Lemon Risotto | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Lemon Risotto

Lemon Risotto is a delicious meatless dinner option. With fresh rosemary, lots of Parmesan cheese, plus a bright punch of lemon, it’s a big bowl of carby goodness. Risotto is surprisingly easy to make and a pleasure to eat.

Lemon Risotto | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

It’s March already, and I’ve lost track of how many weekends in a row we’ve had a storm. We actually saw the sun for a couple of days last week, and it was such a tease. How’s the weather in your part of the world? Is it hopelessly depressing? Or should I be asking to come crash on your couch for a few days? I’ll bake you a cake in exchange for even a hint of warm weather.

I know we’re all supposed to be getting into hygge and all that jazz. Embracing the cozy comfort and togetherness. Going cross-country skiing or whatever it is rich Norwegians do. But I just want to get out of my house and go for a walk without the fear that I’ll get blown to some fantasy land. Actually, that might be pretty fun. Maybe I’ll go for a walk on Saturday and see if I end up in Oz.

Lemon Risotto | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Risotto is a great dish to make when it’s miserable outside. Suddenly standing at your stove stirring for 20 minutes seems like a welcome retreat. It’s also ideal for practicing a little kitchen witchcraft, if you’re into that. Stir your risotto clockwise, infusing it with love and joy for all who eat it. Or just space out and stop worrying about your to do list for a while.

This Lemon Risotto is bright and hearty. There’s a richness from a touch of cream and lot of grated Parmesan cheese. I also love the hint of earthiness from fresh rosemary. I used to think I didn’t like risotto because it always seems to contain mushrooms or asparagus or something any self-respecting picky eater would turn their nose up at. This Lemon Risotto is nothing but deliciousness.

Lemon Risotto | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

How to make Lemon Risotto

To make this risotto, you can blitz some shallot and celery in your food processor, then sautee your veggies with a little butter and oil in a big pot for a few minutes. Toss the rice in and stir it around to coat it in the oil. Then, stir in veggie stock a ladle at a time until it’s absorbed each time. Keep stirring and ladling for about 20 minutes until your rice is al dente. Stir in the rosemary and lemon zest. Finally, stir in a mixture of egg yolk, cream, parm and lemon juice. Risotto is best served straight away with a bit of extra cheese grated on top.

Lemon Risotto | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

If you’ve gotta be cooped up to avoid the storm, you might as well make the most of it. Make a big pot of Lemon Risotto. It’s gonna be awesome.

Recipe adapted from Nigella Bites by Nigella Lawson.

Love risotto? Try this Bacon & Corn Risotto.

Oh yeah. One more thing. We’re getting close to 400 followers on Instagram. When we reach our goal, we’ll give away a batch of cookies. Help us out by following us on Instagram if you don’t already or sharing your favorite post with your friends.

Sweet & Sour Chicken | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Sweet & Sour Chicken

This Sweet & Sour Chicken is exactly what I remember from home. Lightly crispy chicken breast is coated in a sticky sweet and sour sauce. Serve it with sticky rice and skip the take out. You’ll love it.

Sweet & Sour Chicken | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

I know I talk a lot about the differences between America and Britain, but friends, they never stop. Yes, I realize that American Chinese food is nothing like the food in China. I lived in Taiwan for two years, so I’ve seen for myself. What I wasn’t prepared for was how different Chinese food would be in the UK. They have a lot the same dishes we have in America, but the way it’s prepared is so weird.

When I order Sweet & Sour Chicken from a Chinese takeaway, what I expect to get is bite-size pieces of chicken coated in egg and corn starch so it has a thin crispy coating on the outside. Then, it should be liberally tossed in the sauce so that it’s well coated but not swimming in sauce. That’s how I like it.

When I order Sweet & Sour Chicken from a Chinese place in the UK, I either get pieces of plain, possibly boiled chicken or little bits of chicken encased in a thick pancake-like batter served as big balls. Then there’s like a lake of sauce. I mean, I really like sweet and sour sauce, but what am I supposed to do with that? Swim in it? I can’t get into it.

Sweet & Sour Chicken | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Thankfully I found this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker that reminds me exactly of Sweet & Sour Chicken from home. When I first made it, I didn’t read through the entire recipe, which obviously you should never do. I just looked at the ingredients list, thought yeah, that looks good. Turns out it takes over an hour to make, but the wait is totally worth it.

