The Cheesy Solution

by Holly on February 12, 2012

in dinner,gluten-free,nutrition,PROJECT CLEANOUT,recipes,reviews,vegetarian

Sooo…I forgot to add a couple things to my list of 20 Ways to Beat the Winter Blahs.

(21) Run 14 miles in 34 degree weather. Your lungs will burn with the icy bite of inhaling all that wintry air while your legs will teeter on the brink of, “Will we give out? Will we stay strong? Will we buckle? Will we hold up?” for the more than two hours it takes you to complete the run. All of this will leave very little time to even think about your February funk.

Today, I was proof of this.

(22) Drink a 12-pack of sparkling water in three days. Today, I was also proof of this.

(23) Clean out your pantry. Trust me, you’ll be enthralled by the things you find.

In my case, I uncovered a half jar of coconut oil…small bag of millet…one random packet of instant miso soup…jar of maca powder…and several cans of tomatoes, amongst other things (*cough* a waterbottle from 5th grade *cough*).

(24) Brainstorm ways to use those pantry items! A PROJECT CLEANOUT of sorts, you might say.

And so, in an attempt to be financially conscious and not waste perfectly good food, I took my own advice and did just that yesterday! I gathered up all those pesky stock items you keep around but never seem to actually use…and I put mine to good use, along with a sprouted rice blend bag so graciously sent to me to review from TruRoots.

Can I interrupt this post quick to regale you with the benefits of sprouted grains?

Because seriously, sprouting is so the new black. And the new pink.

Refined, processed grains are stripped of most of their nutrients but germinated grains…germinated grains retain more of their natural enzymes, which aid in digestion and encourage the growth of good bacteria. Sprouted grains often have more fiber and protein as well as vitamins and minerals. This is exactly why I love my Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Bread so much!*

Alright, alright…back to the story.

I started with sauteeing an onion and garlic in olive oil…because really, don’t all good recipes start that way? Then, I added the sprouted rice, vegetable stock, water and Italian seasoning, letting the saucepan do its thang. As the liquid reduced, I poured in those cans of diced tomato along with some leftover fresh cherry tomatoes and jarred sundried tomatoes. I added more water. I let it reduce further…pondering the possibilities of this on-the-fly meal.

Then I realized there was only one real possibility for this meal, and it was cheese.

Two cheeses, to be exact. Cheddar and feta.

Count that as way #25 to beat the winter blahs: eat lots of cheese.

Easy Three Tomato Risotto
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes 

1 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 T minced garlic
1 1/2 cups rice*
1 T Italian seasoning
1 t crushed red pepper, optional
juice of 1 small lemon
2 T white wine vinegar
2 cups vegetable broth
1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes
1  (15-oz) can garbanzo beans
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup jarred sundried tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup mild cheddar or asiago cheese
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
lemon slices + fresh parsley, for garnish

*I used TruRoots Sprouted Rice Blend

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent. Add rice and seasonings. Stir until well-mixed. Add lemon, white wine vinegar, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes and 1 cup of water. Stir occasionally, letting rice absorb liquid. Continue adding water in 1-cup intervals, letting the rice absorb the liquid, until rice is cooked through.

Fold in beans, cherry tomatoes, sundried tomatoes and cheddar/asiago cheese. To serve, divide into six bowls and top with feta crumbles and garnishes of your choice.

Makes 6 servings

*For more information on sprouting, click here.


Hillary February 12, 2012 at 6:21 pm

First of all, congrats on the long, chilly run! Clearly you are kicking your marathon plan in the ass, which is a good sign of things to come on race day!

Second of all, I made the same pact with myself re: my pantry. I vowed to use up all the stuff I’ve been storing (hoarding?) instead of buying more stuff to store (hoard?) The good news: my grocery bill was $11 today. The (potentially) bad news: I have a lot of beans to get through this week. Look out, world.

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table February 12, 2012 at 6:36 pm

I had no idea you could sprout rice. Very cool.

How bad was your gas after all of that sparkling water?! ;)

Matt @ The Athlete's Plate February 12, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Awesome job on the run :)

Christie February 12, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Cheese, yes! Unfortunately my partner happens to be dairy-free. Major waah! But I still manage to get my cheese in small doses. Don’t think I could live without cheese!

I really like cheese.

On another note, awesome run! And very interesting about the sprouted grains – have never taken much notice of them before but I certainly will now!

Clair February 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Oh em gee. This looks sooo amazingly good. It looked cheesy before you added the cheese. Must be so luscious.

I hate running in the cold! Besides getting frozen lungs, I feel like my teeth are going to fall out.

Robyn @ Blueberries and Oats February 12, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Wow, go you on that long ass run!! Cold winter running makes me want to die. They make my teeth itch and hurt!

Can’t wait to see what else you come up with while cleaning out your pantry. I too am trying to live out of mine but it’s getting a little frustrating! Would love to hear more of your (hopefully cheap!) ideas on how to use up that old bag of rice and whatnot.

Amber February 12, 2012 at 9:09 pm

That looks amazing! I wish I liked running, but it tends to make me angry (seriously). Haha, those sprouted lentils looked good too. The possibilities are running through my head.

Emily February 12, 2012 at 9:58 pm

I love sprouted grain bread! I love the texture. Nice job on the run. I ran 4 miles outside in Minneapolis at 7 am today before flying back to Seattle. With the windchill it was -3. It wasn’t that bad but 4 was the MAX. But I seriously think cold is just cold is just cold…

Lauren @ The Climbing Chef February 13, 2012 at 2:10 am

You are a stud! Riding my bike in cold weather always makes me thankful that A) I live in Cali (it’s not THAT cold) and B) I don’t smoke :) Also, I am listening to Of Monsters and Men currently because of you :) OH god… I hope you survive your Monday… I may not :-/

Sarah@The Flying ONION February 13, 2012 at 7:13 am

14 miles? You are a MACHINE! I would love to work up to that kind of mileage again. :D

I love risotto, so this sounds so perfect! I can’t wait to try it. :D

Megan (Braise the Roof) February 13, 2012 at 10:39 am

Good call using the rice in a risotto! And for the record, your pantry staples are way more interesting than mine. I have…black beans…yup, that’s about as exciting as it gets.

Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction February 13, 2012 at 11:04 am

I love risotto! I have never had a tomato one, usually I make a mushroom or seafood infused risotto. I will definitely have to try this one at some point, thanks! :)

elise February 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm

im amidst a project cleanout too since we are moving. btw i got my veg-friendly BsAs post up for you!!!

sofia February 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm

another good cheese addition? goat cheese on anything curry-spiced. definitely a fave. i’m thinking I need to re-read your winter blahs post for some monday motivation…

TeriLyn [a foodie stays fit] February 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm

this. looks. amazing!

Pure2raw twins February 13, 2012 at 9:20 pm

love that brand TruRoots!!

Annie @ Naturally Sweet Recipes February 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Wow, this looks yummy!! I love the clean out the pantry project!! It does feel so amazing to feel like your clean and organized! And you find the best stuff. :)

janetha @ meals & moves February 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm

makin it.

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