Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm ready for tomorrow.

It's been one of those days where I wish I could go back to bed and just start over. Ever experience that? The to-do list got scrapped somewhere mid morning and I am now just trying to keep my head above water. No matter how many lists I make, I still run to Walmart daily, start a recipe and realize I'm 4 tablespoons short on butter and discover the hand soap in the bathroom has vaporized. Not to mention the laundry that was under control has mysteriously multiplied and I have no idea how the dishes in the sink got there.

Last night we started rehearsing for our annual Christmas Cantata at church and singing Christmas tunes made me realize I haven't started Christmas shopping yet (whereas last year I was much further in this effort). Those coupons for free anything expired the day after I rediscovered them in the deep recesses of my purse, and the check engine light on my car went from a solid orange to blinking...anything blinking makes me want to lose my mind. I'm hoping it's just an oil change?

On the bright side, I do have unthawed hamburger to make some thing for dinner, but if I don't make it tonight, it will go bad. Let's hope the hubby is up for meatloaf as any shred of culinary creativity was lost in the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I made for the kids' lunch when I discovered the mold hiding on the inside of the raspberry preserves jar. Lord keep them from getting sick please!

I have polished off a rather large bowl of cookies and cream ice cream that I would have gotten for free but I threw away the receipt that I was supposed to submit in the rebate, rendering it useless. No worries, I didn't need to fit into my skinny jeans anyway.

Thank goodness tomorrow is another day. I'm now off to Walmart - I'm sure there are 15 things I need that I didn't realize I'd forgotten until I get back home again.

No recipe today friends, just a plea for some Calgon and a Pause button.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I lost – and then made a Taco Dip

This past Friday the results to the first round of Project Food Blog were revealed. I wasn’t even able to write a blog post as I waited in anticipation for the results. This blog is relatively new – less than 6 months. Nevertheless, I had pie in the sky visions of grandeur that completely fell short at exactly 3pm eastern time. I didn’t make the cut. I’ll admit to being a bit bummed. This newbie to the blog world apparently needs a few more posts and maybe a lesson or two in photography before stepping into the ring with the heavy hitters. I had a well written entry for the contest, but sometimes it takes more. Sometimes, you need a little extra zing – so I’ll keep working on it. Now, I could have wallowed in self pity, wondering what was wrong with me, or I could make a Taco Dip. It’s a much more delicious option!

So by request, I made a layered Taco Dip and we headed to some friends’ house where we ate and laughed the night away. Of course I’m sharing the recipe, as many of you know that it’s the key appetizer that makes guests snatch handfuls of tortilla chips and stand perched by the oven until you pull out the dip of deliciousness…where they then pounce on it like a pack of savage wolves and devour it until all that’s left is an empty Pyrex dish. Many ate so much of it, they barely had room for the main course. I was almost tempted to put the dish away without washing it – it was that clean! (ok, almost).

I’ve had a good number of knock-off versions of this dip in my day, but have found this to be my favorite. I hope you enjoy it as much as the savage wolves on Friday did!

1-1.5 pounds ground beef
1 packet of Taco Seasoning Mix (I use Old El Paso)
1 (15 oz.)can of Refried Beans
½ jar of your favorite chunky salsa (I go with Pace or Chichi’s hot vs. medium or mild – it gives the dish great flavor)
1 – 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 (16 oz) container of sour cream
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese – softened
A bag of your favorite tortilla chips

How to make it:
Combine the softened cream cheese and container of sour cream well and spread it into the bottom of a 9x13 Pyrex dish. Brown and drain your ground beef, then add the packet of taco seasoning mix. Stir that together, then add the refried beans and salsa. Stir all of that together and spoon it on top of the cream cheese / sour cream layer. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Enjoy with tortilla chips and the laughter of your favorite friends and family for a winning combination.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Burger of Bliss

The other night I was watching the show 'The Best Thing I Ever Ate' on the Foodnetwork and the featured item was a burger. Mind you, we'd already eaten dinner but I sat there salivating all over the couch as Foodnetwork stars told me about their favorite, juiciest, cheesiest, greasiest, spiciest amazing burgers and where in the country to find them. I wanted to go right back into the kitchen and eat all over again.

The next night I providentially had hamburger meat in my refrigerator and told my amazing hubby we were having "Name Your Burger Night" and to pick anything he wanted and we'd make custom burgers. He chose a traditional cheeseburger with spicey fried onions. I chose a cheeseburger with green chilis and spicey fried onions and my two children had the old standby of cheeseburgers with ketchup. No worries, we'll mold those gourmet palates one step at a time!

The spicey fried onions are a recipe from Emeril (oh I could hug him for these onions!) and I typically serve them atop a filet mignon with some blue cheese. Not tonight! They were dancing on top of our burgers with an amazing kick. Think onion rings with tabasco...I'll give you the recipe in a minute - hang on!

The green chilis atop my Burger of Bliss were an idea I gleened from my burger show and as odd as it sounded, I fell IN LOVE with this combination. It was fantastic and an unusual combination that left no doubt in my mind that I had stumbled upon the answer to a lifelong mystery of finding the perfect burger.

Now, here is the spicey fried onion recipe so you can calm down:

One medium sized onion (yellow, white, vidalia - whatever is in your pantry)
5-6 shakes of Tabasco Sauce or Texas Pete
Salt, Pepper, Flour and Vegetable Oil

Heat several teaspoons of oil in a skillet while chopping your onion into rings or longer oniony pieces (blow your nose a few times and wipe the mascara off your face that is now running down your cheeks from crying). The downside to onion slicing and dicing!
Put the onion in a bowl, shake the Tabasco Sauce as liberally as you'd like on the onion - this is the 'glue' that will make the flour adhere to it. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and just enough flour to coat it and toss, stir - do you what you have to in getting these tear jerkers covered.
Toss them in the hot skillet and cook until brown and fabulous. You'll lose your mind over these sensational onions!

Now for a picture of the worlds most delicious burger (according to CC):

Have a delicious day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why ME?

Lunch was delish and nap time is on the way! To me, there is no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than enjoying a leisurely homemade lunch with my family around the dining room table and then everyone heading to their own little ‘nest’ to enjoy a long nap and dream of my perfect key lime pie. It’s perfection. Today we had peach pecan glazed chicken breasts on the grill with a side salad and roasted carrots. Here is where you normally expect me to go into great foodie detail about the pros or cons of the meal and how I slipped on the carrots my 1 year old son launched across the room while stepping over fighter jets and monster trucks in hopes to put the leftovers in the frig, but today’s post will be a bit different.

I’ve entered a contest! I’m tackling a new adventure with my friends at Foodbuzz by entering Project Food Blog – a 12 week contest that whittles approximately 2000 talented food bloggers down to one and grants them a super fabulous monetary and literary prize. I’m perched on the edge of my cast iron skillet with whisk and wooden spoon in hand, waiting in anticipation to see how this all pans out.

My first job is to post about what defines me as a blogger and why I should be the next Food Blog Star. I have a two word answer for this: Heritage and Humor. My roots are steeped in culinary tradition and laughter. From the time I could sit up, my mother had me in the kitchen at her feet stirring uncooked pasta in a saucepan while she fixed meal after meal that dazzled and delighted. She is truly my inspiration and I have my cooking ability from her patience and determination. She taught me the way around the kitchen and out of her loving influence there grew in me a desire to make each meal exceptional…for me and those whose lives I touched. She learned the same way from her mother, and her mother’s mother the same – tracing back our roots as Italian immigrants who have a carefully guarded family marinara and meatball recipe that is only passed on to the next generation when a life event occurs. I didn’t get the recipe until I gave birth to my first child and it was on maternity leave that mom taught me the secrets to making the perfect meatball.

I am a very visual person and learn by watching. I watched cooking shows early on in between episodes of Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers and to this day, it’s rare you won’t find the Food Network blaring in the living room and my nose in a cooking magazine or book (granted this is in between changing a diaper, making a lunch or dinner, clipping coupons, singing in the church choir, doing the laundry and working full time – but who’s keeping track? That’s life!).

