Friday, March 28, 2014

Creamy Orzo with Butternut Squash, vegetables and "fries"

This is a dish that I have come to like the more I make it.  It is pretty simple and filling especially if you like butternut squash.  And if you don't, you just might after trying this recipe!  You can buy butternut squash fresh during the winter months when it is in season.  The recipe only calls for two cups of squash so I always make fries out of the rest of my squash.  It is a very healthy variation on the french fry.  Because it is squash and not potatoes, it doesn't get crunchy  like a potato would.  It gets soft, but the outside is similar in texture to an oven baked french fry.  I like them, and I think you will too (especially if you already like butternut squash!)  If you can't get fresh squash or want to save the time it would take to cut up the squash you can get pre-cut squash in the freezer section.   This is also a Weight Watchers recipe that I discovered while I subscribed to weight watchers.

Creamy Orzo with Butternut Squash
Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.  
Serves 4
Points Plus per serving: 7


1 spray(s) cooking spray   
2 cup(s) uncooked butternut squash, cut into small cubes   

1/2 tsp olive oil   

1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste   

1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter   

1 cup(s) uncooked orzo   

1 1/2 cup(s) water   

1 cup(s) canned chicken broth   

1 tsp thyme, or 8 fresh whole sprigs (sprigs preferred)- you can substitute in sage leaves if you prefer
2 Tbsp fat-free half-and-half   

1/3 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese   

1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste   

1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste   

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a small rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Peel and dice up butternut squash.  In a medium bowl, toss squash with oil and salt; spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheet, leaving space between squash cubes. Roast, stirring halfway through, until squash is tender and lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add orzo. Stir constantly until orzo begins to smell toasty, about 3 minutes. Add water, broth and thyme sprigs; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is nearly absorbed, about 15 minutes.  
I did not use thyme sprigs as you can see: no sprigs

Remove thyme sprigs; stir in half-and-half, cheese and roasted squash. Season well with salt and pepper; serve. 

 Butternut Squash Fries
Cut the remainder of you squash into "fry shapes".  Depending on how many fries you have, add 1-2 tsp olive oil.  Sprinkle generously with salt.  Bake in oven at 425 deg for about 25-35 minutes or until browned and soft.  ( I usually bake my fries at the same time as my squash for the recipe is roasting)

Add any of your favorite vegetables to complete this meal.  In the photo above I just heated up some frozen vegetables with olive oil and sprinkled some of my favorite seasoning on it.  

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