Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Veggie Orzo Pockets

I am always breaking my head over what to pack for lunch for my little one. Doesn't matter that I try not to repeat the same thing very often, I still get the "amma, please give me something different" from him! I am sure most parents with school going kids would relate to this, or should I say most moms? Now I understand why my mom's daily bedtime lament used to be "naalaiku ennadi pack pannaradu lunchuku?" - meaning, what am I going to pack for your lunch tomorrow!

Idlis, dosas, chapathis, pooris, rice based dishes, soups, pasta , sandwiches and even maggi - you name it and I have packed it! His favorite is stuffed paraatha, because he finds it easier to hold the paraatha rolled in a foil and eat while yapping away with his friends. But there are only so many varieties of stuffing that I can prepare at 5 in the morning!

Anyways, I am always looking for ways to combine vegetables and some form of grain in an easy to handle compact form that would appeal to my fussy eater! While thinking along those lines, I hit upon this idea. Am sure its nothing unique and has been tried by someone or the other somewhere. But this is the first time I tried this, and it was a huge hit!

I always keep crescent roll dough tubes stocked up in my refrigerator as they come in very handy - specially during the weekends when we have friends over for "chai-nashta". Now I thought, why not make pizza pockets with the same. But I wanted to add something more filling to it. My son loves pasta in various shapes and sizes - so I settled on orzo as the grain. He loves marinara sauce. While I have made sauces from scratch, it is just too much to ask of me if you are expecting me to make a small amount of the sauce everytime I make pasta for my kid! Though I am not a big fan of ready to use products, there are certain instances where I make an exception - pasta sauce is one of them - to be specific, store bought bottled marinara sauce; I am not too brand specific, though my current favorite is Giada's Vegetable Marinara sauce. I added a bit of this. Now, how could I leave out the veggies - so I went ahead and added some carrots, zucchini and broccoli as well. Feel free to add any vegetable you like - infact I even thought of using radishes but dropped the idea the last minute as I felt it would be too pungent and wouldn't blend in with the rest of the flavors. Forgot to remove them before clicking the final picture though :p!! Finally comes the cheese - come on, its a baked product for my kidddo - obviously am going to add cheese - loads of it!

The end result was a surprisingly quick, delicious and filling meal that was easy to handle and well liked by my sweetie pie! After the way he asked "amma, can I have the same thing tomorrow?" - this one is a keeper!

Preparation & Cooking: 30 minutes          Serves: 3-4


Mixed Vegetables (Sliced Carrots, Diced Zucchini and Broccoli Florets) - ¼  cup
Orzo - ¼  cup, cooked tender

Ready Made Marinara Pasta Sauce - 4 tablespoons
Kraft Shredded Natural Italian Five Cheese Blend - ¼  cup
(Mozarella, Provolone, Romano, Asiago and Parmesan)
Parmesan Cheese -  ¼  cup, finely grated
Fresh Cracked Pepper - to taste
Salt - to taste
Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
Cooking Spray - to grease the baking sheet
Pillsbury Crescent Roll - 1 tube

  1. Preheat  the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
  2. Cook the orzo till tender. Drain and keep aside.
  3. Saute the carrots and zucchini in olive oil till they soften. Then add in the broccoli, and marinara sauce. Give it a good stir.
  4. Now add in the orzo, salt and pepper. Mix well.

  5. Roll out the dough, keeping the rectangles intact. Smudge over the dotted edges of the triangles with your fingers so they smoothen out and don't break into triangles. Cut each rectangle into three smaller rectangles.
  6. Place a small amount of the vegetable orzo on each cut piece and top it with the cheeses.
  7. Wrap the pockets over and seal the edges. Place them on baking sheets and bake in the oven for about 12 minutes till the top is nicely browned
  8. Serve hot. Or cool down completely, wrap in a foil and pack them up in the lunch box for the little ones to enjoy at school!

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