Lemon Orzo and Vegetable Primavera

It’s the final countdown (until Thanksgiving), and I cannot wait to indulge in all my favorite goods: the sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, turkey, stuffing, and apple pie!  This happens to be my favorite holiday out of all holidays celebrated, especially because it brings people together.  Friends, family, and friends who are family – it’s a season to give thanks and be happy 🙂

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I always loved the idea of eating orzo, as it’s a super small pasta that goes with just about every kind of sauce.  The downside?  I never really know how to best prepare it.  Should it be in a cold salad?  Could I eat it like regular pasta with just butter?  Tonight’s dinner featured orzo as a kind of sprinkling of carbs that paired perfectly with the medley of sautéed vegetables.IMG_0031

Giving props to my SIL Ashley for finding a similar recipe and giving me inspiration,  I took it a different route: instead of roasting the vegetables and using mushrooms, I sautéed all of the veggies separately, using one pot over and over again, then mixing it altogether at the end with a touch of salt, pepper, and garlic.  I used zucchini, spinach, onions and shallots, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers.  I started with the onions and cooked them until translucent then set aside.  Up next was the spinach: sautéed in butter and garlic, then the zucchini, and last the tomato/pepper mix.

I cooked the orzo as I would regular pasta, then added it to the vegetable mix, tossing the whole dish with some fresh squeezed lemon, olive oil, S&P (Salt and pepper).  Crumbled mediterranean feta sat atop the beaut and we couldn’t have been happier at how this came out!  This will for sure be part of the rotation of meals.  Bon appetít!

Lemon Orzo and Vegetable Primavera

Course Dinner
Cuisine Greek, Vegetables
Keyword dinner, easy, orzo, pasta, vegetables
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

For the vegetables

  • 1 cup Orzo
  • 1 zucchini sliced then halved
  • 2 bell peppers orange and yellow
  • 1 pkg fresh spinach
  • 1 large onion or onions and 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced
  • 1 cup feta
  • 3-4 tbsp oil I used avocado oil

For the dressing mixture

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 half squeezed lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large sauté pan, drizzle one tbsp oil into the pan and turn heat onto medium. Add the sliced onion and shallot mixture to the pan and cook until fragrant and translucent (should be able to see through the onions), approximately 8-10m.  Set aside.

  2. Add a tbsp of butter to the same pan and pour in the spinach.  Cook until leaves are wilted and soft.  Season with garlic powder and set aside.

  3. Pour another tbsp into the pan.  Layer in the sliced zucchini and cook until browned and the zucchini starts to sweat (10m).  Set aside.

  4. Add in sliced tomatoes and bell peppers and cook until fragrant and the tomatoes begin to soften.  Layer back in all of the other cooked vegetables.  Drizzle a pinch of salt and pepper, add garlic powder.  Stir to blend.

  5. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water (3-4 qts).  Add in the cup of orzo and cook for 8-9 minutes depending on packaging. Drain and pour into vegetable mixture.  Mix well.

  6. Drizzle the lemon olive oil mixture into the pan and stir to spread the dressing.  Sprinkle crumbled feta on top and serve immediately.

Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet with Garlic Spinach

HELLOOOOO FIRST SNOWY DAY OF THE SEASON!  It’s way too early for this nonsense but nevertheless, tis pretty as it falls no?  It also took me two hours to get home, but was grateful to arrive safely with my sweet girl Penny to greet me at the door.. for those of you who are new here and who don’t know my pup, here she is in her all her glory:56375504072__C45C344C-82E8-42F8-A907-7D0F6B23B3AE.JPG

Before I ate ground beef (and found a dire love for grass fed meats and quality poultry), I relied heavily on lean chicken breast and ground turkey.  I like ground turkey, but it always dries out, which then makes me gag and not want to finish my meal.  This dish, however, is nice and creamy and tastes so flavorful.  I went a little crazy and spiced the dish up a notch with chipotle powder and red pepper flakes – if you don’t like spice, feel free to leave it out!

The dish starts with sautéing some fresh spinach in butter.  Once it wilts, add some garlic powder and set aside.  This will be added to the ground turkey once it’s done browning.  Brown the ground turkey in a cast-iron skillet pre-greased.  Once the turkey is browned, add the spinach and fresh chopped sweet potato (note: I tossed the sweet potato in some avocado oil before adding it to the skillet so it gets tender quicker).

