Cheesy Veggie Orzo Bake Recipe

Good morning! Thank you guys so much for all your responses on yesterday’s post about possibly rejoining Weight Watchers. It sounds like everyone who is following the new plan really likes it, and that it is much more in line with my current way of eating than the old plan was. I’m not gonna lie – it makes me a little nervous starting a brand new plan that I know relatively nothing about, when currently I can tell you the number of points in anything and calculate point values with a nutrition label in my head. But, people do best on a plan when its new to them, so maybe a revamped WW is exactly the thing I need.

I know this goes against every theory on healthy living (why wait until tomorrow – start today!) but I’m highly leaning towards joining a week from today because I’m taking Wil to New Orleans for his birthday, and honestly I don’t want to think about points or limiting myself too much while I’m there – I just want to have fun and indulge. I found a really awesome post about the new WW plan here after a comment saying that Ms. Bitchcakes having a great post about it, in case you are curious yourself.

Yesterday, I had a super clean day of eats and I’m happy to report that I’m also feeling a lot better and less bloated today. I stepped on the scale again this morning and was down another 3 pounds from yesterday. To clarify – I didn’t lose 3 pounds in one day, it was just bloat from eating fried foods/overindulging over the weekend. So with my weight from this morning, I’d still like to lose another 14 pounds or so to be at my goal. If anyone is in the DC area and is interested in joining WW at the 1411 K St location, email me at bethklein at gmail dot com so we can set up a meeting. I think a support group could be so beneficial.

Moving on!

Last night I got in an awesome workout and then made a delicious and quick dinner.

For the workout, here’s what I did:

  • 10 minute warmup on the elliptical at Level 10
  • This circuit of 6 moves 3 times:
    • 15 bicep curls with a static lunge (12 lb free weight in each hand)
    • 15 tripcep curls with a 15 lb free weight
    • 25 second plank
    • 15 shoulder presses at 15 lbs (on a machine) – up 5 lbs for the first time!!!
    • 15 chest presses at 30 lbs (on a machine) – also up 5 lbs for the first time!
    • 15 pulldowns at 55 lbs (on a machine)
  • 35 minutes running on the treadmill – going from 6.0 to 7.0 mph for a total of 3.63 miles
  • 5 minute walking cooldown on the treadmill

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Then came the star of the evening – a Cheesy Veggie Orzo Bake. I started out by getting my veggies chopped and steamed. I used carrots, green peppers, red onions, mushrooms, and frozen artichoke hearts. When steaming veggies, start with the ones that take the longest to cook first (carrots).

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Once those started to get a little soft, I added in some green bell pepper and red onion.

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And ended with some mushrooms and artichoke hearts (that were frozen).

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I love this steamer tool by the way – its so easy to use and awesome.

Once your veggies are steamed, roughly chop them and mix them together.

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While your veggies are steaming, cook 2 servings of orzo to al dente (7 minutes), or any grain of choice.

Heat 2 garlic cloves in a touch of olive oil.

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Then add in your veggies and your cooked orzo.

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Mix it all together, and then add 1/4 cup of ricotta plus 1/4 cup marinara sauce combined.

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Once stirred together, divide evenly between individual casserole dishes.

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Top each with a sprinkle of panko bread crumbs.

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And then some shredded mozzarella.

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Bake at 375º for 20 minutes until hot and the cheese gets melted and a little brown and crispy.

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I showered while these were baking and timing worked perfectly. One for dinner, one for lunch, and seriously delicious. The best part about this dish is that its totally customizable to what you have on hand. If you want to add a protein boost, you can throw in some cooked chicken or beans. You can easily change up the veggies based on what you have in stock, and the grain is changeable too. Don’t have orzo? Use whole wheat pasta, quinoa, or brown rice. Enjoy!

Tell me about your typical workout. Do you normally do cardio, strength training, flexibility, or a combo? What type of cardio do you prefer?

0 comment on Cheesy Veggie Orzo Bake Recipe

  1. Katie Photiadis
    December 7, 2010 at 10:05 am (10 years ago)

    Beth, that looks amazing, and definitely like something I would eat for dinner/ lunch. Yummm…the ricotta, mozzarella, and marinara combo sounds so good. What is that steamer tool that you used?

    • Beth
      December 7, 2010 at 10:13 am (10 years ago)

      I just put a link to it in the main post. It basically goes in your wok or pan and you boil a little water under it so it steamed the veggies. It’s a great tool to have.

  2. Necia
    December 7, 2010 at 10:10 am (10 years ago)

    Delurking to comment on yesterday’s post. I don’t know what the scale is saying to you, but you have incorporated weights/strength training into your workouts these days, true? And, that’s awesome! Perhaps the scale is reflecting that! In any event, maybe a “new” program is exactly what you need to kick your bod into gear.

    • Beth
      December 7, 2010 at 10:14 am (10 years ago)

      Hi Necia – While I’d love to believe its just that I’m gaining muscle, I can tell that I’m gaining elsewhere, too and not just in my arms/shoulders/back. It might be a small factor, but I think its more just that I’m eating too much/overindulging too often. 🙂

  3. Gwen
    December 7, 2010 at 10:18 am (10 years ago)

    This looks DELISH!

    I usually only do cardio – though I want to start going to Body Pump to change that. Meanwhile, I should start going back to the gym period!

    Stop by the Sat AM WW meeting sometime to say hi!! Melvin is the best! I was nervous about having to “learn” a new plan and points and such too but it really isn’t hard and the plan is just so awesome!

