Vegan Recipe: Wild Mushroom and Artichoke Risotto

Fancy dried mushrooms combine with baby bellas and marinated artichokes to produce an earthy and tangy risotto more than capable of standing up to any traditional version. 

1 pint baby bella mushrooms, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1/3 cup fancy dried mushrooms, diced (such as chanterelles and morels)
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup arborio rice
2 shallots, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 tbls salt
2 tsps black pepper
2 tsps dry thymeI got a large bag of 'chef's blend' fancy dried mushrooms on amazon. It's great for adding umami depth to broths and sauces. 

A mushroom risotto is awesome with just humble mushrooms, but add some more exotic ones as well, and you've really got something. 

Normally I'll use tomato for acid in a risotto, but this time I went with artichokes. I love artichokes. They offer a unique flavor and texture that creates an entirely different risotto experience. I know there is a certa…

Low Fat, Easy, Cheap Apple Cake or Muffins

I was craving apple muffins, but the A&P never wants to bake them. I looked for a box mix in the baking aisle, but the only one available was Jiffy. If you're familiar with Jiffy muffin mixes you'll know my grief. They are not very tasty muffins made as the package directs. But I was determined to eat some good apple muffins - so I bought the mix and began modifying.


1 box Jiffy apple muffin mix
1 egg beaten
1/4 cup skim milk
1 single server cup of no sugar added apple sauce
2 packets maple and brown sugar or apples and cinnamon instant oatmeal
1 large red delicious apple peeled, cored and diced
1 lime
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon if using the non cinnamon oatmeal
2 tbls sugar or real maple syrup

Jiffy mix is very unsweet. So adding some sweetener with make it better. You can forgo this step if you enjoy mildly sweet desserts. The apples and oatmeal with sweeten things up quite a bit.

Preheat oven to 375 degree F and spray a 9 inch round cake pan with cooking spray. You can also use a muffin pan.

Begin by peeling, coring and dicing your apple. Place your apple chunks in a small bowl and douse with a half a lime's worth of juice. Reserve both halves of lime for later. Toss with your hands to coat. This will keep your apples from turning brown and also add a bit of zing.

The rest is really easy. Dump your Jiffy mix in a large mixing bowl. Pour in your oatmeal, sugar or syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon, apple sauce, milk and egg.

Zest as much as you can from the two halves of your lime and squeeze in all that's left of its juice.

Fold all ingredients together gently for a few strokes then pour in your apple chunks and continuing folding gently until all your Jiffy mix is absorbed. Try not to stir too much. This will make your cake or muffins dense and tough.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. The easiest way to know when your cake is almost done is by the smell the apples give off. Once you first smell that cook for 5 minutes more.

Let cool for 15 minutes then run a knife around the edge of your cake pan, cover with a plate and invert. Don't rush it. It will fall out on its own if you're patient.

If you want it to look pretty you'll have to waste a plate. Right now your cake is upside on the plate. Cover it with a fresh plate and invert again.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. Low fat or fat free whipped cream in a can would also make a scrumptious addition to the top of this low fat, easy dessert. As would some additional chunked apples simmered in some water and a little bit of sugar.