Roasted Vegetable Asian Orzo

Roasted Vegetable Asian OrzoThis roasted vegetable Asian orzo was an INSTANT winner in our house. Travis and I were fans when this was hot off the stove top and I’m pretty sure we were even bigger fans when we had it as leftovers. I find it thrilling when something is even better in leftover form! Probably because I’m a complete dork, but that’s okay. I think in this case, the orzo just absorbs all the delicious dressing a little bit more after it sits so the flavor packs even more punch the second go-around. YUM.YUM.YUM!

Roasted Vegetable Asian OrzoIt not often that the little guy will eat whatever we put in front of him when he’s never had it before. Usually it takes like 2 or 3 attempts before he really enjoys something (especially when that something contains vegetables). I was *shocked* to look over and see him not only devouring the orzo the first time he had it, but also literally PICKING OUT the vegetables to eat them. I think I gave him like every pea that was in the stuff one day because that just doesn’t usually happen. It is that good.

Roasted Vegetable Asian OrzoVegetables, when roasted, form this unique sweetness that’s just lovely paired with the slightly sweet, salty, and spicy dressing. I’m literally finding it hard to come up with words to describe how good this roasted vegetable Asian orzo is…It’s my new favorite thing to eat. I probably say that a lot but this time I can tell it’s favorite status is going to last awhile 🙂

Roasted Vegetable Asian OrzoI would eat this warm or cold. I would eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or midnight snack. I would make this for a family dinner or fancy dinner party (which, I don’t really ever have…but I would TOTALLY serve this if I did). Just give it a whirl. PLEASE! And hopefully you will love it as much as I do!

Roasted Vegetable Asian Orzo

Roasted Vegetable Asian Orzo
Serves 4
Roasted vegetable and orzo tossed in an Asian-inspired dressing
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 large carrots, diced
  2. 1 medium onion, diced
  3. 1 red bell pepper, diced
  4. 3 cloves garlic, whole and unpeeled
  5. 1 tablespoon + 1/4 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  6. 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  7. 1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo
  8. 1 cup frozen peas
  9. 1/4 cup soy sauce
  10. 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  11. 3 tablespoons honey
  12. 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  13. 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  14. 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine diced carrots, onion, and bell pepper with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  3. Wrap 3 whole garlic cloves (unpeeled) and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon olive oil in foil. Place on the baking sheet with the other vegetables.
  4. Bake vegetables for 20-25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  5. While the vegetables are baking, bring the vegetable stock to a boil over medium-high heat in a medium to large pot.
  6. Add the orzo, stir, and reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer 12-15 minutes, until the orzo is cooked, stirring occasionally.
  7. Remove the lid, stir in the frozen peas and heat through.
  8. Once the vegetables are finished roasting, stir in the carrots, onion, and bell pepper.
For the dressing
  1. Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, sesame oil, ginger, and Sriracha in a small bowl. Once the vegetables are done roasting, take the cloves of garlic and squeeze the garlic out of the peel. Mash it slightly with a fork before whisking it into the dressing.
  2. Add the dressing to the vegetables and orzo and heat until everything is warmed.
  3. Serve warm or cold.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Spinach Dal

Spinach DalA few days ago I promised you a new dal recipe that MIGHT just be better than the original Green Lentil Dal I posted awhile back. That’s hard to imagine since the original is SO. DARN. GOOD! It’s also probably my top viewed recipe, so I have a lot to live up to by saying this new spinach dal recipe might be better. I guess you’ll just have to try them both and let me know which you prefer!

Spinach DalFavorite thing about this spinach dal recipe is that it’s tasty. Number one priority FOR SURE. Next favorite thing is that it is amazingly good for you. Since it is the new year and resolutions are sure to be made, that’s a good thing! Right?? I think every year I try to tell myself I’ll eat healthier. Raise your hand if you say the same thing every new year…I’m going to assume everyone’s hand is raised because I really can’t see you all. Reality is that lasts about a week before I’m tired of salads and whatnot. BUT, if all healthy foods taste *this* good, I’m sure not complaining. In fact, I’m coming back for seconds!

Spinach DalI can already tell some of you are still looking at that bright green color and cringing. Let me tell you, it may look awfully green but it tastes like gold…haha. I crack myself up. I find rice and naan also help even out the green-ness of the dal. They are a nice balance to this meal!

