Lemon Shrimp Orzo Salad

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I’m always looking for new ideas and ingredients to cook with and I recently purchased orzo after I had a yummy dish at McCormick & Schmick’s that spurred my culinary imagination.  This dish I created on a whim, so please use as much or as little of each ingredient as  you like.  I’m used to cooking for 2, so if you want more, please double the recipe and I absolutely won’t be offended.  To make the orzo I used:

-1/2 cup whole wheat orzo

-1 qt water

Basically you will follow the package directions and boil the water and add the orzo and cook for 8-10 minutes.  Then drain it and set aside.

For the rest of the dish I used:

-olive oil (about 1-2 tbsp to coat the pan)

-1 green bell pepper chopped

-1/2 red onion chopped

-2 cloves minced garlic

-1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar (depending on how vinegary you like it feel free to add more or less)

-1 cup raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)

-2 tbsp chopped black olives

-1/2 cup chopped tomato

-1 handful of chopped fresh parsley

-juice of one lemon

-salt & pepper to taste

Use a skillet that is coated in olive oil over medium high heat to saute the bell pepper, onion, and garlic.

Lightly season with salt and pepper.  Cook about 3-4 minutes then add the red wine vinegar. Constantly stir all ingredients together using a spatula and cook for about 2 more minutes.  Add the shrimp and cook for another 2 minutes and then add the olives.  Cook until the shrimp is cooked through and then remove from heat.  Stir in the orzo, tomato, parsley, and lemon juice and top it off with salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

Balsamic Pork Pasta

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Each weekend it’s normally a tradition for my husband to grill a bunch of yummy meats for us to have easy access to make meals with the leftovers during the week. This has been working out quite well especially when I make a whole box of pasta early in the week as well. With the leftover meat and pasta, I always turn to this recipe to make a leftover a new star ingredient for a mid-week meal. Today I used leftover cut up grilled pork chops, but this can be substituted for whatever leftover meat you have on hand, chicken, steak, turkey, shrimp; the possibilities are endless! Here’s what ingredients I used:

Leftover pasta, leftover pork chops, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, one red pepper, one white onion, garlic pepper, and minced garlic.

The best part about this recipe is that I never measure anything but somehow it always turns out yummy! I start off with a large skillet and drizzle the oil on the bottom of the pan and heat it up on medium heat. Once the oil is heated, I add the onion, pepper, and minced garlic. I season them with the salt and pepper to my liking and saute until no longer crisp.

I then add the balsamic vinegar to the pan (eye ball how much you like, I LOVE the stuff so I dump a lot in, but sometimes it can be a taste disliked by some, so you might want to go lighter on it) and I lower the heat to medium, medium low constantly stirring the veggies and incorporating them into the vinegar. The vinegar should thicken a little at which point I dump in my leftover meat (pork chops for this one).

I mix that in and stir for a bit to heat up the meat and then I dump in my leftover pasta.

I mix that all together until the pasta is heated through, and then I serve it topped with either fresh cut up herbs (like basil or parsley) or in today’s case I didn’t have any of those so I opted for some fresh cut up cherry tomatoes.

This easy, quick leftover masterpiece is sure to be a hit! Even my new neighbor wanted to have some!

“Cleaning out the Fridge” Pasta

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Today I was pressed for time and ingredients when I got home from work so I started my rummage through the fridge and pantry and found the following:

-left over bell pepper
-half a sweet onion
-pasta sauce
-shredded mozzarella
-olive oil
-salt & pepper

So I decided to concoct (sp?) a meal using those 10 things and it turned out delicious! Here’s what I did:

Start off with boiling the water for the pasta and following the package directions

Then you preheat enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of a pan at medium high heat (probably 1 tbsp but I usually just eyeball it) and then add to it any chopped up veggies you like and cook until desired doneness. Be sure to season the veggies with salt and pepper to your liking.

Once the veggies are cooked, add your favorite pasta sauce and chopped up pepperoni.

Put a lid on it, and lower the temp to low and simmer until sauce is heated through (usually about 5 minutes or until it starts bubbling). By this time, your pasta should be ready to drain and place in a bowl. Top it with your sauce mixture and sprinkle mozzarella on top. Cover your bowl with a lid to get the cheese all melty.