Shrimp and Mushroom Risotto


The other night, I didn’t know what to make for dinner. I have to admit, this kitchen was looking kinda seedy. In our house, we are procrastinators and push everything to the limit. I was on my third second glass of Cupcake Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, and admiring its pretty design, when the idea hit me. On its back label, the bottle says this wine pairs well with lobster risotto. I didn’t have lobster, but I DID have some frozen (pre-cooked) salad shrimp. I love you, Cupcake!


Cupcake™ Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc wine is great for this recipe because it has many citrus undertones: Meyer lemons, Key limes, and the New Zealand grapes already bring their own zing to the plate. Delish!


There have been times where I try to impress my foodie husband and things go alright. Sometimes I crash and burn (literally on the burn part), but this was seriously a home run. I surprised myself!


Shrimp and Mushroom Risotto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: 4
  • 1¼ cup of arborio rice (long grain is ok)
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 4-5 mashed garlic cloves, divided
  • ¼ red onion, chopped
  • 1 baby portobello mushroom, chopped
  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped
  • ½ tsp salt, divided
  • ½ tsp black pepper, divided
  • ½ lb. frozen salad shrimp (peeled, deveined, tails off, cooked)
  • 5 oz. unsalted butter (about half a stick)
  • ½ cup Cupcake™ Sauvignon Blanc (or any dry white wine with grated lemon zest)
  1. Defrost the shrimp under running cold water. Pat-dry with a paper towel.
  2. Chop the onion, garlic, mushroom and tomato. Divide the garlic. Warm the chicken broth.
  3. In a medium, non-stick saucepan melt 2 tbsp of butter, ½ the salt and ½ the black pepper over low-medium heat. Add ½ the garlic. Cook for 1 min.
  4. Add the shrimp and “cook” for 30-45 seconds on each side. (If using frozen, raw shrimp, cook for 1-2 min. on each side). Remove shrimp and keep warm.
  5. In the same saucepan, add 2 tbsp. butter, and increase heat to medium-high. Add the onions, mushroom, tomato, the remaining salt and pepper, and cook for 2 min.
  6. When the mixture begins to simmer, add one cup of the warmed broth and cook for 2 min. Add the wine. (I did a heavy pour!)
  7. Add the rice and remaining 2 tbsp. butter, and gently stir while the rice starts soaking up the mixture.
  8. Keep stirring the rice as it cooks, never letting it get fully dry. Once the broth starts to reduce, add another cup of broth. You want the rice to obtain the “tackiness” shown in the picture.
  9. Once the risotto is cooked, fold the shrimp evenly and reduce heat to low. Cover for 5 min.


That’s it! If you want to get fancy, you can garnish with some parsley. It honestly will smell so good that you probably won’t have time to garnish before you finish eating it. Enjoy!


(If you want a heartier mushroom taste, add 1-2 more baby portobello mushrooms. I only had one left over from our delicious stuffed mushrooms earlier in the week.)

Chicken & Shrimp Coconut Curry Soup

adapted from MelsKitchenCafe

B and I love going out to dinner. (Who doesn’t?) But after a while it can get costly, not to mention that your favorite dishes might not be up to par at a new restaurant. That’s what happened when we were at the beach last week. We visited a Thai/Japanese sushi joint and my husband ordered a Tom Ka Gai that did not taste very well. Actually, it was horrible.

Last night I surprised him with a similar, homemade soup. It was DELICIOUS! (Unfortunately, we forgot to turn the burner off and we weren’t able to get seconds.) Major disappointment! :(

This soup is really easy to make and it makes you look like a great chef! It can also be tweaked to your liking.


2 tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 lb. chicken tenders, cut into bite size pieces*
1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp (remove tails)
salt and pepper for seasoning
2 tsp garlic powder (optional)
2 freshly minced garlic cloves
1 chopped medium yellow onion (red onion is OK)
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
10 oz. bag matchstick carrots for cooking
1 (or 2) 14 oz. can(s) shiitake mushrooms
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or 1-1/2 32 oz. containers)
2 cans (14 oz.) Goya coconut milk**
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)***
1-2 tsp ground ginger
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp yellow curry powder
1/2 tsp lemongrass paste
1/2 tsp fresh basil or basil paste
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, cut into 1 in. pieces

1-2 cups egg noodles cooked al dente, or 1-2 cups hot cooked rice

*chicken thighs may be substituted for a richer taste
**unsweetened light coconut milk may be used instead
***cayenne pepper does not make the soup spicy, instead, it enhances the overall flavor. I used about 1/2 tsp and the soup was milder than the mildest hot chicken wings I’ve ever had. Ground ginger, in my opinion, adds more heat.