I love my family, and growing up there was always laughter in my house that still resounds into my marriage and with my children. We love to laugh! I laugh at the ups, downs and the in betweens. I laugh at the mishaps that I encounter weekly and I choose to use those over-salted, burnt, under cooked and rotten times to live, learn and laugh. It’s out of these times that I grow as a person and am challenged to try harder and rise above frozen chicken nuggets to conquer the blue cheese soufflĂ©.

I realize I’m not the only person to grace the world of good cooking – there are many amazing people out there whom I deeply admire and respect, who know a lot more than I and are a lot savvier at culinary photography. But I have a niche of being real. I’m the mom next door who bakes cookies for her son’s special day at school, makes rice krispy treats for the firemen in honor of 9/11, is among the first at church to be called on to help fix a meal for a hurting family experiencing bereavement and can’t wait to fix you the world’s best pot roast if you have a baby. In the midst of all of this, I’ll forget the marshmallows and have to run back to the grocery store yet again, realize the meat didn’t unthaw for dinner in time to make Beef Bourguignon and the company I’m trying to impress will just have to understand that the napkins were used to mop up the berry smoothie that my son spilled moments before they arrived and so paper towels will simply have to do.

It’s a contest and it’s my little story of life. I love it, and no matter how far I make it, I’ll enjoy each bite and look forward to you joining me in the journey.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

When Life Serves You Limes - Make a Pie!

Oh gracious, between the Frappe from McDonald's for breakfast and the Snapple Iced Tea I had with dinner, there is enough caffeine in my system right now to make you want to scrape me off the ceiling. I normally only drink water, so I am like a Tom and Jerry cartoon character now - what better time to write a post?!

I am dancing a jig (literally, you should see me) over a varation of a Key Lime Pie I made and served last night. My family and I went to a friend's house for a big dinner with a lot of other people and my assignment was dessert. It was an appreciation dinner, but a Foodie cannot resist the opportunity to bring something! I decided to make another Rustic Peach Pie like the one we devoured last week, along with a Key Lime Pie. One ended in disaster, the other in cheers of success after another mishap.

My wonderful friend AmyA gave me a recipe for a Mexican style pork roast that she promised was beyond delicious. I'll spare you the name of the well known cook whose blog that recipe came from...but I fixed it and it left my husband and I looking at each other trying to figure out what I had done wrong or if AmyA's tastebuds had suddenly disappeared from her mouth. It wasn't good and we fed it to our garbage disposal, which promptly got clogged and my husband had to unscrew the pipes under the sink to declog, at which point all of it came rushing out under the sink and missed the strategically placed bucket and went all over him. It's pretty bad when the garbage disposal doesn't even like your dinner. Chalk that one up to pretty much disaster. I wasn't even going to mention it until AmyA asked what we thought and alas, I cannot tell a lie. Funny thing is, she experienced the same thing (except it ended in her husband dry heaving instead of the garbage disposal). Apparently neither of us have mastered this recipe and we'll leave it up to her sister to fix as she's the only one to conquer it.

LONG story short, I had a plethora of lovely green Limes left from a garnish of the pork yuck and had no idea what to do with them until the dessert inspiration lept into my brain and then into a pie plate. I scoured the internet for a tasty new version of Key Lime Pie and took some from here, some from there and came up with my own personal twist that had folks asking about the crust, the recipe and the fun dusting of zest on top as they licked their forks and plates.

Of COURSE I'll share! So glad you asked...but first, back to the Rustic Peach Pie that ended in a no-show. I bought peaches that were on sale for $.69/lb at the grocery store earlier this week and allowed them to ripen to perfection on my counter until exactly one hour and thirty minutes before my dinner party. I figured my timing was perfect and I would present a freshly baked warm peach pie that would send everyone into orbit. I was terribly wrong. First, I should have bought the peaches from my favorite tried and true fruit stand, as these were AWEFUL. Secondly I shouldn't have waited until the last 90 minutes of the day to make a pie from scratch. You live and learn. All 10 of my peaches were a mealy mess - inedible and rotten. Not from sitting on my counter, but that other hard to describe nasty texture that is void of plump peachy juicy texture. I had to throw them all out, along with my dreams of a Rustic Peach Pie and rush to the freezer in the garage for some Breyers Cookies and Creme to save the day as an alternate dessert option.

