Cranberry-Orange Orzo Salad Recipe

Dinner time! Check out this very colorful & healthy side dish just in time for fall. The sweet and tangy cranberry dressing complements the orange in the recipe. This can be a side dish or an alternative meal option for vegetarians!

Cranberry-Orange Orzo Salad Recipe 


4 oz. orzo
1 navel orange (about 7 oz.)
2 tbsp. cranberry sauce
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Pinch chili flakes
4 cups/4 oz. baby arugula
1/4 cup/1 oz. chopped toasted walnuts
1/4 cup/1 oz. dried cranberries
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, trim top and bottom ends of orange. Stand fruit on one of the cut ends; remove outer peel, following natural curve of fruit to remove bitter white pith. Working over a bowl to catch juices, cut between membranes to release segments; set aside.
  3. Whisk together cranberry sauce, oil, 2 tbsp orange juice (from segments), vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and chili flakes; toss with pasta.
  4. Stir in arugula, orange segments, walnuts and dried cranberries.
  • If you don’t have a navel orange, use 2 clementine or mandarin oranges.
  • Substitute pecans, pumpkin seeds or almonds for walnuts.
Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 277 calories, 12 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 166 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 13 g sugars, 5 g protein


Brussels Sprouts, Dried Cranberries, Caramelized Onion & Sage Penne Pasta Recipe

Fall screams comfort food! So many of us have been waiting for cooler weather to make a batch of our favorite comfort food. Pasta dishes are included in this list. One way to make pasta dishes more for fall is to add in ingredients that go with the season, like cranberries! Embrace the flavors of fall and the up and coming Thanksgiving with our festive penne recipe. It makes a great side dish for Thanksgiving or as the star of the show in a fall weekday dinner or lunch.

Brussels Sprouts, Dried Cranberries, Caramelized Onion & Sage Penne Pasta


2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
4 cups/1 lb. sliced onion
2 Tbsp. sliced sage leaves
¼ cup/½ oz. dried cranberries (preferably no sugar added)
4 oz. penne
2 cups/9 oz. Brussels sprouts, halved


  1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 TBSP of the oil and all of the onions. Sprinkle with salt.
  2. Slowly cook, stirring from time to time until golden (about 30 minutes). Stir in the sage leaves and cranberries.
  3. While the onions are caramelizing, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the penne according to package directions. Drain and reserve.
  4. Also while the onions are cooking, bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil and cook the Brussels sprouts until just softened (about 5 minutes). Drain.
  5. Remove the onion mixture from the pan to a bowl. Heat the same pan over medium high heat. Add the remaining 1 TBSP oil and sauté the Brussels sprouts until browned (about 3 minutes). Stir in the penne and the onion mixture.
  6. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
An exclusive PastaFits.org recipe.


Get Back To School Ready Tips and To Go Lunch Box Meals!

Back to school time is cray-cray! No matter how much you prepare, things will be crazy in the morning or lunch prep or after school snacking and even at dinner time! Besides food time crazy you are also trying to balance supplies, money, time, schedules and more! Feeling stressed, yet?

Thanks to years of experience and now no longer having little ones to get ready, I can look back and be grateful that we survived all of it! There are so many resources to help you get lunchbox meals planned, meal plans for dinner and even containers to choose from to help you easily do meal prep.

Here are a few recipes from Pasta Fits. You will find a lot of yummy and easy lunch recipes your family will LOVE! I'm also sharing some of my favorite links where I go to for easy meals and meal plans! You can do this!

ABC (Apple, Broccoli, Cheddar) Alphabet Pasta Salad

With all the flavors that kids love, this simple salad is definitely a lunch and
dinner lifesaver.

Makes: 6 servings
Categories: Kid Friendly, Vegetarian
Type of Dish: Lunch, Dinner
Total Time (Prep + Cook): 20 minutes
Season: Any Season

4 oz alphabet pasta
4 cups small broccoli florets
1/4 cup light ranch dressing
1 apple, cored and diced
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat mild Cheddar cheese
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives

1. In large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package
directions, adding broccoli in the last 3 minutes of cooking. Rinse with
cold water; drain.
2. Toss together pasta, broccoli and dressing. Stir in apple, Cheddar and
Tip: Add chopped almonds and raisins for added texture.