How do I make Sweet & Sour Chicken?

After we chop and season our chicken (we like chicken breast, but you do what you want), we’re gonna coat it in corn starch, then dip it in beaten egg before pan frying it in a little oil just to brown the outside. Don’t worry if it’s cooked all the way through at this point because like I said, it’s going in the oven for an hour. At this point you might be thinking, if I cook this for an hour in the oven after frying it, won’t it be horribly dry? I thought that, too. The answer is no, it’s perfect.

Before it goes in the oven, we make up our sauce with sugar. There’s lots of it. Be prepared. The word sweet is in the title. Then we add ketchup, rice vinegar (apple cider vinegar would also work, or a combination if you’re low on rice vinegar like I was the first time) soy sauce, and some garlic powder. Stir that all together, pour it over the chicken before it goes in the oven, and toss the chicken in the sauce ever 15 minutes as it bakes to coat it in the sauce.

Sweet & Sour Chicken | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

You can also add some veggies, either on the side or right in with the dish. I used red bell pepper and added it to the baking dish along with my chicken pieces. Then I topped it with some sliced green onions for a little hit of something fresh and green at the end. You could use onion, pineapple, whatever you love. And of course, serve it over a bed of sticky white or brown rice. I think you should eat it with chopsticks, but I’m a weirdo.

Sweet & Sour Chicken | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

We all like a bit of comfort, and to me, this Sweet & Sour Chicken takes me back to my childhood, where I was an even more picky eater than I am now. Make your own take out, so you can get it exactly the way you like. It’s gonna be awesome.

Looking for more chicken dinner ideas? Try this Teriyaki Chicken.

Oozy Risotto Balls

Oozy Risotto Balls| How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Things are getting a little personal today, so if you’re just here for those delicious Oozy Risotto Balls, keep scrolling. I won’t be offended. This recipe is awesome.

I started out writing this post with the usual trite nonsense, then I deleted that because I was already bored with myself. Is the world bored with this whole blogging thing in general? Everyone seems to be getting their need met by 17 year-olds on YouTube or 25 year-olds on InstaGram. Is there even a point to having my 40 year-old voice here on this static page on your screen? This question sounds like self-pity, but that’s really not what I’m getting at. I promise

I’ve been embarking on something that’s had me thinking a lot about what I really want. Most of the time the answer to that question is just a cheeseburger, but I’ve been trying to take the question a little more seriously. In many ways, I’m content. I’m in a relationship that is beautifully imperfect, but I never doubt it. While we’re far from rich, I’m more financially stable than I’ve ever been, though sometimes my gut forgets and still tells me to panic.

My job is fine. I’m good at it. It’s pretty easy. It’s insanely stressful sometimes, but I’ve even gotten good at managing that. I guess there are a few benefits to being 40. But when I close my eyes and imagine my perfect life, I’m not daydreaming about sitting behind a desk. The kids I work with are amazing, and I’m glad I get to help them, but when I picture myself as truly happy, I’m baking cookies and cake and, well, whatever I want. People are drinking tea and coffee and reading books, some of which they’ve bought from the books I sell. Maybe we host events with local artists, and it’s a true community space. Everyone is smiling because you can’t be unhappy while you’re eating brownies. There’s a cat, and it’s cozy, and it’s filled with love. Maybe I want to bring my food into the real world. But that’s a dream. Can it be real?

Oozy Risotto Balls| How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

While we’re thinking out loud about our heart’s desire, we should probably share some Oozy Risotto Balls. Remember that White Risotto that we made last week, and how I told you we’d transform it into something awesome? This is that. We turned leftover risotto into crispy croquettes stuffed with oozy fresh mozzarella. These are the perfect mixture of crunchy, chewy, and creamy. You can dip them in marinara if you want, but I think they’re great as they are, fresh from the fryer and just cooled down enough to avoid burning your fingers off.

These are actually relatively easy to make as well. It’s a bit of a sticky mess forming the actual balls, then we get messy again using a standard three-step breading technique with flour, egg, and seasoned breadcrumbs, but it’s all totally worth it. These fry up perfectly is seven minutes. Let them cool a big, then dig in while the cheese in the center is still gooey.

Oozy Risotto Balls | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Things are stirring in our souls, friends, and we’re open to it. We’re asking questions and listening for answers. And of course, eating well along the way. It’s gonna be awesome.

