Does anyone else seem like you make and eat the same meals? The dinner rut is a tough one to deal with because we all have our favorites, comfort foods, and quick-on-the-table meals that are the family approved stand bys. Don’t get me wrong – pizza night is not to be trifled with, but you can completely mix it up with different types of crusts, sauces, and toppings. Taco Tuesdays are a close second, but even there you’ve got a lot of choices that can make it seem different from week to week. Sometimes changing the side dishes can change the taste and feel of a whole meal.
That’s why I was super excited when i saw this pin for Cheesy Broccoli Orzo by Kristin from Iowa Girl Eats. It’s the perfect trifecta of a side dish.
- It’s fast
- It’s easy
- It only uses a handful of ingredients (most are likely to be in your kitchen right now)
Well, who’s going to argue with a trifecta? Not me – I choose my battles, so let the Pintesting begin.
As I said, there are only a handful of ingredients – 6 if you don’t count the salt or water to boil the pasta and broccoli.
Boil the orzo pasta. Now this seems easy, but wait…
Kristin says to cook for 3 minutes, add broccoli, then cook for another 3 minutes or so.
My orzo box calls for 9 minutes of cooking time for al dente. You can see in the picture below that it still has a way to go, so I waited another couple of minutes before adding the broccoli.
Next I added the broccoli and cooked it for about 3 minutes to let the orzo get to the al dente state and let the broccoli cook well.
Drain everything really well.
Return to the pot and add the cheeses, butter, and milk.
After mixing and per Kristin’s instructions, I checked the seasoning. Good call! I added a touch of salt and several grinds of pepper.
That’s it. Really! We’re done – except for the plating.
I love risotto, and this totally puts me in mind of that creamy dish but without the half hour of constant stirring. It’s the perfect alternative if you need something quick, and want to get some extra veggies in your meal. And who doesn’t need extra veggies? That’s what I thought. So let’s get to the Pintesting Results:
Overall Results: 4.6 Pins
Accuracy: The dish was delicious, uncomplicated, and quick. The flavors of the pasta with the broccoli and cheeses all played wonderfully together. But the pasta cooking time was off by 50%, and a novice cook might not catch that. In all fairness, it might have been the difference from one pasta brand to another, so keep an eye on what the directions on your box indicate. 4 Pins
Difficulty: There’s nothing hard about this dish. I bought the broccoli florets pre-cut which eliminated a lot of the prep work. I did grate the cheeses to balance the level of work (and because I like fresh-grated cheese better). Boil, drain, mix, serve. 5 Pins
Time: The whole recipe came together in under 20 minutes even with me taking the pictures. PERFECT for a busy weeknight dinner. 5 Pins
Cost: The broccoli ($2.00 on sale) and orzo pasta (less than $2.00 – not on sale) were the only two ingredients that I had to buy, and there was enough of each to double the recipe and still have leftover broccoli. The remaining ingredients came to about $2.00. At $4.00 for 4 servings, that’s $1.00/serving. 5 Pins
Practicality: The trifecta totally worked with this recipe. Not only is it a delicious side dish, but it has the makings for an easy casserole just by tossing in a cooked protein of choice. (I’m thinking this would be a great way to use up some leftover turkey next Thanksgiving…)I bet you could play with the cheeses for slightly different takes on the flavor, too. It’s also very kid-friendly – it’s practically mac & cheese with broccoli. 5 Pins