Lemon & Parsley Orzo with Chick Peas

As summer is nearing it’s end this year, I’ve been looking for ways to use up the parsley in my garden before it yellows and is no longer producing. I had some orzo on hand so why not put the two together and see what we can come up with? This recipe is very light and crisp, perfect for those dog days of summer that we experience in Ohio in August. Most of these ingredients were chosen because they were on hand in my kitchen, so don’t be afraid to change it up if you don’t have everything in the ingredient list.

Orzo

 

Ingredients:

1 cup dry orzo, cooked according to package

1 large bunch of fresh parsley (a good handful)

Fresh basil leaves, about 8, if available

1 cup + orange grape tomatoes, quartered

1 cup peas (I used frozen)

1 can organic chick peas, drained and well rinsed

1/2 green pepper

Dressing:

White wine vinegar

Olive oil

1/2 lemon juice

1 tsp. lemon zest

1/2 tsp each of granulated onion, dried shallot, black pepper, sea salt, garlic powder

1/2 TBS Honey

Directions:

1. Cook the orzo according to the package interactions, which would typically be boiling the orzo in 3-4 cups of water (for 1 cup dry orzo) for about 16 minutes.

2. Add the frozen peas into the boiling orzo for the last 6 minutes of the cooking time (who needs to dirty up extra pots?)

3. Chop tomatoes and herbs and dice green peppers. Put into a mixing bowl large enough for entire dish. (the green peppers add a great crisp bite to this dish, so I recommend using them or something that will give you a similar snap!)

4. Add cooked orzo and peas into mixing bowl.

5. Mix together ingredients for dressing. I prefer equal amount of olive oil to my vinegar so I only used about 1/3 cup of each or less.

6. Pour 3/4 of the dressing into the orzo mixture, the rest will be tossed with the chick peas to cook.

7. Using the same pot you cooked your orzo in, add the remaining amount of dressing along with your chick peas. Bring to a simmer, stirring for about 10 minutes. (if you prefer uncooked chick peas this step may not be necessary. I tend to prefer warming mine to soften them a bit. If you have a little extra time on your hand, put them in the oven instead for a brown crispness).

8. Add chick peas to your orzo mixture, toss and serve or refrigerate for later!

 

Grilled Portabello Mushrooms

Sometimes I just want some simple, quick tips to cooking certain items when you are in a rush. Maybe you are already mid-stream in dinner preparation… so here goes. This is my simple and tasty way to grill big, beautiful portobello mushrooms.

Grocery List

1. 3-4 Large mushroom caps, typically portobello

2. Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper

3. Garlic, 3 cloves minced

4. Fresh herbs on hand

5. *Optional Ingredient: Goat cheese

 

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1. Clean mushroom with a damp paper towel, removing any visible dirt on the outer shell.

2. Trim the bottom of the stem, but I like to keep the majority of the stem intact.

3. Gill side up, drizzle olive oil and salt & pepper generously onto the mushroom.

4. Toss some minced fresh garlic and any fresh or dried herbs you have on hand into the center.

5. Set mushroom caps, gill side up, onto a warm grill over medium heat.

6. Usually, you only need to cook these for 10 minutes. If they start to brown too quickly, set them onto foil to allow a longer cooking time = more tender mushroom, without the over done ness which results in a chewy mushroom mess.

7. Slice and enjoy as the main event in a salad or pasta, or serve as a tasty side to a grilled steak.

Bon Appétit!

Green Spring Salad with Creamy Vegan Herb Dressing

Finally, the sun is out in Ohio and people have climbed out of their caves to bask in the rarely seen sun. The air smells different and it will be just a short time until the weekly farmer’s markets are bustling with localvores searching for the freshest ingredients to use in colorful dishes. Until then, visiting the North Market is exactly like being at a summer farmer’s market, and that is where I ventured today to find fresh arugula and kale, which are the shinning stars in this stunning salad. Image

 

Salad Ingredients:

4 cups arugula

4 cups kale (torn and massaged)

1 cup chopped green onion

extra virgin olive oil

fresh ground salt and pepper

I think it is kind of strange… the way certain foods become “trendy”. Kale is certainly one of those foods right now, it is on every restaurant menu from salads to burger toppings and I have to be honest, I’m okay jumping on the band wagon. I’ve been loving Kale since the first time I tried kale chips a few years ago.

