Creamy Fennel Orzo

This orzo is creamy, spicy, and full of flavor.  I love orzo but wanted to do something different than the standard mediterranean orzo salad I have (which is delicious by the way!) so I decided to play around with it.  And boy am I glad I did!

Fennel has a delicious licorice taste without being so powerful and combining it with the onions and caramelizing them was just the perfect way to give this orzo a sweet flavor to balance the spice.

I did top this with a piece of chicken for the husband but you can make it vegan by omitting the chicken!  So easy to make it work either ways.

If you do use the chicken, you can either bake one if you have the time or use a rotisserie chicken as a hack to cut the time.

Perfect for the upcoming autumn season, try this delicious bowl of orzo and bring a little sweet and spicy to your soul!

From my kitchen to yours, enjoy!

Quinoa, Brown Rice and Black Beans

20150922_192054

Loaded with protein and yummy veggies, this is one of my new favorite go-to’s.  Simple to make and you can add whatever veggies you choose – I had colored bell peppers, tomatoes and onions in my fridge so that’s what I went with today.

Here’s how I made it:

Soak 1/3c Quinoa in some warm water for about 20 minutes.  This helps the seeds cook easier and softer.

Also soak 1/2c Brown Rice for 20 minutes.  Brown Rice can be tough to cook as it usually takes longer than white rice to make but if you soak it first, it comes out really nice and soft.

20150922_190435

Finely Dice colored Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Onions and a couple of cloves of garlic.

In a nonstick pot, heat oil and ad the cumin.   Add the onions. garlic, tomatoes, bell peppers and mix well.

20150922_190940

Cook for 5 minutes, then add in the quinoa, rice and black beans.  Add some salt, pepper and just a touch of hot sauce – it adds that magical touch!   Add the water and bring to a boil.  Cook for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.  20150922_191538

Just before serving, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the rice.  The extra zing tastes really good!  There you have it!  This is a great make ahead recipe and perfect for the fall.

Here’s the recipe all in one spot!

Ingredients:
½ c diced onions
½ c diced tomatoes
1c diced bell peppers (I like to include a variety of colors)
1 can (14oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 c Quinoa
½ c Brown Rice
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 tsp, freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
2 c Water
a couple dashes of hot sauce

Instructions:
Soak quinoa and brown rice in warm water for 20 minutes.
In a nonstick pot, heat oil and add the cumin.   Add the onions. garlic, tomatoes, bell peppers and mix well.
Cook for 5 minutes, and then add in the quinoa, rice and black beans.  Add some salt, pepper and the hot sauce.
Add the water and bring to a boil.  Cook for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
Just before serving, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the rice.