Orzo Salad

Remember that photo I posted back on Sunday of every pot and pan I own, dirty, on the counter?  Well besides the cookies and icing, the rest of the mess came from making myself lunches for the week.

Since I started doing this blog, I’ve been making a concentrated effort to bring my  lunches to work.  It helps save money but it also makes it possible for me to know what’s going into my food.  I’d gotten stuck in a little bit of a rut, cycling in between sandwiches (deli meat and bread from MN, cheese from WI) or pasta casseroles (meat, pasta and cheese from MN).  Not horrible, but definitely getting old and a little on the heavy side.

So this week, to change it up, I took out a cook book I haven’t tapped into to find something new.  I found an Orzo Salad recipe in Super Natural Every Day.  The cookbook is written by Heidi Swanson.  She also writes the blog for 101 Cookbooks.  It’s a great blog full of vegetarian recipes and her pictures make everything look like a million bucks.

Back to the salad.  First up, I got my Orzo into some boiling water to cook.While that was going, I cooked up some frozen broccoli in place of fresh, fresh isn’t very available in MN the second week of February.

With the broccoli done (frozen cooked up pretty fast in hot water) I made my pesto with 2 Cups of the broccoli, 2 cloves of garlic, 2/3 pine nuts and 1/3 cup parmesan cheese and lemon juice in the food processor.  The recipe called out only using a portion of the pine nuts but I tossed them all in:)

When that was pretty well blended I added in the creme fraiche and olive oil and blended until smooth.

By the time the pesto was finished the orzo had finished cooking.  I drained it, rinsed it with cold water and drained again.

Then I added about 2/3’s of the pesto in with the pasta until it was pretty evenly coated.  The rest I’ll use for another quick pasta dinner this weekend.

I bought an avocado per the recipe (obviously not a local product) and chopped it up and blended with a little more lemon juice to help prevent browning.  It didn’t last past the second day, it just got too brown and gross.  I would only use it if you had access to really fresh avocados and were going to be serving it that day.

Besides the salad, I cooked up 3 chicken breast with just a little bit of salt and pepper, shredded them and then used them to top the salad.  It was a really good change of pace and made me feel a little healthier come Friday.

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