Lately I’ve been lazy about making grocery lists and end up going to the store empty-handed. Me going to the store without a plan is not good. I need a list or at the very least, meal ideas. Otherwise, I walk around aimlessly in circles thinking—what am I here for? Then I come home with a bunch of random produce and whatever else I happened to find on sale or that looked good while wandering around willy-nilly.
As such, we seem to be perpetually stuck in this state of not having the right combination of foods to make a logical meal yet having too much food to justify another trip to the store. And I’m no good at playing Iron Chef in my kitchen—maybe if I mix this half used can of chipotle peppers with this half of a cucumber and some quinoa…hmm, what would Morimoto do?
Occasionally, the pantry and produce stars align and our dwindingly food supply magically dwindles down into a non non-sensical meal. This dish used a two-for-one orzo deal I nabbed during an unplanned grocery haul. I channeled my inner Iron Chef and mixed it with smoke seasoning, leftover cherry tomatoes and brussels sprouts. The result was a meal that looked and tasted like it was planned, like I meant it! In addition to it tasting good, it was easy to prepare and required only one pan and one cutting board.
Smoky Orzo with Brussels Sprouts and Cherry Tomatoes
- about 30-40 brussels sprouts (halved)
- 1 diced scallion
- 1-2 tbs olive oil
- about 20 cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 2 3/4 cups veggie broth (+ up to one cup extra as needed)
- half a box of orzo (about 1/2 pound or 227 grams)
- juice of 2 lemons
- 3-5 tsp of a smoky seasoning mix (I used East Nashville Spice Company’s 37206 smoke mix. If you don’t have a pre-mixed blend, consider using paprika, garlic, salt, pepper and liquid smoke)
- In a large pan, saute the scallions and brussels sprouts in the olive oil on medium heat for about 8 minutes. The brussels sprouts should be mostly cooked before adding the orzo.
- Add the tomatoes and saute for another minute.
- Add the 2 3/4 cup of veggie broth and bring to a boil.
- Add the uncooked orzo, lemon juice and seasoning mix and give everything a good stir.
- Turn the heat down and let this simmer for about 20 minutes, until orzo is tender. Stir every now and then to make sure there is enough liquid to keep the orzo from sticking to the pan. If this happens, add veggie broth. Only add a little at a time because the excess liquid should be absorbed by the time the orzo is cooked.
So in the words of the Iron Chef’s chairman’s uncle…Allez Cuisine!