I am a newlywed on a budget, just trying to make healthy and inexpensive meals for my husband and I to enjoy. He eats a lot, so cost is a big factor. Though I work 3 jobs, I manage to find time 6 nights a week to cook a full dinner for us both. I am constantly looking for new recipes that are moderately healthy, taste great, and won't break the bank.

On the side, I also own a brownie business called Gersheybars. My passion and love for cooking started when I was just a small child, baking with my mom and grandmother. The brownie recipe has been passed down through 5 generations and I am thrilled to finally have an outlet to share them with everybody else. Friends and family have helped spread the word and made my business as successful as it is today.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Baked Orzo with Beef

This is another WW friendly dish, from WW, "Take-Out Tonight." The original recipe uses ground lamb, but it wasn't in the budget for this week so I used ground beef instead. It came out really well. Lots of flavor from the fennel and onion, and sort of like a Greek lasagna, I guess. The prep time is about 40 minutes though, then it bakes for 25, so it's not a quick and easy dish. Just an easy dish. Well worth it though, and the leftovers are even better!

  • 1/2 pound orzo
  • 6 ounces lean ground lamb (or beef)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fennel bulb (save the leafy top part for garnish!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8-inch baking dish with nonstick spray; set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook about 6-8 minutes until tender (do not overcook). Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook until browned, 3-4 minutes. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and transfer to bowl with orzo.

4. Add onion, fennel, garlic, mint and oregano to the same skillet. Cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and cinnamon; cook until mixture thickens, 6-8 minutes.

5. Combine the tomato mixture with the orzo and lamb. Stir in the feta and mix well. Pour mixture into the baking pan. Sprinkle top with Parmesan. Bake until hot, 25 minutes.

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