In a large pot (or dutch oven), heat the oil until it is hot and shimmering. Season the chicken with garlic powder (optional), salt,  and pepper to taste.  Add them to the hot oil.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the freshly minced garlic cloves, onions,  red pepper, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, and shrimp. (DO NOT used pre-minced garlic from the store.  They will burn immediately!)  Cook shrimp for 2 minutes on each side until they are light pink.  DO NOT overcook.  The chicken, shrimp and vegetables don’t have to be fully cooked as they will simmer and cook further in the next step.

Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, curry powder, ground ginger, lemongrass paste, and basil paste.  Stir to combine.  Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes on low-medium heat.

In the meantime, cook the egg noodles (or rice) in a separate pot with lightly salted boiling water.  Chop the cilantro into 1 in. sections (including the stems).  Stir in lime juice and cilantro.  Add curry powder, cayenne pepper, ground ginger, brown sugar, salt, or pepper to taste.

Don’t be afraid to add more or less of anything stated in the ingredient list.  The key here is to tweak to your personal preferences.

Serve the soup over noodles or rice.  Enjoy!!!

Northern Italian “Rice” Salad

This is about one of the most DIVINE pasta salads I have had.  Ever.  I LOVE Italian food.  However, this salad is not the typical Italian dish you’d expect.  There’s pasta and garlic, yes, but no tomatoes or cheese.  But it’s still Italian…northern Italian.

My friend Becky made it for my going-away when I moved to Georgia.  I fell in love with it and demanded the recipe.  She obliged, of course, and informed me she got it from the Frog Cookbook, which I believe can be found on Amazon.  I’m thinking of ordering it to see what other delights await inside!

Anyway, this recipe calls for rice as its starch, and Becky made it with orzo.  I have made this recipe two times using orzo, but the hubby never got a chance to try some.  I wanted to make it for him on this unbearably hot day (to go with our Butterducks wine!).

Imagine my despair at not finding orzo at two different supermarkets outside Savannah! :( I wanted to make this salad anyway so I improvised with rotini.  It still turned out good, but I had my heart set on orzo.  Oh well.


Rice [pasta] recipe:


    • 6 cups of cooked rice (2 cups raw) or 1 lb. of your choice of pasta.  (I used rotini).


  •  1 lb. cooked, peel shrimp, cut in thirds
  • 2 cups finely chopped green peppers (approx. 2 whole peppers)
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 cup quartered cooked marinated artichoke hearts (optional)
  • 1/4 cup small capers
  • 1/3 cup minced parsley
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup dark raisins
  • mixed greens (for the bed)



Clear Garlic Vinaigrette:

    • 1-1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1-3/4 tsp. salt (I found it to be WAY too much; at taste)
  • 1-3/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley



First, make the vinaigrette.  Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and set aside. Again, the first time I made this I found that the salt content was WAY too much for me–and I like salt!  I cut it to about 3/4 teaspoon.  You can always add more to taste.  I only added parsley to the vinaigrette the first time, and to me there is no discernible difference in taste.

While your pasta is cooking, chop up all the ingredients.  I suggest starting with the dill and parsley as they are dry.  The onion and peppers tend to leak juice onto your cutting board, making the dill and parsley stick to it.

Before I forget, someone once told me to pour vinegar over an onion before cutting it to prevent the fumes from making your eyes water.  I have to say it did work!  I just put in a small amount and lay the onion cut-side down for a few minutes.  Try it!

Whoa..back up…look who came out to play :)

Super Sweet Peach Wine

Below you’ll see I started with the onion, then peppers (most time-consuming), dill, parsley, and then capers.  The fragrances of the dill and parsley together really start making your labor all worth it at this point!


Make sure you rinse your pasta with cold water after it’s strained so that it doesn’t get mushy. Set it aside.  Prepare your shrimp.  I recommend getting pre-cooked, peeled and de-veined shrimp.  Trust me.  With all the ingredients you’ve chopped the LAST thing you want to do is peel, devein and cook shrimp!


Fold in your pasta (or rice, if you chose to go that route) with the salad ingredients. Toss with the dressing.  If you followed the vinaigrette recipe to the T, you’ll find that you will have a little more than necessary.  Add to taste, I usually use less than what I have prepared.  Let marinate several hours (or eat immediately if you were as hungry as I was!).  Then serve on a bed of greens.



I used Dole’s ‘Sweet Baby Lettuce’ with zesty and bold taste for the bed of greens.  My husband said it complemented the salad nicely.




So, did the hubby like it?  Let’s just say he asked for seconds, and then had some more as a midnight snack!  SCORE!!!



    • Substitute chicken and pepperoni for the shrimp.
  • Try cooking l pound of orzo to use instead of the rice.
  • Add black olives, peas, red peppers; whatever your heart desires or what your refrigerator contains!



Feel free to tweak this to your liking. I tripled the amount of golden raisins and added another handful of dark raisins.  I also doubled the amount of chopped parsley.  I was not able to find artichoke hearts either.  Next time, I’m going to scout out a Whole Foods and stock up on these “delicacies” haha.

If you’re curious as to what this salad looks like with orzo instead of rotini: