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Side dishes as entrees

November 29, 2012 - Kathie Evanoff
When does a side dish become an entrée?

Always on the lookout for new recipes, I often come across side dishes that would be great standing alone as a meatless entrée on a day. These dishes come in handy when I’ve had a particularly busy day and don’t have time to put together a three or four course meal. Instead, I’ll opt for one course that is most often meatless, but is still not only healthy but can be prepared quickly.

While looking for these types of recipes, I came across a pasta that I had never cooked with before, orzo. To others who have never served this pasta, it is often mistaken for rice. Orzo is a small, rice-shaped pasta that works well in pasta salads, particularly when cooked with a flavored broth and served with vegetables.

Since I started cooking with orzo, I’ve discovered a lot of new recipes that can make a complete meal. One of my favorites is orzo with sun dried tomatoes (I like Bella Luci brand because they can be found in jars of olive oil or in packages combined with green peppers, garlic and basil).

But when you’re making meals with orzo and sun dried tomatoes, you can add just about anything else, including mushrooms, baby spinach or chopped baby kale, garlic, olives, parsley and, of course, cheese.

You can make your orzo dish into just about any ethnic variation, including Greek (add Feta cheese), Italian (parmesan) or add beans, corn and cilantro for a Tex-Mex flair.

Orzo has become my new favorite ingredient as the base for several types of one-bowl meals and I always make enough for lunch the next day.


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