Springtime in a Bowl – Shrimp, Asparagus and Tomato Pasta

It is really Springtime now and it just makes you want to lighten up the menu a bit and my mind immediately goes to asparagus!  This recipe is a variation on my Summertime Tomato Pasta. I wanted to use some of those beautiful asparagus out there. Even though I knew Joel would pick them out , I still made this dish. The asparagus are large enough for him to easily pick out and put on my plate. This dish is light and delicious and pretty quick to prepare. It is like springtime in a bowl!  There are so very many things to do with asparagus but this just appealed to me tonite and if you leave the shrimp out you have a lovely vegetarian pasta dish. I used the shrimp.  I also used linguine in this , it just seems to hold on to the flavors nicely. Happy Spring and Enjoy. This recipe was inspired by Giada de Laurentis .

Ingredients:

1 lb. box linguine ( I used Fini Linguine , it was lighter than regular linguine and was just perfect)

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 containers of little grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or any small tomato ( app. 20 oz. of tomatoes)  I cut tomatoes in 1/2.

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

* crushed red pepper ( we like the heat) use your own discretion depending on how you like it, totally optional

3 large cloves of garlic, chopped finely

1/2 cup dry white wine ( I use whatever I have open)

1 lb. Asparagus , trimmed, stalks cut on a diagonal into app. 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

fresh basil chopped ( app. 1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to box directions.( Fini Linguine cooks in 6 minutes perfectly)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the tomatoes, app.  1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and app. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft , it takes about 5 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic. Cook for another few minutes ( don’t burn the garlic)keep on low heat and stir around. Add the wine and the asparagus. Bring to a low boil and simmer for at least 5 minutes . Taste for Salt and Pepper, if it needs more this is when I would add it, and I did. I added a bit more salt here, pepper was fine. You need to use your own discretion about the salt .

Sprinkle shrimp in a bowl with a little salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and continue to simmer until the shrimp is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Shrimp needs to be firm to the touch, and opaque if cut into. Stir in the chopped basil and the oregano.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss well to combine.  You can always add more crushed red pepper when finished.

This was really delicious and light. Joel of course picked out every piece of asparagus, and put them in my bowl. That was fine with me because I love asparagus.

*this dish will easily serve 4, if you like you can always add another 1/2 lb. of shrimp for 4 people.

Pasta with Chicken, Spinach and Tomatoes

I am clearly obsessed with tomatoes these days. This recipe is easy to make, pretty healthy and super tasty. I just love those little grape tomatoes and have been using them a lot lately in everything I cook. Of course, the spinach is an issue because of Joel, but he’ll just have to pick it out. He really doesn’t know what he is missing. Most of the ingredients you’ll have on hand. If you’re really trying to keep it lighter, omit the butter and increase the olive oil by one tablespoon. Just cook the chicken in the olive oil without the butter. It will be fine. Cut the chicken into small or large chunks (whatever you would prefer)just be sure they are all pretty much the same size to make cooking time is the same , put in a single layer and allow the chicken to brown up nicely (when you first put it into the skillet try not to touch it ), about 3  minutes on each side depending on the size of the chicken chunks. Enjoy this delicious meal–it’s perfect for a nice lunch, dinner, or brunch dish. Prep time is quick , about 1/2 hour. This is really a beautiful light meal .

*I cut this recipe in 1/2 this evening for just the 2 of us. This dish should feed 5 – 6  people nicely as is.

Ingredients:

1 pound small pasta ( penne, rigatoni, I used Fusilli Bucati ) I like a small macaroni as opposed to spaghetti in this recipe.

4 whole boneless , skinless Chicken Breasts ( adjust to how many people you’re serving) app. 2 lbs.