Spinach DalEven my don’t-want-to-touch-a-veggie little guy was eating this stuff by the spoonful. In fact, he inspired this recipe! Awhile back he started eating solid foods and I was trying my best to get vegetables in his diet without boring steamed vegetables as the go-to. I bought some spinach dal at the store for him to try. It was so good and he loved it. He would eat anything with a little bit of that stuff on top! I told myself I would totally make it every day of my life if he would eat it and it was good for him. Life happens and about 6 months later I finally got around to making some and little man still loves it (as does big man, Travis 🙂 hehe)! I love spice-filled foods so if the kid only eats veggies covered in chili powder and curry, you will not hear any complaints here!

Spinach Dal
Serves 6
Indian, spinach-based lentil stew, with aromatic spices
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  2. 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed*
  3. 2 teaspoons chili powder
  4. 1 teaspoon turmeric
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach
  7. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  8. 1 onion, diced
  9. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  10. 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  11. 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  12. 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  13. 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  14. 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the lentils, chili powder, turmeric, and salt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes, until the lentils are tender (but not mushy).
  2. While the lentils are cooking, cook and drain the frozen spinach according to the packaging. Make sure to press out as much excess water as possible. Set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add the spinach, onion, garlic, tomato, cumin, curry powder, ginger, and cinnamon.
  4. Saute until the onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Once the lentils are cooked, add about 1 cup of their cooking liquid to the spinach mixture. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until almost smooth. Add more of the cooking liquid, as needed, to blend the mixture.
  6. Once the spinach mixture is blended, stir in the remaining stock and lentils. If the mixture is too thick for your preference, you can thin it with additional vegetable stock or water.
  7. Eat warm with rice and naan.
Notes
  1. *When you rinse your lentils, sift through them and remove any little pebbles or bad lentils before cooking.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Updated Recipes

Happy New Year!! I hope everyone had a great holiday season. My family was out and about visiting family, which was wonderful…BUT, I’m so happy to be back home too. Vacationing with a 1-year-old can get a little rough at times. I must say, we all had an amazing time despite the lack of sleep and tantrums at times!

Cinnamon Rolls

I’ll be back with some new recipes real soon, but a couple updates about old recipes first! I updated my Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls because after making them again, a lower temperature is the way to go to make sure they don’t get too brown on top while baking. Also, probably my most popular recipe, Green Lentil Dal, had a face lift after my best constructive critic (my sister, of course!) told me it was too watery for her taste. So I tried it again with less liquid and it was great! She was totally right! I left the extra liquid as an option, so if you were attached to the old version, you’re still covered.

Lentil Dal

Speaking of green lentil dal, keep an eye out for my next recipe…I’ll leave you guessing what it is exactly, but it’s another take on dal that might just be even more delicious than the original! YUM!

Christmas Eve Hot Chocolate

Christmas Eve Hot ChocolateEvery year growing up we used to leave milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. That tradition is sure to continue with our little one. However, I don’t think Santa would mind ONE bit if we left him some of this hot chocolate instead of milk along with his cookies. In fact, I’m POSITIVE he would love it. 

Christmas Eve Hot ChocolateThis is a *super* rich and creamy version of hot chocolate that will leave your whole body warmed. Notice the sweetened condensed milk pouring into this pot of cream and whole milk…Yeah. It’s rich. In fact, I’d say it’s on a totally different planet than the “hot chocolate” packets that often pop up. Don’t get me wrong, I still use powdered hot cocoa and love it. But for Christmas Eve, this version is certainly a treat worth having. Santa will leave your house so, so happy. 

Christmas Eve Hot ChocolateThe only comparison I can come up with is the hot chocolate Travis and I had on our final night in Italy a few years ago. We were sitting in a cozy cafe near the leaning tower of Pisa. Stop right there. Picture that stunning image for a second…Okay, proceed. We wanted to treat ourselves to a little something and decided on hot chocolate. That was a genius idea. I think had the best hot chocolate of my life there. Now, this might not be an identical recipe, but it sure did bring me back to that little cafe. All the good feels came back real quick.

