This is the first time in nearly four weeks I’m not a single lady.

I’ve been playing the single lady card for almost an entire month while my husband travels, and I’m not gonna lie… I sort of love it.


I am a person who craves her alone time, and it feels oh so fabulous to: peacefully sleep in the middle of a big bed with the ceiling fan on high speed, watch constant Felicity marathons and Cheaper By The Dozen thrice in one week without judgement, peel off all my nail polish piece by piece without a sideways glare, not have to tune out Monday Night Raw, not have to shower immediately {…or at all} after a workout, read for four solid hours every evening and eat whatever the heck I want for dinner at whatever the heck time I want. Dinner often presenting itself in a bottle of wine and a wedge of brie.

Things that are not so fabulous include: killing spiders the size of my head, taking out the trash {easily my least favorite chore}, doing monotonous laundry like dish towels {we have an excellent system on this front: I use them and throw them in a pile; he washes them once he can’t take it anymore}, baking two dozen cookies and having them all to myself {wait. maybe that’s good?}, having to manically clean the kitchen, the dining room, the family room, the bedroom and the bathrooms in a matter of minutes since I’ve neglected them for a month, having to turn off my mixer, turn off my oven, blow out my candles and run to the store mid-recipe because I forgot to buy lemons and having to carry annoying items up the stairs from the garage like 25 pound bags of flour.


I see a pretty even pros and cons list here.

This is just one of the few dishes that I made in bulk over the last few weeks, if only because having something readily available to pull out of the fridge enabled me more time to lose myself in some chick lit and ensure that the couch didn’t lose my body mold. And don’t worry, I wasn’t really alone. I clocked in a fair amount of TV time with Alexander Skarsgard.


But really… this is good stuff. So good in fact, that I made some again yesterday. I even added chicken since my lonesome days are over, and that was pretty dang tasty too. Beans and their creaminess are completely underrated.

White Bean and Parmesan Baked Orzo

serves 4+

1 cup of whole wheat orzo pasta

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 cup of sliced mushrooms

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cups of raw spinach

1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

fresh herbs for garnish, such as cilantro, parsley and basil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Bring water to a boil and prepare pasta according to directions, lessening the cooking time by 1-2 minutes since the pasta will bake.

While pasta is cooking, heat a skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions and peppers and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add in mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes more, tossing occasionally. Add in garlic and spinach, and stir until spinach wilts, then turn heat down to low. Add in white beans, drain pasta and add pasta to the mix, then toss to combine. Turn off heat, add half of the grated parmesan, and toss once more.

Spray a baking dish (mine was 6 inches in diameter and almost 3 in height) with non-stick spray. Spoon orzo mixture into the baking dish, then top with remaining cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, then if desired, broil for 1-2 minutes until cheese on top is golden. Garnish with fresh herbs.

And this bread? Oh… I’m totally going to tell you about this bread. Soon. Two words: brown butter.

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121 Responses to “White Bean and Parmesan Baked Orzo.”

  1. #
    Bev Weidner — September 8, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

    Girl face, my husband travels all the time for work, too – so every single pro and con you listed above is seriously and totally in my brain hole, too.

    I’m actually in a panic right now to get the lawns moved and edged, the bathroom cleaned, my hair washed and the bed made before he comes home tonight.

    Maybe I should open some wine. Like, now.


  2. #
    CouponClippingCook — September 8, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

    I’m laughing as I read your pros and cons about being single….they sound all too familiar! Love the combination of flavors in this recipe….sounds so good and healthy too.


  3. #
    Christine — September 8, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

    I totally agree about the husbands traveling. My husband typically travels once a month for about a week. It’s perfect. I have 3 kids – triplets – so it wasn’t so great when they were babies but now they’re 5 and we have a routine pretty well worked out. Also having to work full time then wrangling kids myself in the evening means I don’t have to go run around the house cleaning before he comes home because he figures I just didn’t have any time. And if it’s a total mess he will assume it was a really bad week and feels guilty and takes the kids somewhere so I can go shopping or something. Win-win-win!

    Also, I am VERY happy we are going to hear about the bread! I was totally checking it out in the photos…


  4. #
    Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather — September 8, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

    Two dozen cookies should totally be on the pros list! It’s crazy how deliciously creamy beans are. One of my favs! This looks amazing Jessica!


  5. #
    Ashley — September 8, 2011 @ 2:13 pm

    Ahhh, the cheese in the skillet photo…mmmm I can almost taste this deliciousness just thinking about it. Whenever Chris is gone my favorite thing to do is sleep in the middle of the bed. ;)


  6. #
    amy — September 8, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

    this looks so good! perfect for dinner!


  7. #
    Jamie (Thrifty Veggie Mama) — September 8, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

    This looks so delicious and great for a cool fall day!


  8. #
    Courtney — September 8, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

    I seriously don’t think you create an even mildly bad recipe! Amazing!