After everything is friendly in the skillet, add in the seasonings, and 1 cup of broth (either vegetable or chicken – I prefer chicken bone broth).  What this will do is keep the turkey juicy and tender, and also steam the sweet potatoes to cook quicker.  I added some flour to the mixture and blended until everything melded together and became thick.

Sprinkle some cheese (we used a fiesta blend) on top, bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.  The end result is a beautifully aromatic, flavorful hearty dish on a snowy cold day in November 🙂 Nomaste!

Baked Garlic Buffalo Wings

When Football season kicks in (see what I did there? Kick? No? Okay…), it seems like there’s only two options for food: burgers and fries, or wings.  I love me some good ol’ fashioned buffalo wings, fried to perfection and drenched in hot sauce. Boneless or on the bone, they’re so freaking delicious.  I’m of the “ranch dip” type rather than blue cheese, but that’s not a problem in our home.  I’m proud to say that this recipe calls for five ingredients: wings, avocado oil, cassava flour, garlic powder, and hot sauce.  THAT. IS. IT.IMG_4274

I played around on the internet to see how other food bloggers and foodies make their wings, and realized that everyone except for moi have a wire rack.  Rather than running out to the local 99c store to buy a cheap one, I just prayed that a lined baking sheet pan with sprayed aluminum foil would work.  Honestly? It did, and it did taste pretty damn good.  I started by cleaning and pat drying my wings (I got them from an online meat-delivery system Butcher Box, I highly recommend them if you want to ramp up the quality of your meats – plus, they have add ons like bacon and breakfast sausage… mmmm, sausage.)

After drying the wings, I tossed them in avocado oil (this oil has a high smoke point and will not burn in the oven) and coated with a generous layer of garlic powder.  Lastly, I added 1/3 cup of cassava flour to crisp the wings as they bake.  Grease a pan (or use a wire rack) and lay the wings down skin side up, bake for 50 minutes at 400 degrees, and then toss in your favorite hot sauce (I’m not sure of the brand we used but it was really yummy).

The beauty about eating wings is that it is versatile and goes with just about any dipping sauce, any sides, and of course celery and carrots.  Now go throw on your Giants jersey, crack open a Corona, and enjoy them wings!

Shepherd’s Pie

Throwback to when hubs and I went to London and had the most incredible food at a pub our last night in Europe.  I had a burger, but what did hubs have? Yep, shepherd’s pie.  We were not disappointed, in fact, it was probably one of the best meals we had when were abroad this past August.  The butter flavor of the potatoes, atop a layer of slow-cooked ground Dorset lamb, with a medley of veggies.  I’m drooling.IMG_4246

Shepherd’s pie, to me, is a comfort food, but can be made anytime!  I love the different textures in it, especially with the potatoes on top.  I made this version with Russet gold potatoes mashed with half and half, butter, and a ton of garlic powder.  The innards of the pie included ground grass fed beef, carrots, celery, onion, and loads of spices and flavors, lest not forget… Worcestershire sauce (woo, spelled that in one shot.. bam!)

I can imagine that this tastes great with ground lamb (obviously because that’s what we had in London) and with sweet potato mash on top.  I’ll have to give that version a whirl next time.  I browned the meat, added in the veggies, the seasoning, and then a 1/4 cup of flour (GASP!  I USED REAL FLOUR THIS TIME!) to thicken and absorb the liquid (beef bone broth/stock).  For the finale, I ladled the mash on top and spread to a relatively thick layer.  The assembled “pie” baked for 20 minutes then broiled for 10 to brown and crisp the edges of the potato on top.  Damn, this came out 10/10.  Give it a go, cheers mate! Xx 🙂

Shepherd's Pie

Course Dinner
Cuisine Comfort, English
Keyword beef, comfort food, shepherds pie, winter recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting time 5 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs Grass Fed Ground Beef
  • 1 carrot peeled and diced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 celery stalk chopped
  • 1/2 c beef stock preferrably bone broth
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • cumin
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • paprika to taste, or for coloring
  • 2-3 tbsp flour for thickening meat
  • pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 bay leaves

