Parmesan Lemon Orzo

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Transitioning into a very full-time job has been challenging. I mean, I worked before…quite a lot. Now, I’m working quite a bit more than quite a lot. I sometimes head to my car thinking, “Maybe I should just lay down my driver’s seat and call it quits for the day right here.”

Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. But it’s busy and for the first time in my career, I feel like I’m in meetings ALL THE TIME.

And meetings can seem longer than they are when you stay up too late watching The Bachelorette and After the Final Rose. Guilty, but Jef’s #1 fan.

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Mr. Prevention called me THREE times in a 90 minute meeting yesterday. If he were to call one more time, I would’ve had to have assumed it was an emergency as he rarely calls during a work day, much less three times in a row. Ends up, he just wanted to make dinner plans with our friends and have a plan for dropping off his car for maintenance. Lovely. This is what TEXT is for, Mr. Prevention. Ugh.

Last night, I got off the hook for cooking. I say that as though I don’t enjoy cooking and obviously that’s not the case…but cooking is certainly a lot more enjoyable when you walk in the door before 7pm and you go to bed at 10pm. I know I shouldn’t complain, but…wahhh.

The only solution (other than eating at friend’s houses every night) is fast meals…of which this meal would qualify.

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“Quick” means different things to different people, but anything ready in 20-30 minutes is golden by me. Even a frozen pizza takes 16-20 minutes (reference: Mr. Prevention).

If you recognize this pasta dish as being similar to the Baked Lemon Pasta, I would agree. However, this dish is even more lemony and cheesy. I also found the toasting of the orzo to add great flavor and texture. To turn this into a meal, I added sea scallops that had been seared in a bit of olive oil and served a salad on the side. There’s something about lemon that welcomes all seafood additions and I happened to be craving scallops. Any fish or shrimp would work great, too…chicken, as well!

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Parmesan Lemon Orzo adapted from Tiny Oven by Weekly Bite

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups (9 oz) dry orzo
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup (4 oz) Parmesan cheese, shredded
Juice of one lemon
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt to taste

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the orzo and saute for a few minutes just until it’s lightly toasted and starts to brown.

Add the broth and cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until all the broth has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, add the Parmesan and lemon juice. Stir until all the cheese has melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 5 servings (scant 1 cup each)

Nutrition Information (per serving*): 322 calories; 11 g. fat; 20 mg. cholesterol; 407 mg. sodium; 41 g. carbohydrate; 2.4 g. fiber; 15 g. protein

*scallops not included in nutrition information

Result: Simple, quick, and delicious! The lemon and cheese flavors are strong — both good things 🙂 Sadly, this orzo did not reheat all that well, but the recipe can easily be halved or served to a group…or more than 2. This can double as an entre or side and is perfect for kids! Enjoy!

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Work, workout…go! We’re making Cajun Chicken Pasta (with whole wheat pasta) today for the hospital staff. I hope they love it as much as me!

Be well,

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24 Comments

  1. July 24, 2012 / 6:25 am

    I on’t blame you for not feeling like cooking sometimes! You shouldn’t feel bad about it either working until 7 and trying to transition into your new position!

  2. July 24, 2012 / 7:32 am

    Yeah busting out some big ol 4 course meal after work days like those aren’t at the top of the list. 😉

    I make something similar and I have totally forgotten about orzo lately. Time to rectify that!

  3. July 24, 2012 / 7:34 am

    I’m glad to hear you’re settling into the new job even if it’s super busy right now! I definitely need more quick-and-easy meals on my radar. This orzo looks amazing…almost like a risotto but with pasta!

  4. July 24, 2012 / 7:39 am

    Lol, my definition of quick is 5-10 min 🙂 only solidifies the fact that I was not built for the kitchen 🙂

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      July 24, 2012 / 8:30 am

      Haha, I would LOVE to find some of those meals!!! 😉 Good luck with your move! Can’t wait to see you!

  5. July 24, 2012 / 8:02 am

    Ooohhh meetings…. ugh. I spent maybe 75% of last week in them. We have meetings to discuss what to talk about in future meetings about the effectiveness of meetings.

    I’m not kidding. We did that.

  6. July 24, 2012 / 8:56 am

    Last night I made lemon pasta with tuna cakes. So kinda similar idea if not quite the same.
    For the lemon pasta sauce I heated butter, oil, lemon zest & juice, yoghurt, salt & pepper with a bit of pasta water. It’s quite tasty!

  7. July 24, 2012 / 11:46 am

    Whenever anyone calls me, I always think it’s some kind of emergency. I mean, why else would you call instead of text?

  8. July 24, 2012 / 11:59 am

    Hahaha…you and I might have to share the role of Jef’s #1 fan 🙂 Are you watching Bachelor Pad now?! The craziness just keeps on coming… 🙂

  9. July 24, 2012 / 2:41 pm

    Wow, you are busy!! I don’t know how you do it all! But yes, we have our priorities. I had to stay up as well. 🙂
    This dish looks fabulous! Can’t wait to try it!

  10. July 24, 2012 / 2:54 pm

    I don’t know how you fit in as much as you do! I love easy dinners like that sometimes – putting it on my list – I think even my husband would eat this!!

  11. July 25, 2012 / 12:38 am

    I hate when I get phone calls during the work day. I always assume it’s an emergency.

  12. July 25, 2012 / 1:13 am

    This dish looks great. I am glad you can pull some quick and easy meals together for those days when you work late and go to bed early. Sorry work seems like a lot, and I hope you are still enjoying it. I know how meetings can go. Sometimes you feel like you will never get to the things that you ned to get done because it is meeting after meeting. Hang in there. Once you get into a groove with the new routine you will find it to be less tiring.

  13. July 30, 2012 / 8:36 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight, along with some tilapia and green beans. The orzo was most definitely the star of the show. So yummy! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  14. Kat H
    August 1, 2012 / 8:44 pm

    This caught my eye as soon as I read it, so I made this for dinner last night. My boyfriend and loved it! Thanks so much for the recipe!

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  16. January 3, 2013 / 4:14 pm

    Your photography is great! This recipe looks delicious!!! xx a girl and her food

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      January 5, 2013 / 11:55 am

      Thank you, Kat! 🙂

  17. January 4, 2013 / 8:38 am

    What a pretty plate of food! This sounds wonderful.

  18. January 4, 2013 / 7:49 pm

    I made this as a side last night to go with blackened salmon. It was amazing! I had some homemade vegetable broth in the freezer ready to go, and the only change was using black truffle salt as seasoning. My wife said it was “grown up mac & cheese” and to send the link to our daughters.

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      January 5, 2013 / 11:52 am

      Awesome, Shags! I love it! 🙂 Thanks for your note!! Cheers!

  19. Windflower
    June 18, 2013 / 1:03 pm

    Thanks for sharing this recipe – I made it about a month ago and have a pot going on the stove right now. I used olive oil instead of butter to toast the orzo and homemade chicken broth. I mix in some shredded chicken but will try serving it alongside fish in the future!

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