30 Minute Meal: Southwest Sausage-Orzo Skillet

In order to make a home cooked dinner happen even in the chaos of school, work, 4-H & FFA, sports, animals, and everything else we do, the refrigerator and pantry must be stocked with basic staples and select, versatile ingredients. For me, I am guaranteed to always have some sort of ground meat in the freezer, pasta & canned tomatoes in the pantry, and fresh veggies in the refrigerator. Then, on nights like tonight, when I’ve been at work all day and end-of-school parties all afternoon, cleaned out a goat pen, dealt with moody kids, and battled a headache, dinner is still homemade made and still done in 30 minutes.

On tonight’s menu, I had ground breakfast sausage defrosting to make sausage gravy & biscuits, but I wasn’t feeling like breakfast, so I turned to a well stocked pantry and an equally stocked refrigerator to create a Southwest-inspired skillet meal with orzo, corn, peppers, and chili spiced tomatoes.

30 Minute Meal: Southwest Sausage-Orzo Skillet

30 Minute Meal: Southwest Sausage-Orzo Skillet


  • 1 lb. ground breakfast sausage
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1/2 c. chopped bell pepper
  • 1 clove garlic-minced
  • 1/2 c. whole kernel corn
  • 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 c. uncooked orzo pasta
  • 15 oz. water (use tomato can)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 c. shredded colby-jack cheese


  1. In a large skillet, brown sausage over medium high heat. Drain any fat that may have cooked out. Add olive oil, onion, peppers, and garlic. Saute over medium heat for 5 minutes or until slightly translucent. Add corn and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Add orzo, water, salt, pepper, and cumin. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until orzo is tender, stirring frequently. Top with shredded cheese and allow to melt before serving.
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