Friday, February 27, 2009

Cooking with Orzo

Orzo is one of my favorite things to keep on hand. It comes in handy for so many things. I make myself a quick lunch of orzo, a little cheese (feta or goat is my favorite), tomatoes, parsley (fresh or dried), a dab of olive oil and a squirt of lemon juice (if I have a lemon).

This month I made these two quick and easy recipes and used a small amount of orzo. They both serve our family of four with enough leftovers for a lunch the next day.

Red Pepper Frittata

Cook a small amount or orzo following package directions. You want about 1 Cup cooked orzo. Preheat oven to 350.
Then combine in a medium bowl:
* 1 tablespoon water
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 4 large egg whites
* 3 large eggs
Stir with a whisk. Prepare a baking dish (8 X 8 works well) by coating with cooking spray.

Heat a larger skillet (on medium) coated with cooking spray and add in:
* 1-1/2 cups diced red bell pepper
* 1 cup sliced onion
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
Saute for 5 minutes. Stir in orzo and egg mixture and stir for 2-3 minutes.

Transfer everything to the baking dish and sprinkle about 1/3 cup cheese (I like cheddar or jack or a combination) and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. The dish will look set to you. It is best if you let it stand for 3-4 minutes before serving.

Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo

My kids love this soup and it has a really unique flavor.

* 6 cups broth (chicken is best but I have substituted vegetable and even used part water before)
* 1/4 teaspoon dill
* 1/2 cup uncooked orzo
* 4 large eggs
* 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (1 good sized juicy lemon squeezed is about the right amount)
* 1 cup shredded carrot
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

Bring broth and dill to a boil in a large saucepan. Add orzo. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until orzo is slightly tender. Remove from heat.

Place eggs and juice in a blender; process until smooth. Remove 1 cup broth from pan with a ladle, making sure to leave out orzo. With blender on, slowly add broth; process until smooth.

Add carrot, salt, pepper, and chicken to pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook 5 minutes or until chicken and orzo are done. Reduce heat to low. Slowly stir in egg mixture; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly (do not boil).

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Easy Fast Yummy Lasagna

I stole this from here but made some alterations to suit little tummies.

1 (26-ounce) jar pasta sauce
Cooking spray
1 (15-ounce) carton part-skim ricotta cheese
1 - 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 no-boil lasagna noodles
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 450°.

Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce in bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine ricotta, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, and salt. Arrange 2 noodles over sauce; top with 1 cup ricotta mixture and 3/4 cup sauce. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spread remaining sauce over noodles. Cover and bake at 450° for 25 minutes or until noodles are tender and sauce is bubbly. Uncover lasagna, and top with Parmesan. Bake lasagna an additional 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. It feeds 4-6.