pasta

Zesty Orzo and Veggie Salad

Sponsored post written by me on behalf of DaVinci Pasta. The opinions and text are all mine.

You know that moment when you get home, open the fridge and just stare at it as if some dish is going to miraculously appear? This happened the other day when I had no idea what to cook until I noticed a bag of precut veggies sitting in the fridge. I then remembered I had received some bags of DaVinci Orzo pasta a few days before. If there is a pasta that goes well with veggies it is Orzo pasta. I had all I needed to make a delicious Zesty Orzo and Veggie Salad.

Zesty Orzo and Veggie Salad

For the beginner cook wondering what Orzo is; It is a form of short-cut pasta, shaped like a large grain of rice. Because of its similarity to rice it is often used as a rice substitute. DaVinci Orzo pasta is made in Italy with the finest ingredients, making it the perfect canvas for creative meal ideas like this Zesty Orzo and Veggie Pasta Salad. DaVinci Orzo can be found in Italian markets as well as a variety of grocery stores including your local store. The different varieties of DaVinci Pasta can be found using the product locator

Orzo pasta is very popular in salads because it goes very well with crunchy veggies and it is a good way to bulk up a salad. It is great in soups, pilafs, casseroles and risotto. In the cold weather, a hot bowl of lemon chicken orzo soup is my favorite. Another fun way to use Orzo pasta is to stuff it into halved avocados or tomatoes for pretty presentation.

Zesty Orzo and Veggie Salad

My Orzo Salad is quick, easy and there are so many ingredients that can be added to it. Delicious possibilities include cucumbers, radishes, dill, tomatoes, red onion, green peas, asparagus, feta, basil and more. You simply cannot go wrong with Orzo as it goes well with many things.

I spiced up my orzo salad with a little curry. The addition of curry may seem a little strange in this dish but it does not overpower the dish at all. I added a little lemon juice which mellows the strong curry flavor. The curry creates a unique depth in flavor unlike any orzo salad you will have. Another unexpected ingredient in this salad is capers which provide a hint of saltiness.

Zesty Orzo and Veggie SaladZesty Orzo and Veggie SaladThis zesty Orzo and veggie salad can be served warm and it will keep well in the fridge for a few days. It makes a great take to work lunch meal. Since I made more than enough for dinner, my fiancé and I were able to have leftovers for lunch the next day.

Orzo salad can be served with any protein from chicken, beef, pork or fish like I did. If you like you can eat it alone or even top with a fried or poached egg.

Zesty Orzo and Veggie Salad

Looking for more Orzo salad inspiration? Check out my delicious Orzo and Hearts of Palm Salad recipe too.

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Print Recipe
Veggie Orzo Salad
zesty orzo and veggie salad
Course Side dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
  • 3 cups mixed veggies broccoli, carrots, brussels sprouts,
  • 1 1 cup sliced yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp capers
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • red and yellow peppers sliced
  • Lemon zest
Course Side dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
  • 3 cups mixed veggies broccoli, carrots, brussels sprouts,
  • 1 1 cup sliced yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp capers
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • red and yellow peppers sliced
  • Lemon zest
zesty orzo and veggie salad
Instructions
  1. Cook orzo per package directions
  2. While the pasta water is coming to a boil, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, ginger, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper. Set aside
  3. In a large wok sauté onion for 3 minutes. Add curry powder and cook another 2 minutes. Add mixed veggies to onions and cook for 5 minutes until veggies are tender but still have a bite to them.
  4. Drain orzo and rinse under cold water.
  5. When the pasta and vegetables are ready, transfer them to a large bowl. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Taste the salad and adjust salt and pepper as desired.

Delicious Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Schreiber Foods, Inc. The opinions and text are all mine.

I was recently invited to a summer barbecue and the host told me to bring a fun, savory dish. I thought to myself, what is one thing everybody loves? Macaroni and Cheese was the answer! I remember watching a Food Network chef make Macaroni and Cheese in cupcake form and decided that was what I was going to do. I knew the kids and adults would enjoy this fun take on Macaroni and Cheese. I had also been dying to use the Heluva Good!® Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese that I had got on sale at Big Y so this recipe was meant to be.

Delicious Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes

I used real cheese in these cupcakes, no boxed mac n cheese allowed! The Heluva Good! Extra Sharp Cheddar cheese is perfect for Macaroni and Cheese because of its tangy flavor and sharp taste. One thing that I refuse to do is make Macaroni and Cheese without cheddar cheese, it just makes the taste difference.

