using a spoon to scrape the skin off of ginger and then freezing it after I've used some. When I need it again, I grate it still frozen.

  91. Favorite kitchen shortcut will have to be frozen fruit. One of the things I love to make are fruit smoothies and since I don't make it everyday, fresh fruit goes bad quickly.

  92. My favorite kitchen shortcut is a scoop for cookies. My life changed when I got one, and my husband rejoices because I make cookies more often!! Another thing I LOVE LOVE LOVE is using parchment paper to line baking dishes of EVERYTHING – meat loaf, ribs, roast chickens, baked bacon, etc. Clean up is EASY-PEASY (cause I hate washing dishes) and no more feeling guilty for not washing and reusing aluminium foil!.

  93. I wait for in season vegetables to be at the end of their growing season, when they go on sale for 10 cents each. I load up my cart, take them home, cut them up and freeze them. All the time there is a bulk of frozen (and cheap!) produce in my freezer, already prepared, for whatever I'm in the mood for!

  94. Does melting chocolate in the microwave count as a shortcut, or is that just normal behaviour? Every recipe is all "double boiler, double boiler" but I just throw a bowl of chocolate chips in the microwave. Even better? My microwave makes the bowls get super hot (which is the opposite of what microwaves are supposed to do, I know), so I don't even have to keep microwaving until it's all melted – the hot bowl will melt the rest while I get on with the recipe.

  95. My kitchen shortcut is pre-minced garlic…I hate mincing it and getting my hands all sticky and I honestly can't tell the difference!

  96. I had heard that you could make risotto in the oven but hadn't actually come across a recipe. Thanks for checking it out and passing it along.

    My favorite kitchen gadget is my cuisinart hand mixer. I've had it for 4 or 5 years and it works like a champ. I use it more than mine KA.
    ~ingrid

  97. My favorite tool in the kitchen is my toaster oven. When I am wanting a toasted sandwich then I stick that in there or heat something up fast. I use the toaster oven for many quick meals. I also keep things warm in there. :o)

  98. I am definitely trying this risotto recipe! Looks delicious! My favorite kitchen shortcut is when recipe calls for room temperature eggs, I simply place them in warm water for 10 or 15 minutes. Saves so much time( :

  99. My ultimate kitchen short cut is using a mandolin for slicing my veggies! Especially when making potatoes gratin. This way they are all uniform and cook evenly and I get it prepped in less than half the time!

  100. My favorite kitchen shortcut would have to be my peanut butter cup molds. I make awesome truffles and can shape them by hand, but it lasts me alllll day long! with the molds i just pop them in there and they're good to go. It's fast and easy, and they turn out looking way better than my original way of hand. Then I have the leftover time to spend eating them, works for me! =]

  101. Risotto looks awesome, I'll have to try it. Favorite short cuts? Assembling the ingredients of the recipe beforehand and cleaning up as I go. 24 words!

  102. This is great! I just dropped my phone in water yesterday and am looking for a replacement! I make homemade pancake mix so I always have it for the boys' breakfast!

  103. I don't know if this is really a short cut, since it takes a little advance planning, but I like to cook lots and clean once. I always have about a dozen frozen meals in the freezer for those nights when there isn't a lot of time for cooking. I choose a Sunday and spend the day cooking. I plan the order by figuring out what things can be cooked in the same pan without washing it in between – cook lots of onions, take some out and add peppers for fajitas. Empty pan add more onions and some hamburger for shepherds pie. Take that out add some chicken and just keep going. As long as the pan doesn't get contiminated and you do the weakest flavors first you can do lots of meals and only a few dishes.

  104. I use frozen rice in the steamable bags. 4 minutes to perfect brown rice! Other than that, I use my crockpot ALL THE TIME. Just throw everything in the pot in the morning and when I get home from work, we can just eat.

  105. When I'm pretty sure I'm going to screw up a loaf of bread in my finnicky, teeny-tiny grad student oven, I bake it in a dutch oven instead of bothering with the steam pan and baking stone. I just wish this worked for baguettes!

  106. Clean as I go! I enjoy my time in the kitchen as long as I am baking or cooking…but hate to have a big mess in the end! Also, if I prep my veggies when I first bring them home – I am more likely to use/eat them through out the week.

  107. Love the shortcut!! I don't mind stirring a lovely risotto, but this is great too! My favorite shortcut is taking whatever I've made for dinner and freezing half of it. It's just me, so it makes for lots of good meals!