  9. #
    Morgan — September 8, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

    This looks right up my alley! Yum!

    I wonder if I could sub farro for the orzo?? I’m so bad at imagining what things would be like. Do you think it would work?


    • Jessica — September 8th, 2011 @ 7:00 pm



  10. #
    sarah@spinach and spice — September 8, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

    I already really love beans. My family hates me for it, but I can’t help it.
    This just upped the bean loving to a whole new level. They’re realllly gonna hate you :D


  11. #
    Jeff — September 8, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

    Wow! This looks great! What an enticing recipe. I love all the ingredient combination! Great looking recipe!


  12. #
    Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen — September 8, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

    As a real life single lady, I can tell you I actually enjoy all of the things you listed. And the other stuff sucks. Like, I don’t want to put together a shelf, you know? Never thought to bake orzo…but then again you always do stuff and I’m like, “She’s a genius.” :)


  13. #
    Eleanor — September 8, 2011 @ 5:37 pm

    I have everything in the house but the orzo…any suggestions for a substitute? I’ve probably got some whole wheat pasta, quinoa and wheatberries but not sure any would really would well. What do ya think?


    • Jessica — September 8th, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

      I think any other kind of pasta, or even rice/risotto would work!


      • Eleanor — September 8th, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

        Thanks so much!!

        • Eleanor — September 14th, 2011 @ 9:21 am

          This turned out so incredibly yummy!! I couldn’t get over how creamy it was! Thanks for another great recipe!

  14. #
    Jillian @ NewlyBread — September 8, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

    Looks amazing! Definitely going on the meal planner for next week! I’ve only been married for four months, so if my husband goes out of town I am sad and lonely. :)


  15. #
    Laura — September 8, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

    I know exactly what you mean about the single lady behavior! My husband is actually getting ready for a trip and I’ve been thinking about all the things that I want to be able to indulge in while he’s out of town. It’s fun for a night or two and then I just miss him. But some Real Housewives of Wherever and some “chick” friendly food should help me quell those feelings for a bit :)


  16. #
    Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine — September 8, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

    I feel like we’re so much alike, Jessica. :) When my boyfriend travels, I absolutely drink wine and eat brie for dinner (he hates brie, I love it.) I usually throw in some potato chips too. Even though we love them to pieces, it’s a luxury to have exactly one person to please for a few days: yourself!


  17. #
    Lauren — September 8, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

    Ahahahhaha I just love you more and more. I seriously don’t think I will ever get married due to my love of “single lady habits” as I like to call them. I too chip off my nailpolish while watching reruns of incredibly intelligent shows (i .e. real housewives of beverly hills)…. until my hot pink polish is all over the floor. I also consider wine and a huge tub of frozen yogurt with rainbow sprinkles a completely balanced dinner. Not sure what my future husband will think of this.


  18. #
    Michelle — September 8, 2011 @ 10:54 pm

    My boyfriend travels on the regular, and while it isn’t for a month straight it’s usually every other week or two weeks at a time. I know the glorious feeling it can bring. Besides, you love when they come home that much better!

    Bring on the bread!


  19. #
    Laura — September 8, 2011 @ 11:09 pm

    LOL you sound like me when my boyfriend is gone. Exactly like me actually…creepy. Except I carry and pour 16kg bags of dog food around the house. My bf is in Indiana right now for work (we live in Canada) and yesterday was garbage day…oh I bet you can guess how annoyed I was at taking it out. Ew the stench, the liquids that seep out, the grungy garbage bin. HATE IT. Although I definitely enjoy the large bed all to myself and being able to sleep comfortably without the snoring and moving around (plus I’m like you, love having the fan on and window open, my bf hates the fan) … it gets lonely ;)


  20. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — September 9, 2011 @ 12:04 am

    This sounds like the perfect fall meal! Love it!


  21. #
    Jennifer @ Mother Thyme — September 9, 2011 @ 12:53 am

    You are reminding me of the time when my husband use to always travel and I would be home alone, I loved it too! Now, he is home everynight and I’m crazy busy chasing around one year old twins but I still have time to watch Alexander Skarsgard! This recipe sounds delish! Perfect for this time of year. Looking forward to trying it! :)


  22. #
    Kita — September 9, 2011 @ 8:22 am

    Wait! So if I just leave the dish towels in a pile eventually he will just scoop them up and wash them??? Guess what system I’m putting in place right now.

    I’m blaming you when they find me under the pile of dish towels with unshaved legs and a volley ball named Wilson.

    This orzo sounds great :)


  23. #
    Gina — September 9, 2011 @ 10:16 am

    This looks awesome and I will be trying it soon. My husband is gone 1-2 nights a week and I’ve grown to love it for the same reasons you listed! He always talks about how badly he sleeps when he’s gone and I don’t talk about how great I sleep!


  24. #
    Kathy L. — September 9, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

    I fixed this for dinner last night (except I couldn’t find whole wheat orzo in my town! It is delicioius! Thanks for sharing!


