Lemon Risotto With Fried Halloumi Cheese & Cherry Tomatoes

Lemon Risotto With Fried Halloumi Cheese & Cherry Tomatoes

Lemon juice and zest gives this warm and comforting Lemon Risotto a double punch of flavor. Topped with pan-seared sweet grape or cherry tomatoes and pan-fried Halloumi cheese slices,  it’s a luxurious winter entrée to enjoy on a chilly day.

Lemon Risotto
4 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
1 large shallots, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
4 tablespoons lemon juice
½  cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


Add the chicken stock to a pot and bring to simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cover to keep warm. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté about 6 minutes or until the shallots are tender. Add rice and sauté about 2-3  minutes. Add the lemon juice and stir until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup hot broth and simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining broth 1 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is creamy and tender, about 30-35 minutes. Stir in cheese and remaining lemon juice and peel. Season the risotto with salt and pepper. Transfer to warm bowls and top with the sautéed tomatoes, Halloumi cheese, and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley. Makes 4 servings


Sautéed Tomatos & Halloumi Cheese 
1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces halloumi cheese
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
2 springs fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dry


Slice the halloumi in slices about ¼” thick. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium high heat and fry the halloumi cheese slices for about 2 -3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil to the sauté pan then the tomatoes and oregano. Sautéing for 4-5 minutes until the tomatoes start to pop. Add the over the top of the Lemon Risotto with the fried Halloumi cheese and tomatoes.

Lemon Muffins with Blueberry Jam Filling and Lemon Buttercream

Lemon Muffins with Blueberry Jam Filling and Lemon Buttercream

Shake the winter blues with these delicious and easy Lemon muffins. They combine the juicy sweetness of blueberries with tangy notes of fresh lemon. Topped with sugar before baking, the muffins have a hollowed out center filled with sweet blueberry jam that’s  topped with a dollop of lemon buttercream icing.

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
¼  teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling (optional)
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest plus 1/4 cup lemon juice
¼ cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
sparkling sugar
½ cup blueberry Jam

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with baking cups. In a bowl, combine together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate larger bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, zest, juice, and buttermilk. Whisk in the melted butter. Stir the wet ingredients into dry ingredients, until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly between muffin cups, filling about two-thirds full. Sprinkle with sugar and bake until tops spring back when lightly touched, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Hollow out a small center of each muffin two-thirds deep. Add the blueberry jam to the center of each muffin. Top each center with the buttercream icing.

Lemon Buttercream Icing
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons egg white powder
1 ½ teaspoons lemon extract
½ -1 tablespoon cream

In a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, cream the room temperature butter with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and egg white powder. Gradually beat into the butter until totally incorporated. Beat in lemon extract. Add ½ tablespoon of cream and beat for 4 minutes. If too thick, add the rest of the cream. 

Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

Kick the post-holiday blues with healthy and delicious Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas. A tasty and colorful combination of oven-roasted butternut squash, corn, red bell peppers, and onion stuffed in a tortilla with enchilada sauce, chihuahua cheese, and cilantro.  Baked and topped with more cilantro, cherry tomatoes, and thinly sliced fresh green onions.

1 pound butternut squash, cut into ½ “ cubes
1 cup frozen corn kernels, slightly thawed
1 onion, sliced into thin wedges
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½  cup fresh cilantro leaves, divided
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
2 ½ cups shredded Chihuahua cheese or white cheddar, divided
2 cups enchiladas sauce, homemade or high-quality store purchased
5 medium green onions, thinly sliced
10 multi-colored cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Toss the squash, corn, onion, and red pepper slices with the olive oil and salt, and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, with slightly browned edges, and caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn the vegetables over once halfway through. Cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Place the roasted squash, corn, onion, red pepper, black beans, and ¼ cup cilantro in a large bowl, and stir to combine. Spread ¼ cup of the enchiladas sauce in an even layer over the bottom a 9” x 12” baking dishes

Assemble the enchiladas by placing the tortillas on a flat surface and spread about 2 tablespoons of sauce over each tortilla. Top with of the vegetable mixture and about 2 tablespoons of cheese. Roll tightly to close, and place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas then spread the remaining sauce over the top center of the enchiladas.  Sprinkle over any remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool for 15 minutes. Top the enchiladas with the green onion, tomatoes, remaining cilantro and serve.