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons Butter ( unsalted)

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

4 Cloves Garlic , minced

3/4 cup Dry White Wine ( I use whatever is open) ( if no white wine or you don’t like cooking with wine just double up on chicken broth)

3/4 cups Chicken Broth ( you may need a bit more so have a  little extra on hand)

1 bag Baby Spinach

2 boxes of grape tomatoes (1 pint per box) sliced lengthwise , any larger ones cut in fours

Grated Parmesan Cheese for garnish

*crushed red pepper which we love but totally not necessary

Directions:

Cook pasta according to directions . Drain and set aside. I try to keep a little of the pasta water in the event I may need it at the end of cooking, just take a measuring cup and scoop out a cup of water and set aside, if you don’t use it you haven’t lost anything. Sometimes towards the end I add it to finished pasta to  add a little liquid to the pasta, especially if you cook in advance. I didn’t need it tonite because we ate it as soon as it was cooked, and it was just right .

Cut chicken breasts into chunks and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper ( (I prefer small chunks) Be fairly generous with Salt and Pepper.

Heat butter and olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken in a single layer and don’t touch for a few minutes and let it brown up, turn over once it starts to brown and form a coating. When chicken is done, remove chicken from skillet. I prefer smaller chunks, do whatever you like, just keep them uniform for even cooking.

Turn heat down to low, add garlic and give it a quick stir, be careful not to burn garlic. Pour in wine and broth, stirring to deglaze the pan, raise the heat and allow the liquid to come to a boil. Allow the liquid to boil for a bit, I let it boil for about 5 minutes, reduce the cooking liquid by at least half. I then reduce to a simmer and add the tomatoes, I let them cook for about 5 minutes till they start to release their liquid a bit, and just start to soften.  I also add Salt and Pepper again here, then I add chicken to pan . stir it around, add the bag of spinach  it will start to wilt as you toss everything , then add the drained pasta, mix well and serve. So light and delicious.

Sprinkle Grated Parmesan or Parmesan shavings are good as well.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner-Mustard and Balsamic

IMG_7542

Chicken in Marinade for 1/2 hour

IMG_7548

Chicken finished cooking

IMG_7553 (2)

plated chicken

IMG_7538

Lemon and chopped Rosemary

IMG_7545 I made this for dinner the other night and I have to say it was very delicious. I used boneless skinless chicken thighs, of course you can use any cut of chicken you’d like.  All I needed was the chicken and the fresh rosemary.  I had all the other ingredients on hand. You will need to marinate for about 1/2 hour and cooking time is about an hour, no need to marinate over night which is part of what I loved about this recipe.  Balsamic Vinegar and Dijon Mustard and a few other easily obtainable ingredients make this a no fuss recipe.  This recipe is for 8 boneless skinless thighs but feel free to double it up, I used about 10 thighs . It would be perfect on the grill as well. I used my oven and I have to say we both loved this recipe.

The chicken would also be wonderful on day 2 as a leftover in a salad!

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

8 boneless chicken thighs

1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard ( make it heaping)

1/4 cup of Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 cup of Olive Oil

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice ( I average lemon)

2 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

app.  1/4 tsp. of kosher salt, I just sprinkled lightly over the chicken and about 6 grinds on the pepper mill. If you’re doubling recipe you will obviously need more salt and pepper

Directions:

In a bowl, combine the mustard, vinegar, garlic, rosemary and lemon juice. Slowly add in the olive oil with the mixture while you whisk–to emulsify.

Place the chicken in a container or Pyrex  (don’t use metal). I sprinkled about 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt over the chicken tops.  Pour the marinade over the chicken. I left it out for 1/2 hour and let it marinate, you can refrigerate it.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Transfer the chicken to a sprayed ( cooking spray ) baking dish and empty any remaining sauce on top of it.

Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour , or until the chicken is cooked through. It got a nice crust without drying out the chicken after one hour. Depending on your oven and the size of your chicken 1 hour should do it. If you’re working with breasts you’ll have to cut into chicken after 50 minutes to check for doneness depending on the size of your breasts. Haven’t tried it on the grill yet but I can’t imagine this would be anything but delicious, just don’t burn it up!!!!!!

Veggie Frittata for Mothers Day

This will be the first Mothers Day without my Mother. She will most certainly be missed and so much of the food I make and love comes from a long line of great cooks in my family. We will enjoy the day and think of my Mother who really did love all the Holidays and any reason to get together with the family. RIP Mom.

