Fruity Orzo Salad

8 06 2015

Saw this fruity salad idea in my latest Rachael Ray Mag and had to give it a try! It’s pretty versatile too, you can switch up the pasta, the fruit and the herbs – perfect for quick summer meals!

Fruity Orzo Salad

Fruity Orzo Salad

The following serves 2-3 (adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray):

  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo
  • 4-5 strips of thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Golden balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 nectarine, chopped
  • 1/2 cup drained mozzarella pearls (small, fresh mozzarella balls)
  • 1/4 cup sliced chives or basil
  • Zest of half a lemon

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook orzo to al dente according to package directions. Drain, cool and set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook chopped bacon until crispy. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to dry.

In a medium bowl, whisk together some vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Next add the cooled orzo, the chopped nectarine, mozzarella balls, chives (or basil) and lemon zest. Toss everything to coat in the dressing. Taste and adjust vinegar, oil and/or seasoning if needed. Add in the bacon and toss to coat.

Serve salad with a protein of your choice. Pictured here is a salmon burger.

Green Onion Brats With Red Orzo, Roasted Beets and Greens

1 07 2014

This is a gorgeous dinner, made with Fresh Fork Market beets, brats and snow peas! Once again, belonging to a CSA is forcing me to use new veggies, as I’ve never worked with fresh beets. I’ve not been a huge fan, but having to get creative with them and making a super tasty meal like this, I think I may be coming around!

Green Onion Brats With Red Orzo, Roasted Beets and Greens

The following serves 4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and Food Blogga):

  • 1 bunch of red beets and leaves, stems removed
  • 4 green onion bratwurst, or plain brats
  • 1 quart snow peas, ends snapped
  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Zest and juice from one small lemon
  • Chopped parsley
  • Reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Green onions, chopped

Preheat oven to 400.

Separate the leaves from the beets. Wash and dry the beets. Place them on a large piece of foil, drizzle with a little olive oil and wrap tightly. Roast on a baking sheet for 50-60 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and cool. Rub off skins and cut into small pieces. If you think you have too many beets, save some stored in the fridge and use in a smoothie.

Add some water to a large skillet. Add the brats, cover and cook over medium-high heat until plump and partially cooked. Remove brats from the water and pat to dry. Preheat grill to medium-high, add the brats and grill to finish cooking through and to get a char on the outside. Remove from the grill and allow to rest a few minutes.

Meanwhile, wash and dry the beet leaves, removing any large stems. In a large skillet over medium-high, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil and add shallots. Saute for a few minutes until shallots soften. Add beet greens and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste and turn heat down to low.

Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add the snow peas and blanch for 2 minutes. Using a spider or small mesh strainer, transfer the snow peas to the skillet with the beet leaves.

Using the same water you used to blanch the snow peas, cook the orzo. Season water with salt and add orzo. Cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain and add orzo to the skillet with the beet leaves and snow peas.

Whisk the vinegar, lemon zest and juice and parsley with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the orzo and greens, toss to combine. Finally, gently mix in the roasted beets.

To serve, dish out the orzo, top with feta, some pine nuts and green onions to garnish. Place grilled brats on top and enjoy.

Tuscan Skillet With Chicken, Beans, Shrooms and Greens

14 02 2014

Whipped this one skillet beauty together by rifling through my fridge and pantry for goodies to cook with! It may not be fancy for Valentine’s Day, but in true Tuscan fashion, this dinner is simple and delicious. It’s all about building flavors one layer at a time.

Tuscan Skillet With Chicken, Beans, Shrooms and Greens

Tuscan Skillet With Chicken, Beans, Shrooms and Greens

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • Herb salt
  • 4 pieces of turkey bacon, chopped
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 large
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 package (10 oz) baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • Dry white wine
  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 oz arugula
  • 8 oz dry orzo
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Optional: lemon oil and red pepper flakes

Bring a pot of water to boil.

Season chicken liberally with a herb salt (or whatever seasoning and dried herbs you like, I use a combo of kosher salt, rosemary, garlic powder, paprika and lemon zest). Heat a Tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add chicken. Saute, stirring occasionally until heated through and starting to brown, 5-6 minutes. Remove to a plate.