Christmas Eve Hot ChocolateChristmas Eve hot chocolate is almost like a pause button on life. With all the stress of Christmas – running around to see family, wrapping presents, making endless food, traffic, decorating, etc. – this hot chocolate will force you to sit and enjoy the little things of life. Even if just for a minute. And it will put a SMILE on your face! What more can you ask for?! Maybe some peppermint truffles to go with it?? Yeah. That’s what you can ask for 🙂

Christmas Eve Hot Chocolate
Serves 8
Rich and creamy hot chocolate recipe from scratch
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Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
12 min
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
12 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups whole milk
  2. 2 cups heavy cream
  3. 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
  4. 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted*
  5. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Whisk together milk, cream, and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat until tiny bubbles just begin to form along the edges.
  2. Whisk in the melted chocolate chips, vanilla extract, and pinch of salt until evenly distributed.
  3. Serve warm with whipped cream, marshmallows, or your topping of choice!
Notes
  1. To melt the chocolate chips, you can either melt them over a double boiler or in the microwave. To microwave, heat in 30 second intervals, mixing each time, until the chocolate chips are melted.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Peppermint Chocolate Sandwich Cookie Truffles

peppermint sandwich cookie truffleDecember is holiday time! Yay! When I think holidays (especially Christmas), I think peppermint. It’s just so festive and fun! You will definitely get your peppermint fill with these peppermint chocolate sandwich cookie truffles. OH. MY. YUM. If you’re confused what I mean by “chocolate sandwich cookie”, it’s just a very generic way of saying peppermint “Oreo” truffles. I decided not to play favorites because I did indeed use the generic brand that was labelled “chocolate sandwich cookies.” Guaranteed delicious no matter the brand. For reals.

peppermint sandwich cookie truffleI remember making chocolate sandwich cookie truffles in middle school home ec. class (Am I dating myself here? Do they still have that class??). In fact, I think that’s the only recipe I remember making in that class because, well, chocolate. You can’t forget a delicious chocolate recipe. Also, the original recipe literally has 3 ingredients…sandwich cookies, cream cheese, and chocolate chips. You don’t even really need a recipe for that. SCORE!

peppermint sandwich cookie truffleI used my homemade peppermint extract in this recipe. Amazing! Couple notes if you use a homemade extract…First of all, this isn’t baked so if you use an alcohol base in your extract, it will have a very small amount of alcohol in the final recipe (split over about 50 truffles). Also, I actually used a little extra extract than the recipe calls for (about 3 teaspoons instead of 2 teaspoons) because I find the homemade stuff isn’t quite as strong as store-bought. However, you also have peppermint candy cane dust to bring the peppermint flavor home so it’s not a huge deal if the extract isn’t super strong.

peppermint sandwich cookie truffleI love a strong peppermint flavor so you know for sure that something is peppermint. I ended up adding more and more peppermint to get the right flavor. I think I finally got there with this final recipe! Don’t forget a little candy cane garnish so everyone knows what deliciousness there is in that perfect little truffle!

peppermint sandwich cookie truffleIf you love a peppermint and chocolate combo, check out these chocolate mint crinkle cookies. You will not be disappointed. I plan on making them again this weekend because you can never have enough!

Peppermint Chocolate Sandwich Cookie Truffle
Yields 50
Mint and chocolate truffle
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 package chocolate sandwich cookies (14.3-ounce, such as Oreos)
  2. 3 peppermint candy canes (plus 1-2 more for garnish)
  3. 8-ounce package of cream cheese
  4. 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  5. 12-16 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips*
Instructions
  1. Crush the sandwich cookies with a rolling pin (or in a food processor) until they are a fine crumb. Set aside.
  2. Use a food processor to pulverize 3 candy canes into fine pieces. You are almost looking for a dust-like consistency but a few fine pieces are okay (you definitely don't want someone to bite down on a large chunk of candy cane).
  3. Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, beat together the cream cheese and peppermint extract until blended.
  4. Beat in the crushed cookies and candy cane.
  5. Form into 1" balls using a cookie scoop and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  7. While the truffles are cooling in the refrigerator, prep the peppermint garnish by crushing or food processing 1-2 candy canes into small pieces to sprinkle over the top.
  8. Right before the truffles are ready to come out of the refrigerator, melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each increment.
  9. Dip each truffle into the chocolate using 2 spoons to help the excess chocolate drip off. Place truffles on a parchment-lined baking sheet and immediately top with the peppermint garnish.
  10. Let the chocolate set before storing in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator.
Notes
  1. I ended up using one 12-ounce bag of chocolate chips plus about another 1/4 cup. You might be able to make it with just the 1 bag, but I'd recommend having more handy, just in case.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/