Nutrition Facts
Per 1/6 recipe
Calories 150
Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 1.5g
Cholesterol 10mg
Sodium 210mg
Carbohydrate 23g
Fiber 3g
Sugars 5g
Protein 6g
Meets Pasta Fits nutrition guidelines.

Power Crunch Pasta Salad

Makes: 6 servings
Categories: Kid Friendly, Vegetarian
Type of Dish: Lunch, Dinner
Total Time (Prep + Cook): 20 minutes
Season: Any Season

8 oz whole wheat penne
2 cups/1 1/4 oz. shredded kale, ribs removed
2 cups/4 oz. thinly sliced red cabbage
1 red apple, cored and finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup/1 oz. dried cranberries
1/4 cup/1 oz. natural sliced almonds
2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp. chia seeds

Creamy Yogurt-Herb Dressing:
1/2 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper

1. Cook penne according to package directions. Rinse in cold water
and drain.
2. Toss together pasta, kale, cabbage, apple, carrot and
3. Creamy Yogurt-Herb Dressing: Whisk together yogurt, olive oil,
parsley, chives, vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper.
4. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well to coat. Sprinkle
almonds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds over salad before
Add crumbled goat cheese if desired.
For added protein, add tofu, cooked shredded chicken or tuna.

Nutrition Facts
Per 1/8 recipe
Calories 250
Fat 9g
Saturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 115mg
Carbohydrate 34g
Fiber 5g
Sugars 8g
Protein 7g

With a mix of healthy carbs and protein, these unique egg muffins are the ideal solution to busy mornings, afternoon snack cravings, or for spicing up a boring lunch. Make them ahead of time and then grab a few when you’re on the go!
Makes: 6 servings
Categories: Kid Friendly, Vegetarian
Type of Dish: Lunch, Dinner
Total Time (Prep + Cook): 20 minutes
Season: Any Season


3 oz. tubetti*
1 ½ cups/6 oz. zucchini, small dice
1 ½ cups/6 oz. red pepper, small dice
12 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup/¾ oz. shredded basil
1 ½ cups/6 oz. shredded cheddar
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the tubetti according to package directions. Drain and reserve.
  2. Distribute the zucchini, red pepper and tubetti evenly between the cups of a non-stick muffin pan.
  3. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Pour the eggs over the vegetables then sprinkle with basil and cheddar.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Cool then wrap for lunch!
*This recipe can be made gluten-free simply by substituting gluten-free tubetti.
Makes 12 muffins. 
Per muffin: 161 calories, 10 g total fat, 5 g saturated fat, 7 g carbohydrate, 11 g protein, 1 g dietary fiber, 1 gm sugar, 160 mg sodium, 201 mg cholesterol.

MORE Back To School Resources!

Back To School Tips


Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've been making these chocolate chip cookies for 25 years. During our engagement, I opened up a classic church cookbook to find a chocolate chip cookie recipe. While eating the cookies, my soon-to-be husband made comments like, "these need nuts" or "I love a soft cookie" etc. Then when the kiddos came along they made their own comments. The main comment was that the cookies needed more chocolate chips. As time marched on this recipe evolved into one that became a perfect fit for our family. I no longer have a copy of the original recipe but below you will find our family favorite variation!

This recipe easily makes over 10 dozen chocolate chip cookies. You can get a lot less but not too much more that 10 dozen. The amount you get depends on the size of your cookies. I use a small cookie dough scoop which doesn't seem like a lot on the baking sheet but makes a perfect 2-3 bite cookie. Whenever I bake these cookies, I plan on giving them away! The dough can easily be frozen, too. 

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies


2 cups Butter Crisco (or 1 cup of soft butter and 1 cup of Butter Crisco...either works depending on what I have on hand)
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
5 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
24-30 oz. of mixed chocolate chips (any combo chocolate, semi sweet, dark chocolate, etc)
2 cups of nuts (any variety)


1-Get a large bowl and a heavy wooden spoon. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2-Add in butter/Crisco and sugars. Cream together.
3-Add in eggs and vanilla. Stir together.
4-Add in flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until combined.
5-Mix in chips.
6-Use a small cookie scoop and scoop cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet. For larger cookies use other size scoops. 
7-Bake for 10-12 minutes for soft cookies. Bake up to 12-14 minutes if you want a crunchier cookie. 

Make the recipe and turn it into your own family favorite recipe. Simple changes keeping the basic measurements will be the best way to make changes. 

Did you make them? Do you have any questions? 
Follow me and let me know at 

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