Tomato Herb Risotto

As soon as it gets cold outside, I start craving comfort food. Specifically cheesy comfort food. While tomatoes are not known to be a winter veggie these cherry tomatoes are easy to find and make the perfect sauce for risotto!

I was always terrified of risotto after watching way too many failed Top Chef dishes. Risotto is surprisingly easy. This one is extra creamy with lots of parmigiana. The tomato herb topping can be made in 15 minutes and adds a huge flavor punch!

The burrata is optional, but definitely adds extra creaminess. Plus bonus protein! 

Chop up your favorite herbs and sprinkle lots of fresh cracked pepper to finish!


1 cup Arborio rice

6 cups of warm chicken broth (bone broth works best, vegetable broth can be subbed as well)

1 cup of parmigiana

2 cups of cherry tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic

1 shallot sliced

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup of chopped herbs (I used basil)

1 piece of burrata or a scoop of ricotta

2 tbsp of Italian seasoning

1/4 cup of heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste


On a lined sheet pan place the shallots, tomatoes, and garlic. Drizzle with one tbsp of olive oil. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

In a large pot or Dutch oven heat the remaining tbsp of olive oil. Add in the cup of rice and lightly toss. Add in the broth one cup at a time bringing to a simmer. For the next 15 minutes or so keep stirring letting each cup of broth absorb. 

Lower the heat and add in the parmigiana and cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Chop the roasted garlic. Top risotto with the garlic, tomatoes, shallots and pan sauce. Add in burrata. Add lots of fresh cracked pepper and chopped herbs. 


If the risotto sets before you are ready to serve or is too thick add a little more broth right before serving

Use warm broth to help the rice absorb quicker

I hope you try it out!


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Grilled Fish and Dirty Rice

Grilled Fish and Dirty Rice

A few months ago we went to Pappadeaux for dinner. I convinced Patrick to try the dirty rice. He always orders fries and the rice at Pappadeaux with lemon butter is out of this world! He ordered some sort of blacked fish with crawfish and lemon butter over dirty rice. We still talk about how good that combo is!

Grilled Fish and Dirty RiceI don’t know if this recipe really qualifies as dirty rice, but it is soooo good with grilled fish. We eat this dish at least once a week. I’m not saying this dish is necessarily healthy because I do use a lemon butter sauce, but it is definitely lighter then the fried fish we usually eat. You can grill the fish in a grill pan if you don’t want to deal with preparing an outside grill, but I love the char you can get with an outside grill.

Grilled Fish and Dirty RiceSince we have been grilling so much fish I have learned a few tricks to set you up for success!

1. make sure you clean the grates on your grill really well and apply a very light layer of vegetable oil then wipe down with a paper towel 2. apply a very thin layer of olive oil, vegetable oil, or coconut oil to the fish before seasoning 3. salmon, tuna, and sword fish are usually thick enough to lay directly on the grate 4. delicate fish such as the tilapia I used needs to be placed on a grill plate or a piece of tin foil.

Grilled Fish and Dirty Rice


Grilled Fish and Dirty Rice
Recipe Type: Fish
Author: Kellie Rice
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-3
Grilled Fish and Dirty Rice
  • 1 pound of fish, salmon, tilapia and grouper work best
  • 2 tbsp blackening seasoning (whole foods has a great in house low salt version)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of prepared white or brown long grain rice
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 tbsp of blackening seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt (if you are using a low salt blackening seasoning)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup of oil
  1. Let the fish sit out for 30 minutes to come to room temp
  2. Heat the grill
  3. Lightly oil the fish and pat the seasoning thickly on top
  4. Lay a piece of tin foil on the grill and top with the fish
  5. Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side until the fish is heated through and opaque
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  7. In an oven safe pan heat oven medium and add 1 tbsp of oil
  8. Saute peppers and onions
  9. Add chopped garlic once onions are translucent
  10. Turn off the heat and add in the rice and tomato
  11. Mix through and season with the blackening spice, garlic powder, paprika, and salt/pepper
  12. Cook for 10 minutes until the rice starts to crisp slightly
  13. Add lemon juice to melted butter
  14. Serve over the rice and fish
  15. Sprinkle with fresh basil

Grilled Fish and Dirty Rice

Do you ever watch those videos on tips and tricks for commercial food? They use laundry pins and paper towels to prop food up. Spray with oil to get the food glistening. Taking pictures of real food is sometimes so difficult. So many bloggers make their food early in the day then reheat later. Currently I work around 50 hours a week and try to squeeze blog time in whenever I can. For this dish I had exactly one hour before the sun set to try and prepare the food and my “table setting”. Usually I have time to think about the colors and ways to really show you guys how delicious the food really is. This recipe entailed a ton of comical mishaps along the way, but I had to post because it really is one of my favorite new meals! The rice has just enough crisp to offset the flaky fish and the lemon butter soaks right into each bite.