Sigh of relief. When life serves you limes - Make a Pie!

CC's Twist on Key Lime Pie

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (for me, this took 3 limes - I allowed the pulp in there too for extra ambiance, it worked!)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (less one big spoonful from me enjoying a big taste from lack of self control)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups of vanilla wafer crumbs
1/4 cup of sugar
5 T. melted butter
Zest of one lime (which for me equaled about a teaspoon, I have a lousey zester and got tired)

How You Make It
Mix the vanilla wafer crumbs with the sugar and stir in the melted butter. When all is incorporated, press it firmly into a 9" pie plate (or tart pan, as I was feeling flamboyant). Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Next, take your softened cream cheese and throw it into your mixing bowl with the sweetened condensed milk and sour cream. Mix at medium speed until creamy and then add your lime juice. Pour this onto your crust, smooth it over nicely and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Before serving, sprinkle lime zest on the top for extra zing and you have yourself a sweet and tangy tasty take on an old favorite.

Have a delicious day!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sassy Tailgate Sandwiches

Friends, I have to tell you I have been rockin' the kitchen this week. I pulled out my favorite cookbook (that happens to be comprised of my favorite recipes from family, friends, and favorites I've come across through the years) and perused it for a few firecrackers to fix the fam and SHA-ZAM! We have successful, delicious and mouthwatering delights.

I'll tell you about my sassy little sandwiches I made and save the rest for another post because these little beauties need to be archived in your go-to recipe list as well. History behind them...I was at a baby shower for a friend a few years ago and the hostess came out of the kitchen with several pyrex dishes full of these melt in your mouth delicacies that had me literally all but camping out in her front lawn and picketing with signs until she succumbed to handing over the coveted recipe.

I've modified them and made them my own and will share that they are perfect for tailgating at your favorite football game (I've never tailgated before, but this seemed like the right thing to say at the onset of football season), they will be a staple at your baby shower, bridal shower, appetizer or potluck night - any excuse will do.

So head to the grocery store right now and buy some Hawaiian Rolls and let the magic unfold...

CC's Sassy Tailgate Sandwiches

5 T Melted Butter (I had unsalted butter, so this is what I used)
4 T Onion (Chopped so fine your non-onion eating husband and child can't tell what it is)
7 shakes of Poppy Seeds (seems logical to put something in a 'shake' term - it's all in the wrist)
2 squeezes of Spicey Brown Mustard (don't go crazy on your squeezes!)
1 package of Hawaiian Dinner Rolls (don't even THINK of substituting)
3/4 pound finely sliced or shredded Honey Ham (I have the nice deli people slice it for me as it tastes better than pre-packaged)
1/2 pound Swiss Cheese

Take your rolls out of the package and slice the entire thing in half horizontally - it's much easier than pulling them apart, slicing them and then trying to do these individually. You will now have a top half and a bottom half - two big pieces of rolls stuck together. Put the bottom half in a 9x13 pyrex dish.

Combine the first 5 ingredients and spread on the insides of both halves of bread. Layer your ham on first, then your cheese, place the top half of the rolls on top of the cheese and cover the dish with foil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes and then you have complete and utter sandwich perfection. Thank me later.

