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.


  • 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
  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

Balsamic Roasted Carrots March 6, 2011

Filed under: Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 6:31 pm
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These make a nice side, if and only if you enjoy balsamic. JEM really dislikes balsamic but as a good sport he tried them…and still didn’t like them. I used 1 of the monster carrots from this weeks box and it made more than enough for two people, so I’m stuck eating double the carrot but definitely enjoying them.


  • 1 monster carrot (or several normal sized ones)
  • 2 tbls balsamic vinegar
  • EVOO: 2 tbls + enough to coat the carrots pre-roasting, divided
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • salt to taste


  1. Pre-heat oven to 425*.
  2. Peel and slice the carrot into 2 inch sticks.
  3. Drizzle EVOO over the carrots.
  4. Sea salt to taste.
  5. Roast in oven for about 20 mins.
  6. While the carrots are roasting: combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon and garlic. Whisk together in a small bowl.
  7. When carrots are done, remove from oven and pour vinaigrette over carrots, make sure to coat evenly.
  8. Enjoy.


Soy Ginger Green Beans

Filed under: Dinner,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 6:27 pm
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This is another fantastic side that we started making in Chinatown. The first time we made them, they were awesome but all later attempts came out less than awesome. We finally attempted again tonight and they turned out pretty fantastic. Easy to make and very yummy–what’s not to love?


  • green beans
  • 2 tbls soy sauce
  • 1 tbls EVOO
  • 1 tbls of ginger (or less if you’re not a fan of ginger)
  • 1 tsp of garlic


  1. Trim the ends of the green beans.
  2. Mince the ginger.
  3. Mince the garlic.
  4. In a skillet, heat the olive oil.
  5. When the oil is hot, add the ginger and garlic. Saute for a few mins.
  6. Add the green beans and soy sauce.
  7. Cook to taste (I prefer them al dente, JEM likes them a bit over done)
  8. Enjoy


Bean and Corn Salsa February 27, 2011

Filed under: Snack,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 6:00 am
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JEM found this recipe and it’s definitely become a weekly staple in our house. It goes fantastic with tacos, burritos, quesadillas, etc. It is also great by itself. J has made it thinking it would last a few days only to discover I brought it to work for lunch with pita chips. Quick, easy, inexpensive, very filling, and oh so good.


  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of no-salt sweet corn
  • chopped fresh cilantro to taste
  • 1/2 med. red onion (or to taste)
  • fresh lime juice (~1/2 of a squeezed lime)
  • salt
  • 1/2 chopped de-seeded jalapeno or serrano (optional)
  • 1 tbs cumin


  1. Drain the beans and corn
  2. Rinse both the beans and corn in a colander. Leave them to dry a bit.
  3. Rough chop the red onion (we cut it up fairly small.)
  4. Rinse the cilantro. Make sure to wash the cilantro very well. Unlike other herbs you may pick up from the store, this one often comes very sandy. So unless you like grit, clean it will!!
  5. Rough chop the cilantro.
  6. Rinse the hot pepper.
  7. Cut the hot pepper in half, de-seed, rough chop (again we do it pretty small or you’re like to get a VERY spicy bite.)
  8. Mix the beans, corn, cilantro, and hot pepper together. If then beans and corn are still pretty wet at this point then cumin will clump and be funky.
  9. Salt to taste.
  10. Squeeze lime juice over the mixture.
  11. Mix
  12. Enjoy!!!


Twice Baked Potatoes January 24, 2011

Filed under: Snack,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 1:51 am
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Friday rolls around and I’m staring at these 3 Idaho potatoes that we have. J and I both love mashed, he likes them with dill and I like them with pesto. We have all the ingredients necessary to make some awesome mashed potatoes. But then I think, mashed are awesome but baked potatoes are really awesome…maybe there is a way to get the best of both worlds. Inspiration strikes, I’ll do some SPINACH TWICE BAKED POTATOES. The result, just as awesome as plain ol’ mashed.


  • 3 mashed potatoes
  • Dollops of low-fat sour cream
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1-2 cups of chopped fresh spinach
  • Alternates: 1-2 tablespoons of pesto, bacon crumbles, 1-2 tbls of dill, soft cheeses (instead of cheddar cheese)


  • Pre-heat oven to 425*
  • Scrub the potatoes really well, since you’ll be eating the skins
  • Make sure to stab the potatoes on “both” sides w/ a fork or knife (I forgot to this till the potatoes were about 1/2 way done…woops)
  • Place the potatoes straight on the middle rack and bake for about an hour. They’ll be ready when a knife slides easily in and out.
  • When done, place aside to cool until you can handle them.
  • Wash and chop the spinach and gather the rest of your ingredients.
  • Halve the potatoes and scoop out the insides leaving the crispy skins as shells. (This was much easier than I expected, before this step I was expected to abort mission and just make some mashed.)
  • Mix the potato guts with spinach, 3/4 c. cheddar cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Load the empty potato skins with the yummy potato, cheese, spinach mixture.
  • Top with the remaining cheese.
  • Put back into the oven at ~400* for 20-30 mins in a baking dish.
  • Enjoy

We served these as a side with chicken, homemade spicy barbecue sauce, and the rest of the spinach.