Want to know what I find difficult?
Besides finding a hair length I like, painting my own toes, sleeping in cars, wearing high heels (team wedge!) and recently discovering that Atomic Fireballs have 40 calories a piece (highly disappointing considering I’ve been subjecting my tongue to their delicious, delicious burn since my in-laws brought Ben and me a bag from Cracker Barrel last week…)
Finding a good side dish recipe.
I don’t know. I’m the kind of person who can sit down with a big bowl of soup or piece of lasagna and be just fine, but Ben likes himself some options at dinnertime!
In the summer I’ll slice up a couple peaches or a make a side salad with cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden for dinner, but I have to be careful, you see. There are plenty of side dishes I’ve been politely asked to “discontinue” due to the fact that I get obsessed and try to serve them 4 days a week.
(Cough, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, cough. OMG that reminds me! The brussels sprouts in my garden are budding wee sprouts! Will post an update soon.)
I don’t like to spend a ton of time on fussy side dishes either, so I’m always on the hunt for recipes that are not only quick, but interesting, and aren’t just serving as dinner “fillers”. Enter Cheesy Broccoli Orzo.
Lip-smacking delicious, easy, and FAST – this is one side dish Ben requests over and over. Sometimes I surprise him with it because it literally makes him so incredibly happy. Bahahaha! Anyways.
All you do is boil a cup of rice-shaped orzo pasta for a few minutes, then add chopped broccoli and cook for a few more minutes. BTW – you could use brown rice in place of the orzo for a whole-grain boost, but it takes about 30-40 minutes to cook. Orzo is for when time is of the essence!
Drain the mixture really well, as broccoli florets are notorious for holding onto water, then return to the pot.
Add a little bit of shredded cheddar cheese, grated parmesan cheese (fresh or pre-grated – doesn’t matter) and a pat of butter.
Then stir everything together with milk.
Season with salt to taste (may not need it) then dish, and dine!
Cheesy Broccoli Orzo
1 cup orzo
1-1/2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon butter
1/4-1/2 cup 2% milk
Add orzo to a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes then add chopped broccoli and cook for 2 more minutes, or until orzo is tender. Drain well (broccoli florets are notorious for holding onto water) then return to the pot. Add cheeses, butter, and 1/4 cup milk then stir well and add more milk if needed. Season with salt to taste.
Might want to make a double batch of this stuff, ’cause it will go fast. It’s just so simple and GOOD, know what I mean? Well you probably don’t, but after you make it you will!
I recently served Cheesy Broccoli Orzo under chicken breasts brushed on both sides with extra virgin olive oil then seasoned with salt & pepper and sauteed (aka THE BEST CHICKEN EVER) but this simple side dish will pair well with most anything.
Here are a few more easy side dish recipes to try (besides roasted, steamed, or raw fresh fruits and veggies, which are always healthy, easy options too!)
Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend (cooked in chicken broth = AMAZING)
Grilled Zucchini (cut fresh zucchini on the bias, toss with extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper then grill)
Your turn! What are some of your favorite side dishes to serve with dinner?