  108. I love using a silpat for baking. I've also fallen in love with ceramic knives. Best things EVER. I will usually make a double batch of soups or casseroles so I can keep one in the freezers for later.

  109. I love the risotto shortcut!!! I do shy away from it because of the attention it takes but I’m totally trying it this way.

    My shortcut is cake mixes. I know everyone is against prepackaged mixes but I like to doctor them up. It also makes a sturdy cake for stacking!

  110. I like to pretend I'm all about "from scratch"…but when something calls for a lot of cooked chicken, I usually run to the store for one of their yummy, juicy, hormone-filled rotisserie chickens. …Maybe someday I'll make one from scratch..but for now, I'll let Kroger do it.

  111. I measure out tablespoons of tomato paste on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Put pan in the freezer and when the tomato paste is frozen, just pop them in a freezer bag. Premeasured and ready to add to soups or entrees as needed.

  112. My favorite kitchen shortcut is my pressure cooker! I use it to cook rice, whole chickens, anything. A whole chicken takes about 30-45 minutes and then I just debone and use the meat for a variety of dishes.

  113. Shortcuts…hmmm When I am chopping an onion, I chop 4 of them to store in the fridge. Otherwise, it would have to be Trader Joe's Frozen Steel cut oats- a 1000 times better than instant and good for you too!

  114. I have become a huge fan of the mini-food processor attachment on my immersion blender. Now, instead of mincing garlic and ginger for curries and stir fries, I just pop them in there and give them a whirl – so much easier!!

  115. Oh my god I love risotto! Totally going to try this. My short cut is finding yummy recipes and easy shortcuts online. I couldn't think of this stuff myself!

  116. When fruit starts to get too ripe, I'll slice it up and flash freeze it for 30 minutes, then put it in a ziploc bag in the freezer for smoothies. I waste a lot less fruit that way!

  117. My second favorite kitchen shortcut is pre-cut veggies. In my defense, I only use them when I’m making appetizers for a party, but still, they’re so convenient!

  118. I bake my bacon in the oven in a stoneware pan on 425° for 15-20 minutes. I can clean the kitchen, finish making breakfast and even start a load of laundry before it is finished. No standing and frying, dodging hot splatters, it's great!

  119. The 2 items I use a lot that save me a ton of time: a scale and a microplane. The scale means I don't have to drag out the measuring cups and spoons for every recipe and the microplane… well, nothing does zest better.

  120. I will definitely be making the risotto. My rice loving daughter is coming for a week. My favorite shortcut is cooking a big batch of anything, soup, pasta, casseroles, having it for 2 days and then freezing the rest in small batches. I live alone now but I still make regular meals and freeze the extra. I had chicken gumbo tonight. All I had to cook was the rice. A Cool-Whip bowl holds 2 servings of most things.

  121. Thanks for your great site and this giveaway.
    My favorite shortcut is partially cooking things in the microwave to cut down on oven baking time. I end up with the great roasted flavor in foods with only part of the oven time. This is especially great for potatoes and other vegetables.

  122. My favorite kitchen shortcut is frozen vegetables. So easy to throw in for added veggies without the hassle of peeling and cutting!

  123. My roommate and I are 1) lazy and 2) vegetarian and 3) broke. Canned beans are absolutely indispensable. I would estimate that we use at least a can a day, sometimes in the strangest places. Pasta salad, egg dishes, in leftover rice, wherever!

  124. I love thai curry paste and frozen vegetables. The curry paste adds a ton of flavor with just a little spoonful, and you don't have to go about grinding your own spices! Frozen veggies are great to add to a pasta or casserole, and keep for so long.

  125. I use a pressure cooker. You can start with frozen meat and still do it in a fraction of the time it would usually take.

  126. I love using a silpat for baking. I've also fallen in love with ceramic knives. Best things EVER. I will usually make a double batch of soups or casseroles so I can keep one in the freezers for later. That's my way to do more with less!

  127. My favorite shortcut is to use a muffin tin to cook individual mini-meatloaves. It allows us to have meatloaf during the week, despite busy work schedules and activities and has the added bonus of letting me vary the toppings — ketchup for some, parmesean or cheddar on others.

  128. The risotto looks awesome! I have a recipe for a microwave version but it's nothing like the real thing.

    My favorite kitchen shortcut has to be boil-in-a-bag white rice! I was using instant brown forever but it has a terrible texture. My boyfriend Xavier suggested the bagged rice and I gave it a go and loved it.

