Whole Grain Freekeh Risotto with Mushrooms and Asparagus #Unprocessed

Several weeks ago I spent the entire week snuggled in to bed with a sick child and two dozen of his favorite stuffed animals. No amount of coaxing could get him to move from my lap, so I gave in and took the week off from writing. On the first day I caught up on reading some of my favorite blogs while he slept, but eventually boredom set in. I'm not the type of person who can sit still for long and little man only woke up when I the thought crossed my mind that I may want to get out of bed at some point. A distraction was in order, so I started entering some of the great giveaways my fellow food bloggers had going on that week. I ended up winning a lovely cake stand from Clayton Family Kitchen and a bag of freekeh, a type of roasted green wheat, from Lisa Living Well.

The giveaway Gods were definitely smiling on me that week.

The timing couldn't have been better; one of my goals for October #Unprocessed has been to continue my education on alternative grains. Freekeh is new to me, but it looks very similar to other grains I've played with recently like einkorn, kamut, and farro. The flavor is a little nutty, almost like wild rice. It apparently tastes enough like wild rice that my husband assumed I'd run out of arborio, the traditional short-grain rice used in risotto, and switched things up so we could still have my favorite dinner.

It's never been easy to switch out my husband's favorite ingredients for something a little more healthy, but freekeh tastes enough like something he's already familiar with that it went unnoticed until I said something. In fact, he made me go get the package just to prove I wasn't messing with him when I said his risotto was made with roasted green wheat. It almost reminded me of the time I told him I was pregnant and he didn't believe me. He won't ever live that one down (but in his defense the doctor did say it was unlikely I'd ever be able to have children.)

So much has changed in our lives since that day nearly five years ago. We've made a lot of progress on living a healthier lifestyle and both my guys are fans of freekeh, the grain I'm still not sure how to pronounce. If you would have asked me five years ago if I thought we'd be enjoying a meal meal like this I would have laughed and said probably not, then picked up the phone to order a pizza (our traditional don't want to cook tonight meal.) Boy how times have changed!

Whole Grain Freekeh Risotto with Mushrooms and Asparagus - a quick and healthy weeknight meal  | Not Starving Yet

Whole Grain Freekeh Risotto with Mushrooms and Asparagus
makes 2 - 3 servings

Ingredients

2 cups cold water
1 cup dry freekeh
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, stems removed & sliced thin
1 cup asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 - 3 Tablespoons whipping cream
salt and pepper, to taste
grated parmesan cheese

Directions

  • Bring a saucepan of water to a boil before adding dry freekeh. Turn the temperature down to low, cover the saucepan, and allow the freekeh to cook until most of the water has been absorbed, or approximately 20 minutes.
  • In a skillet melt salted butter, add garlic, mushrooms, and asparagus. Cook until the onions are translucent and the asparagus has softened. This should take approximately 10 - 15 minutes.
  • Combine the sautéed veggies and freekeh. Add whipping cream, salt and pepper (to taste), then top with grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Notes

When it comes to salt everyone has different tastes, so I've left the decision on how much to add in your hands. I find that I use roughly ¼ teaspoon of sea salt per cup of freekeh, but you may want to add half that amount, taste, and add more as necessary. 

Having trouble tracking down freekeh? Visit the Freekeh Foods website to find which stores near you stock it.

Microwave Scrambled Eggs #Unprocessed

Most of my days start off the same way—with a strong cup of something highly caffeinated and Icelandic-style yogurt topped with homemade granola. I rely on the jolt of caffeine and sugar to get me going and chase off the black cloud that hangs over my head early in the day. I am not a morning person, a fact I've mentioned numerous times, and just to be safe you're best off not talking to me before noon.

You have been warned.

I realize this isn't the healthiest way to start my day, so one of my goals this month has been to diversify my breakfast choices. My goal is to eat less sugar, more protein, and perhaps toss the occasional veggie in there for good measure. I was wracking my brain for easy ideas when I realized I was overthinking the matter. All I needed to do is go back to the beginning, one of the first things my mother taught me how to cook was microwave scrambled eggs. It's the perfect meal for anyone unable to start the day off gracefully (or in my case, isn't inclined to start the day at all.)

Does my mother know me well or what?

This recipe is so simple I never thought to share it with you before, but a few recent conversations made me change my mind. I was operating under the assumption that most people relied on microwave scrambled eggs to eat a cheap and healthy meal when they were pressed for time. It's been a staple in my household for years, but after talking to my house guests over Labor Day I realized that most of my friends likely survived their late nights of "studying" by skipping breakfast or chowing down on cereal as they ran out the door. They didn't know you could make perfectly fluffy scrambled eggs in the microwave in under 2 minutes.

I guess they didn't grow up with a Microwave Mama like I did (hi mom!) 

We've teased my mom endlessly over the years about her love of the microwave, but her cooking methods only reinforced that it was possible to have a nutritious meal on the table without having to resort to a heat and eat box. This is a lesson I took to heart, even if I did spend many a morning eating cold pizza as I scrambled out the door (don't judge, it was college after all, and I do love pizza.) 

This recipe may be simple, but it's proof that eating a healthy, unprocessed breakfast doesn't need to be time consuming. It's also a great recipe to use with children of all ages. I've never met a kid that didn't love to crack eggs or take over the tedious task of stirring. These days my pre-schooler wakes up wanting to make his mama breakfast, which brings a smile to my face every single time.

Microwave Scrambled Eggs | Not Starving Yet

Microwave Scrambled Eggs
makes 1 serving

Ingredients

2-3 large eggs
2 tablespoons smoked gouda, shredded
top with fresh chives, salt, and pepper, to taste

variations to try

Florentine: Spinach, green onion, and fire roasted tomatoes
Southwest: black beans, bell pepper, sweet corn, and pepper jack
Italian: Italian sausage, fire roasted tomatoes, and mozzarella
Farmer's: Ham, bacon, sausage, and cheddar
Irish: Hash browns, corned beef, and swiss cheese
Lazy: Skip the chives and use Penzey's Fox Point Seasoning instead

Directions

  • In a microwave safe mug or bowl, add all of the ingredients, then give everything a good stir. Be careful not to overfill the mug, the eggs will double in size and can run over the top.
  • Microwave uncovered for 30 seconds. Stir ingredients, then continue to cook in 30 second increments until eggs are fully cooked. Keep in mind that cooking time can vary widely from mug to mug. It's best to keep a close eye on these the first few times you make them.
  • Top with chives, salt, and pepper before serving. Enjoy!

Notes

If you decide to try out some of the variations, keep in mind that you'll want to pre-cook ingredients like bacon or sausage before adding it to the eggs as it may not cook fully in the microwave. 

Instead of using a coffee mug or bowl I prefer to use This Soup Dish from Good Cook. The handle doesn't heat up even after two minutes in the microwave. You can pick up the red dish on Amazon, or check your local grocery store where you'll likely find them in a variety of colors (I have them in black, blue, and purple.)

Disclosure

This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.