  25. #
    Megan — September 9, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

    Yum! I made this last night, only subbed the orzo for whole wheat elbow macaroni because that’s what my pantry gave me. Oh, and I added some fresh mozzarella on top…and maybe just a smidge more parm. SO good-thank you!!


  26. #
    Carissa — September 9, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

    This sounds amazing. Perfect for not having to share and great for reheating. My husband doesn’t travel for work (sometimes I dream about a night alone with a bottle of wine…), but we always need leftovers to heat for lunch.


  27. #
    Maia — September 9, 2011 @ 4:53 pm

    Your comment about seeing “an even list of pros and cons” had me laughing out loud. My husband also travels frequently for work (he’s currently in New Orleans for the production of GI Joe 2). There’s one thing about it that I can’t decide whether I enjoy or not. I can stay up until 1 AM reading, when he would usually nag me to go to bed already. It always seems fun at the time, but I regret it when I wake up groggy six hours later! Anyway, this dish looks delicious. I love baked pasta and I appreciate that this recipe is loaded with veggies and salty cheese and not drenched in tomato sauce!


  28. #
    Grace — September 9, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

    Filing this one away for a near future vegetarian night dinner.


  29. #
    Kristin — September 9, 2011 @ 5:57 pm

    Im OCD about the way my drizzle work looks (is that weird haha i dont know) I decorate cupcakes alot and when i do a drizzle i use a plastic condiment bottle- the kind that you would see at an old diner or soemthing- works WONDERS! and if you have left over glaze it store nicely in the freezer :) love your blog!


  30. #
    GirlonRaw — September 10, 2011 @ 2:28 am

    Haha I totally get you! I used to be the one that travelled (being an ex flight attendant) and once my wings were clipped by marriage and a baby, I really feel I miss those things you mention. There have been a few times here and there where hubs has had to go out for even just for one night, and I have to pretend I didn’t love it as much as I did. My bad?


  31. #
    Amy @ A Little Nosh — September 10, 2011 @ 3:57 am

    I would love two days of alone time like that. Just two measly days. But I had to go and birth a child a few years ago so that’s never going to happen. I’d miss him too much.


  32. #
    newlywed — September 10, 2011 @ 9:35 am

    This looks amazing — I love baked casseroles with pasta and beans!


  33. #
    Heidi — September 10, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

    I love my alone time as well, and really it’s not alone time when you have Alexander Skarsgard to keep you company (on a side note the fact that the season finale is tomorrow night makes me sad).

    This dish looks amazing … I wish I could find Orzo where I live! I’ve looked everywhere! The people who work at the grocery store have no clue what I’m talking about and look at me funny when I ask haha


  34. #
    Shari — September 11, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was soooooooo good :-) Thanks for the great recipe!!!!!


  35. #
    Jessica — September 12, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

    Oh my goodness, I want to make this right now!!! Thanks for this great recipe!


  36. #
    Alexandra — September 12, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

    Hahaha. I love your writing just as much as your recipes. Never fails to make me smile when I read your posts. Especially like your “single lady” description above… that pretty much sounds like me when I get the house to myself. I’m not sure how I’ll ever manage to adjust to a husband, but I guess on the bright side that DOES mean someone to cook for so you don’t “have” to eat the entire 2 dozen cookies or full pot of pasta. ;-)


  37. #
    Amy — September 14, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

    You are so funny. I love chick-lit. I can also read for hours straight, usually trying to drown out my husband’s video game sounds. I also enjoy those rare nights I get to cook whatever dinner I want – risotto, lemon in my chicken marinade, eggplant, homemade soup, ravioli in cream sauce…yum…


  38. #
    Shannon C — September 18, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

    So yummy! I added a bit more garlic and also threw in a chopped up a vine ripened tomato and some freshly ground sea salt. Perfect! I thought it was even better on day 2!


  39. #
    Sara Smotherman — September 19, 2011 @ 7:56 pm

    I am just starting my blog about my very own grown-up apartment (first time living away from home, away from college, aka reality haha), and your recipe is the first one I wrote an entry about! Thanks for the inspiration, great recipe, and mouth-watering photos. :) Have a wonderful day!


  40. #
    Kathy — October 14, 2011 @ 9:18 am

    This looks so yummy. I am anxious to make it. I think my hubby would love it. However, I am vegan. If I make a batch for me, I wonder what I could use in place of the parmesan cheese to bind it together & give it some flavor?


  41. #
    Chantelle @ A Tale of Two Pretties — November 27, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

    Just made this recipe–so so so delicious! I’m ridiculously excited for all of the leftovers , too ;-)


  42. #
    Cheralee — March 11, 2013 @ 8:38 am

    This sounds so amazing! Do you think this would freeze well after being prepared or convert to a par-cooked freezer meal well? Thanks for your thoughts. :)



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