  129. I made a pasta dish tonight and I made the pasta ahead and then reused the pasta pot to do the sauce…saving time on dishes..after the fact…:)

  130. As a college student, freezing leftovers and buying frozen fruits/veggies to make soups and smoothies galore. It's the best, cheapest, and easiest meals to prepare and make sure you're getting in your nutrition! I'm cheap and still om nom nom well!

  131. My favorite shortcut is to make up a batch of brown rice and substitute it for oatmeal which I don't care for. I freeze small batches in plastic containers to which I've added a little butter, cinnamon sugar and raisens or walnuts. Now I have a quick healthy breakfast waiting in the freezer.

  132. I love making a ga-zillion burritos at a time, then individually freezing them in tin foil. This way, on a crazy busy week night, I can have a fast, filling, healthy meal that I made! Burritofests are always awesome!

  133. i like to make lasagna and put it in small containers for the freezer. same with homemade soups. it's nice to be able to pull out something the day before, and then just have to heat it and eat it. i <3 convenience!

  134. My kitchen shortcut is rotisserie chickens.. I don't like cooking chicken for some reason so it's handy. :) The risotto looks yummy! Going to try that this weekend. Might have to steal the frozen meatloaf idea too. Good one! :)

  135. I actually just discovered this great single-serving instant sticky rice. Best part: no sodium like a lot of quick foods normally have. I steam up some veggies, heat up the rice, and I'm good.

  136. My smartphone has served me well over the years. recipe lookups, etc, but it's overdue for retirement. The new win phone 7 looks great

  137. I like to roast several trays of tomatoes to use in various recipes. I always roast a couple of heads of garlic at the same time, too.

  138. I don't measure ingredients! It cuts down on cleaning and finding the measuring spoons and once you've gotten good at eyeballing them you really don't need to measure.

  139. Hi there, my best shortcut is for those nights when I forget to take out something to thaw. I always turn to tofu….you can do anythign with it, my 8 year old loves it and we do too…

    Makes for a yummy easy meal. I don;t have a cell phone at all so this would be pretty sweet. Thanks Krista

  140. Trader Joe's is my shortcut! All time favorites include peeled garlic and precut frozen butternut squash. Current crushes are fresh pomegranate seeds and frozen brown rice!

  141. I chop extra veggies and freeze for later use. It is a welcome relief when I can just open a ziplock and dump, versus time consuming prep.

  142. My favorite kitchen item I could not do without is my kitchen aide. It's a tradition in my family to give a kitchen aide to each newly married couple. Mine is now 45 years old and still going strong.

  143. My favorite kitchen tool is my mini cookie scoop. A friend bought it for me from Crate and Barrel and I love it. I used to roll my butter cookies by hand and use spoons to form quenelles for my pumpkin whoopie pies. The scoop makes perfect balls of dough every time. Plus, it's easier to pump out large batches because of it. Yeah, it's not super fancy, but using it makes me happy.

  144. My favorite shortcut is for baked potatoes…which I love, but who has the time for a baked potato on a weeknight?! What I do is microwave them until they're soft, rub evoo and salt on the skin then throw them directly under the broiler. Turn them a few times and they're (almost) as crisp and delicious as if they were baked.

  145. I make lots of risotto and will try this version tonight. My favorite kitchen shortcut is buying pre-pealed garlic. This still allows me to chop to the size of my recipe and tastes just as fresh a if I took to trouble to peel it myself.

  146. I love those frozen fresh herb cubes. You don't have to run out to the store or (gasp) use dried herbs when you need fresh herbs in a pinch (Trader Joes, if anyone is looking…)

  147. Favorite short-cut – store bought rotisserie chicken! Any recipe that calls for shredded, diced, or any pre-cooked chicken – this is a real time-saver!

  148. I have a friend who does her risotto in a pressure cooker in less than ten minutes. But I'm still standing and stirring. Argh!

  149. I hope this isn’t too obvious, but I always prepare and cook large amounts (~8 lbs) turkey/chicken breast, divide it into many batches, and throw them all in the freezer. That way I can make a stir fry or curry with minimal preparation even at the end of a long day.

  150. I like to cut many of the week's veggies when I get home from the grocery store on Sunday to reduce prep time during the week.

