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Frugal Healthy Recipe: Lemon Zucchini Orzo

Contributed By Marissa Bognanno, Professional Chef and Zumba Instructor, and Author of The Boot Blog

Manu called me on Skype last night to tell me that his dad may have found our stolen bike. His exact words were, “Did you know... that in the morning... Frank did see... the bee-cycle?”  I was so confused. What’s a bee-cycle? “Mariiiii, the BICICLETTA!” 

Here’s how it went down. Manu’s dad saw our stolen bike near the bank, locked up. He waited patiently outside for the “owner” to come out, but no such luck. Later, perched on his balcony with a pair of binoculars (I know, this doesn’t seem real, but it is) he spotted it parked in front of the gelateria. His plan is to go down there one of these days with a vigile (cop) and settle the score to get my beloved bike back! Frank is on a mission, people! 
I was so giddy after that and all I could do to calm myself down was cook. I prepped a small chicken (which freaks me out every time), dressed a salad and made this lemon zucchini orzo. 
Kitchen Tip: Rub any fruit that you need to juice on your counter first, this will loosen up the fibers and it will be easier to juice!
Lemon Zucchini Orzo
1 cup orzo
1 large zucchini
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
salt + pepper
chili flakes (optional)

Cook the orzo according to package instructions for al dente. In the meantime, slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and then chop for half moon circles. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sautè pan on medium high and throw in the zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add some chili flakes to taste. Cook about five minutes or until slightly soft. When the orzo is done, strain well and pour into a bowl. Add the lemon zest, juice, zucchini, 1 tablespoon oil and fresh basil. Stir well to combine and serve. 
How good was this? "We're going to eat this whole thing," was Kate's response when I asked her if she liked it, so, there you go. 

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