As you may have noticed, I love combining my two great food loves -- Italian and Mexican.  And today's featured recipe for two is no exception to how delectable this food matchup can be.  The light, creamy texture of the orzo, paired with crisp corn, green chiles and tomato combine to create a dinner for two sensation. 

Tex Mex Orzo
Total Time: 20 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes

What you'll need
1 tablespoon olive oil 
2 tablespoons shallot, finely diced 
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
1/2 cup uncooked orzo
3/4 cup lower-sodium chicken stock 
1/2 can (5 ounces) Rotel diced tomato with green chiles 
1/2 can (about 5.5 ounces) Mexicorn, drained
2 teaspoons lime juice
pepper

Directions
1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add shallot and ground cumin; saute for 2 minutes, or until tender. 
2. Stir in uncooked orzo.  Mix well until orzo is evenly coated in olive oil. 
3. Add chicken stock and diced tomatoes with green chiles; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low; cover and cook for 9 minutes.  Taste orzo, and add more chicken stock if required. 
4. Once orzo is cooked, stir in Mexicorn and lime juice.  Cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Season with pepper to taste. 
5. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Eat Yourself Skinny
 
 
Happy Sunday!  In case you are wondering why my posts have been few and far between lately, well...it's because I've had a whirlwind of a month.  At the end of January I was offered a job in Chicago, so my husband and I (and the doggies too) are moving back to my hometown!

Like most abrupt cross country moves, it hasn't been easy. Adam isn't able to leave Florida until the end of February, so I had to travel North without him.  We also don't know where we are going to live (aka we are camping out at my parents).  On top of that, I had to start work the day after I arrived, so I feel like I haven't had a moment to catch my breath since I landed.  

Fortunately, the end of February is just around the corner, so I will be reunited with my plus one very soon.  We are also on the hunt for our first home!  And once we are settled, I will be back on track with regularly posting weekly dinner menus.  Until then, please be patient with me.  

To all my fellow foodies, if you have a recipe that you'd like to share, please let me know as guests posts are always welcome!

Thanks everyone for your continued support.  I look forward to sharing many more recipes with you, like this comforting casserole for two.

Creamy Broccoli, Cauliflower and Rice Casserole
Total Time: 35 minutes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes

What you'll need
3/4 cup uncooked white or brown rice
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 cup cauliflower, chopped
1 can (10 ounces) cream of broccoli soup 
salt and pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
paprika
drizzle of olive oil

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Cook rice according to package directions.
3. Meanwhile, blanch broccoli and cauliflower until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and soak in ice water for 1 minute.  Drain and set aside. 
4. Once rice is cooked, stir in cream of broccoli soup. Mix well until rice is evenly coated.  Season with salt and pepper. 
5. Add rice to the bottom of a small baking dish.  Top with a layer of broccoli and cauliflower.  
6. Sprinkle on cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs.  Dust with paprika and lightly drizzle the top of the casserole with olive oil.
7. Bake for 20 minutes. 
7. Serve and enjoy!
 
 
Ditch the mayonnaise and dress your pasta salad with flavors of the Mediterranean.  It's a lighter way to enjoy the traditionally creamy salad favorite.  And with orzo's "fancier" appearance and filling attributes, you'll quickly and easily take this dish from the picnic table to the dinner table. 

Greek Orzo Salad
Total Time: 25 minutes + marinating time 
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes

What you'll need
For the Salad
3/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 cup bell pepper, diced (any color)
1/3 cup scallions, diced
1/2 cup kalamata olives
1/3 cup capers, drained
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste 
drizzle of olive oil

For the Dressing
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Directions
1. Cook orzo according to package directions.
2. Combine salad ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.  Toss well. 
3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine salad dressing ingredients.  Mix well. 
4. Pour dressing over salad as desired.  Toss well.  Let salad marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
5. Serve it cold or at room temperature.  Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from epicurious.com
 
 
'Tis the season for warm and soothing comfort food, so I'm cooking up little crescent hot pockets of creamy goodness.  This quick and easy dinner for two offers a flaky, buttery crust with bursts of soup, melted cheese and crisp vegetables.  It's the perfect meal to warm you up on a cold winter night.

