There is an intoxicating aroma that comes from the grill when I start to roast the vegetables for my roasted vegetable orzo pasta salad. I used to think it was just me that found the smell of roasting vegetables absolutely irresistible but apparently, I'm not alone. Inevitably, every time that I fire up the grill and put some vegetables on to roast, one of my neighbors will shout over to my back porch to inquire what I am grilling. (A subtle way of getting a dinner invitation - don't you think?) I secretly love the fact that they love my cooking just as much as my own family.
Seriously - I could eat a plate of roasted vegetables just like this - no further ingredients required. BUT ... if you are craving something a little more substantial - without a lot more effort, my roasted vegetable orzo pasta salad is the way to go. It is really scrumptious and it's a great compliment to any meal. Chicken - steaks - fish - all great things to serve with this yummy pasta/vegetable dish.
Roasted Vegetable Orzo Pasta Salad
2 small zucchini
2 small yellow squash
1/2 red onion
1 pound orzo pasta
2 Tablespoons fresh parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Drain pasta and put into a large bowl.
Peel and slice vegetables. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on the grill until evenly browned.
Zucchini and Squash:
Gather up all that deliciousness and let cool slightly.
Chop those yummy vegetables and add to the bowl of orzo.
Serve just like that OR add a sprinkle of cheese to make it even more delicious. (I like parmesan but you could use feta if you're a fan.)
This pasta dish is good ANY time of year but for some reason - I crave it in the spring. I hope that your family enjoys it just as much as mine does.
It's March and I'm ready for a little sunshine and warmer weather. Obviously have no control of either but I can offer you something bright and sunny for your dinner table.
This lemon parmesan orzo pasta is exactly what I needed to get myself into the spirit of Spring. Over the next couple of days, the temperatures are expected to reach into the high 70s too. That should help me to get into Spring mode.
Lemon Parmesan Orzo Pasta
Melt together oil and butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Pour orzo into pot and cook while stirring until it begins to toast, about two minutes.
Clear a spot in the center of the pot, add minced garlic, and stir for 30 seconds before incorporating into orzo.
Stir chicken broth into orzo, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cook until orzo reaches desired tenderness and most of the liquid has been absorbed, for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove pot from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese, fresh thyme, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired.
My daffodils have started blooming, the grass starts is beginning to green up and the trees have started budding. I could not be more excited to see spring arrive.
If you grew up in the 80's, you've probably had at least a couple of chocolate chip cookie cakes in your lifetime. The popularity of the cookie cake has faded over the years and I really don't know why because they're REALLY good.
So I'm kickin it old school today and going back to my 80's roots with a recipe for a good old chocolate chip cookie cake. Yea!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan, then line the bottom with a round of parchment paper; set aside. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
Beat the butter and sugars together until thoroughly blended.
Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined.
Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined.
Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.
Turn the dough out into the prepared cake pan and use your fingers to press into an even layer.
Bake until the cookie cake is light golden brown and the outer edges have started to harden, 25 to 30 minutes.
Oh, the memories associated with cookie cake birthday cakes. I think it's time to bring these yummy cookie cakes back. Who's with me?
The theme of green cupcakes continues with the latest addition to my green cupcake collection - the Shamrock Shake cupcake.
The Shamrock shake is only available for a limited time at McDonald's restaurants and it's arguably one of the most delicious milkshakes ever to be created. By far the best thing on the menu at McDonald's this month. (Just my humble opinion of course.)
Since I'm not a huge fan of milkshakes but I love the flavor of the Shamrock shake - I decided to convert the famous seasonal shake into a cupcake.
Turns out I wasn't the first to come up with the idea for a Shamrock Shake cupcake. BrownEyedBaker.com has a great recipe on her website that I used as inspiration for my very own Shamrock shake cupcake.
Shamrock Shake Cupcakes
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons cake flour
½ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon mint extract
6 drops green food coloring
Combine cake flour, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in bowl of standing mixer. Add butter and beat with flat beater until coarse crumbs form.
Beat in eggs.
Beat in milk, vanilla, mint and green food coloring.
Scoop into a cupcake pan lined with paper cupcake liners.
Bake 25 minutes at 350. (For jumbo size cupcakes.)
Frost with cream cheese frosting - tinted green of course - and decorate with a few green pearls.
I certainly do not wish to take any business away from any restaurant BUT if you want an alternative to a cold Shamrock shake - a Shamrock cupcake is the way to go. Sometimes it's just a little too chilly in March to enjoy a milkshake. Either way really - cupcake or shake - you can't go wrong.
If I didn't know any better - I'd think that the Girl Scouts have been hiding their cookies from me this year. I have been intentionally searching for Girl Scouts with cookies to sell every time that I leave the house and I have seen absolutely none - zilch - zero. Which means - there are no thin mints in this house!!! (A tragedy of epic proportions.)
I got tired of waiting for my box of thin mints and I finally broke down and bought a bag of the first cousin to the thin mint - Keebler's Grasshopper cookies. They really are quite yummy and they make an excellent addition to this incredible Grasshopper cupcake. If you were lucky enough to find a box of Girl Scout thin mints this season, you can use those in the recipe as well.
1 batch of your favorite chocolate cake batter
26 Grasshopper (or Thin Mint) cookies
1 batch of peppermint ganache
1 recipe peppermint buttercream
Prepare a batch of chocolate cupcake batter. (Enough for 12 jumbo sized cupcakes.)
Place one cookie in the bottom of each cupcake liner.
Pour batter on top of cookie and bake 25 minutes at 350.
Cut a hole in the center of each cupcake.
Fill with mint ganache.
Pipe peppermint buttercream over cupcake. Crush 2 cookies and sprinkle crumbs over buttercream. Top with another grasshopper (or thin mint) cookie.
These ought to hold me over until I can find a Girl Scout willing to sell me a box of thin mints. :)
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