Orzo with Roasted Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Sage

Pin It

When the weather cools down, I start to crave flavorful meals like this orzo pasta with sage, bacon and butternut squash. The sage pairs beautifully with the salty bacon and slightly sweet squash. The flavors are perfect for a crisp fall day.

Orzo with Roasted Butternut Squash, Bacon, and Sage

This recipe is quick and easy to put together – great for a weeknight. You could even roast the butternut squash and cook the orzo ahead of time, to make the prep even faster.

Ingredients
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup orzo pasta
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper
Shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Add the chopped butternut squash and olive oil to a large bowl, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt (to taste) and toss again. Spread the squash evenly on a large baking sheet, and roast for 30 minutes, stirring once.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo al dente, per the package directions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

While the orzo is cooking, cook the chopped bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon to a plate and carefully pour all but about 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings into a glass measuring cup (or small bowl). Reduce the heat to low.

Add the sage, onion power, and crushed red pepper to the skillet and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the roasted butternut squash, cooked orzo, and bacon to the skillet, stirring gently to combine. Gradually add the reserved orzo cooking water until the sauce reaches the desired consistency (you may not need to use it all). If needed, you can also add more of the reserved bacon drippings. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook over low heat until the ingredients are heated through.

Serve topped with shredded parmesan. Enjoy!

Follow Me on Pinterest

Summer Menu: Week 4

Pin It

Happy Back to School for those of you who had kids start school last week! Remember when we used to start school the day after Labor Day – what happened to that? Well school may have begun, but according to the weather (and my stomach) it’s still summer and this week’s menu is filled with great summertime recipes.

Click on the link below to download a PDF of the menu, grocery list, and recipes.
Summer Menu: Week 4

Here’s the menu for this week:

Sunday: Greek Pasta Salad with Sausage

 

 

 

 

Monday: Grilled Lemon Herb Pork Chops with LO* Pasta Salad

 

 

 

 

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken Tandoori

 

 

 

 

Wednesday: Tomatoes with Fresh Basil over Pasta

 

 

 

 

Thursday: Green Salad with LO* Tandoori Chicken
(no photo)

Friday: Vegetarian Pesto Pita Pizza

 

 

 

 

Saturday: Fish Tacos

 

 

 

 

*left-over

 

Happy cooking!

Follow Me on Pinterest

Summer Menu: Week 2

Pin It

I hope you enjoyed last week’s menu (read about it here)! This week’s menu has a wide variety of delicious recipes.

Click on the link below to download a PDF of the menu, grocery list, and recipes.
Menu Summer 2012 2

Here’s the menu for this week:
Sunday: BBQ Ribs with Southern Dry Rub

 

 

 

 

Monday: Grilled Sockeye Salmon

 

 

 

 

Tuesday: Turkey Tacos

Wednesday: Grilled Lemon Chicken

 

 

 

 

Thursday: Nachos

 

 

 

 

Friday: Chicken Caprese Panini

 

 

 

 

Saturday: Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage with a Ricotta Surprise

 

 

 

 

Enjoy and keep on cooking!

Follow Me on Pinterest

Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage with a Ricotta Surprise

Pin It

I haven’t always been a fan of Rachel Ray’s recipes, but she got this one right! The flavorful sausage and broccoli are wonderful with the pasta, but it’s the lemony-peppery ricotta that makes it amazing. I really was surprised at how good this was!

You can find the original recipe in Rachel’s Express Lane Meals cookbook (another 30-minute meal cookbook – although I rarely seem to be able to complete her recipes in 30 minutes). This recipe is well worth the time, even if it takes more than 30 minutes to prepare, and I’ll be making it again soon!

Ingredients
Salt
1 pound penne pasta
1 cup ricotta cheese
Juice and zest from one lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 large head broccoli
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (approximately)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)

Bring water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, add a bit of salt and the pasta. Cook according to the package directions, until al dente (just underdone). Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, before draining the pasta.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, lemon zest, salt to taste, and a generous amount of fresh black pepper. Let the ricotta mixture stand on the counter and come up to room temperature.

Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces with a spatula. Cook the meat until brown, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

While the sausage is browning, chop the broccoli into small pieces (discard the tough stems).

Once the sausage is brown, remove it to a paper-towel-lined plate. Return the skillet to the heat and add the broccoli and onion. Spread the veggies out in an even layer, season with some salt and pepper, and let the broccoli brown a bit before stirring, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the sausage back to the skillet along with the chicken broth. Add the 1/2 cup of cooking water from the pasta and bring it up to a simmer. Cook until the broccoli is tender and the liquids have reduced slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and cooked, well-drained pasta. Toss to combine and simmer about 1 minute to allow the pasta to soak in the flavors. Turn off the heat, add the parmesan cheese, and toss to combine.

To serve, place a large dollop of the ricotta mixture into a bowl and bury it with the hot pasta mixture. Before eating, mix it around with a fork to distribute the ricotta and sprinkle with extra parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Follow Me on Pinterest

Parmesan Basil Orzo with Shrimp

Pin It

This looks like something you would eat at a fancy restaurant, but it is simple to make and it tastes amazing. The mild orzo, flavored with parmesan and fresh basil, is a wonderful a compliment to the marinated shrimp which is bursting with flavor.

Ingredients
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more, if you like it spicy)
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1-2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
2 cups chicken broth (maybe a bit more)
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, parsley, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, garlic, ketchup, oregano, salt and black pepper. Add the shrimp and stir until they are well coated. Refrigerate for about 1 hour (I’ve heard that too much lemon juice can give shrimp a weird texture, so don’t let them sit in the marinade for too long).

About 25 minutes before you cook the shrimp, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, stir in the orzo and sauté until golden brown, stirring frequently.

Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the orzo is tender. Watch the skillet carefully, and add additional chicken broth if needed.

Mix in the parmesan cheese, basil, spinach, salt, and pepper. Stir until the spinach is wilted.

Heat another large skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the shrimp to the skillet, along with about 1/2 cup of the marinade. Cook the shrimp, stirring frequently until pink and cooked through.

To serve, place a large spoonful of the orzo onto a plate, top with several shrimp, and drizzle some of the sauce from the skillet over the top.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Turkey Meatballs

Pin It

These are my favorite meatballs. They are tender, flavorful, and healthy too, since they are made with ground turkey instead of beef. The crushed red pepper gives them a touch of heat, but not enough to keep my kids from devouring them. They freeze great too, so make an extra batch and store them in the freezer until your next spaghetti and meatball night.

Ingredients
1 package ground turkey (1.5 pounds)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more, if you like them spicy)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with foil.

In a large bowl, mix together the ground turkey, salt, onion, garlic powder, oregano, crushed red pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Add the bread crumbs, milk, and parmesan cheese, and stir together until well-blended (but don’t over-mix, or your meatballs will be tough).

Using your hands (don’t be afraid to get messy), form into 1 1/2-inch meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked through.

Serve on top of spaghetti with your favorite sauce, and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Alfredo-Pesto Linguine with Chicken

Pin It

In the mood for really amazing pasta? This recipe is restaurant quality, without the restaurant price. The combination of parmesan, cream, and pesto make a heavenly sauce that is to die for (not literally, I hope, but those of you with high cholesterol should probably skip this one . . . did I mention the sauce has butter too?). You can lower the fat a bit by substituting half-n-half for the heavy cream, but the sauce won’t be as thick.

This is an excellent dish to make for a special occasion, or if you want to impress your dinner guests. The recipe below will make about 4 servings.

Ingredients
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt
Black pepper
1/2 pound linguine pasta
1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish)
2 tablespoons prepared pesto

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the linguine according to package directions. Meanwhile, melt the butter in your largest skillet, over medium heat. Stir in the cream and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook for about 7 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the skillet from the heat and gradually stir in the parmesan cheese. After the cheese is added, put the skillet back on the heat and reduce the heat to low or medium-low (don’t let the sauce boil). Stir in the pesto and cook the sauce, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes, or until thickened.

Add the linguine and cooked chicken to the sauce and toss gently to coat. Serve with fresh parmesan cheese and a big green salad. Enjoy!

Follow Me on Pinterest