Sausage-Spinach Orzo

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I love this dish because it is super-fast, very easy, stretches your meat, and has lots of good green vegetables.  Also it’s really delicious!

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Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces orzo (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage (casings removed if using links)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream or butter

Cook the orzo in a pot of boiling water.

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Brown the sausage in a pan, breaking it into chunks.

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Once it’s browned, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

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Add the drained orzo to the pan with the sausage.

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Add the spinach one handful at a time, stirring after each addition.  It will seem like too much but it cooks down a ton!

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After the spinach has cooked down, add the cream or butter and stir to combine.  If using butter, stir until the butter melts.

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Add the parmesan cheese and stir.

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Serve topped with additional parmesan cheese, if desired.

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Kitchen Hack: Hard-boil Eggs in the Oven

Hard-boiling eggs in the oven has been going around Pinterest and other blogs, but I wanted to see if it really works.

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Normally, I hard-boil my eggs the way I learned from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, because I could never remember how my mom did it.

  • Cover eggs in a pot with cold water by 1″
  • Put over medium-high heat and bring to a boil
  • Remove from heat
  • Cover and let sit for 15 minutes
  • Run under cold water

This is how you can supposedly bake eggs.

  • Preheat oven to 325˚
  • Put eggs in a muffin tin (so they don’t roll around)
  • Bake for 30 minutes
  • Run under cold water

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The verdict?

Way less work! The only real downside is that in the summer, you’d be turning on the oven. My egg did have a funny burned spot on the bottom, but I just picked it off since it was really shallow.

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No more watching the pot and waiting for it to boil. Yay!

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Ted’s Turkey Burgers (or Meatballs)

Normally turkey burgers are gross and dry and not worth eating, but these ones are awesome, thanks to a lot of flavorful additions.  My dad, Ted, is the one who truly discovered this recipe in an Everyday Food cookbook and has modified it over time.  We’ve added a couple more additions and here it is.  We make ours as meatballs because we never have bread and they work better in as leftovers in our lunches, but my dad makes them into actual burgers.

Finished Product

 The Ingredients

To make these burgers, you’ll need:

  • 1 pound ground turkey (we buy ours at Costco)
  • Heaping 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard (the cheap stuff is fine here)
  • 4 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil, for cooking

Smash your garlic,

Crush the Garlic

and mince it finely.

Garlic

Slice your scallions thinly.

Green Onions

Put the turkey in a big bowl. 

The Turkey

Add the cheese,

Cheese

scallions and garlic,

Bowl

breadcrumbs,

Breadcrumbs

and mustard. 

Mustard

Sprinkle with a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Pepper

Mix it all up.

Use your hands!

Form the turkey into meatballs or burgers, whichever you choose.  Heat the oil (about a tablespoon) in a pan until it shimmers.

Oil

Add the turkey burgers or meatballs.

Cooking on Stove

Cook them  until the insides are no longer pink.  For meatballs, you’ll have to turn them a few times.  For burgers, you’ll just need to flip them once. 

Cooking on Stove

Cooking on Stove

The outsides will get nice and brown from the cheese.  We both think that’s the best part!  Plate them up, or serve on buns if desired.

Finished Product

Ted’s Turkey Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • Heaping 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 4 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil, for cooking

Combine the turkey with all other ingredients except olive oil in a large bowl and mix together with your hands.  Shape mixture into patties or meatballs.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add meatballs or burgers and cook until no longer pink in the middle and the outsides are nicely browned. Serve plain or on buns with hamburger toppings.

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Slow Cooker Chicken

We ate a lot of whole chickens around here this summer — we got one every Saturday in our CSA box.  Beer can chicken is great, but sometimes you want to eat other things.  A great way to have chicken handy for salads, casseroles, or anything, really, is to cook the chicken in the slow cooker, then pick all the meat off.  This has the added benefit of making some really tasty, gelatinous, healthy broth.

This is also the easiest thing ever.  Put one chicken (or you can even do two, if you have a six-quart or larger slow cooker) in the slow cooker.

Add one cup of water and one bay leaf per chicken.  Turn it on low. Walk away.  Easy, right?

Eight to ten (or even twelve) hours later, come back to awesome-smelling chicken.  Take the chicken out of the liquid goodness (don’t throw that away!) so it will cool faster.  Pick all the meat off it.

We like to freeze our chicken in two-cup quantities, which are the perfect size for the two of us to eat in a meal and have lunch leftovers the next day.

Next up: what to do with the liquid and bones?

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