Recipe from Jamie Cooks Italy by Jamie Oliver.

White Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

White Risotto

White Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We have been pretty much non-stop on the go in the beginning of August, including two late nights out in a row this past week. For an introvert who absolutely requires sleep and quiet time to feel normal, it’s been a blessing but also a struggle to socialise so much. Saturday was meant to be the first day I’d have to myself in a long time, and I was really looking forward to it.

Did you guess what happened yet? I woke up with a horrible cold that no amount of apple cider vinegar could abate. Sometimes I think my body manages to fight off illness as long as I keep moving, then when it senses I’m about to relax thinks, “Okay, you’ve got time for all these viruses now. Enjoy!” I assure you I have not. Or maybe this was the universe’s weird way of granting me my wish to stay in bed reading all day.

White Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I did manage to make you some White Risotto over the weekend. Don’t worry, I washed my hands a lot and didn’t sneeze on it. This is a pretty basic risotto recipe, no frills or fancy flavors. I kept it simple because we’re turning the other half of this risotto into something even better next week. But sometimes simple, starchy, and savoury is exactly what you need when you’re feeling under the weather.

Because this is a pretty basic recipe, you’ll want to use the best ingredients you can find, but you know me. If that means Parmesan from a green bottle, I’m still gonna love it. But if you do happen to have some quality Parmesan cheese at your disposal, and you’ve been saving it for something, I’d whip it out here.

White Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I hope you’re all happy and healthy, friends, and I hope you take some time to get into the kitchen and make this White Risotto for yourself because it’s completely awesome.

Recipe from Jamie Cooks Italy by Jamie Oliver.

Bacon & Corn Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Bacon & Corn Risotto

So… If you follow me on Instagram, you might know that I broke my finger over the weekend. Instead of going to see Captain Marvel on Saturday morning, we spent the day in the hospital waiting to have surgery. I had two wires drilled into my finger, and it’s now splinted and bandaged. I won’t be seeing that finger again for three weeks.

It’s painful and annoying, but probably the most frustrating part is not being able to cook. I’m thrilled to get out of doing the dishes for a few weeks, but today I needed to peel and chop sweet potatoes, and you can’t do that one handed. You think of the pinky on your non-dominant hand as relatively insignificant, but when you can’t use it, you suddenly realise you actually need it for quite a lot.

Lucky for you, I made this Bacon Corn Risotto for you before my finger snapped. I wish I had a never ending pot of it. This is not a traditional risotto recipe, and when I made it the first time, I was skeptical, but after the first bite, all doubt disappeared. The mix of creamy rice and sweet crunchy corn along with the salty crisp bacon is absolutely ideal.

It was the addition of Greek yogurt that really threw me, but it give the risotto a perfect hit of acid and ensures that it’s ultra creamy. If you can stop yourself from going back for seconds, you can stretch this into three servings, which makes lunch the next day absolutely heavenly.

Life never seems to stop laying challenges at our feet. As long as we continue to rise up t meet them, life is good. If we can chase them with Bacon Corn Risotto, all the better.

bacon & Corn Risotto


2 big portions

Prep time

15 minutes

Cooking time

40 minutes




  • 6 slices streaky bacon
  • 4 cups chicken stock, hot
  • 1 green onions, sliced, whites and greens divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Put a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Use scissors to slice up your bacon directly into the pot. Cook your bacon, stirring occasionally, until crispy, then remove the bacon pieces to a paper towel lined plate.
  • You’ll want about a tablespoon of bacon grease left in the pot, so if your bacon has given off a lot of grease, you may need to drain some off. To your reserved bacon grease, add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the white parts of your sliced green onion, and cook over medium low heat to soften for about a minute.
  • Add the rice and toss it in the fat to coat every grain. Let this cook for a few minutes to get toasty. When it starts to smell nutty, you’re ready to start adding stock.
  • Add the stock about a 1/4 cup at a time, stirring all the while, until the liquid is absorbed before adding another 1/4 cup of stock. Keep adding stock until it’s all absorbed. It will take about a half hour.
  • Once your rice has absorbed all the liquid, stir in the corn, and let it cook for a few minutes to heat up the corn.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the yogurt to combine. Give it a stir and taste before you add salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe from Frugal Foodie Mama

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