Sweet & Spicy Pineapple and Chicken Risotto

We all know that dilemma of “what to make for dinner?” One day I was staring at a lovely fresh pineapple my husband had gotten me trying to figure out what to do with it. I thought hey, chicken and pineapple go well together and we have some grass-fed chicken breasts to use, so that’s a start.  And we had some veggies to grill on the side. But I also wanted some rice (because I can only do so much riced cauliflower before I need a little break) - and I don’t like to use a lot of pots because I am a lazy cook. So I glanced at the pressure cooker waiting to be put up from making the weekly steel cut oats earlier that day and I was inspired….Would it be possible to make pressure cooker risotto and also cook my chicken in the delicious juices at the same time?  Some googling found lots of recipes for mushroom chicken risotto doing just that and I had my solution. It could be wonderful or awful - but all new recipes have that potential.

So, the end result was absolutely wonderful - a sweet and spicy nod to traditional jerk flavors with the creamy lush texture of risotto. I will do my best to share the recipe with you, but keep in mind that if you like more sweetness you may want to add more brown sugar. If you use canned pineapple, you may need less.  Ours had a gentle heat, but a little more cayenne or chili sauce could easily crank up the fire if that’s more to your taste. You can use pre-cooked chicken and probably could use fish or other mild meats with this dish - even a mild Italian sausage. I wanted leftovers for lunch so I used a full pound (2C) of rice but you can adjust the ratios for more or less.  My pressure cooker is not a fancy Instapot - but I’m sure you can adapt this for most pots.

Ingredients:

  • 2 C rice
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 pineapple or 1 can of pineapple
  • 4-5 C chicken stock
  • ½-1 lb chicken breast
  • ⅓ C brown sugar
  • “Slap Ya Momma” Cajun seasoning (sold in most grocery stores)
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • Diced veggies of your choice (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ C white cooking wine
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic (optional)

Directions:

Set the rice to soak for at least 30 minutes in cold water - I always do this with rice before cooking. While the rice is soaking: Peel and core your pineapple (if using canned - time to open the can). Marinate the chicken in a brine of chicken broth (add just enough to cover the meat), 1 lime juiced, cores from pineapple (if using canned pineapple, add the juice and a few chunks to the marinade), about ⅓ C brown sugar, a little “Slap Ya Momma” seasoning, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Set aside for 30 minutes and prep your veggies or other desired sides. Dice some garlic if you want to add it (I used 2 cloves).

Back to the rice - drain and rinse well, set aside in a strainer. Preheat the oven to about 400 for the veggies (if desired). Use the “saute” or “brown” mode in your pot - if you don’t have one you will need an extra pan and to do this over med high heat on the stove top. Add in 2 Tbsp olive oil, pineapple chunks, diced garlic and saute until tender and pineapple is starting to brown (the fancy word I believe is caramelized). Add in ½ C cooking wine (whatever white-ish type you have on hand, or like I used this time a Chinese cooking wine) and 1 Tbsp butter. Add in rice and stir until rice has absorbed the liquid. Add in about 4 C  of the remaining chicken stock, your chicken, stir well and switch to “rice mode” or other default that will give you 10 min cooking time. If you are doing grilled veggies as a side - place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil and put them in the preheated oven.  While the pressure cooker gets going, relax, set the table, do some chores, whatever.  Periodically check the veggies to make sure they are cooking to your desired doneness. 

At the end of the cooking time “quick release” the pressure, stir and you should be ready to serve your delicious sweet and spicy risotto with your favorite veggies or sides (or simply enjoy the main dish!). This made plenty for two adults with leftovers for lunch for two, though a little more chicken would have been ideal. Please, be sure your chicken is cooked if you aren’t using pre-cooked chicken...and that’s all there is to it!

Ingredients

  • 8oz spaghetti or other dry pasta
  • 4oz goat cheese
  • 1/8 - 1/4 cup prepared pesto
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 roma tomato, sliced in small triangles
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped in small triangles
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms (I use oyster mushrooms)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package instructions to al dente.

While pasta is cooking, add butter to separate pan on medium high heat and sauté onions 1 minute, add garlic and sauté 1 more minute.

