Where have I been? Well, let me just say that Thanksgiving was a blur! I travelled to Indiana for Thanksgiving this year with my wonderful boyfriend to visit my family. It’s been a while since I’ve been there on a holiday and I felt that it was about time he experience all the deliciousness that is an “Abel Family Holiday.” We had a wonderful time with a lot of laughs and tons of yummy food! With all the excitement and socializing I did not get a chance to blog while I was there. Added to that, I didn’t even cook anything! I left that to the original masters of this holiday, my wonderful aunts and my mother.
After spending time in Indiana, I longed for more comfort food. The weather is getting chillier in California and I’ve been craving things that warm me from the inside. At the same time, however, I realize that I can’t eat chicken and dumplings every day and maintain a healthy lifestyle! So, I’ve been working on a few recipes that give that comforting feeling without being too heavy or unhealthy.
The first of these combines scallops with orzo pasta, tomatoes and thyme in a sumptuous casserole complete with a crispy topping. This can all be prepared ahead of time and put in the oven for a quick easy meal. Don’t like scallops? You can replace them with chicken, ground turkey or even leave them and the bacon out to make it a vegetarian delight!
- ¾ c dry orzo pasta
- 1 14oz can stewed tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 16 oz scallops, thawed
- 3 c fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 ½ c crimini mushrooms, sliced
- ½ c chopped onion
- 1 T dry thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2/3 c grated parmesan cheese, 2 T reserved
- ½ c panko bread crumbs
- 4 slices crisp bacon, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and set aside in a large bowl. Sprinkle scallops lightly with salt and pepper. Grill scallops until opaque and lightly browned, approximately1-2 minutes each side. Cut into bite size pieces if they are large. Set aside. Wilt the spinach lightly in a skillet on medium heat with about ½ inch of water. Set aside.
Saute the onion and crimini mushrooms in a skillet on medium heat until softened. Add in the stewed tomatoes and tomato paste and stir to combine.
Combine the scallops, spinach, tomato, onion and mushroom mixture, thyme, salt, pepper and 2/3 c grated parmesan (minus 2 Tbsp) together with the orzo. Stir to evenly distribute the ingredients. Transfer to a 8×11 baking dish and spread the mixture evenly in the dish.
Combine the remaining 2 Tbsp grated parmesan, panko and chopped bacon in a small bowl. Sprinkle mixture over the casserole. Bake uncovered in preheated oven 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.
Servings: 6 Serving Size: approximately 1 cup
Calories: 212 Fat: 5.2g Sat. Fat: 2g Carbs: 20.6g
Sodium: 1062mg Fiber: 2.3g Sugar: 5.2g Protein: 20.3g