Tag Archives: orzo

Grilled Kielbasa & Vegetable Orzo Salad

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Here is a twist on a traditional pasta salad that I’ve adapted from Savory Simple. Grilled vegetables are the featured ingredients of this dish; I’ve used colorful bell peppers, fresh corn, leeks and two types of squash. A light grill gives them a slightly smoking and charred flavor without overpowering the dish. Kielbasa adds protein and additional flavor to the salad. And it is all built upon a bed of orzo. If you prefer you can use another small pasta. With the exception of the yellow and zucchini squash, the vegetables are all grilled whole so allow them to cool slightly before attempting to slice them.

The salad tastes best when eaten at room temperature so if you make it ahead of time—which you can easily do–simply allow it to sit outside of the refrigerator for half an hour before serving. The salad is substantial enough to be a meal unto itself on a hot summer evening or can liven up a buffet table. And since this is barbecue season, why not make a bowl of this salad for your next backyard event?

GRILLED KIELBASA & VEGETABLE ORZO SALAD

1½ cups orzo

2 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 large green pepper

1 large yellow pepper

1 large red pepper

1 leek

1 yellow squash, sliced in half lengthwise

1 zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise

1 ear fresh corn on the cob

1 link kielbasa, or other Polish sausage

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the orzo according to package instructions and then drain.
  • Place the cooked orzo in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Preheat a grill to medium-high.
  • Using tongs to carefully place the whole vegetables (only the yellow squash and the zucchini will be cut up) and the kielbasa on the hot grill and then close the lid.
  • Grill for 4 minutes then using tongs, flip the vegetables and the kielbasa and continue cooking for an additional 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Remove everything from the grill and allow to cool for several minutes until it can be handled comfortably.
  • Slice the sausage thinly and add to the orzo.
  • Remove the stem and seeds from the top of the peppers, peel away the skin, then dice the roasted peppers.
  • Scrape the corn kernels off of the ear and add them to the salad.
  • Trim the end off of the leek and thinly slice the white part of the leek and add it to the salad.
  • Cut the yellow squash and zucchini into thin slices and add it to the salad as well.
  • Toss everything together, adjust the seasoning if necessary, and serve.

Serves 6-8

 

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Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Here is another easy end of the week soup that was inspired by Damn Delicious. Chicken and pasta soup is a classic but the squeeze of lemon juice brightens the broth and gives it an unexpected flavor. The addition of pancetta adds saltiness and an additional level of complexity to the broth as well. I’ve used boneless and skinless chicken breasts but you can easily substitute chicken thighs or even leftover rotisserie chicken. If you choose to use precooked chicken, simply add it to the broth in the final few minutes of cooking and then continue cooking until the chicken is heated through.

Easy peasy on a Friday night!

LEMON CHICKEN ORZO SOUP

2 ounces pancetta, diced

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 leek, diced

3 carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

5 cups low sodium chicken stock

2 bay leaves

3/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta

1 sprig rosemary

Juice of 2 lemons

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large stockpot set over medium heat.
  • Add the pancetta and fry until crispy. Remove from the pan to drain and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper then add the chicken to the stockpot and cook until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes; set aside.
  • Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the stockpot. Add garlic, leek, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir in the thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Whisk in the chicken stock, bay leaves and 1 cup water; bring to a boil.
  • Stir in the orzo, rosemary and chicken; reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice and parsley; season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
Serves 6
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