Have a delicious day!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy Snapper

I left half of my brain behind the toilet along with my son’s bouncy ball collection today. Getting both kids ready for school, I painstakingly label diapers, slice grapes in half, get everyone geared up for the start of another great week…only to walk in to school and realize my one son is on a 3 day program and doesn’t have class today. So I drop off one, take one home with me and forgo returning the Entenmann’s cheese Danish that I mistakingly bought at the buy one get one free sale. I have a little secret. We adore Entenmann’s Raspberry Danish twist and eat it every Sunday morning before church. When the grocery store runs a buy one get one free sale, I consider it a sign from Heaven above and buy at least 4 or 6…slice them in individual servings, put them in sandwich bags and toss them into my beloved deep freezer. Breakfast is SERVED in less than 60 seconds every Sunday for the next few months. Don’t tell anyone – it’s my little secret and the sale ends at midnight tomorrow at HT.

When I was grabbing what I thought was the right Danish, my husband was hanging out in the seafood department and came back to the cart with a filet of Red Snapper. My favorite! Last night when we got home from church, we collaborated on an incredible salad for dinner. He cooked the snapper while I made the salad and it was a match made in heaven as we topped off the salad with the fish and promptly devoured after giving hearty thanks for this deliciousness.

After buttering the fish and sprinkling some blackening seasoning on it, a toss into the trusty cast iron skillet turned on the wow factor, while I rustled up some leaf lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced grapes, blue cheese crumbles, parmesan cheese and Italian salad dressing. We both agreed it was “Restaurant Good.”

I hope you have a delicious day! I’m off to retrieve the rest of my brain and figure out the week’s menu.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Honor 9/11 with Baked Goods

I'm sitting here with a new pimento-less jalapeno pimento cheese dip I've been perfecting and a box of kleenex. This week there have been tv documentaries on 9.11.01 and the images are etched into my heart and mind as if the horrific event took place yesterday. I can't watch without tears falling down my face.

I head up our volunteer efforts at my job and came across the best idea as a service project, so I put my team up to the challenge and wanted to extend it to you as well. To honor our service men and women for their heroism, you are tasked to bake some treats and deliver them to your local fire or police station this Saturday.

Bake some brownies, cookies, cupcakes...whatever says THANK YOU and head over to your local station. Shake a hand, hug a neck - let our heroes know that we appreciate them and we will never forget their sacrifices.

Thanks for making a difference!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sweet Potato Flop turns into Peach Pie Perfection

Foodie friends, I have to give you a big THANKS! I'm learning about more and more of you reading this blog, trying the recipes and laughing at my mishaps. It makes my heart happy - thank you for taking the time to join me on my adventures.

Some ask why I include my recipe failures on here - why is it not just the perfect meals that make it to the blog - wouldn't you want to just show off your best? My answer is this: life is full of bumps and bruises, burnt zucchinni bread and overcooked casseroles. We all have faced, at one time or another, a kitchen mishap - I've had more than my fair share! I am an every day, down to earth, real person who makes honest mistakes and I have learned to laugh at them and take them in stride. I learn and move on. You take the good with the's life and I'm living it!

I had to learn and move on with the sweet potato casserole I made on Sunday, case in point. The recipe I'd been wanting to try had a delicious topping that I felt would rewrite sweet potato casserole history. So confidant was I, that I decided to fix this for a big meal at my parents with long time friends of our family's in attendance. They are big time gourmet foodies and I wanted to impress, so I make a recipe that I had never tried, with a root that I'm not the fondest of. WHAT was I thinking? The ONLY way I like sweet potatoes is diced and roasted with olive oil and sea salt. I'll stand by that forevermore - especially after this.

Everyone dines buffet style, we're sitting down to eat and I hear a weak "CC, your recipe is...good." I exhuberantly respond, "REALLY? Oh Thank you!"...then I put a mouthful of the paste-y tasteless mess into my mouth, barely swallow it down and then announce that everyone should STOP eating. I declare that the recipe was new, terrible and should not be forced down and that it wouldn't hurt my feelings to leave the gloppy mess on their plates. Now, only my husband will admit to the sigh of relief, but I know I heard others.

I made those crushed peanut covered pound cake bites this weekend too. Not bad, but really not worth making again. Try as I might, I couldn't make them look remotely appetizing or pretty. They truly looked like I chewed up peanuts and spit them in globs on a cookie sheet. Now THAT will be a show stopper at a baby shower, eh?

