All recipes paired with wine, Poultry, Recipes with leftovers

Delicious dinner ready in 15 minutes? No problem!

In Czech we have this saying: Blacksmith’s (farrier’s) horse goes barefoot. Or plumber’s faucet at home is leaking. You’ve got the message. I cook for a living. I love it, and I cook variety of different recipes to please my unique clientele’s palate. Every day it’s something different I cook. But when it comes to prepare quick dinner at home, that’s usually the last thing on my list (unless I have time or we expect a company).

Why? Well, when I am not cooking, I have a  business to run. Emails to respond, menus to create, paperwork that must be done. I didn’t have time to grocery shop just for us, and I am looking for easy (but tasty) solutions. This past week I had to cancel everything because my husband was seriously hurt and needed my help. How blessed I felt that I have the freedom of being entrepreneur to do so. We were in emergency room, then going to neurologist another day, having MRI done, then back to the original doctor …. You got the drill. The last thing on my mind was to be concerned about the food.

But we still needed to eat. Ok, I have a favorite places where I can get a nice sandwich for a lunch, or favorite Chinese restaurant I call for delivery. I had a large pot of soup cooked for us so it’s not like we were starving. But today, I opened a fridge when it was time to prepare something quick for dinner, and there was little bit of few leftover things, not enough for two – and a box of leftover rice from the Chinese takeout.

I quickly took virtual inventory about what else I have in the fridge that I can whip some meal with. For emergencies like this, I have a box of Applegate Naturals Southwestern-Style Grilled Chicken Breast Strips purchased at Whole Foods. I always have some vegetables and of course, tons of seasoning to choose from.

Chinese take out rice

Great! I could make fajitas with those chicken strips! I love it and it would be easy to make. But the box of unused rice called for something like fried rice. Or….. I can make Rizoto. No, that’s not misspelled Italian Risotto. I am talking about a dish we used to make in my home country, everything- but- sink kind of quick and tasty dish made from leftovers. Something like Czech version of paella, jambalaya, or fried rice.

You see, I recently started to cook for a new customer, whose parents came from Slovakia (part of former Czechoslovakia). She asked me if I knew how to prepare Ludash. It was supposed to be a traditional dish that her mom used to make when my client was little. Her parents came to USA sometimes in 1930ties, so I have never heard of it. When I asked her what was in it, she described something that sounded close to description of my familiar Rizoto.

Rizoto alias Ludash
Rizoto alias Ludash

I have some artists-friends on Facebook from Slovakia so I posted the question on their wall if anybody ever heard of Ludash? I love social media! Shortly after my post, few kind souls sent me a different links to some recipes and I was actually right, it was basically how I would prepare Czech Rizoto. So I made it for her. She loved it!!! Said her mom made it without the vegetables, but she liked it better the way I made it. And it was much tastier than she remembers. I was really happy it worked out for her, with all that help I got from total strangers on Facebook.

So, starring at the box of rice, and with this story freshly in my memory, I made Rizoto (or Ludash) . I used vegetables I had in fridge (optional). It took exactly 15 minutes from when I started to when we sat down to eat. Yes, I used semi-cooking method, but it could be easily done within that time frame with freshly sautéed chicken breasts. You want to try it? Here is the recipe!

All recipes paired with wine, Poultry, Recipes with leftovers

Ludash, Rizoto or Chicken and Rice Casserole

Vera’s Rizoto

How this dish started? If you really want to know, you can read about it here, so this post wouldn’t be too long.

Quick leftover transformation – or call it dinner in 15 minutes. When you need to do something tasty, yet healthy fast – this is a super easy recipe that you may enjoy. As a traditional Czech dish called Rizoto (not to be confused with Italian Risotto), it could be called a variation to Spanish Paella, Louisiana’s Jambalaya, or perhaps  Chinese fried rice. Ever country have their own versions of dishes made with rice. This is mine:

Rizoto or Ludash
Rizoto or Ludash

Serving: 4 people


  • 2 cups of cooked rice
  • ¼ red pepper, diced
  • ¼ green pepper, diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • ¼ white onion, minced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 table spoon of organic Better than bouillon chicken base (reduced sodium) – my shortcut, you can use a cup of chicken broth, if you have it
  • Chicken Breast Strips or 1 large chicken breast or 4 boneless chicken thighs, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup water (only if using chicken base instead of broth)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Red crushed pepper for heat (totally optional)
  • Saffron (few strings)
  • 1 table spoon of organic butter
  • Olive or coconut oil

 How to:

Heat oil in larger heavy bottom pot. Add minced onion and sauté until translucent not brown, about 1 minute on medium heat. Add diced garlic and keep stirring – because garlic gets easily burned.