    • Beth
      December 7, 2010 at 10:27 am (10 years ago)

      I’ve heard Melvin is awesome! He is the one doing the Tuesday night meeting at 6:15 as well. Since I live in Arlington and work in DC, I prefer to do a weekday one since its more convenient for me.

  4. Amy @ Second City Randomness
    December 7, 2010 at 10:20 am (10 years ago)

    Wow that is a solid workout!

    Mine are pretty simple. My running days are usually just solid running. These are by far my favorite days. 🙂 Then my alternating days consist of a combo of elliptical/stairs and weights/abs. Usually working up a good sweat for around an hour or so makes me a happy chick.

    • Beth
      December 7, 2010 at 10:28 am (10 years ago)

      Yeah I don’t really understand how some people are in the gym for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Once I get around the hour mark I am seriously itching to leave. Last night was a stretch with 1 hour 10 minutes. 🙂

  5. Mb
    December 7, 2010 at 10:36 am (10 years ago)

    I’m always impressed by your workouts. It’s very motivating. I might try a version of this one tonight.

    • Beth
      December 7, 2010 at 10:37 am (10 years ago)

      Aww thanks! Recently I’ve been loving the circuit thing for strength training because I get bored really quickly. This way you move from one thing to another, and somehow it goes by faster.

  6. Victoria (District Chocoholic)
    December 7, 2010 at 10:42 am (10 years ago)

    I love the look of that veggie-packed dish; I’m always trying to cram as many veggies into my main dishes as I possibly can.

    Best of luck with the WW effort – I don’t think it’s for me, but everybody needs to do what works for them. I’ll be interested to see what you have to write about your experience. And NOLA doesn’t have to totally bust your waistline – split dishes so that you can sample more things, don’t drink too much, and try to walk and dance as much as you can. You can get so much walking done in the French Quarter and along the riverfront.

    For my workouts, I almost exclusively swim – 5-6 days of swimming a week, and maybe 1-2 days of running. I don’t strength train like I should, but I love my swimming.

    • Beth
      December 7, 2010 at 12:17 pm (10 years ago)

      I’m hoping NOLA doesn’t bust my waistline but I’ve never been and there’s so many things i want to do and try. I’m planning on bringing workout clothes so hopefully I can squeeze some activity in and get a lot of walking done, but I’m not going to worry about it too too much.

      • Victoria (District Chocoholic)
        December 7, 2010 at 1:10 pm (10 years ago)

        Oh definitely don’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy some seriously awesome food. A lot of it, like read beans and rice, is still healthy!

  7. Liz @ lizrunsdc
    December 7, 2010 at 10:56 am (10 years ago)

    That looks delicious!

    I am actually tempted to try the new program too. But I really want them to create a droid app since now they just have iPhone apps, and I think that would make it so much easier for me to track. Do you do online or paper/pencil?

    • Beth
      December 7, 2010 at 12:19 pm (10 years ago)

      I’ve heard a Droid app is coming out soon!!! I have a droid so I’m super excited about that. 🙂

      I do online tracking since I’m at a computer all day. I’m not that good at tracking historically, but I’m really going to make an effort to recommit to the program and do it right.

  8. ashleigh
    December 7, 2010 at 11:13 am (10 years ago)

    That looks delicious! I need to start making more yummy meals like that.

    I switch up my workouts between cardio on the treadmill, kickboxing, spin and treadmill + strength routines. I need to switch it up or I get too bored. Classes are my favorite!

    • Beth
      December 7, 2010 at 12:20 pm (10 years ago)

      Classes are the thing I miss most about having a gym membership! I have a gym in my building that is free, so its hard to convince myself to pay for classes.

  9. Lisa
    December 7, 2010 at 12:27 pm (10 years ago)

    What a great workout! Nice calories burned.

    I have some Asian orzo I need to use and I have no idea how to prepare it. I’ve never eaten it before.

  10. Ang
    December 7, 2010 at 2:39 pm (10 years ago)

    I’ve been to NOLA twice and I ate everything in sight! No regrets either! No weight gain either. I walked a whole lot. I say enjoy it! That’s what vacations are for!

    I hate cardio. I love weights! To get in cardio I often step while watching TV. Lazy I know. I also like throwing in jumping jacks and stuff between lifting moves to keep my heart rate high.

  11. rc1001
    December 7, 2010 at 5:31 pm (10 years ago)

    Glad you are making the decision that is right for you! I love Bitchcakes..just found her blog a few weeks ago.

  12. Lisa (bakebikeblog)
    December 7, 2010 at 11:45 pm (10 years ago)

    killer workout + killer meal = sounds like a winning combination to me!!!

  13. Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle
    December 8, 2010 at 8:41 am (10 years ago)

    Where did you get that steamer? I want one!

    Even though I know it’s a good idea to mix strength and cardio, I don’t, I prefer to do them seperately. I like to be able to focus on one thing at the gym and give it my all.

  14. amystartstorun
    December 9, 2010 at 12:52 am (10 years ago)

    I love the use of the wok!

    I have a membership to WW online but have strayed because I thought I knew what I was doing. After getting married and falling into old habits, I’m definitely going to take a look/see.

  15. Monica
    December 9, 2010 at 10:13 pm (10 years ago)

    Oh I wish I lived near you! I have about 16 pounds to lose and could really use a partner who knows where I am coming from. I have sometimes thought about going back to WW, but it scares me because I started to feel so defeated towards the end.

    I am a cardio junkie, but try to lift more because I know it is so important.


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