Creamy Parmesan Orzo (One Pot Side Dish)

I started making this side dish about 4 years ago, and it has been in weekly rotation at my house ever since. My favorite thing about this orzo is that it pretends to be a risotto (with pasta of course) but is wayyyy less maintenance. Also, my one year old loves it – WIN!

As a Mom, one of my biggest goals is to create those things that my kids will look back on one day and immediately think of me. As I type that, it sounds a little bit selfish, but I want my kids to have fond memories of their childhood. Many of those warm feelings for me come from food – my grandma’s cinnamon rolls and sugar cookies, my mom’s runzas and ham balls, my grandma’s love of strawberry shortcake and how I tried to make it one time and accidentally used way too much salt. It seems that it’s those recipes that never taste quite as good when you make them yourself. I’m still trying to find “those recipes” of my own, and I think in time they will come naturally. For now, this orzo is probably one of them for my husband as he literally asks me to make this every week.

So go on, give this a try tonight and reminisce about all of those recipes that bring you warm feelings in your family.

Print Recipe
Creamy Parmesan Orzo (One Pot Side Dish)
Creamy (without the cream) pasta dish that everyone at your table will enjoy.
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter then add the garlic. Heat for 30-60 seconds.
  2. Add the orzo and toast (stirring frequently) until some pieces just start to turn light brown.
  3. Pour in 2 cups of the chicken broth and let simmer down until almost completely absorbed. Add in 1/2 cup of chicken broth at a time until the orzo is done (you'll have to taste it). Add an additional 1/4 cup of broth and let it heat up.
  4. Stir in red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese is incorporated (it should melt quickly) and the orzo is a creamy consistency.
  5. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

You made need more or less chicken broth depending on how quickly it absorbs.

Freshly grated parmesan works the best, but you can also use parmesan out of the jar (green Kraft container).

You can easily make this into a full meal by adding chicken and/or broccoli.

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Easy Anytime Homemade Stuffing

I can’t believe it’s only a week before Thanksgiving. Is it just me or does time continually get faster as you get older, especially when you have kids ?! (Sorry for the sentimental blubbery and cliche statements). I’m feeling a little emotional these days and trying to savor these last few months with one kid – that’s right, I’m pregnant! Super exciting, super exhausting, super duper didn’t feel like cooking for about 4 months, which explains questions I have been getting about ‘Are you still writing your blog?’. Oops, yes! Just hard to keep up with a cooking blog when the only thing entering and staying in my stomach there for awhile was Ramen and watermelon popsicles.

Anyway….whether you are hosting, gathering elsewhere, or just having an intimate family meal with you and yours, this stuffing recipe is great to toss together as you will more than likely have all the ingredients on hand. I don’t know about you, but I used to be intimidated by making stuffing. I don’t know if it’s because there are so so SO many variations of it, and in all honesty sometimes it just doesn’t taste great for whatever reason, but I decided this year I was going to tackle it in a way that I wouldn’t mind re-creating any time of the year. (Also, I had a loaf of homemade white bread that desperately needed using before I had to sadly and guiltily toss it).

Served with pork chop with pan gravy and green beans

Give this a go on the big day, you won’t regret it. ♥

Print Recipe
Easy Anytime Homemade Stuffing
Simple stuffing made with ingredients you probably already have on hand. Give it a try and wow your guests.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Casserole
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
FInal Touches
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Casserole
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
FInal Touches
Instructions
  1. Cut bread into 1" cubes and let dry out on a baking sheet overnight. If you didn't have time to do this the day before you can also place the baking sheet in a 250 degree oven until the bread starts to dry out (will vary depending on bread, check on it every 5-10 minutes).
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and celery and cook down for 10 minutes or until softened.
  4. Place dried bread cubes into a large bowl and pour melted butter with onions and celery over it. Stir together well.
  5. Add the sage, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, and celery salt. Stir to combine.
  6. Pour 1 1/4 cups of chicken broth over the bread mixture and mix together well.
  7. Whisk together the 2 eggs with 1 1/4 cups of chicken broth. Pour over the bread mixture and again mix well. It will start to get mushy at this point and that's okay! Continue to add additional chicken broth 1/4 cup at a time until all the bread is saturated.
  8. Place into a greased casserole dish. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Uncover then cook for an additional 10 minutes to get a nice crisp on top.
  9. For the final touch, melt 3 Tbsp butter in the microwave. Stir in the additional 1/4 tsp of sage, thyme, and parsley. Drizzle over the top. Dig in!
Recipe Notes

The amount of chicken broth needed will vary between 2-3 cups depending on how long your bread was allowed to dry out and what type of bread you used. I used homemade white bread and I used more toward the 2 3/4 cup end, but if you use store bought sliced bread it won't take as much.

You can omit the final topping of butter if you're worried about calories 😉

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Greek Salad with Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette

I feel like since having a baby my daily/weekly/monthly goals that I set for myself have become a wee bit simple. It went from “I’m going to meal plan, meal prep, work out 3 days, and write a blog post this week” to “I am going to shower today” and “I am not going to eat cereal for supper…again”. Since I am 13 weeks postpartum I think it’s time to eat consistent, well-rounded meals, and actually make an effort to get my daily servings of fruits and veggies. Sigh. Don’t get me wrong, I have been trying to eat healthy since I’ve been breastfeeding, but now that my little man is getting bigger, he requires more milk, so I need to start eating more, quit skipping meals, and make sure that the calories I do put in are for the most part healthy. (It all sounds sooo easy, doesn’t it?!)

It’s unfortunate that summer is gone because that means less fresh produce, but thankfully we live in an area of Colorado that has great grocery store variety and large produce sections. This simple Greek salad is a wonderful way to get veggies in (and some feta cheese).  Speaking of which, I love feta cheese. I don’t know how this started. Where I grew up, we were more of a meat and potatoes crowd, and I don’t even think I knew what feta was until I went to Europe, had a gyro, and knew this cheese and I would be BFFs. I think I just wrote an ode to feta, but it deserves it.

If you haven’t tried making homemade dressings, you should start now. I was always intimidated by it, but it is truly very simple, especially vinaigrettes: oil + something acidic (i.e. citrus juice or vinegar) + any other herbs or flavors you want. Oregano gives this one a little punch, and it is a traditional Greek flavor. (Plus I added some sugar to balance using two acids)

P.S. Try the vinaigrette on a lettuce salad or pasta salad. Yum. 

Print Recipe
Greek Salad with Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette
Quick salad full of veggies with a simple dressing with multiple uses!
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Salad
Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 10 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Salad
Lemon Oregano Vinaigrette
Instructions
  1. Chop all of the vegetables and put into a medium sized bowl.
  2. Put dressing ingredients into a bowl or jar (jar works better if you are saving some for later) and stir until combined.
  3. Pour the dressing over the vegetables. Cover the salad and let marinate in the refrigerator for 10 minutes (you can skip this step if you are in a hurry).
  4. Remove from the refrigerator, and add the feta cheese. Give it a quick stir to combine, and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

This amount of dressing would make double the salad, so I would start with only using half and add more if you need it. You can change the amounts in the salad to suit your needs! It would also be good with kalamata olives added.

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