Savory Garlic Farro | Side Dish Recipe

Last Thursday was busy, maybe a little busier than normal even. One of those days where all of a sudden it’s after 6:00 PM and thoughts about dinner aren’t even a blip on the horizon.


My daughter, who spent all evening outside – until the lights came on – stopped playing with her friends long enough to ask for chicken noodle soup for dinner. Since my son was at my folks’ for the night, and my husband was busy coaching a lacrosse game (they won!), it was just us girls. And you know what? Chicken soup with buttered saltine crackers sounded perfect to me.


But a couple nights ago, when I had a little more foresight, we tried organic Tuscan Fields Farro Perlato for the first time. It’s nothing new and crazy. In fact, farro has been around since ancient times, and it has always been very popular in Italy – specifially Tuscanny. With a texture similar to a cross between Israeli couscous and brown rice, and with a delicate, nutty flavor, it’s also quite versatile!


But even prepared simple, we found it quite delicious.


Savory Garlic Farro


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{Print this recipe}
Prep: 5 minutes | Cook: 30 minutes | Serves: 4-6

1 9.1oz box Tuscan Fields Farro Perlato
1 garlic clove, smashed
3 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oilDirections:

Warm the olive oil and garlic in a medium sauce pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the Tuscan Fields Farro Perlato, and let it toast in the olive oil – stirring often – until it starts to look golden, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth all at one, increase the heat to high and bring it to a boil.


Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid, and reduce the heat to medium-low (or whatever keeps it at a light boil). Let the farro simmer for 18 minutes, then remove it from heat and let the it sit for another 5 minutes before taking the lid off.


Fluff the farro with a fork, remove the garlic, and serve it hot.


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About Tuscan Fields

Fattoria Pieve a Salti is a 700 hectare organic farm estate nestled in the rolling hills of the Crete Senese in southern Tuscany. The ancient history of Pieve a Salti dates back to the IV century when it was favorite summer residence of the Archbishop of Arezzo. In 1978 the Prandi family bought the farm for cultivation of grains and animal feed for dairy cows they raise in Northern Italy. In the 1980s the family renovated all the buildings into an “Agriturismo” (farm accommodation) – one of the first in Tuscany. Today the estate boasts one of the premier “agriturismi” in the region – hosting hundreds of guests from around the world every year.


Today Fattoria Pieve a Salti processes about 3,000 tons of grain grown on their own farm or from local farms in their network. All grain is organically grown and processed using strict standards and methods. Currently they are the second largest organic producer and processor in Italy. Approximately 80% of their production is sold throughout Europe under private label. Now – in 2013 – Pieve a Salti’s expansion into the U.S. market is underway with a grain line of Tuscan Fields organic products.


Find more about Tuscan Fields at


Disclosure: I was given two boxes of Tuscan Fields Farro in exchange for writing this post, in addition to the opportunity to win a sponsorship to the fabulous foodie blogger conference Eat Write Retreat 2013. All opinions are my own!

Homemade Pizza Dough Recipes

Tonight my 8 year old daughter is having a birthday sleepover. Here, at our house.

Starting at 6:00 PM, four chirping, giggly girls will gather, and at some point they’ll make their way to our basement where their laughter and silliness can be corralled.

Before that, however, I’ll need to feed them. We considered ordering pizza, buying a bucket of fried chicken – all the usuals. But then, in a flash of brilliance or maybe madness, I proposed they make their own pizzas!

The girl child liked that idea. A lot.

The details of how the homemade pizza worked out with the girls will be posted over on +cool progeny soon, but for now, here are some of the homemade pizza dough recipes I’m considering – including my sister’s boyfriend’s awesome NY style dough.

Some other good homemade pizza dough options can be found in this post over on my Facebook page too.

Do you have a favorite recipe?

How to make homemade pizza dough via pinterest recipes















8 Minute Pork Chops & Minute® Rice | Easy Weeknight Dinner

As much as I’d like to use brown rice more, I still haven’t perfected my cooking techniques. It always turns out chewy and underdone. Meh.

White rice? No problem; light and fluffy every time.

I hear making amazingly tender brown rice is as simple as rinsing it well beforehand, and then cooking it French-style, in a big pot of salted boiling water and draining it after about 40 minutes. You know, like pasta.

But, first of all, who has that kind of time on a weeknight? By my calculations, that’s almost an hour for brown rice. RICE.

And so? We end up eating white rice.

Which, don’t get me wrong, I love. But I’d rather eat brown rice, because you know, it’s healthier.

I was recently given the opportunity to try Minute® Rice – any one of their varieties. As I skimmed the isle at the grocery store the other day, I said to myself, “Why not try brown rice…again.”

Thinking ahead to weeknights that are super busy for us right now, with lacrosse season in high gear, and my work getting busier by the day, I wanted something quick and easy.

