What’s for dinner? An easy way to use up items in the fridge.

Thursday night came around and there were only a few days left before I went on holiday. Packing was almost done, Christmas gift shopping was completed, but my fridge was full of odd ingredients after trying to use up most items before I went away. What do you make for dinner using a handful of odd ingredients? To be specific, these ingredients included half a leftover BBQ chicken, part of a block of parmesan cheese, some veggies and an open bottle of white wine. My go-to in these situations is risotto. Add some frozen peas from the freezer and Arborio rice and you have yourself a dinner! There are so many variations you can make with risotto, and this easy base recipe is excellent – just add your own ingredients. These risottos are always a winner in my household, have a read of the “Hints & Tips” section below the recipe for some other combinations.  Happy Baking! L x


1 cup Arborio rice
2 cups chicken stock (I make mine from a stock cube)
2 teaspoons minced garlic paste (or clove fresh garlic)
1 brown onion, diced
Parmesan cheese, grated
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Extras (For the recipe pictured. Keep reading below for suggestions.)
½ BBQ chicken, sliced (in most risottos, I would prefer to use fresh chicken breast, sliced and fried)
Small bunch asparagus, sliced
6 mushrooms, sliced
½ cup frozen peas
½ cup white wine (optional)
Thyme sprigs


  1. Heat pan and add olive oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until browned and cooked through.
  2. Add vegetables and fry for two minutes.
  3. Add Arborio rice and fry for three minutes, or until rice is opaque.
  4. Add white wine, thyme sprigs, and part of the stock (1/3 cup). Bring to the boil.
  5. When liquid is mostly absorbed, add more of the stock (another 1/3 cup). Continue to add stock in this way until rice is cooked through. Stir intermittently throughout this step to ensure rice is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  6. Stir through BBQ chicken, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.
  7. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese on the top, and garlic bread (see recipe in “Hints & Tips” section).

Hints & Tips

  • When it comes to adding the Arborio rice, fry with the other ingredients until opaque before adding the stock.
  • Add herbs with the stock to create flavour. My favourites are thyme or oregano.
  • Tasty combinations
    • Tuna, peas, mushroom, parmesan cheese
    • Pumpkin, spinach leaves, pine nuts, spring onions
    • Chicken, leek, asparagus, peas, parmesan & thyme
    • Lamb, mushroom, oregano, peas
    • Mediterranean: tomatoes, feta, olives and your choice of meat.
  • I also had ½ loaf sourdough-like bread left over so decided to make a garlic bread for the side. Slice the bread. Combine 75g melted butter, 3 teaspoons minced garlic paste (or fresh garlic clove), and some parsley. Brush the butter mixture onto the bread. Bake in a preheated oven at 180oC for approximately 10 minutes, or until golden brown.



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