Monday, November 21, 2011

Aunt Rebecca's Amazing Orzo Salad Recipe and Thanksgiving Menu Plans...Plus, Chris' First Stir-Fry!

"Mama Mia, a-gimme more-a spaghetti marinara!"
Kendall is my rock-star vegetarian in the house. She is always up for my veggie sandwiches that I pack with spinach, sprouts, and sundried tomatoes. Here she is with Noodles with veggies, grapes and carrots and hummus.

Well, yesterday we had Kaylee's first birthday party. Lots of...good but unhealthy food (pizza and cake, yep.) And I feel:Ugh. That's what I get for eating pizza with sausage and pepperoni (the one large veggie pizza went fast- go figure! I only got one slice!), veggie sticks (basically glorified potato sticks), and lots of cake. Dang, it was good going in! However. I have had heartburn all day. Ugh. That was a lot of dairy (pizza, cake...) and I haven't had meat in ...? a month?

I did make my aunt Rebecca's famous Orzo Pasta Salad which I will post below. I made a few variations (used balsamic instead of red wine vinegar, didn't have green onions, and omitted the pine nuts because I burned them while trying to toast them, boo!) but other than that the recipe was great- it is forgiving and you can add pretty much anything and it will taste good! Hmmm, that reminds me, I forgot to add my black olives! Now THAT would be good!

Anyhow, things are going well over here...we are getting into a groove. Even Chris made a veggie stirfry the other day and had it ready when I came home from watching Brandon's soccer game. If that's not progress then I don't know what it. Prior, the only food Chris ever cooked would be either: A) about 9 scrambled eggs or B) about 7 fried chicken thighs. I shudder at the amount of animal protein, saturated fat, and cholesterol in those meals. And the stir fry was delicious! It had mushrooms, broccolli, red onions, asparagus, and tofu!

This week for Thanksgiving I am planning on making a vegan pumpkin cheesecake, vegan green bean casserole, and vegan mashed potatoes. I may have some turkey (I know Chris will) but Mom said she would make some stuffing without adding turkey to it. Yay! LOVE mom's stuffing! It's full of raisins, nuts, and celery. MMMMMMMMM!!! I may have to bring some vegan gravy now that I think of it. I can't very well slather my vegan mashed potatoes and stuffing with turkey fat gravy! Anyhow, I am really looking forward to trying out these new recipes.

Now, for the best Orzo recipe ever...

(Aunt Rebecca's) Orzo with Tomatoes, Feta & Green Onions

¼ cup red wine vinegar

2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp honey

½ cup olive oil UPDATE: CAN BE OMITTED!

6 cups vegetable broth


2 cups red & yellow grape tomatoes halved

1- 7oz. package feta cheese cut into 1/2” cubes UPDATE: OMIT FETA FOR VEGAN VERSION

1 cup chopped fresh basil

1 cup chopped green onions

½ cup pine nuts toasted

1 can sweet corn drained

Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, and honey in bowl, gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt & pepper.

Bring broth to a boil in saucepan. Stir in Orzo, reduce heat to medium and cover partially: boil until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occaisionally. Drain. Transfer to a large wide bowl, tossing frequently to cool and separate.

Mix tomatoes, feta, basil, green onions and corn into orzo. Add vinaigrette: toss to coat. Season with salt & pepper. Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Add pine nuts; toss and serve at room temperature.

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