I have a confession to make…I am horrible at making rice. Yes, it’s true. I know…what type of Cuban am I? The kind that didn’t grow up with a rice cooker and watched her father make it every single time with no mishaps.
And if my father, along with my grandparents, made rice perfect each time…why can’t I? I don’t have the slightest idea. I am slightly convinced the rice Gods (yes, I think they do exist) are against me and make sure my rice either burns, is undercooked or gives sushi rice a run for its money.
My sister in law loves her rice cooker and always tells me I should get one. I just can’t justify buying another kitchen contraception when in reality we don’t eat THAT much rice in our household. A huge bag goes a long way for us…months! Besides, I was DETERMINED to get it right the old school way.
And I have…sometimes at least.
Lately, I’ve been craving Mediterranean flavors, and have incorporated a lot of the flavors into our dinners recently. Spanakopita is a Greek pastry that is typically filled with chopped spinach, feta cheese, and onions. I had been craving one for some time now but I haven’t experimented with phyllo dough…yet. But, I did have a bag of rice in the pantry…and some orzo…
This was a random side dish I made, and it came out WAY better than I expected. Even my husband enjoyed it and he’s not even a huge fan of spinach! Point for me!
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1/3 cup orzo
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1 cup of parboiled rice
- 1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 small onion finely diced
- Grated zest of an entire lemon
- 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach
- 3/4 to 1 cup crumbled Feta cheese
- 2-3 tablespoons of pine nuts
- Place a medium pot over medium heat add the pine nuts. Toast the pine nuts until golden brown. Keep an eye on them because they can burn quickly. Once the pine nuts are toasted, set aside in a bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of butter to the pot. Add the orzo to the pan and toast until golden brown, 3-4 minutes.
- Next add the onion, garlic and salt to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, or until onions have softened. Add the rice and broth to the pan and let it come to a soft boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and simmer until all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 20-23 minutes.
- While the rice cooks, follow the microwaveable instructions on the spinach box. Once the spinach is defrosted, place it in a kitchen towel and squeeze out ALL of the excess water. You should be left with a small bag of spinach. Break it up a bit with your hands so it’s easier to fold into the rice.
- When the rice is done, fluff the finished rice with a fork and fold in the spinach. Sprinkle the feta cheese, pine nuts and lemon zest. Stir everything together and serve!
You can have your carbs and veggies all at once.
It’s a one pot wonder I’m sure your family will enjoy! Now go shake up your typical side dishes with this recipe!