Add mushrooms to pan and sauté 2-3 minutes.

Add zucchini and tomatoes to pan, cook another 3-4 minutes, add wine to pan.

Add dried basil, salt and pepper to taste and simmer on medium-low heat

In bowl, add crumbled goat cheese, stir in pesto.

When pasta is done, drain and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Add hot pasta directly to bowl with goat cheese pesto, toss to coat.

Add in sautéed vegetables.

Stir in 1-2 tbsp reserved pasta water at a time until desired consistency is reached.

I came across this idea online and decided to test it out - I love using silicone muffin tins for baking eggs and leftover veggies for a quick breakfast, but these looked nicely portable and easy to make for breakfast on the run. My initial idea to create a phyllo, pear and prosciutto tart today was derailed by the fact that I always forget phyllo needs a day in the fridge before I can hope to use it - and I was hungry now. So let the testing begin!

And - they are quite delicious - and dashed the dogs hopes for any leftovers!  I can easily see these being a regular menu item because they are:

  1. Easy to make
  2. Easy to change up for different moods
  3. Hands-off cooking
  4. Each person can have their own likes met

This is my favorite kind of recipe because “close counts” and substitutions have a high chance of being delicious. Just go with whatever you have in your fridge or pantry to shake flavors up; don’t worry about rules! The original recipes I saw all had the same elements: tortilla, muffin tin, eggs and fillings.

Ingredients

  • Tortillas
  • Muffin Tin
  • Eggs
  • Various Fillings

Basic Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375-400F. (slower and lower if you want more control over the doneness of your eggs)
  2. Cut small taco size tortillas into quarters: 2-3 of these triangles will make your cups depending on the size of your tortillas and your muffin tin.
  3. Grease the muffin tin: oil, butter, ghee - something. Layer in your tortilla wedges to make your cups. (You don’t have to make all 12)
  4. Add in your filling: I used diced canned mushrooms and a piece of prosciutto topped with a sprinkle of dehydrated greens and some mexican cheese, but I suspect salsa and sausage would be yummy too. Grilled onions and some artichoke heart bits, some bits of leftover baked potatoes and cheese would also be tasty. I’d say ⅓-½ of the cups should be filling. If you have small eggs (yay for bantam chickens!) you can have more stuffing without overflowing the cup with egg.
  5. Top with a whole egg - maybe a little seasoning (or more cheese), pop it in the oven and bake 12-15 min until the whites are solid and the yolk is done to your liking.
  6. Remove - let cool for a few minutes. Remove tortilla cups and serve or set aside to be grabbed by hungry family members on their way out the door. Bonus - they can eat it between the front door and the car in most cases, meaning no crumbs in the seat!

My first batch I cooked at 400 and while I wanted my yolks “a little more done” they very quickly went from “almost done” to “overdone”, so adjust accordingly. You could easily do these in a toaster oven and probably in an air fryer - but I don’t have one, so someone else will have to test that for us!

Remember the possibilities here are endless! These are also a great way to use up leftover veggies or beans, and you can make them frequently without being boring.

I came across this idea online and decided to test it out - I love using silicone muffin tins for baking eggs and leftover veggies for a quick breakfast, but these looked nicely portable and easy to make for breakfast on the run. My initial idea to create a phyllo, pear and prosciutto tart today was derailed by the fact that I always forget phyllo needs a day in the fridge before I can hope to use it - and I was hungry now. So let the testing begin!

Ingredients

  • ½ Shallot, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1-2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • depending on personal preference (I use 2, sometimes a little more)
  • ½ tsp sea salt 6-8 cups chicken bone broth (or regular chicken stock)
  • ⅓ cup rice
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp soy sauce 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 
  • Chopped scallions for garnish

Additional Options

  • Sometimes I add a little something extra to my soup. A couple of good options are:
  • 1 portobello mushroom, chopped and added in after first 5 minutes of cooking
  • 1 cup chopped Bok choy, added in after first 5 minutes of cooking
  • Chopped jalapeno or red pepper flakes added to bowl for garnish

Wellness Tip:

After chopping the garlic, let it sit on the cutting board for several minutes, this increases its disease-fighting potential by making an enzyme called allicin more potent.