In the same skillet add the bacon. Cook until to browned and crisp. Remove to another plate.

Next, add a little more oil and the shallots and garlic to the same skillet. Cook another minute or so until beginning to softened and fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook until starting to brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

While the mushrooms saute, cook the orzo according to package directions in the pot with the boiling water. Save a little of the cooking water, then drain. Return to the pot you cooked it in and toss with a little lemon oil.

Once the mushrooms are starting to brown, add some white wine to deglaze, a good turn of the pan, scrapping up all the browned bits on the bottom. Add the beans, chicken and orzo, stirring everything together. Add a little of the cooking water, cook a few more minutes until beans and chicken are heated through. Remove from heat and toss in the arugula to wilt slightly.

Dish up and top with bacon crumbles just before serving. Garnish with parsley, parmesan and red pepper flakes (if you like a little heat).

Turkey Tetrazzini with Orzo and Asparagus

2 01 2014

We’re coming down to the last of our holiday leftovers…it’s hard to believe we still have turkey after using it in several other meals, like soup. But I refuse to let it go to waste! Enter tetrazzini, the classic go-to for using up extra turkey. I didn’t have some of the usual suspects that go into a tetrazzini though, like peas or milk or cream (coincidentally making this a healthier version). So I rolled with what I had in the house, which is the beauty of casseroles! I don’t get tied down by a recipe, or force myself to go to the grocery store when I don’t have too. I just substitute. For instance, peas are a green veggie…so is asparagus. You get the gist 🙂

Turkey Tetrazzini with Orzo and Asparagus

Turkey Tetrazzini with Orzo and Asparagus

The following serves 4 with a side salad (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 cup dry whole wheat orzo
  • Olive oil
  • Half an onion, chopped
  • Couple cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 3 cups cooked turkey, chopped
  • 1 cup asparagus, chopped
  • Seasoned breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400.

Cook the orzo according to package directions and drain.

While the orzo cooks, heat a little olive oil in a large skillet and cook onion for a few minutes until soft. Add the garlic, mushrooms and thyme and cook until the mushrooms have started to brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste, then deglaze the pan with wine and cook another minute until the wine reduces by half. Add the flour and stir to combine. Next whisk in the chicken stock. Add a little grated nutmeg and bring to a simmer. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese and continue stirring until sauce is thick. Remove from heat.

To the skillet with the sauce, add the chopped turkey, cooked orzo and chopped asparagus. Mix to combine and transfer to a 9 x 13 casserole dish coated lightly with non-stick spray.

Toss the breadcrumbs and rest of the cheese with a little olive oil, add to the top of the casserole.  Bake the casserole for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly and golden on top. Rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Lemon and Orzo Soup With Kale and Chicken (or Turkey)

2 12 2013

I logged onto my blog today to see a slew of visitors checking out my Turkey Tetrazzini recipe I posted about last year ( Thank you for visiting, makes me feel all warm and cozy….just like a homemade soup! I’ve been on a let’s-eat-out-of-a-bowl-kick lately! And all the recent visits inspired this soup, which is light and lemony, and a great use for leftover chicken or turkey during the holidays! Enjoy, and thanks again for stopping by 🙂

Lemon and Orzo Soup With Kale and Chicken (or Turkey)

Lemon and Orzo Soup With Kale and Chicken (or Turkey)

The following serves 2-3 (compliments of Cuisine at Home and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 3/4 cup diced onions
  • 1/4 cup each of diced carrot and celery (didn’t have these veggies so I used leftover roasted cauliflower)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp minced thyme
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1/2 cup dry orzo
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken or turkey
  • 1/2 to 1 package fresh baby spinach (I used kale instead)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions, carrot and celery in oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until softened, 7-9 minutes. (And don’t feel trapped by the recipe, if you don’t have all the veggies it calls for, sub for something else like me – I used cauliflower instead of the carrot and celery!).

Add garlic, thyme and pepper flakes to pot, cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo, cook until al dente, about 7 minutes.