So to be quite honest, when I’ve tried using fresh uncooked kale in recipes, it has often tasted bitter or too chewy. AND THEN SOMEONE TOLD ME TO MASSAGE THE KALE. Hallelujah! What a difference massaging the kale makes. So DON’T skip this step.

Salad Directions: 

1. Make sure to wash the arugula and kale very well. Both of these leafy greens tend to hold a lot of sandy dirt in their leaves.

2. Remove the leafy part of the kale by holding the thick stem in your right hand, upside down. Pull the leaves downward and they pull right off of the stems.

3. Rip the kale into 1″ size pieces and then scrunch and crunch the kale with your hands. In other words, give it a good old massaging (deep tissue).

4. Chop the green onion and add to the big bowl of arugula and kale.

5. Rather than putting lots of salt and pepper in your dressing, I like to add a bit into the bowl of greens now, and then spritz the greens with some olive oil. I used garlic infused oil for a little extra flavor and used my Misto to spray the greens.

Dressing Ingredients: 

2-3 Tablespoons Grapeseed Vegenaise

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

1/4 cup fresh basil

2 cloves garlic

+ spices of your choice (onion powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder or parsley)

1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

Dressing Directions: 

1. Add all ingredients into a food processor and chop, then process into a creamy liquid.

2. Taste and feel free to add more vinegar or Vegenaise depending on taste and consistency. You can get creative and change up the spices at any time.

3. Refrigerate for an hour for best results on cold greens.

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Quinoa with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

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Craving something fresh, tasty and good for you? This Cilantro Lime Quinoa recipe is easy and healthy and can be prepared in just about 20 minutes. Here is what you are going to need:

  • 1 cup quinoa (I used a blend of red and white quinoa)
  • 2 cups water
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • green onion (approx. 1 cup chopped)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 banana pepper
  • 1/2 cup garlic infused olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • juice of 1 lime (1/4 cup)

Make sure you rinse the quinoa before cooking. My strainer really doesn’t have a fine enough mesh, so the little bits of quinoa escape while rinsing. So, I usually put my dry quinoa in a big bowl and fill it with water and swish it around. You will notice right away that the water starts to turn a brownish pink color. Then pour the mixture through a fine mesh spoon of some kind, into the strainer below. This helped from losing too much of the quinoa. I repeat this until the water is mostly clear when I’m swishing it around in the bowl.

Meanwhile, bring your water to a boil and add your clearly rinsed quinoa. Cover and reduce to the lowest simmer you can for 20 minutes. This next tip is IMPORTANT to keep the quinoa from getting to sticky and overdone. Take the lid off of the pot immediately after it cooks for 20 minutes, fluff with a fork and let it cool without the lid. I tend to forget to to do this and it often gets overcooked and sticky.

Dice up the banana pepper (or sub a jalapeño for more heat), green onion and tomatoes. Put them all together in a large bowl.

Add cooled quinoa into large bowl.

In a separate container or food processor, add cilantro, cider vinegar, lime juice, olive oil (if using regular EVOO, add minced garlic here too), salt and pepper. Blend for a nice green color and consistency.

Add dressing into quinoa mixture and refrigerate for flavors to settle.

I hope you enjoy!

 

Oven Roasted Chick Pea’s – Best Go To EVER!

This recipe is short and sweet, works with everything and can be tweaked for any meal style. The ingredients are as follows:

1. 32oz. chick peas (soaked are the best, but canned work just fine. Make sure you rinse them well).

1a. If you decide to soak fresh chick peas, you will want to cover them completely in cold water and let them sit overnight, at least 8-12 hours. Drain when finished and then boil

2. Set oven to 400 degrees.

3. Lay chick peas, also known as garbonzo beans, in a single layer sheet pan. Drizzle in olive oil and salt and pepper.

4. This is the fun part, you can season these to bring out any flavor that you want. Here are some of my favorite combinations.

cumin+cayenne pepper+ garlic powder OR oregano+onion/garlic powder+parmesan OR cumin+turmeric+cilantro+