  151. I haven't made my own chicken stock yet, so it can be tough when recipes call for cups of chicken broth because I'm always running out. I've started using bullion cubes which are much cheaper and I always have them on hand.

  152. I started making steel cut oatmeal in my rice cooker. I just set it on quick cook and let the rice cooker do everything. No stirring it, no checking it and no worrying about it just like this risotto. And it's delicious!

  153. Great blog! I hate to admit this, but this well seasoned cook has never made risotto. I just may have to lose my risotto virginity with this recipe. It looks delicious.

    I have to say that my favoite kitchen shortcut would have to be using my crock pot. I love throwing things together the night before then pulling it out on my way out the door in the morning. There's nothing better than coming to a delicious dinner ready and waiting for us in the evening.

  154. using my cheap 10 dollar mandolin(ish) slicer to cut paper thin vegetables for salads. So much better than chopping–especially when you want yummy paper thin sliced red cabbage and onions in your salad!

  155. I read recipes all the way through before I start cooking. If I’m doing a blog post about it, I’ll rewrite the procedure before. It’s what I do with my biology labs and it really helps to get you familiar with it.

  156. I love fresh ginger, but it would always dry out before I got to use all of it. So now, I buy a big hunk, peel it (using the spoon technique!) and grate it all onto plastic wrap. I divide it into tablespoons and put the whole thing in the freezer. Since I never need less than a tablespoon at a time, this works perfectly.

  157. I make extra potatoes whenever I make baked potatoes, they’re great as homefries or as an idaho sunrise the next day!

  158. My favorite kitchen short cut is using the glass jars of minced garlic instead of chopping up fresh garlic. It makes things much quicker!

  159. Cooking chicken breasts in the crockpot, which later get shredded for enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos, chicken salad, quick chicken soup.

    Great collection of tips here in the comments!

  160. I like to mix up a batch of chocolate chip cookies, scoop them onto a cookies sheet lined with parchment and pop the whole thing in the freezer. When they are frozen..I put them into a zip lock freezer bag and bake them off when i NEED them.

  161. My favorite kitchen shortcut right now is my Pampered Chef microwave rice cooker. I hardly ever use it for rice but it makes taco meat out of ground beef in about six minutes! The kids use it to bake cake in the micro and since it's dishwasher safe, cleanup is a snap.

  162. I put a small trashcan in the kitchen for all those little scraps so I don't have to walk all the way to the trashcan to throw it away.

  163. I'm all about doing more with less by using free tools such as the Google calendar to organize my day, week, month, year…need I go on!!!

  164. My favorite kitchen tool? That'd have to be my 2tsp cookie scoop! It makes the cutest and roundest dollops, and turns a regular batch of dough that might make 12 cookies into one that makes 36 instead. Fantastic!

  165. The way I do more with less in the kitchen is by using my absolute favorite kitchen gadget, the crock pot. I put all the ingredients together the night before and put the crock pot dish in the fridge. I take it out of the fridge the next morning and plug it in. Dinner is ready when I get home. This leaves me with more time to spend with my husband and toddler.

  166. Another kitchen shortcut I love is using corn starch instead of flour when making gravy. This works particularly well with sausage gravy on a Sunday morning. I remember my mom shaking, shaking, shaking milk and flour to make gravy that just wasn't so good. My gravy turns out just right every time–never lumpy, and so easy to thin or thicken if necessary.

  167. I love those little frozen bags of chopped onions and bell peppers. They make my early morning crockpot meals super simple.

  168. I like to cook extra ground beef whenever I make spaghetti. I freeze it so that I can grab it at a later date and add to whatever I am making for dinner that night whether it be pizza, spaghetti, ravioli, or shepard's pie.

  169. Not sure if this is a shortcut, but I when I open a new can of tomato paste, I usually freeze half. This allows me to not waste, and I get to throw a spoonful of paste (super flavor booster) into soups or sautes.

  170. Hi,

    I get more done in less time in the kitchen by planning Crock Pot meals ahead of time. We also go over to my mother's for dinner occassionally because she is a much better cook than I am. :)

    Thanks

    :):)

  171. One example of me doing more with less is carpooling with friends to school (when I don't take the train). Being college students, we'll save all the money we can and it's so convenient that I have a group of friends that all live pretty close! It's fun to see each other in the mornings, ha and eat breakfast on the go. It'd be so awesome to win!

