I’m well into my first week trying out Meez Meals, a wonderful semi-homemade meal service based here in Chicago. Since having Vivian four weeks ago, its been hard for me to prepare interesting homemade meals while keeping three kids content. This service delivers all the prepared ingredients and instructions for me to whip up restaurant-quality dinners. I love it!
I went out to my parents’ house yesterday, and I brought along a few Meez Meals. My mom has prepared several dinners for us since we brought Vivian home from the hospital, so it was nice for me to return the favor. We had Roasted Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Paella for lunch. If I make this again, I’ll be sure to use a large skillet – the one I used yesterday was a bit too small and the rice didn’t get enough flavor or the signature paella crust. But, it was still fun to put together a healthy lunch in less than 15 minutes!
Roasted Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Paella
½ cup toasted sliced almonds
2 cups artichoke hearts
16 oz cherry tomatoes
2 cups chickpeas
½ cup kalamata olives
1 onion, minced
1 cup leeks, minced
2 t garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 teaspoons sriracha
4 teaspoons paprika
2 cups brown rice
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Put the artichokes and tomato in a bowl along with the chickpeas, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Stir and set aside. In another bowl, mix onion, leeks, garlic, tomato paste, sriracha and paprika. Set aside.
In an oven-safe skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion mix, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook 3-5 minutes, until onions soften a bit. Add the rice and cook another minute or two. Add 3 ½ C of hot water and stir.
Arrange the artichokes, chickpeas and tomatoes on top of the rice. Sprinkle with olives and almonds and put into the oven for 15 minutes. Resist the urge to stir the paella. Just let it cook undisturbed. After 15 minutes, check to see if the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. If it is, turn off the oven. If it’s dry but not tender, add a little water (or, even better, white wine) and cook for 5 more minutes. If it’s not dry and not tender, just let it cook another 5 minutes.
After the rice is done, turn off the oven and let the rice sit in the hot oven for 5 more minutes. Put the rice back onto the stove over high heat for 2-3 minutes. This will help it develop a bottom crust.
Be careful – the pan and handle will stay hot for a long time. Enjoy!
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