theboxexperiment

Attempting to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Orzo Pasta Salad July 7, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 9:06 pm
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This is one of our favorite summer salads, I first found it on Food Network from Giada De Laurentiis.This is a fresh, light, tasty salad. It is an easy make ahead dish and keeps really well in the fridge for a few days. It’s a quick dish to make, the longest part is waiting for the pasta to cool off slightly. Some like this dish on the warm side (not hot!) and on the cool side. So if you don’t want to wait, you can make this while it’s warm.

Great for a summer potluck or a picnic at your favorite water-side place. It’s also fantastic for a quick weeknight dinner.

Quick Note: the recipe below makes a very large amount of this stuff, I would make the full recipe if I were feeding 4+ people (it’s normally perfect for about 6 with no leftovers). For just the 2 of us, I cut the recipe in half and we have enough leftovers for another full dinner side.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups baby spinach (about 3 oz)
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 12 fresh torn basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (sunflower seeds, cashews, and macadamia nuts work well as well)
  • 3 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
Steps
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heats.
  2. Add the pasta. Cook until tender but still firm to the bite (about 8-10 minutes).
  3. Drain pasta and set aside to cool.
  4. Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large serving bowl.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients.
  6. Toss gently to combine.
  7. Enjoy
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Zucchini w/ Rice April 4, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Poutlry,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 7:53 pm
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Tonight’s dinner was fantastic and simple. More importantly made in 25 minutes!!! We’ve been getting slower about cooking, making us eat later and later. After having dinner at 8 one night, we agreed that we needed to eat at an earlier time so we could get some decent night’s sleep.

For the grilled chicken: coat the chicken in a bit of olive oil and use whatever chicken seasoning you like. We use McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning, one of the best pre-made ones we’ve found. Then grill till cooked (~15 mins for 1 chicken breast).

On to the main recipe: zucchini w/ rice. Inspired by the 2 zucchini from last weeks box.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 zucchini peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 1 can tomato paste (a little one)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 c. chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (opt.)
  • 1 tsp onion powder (opt.)
  • 1 tsp dried basil (opt.)

Steps:

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet.
  2. Add the garlic and zucchini.
  3. Saute until soft (~15 mins.)
  4. Once soft add tomato paste, water, onion.
  5. Saute until the tomato paste and water combine.
  6. Add the other seasons, mix till joined.
  7. Add in rice. (We used less than 1 c.–closer to 2/3 of a cup)
  8. Serve and Enjoy.

The seasonings are not yet perfect. Tomato paste has a very strong flavor: salt, onion, garlic, and basil did a pretty good job improving it. Feel free to tweak, if you find something that works well, let me know!!

 

Indian Potatoes March 5, 2011

This recipe was adopted from “5 Spices, 50 Dishes,” by Ruta Kahate; a fantastic Indian cookbook. These could go well as either a side for dinner or as breakfast potatoes. You can make them 2 different ways, first as smashed potatoes and second quartered and crispy.

Ingredients

  • ~2 1/4 lbs of potatoes (either russet or red), boiled (and peeled if you prefer crispy potatoes)
  • 6 tbls of canola oil (we use less generally, probably around 4 tbls)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps coriander (or, if you have them 3 tbls coriander seeds, coarsely crushed)
  • if you really are craving spicy potatoes: 2 medium Serrano chiles, cut lengthwise in quarters (we’ve never done this)

Steps for Smashed (steps by JEM)

  1. Dice the boiled potatoes.
  2. In a large pot on high heat add oil (4 tbls) and cumin seeds.
  3. When the pan gets hot add the potatoes.
  4. Add all the other spices.
  5. Stir to coat/combine.
  6. Cook for about 5 mins, stirring continuously (this will help continue breaking down potatoes so they are smashed without the act of smashing).
  7. Enjoy

Steps for Crispy Potatoes (from the cookbook)

  1. Slice the potatoes lengthwise into quarters. Then cut them crosswise into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Heat the oil (6 tbls) in a large work over high heat.
  3. When the oil begins to smoke, add the cumin seeds. This will cause sputtering so be careful!
  4. After the seeds stop sputtering, add the chiles (optional)
  5. When they are well toasted, add the turmeric and briefly stir.
  6. Add the potatoes and salt.
  7. Toss well, cover, and leave on medium-high heat until the potatoes are slightly toasted, about 4 mins.
  8. Uncover and add the coriander seeds and toss well again.
  9. Continue to heat uncovered, tossing occasionally until the potatoes are crusty and well browned, about 6-8 minutes.
  10. Serve warm.
  11. Enjoy