Heluva Good! Cheese has the best cheese, and they have various cheese flavors including Colby Jack and Jalapeño Jack. The Jalapeño Jack is another favorite of mine for those times when I need a little spice, it is simply Monterey Jack Cheese with Jalapeño Peppers. I love to shred some into my breakfast tortilla wraps, so good! Give Heluva Good! Cheese a try if you haven’t. I find that their cheese is perfect for any occasion and provides plenty of recipe possibilities for quick snacks or tasty bites for entertaining.  Once you do, you will realize why it has that awesome name.

These individual sized portions of creamy, cheesy macaroni are the perfect solution to bring to a party and wow your guests. I ate one of them with a side salad and grilled chicken, it was amazing. They would also make a great side dish to beef, pork or just by themselves for non meat eaters. There is even broccoli and tomatoes in them so you can feel good about getting in some veggies and the kids will happily eat that broccoli. I received a lot of compliments about how pretty they looked and how they tasted amazing. I knew this recipe will be one for the books and certainly one that I would use for summertime eating and parties!Delicious Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes

These Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes are also a great way to recreate a kid-friendly meal into an easily transportable snack option. What is fantastic is that they’re nice and easy to put together, and would make a great inclusion to a child’s lunchbox as well. Try making these with the kids for a fun bonding experience.

Save on Heluva Good! Cheese

Earlier I was talking about how much I love Heluva Good! Cheese and I would love for you to try it. You can find it at most grocery stores located in the refrigerated block cheese section.
To save on your next Heluva Good! cheese purchase at Big Y, click here for the coupon!

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Print Recipe
Delicious Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes
Delicious Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes
Course Side dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces small elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups grated Heluva Good Cheese Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 2 cups steamed or blanched brocolli
  • 1 cups dried panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp. Melted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped chives
  • 3 medium garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp. truffle oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Course Side dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces small elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups grated Heluva Good Cheese Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 2 cups steamed or blanched brocolli
  • 1 cups dried panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp. Melted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped chives
  • 3 medium garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp. truffle oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Delicious Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place non stick cupcake holders in a jumbo muffin pan. I used 2 trays which made 12 jumbo cupcakes.
  2. Cook elbow macaroni per packet directions. Drain well. Transfer to a large bowl. Cool for 8 minutes. Meanwhile mix breadcrumbs with melted butter and set aside
  3. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until bubbling and flour turns golden. gradually stir in milk until mixture is smooth.
  4. Remove from heat. Add sauce to macaroni. Add the cheese. Add mustard powder, minced garlic, chives and truffle oil. Season with salt, pepper and mix until well combined.
  5. Divide the macaroni mix evenly into the holes of the muffin tins until they are filled about 3 quarters full. Make sure to press the mixture down.
  6. Top with broccoli, tomatoes and bread crumb mix. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Let cupcakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Sausage and Kale Spaghetti Recipe

A quick and easy meal is always the goal on a weeknight and this sausage and kale spaghetti recipe fits the bill. All you need is some good sausage, spaghetti, kale and peppers to make this easy dish. I used hot Italian sausage and have used lamb sausage for this dish before. The sausage is a nice break from ground beef because of its delicious and unique flavor.

Sausage and Kale Spaghetti Recipe

I really love how this dish comes together with the different textures of ingredients. You could use spinach in place of kale but I like the bite that kale provides when its not overcooked. Peppers are a well known accompaniment to sausage so adding them to this dish was a no brainer. I did not go heavy on seasonings since the sausage is already packed with flavor. Just some garlic, salt and pepper will do the trick.

Sausage and Kale Spaghetti Recipe

Noticed how I mentioned a good sausage in the beginning of this post. The reason is that sausage is not recommended in most diets especially the Paleo diet, but since I am not a believer in restrictions, I suggest being very picky with your sausage. Some sausages are packed with meat fillers and lots of fat which I try to stay away from. I have decided to share some good tips for picking a good sausage that you may find helpful.

How to choose a good sausage

  1. Choose a sausage with at least 85% meat and less than 5% saturated fat.
  2. Stay away from sausage that contains additives and preservatives like sulphur dioxide
  3. Avoid sausage with very high sodium content.
  4. Always check what kind of meat is the sausage. Sometimes the front of the package may say chicken sausage but contains chicken and pork or other kinds of meat.
  5. Avoid sausage with fillers like maize, maltodextrin, hydrolysed vegetable protein and more. Fillers are used to add more weight to the sausage.

It will be very hard to find a sausage like this but they certainly exist. I usually get mine at Whole Foods and they are worth the extra 2 or 3 bucks.