Peel and chop your carrots and celery (I happen to like it mined into really small cubes, it also speeds up the cooking time). When prepared, add to the onions. Stir and let cook on medium low heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Diced carrots

In the meantime, clean and chop your peppers (they take shorter time to cook), and when ready, add to the pot. Keep steering so everything combines well. When the vegetables start to soften, add tablespoon of chicken base – or chicken stock. Mix well to combine and add water (if using chicken broth base). Add red crushed pepper if using, and saffron. Mix into the broth well.

Throw all the leftover rice into the pot and stir with vegetables. Let the rice cook with vegetables and chop your chicken – if using already grilled stripes, just cut into bite pieces and add them to the mix. If you have chicken breasts raw, cut into small pieces, and quickly sauté on frying pan, with little bit of olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper for few minutes, until cooked through.

Rizoto or Ludash
Rizoto or Ludash

When the meat is in, mix everything together and add more water /chicken stock, if too dry. Let the meat warm up in the rice (I love that the Southwestern-Style Grilled Chicken Breast Strips gave it another dimension with the spicy seasoning) and frozen peas. Cover and let cook little more on low heat. At the end, right before the serving, add tablespoon of butter. Do not skip this step, organic butter is good for you and this little bit makes huge difference in flavor! Let the butter melt in the rice, mix well and serve. You can sprinkle with fresh parsley or chives (I was too hungry to bother).,

Bon Apetite!

Oh, and for a wine pairing, I opened a bottle of Aveleda Vinho Verde, a very refreshing, mineral and crisp white wine from Portugal. It worked together perfectly. So much so, that I had to pour myself another glass ♥

All recipes paired with wine, Beef, Poultry, Recipes with leftovers

Have plenty of holiday’s leftovers? Try my yummy Meat spread !

You guessed it. Few days past Easter, or Thanksgiving, and some of us try to come up with more and more creative ways to use all the leftover ham, turkey, brisket (you name it).
It’s perfectly good meat, but it gets tiresome after a while. We had ham’s steaks with asparagus and local corn the other day, and another dinner with some brisket and sauerkraut.  All yummy. But I still had a little bit of meat left, and being the “saving type” I would hate to waste perfectly good food. Yet, I couldn’t get myself to make another dry, turkey breast sandwich (of course, we never have the dark meat leftovers). So, I became creative.

And, we loved, loved our bagel sandwich with this meat spread! Here’s the recipe:

Leftover meat spread2

Meat spread


½ lb combined turkey and brisket meat
4 table spoons of mayonnaise
1 table spoon Dijon mustard
1 table spoon high quality olive oil
1 table spoon hot relish (optional)
1 stick leek, sliced and slowly sautéed
½ small onion, chopped, sautéed
3 cloves of garlic, mashed
Salt and pepper
Handful chopped parsley and oregano fresh herbs

First, I cut all the meat to small cubes, while checking for bones or fat I didn’t want in my spread. Added mayo, mustard and relish, seasoned with salt and pepper and pulse the food processor. If you like it chunkier, just pulse for seconds at the time. If you turn it on running, you’ll have a pate consistency. The spread looked dry (depends how much and what kind of meat you use), so I drizzled the mixture with high quality extra virgin olive oil instead of adding more mayo,.

In a frying pan, on medium heat, I sautéed chopped onion and leek in a little bit of olive oil and butter. When the leek is sautéed slowly, it became such a tasty, caramelized ingredient – so I cooked on low heat for about 20 minutes, until totally soft. Season with salt and set aside to cool.

Chop bunch of fresh herbs based on your taste. I picked parsley and spicy oregano to add some bite to it, from my back yard herbal garden. Added to the processor with the cooked leeks and onion, and pulsed it until smooth. Seasoned with more salt and pepper. Taste it and make sure it’s to your own liking. Adjust the seasoning if required. It was almost perfect to me, but it was still missing something. Oh, garlic! Of course! 3 cloves of garlic smashed and pressed into the mix. I took another taste – and yes, that was it!

We had a delicious lunch and still had more for the next day. This was a good transformation of meat that would be kind of “boring” on its own.

Leftover meat spread