Directions:

Heat a teaspoon of sesame oil in a large pot on medium high heat. Add onions and sauté 1-2 minutes. Add garlic, sauté another minute, and then add ginger, sautéing an additional minute.

Add stock and bring to a boil. Add salt and soy sauce.
Add raw chicken breasts and rice to pot, continue boiling on medium high heat.

Cook for 10 minutes, remove chicken breasts. Cover pot and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Chop chicken into small pieces, add back to pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with scallions.

To start your day, I love this savory Congee. It’s packed with several powerhouse food herbs to nourish your body. Enjoy it plain, or with a cup of green tea as an easy way to start your day.

BASIC CONGEE RECIPE

  • 1 cup short grain rice
  • 10 cups broth (or you can use
  • 10 cups water for making a breakfast congee)
  •  1 tsp neutral oil (like coconut)

FOR SAVORY CONGEE (Optional for serving)

  • 1 cup milk, either dairy or soy 
  • Thinly sliced green onions
  • Leftover shredded meat
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Julienned carrots
  • Soy sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • Toasted sesame oil

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a large slow-cooker, stir together 1 teaspoon of neutral oil and the short-grain rice until the rice grains are coated. Add the broth (or water) and stir to combine. Place the lid on the slow-cooker, turn heat to ‘LOW’ and allow to cook for 8 hours. Just prior to serving, bump the heat up to ‘HIGH’. If you’re using milk, stir it in now. Re-cover the slow-cooker and allow to cook for 30 minutes. Turn off the cooker, uncover and stir prior to serving.

  2. Options
    1. Drizzle with a little toasted sesame oil, top with sliced green onions, add a few drops of Sriracha and chop a hard-boiled egg. This may not cure the cold, but it sure makes you feel better.
    2. Add chicken, scallions and some diced veggies (before or after cooking) and serve…
    3. Add ground meat, egg yolk, some diced garlic and veggies

  3. Or to start your day, I love this sweet variation below called "8 Treasure Congee". It’s packed with several powerhouse food herbs to nourish your body. Enjoy with a cup of green tea as an easy way to start your day. I usually let this cook overnight and add a little milk of choice to replace part of the water.

In addition to your rice, add:

  • ¼ C pearl barley
  • 6-8 Chinese dates (aka hong zao or jujubes - if can’t get these you can use medjool dates)
  • 1 cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon to taste
  • 1” ginger root peeled and grated (can use powdered ginger as well)
  • 1 t cardamom
  • Gan cao (chinese licorice - about 6g)- this can be omitted if you can’t find it, star anise can be used if you like but it is an entirely different plant)
  • Goji Berries (¼ C)
  • Mulberries (¼ C)

I have served it this way too many unsuspecting people who hate liver so much they can "taste it in anything" but were willing to let me try to fool them. And I did - they loved it.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Sliced Beef Liver
  • 1 ½ cups Raw Milk or Lemon Juice
  • 3 Onions, sliced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 tbsp Coconut Oil, Butter or Bacon Grease, as needed

Optional

  • Assorted Vegetables for roasting if desired
  • Olive oil for drizzling

Directions

  1. Prep: thaw overnight and remove the membrane from the edge of the meat with a sharp knife, soak 2-4 hours or all day in 1 1/2 to 2 cups raw milk or lemon juice in the fridge.

  2. Cook liver in a skillet over med heat with coconut oil or bacon grease until pink in the center is faint- do not overcook. To make onions: Peel and slice 3-6 onions (they reduce by about half while cooking), add fat of choice- I use 1T coconut oil and 1T butter or bacon grease - in cast iron skillet cook over low heat for 45min to an hour or more (if more onions) until onions are browned and caramelized. Stir them every 5-10min. Add 4-6 cloves of sliced or whole garlic to onions as well. If you like mushrooms, adding some sliced to the pan at the beginning and allow them to caramelize as well.

  3. Serve immediately! I usually pair the liver and onions with roasted veggies (coarsely chop veggies, drizzle with olive oil and spices, roast at 350 for 45 min) and a cup of hot spicy bone broth to drink.
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