Cheesy Orzo with Sauteed Spinach

Tonight was the perfect excuse to make a pasta dish. After all, it’s Meatless Monday.

This recipe is a fusion of two of my favorites: mac n cheese and creamed spinach. It’s a bit heavy for a Spring meal, but it was incredibly delicious nonetheless.

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Cheesy Orzo with Sauteed Spinach
Ingredients
3/4 small cereal bowl of dry orzo
5-6 large handfuls of fresh spinach
1/4 white onion, chopped
1 handful of shredded Colby Jack
1/2 can of Cheddar Cheese soup
1 tsp of Dijon mustard
1/4 cup half n half
Salt n pepper
Red pepper flakes
Olive oil

Directions

1. Cook your orzo according to package instructions.
2. Meanwhile, sautee your onion. Once it becomes transparent, add the spinach and mix until thoroughly wilted.
3. Once the orzo is ready, drain the water. Mix in all ingredients and heat for 3-4 more minutes.

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Although I enjoyed this as a main course, I think it would also be great served as a side with a steak.

Good thing I got a solid hour in at the gym! 😉

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Roasted Vegetables

Last weekend I went to a really great Argentinian restaurant. Strangely enough, one of the highlights of my meal was the roasted vegetables I took from my boyfriend’s plate. Ever since, I’ve had roasted veggies on the brain. So after a good workout at the gym, I jumped into the kitchen.

Roasted Vegetables
Inspired by The Wednesday Chef

Ingredients

1/2 tomato, peeled and chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
4 baby gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small crown of broccoli, chopped
1 Japanese eggplant, peeled and chopped
6 white mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
Sage, rosemary, salt, and pepper
Olive oil

Directions

1. Place veggies, seasonings, and a few drizzles of olive oil in a casserole dish. Roast at 375 degrees F for approximately 45 minutes. Mix every 15 minutes.

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Roasted Red Pepper Lentil Soup

Long time no see, fellow bloggers! I can’t believe how busy I’ve been the last few weeks. Hope you can forgive me. I made this soup a few Mondays ago, but never got around to sharing it with you.

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Roasted Red Pepper Lentil Soup

Ingredients
1/2 cup red lentils
5 baby gold potatoes
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
4 mini red peppers
1 large spoonful of tomato paste
6-8 cups of water or vegetable broth
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes
Parsley

Directions

1. Cut the tops of the red peppers. Remove the seeds and rinse with water. Roll in olive oil and broil in the oven until slightly charred. Remove from heat and set aside.

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2. Boil red lentils in a small to medium sized pot until soft. Lower heat to simmer.
3. Saute onions, carrots, and potatoes in olive oil. Once transparent, mix in the tomato paste. Pour mixture into the pot with the lentils.

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4. Continue to cook another 10 minutes, then add the roasted red peppers and seasonings.
5. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

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I love how creamy this soup was without a single drop of actual cream. It was also very filling and tasty.

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Mini Rotini with Zucchini Cream Sauce

Like many of my dinners recently, this recipe is the result of what I had left in my fridge. But despite being thrown together, it was pretty yummy.

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Mini Rotini with Zucchini Cream Sauce
Ingredients
3 small zucchinis
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup half n half
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp cream cheese
Thyme
Salt & pepper
Red pepper flakes
1 tbsp olive oil

Directions
1. Make pasta per package directions.
2. Begin making the zucchini sauce while water for the pasta is boiling.
3. Grate zucchini using the large holes of a cheese grater. Scoop into a sauce pan and cook with olive oil until the zucchini’s water is released. Stir occasionally.

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4. Using the small holes of your cheese grater, grate your garlic cloves and add to the zucchini. Continue cooking for another 1 minute.
5. Add the chicken broth, half n half, cream cheese and seasoning. Cook until the mixture begins to bubble.

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6. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender. Return to heat and boil for another few minutes.

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7. Pour over pasta and enjoy.

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Bonus: Add a tbsp of butter and a little more red pepper flakes.

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What did you make for Meatless Monday?

Patates Böreği (Potato Pastry)

The Turkish börek is a simple, but delicious and versatile savory pastry. I have tried them with all different kinds of fillings: spinach, lentils, cheese, meat, and potatoes. It’s one of my must-haves when I travel to Turkey.

But I can’t even wait until I visit again to enjoy their flaky goodness…so I settled for my homemade version. Böreks are traditionally made with a dough similar to phyllo, called yufka.

I have yet to try ordering yufka from an online Turkish grocery store so phyllo dough would have to stand in.

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Patates Böreği

Ingredients
Thawed sheets of phyllo dough
6 to 8 baby gold potatoes
Goat cheese crumbles
Salt & pepper
Marjoram
Oregano
Garlic powder
Milk or half n half
Olive oil
egg yolk
Poppy seeds

Directions

1. Boil, drain, and mash the potatoes. Mix in a splash of milk or half n half, goat cheese, and seasonings.
2. In a small bowl, mix a little olive oil and milk. The ratio should be about 3:1.
3. Stack 3 square- shaped sheets in top of each, brushing each with the olive oil mixture before laying on top of the other. The phyllo sheets I buy are rectangles, so I had to cut them down into squares.
4. Spread some of the potato mixture onto the dough. Be gentle, as the dough can easily tear.
5. Fold the dough diagonally at the corners, making a large triangle. Then fold again to make a smaller triangle. Cut in half.
6. Repeat each step until you have as many börek as you desire.
7. Brush the tops with the egg yolk and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
8. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until dough is golden brown.

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Sebzeli Nohut (Chickpeas with Vegetables)

Whether you call them ceci, chickpeas, garbanzos, or nohut…we’re all talking about those yummy fiber and protein packed legumes.

I’ve been hoping to find a new recipe for them and today I managed to find one that is both meatless and Turkish inspired.

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Sebzeli Nohut
Original recipe from Almost Turkish

Ingredients
1 can organic chickpeas (drain)
1/2 big onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup fineley chopped cabbage
1 cup matchstick carrots
5 baby gold potatos, peeled and grated
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp pepper flakes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup vegetable stock
salt and pepper

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Directions
1. Cook onions and peppers in olive oil in a large, deep pan until soft.

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2. Stir in cabbage, carrot, potato, and cumin. Cook for 4-5 minutes.

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3. Add tomato paste and stir for another minute.

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4. Add chickpeas, salt, blackpepper, pepper flakes, and stock. Add a 1/2 cup of water or less (just enough to cover the chickpeas). Cover and reduce heat to low.
5. Prepare Jasmine rice. Once done, the nohut will also be ready (about 15-20 minutes). Serve together with plain yogurt.

This recipe creates a really subtle but delicious flavor combination. 🙂