Stir in chicken or turkey, spinach, zest and lemon juice. Cook briefly until chicken or turkey is heated through. Off heat, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with additional zest if desired and grated parmesan cheese.

Note: the broth in my picture is dark because I used homemade stock. The broth will be lighter if you’re using boxed broth.

Pork Medallions Over Marsala Orzo

14 05 2013

I tend to use onions, garlic and mushrooms in the base of a lot of my dinners because they quickly help add flavor to just about anything. But recently I’ve heard from some friends who like to try my recipes that they don’t like mushrooms so tend not to try recipes with mushrooms in them. Two pieces of advice….if you’ve never liked shrooms and haven’t tried them in a while, try them again. It took me many years to come around to them, but I enjoy them now. You may be surprised how your taste buds change! And secondly, if you’ve tried them recently and still can’t stand them – just omit them from recipes you’d like to try. Don’t pass up a good recipe just because of a few scary shrooms 🙂

Pork Medallions Over Marsala Orzo

Pork Medallions Over Marsala Orzo

The following serves 2:

  • 4 – 6 pork loin cutlets
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Half medium onion, sliced
  • 2 – 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 package of mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup dried whole wheat orzo
  • Marsala wine
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Heat some olive oil (few turns of the pan) in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Season pork cutlets with salt, pepper and garlic powder on both sides. Add to hot pan and saute until browned on both sides (few minutes on both sides). Remove to a plate and cover with foil.

Reduce the heat to medium on the same skillet you cooked the pork in. Add onions and saute for a few minutes, scrapping up any brown bits in the pan. Next add garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes.  Cook for another minute. Next add red bell pepper and mushrooms. Saute and continue to toss until the mushrooms start to brown. Season with salt.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Season generously with salt and cook the orzo to al dente according to package directions. Save 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and strain orzo.

Once the mushrooms are browned and the orzo is strained, degalze the skillet with some marsala wine – a few turns of the pan. Be sure to scrape up any brown bits in the bottom of the pan at this point as well. Bring to a bubble and reduce heat to low. Add the strained orzo right to the skillet and toss well so it begins to soak up the marsala. Add about half the cooking liquid along with a good handful of parmesan cheese. Stir quickly so the cheese melts into the pasta evenly and doesn’t clump.

Taste orzo and season with salt if needed. Spoon orzo among two plates. Serve pork medallions over orzo and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Homemade Veggie Stock Soup With Chicken And Orzo

5 12 2012

If you’re anything like me when you’re sick, you probably crave your Mama or Grandmama’s homemade soup! Unfortunately for me, my Mama lives in another state, so any homemade soup offering This Girl comfort has to come out of my own kitchen! No problem, I came up with some simple tips to help me whip up a batch of delicious homemade soup, even when I’m the one who’s sick!

Homemade Veggie Stock Soup With Chicken And Orzo

Homemade Veggie Stock Soup With Chicken And Orzo

The following makes a large pot of soup (compliments of This Girl):

  • Veggies such as broccoli stalks, celery tips and ends, asparagus ends, onion quarters, carrots, peppers, etc….
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves
  • Herbs, such as rosemary, parsley, chives, etc
  • Water
  • Chicken, a few boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • Olive oil
  • Italian seasoning
  • 1 and 1/2 cups dry whole wheat orzo
  • Grated parmesan cheese

I can’t remember where I picked this tip up, but awhile ago I started saving the ends of veggies that I would otherwise have thrown out. For example, broccoli stalks, celery tips, asparagus ends, etc. When I trim these types of veggies for other recipes, I store the ends in the freezer until I have enough veggies saved to make broth. You can also freeze veggies for this use that you haven’t had a chance to cook and might be turning bad quickly. You’ll need enough veggies to fill your crockpot.

On the day you’re ready to make the broth, add the frozen veggies to a large crockpot and cover completely with water. Add a few cloves of peeled garlic and whatever herbs you have on hand or like – such as rosemary, parsley, basil, chives, etc. Turn the crockpot on low before you leave for work and the broth will cook itself while you’re gone.

