December 16, 2009

BLT Orzo

Posted in Pasta: salad-like tagged , , , at 5:49 pm by jenniec00ks

This is a JENNIE original!  I was reading about BLT recommendations on twitter and I thought it’d be a great way to use up the leftover bacon in the fridge.  But alas, I didn’t have any bread or lettuce on hand so I worked with what I had and came up with this.  This recipe makes about 3 large dinner portions, so adjust to your liking.

Ingredients:

~5 oz. fresh baby spinach
~10 oz. grape or cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic, sliced
6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 pieces
5 cups chicken broth (to boil the orzo in, you can use water)
1/2 lb. (8 oz) orzo pasta

For the baby spinach and tomatoes, just get some package close to the weight suggested, a little more or less of either won’t hurt.  2 regular sized cans or 1 box of chicken broth equals about 4 cups, and I added an extra cup of water so the orzo didn’t burn or stick to the pot.

1. Boil the orzo in the chicken broth (or chicken broth+water or water) for however long the package says.  Mine was 8-10 minutes, I’ve used brands that were 6-8 minutes, so expect somewhere in that range.

2. Preheat a pan (mine was a regular frying one, about 12″) to medium high heat and slice up the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces if you haven’t already.  Then toss ’em in the pan once it’s hot.

3. Let them sizzle away, giving them a stir 2-3 times over the next couple minutes so they get crispy on all sides.  In the meantime, slice the cherry or grape tomatoes in half.

4. When the bacon is crisp to your liking, put it on a paper-towel lined plate on the side.  Then pour out any excess bacon fat from the pan.

5. Turn the heat down to medium-low and return the pan to the heat.  Toss the halved tomatoes in. Let them work a minute while you slice up the 1 clove of garlic, then add that to the tomatoes.  Let the tomatoes cook for about 5 minutes, or until they’ve softened up.  Move them around the pan so they don’t burn though.

6. Add the spinach to the bottom of a large bowl.  Then put the hot tomatoes/garlic pieces on top, and add the bacon on top of that.  Finally, drain the orzo and immediately pour it in the bowl while it’s still piping hot!  Else the spinach won’t wilt nicely!

7. Add the drizzle of olive oil (1 tsp) and then stir everything together and ENJOY!!  This recipe even tastes great at room temperature!  Haven’t tried it cold yet.

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October 12, 2009

Mushroom Spinach Lasagna

Posted in Pasta: baked tagged , , , , at 10:26 pm by jenniec00ks

food 005Finally!  The weather in Atlanta is super chilly and I need to use my heater, aka my oven!  So I made this super easy 9″x9″ lasagna that makes ~3 large portions.  It’s currently meat-less because I didn’t have any cooked chicken on hand this week.  I think it would easily feed 4-5 if some shredded chicken meat was added (just buy a rotisserie from the store, shred ~2 cups your favorite parts, I like a combination of white/dark meat.)

This is similar to my garlic alfredo recipe from a while back, but even easier, if you can imagine.  In a nutshell, this is mushrooms, frozen spinach, milk, cheese, and pasta.  But here’s a more exact recipe for those who don’t have much luck tossing arbitrary amounts of food in a pot 😉

Ingredients:

2.5 cups of milk
12 oz. mushrooms, white or cremini, washed & sliced
1 cup of your favorite white cheese shredded (parm, romano, asagio, mozz)
1 box frozen spinach
6 lasagna noodles, I used the wider (~4.5 inches) no-boil kind.  If you only have the traditional kind, go ahead and boil 6-7 according to the time on the box.
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter, your choice.  I used 1 tbsp of each.
2 tbsp all-purpose white flour
Salt, pepper, nutmeg

1. Cook the spinach in the microwave per the box instructions.  Drain as best you can. Doesn’t have to be bone dry, no worries.

2. Mince the garlic and set aside to have ready.

3. Start heating your choice of fat (olive oil/butter) over medium heat in a saucepan (pot).

4. While your pot is warming up, slice up the mushrooms.  Drop them in after you’ve chopped a few so that they don’t have the chance to turn pink.

5. After all the mushrooms are in, toss the garlic in on top.  Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the mushrooms are softened and there’s quite a bit of liquid in the pot.

6. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of flour to the pot and stir.  It should absorb all of the liquid in the bottom of the pot and make the mushrooms sort of sticky.  Add a dash more if necessary.

7. Turn the heat up to medium high, and pour in the 2.5 cups of milk while stirring gently.

8. Stir until it boils, then turn the heat back down to medium and let simmer until it thickens a bit.  During all this stirring, season with a tsp of salt, pepper to taste, and dash of nutmeg.  Be careful, nutmeg can be overpowering.

9. Add 3/4 cups of cheese to the sauce and turn the heat off once it melts.

10. Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of 9″x9″ pan, then 2 lasagna noodles.  If you have the narrower kind that you have to boil first, then you’ll probably need to tear them up to fit 2 in one layer.

11. Add a layer of sauce, then noodles, and repeat 2 more times.

12. Sprinkle the last 1/4 cup of shredded cheese on the top.

13. Bake in a preheated 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 35 minutes or until bubbly and brown.

Y’all enjoyyyyyyy!  ❤ Jennie