This Frittata is a delicious addition to any brunch, breakfast or lunch. Easy to prep ahead and served hot right out of the oven it is just delicious.

Have a wonderful Mothers Day and Enjoy from my kitchen to yours.

Veggie Frittata

1 small zucchini , 1 inch diced (app)

1 red bell  pepper, seeded and diced (1 -2 ” diced)

1 yellow pepper, seeded and diced ( 1- 2″ diced)

1 red onion ( 1 – 2″ diced)

1/3 cup good olive oil

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

2 teaspoons minced garlic ( 2 cloves)

12 extra large eggs (let them sit out at room temperature)

1 cup half and half

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green ( app. 3 scallions)

1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the zucchini, peppers, and onion on a sheet pan.( you want all the veggies the same size so they all cook evenly and at the same time) Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and toss well. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Add the garlic, give it a toss, and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the oven down Rome and Thanksgiving 053DSCN2293IMG_1999IMG_1438DSCN2950DSCN3141to 350 degrees.  This can be done one day ahead and leave in a container in the fridge till you’re ready to use.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half , Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

In a 10″ ovenproof sauté pan, melt the butter and sauté the scallions over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Add the roasted veggies to the pan and toss with the scallions. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies and cook for 2 minutes over medium=low heat without stirring. Transfer the pan the oven and bake the frittata for 20 – 30 minutes, until it is puffed up and set in the center. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the Gruyere and bake for another 4 minutes or until the cheese is just melted.  Put the pan right on the table and cut wedges and serve hot! Enjoy and Happy Holidays.Featured Image -- 7127

Baked French Toast — all time best

DSCN4275

DSCN4288

DSCN4283

DSCN4274

DSCN4270

DSCN4302

DSCN4294I posted this originally back in October 2011 for Yom Kippur break fast. It is truly one of the best French toast recipes I’ve ever made.  I include it every year since my friend Ilene Stern gave it to me. I never have a single piece left. Delicious and decadent, perfect brunch and breakfast food. I almost always include it in my Mother’s Day Brunch as well. Once you’ve made this recipe there is no turning back, your whole family will love it and you’ll have to make it every time.

The only downside is that you must prepare and refrigerate the night before without cooking it, you cannot cook this dish till you’re ready to eat it, the bottom will get hard like a caramel candy would. So cook right before you’re going to serve. Enjoy!

*recipe as is should serve 6- 8 if you have more people make 2 trays!

Ingredients:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 stick unsalted butter

2 tbsp. corn syrup ( I use Karo Original light corn syrup)

5 eggs (room temperature please)

1 1/2 cups milk ( you can use low-fat, I use Skim Plus)

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 package of sliced cinnamon bread. ( Pepperidge Farm is fine) if you can get thick slices it’s great , but the thin kind will work just double stack them it will be fine) You probably will use 12 slices of bread per tray. You will have 6 stacks of 2 slices each, 12 slices total, or 6 thick slices of cinnamon bread. If you can’t find just cinnamon bread use raisin cinnamon bread it’s easier to find .

Directions:

Melt butter, add brown sugar and corn syrup and combine well. Spray a 9×13 baking dish, Pyrex works well here. Pour butter mixture into baking dish and arrange bread slices flat in the mixture ( you will double stack the thin sliced bread) Unless the bread is 1″thick you will be doubling the standard sliced bread. Squeeze the bread to fit–it should hold 12 slices ( 6 double stacks), 3 on each side of a 9×13 baking dish.

In a blender mix the eggs, milk and vanilla and pour over the bread slices, covering them completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The bread will absorb all the liquid by the morning, so if you need to travel with it will be fine.

Uncover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Once it’s out of the oven you can dust with powdered sugar, but not necessary. Serve right from the baking dish.

*if you let this sit out too long before serving, the bottom may get hard like a praline candy. It never ever lasts long enough for this to happen at my table.

Look at my original recipe post on October 5 2011. More Break Fast: the all-time best Baked French Toast, I swear.

