Because I said orzo……


Mediterranean Orzo Salad

It’s cookout time, which means the endless search for sides has begun. I love my mayo, but sometimes you want something different. I searched the internet for an orzo salad similar to one at a local grocery store. I don’t go there often since they moved things around, including staff. It’s not like home any more. My photo is a little fuzzy because I was dizzy at the thought of sampling….a little more. For any orzo salad, it’s about colors and flavors. The dressing for this recipe makes it special. With the saltiness of the feta and the Kalamata olives, you need some balance, some sweetness. The lemon juice and honey are the perfect harmony of sweet and salty. I used it on a regular green salad the next day. It’s different. It’s fresh tasting. It’s new and improved……it’s got lemon!!! (old marketing major joke…..add lemon for more shelf space).

Enough yapping, let’s make some orzo salad!

12 ounces orzo pasta, cooked, drained and cooled

1 cup red grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup yellow grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup Kalamata olives, halved

1 7-ounce package Feta cheese, crumbled

1 cup chopped green onions

1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/2 whole red onion, diced-or as much or as little as  you want!

3 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

1 cucumber peeled and diced


1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. honey

1/2 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Let me just warn you. A whole box of orzo, is A LOT OF ORZO. You may want to reduce it to half of a box, for your first go around. It’s more than plenty, as a side, for 4 or 5 people. You may have noticed there is a lot of mincing and chopping. Get some cereal bowls for the veggies, and get busy. Turn on some tunes to make it less tedious. It’s worth the work. You will admire all the bright colors that will become a delicious salad. If you don’t like some of the ingredients, exclude them, change them, do what you’d like. It’s your salad. Pro tip for the cucumber. After you peel it, slice the cuke lengthwise. Use a teaspoon to scrape out the seeds, and toss them. Then you chop the cucumber. This prevents your salad from getting watery. Place the orzo and other ingredients in a big bowl. Give them a stir.                                                                                                                                         Whatever you do, do not omit the dressing. Whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, and honey in a small bowl. Whisk the olive oil in gradually. You can also put it in a glass canning jar and shake…or stir. Season with salt and pepper. Honestly, the only thing I measured was the red wine vinegar. I guesstimated the lemon juice and honey. Get a spoon and taste. Isn’t it great? Lemon and honey! This can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill if making ahead. Drizzle the dressing over the exquisitely minced veggies and feta. Feta is bettah! (I’ve been waiting for 500 or so words to say that!) Mix it together. Stand back and admire your work. If you are reducing the salad by half, reduce the dressing too. If you have any left over, try it on a regular green salad, to fancy it up.


Flatbread Pizza with Spinach, Caramelized Onions, and Feta!



I know I have posted this before. This recipe absolutely deserves to be revisited. What do you make when you don’t feel like cooking? THIS! You can eat in 30 minutes.The hardest part is caramelizing the onions. If you can thinly slice onions and turn on a burner, you are almost done! If you are good at planning (not particularly, thank you) you can make the onions the night before and then put them in the fridge. You can do this while cleaning up dinner dishes, or throwing in some laundry. It will take about 15-20 minutes. Pour olive oil in a hot pan, place thinly sliced onions into pan. Sprinkle salt on onions. Stir. Stir. Stir. When the onions start to soften, put a lid on the pan and lower the heat a little. Check them after 5 minutes. They should start to brown. Cook until they are as brown and soft as you like. You can Google other ways of doing this. Easy!

Naan or other flat bread

Alfredo Sauce

Fresh Baby Spinach

Cooked chicken

Caramelized onions (I use two large onions)

Feta cheese

Layer the above ingredients on the flatbread/naan and cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. I start with the Alfredo sauce on the flatbread/naan. There are no measurements. You can be as heavy-handed as you like! I like to use rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. If you don’t like Feta, I don’t wanna hear it. Change your cheese. Any of your favorites will do. The spinach wilts, the Alfredo heats up… is so simple and delicious. So make this for goodness sake!

Here’s the original recipe from Our Best Bites.


Dinner in a pinch!


Flabread Pizza with Spinach, Caramelized Onions and Feta

Week.night.dinner. Did you just roll your eyes and sigh? Me too. As much as I love to cook, I don’t enjoy cooking on weeknights. By the time you get home, the thought of making dinner is a bit overwhelming. Add traffic, a stop at the grocery store and other errands, and the dinner clock is ticking at half-past-where’s-dinner. The Greek chorus is crooning, “we’re hungry, feed us NOW!” The sun is setting and I am longingly looking at my knitting. Sigh. I often call on my standard, uninspiring failsafe meals like pasta, sauce and sausages. My kids know it’s Monday when I make this dinner. Quick and simple. Last night I had to stop at the grocery store for dinner makings. It had been a gloriously sunny day and making dinner was not on my mind until my lunchtime walk. Luckily I remembered this wonderful recipe. It needs only a few ingredients that you may have already. I grabbed all of them in a few minutes and headed home. It’s delicious. You can use a combination of any cheese that you have around the house; it doesn’t have to be feta cheese. The boys aren’t fans of caramelized onions or feta, so they went without the onions and I used a blend of cheese. Still delicious. If you have any leftover cooked vegetables, you could toss these on before you add the cheese. Use your imagination. Just remember one thing, keep it simple. Sometimes simple is delicious.

Naan or other flat bread

Alfredo sauce

Fresh baby spinach leaves

Cooked chicken

Caramelized onions

Feta cheese, or other cheese of choice

I usually make one flatbread pizza for each person. I buy them 2 to a package at my grocery store. I try to keep a few in the freezer for emergencies. I buy the Alfredo sauce. If you don’t have leftover chicken, a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is perfect for this. Caramelized onions take about a half hour to cook. I start these right away when I get home. Once they are on the stove, I look at the mail, check my email and glance at the news. When the onions are almost done, I start to assemble the flatbread pizzas. No fancy pans or machines needed. Easy cleanup too! You can use as much or as little of each ingredient. It’s up to you!

Layer the above ingredients on the flatbread and cook in a 400-degree oven for about 10 minutes. Shall I repeat this? Just a word to the wise, the feta cheese doesn’t melt. The combination of cheese that I use does melt, so I put that on and then the feta. Since everything is cooked, you are really waiting for the cheese to melt and the spinach to wilt. This is a perfect meal for one or however many people you have to feed. I am using the leftover spinach, chicken, and cheese with some hardboiled eggs for my work dinner salad tonight. Nothing’s wasted here!

Here’s my Ina moment, “How easy is that?”

Credit to Our Best Bites for the original recipe!