This has been a crazy summer to say the least. Aside from the fact that we are spending our first FULL summer here in our home in Evergreen, Colorado; we also took on a ridiculous amount of projects, including: re-landscaping the backyard, rebuilding one of our rock walls, building the kids a sand box, planting; tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, herbs (and a bunch of other things that died weeks ago), throwing my daughter’s 4th birthday party at home, AND taking trips to Kansas, Steamboat Spring, Vegas, and Mexico! Don’t get me wrong… I am NOT complaining, but we will NEVER plan such a busy summer again!
The outdoor projects started out strong… but they also died out fast. Cleaning out the plant beds that apparently were never maintained by either of the former owners of our house, was difficult. Between you and me, if I could burn all of the Russian sage off this planet… I might do it! It only took about 30 minutes and 15,000 connections of intertwined roots for Russian sage to become my nemesis… and it beat me. I went through two pairs of gloves and 2 shovels before my right hand decided to ax my left hand. But that was just the beginning and we were still a month out from my daughter’s outdoor luau b-day party!
I have never done so much yard work in my life! But, to tell you the truth, I loved it! I loved being able to put what I wanted where I wanted it, and rip out anything I didn’t want! I felt like super woman! But after I had hit my own hand with an ax, smashed my other pinky with boulder, given myself so many blisters I couldn’t count, and used lawn cutters to slice through our irrigation system; I decided, enough was enough! I had to retire (temporarily) from yard work.
Once I gave up on the yard work, it was on to our trips. The trips to Kansas, Steamboat Springs, and Vegas were quick and easy. But planning to leave town for our trip to Mexico turned out to be the toughest part about this summer. To say I was stressed is a gross understatement!
We had just gotten back from our trip to Steamboat on a Wednesday, when I realized we were leaving for Mexico on Sunday! Panic mode set in. I was running around like crazy trying to clean for a visiting family friend and my parents that were coming to stay with us before we left, pack my husband and I for our trip, plan and prep meals for the kids while we were gone, and still manage to plan and make dinner for everyone while they were here! I was a hot mess, and by the time 6 o’clock rolled around on that Thursday, I had barely packed, barely planned, and NOTHING was cooked. Fortunately, I am the queen of last minute meals 😉 So after taking a few minutes to check the pantry, fridge, and then the freezer; this wonderful concoction was born. It took 5 minutes to think-up, 5 minutes to prep, and about 20 minutes to cook. It is tasty, fresh, and surprisingly filling!! It was just the kind of win I needed to wake up the next day and panic all over again 😉
So, if you get a chance… or if you find yourself in an empty kitchen at 6 o’clock with hungry children and an obnoxiously fussy husband 😉 … make this meal! It’s easy on you, and they will love it!
1 c. orzo pasta (uncooked)
¼ c. EVOO (separated)
1 yellow onion
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 14 oz. smoked sausage
1 15 oz. can chickpeas
1 10 oz bag of corn
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. basil
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
- Using a medium size pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until al dente. Remove the pot from heat and strain the pasta. Once strained, pour the pasta back into the pot, drizzle with EVOO (about a teaspoon), and stir to coat. Cover the pot and set it aside.
- Peel the onion and core the peppers. Dice the onion, bell peppers, and sausage into chunks about the side of your thumb nail, but any size will work! (Keeping them all around the same size will help them to cook more evenly, but you could also just stagger when you add them to your pan ;)).
- In a large saucepan, heat the remaining oil on high for 30-60 seconds. Add the diced onion, bell peppers, and sausage and fry on high for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the sausage begins to brown and the onions become opaque, turn the heat down to medium and cook for another 4-5 minutes (I like VERY browned sausage and veggies, so I cook the remaining 4-5 minutes on high heat, stirring constantly to make sure they don’t burn. But it’s up to you!).
- Add the corn, chickpeas, and minced garlic to the saucepan and continue to cook on medium (or high ;)) heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the corn and chickpeas begin to brown.
- Add the cooked orzo and diced fresh basil to the pan and combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with more fresh basil and serve hot. Enjoy!