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Fresh recipes to spruce up your dinner menu

Looking for a way to spruce up your dinner menu? Is your family getting tired of the same spaghetti and chicken dishes each week? We all know even your favorite dinner can lose its appeal when it’s in constant rotation. Well, Rachael Ray offers some help in her new cookbook, "Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats: A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners," and she was invited to share some of her secrets o

Looking for a way to spruce up your dinner menu? Is your family getting tired of the same spaghetti and chicken dishes each week? We all know even your favorite dinner can lose its appeal when it’s in constant rotation. Well, Rachael Ray offers some help in her new cookbook, "Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats: A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners," and she was invited to share some of her secrets on “Today.” Check out the recipes she discusses on the show:

Boo-sotto

"Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats: A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners," by Rachael Ray

Now try these variations:

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Clarkson Potter

1PfalsefalseScotch and Wild Mushroom Risotto

4 servings

John, my sweetie, loves my wild mushroom risotto, which I used to make with a little brandy in it. John loves Johnny Walker like a brother, so I make his risotto with Scotch — more than a little, too. (Sadly for him, the alcohol cooks off. However, the smoky flavor left behind is great with the earthy mushrooms. To the wise: The better the Scotch, the deeper the effect.)

Omit:

Meat

Barley

Swap:

3 jiggers (just over 1/3 cup) really good Scotch for the wine

Beef stock for the chicken stock

Add:

1/3 cup additional Arborio rice

2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms

1 portobello mushroom cap, finely chopped

16 shiitake mushroom caps, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves (from 5 to 6 sprigs)

Steep the dried porcini mushrooms in the warm beef stock to reconstitute.

Sauté the garlic, onions, and portobello and shiitake mushrooms in 2 tablespoons EVOO over medium-high heat until the mushrooms darken, then season with salt and pepper. Add the rice and cook for another minute or two.

Add and cook off the Scotch, then cook the risotto just as for the master recipe (Boo-soto).  When all is added, the beef stock, remove the tender porcini mushrooms, coarsely chop the porcini mushrooms, and stir into the risotto. Stir in the cheese, thyme, and parsley and serve.

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Lemon and Artichoke Risotto with Shrimp

4 servings

Omit:

Barley

Swap:

1 pound small peeled, deveined shrimp for the ground veal or turkey

Add:

1/3 cup additional Arborio rice (1-1/3 cups total)

Zest of 1 large lemon

1 (15-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained well and chopped

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped

1 cup frozen green peas

Cook as for the master recipe (Boo-Soto), adding the shrimp a little later than you would the meat — wait until you add the third dose of liquids to your risotto, about 15 minutes into the cooking process. Stir in the lemon zest, artichokes, and rosemary with the shrimp. Add the peas in the last minute or two.

Recipes excerpted from: "Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats: A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners." Copyright 2005 by Rachael Ray. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Clarkson Potter Publishing.