If you try this recipe please tag me so I can enjoy all your creations! #kelliericecakes


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Affordable Spicy Paella

spicy paella

spicy paella

I have always had this weird obsession with paellas. They are so bold and bright with deep flavors. One of the reasons I believe they are often forgotten is the hefty price tag associated with the dish. Saffron is one of the most common ingredients found in paella. This spice is usually around $15 for a handful. While I LOVE saffron I decided to trade it out for smoked paprika. You will still get a bold flavor and instead of the rich yellow or orange the paprika turns the rice a deep red.

spicy paella

Another easy swap is using andouille sausage over the typical cured Spanish chorizo. When you pan fry the andouille you still get a ton of flavor to develop in a short amount of time. I love sauteing my veggies with the fried sausage to really add depth to every bite.

My grocery store does not have paella rice ready available so I switched it for arborio rice. Arborio rice is just tiny enough to soak up every little bit of broth. I actually kept adding extra broth to make sure I still had a little sauce for my bread. I skipped out on the mussels just because those are not my personal favorite. You can definitely add a few in at the end. Boneless skinless chicken thighs and shrimp are what I look forward to in a paella. Both of these proteins usually have great prices in my area especially if you have a Sprouts farmers market near by.

spicy paella

While I do believe an authentic paella taste is extremely hard to replicate without saffron- this affordable version is just as soul satisfying to me. It is such a beautiful dish and packed full of flavor. Honestly this came together so quickly as well. If you are looking to impress on a budget, this is the recipe to make!

spicy paella

Affordable Spicy Paella
Recipe Type: Rice
Author: Kellie Rice
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
An easy way to impress with bold colors and flavors in this affordable paella.
  • 1 pound of chopped boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp of red pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of chopped onions
  • 1 cup of stewed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of chopped garlic
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • fully cooked sliced andouille sausage
  • 1 pound of shrimp shelled with tails on
  • 1 1/2 cups of arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • lemon wedges
  • Tabasco
  1. Heat a large paella pan or saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the olive oil.
  3. Add chopped onion and sausage.
  4. Fry until onions begin to be slightly translucent and the edges of the sausage starts to brown.
  5. Remove the sausage and set to the side.
  6. Add in the chicken and cook until golden brown.
  7. Add garlic and rice.
  8. Season with salt and pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, red pepper and chili powder.
  9. Add in the stewed tomatoes and stir until all the rice is covered.
  10. Pour the broth over the top and stir into the rice.
  11. Bring to a boil.
  12. Lower to medium low heat.
  13. Add the sausage back in then cover.
  14. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  15. If your broth evaporates before the rice is done just add a little more on top.
  16. The important part is to make sure you do not stir the rice at all.
  17. When the rice is almost done (about 15 minutes) add the shrimp on top.
  18. Salt and pepper then cover.
  19. When all the liquid has absorbed and you start to hear a little crackling the rice is done.
  20. If you are unsure then just test the rice to make sure it has finished.
  21. Sprinkle with parsley and squeeze a little lemon over the top.
  22. I finish mine with Tabasco!

spicy paella

I know this is going to be one of my go to recipes this summer. Even Patrick’s kids ate their entire bowls! I don’t think this dish is too spicy. You can always omit the red pepper. I love the heat so I added lots of hot sauce to my bowl 🙂

Let me know if you try this recipe! I know you will love it!




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Crawfish Etoufee



First off- can we talk about my new logo? My friend Jennifer at made it for me. She does amazing work! I gave her just a few guidelines of what I wanted and I think she nailed it! If you want her to work on anything just contact her at Bowen106@gmail (dot) com. She does website layouts, icons, and logos. As I work on my photography and content I wanted to make sure I was branding my website so everything is clean and cohesive.

Now lets talk etoufee. Patrick and I were watching Master Chef Jr. and one of the mini chefs made a classic etoufee. It was one of those dishes that looks so amazing on the tv screen that you find yourself breathing in deeper to see if you can smell it from home. Creamy gravy filled with veggies and crawfish over a scoop of fluffy rice. This classic dish is perfect for the chilly nights we have been having lately.

crawfish etoufee

I researched a lot of different etoufee recipes before trying to tackle this dish. It seems like there are two ways to make it- traditional heavy flour based roux or heavy butter based roux. You know I went the butter route…

Crawfish Etoufee
Recipe Type: Stew, Soup, Dinner
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Classic creamy crawfish etoufee over fluffy rice.
  • 1/2 pound crawfish tails rinsed and peeled
  • 3/4 cup of butter
  • 2 cups of chopped veggies – red pepper, green pepper, onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 cups of hot water or stock
  • 2 tbsp of flour
  • 2 HEAPING tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red pepper
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cups of prepared rice ( I used jasmine and tossed it with a little olive oil)
  1. In a large saute pan over medium heat melt the butter.
  2. Add in the flour and whisk non stop until the mixture is slightly browned and fragrant.
  3. Add in the veggies and switch to a wooden spoon.
  4. Stir quickly because the flour will start to immediately thicken.
  5. Add in the water/stock slowly constantly stirring.
  6. Let simmer while the veggies cook down.
  7. Once the onion softens slightly add in the crawfish.
  8. Season liberally.
  9. Add in more or less hot sauce depending on how spicy you like it!
  10. Reduce to low.
  11. The mix should be slightly thickened and cooked through.
  12. Squeeze one whole lemon over the mixture and sprinkle the parsley.
  13. Pour over the rice and serve!

Don’t be afraid of the lemon! I love the acid it brings to this dish. I hope you enjoy!

crawfish etoufee

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