Vegetable Hot Pockets
Total Time: 25 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes

What you'll need
1/2 can cream of chicken soup 
1 tablespoon onion, diced
1 cup mixed vegetables of choice, fresh or frozen (if unthawed)
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper 
4 ounce can of Pillsbury Original (or Reduced Fat) Crescent Rolls

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream of chicken soup, onion, vegetables, cheddar cheese and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well. 
3. Unwrap crescent rolls from package.  Fuse two of the crescent triangles together to form a rectangle.  
4. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the vegetable and soup mixture to each crescent rectangle. 
5. Roll up crescent rolls and seal edges by pinching crescent dough together.
6. Place crescent pockets on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.
7. Serve with a side of rice.  Enjoy! 
Note -- you can add any of your favorite vegetables to your hot pocket.  Here's what I used:
  • zucchini 
  • celery
  • peas
 
 
Today's featured recipe for two requires minimal ingredients and effort, yet it produces maximum flavor.  Even better, it provides a nutritious dose of vitamin packed fruits and vegetables.  Thus, generating a "good-for-you," good tasting, Popeye approved meal.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Spinach Pasta
Total Time: 20 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes

What you'll need
1 - 1 1/2 cups uncooked pasta 
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 leek, chopped
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
8 oz package of frozen spinach
parmesan cheese

Directions
1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. In a medium skillet, sauté garlic over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure garlic does not burn. 
3. Add spinach and tomatoes to pan; cook for approximately 3 minutes.
4. Stir in pasta.  Mix until pasta is evenly coated in oil and vegetables.  Let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.  
5. Remove from heat and top with parmesan cheese.
6. Serve with a side of garlic cheese toast.  Enjoy! 
 
 
Picture
In our household, we can always use some extra greens in our diet, and this Cheese Tortellini and Vegetable Casserole helps us achieve exactly that without having to skimp on taste. 

I know the ingredient list appears long, but don't let that scare you away from making today's recipe for two.  I promise this casserole dish is still easy to make and worth every ingredient.


Cheese Tortellini and Vegetable Casserole
Total Time: 60 minutes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes

What you'll need
9-ounce package refrigerated cheese filled tortellini (I used whole wheat)
3 ounces regular cream cheese or light cream cheese, cubed and softened
1/2 cup carrot matchsticks 
1/2 cup broccoli florets 
1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1/4 sweet or white onion, diced 
1/2 small red or green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon margarine or butter
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup milk
grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
1. Cook tortellini according to package directions, adding the broccoli florets during the last 2 minutes of cooking; drain.
2. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion and bell pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.  Remove from skillet.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine chicken broth, oregano, flour, garlic salt, and pepper.  Mix well. 
4. Add the chicken stock mixture to the skillet along with milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
5. Add cream cheese. Cook and stir until cream cheese is smooth. Remove from heat. 
6. Add pasta mixture, mushrooms, carrots, onion, bell peppers and tomatoes to the skillet. Toss to coat. Transfer to an ungreased small baking dish.
7. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Stir mixture and garnish with Parmesan cheese. 
8. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens 
 
 
Picture
You can mix-up a traditional Caesar salad by adding seasoned and roasted portobello mushrooms and roasted red peppers to the lettuce, crouton and parmesan cheese spread.  For a boost of protein, I also like to add in hard-boiled eggs.  In the end, you'll have a flavor packed and nutritious (minus the dressing) salad for two.

Grilled Portobello and Red Pepper Caesar Salad 
Total Time: 45 minutes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes

What you'll need
1-2 romaine hearts, chopped
2 large portobello mushroom caps, sliced
1 red pepper, julienned 
4 hard boiled eggs, sliced in half
4 tablespoons of your favorite Caesar dressing
1/2 cup favorite croutons
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon steak seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions
1. Preheat oven on roast at 400 degrees F.
2. Arrange red pepper and mushrooms on a  baking sheet covered in foil.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and steak seasoning.  
3. Roast seasoned vegetables for 25 minutes.
4. While the vegetables are roasting, add Caesar dressing to the bottom of a large mixing bowl.  Add chopped lettuce.  Toss well.  
5. Top with croutons, parmesan cheese and sliced egg.  
6. When vegetables are tender, carefully remove them from the oven.  Arrange roasted red pepper and mushrooms on top of the salad.  Serve and enjoy!
 