Single serve containers that hold enough to actually serve two people as a side (in our house anyway).

And you microwave it. For only a minute.

Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner, and also perfect to heat up quickly in the morning to add to a thermos in my daughter’s school lunch.

Although, in retrospect Minute® 100% Whole Grain Brown Rice would done the job on a busy weeknight too. If you like the nutty, rich flavor of brown rice, Minute® 100% Whole Grain Brown Rice is a delicious, healthy option, and it has the same nutritional values as regular long cooking brown rice, but is ready in just 10 minutes, just 1/4 the time of regular brown rice.

You can also have great tasting, fluffy white rice in just 5 minutes with Minute® White Rice. It’s easy to prepare and is the foundation to any healthy meal.

Tonight we tried the Minute® Ready to Serve Whole Grain Brown Rice, and the kids LOVED it.

Paired with quick 8-minute seared pork chops, and steamed green peas, it was dinner in about…oh…TEN MINUTES. You can’t get fast food that quick!

Visit for over 400 recipe ideas and more information about the Minute® Rice family of products.


8-Minute Seared Pork Chops

with Minute® Ready to Serve Whole Grain Brown Rice



Prep: 1 minute | Cook: 8 minutes | Serves: 2

2 boneless pork chops (1/2″ thick)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup Minute® Ready to Serve Whole Grain Brown Rice
1 teaspoon soy sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon Yum Yum Sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
1/2 cup frozen peas


Add the olive oil to a medium skillet, and then warm it over medium-high heat for 1 minute.

Meanwhile, sprinkle one side of the pork chops with garlic salt and pepper.

Place the pork chops seasoned-side down on the preheated pan, sprinkle the other side with more garlic salt and pepper, and then let them cook for 4 minutes.

While they’re cooking, add the peas to a small pot of water, cover, and bring them to a boil. Then, turn the heat to low, keep them covered, and let them finish cooking while you make the rest of the meal.

After the 4 minutes is up, flip the chops, and continue cooking them for another 4 minutes. Remove them from the pan, and let them rest on a plate while you make the rice – they should be seared nicely, with a beautiful golden brown crust.


Microwave the container of Minute® Ready to Serve Whole Grain Brown Rice according to package instructions.


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Serve the pork chops with peas and Minute® Ready to Serve Whole Grain Brown Rice on the side. I like the rice with a little butter, my husband adds butter and soy sauce, my daughter prefers Yum Yum Sauce, and my son loves soy sauce by itself. Whatever floats your boat!

Minute® Rice is so quick and easy to prepare and is great pantry staple. When meal time seems like a hassle, Minute® Rice is a go-to ingredient your whole family will love and allows you to have more quality time doing what your want with your loved ones.

Leftover rotisserie chicken or veggies from a meal earlier in the week? Minute® Rice can easily be paired with some of your leftover ingredients to make a quick, easy and wholesome meal your whole family will love in just a matter of minutes.

Visit to create a great main meal or side dish for your next family get-together or potluck.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Minute® Rice.

Disclosure: I am being compensated for this post, and in addition, I was given a coupon for free Minute® Rice. All opinions are my own!

Orecchiette Pasta with Parmesan & Pistachios

Orecchiete with Parmesan and Pistachios

So, I’m cruising along, putting together my weekly American Food Holiday post the other day and I stumbled upon a recipe.

A recipe whose main ingredient is pistachio nuts.

Now lemme tell you. I can barrel through a bag of salted pistachio nuts – shells on – in less time than it would take the average person to, well, do almost anything. They are goooooood.

The thought of marrying pistachios with pasta seems divine (perhaps only trumped by pistachios and chocolate, but pretty much anything is better with chocolate, right?).

Orecchiete with Parmesan and Pistachios

I found the recipe in question on the blog Wishes and Dishes, and Ashley (from that blog) found the recipe in a cookbook called The Frankies Sputino – Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual. Are you ready?

Orecchiette with Parmesan & Pistachios
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound dry orecchiette
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1-1/2 cups salted pistachios, roughly chopped (Tip: buy them already shelled!)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped mint
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan & Romano cheeses
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup reserved pasta water
  1. Fill a large pot with water, add the salt and then bring it to a boil.
  2. Add the orechiette and cook until it’s al dente, about 11 minutes, then drain it. Don’t forget to save ½ cup of pasta water before draining the orecchiette! Add the pasta back to the pot and reduce the heat to low.
  3. Combine the olive oil, garlic, mint, cheese and pistachios in a mixing bowl, then add the mixture to the orecchiette along with the pasta water. Keep stirring until it’s mixed well and a creamy sauce starts to develop.
  4. Fold in the onions, and then serve the pasta warm with extra cheese and mint for garnish.

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