Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Orzo Soup

We've been participating in Meatless Mondays with Georgie at  For Ken, it's a challenge not to eat meat all day - he'll eat whatever I make (or tell him to make!) for dinner, so that part's not hard, but lunch seems to be the big challenge for him.  For me, it's hard because I can't eat Sunday's leftovers, and because it's the beginning of the week - I start off strong with my meal planning, but then get sidetracked when I realize I have to plan meatless for Monday.

Choosing a meatless meal, however, is not a challenge at all.  I cook mostly vegetarian anyway (I don't like touching meat, ew) and most of the recipes I want to try are vegetarian.  My favorite site for vegetarian recipes is  I've been procrastinating on my studying for finals by going through the archives of the site, starting with the very first post back in 2003.  (I'm somewhere in 2009 now.)  I've come across some recipes I've never even seen before, and others I had forgotten about.

This Orzo Soup was one I had seen in my pre-soup days, and the pretty picture appealed to me.  When I scanned the recipe I realized it would be super quick and easy, which is necessary for my Monday night meals, especially at this time in the semester when I don't have time during the day to get started on dinner before class.  So on my way home from work I stopped at the grocery store, where I picked up a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and a bunch of spinach.  When I got home, I got started right away, and dinner was on the table in 20 minutes.  (I find that I can pressure myself into making meals quickly by starting the cooking process before I'm ready - I try to time it so that it doesn't backfire and end up overcooked, but you can't win them all...)

I decided to try to make my bowl look just like the one in the picture on 101 Cookbooks, and I think I got pretty close.  You can cut the calories here by excluding all mentions of olive oil and using just a tiny dusting of Parmesan (it's a bit boring if you exclude it altogether).  I also recommend starting off with half the red pepper flakes and working your way up - it's got quite a kick to it.  I'm sure I'll make this again since it was so easy - with whole wheat orzo or another whole grain pastina, if I can find it, because I've grown to prefer the flavor of whole grain pastas.  You can use any green you've got sitting around, though cook the heartier ones a bit longer.  In the future I might try the fire-roasted tomatoes with garlic - I picked up that can first (without realizing) but opted for the plain ones this time.  The "egg drop" was a great protein option, I might add one more egg white next time (I halved the recipe, so I used only one).

I'm hoping to be posting more often starting a week from yesterday - my finals will be over and I will finally be able to do something I like to do (COOK!!!) so there should be some fun stuff coming up.  I still haven't picked my cookie for the annual cookie exchange, which is also a week from yesterday, so stay tuned for that.

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