 
Picture
My love for buffalo wing sauce has infiltrated its way into my love for pasta in today's featured recipe for two -- Garlic Buffalo Capellini.  This pasta dish delivers a spicy, garlic flavor that any buffalo wing fan will love.  However, a word of warning, this pasta does have a kick, so be prepared to take a walk on the hotter side. 

Garlic Buffalo Capellini
Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes

What you'll need
1/4 cup buttermilk 
2 tablespoons buffalo wing sauce (I prefer Franks Red Hot Wings Buffalo Sauce)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper (any color), diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4 cup pasta water
6 ounces uncooked cappellini pasta (a little under 1/2 box)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water for later.
2. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, onion, celery and bell pepper.  Saute for 2 to 3 minutes. 
3. Stir in buttermilk and buffalo wing sauce.  Mix well and let simmer for 10 minutes. 
4. Add cooked pasta to the skillet with pasta water.  Toss into sauce.  Add tomatoes and let simmer for 2 minutes. 
5. Serve and enjoy!
 
 
Picture
Today's featured recipe is a hearty and delicious sandwich for two.  It is packed with so many great flavors within the crisp, grilled vegetables that even a meat lover won't miss the meat.  

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich
Total Time: 20 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes


What you'll need
1 red bell pepper, halved, stems and seeds removed
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick strips
1 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thich-strips
1/4 red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
3/4 fresh multi grain bread loaf, sliced in half lengthwise 
1/2 cup basil pesto
2 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed with a garlic press
salt and pepper

Directions
1. Brush grill grate with oil.  Preheat grill to medium-high heat. 
2. Combine oil, garlic and a little bit of salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl. 
3. Brush peppers, zucchini, squash, onions and cut sides of bread with seasoned oil.

4. Grill vegetables until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
5. Grill bread until toasted, about 1-2 minutes on each side. 
6. Spread pesto on one cut side of the bread.  Apply onion rings over the pesto. 
7. Continue to stack the sandwich with squash, zucchini, red pepper and mozzarella. 
8. Top with the remaining side of the bread loaf. Cut loaf in half.  Serve and enjoy!
*Note -- this sandwich is bread heavy.  Therefore, I'd recommend either using a less dense bread loaf, such as ciabatta, or if you want to use whole grain bread only using one half and making it an open faced sandwich.  

Recipe adapted from Cuisine Tonight Quick & Easy Italian Magazine
Picture
The leftovers
I used the leftover bread loaf to create a bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich the next morning.

What you'll need
1/4 bread loaf, sliced in half lengthwise
2 eggs
3 slices bacon
1 slice of cheese
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper

Directions
1. In a medium skillet, cook bacon according to package directions. 
2. In a separate large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  
3. Crack open eggs and pour into skillet. Be careful not to let the eggs run together. Let eggs fry until the inner egg white is no longer runny. 

4. Flip eggs over.  If you want the egg yolk to remain runny, only fry for 1 to 2 minutes.  If you like the egg yolk fully cooked, let it fry for about 5 minutes. 
5. While the eggs and bacon are cooking, place cheese slice on one half of the bread loaf.  Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until cheese is melted. 
6. Add eggs and bacon over the melted cheese.  Season with salt and pepper. 
7. Add the top layer of bread.  Slice in half.  Serve and enjoy!
 
 
Picture
Typically, when you hear Gazpacho you think of soup.  But it turns out, it also works great as a salad.  The fresh, crisp vegetables, spicy/sweet dressing and a touch of Spanish rice for substance, all come together to create a wonderfully light meal for two.  

Gazpacho Salad 
Total Time: 40 minutes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes (for the rice)
What you'll need
For the Salad
1 cup grape tomatoes
1/4 red onion, diced
1 bell pepper (any color), seeds removed and diced
1 cucumber, diced
2 cups baby spinach
1 cup uncooked Spanish rice 

For the Dressing 
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil 
1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoon honey 
pinch of red pepper flakes 
salt and pepper

Directions
1. Cook rice according to package directions.
2. Add spinach to a large mixing bowl.  Top with cucumber, onion, bell pepper and tomatoes. 

3. Once rice is cooked, add it to the top of the salad.  
4. In a separate bowl, mix together dressing ingredients.  
5. Pour desired dressing amount over the salad.  Toss well.  Serve and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from the Food Network's The Neelys Gazpacho Salad