  172. Onions make me cry; My husband is immune to 'em. He does all the onion cutting and I do love this short cut. I married it!

  173. Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for people who pour their hearts and souls into blogging! I am especially thankful for the phone giveaway as I am in desperate need of a new one!

  174. Oh wow, wow, oh wow! I can't believe someone is actually giving away this amazing phone. I think I would practically die if I saw my name on the winners board, my mind would go all fuzzy, and then I would faint. Crossing my fingers!

  175. Kitchen shortcut? Buy it frozen so that I can stick it in the oven. Seriously I don't have the time to cook. My best friend is the microwave!

  176. My favorite kitchen short cut is cake mix. You can do anything with it! Add chocolate chips, nuts, cream cheese and turn a regular cake mix into a great cake/cupcakes/whatever. And my Kitchen Aid mixer is great! Set it and forget it! Well, not forget it, but it's better than holding a hand mixer.

  177. i LOVE risotto!!

    my fave shortcut is to plan meals around each other: for example, if i'm heating the oven for dinner tonight, i'll make sure i can pre-cook part of tomorrow night's dinner in the oven at the same time. yesterday, i roasted butternut squash for dinner and also threw in the sweet potatoes for tonight! i'll also chop more onions than i need tonight and use them tomorrow. great time saver!

  178. My shortcut is to make things in huge batches and freeze them. I do this with meat, veggies, and bread products. Making a batch of waffles grealy increases the likelihood that well be eating those and not cereal for breakfast every morning!

  179. I love bouillion cubes. The mexican section of grocery stores have the best! Mushroom, cilantro, chicken and tomato, beef. These puppies are easy deliciousness.

  180. For thanksgiving we had everyone rinse their dish off once they were done and put it into the dishwasher. Much easier then having to rinse off 20 plates along with the other dishes.

  181. I am trying to do more with less by entering to win wonderful giveaways! My favorite shortcut is to buy frozen veggoes.

  182. Another of my favorite short cuts is Minute Rice. My mom NEVER used it growing up, but a friend introduced it while we were in college. I especially love the brown rice since the real thing takes forever long to make.

  183. My favorite kitchen shortcut is leftovers! You can't imagine how many items I've been by them. When I have to do something else but can't avoid making a meal, I just take out the leftovers, heat them and voila! Dinner's ready!

  184. One way we do more with less is with leftovers. Especially during Thanksgiving time. An example would be using ham for lunch sandwiches and using the leftover turkey for quesadillas or my favorite turkey and tortilla soup! The phone looks great!

  185. Cooking with dry beans!! It's a shortcut in itself as it cooks for hours while I can get other things done. But I also tried NOT soaking them before cooking and it works just fine. I make my own refried beans for tacos all the time. I rinse/pick over the beans, add at least twice the amount of water (add more if it gets too low too soon), and all my other flavor ingredients (onion, garlic, salt, etc). I cook mostly covered for about 3 hrs then remove the lid and let the water cook off almost level to the bottom, being CAREFUL not to let the beans stick to the bottom and burn. If you let the water cook down far enough you can toss in butter if you like, then mash with potato masher, and you'll have the best refried beans you ever tasted!

  186. My latest kitchen shortcut has been using the Glad microwave steaming bags. It makes cooking vegetables so easy (and they turn out pretty tasty too!).

  187. I really really really really want to win this phone. Last chance!

    Plus, I think this risotto technique is my new favorite shortcut!

  188. I do more with less by combining my errands into one drive and trip so I save gas. An example would be going to the store, post office and barbershop in one trip, rather than going at different times of the week. This way, I can do more with the money I have because of the less money I have to spend on gas!

  189. Pre-made bagged salads are a lot better than I expected, and a big time-saver for meal preparation. I'm probably the last person to figure that out, but…

  190. Doing more with less could be decorating the christmas tree as a family. More work done in less time, and lots of family time together.

  191. Anything casserole. Fewer dishes, fewer steps, and still delicious. Also, most casseroles taste great frozen and reheated. A good option for busy days when I still want a homemade, yummy meal.

  192. […] Baked risotto with roasted butternut squash (peel and dice squash into 3/4″ pieces; toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 25 minutes at 400°) […]

  193. […] Baked risotto. I was skeptical but this recipe is magic. If you love risotto but don’t have an hour to stand at the stove stirring, make this. […]

  194. […] *Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake’s Easy Baked Risotto […]

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