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! 😉

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?

Creamy Mushroom Pasta Sauce

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve recently become obsessed with mushrooms. Which is pretty surprising since I would barely touch them a year ago. Once again, it was proven to me how much preparation and presentation matter.

I thought I didn’t like mushrooms. But what I actually didn’t like was the way other people cut and prepared them. What I’ve found is that mushrooms are best thinly sliced. They also need some sort of flavor infused into them. Those 2 things were the cure. Now I love mushrooms and I’m finding lots of ways to incorporate them into my cooking. Tonight, I incorporated mushrooms with my love of cream sauce and the results were quite successful.

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Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Ingredients

4 or 5 white mushrooms (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup half n half
1 tbsp unsalted butter
A drizzle of olive oil
1 tsp flour
Basil
Salt & pepper

Directions

1. Cook your favorite pasta according to the package directions. While the pasta boils, prepare your sauce.
2. In a medium sized pan, melt the butter and mix in the flour.
3. Add the garlic, mushroom, and a drizzle of olive oil to the pan. Cook until soft, only stirring 2-3 times.
4. Add chicken broth and cook for another 2 minutes.

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5. Add half n half and seasonings, stirring until the sauce thickens.

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Bonus: I used to have trouble peeling garlic. But then my boyfriend taught me this technique. Chop off the top and bottom of the garlic clove.

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Then slice the garlic clove in half lengh-wise. The outer layer will come right off!

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As a final touch, I mixed a tbsp of butter in with my pasta and added a dollop of plain yogurt on top of my sauce.