Mashed Potatoes

  • 4 medium Russet Potatoes peeled, chopped, then boiled
  • 3 tbsp butter grass fed
  • 1/3 c heavy cream
  • garlic powder generous amount
  • salt to taste

Instructions

For the meat filling:

  1. In a large cast iron skillet, brown the meat in some oil or spray oil.

  2. Add in carrots, onions, celery.  Cook until onions are semi translucent and the meat is browned.

  3. Season the meat mixture with the cumin, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, and paprika.  Stir to coat all the meat and mixture.  Add in bone broth and flour.  Stir until the meat mixture absorbs the liquid and becomes a thicker consistency.  Let simmer for 15-20m.

For the potatoes

  1. Dice potatoes and add to boiling water.

  2. After 20 minutes, potatoes should be tender.  Drain potatoes and place them into a mixing bowl.

  3. Add in butter, garlic and heavy cream.  Mash together until the potatoes are creamy and can form high peaks.

Assembly of Shepherd Pie

  1. Preheat oven to 375* degrees

  2. Layer mashed potatoes on top of the meat in the skillet.  The layer should be on the thicker side.

  3. Place skillet on middle rack.  Let bake for 15-20.  Mashed potatoes should begin to brown.

  4. Move the skillet to the broil rack (top rack) for 5-10 minutes or until sides are bubbling and are crisp.  Serve immediately!

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I’m a fall girl, 100%.  I could deal with being in warmer weather, if I lived super close to a beach, or in Florida.  Living in New York, and experiencing all four seasons, Fall is absolutely my favorite.  The leaves change, the holidays approach, the smell of pumpkin and apple pie, and SOUP.  I could eat soup everyday, and I love all varieties.  This one in particular reminds me of Panera’s chicken and wild rice, and its hearty, filling, and good for the soul!IMG_4174

I broke out the crockpot for this guy, as I usually do for soups because I love a slow cooked meal, especially in the Fall/Winter seasons.  Crockpot meals are the best because you literally throw everything in at once, checking in every so often, and stir.  With this recipe I used Trader Joe’s Basmati and Wild Rice blend that comes with dehydrated veggies and seasoning, bay leaves, organic chicken breast, fresh carrots, and celery.  For the broth I used 2 cartons of bone broth.  Bone broth is an old tradition of boiling poultry or beef bones, getting all the gelatin and collagen from the bones, for hours (like, upwards of 10-15 hours).  Bone broth has so many benefits and nutrients our bodies need, which is why I’m so glad that it’s readily available in Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

I played around with the different lengths of time and temperature, but the end result:  cook on low for 6 hours and add in water or broth as needed.  This recipe in particular requires a good amount of liquid, and a 1/2 cup heavy cream or 1/2 and 1/2 at the end, hence the “creamy” part of the recipe.  I didn’t season with any salt or pepper until it was almost ready to be served, as I wanted to be sure the seasoning wasn’t overpowering.  To create the shredded chicken, I took the chicken breasts out about 30 minutes before the soup was done, shredded with two forks, and added it back in.  Serve with a slice of baguette and you’re ready to feast!

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Course Dinner
Cuisine Soup
Keyword Chicken, Fall, Hearty, Soup, Wild Rice
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8 cups
Author nomastehungry

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Organic chicken breast
  • 1 pkg Wild rice
  • 2 cartons Chicken bone broth
  • 3 stalks Carrots sliced
  • 3 ribs Celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup Half and half
  • 3 Bay leaves

Instructions

  1. Chop/slice the carrots and celery. Set side

  2. Layer the chicken, celery, carrots, and package of rice into a medium size crockpot.

  3. Pour in the cartons of bone broth into the crockpot.  Cover and set to low for 6 hours

  4. Add in more water as need and desired if the liquid becomes absorbed as the soup cooks.  Stir occasionally.

  5. 30 minutes before the soup is done, take out chicken and shred with two forks. Add the chicken back into the soup.

  6. Pour in the 1/2 cup of half and half and season with salt and pepper.  Taste and add more as desired.

  7. Serve with a slice of french baguette and enjoy!