Let me know if you try this Sausage and Kale Spaghetti Recipe, you can shoot me direct message or tag me on Instagram. I am always looking forward to hearing from you. If you are in need for another weeknight recipe inspiration, you may also check out my Pan Seared Salmon with cucumber dill sauce recipe

Things you may need:

   

FYI: This post contains affiliate links.

Print Recipe
Sausage and Kale Spaghetti Recipe
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 1 box spaghetti
  • 5 Italian sausages
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper sliced
  • 1/2 large yellow pepper sliced
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic
  • 4 cups roughly chopped kale
  • 1 medium yellow onion sliced
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 1 box spaghetti
  • 5 Italian sausages
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper sliced
  • 1/2 large yellow pepper sliced
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic
  • 4 cups roughly chopped kale
  • 1 medium yellow onion sliced
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees on bake and place sausage in the oven to cook.
  2. Cook spaghetti per package instructions for about 12 minutes and set aside when cooked.
  3. While spaghetti and sausage are cooking. Slice peppers, onions, then mince tomatoes and garlic in a food processor.
  4. Remove sausage from oven cut into small pieces and cook till browed in a hot wok with olive oil. About 5 minutes.
  5. Add onions, peppers and kale to sausage and cook for about 3 minutes then add tomatoes and garlic mix.
  6. Add beef broth, cover and cook for another 5 minutes and serve.

Pappardelle with Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce

Homemade basil pesto sauce is something that I have always wanted to make but for some reason I never got to make it until a few weeks ago when I needed something different for Saturday dinner. You are probably wondering why I would need to make my own sauce instead of buying a bottle at the store . Well, this is one of those sauces were homemade is so much better. The fresh basil and garlic really beats garlic and basil that has been sitting around for a while or has been mixed with all sorts of preservatives.

Pappardelle pasta with homemade basil pesto sauce

When you make the homemade basil pesto recipe below you may find yourself with leftover sauce depending on how much you add to your pasta. The beauty of this sauce is that it can be used in different ways and I am sharing 3 of my favorite ways to use the leftover sauce right here.

3 Ways to use leftover Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce

  1. As a salad dressing: Add more olive oil and create a tasty salad dressing. I like to drizzle it over fresh tomatoes and mozzarella cheese for a non traditional Caprese salad. You can also slice cherry tomatoes in half and mix with basil pesto for a easy tomato salad.
  2. As a sandwich spread: Mix with mayonnaise or even use by itself to spread on slices of bread for a yummy Italian pesto sandwich. I like to make my sandwich with slices of roasted chicken or salami, fresh tomato slices, arugula, red onion, mozzarella cheese with the basil pesto on toasted bread.
  3. Add to your veggies: Mix leftover pesto sauce with roasted, steamed or fresh veggies for more flavor. I also love to add leftover sauce to zoodles for a yummy pasta alternative. See my post on how to make zoodles here.

A great trick for storing leftover pesto is to freeze it, it keeps very well in the freezer. Pour pesto sauce in a ice tray, wrap with cling wrap or a zip log bag and put in the freezer. Whenever you need some you can just pop a cube out as you would with ice and voila.

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I get a small commission each time you click the product links. Thank you for your support!


Print Recipe
Pappardelle pasta with homemade basil pesto sauce
Pappardelle pasta with basil pesto sauce
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 1 8oz package Pappardelle pasta
  • 2 cups fresh basil packed
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
  • 1 8oz package Pappardelle pasta
  • 2 cups fresh basil packed
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Pappardelle pasta with basil pesto sauce
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta per package directions, drain and set aside.
  2. In a large food processor, mix pine nuts, garlic, basil and pulse until finely chopped
  3. Add 1/2 the olive oil and pulse again till mixture is smooth then add the rest of the olive oil, cheese, salt and pepper. Mix till well combined.
  4. Add 2/3 of the the pesto sauce to hot pasta and serve immediately. Place remaining pesto sauce in a small bowl and set at the table for those who need extra sauce.
Recipe Notes

I used pappardelle pasta for this dish however you can use any other pasta like spaghetti or orzo.

You can also change the consistency of the sauce by adding more or less olive oil.

The Ultimate Orzo pasta salad

Every cook needs at least one go to orzo pasta salad that they can make on those days when time is limited or when they just need something simple. Orzo is my favorite pasta shape for salad because it looks great on the plate and it’s almost like you are eating rice. This recipe is simple and the basil pesto dressing is what takes it to higher flavor level.

Orzo pasta salad

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Orzo pasta salad
This orzo pasta salad is great with grilled or broiled fish, chicken or can be eaten on its own. I have found that it tastes even better the next day so it makes for a great lunch to take to work.

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I can a small commission when you click any product links. Thank you for your support!

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