Bella’s Table — June/July 2016

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Stella with her One Pot Chicken and Orzo dish.
Stella with her One Pot Chicken and Orzo dish.

By Estella Tullgren

With the summer season in full swing, please take advantage of your local farmer’s market. I hope you will try the Asian Noodle Salad recipe. It is a great way to use your favorite salad ingredients. And who isn’t looking for another flavorful chicken recipe? One Pot Chicken and Orzo is just that. My personal favorite recipe in this issue is the Caprese Portobello Mushroom.

One Pot Chicken and Orzo
Serves 4-6

On busy workdays, having recipes that are all in one pot makes dinner prep so much easier. Add a green salad and a slice of French bread to this menu and you’ll be all set.

2 ½ to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
1 ½ cups chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ¼ cups chicken stock
¾ cup canned crushed tomatoes (see note)
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Trim chicken thighs of excess skin and fat. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil and butter on medium-high heat in a large skillet (large enough to fit all of the chicken pieces). When oil is hot, place chicken skin-side down in the pan. Let cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken has browned well on one side. Then turn chicken pieces over and cook for another 4-5 minutes until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan, set aside.

Add orzo to the pan, stir and let pasta brown. Once orzo starts to brown, stir in the chopped onions. Reduce the heat to medium and let cook for 2-3 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the minced garlic and cook another minute.

In a large bowl, stir together chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, ½ teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt. Place chicken pieces skin-side up on top of orzo. Pour stock mixture over the orzo. Increase heat and let the stock in the pan come to a full boil. Lower the heat to keep a light simmer. Cover and let cook until orzo has completely absorbed the liquid and the chicken is cooked through—about 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Taste for salt and pepper, and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Note: If you like a little heat in your dishes, try substituting Original Rotel tomatoes for the canned crushed tomatoes or a combination of both (still measuring ¾ cup). This is my favorite way to spice it up!


Caprese Portabella Mushrooms
Caprese Portabella Mushrooms

Caprese Portabella Mushrooms
Serves 2

This has become a favorite on our “meatless Mondays.” It has all my favorite ingredients. The dish is a very hearty one and you can adjust the fillings based on the size of the portabella mushroom. In our house, we prepare one mushroom cap per person.

2 large portabella mushroom caps, cleaned and stem removed
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or smaller if the tomatoes are extra large
Olive oil
Fresh basil, chopped (1-2 tablespoons per mushroom cap)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3-4 tablespoons of shredded mozzarella cheese per mushroom cap

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking tray with a sheet of aluminum foil. Brush mushroom caps with olive oil—top, bottom and edges. Place on baking sheet, upside down.

Slice tomatoes in half, place in bowl, drizzle with olive oil. Add chopped basil, salt and pepper, and let sit for 10 minutes.
Place 3-4 tablespoons of cheese in the bottom of the mushroom cap and then spoon on the tomato basil mixture. Bake 15-20 minutes until cheese melts and mushroom is cooked.


Asian Noodle Salad
Asian Noodle Salad

Asian Noodle Salad
Serves many

Over the last few months, I have seen many Asian-type noodle salads. I combined many recipes to create what has become my new favorite salad. If I am not serving this for a large gathering, I tend to keep the vegetable mix, the dressing and the pasta in separate containers and then just mix when I am ready to have this salad…which is pretty often lately. Take advantage of all the summer veggies and customize this recipe to your liking.

8 ounces thin spaghetti, cooked according to package
1 8-ounce bag julienned/fine-cut carrots (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 6-ounce bag baby sweet peppers, seeded and sliced thinly
1 English cucumber, cut in chunks
4 green onions, chopped
1/3 -1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped roughly
1/2 head of napa cabbage, sliced thinly
1/2 head of purple cabbage, sliced thinly

1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced

For the salad: Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, rinse, and let cool. While pasta is cooling, chop all vegetables. Mix together the cooked pasta, carrots, sweet peppers, cucumber, green onions, cilantro, napa cabbage and purple cabbage.

For the dressing: Whisk together all the ingredients and then pour over the salad and mix—use your hands to make it easier. If the salad is a little dry, just mix up another batch of dressing. Serve with chopped peanuts on top of salad.

Mexican Rice
Mexican Rice

Mexican Rice
Serves 6-8

It’s grilling season, and I am always on the hunt for new side dishes. I do love a good Mexican/Spanish Rice dish—something that goes well with chicken, pork, or beef. Try this one…the lime juice really gives it that little extra something.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped finely
1 jalapeño, chopped finely after membrane and seeds have been removed
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
3 1/3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
3 teaspoons fresh lime juice

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and jalapeño and cook, stirring often until the onions are soft—about 5 minutes. Turn up the heat and add the tomato paste, garlic, and rice; cook, stirring often, for about 5 min.
Add the chicken broth, salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin; turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to low, cover the pot, and simmer for about 20 minutes—until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff the rice with a fork and add the peas, cilantro, and lime juice.

Let the rice sit for a few moments to “dry out” and lose that wet texture. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and lime, if necessary. M! June/July 2016


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