Lobster Cobb Salad and Honey Lime Vinaigrette

This is a delicious, tart salad dressing.  The flavors are perfect together and I will be making this delicious salad this Sunday for my Mother’s Day Brunch!  Just the perfect combination of tart and sweet. I served this lobster salad with baby greens, beets, lobster, corn, chopped eggs, tomatoes,  bacon (on the side) and, of course, avocado.  I bought the lobster (already cooked) You can purchase at your local fish store and specialty stores like Graces Marketplace. I cooked and  cut up beets, made some hard-boiled eggs and cut up tomatoes along with other ingredients. When I make it this Sunday I will put all the other ingredients in little bowls and let everyone choose what they like . I set up a make your own salad bar. So those who are vegetarian pick their ingredients and everyone is happy.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (1 small lime)

1/2 cup olive oil

kosher salt (approx. 1/4 teaspoon, maybe a bit more)

freshly ground black pepper

*you may want to double .  This will make approx. 1/2 cup salad dressing

Directions:

Whisk the vinegar, honey and lime juice together in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Salad:

You can feel free to add and subtract ingredients:

I use any type of greens –usually Romaine and a dark green mixture of greens

I used corn, beets, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, avocados, and bacon. Sometimes I use shredded cheese or blue cheese (even though I really don’t like blue cheese at all) and black or green olives cut up are delicious in here as well. And feel free to substitute chicken for the lobster and add and subtract whatever you’d like.

When I serve for brunch I put all the ingredients in separate little bowls and let everyone choose their favorite ingredients. Dressing on the side–of course.

Happy Cinco de Mayo–Set it and Forget it Chicken Taco Chili

This is a good way to mark Cinco de Mayo!!! Super easy recipe and will cook in the slow cooker on high in 6 hours! So set it and forget it. This is a re-blog from last October so if you missed it you get another shot at it and if you already made this recipe here you go again.

Slow cookers make for perfect cooking all year round. Nothing better than setting it and forgetting it! Making life easier and less clean up after dinner. I bought all my ingredients yesterday and went to Soul Cycle this morning , came home and by 10 am this was cooking in the slow cooker. I actually put it to high cook for 6 hours and I am sitting here smelling all this deliciousness . I happened to have a package of Taco Seasoning Mix in the house so I used it along with cumin and chili powder. I used dark meat and white meat chicken, you can use whichever chicken you’d like. Just set it and forget it and come home to this delicious meal of chicken . If you don’t own a slow cooker this may be a good time to buy one!

Ingredients:

1 small yellow onion , chopped

1 15 oz. can black beans, drained-you don’t have to rinse the organic beans. If you already have them in the house and they’re not organic just rinse them with water and drain.

1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained -you don’t have to rinse the organic beans–same instructions as above

1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

10 oz. package frozen corn kernels

2 10 oz. cans diced tomatoes with chilies –available in the Mexican Food aisle in the supermarket

4 oz. can chopped green chili peppers, chopped–also available in the Mexican Food aisle

1 packet Taco Seasoning- *if you don’t like using Taco Seasoning see note below

1 tbsp. cumin

1/2-1 Tbsp. chili powder

Kosher Salt to taste–if using the package of Taco Seasoning you may not need extra salt , wait till 6 hours of cooking are over and taste for salt . I sprinkled a little bit at the end of seasoning to taste.

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts and I added 6 small skinless , boneless chicken thighs and if you cannot find boneless don’t worry because the meat will fall off the bones and you can remove all the bones from the chili before serving.

I don’t know the nutrition information but I have to believe that this is a fairly low-fat , low caloric way to go. I added the dark meat so maybe not as light as you can make it. Enjoy!

*handful of fresh cilantro – chopped if you would like

Directions:

Combine drained beans, onion, chili peppers, corn , tomato sauce, diced tomato, cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker and mix well.

Nestle the chicken in to completely cover and cook either on Low for 8-10 hours or on High for 4-6 hours. I did it on high for 6 hours.

App. 1/2 hour before the cooking was over I thought I would shred the chicken, when I opened the slow cooker and started to stir the chicken it all just fell apart on its own!!! This was so amazing how I didn’t even have to do that. I guess it cooked so long that it just fell apart! This was just perfect and tasted so delicious! If that is not your experience and you only cook for 4 hours you may want to shred the chicken yourself about 1/2 hour before finished. But mine really did shred itself as I stirred it with a wooden spoon.

