Thursday, October 18 Orzo with Veggies & White Beans and Salad Rating: 4.5

When I do my weekly meal planning, I try to be sure to plan meals that will use up fresh ingredients, like produce, towards the end of the week. This way, I don’t buy an entire bunch of leeks, use one and let the rest go bad. We also always have dry goods on hand, usually purchased in bulk. So, knowing what I had on hand and what would be left from previous meals, I settled on one of our favorite “clean out the fridge” meals. It's pretty simple – veggies, a grain and a bean. We buy beans in bulk so there are always a variety to choose from, but I really like white beans in this kind of meal; they have a mellow flavor which I really like with pasta-type dishes. I sort of switch between orzo and Israeli couscous when I make this. Both are great, but I think I prefer the orzo, and I had some on hand so orzo won the day. The veggies we had were broccoli (cut into florets), a handful of mini-yellow bell peppers, shallot, garlic, tomato, about 6 spears of asparagus, some spinach and half a carrot. OK, I had more than half a carrot, but I did have just a half of one in the bag with the others, so that was what I used. This is one of my freehand, no recipe, whatever looks right sort of dishes. I like to add a bit of bouillon to the water when I cook the orzo and reserve about half a cup or so to add to the pasta when I mix it in with the veggies and beans. I steamed the carrot, asparagus & broccoli first and then set it aside while I sautéed the bell pepper, shallot and garlic. Once that was done I mixed in the beans, steamed veg and seasoned it with oregano, salt, basil and thyme (if I had to guess I’d say half to full teaspoon measures) along with a tablespoon each of lemon juice and olive oil, and then added the orzo and broth along with the spinach and let it all blend for a few minutes while Seth made a salad. He makes the best salads and is always in charge of those. So, odds and ends veggies, some dried beans and a little pasta or couscous and you’ve got dinner. Easypeasy.


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