When you come home from work, cube up some chicken breasts (at least 3 large breasts), toss with some olive oil and seasonings – use whatever you have like Italian seasoning or at least salt and pepper. Saute in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the chicken pieces start to brown.

Meanwhile, use a spider (or small strainer) to scoop out the veggies from the crockpot. At this point you have homemade veggie stock! Discard everything but the onions. Chop the onions up and put them back in the broth. Chop up a few fresh large carrots and celery stalks and add those to the broth as well. When the chicken is slightly browned, remove the pieces from the skillet and add to the broth in the crockpot. Season with salt, stir and cover, continuing to cook on low for another hour or so.

While the soup finishes cooking, cook the orzo according to package directions. Drain the orzo, add a scoop of it to a large bowl and then top with soup. Serve soup with cheese.

Grilled Chicken With a Sweet and Sour Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Over Creamy Parm Orzo

8 05 2012

This is a simple and quick meal with an array of unique flavors, thanks to the sweet and sour combo sauce. And the creamy mascarpone-parm orzo helps mellow out the whole meal. Grab a fork and dig in!

Grilled Chicken With a Sweet and Sour Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Over Creamy Parm Orzo

The following serves 2:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 red pepper, roasted and peeled
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, diced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup dry orzo
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesean cheese

Preheat grill to medium-high. Drizzle chicken with a little olive oil and season with salt, pepper and a little lemon zest. Grill chicken, covered, until cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. Let rest a few minutes before serving.

Broil or grill the red pepper until charred completely. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool enough to handle. Peel charred skin off, remove seeds and stem and dice.

Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Saute shallots, garlic and a pinch red pepper flakes for a few minutes. Next add the diced roasted red pepper, wine, vinegar and honey. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes and reduce slightly. Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper just before serving.

Cook orzo according to package in a pot of salted water; and drain. Return orzo to pot over low heat and stir in chicken stock and mascarpone cheese until melted and thick. Next stir in parmesean cheese and the zest of half a lemon; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the red pepper sauce over the chicken and along side the orzo; garnish everything with chopped parsley.

Greek Chicken Roulades and White Wine Sauce with Creamy Orzo

28 02 2012

Roulade is a French term for a cut of thinly pounded meat with a filling rolled inside. These beauties make a big impact in both flavor and looks….give them a try when you’re sick of eating the same tried and true recipes!

Greek Chicken Roulades and White Wine Sauce with Creamy Orzo

The following serves 2 (compliments of Cuisine Favorites):

  • 12 pitted kalamata olives, divided
  • 3 Tbsp fresh bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp minced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp minced lemon zest
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 oz each), trimmed of fat
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 and 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

Dice 6 olives; set aside. Process remaining 6 olives, bread crumbs, tomatoes, zest, garlic and oregano in a food processor until minced.

Using a meat mallet, pound chicken between plastic wrap to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Spread olive-tomato filling on chicken (spread within 1/4 inch of the edge of the chicken). Roll chicken to enclose filling, starting at one short end; secure with toothpicks.

Saute roulades in oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, 4 minutes. Remove roulades to a plate. Add onion to the skillet; saute 2 minutes. Add wine; cook until liquid is reduced by half, 1-2 minutes. Add broth. Bring mixture to a boil; add reserved diced olives and roulades.

Cover skillet; reduce heat. Simmer roulades 10 minutes; remove roulades to a plate. Whisk together lemon juice and cornstarch; stir into sauce in skillet. Simmer about 1 minute, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Remove toothpicks, then slice roulades; serve with sauce.

For the Creamy Orzo (If you have hungry fam members like me, I recommend making a double batch!):

  • 1 and 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry orzo pasta
  • 2 Tbsp minced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/8 tsp each kosher salt and black pepper

Start boiling broth in a saucepan for the orzo before making the roulades, then finish the orzo dish while the chicken simmers.

When the broth is boiling, stir in orzo. Return liquid to a boil. Cook orzo, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed, about 9 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat.

Stir tomatoes and feta into orzo, mixing until feta melts slightly. Season orzo mixture with salt and pepper. Serve with the chicken roulades and sauce.