Top with fresh cilantro and your favorite chili toppings! I also serve with soft corn tortillas. You can use crunchy taco shells or whatever you’d like, this is totally optional. And some avocado never hurt anyone!

Yum!!!

*to make your own seasoning follow this

1 1/2 Tbsp. Cumin

1 1/2 Tbsp. Chili Powder

1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/4 tsp. Onion Powder

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. paprika

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinco de Mayo Salad and Green Goddess Dressing

photo (2)photo (5)photo (2) photo May is here and it brings warm weather and beautiful flowers and springtime has finally arrived. This is a perfect way to bring a little Cinco de Mayo into your home in a pretty healthy way.

Any excuse to celebrate a holiday with a new recipe! Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone and here is a new salad and salad dressing to help celebrate with. While I am not a vegan and don’t always cook that way,  I tried this salad dressing which I found in Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook, “It’s All Good”, and I have to say it is all good! All good ingredients. I am not talking diet food–just good, healthy food, that when eaten in moderation, yields very good results. I used * Vegenaise in making this and highly recommend it in the place of mayonnaise. You can also use yogurt in its place. This is low salt and low sugar. Delicious, fresh ingredients. I made it with the delicious salad listed below. I love love cilantro, and I have to say that if you don’t love cilantro, this one’s not for you. I used half of a jalapeno and it was not hot at all, next time I will use a little more.  I scraped the seeds out. Be very careful handling jalapenos and their seeds–make sure to wash your hands well afterwards and maybe wear gloves to prevent any problems.

This dressing will keep well in a jar for up to a week.

*a little story about Vegenaise, which is lighter than mayonnaise and contains no eggs, milk or animal products. No GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms). Mix it with Dijon for great flavor in the place of real mayo. Extra added bonus is a great jar to store future salad dressings in.

Ingredients:

*this will be vegan if you use Vegenaise

DRESSING INGREDIENTS:

2/3 cup of Vegenaise, yogurt, or mayonnaise

2 scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)

1/2 green jalapeno, roughly chopped (you can use more or less, whatever level of heat you like)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon honey

DRESSING DIRECTIONS:

Blend all ingredients in a blender except for olive oil (I open the top and pour oil in after all other ingredients are combined.) It is a beautiful light green color with specks of dark green. Joel was definitely suspicious of the color but he really loved it! Gave it a big thumbs up!

This should serve 4 nicely as a salad but adjust quantities based on how many people you are feeding.

SALAD INGREDIENTS:

About two hearts of romaine Lettuce, shredded

1/2 can of yellow corn (or 2 fresh ears of corn, shucked)

1/2 can black beans (I use organic canned beans and rinse and drain them)

4 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

1 ripe avocado, cut into chunks

approx. 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (I used delicious cherry tomatoes, halved)

1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

Green Goddess Dressing (see above)

If you’re using fresh corn, you’ll have to cook it first. I used the canned version this time. Place the lettuce in a large bowl and dress it with about 1/4 cup of the dressing, just so it’s nicely coated. I then added beans, tomatoes, scallions, avocado, cilantro and corn. Add a little more salad dressing, and serve immediately. Joel likes a lot more dressing on his salad so I served with dressing on the side. And no he didn’t eat all that stuff in the salad; he just ate lettuce and tomatoes…he really doesn’t know what he’s missing!

Ranch Dressing – BLT Salad

photo (2)DSCN0290photoDSCN0292One of the best things to come out of writing this blog is being in touch with so very many different people and getting inspired by their ideas as well as my own. Bree emailed me to tell me about this dressing that she made from Ina Garten. I was so happy for the email and a new dressing to make. I followed the salad dressing recipe decreasing the salt and changing the salad to a Bacon Lettuce and Tomato salad. So yum, and thanks again Bree for thinking of me and writing to me, I love that you thought of me and that you inspired me to make this new dressing.  This is one helluva great dressing and it would make one helluva great dip. Another perfect anytime salad. Thanks!

Ingredients:

3 scallions, white and green parts , chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt to taste

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup good mayonnaise ( you can use light but not fat free please)

1/2 cup Greek style yogurt , I used 2%

1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken ( you can use lowfat)

Salad Greens:

for 6 people you will use 3 small Bibb Lettuces, or Boston Lettuce or Romaine. Whichever you prefer. I could only find Romaine so that’s what we had. We like our lettuce chopped so that’s what I did.

2 large ripe tomatoes or small grape ones, whichever you prefer.

6 slices of Bacon ( I used microwave Bacon) it’s awesome–no fuss no muss

*1 red onion thinly sliced ( optional)

*avocado cut into chunks ( also optional)

I made all the salad dressing because it will keep in fridge for a few days , I used less lettuce and less other ingredients just for the two of us. I used the red onion and avocado for my 1/2 of the salad.

Directions:

Place the scallions, basil, lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, garlic , salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Puree for about 20 seconds till smooth. Add the mayo, yogurt, and buttermilk and blend till smooth. Transfer the dressing to a container and refrigerate for at least an hour till flavors blend together . Put together salad ingredients and pour dressing on it. So delish! Great with protein on it, and this salad dressing would make a great dip for raw veggies! I love this dressing, we ate it 3 nights in a row!

Springtime Shrimp, Orzo and Herbs

While this dish is really a mediterranean flavored dish it makes me think of the spring with all its green colors and fresh flavors. The shrimp gets a roasted treatment and the orzo gets it’s flavor from the lemons, feta, dill, scallions and red onions. Yum! It had me at hello. The original recipe is from Ina Garten and this recipe as is should serve 5- 6 nicely. I cut this recipe in 1/2 for the two of us. Simple, easy and delicious that’s the way I like it!
Enjoy and obviously this dish is delicious and right for all times of the year. What’s especially nice about this dish is that it can be served at room temperature which makes it a lovely dish for a luncheon as well. This will be a keeper throughout the summer for a delicious flavorful orzo salad. I have to add that I put this dish together rather quickly which always adds to my general love of a recipe.

You can also modify the amounts of herbs if you don’t enjoy the strong flavors of dill, scallions and onions. My husband is a very fussy eater who usually balks at the sight of anything green thoroughly enjoyed this dish without picking out a single piece of the green stuff! If you don’t like the strong flavor of dill this recipe will probably not be for you but if you enjoy dill, parsley, onion, scallions and cucumbers this is the one for you.

Ingredients:

This is the original recipe and should serve 6 very nicely. I cut in 1/2 and we had a little left over.

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper 1 amounts are listed below in directions

Olive Oil – amounts listed below in directions

3/4 lb. orzo pasta

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (app. 3 lemons)

2 lbs. shrimp – peeled and deveined . I used Jumbo Shrimp had the fish store peel and de-vein it and I had app. 14 pieces to the pound.

1 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts–this will probably be 2 bunches of scallions

1 cup chopped fresh dill

1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and medium diced– I scooped out the seeds with a melon baller

1/2 cup small-diced red onion

3/4 lb good feta cheese, cut into cubes

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare all the ingredients while orzo is cooking.

Cook orzo according to the box for al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl.

Whisk together the lemon juice , 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.

Meantime, place the shrimp on a sprayed sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. ( I mix the shrimp with clean hands and get the olive oil all over the shrimp then sprinkle with Salt and Pepper) Then spread in a single layer. Roast for 5-6 minutes till shrimp are cooked through. Do not Over-cook!!! shrimp will turn pink and curl up.

Add the cooked shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion and start with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and add more if necessary, and app. 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of black pepper–obviously every one has different taste buds for salt and pepper but taste as you go. Toss well. Then add the feta and stir carefully. (remember that the shrimp has salt and so does the feta)

You can eat and enjoy immediately like we did or allow the flavors to seal in for an hour at room temperature. This would make for a lovely salad in the warmer months served at room temperature. If you make ahead and put in the refrigerator–bring to room temperature and taste for seasonings before serving. This would be fine to make ahead of time as long as you bring it to room temperature before serving .