I finally rest on the laurels of my rustic peach pie. I call it rustic in that I made the pie crust from scratch and I didn't have enough dough to crimp or scallop the rustic fits the bill! Fresh peaches baked in a homemade crust and I am penning a thank you note to the folks at Southern Living. It's delish and oooo's, ahhs and 'Mommie, can I PLEEEZ have some more delicious peach pie?' were heard all weekend.

I am a content woman.

Have a delicious day!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Food fixing frenzie with a side of Lasagna!

With Labor Day weekend beckoning, I have an extra day off and a head brimming with recipes to try. I was in the grocery store the other day, having an afternoon snack in the bakery section. They give you a variety of breads and dips to try so by all means, I had all but pulled up a chair to sample the smorgasboard! There was a jalapeno pimento cheese that I had to exhibit serious self control over, but it was too pricey, so I'm going to make my own. I've also got a dinner I'm attending and have a salad and side to make...and there's a sweet potato recipe I've been dying to try, so that will fill in that blank.

And what is a holiday weekend without a sweet treat or two? I have a peanut encrusted pound cake bite recipe that I've been staring at for months and I just bought a ton of peaches from my favorite fruit stand. If they can last longer than eating them alone, a pie might be calling. Seems like the perfect time to give it all a whirl!

I have set some lofty goals of painting two pieces of furniture and tackling one of those rooms I'm in the midst of redecorating...but let's not completely spin out of control.

You'll be pleased to know my crockpot lasagna was delish! It was a fix it and forget it meal that required minimal prepwork. I literally fixed an entire lasanga in 10 minutes and it was piping hot and ready to be devoured when my husband walked in the door. Per multiple requests, of COURSE I'm sharing (special thanks to my friends at Kraft for the recipe!)

What You Need
1 lb. Ground beef
1 jar (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce (I know - you gasp in utter disbelief but I didn't have any hommade available - it's ok, just don't tell my mother I bought my sauce)
1 cup Water
1 container (15 oz.) Ricotta Cheese
1 pkg. (7 oz.) Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
1 Egg
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (once again, I don't have the luxury of an herb garden, so I dug out my Pampered Chef Italian Seasoning and went nuts)
6 Lasagna noodles, uncooked (Whoo hoo! A no boil the noodle option!!!)

Make It
Brown meat in large skillet; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and water. Mix ricotta, 1-1/2 cups mozzarella, 2 Tbsp. Parmesan, egg and parsley in separate bowl while browning the meat.

Spoon 1 cup meat sauce into slow cooker; top with layers of half each of the noodles, broken to fit; and cheese mixture. Cover with 2 cups meat sauce. Top with remaining noodles, broken to fit; cheese mixture and meat sauce. Cover with lid.

COOK on LOW 4 to 6 hours or until liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; let stand, covered, 10 min. or until melted.

I served this with garlic bread (Nature's Own Bread challenge attempt #1). The family is beyond pleased with the meal. Two thumbs up!

Have a delicious day and MARVELOUS weekend!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Burger Bombed but the Orzo didn't!

As with all culinary attempts, some will turn out utterly delicious where you are licking your plate and begging for seconds and thirds...some will be mediocre to where you most likely won't fix it again but it really wasn't that bad...and some will be disastrous, horrible and fed to your garbage disposal.

I had the latter of the 3 last night with a Buffalo Chicken Burger. I really enjoy hot wings and read through a recipe several times really thinking it sounded promising. It wasn't. It was terrible. A mixture of ground chicken, panko crumbs, onion, celery, blue cheese and a few other ingredients - something happened and I, try as I might, couldn't choke it down no matter HOW much homemade bleu cheese dressing I added. It won't be repeated. Ever.

On the bright side, I did try a Roasted Shrimp and Orzo dish that made my feet do a little tap dance and literally had my family begging for seconds and thirds. I have several cookbooks from The Barefoot Contessa and I have to say, Ina Garten is one classy individual with impeccable taste. There is not one recipe of hers that is not delicious. She's figured it out...her recipes aren't overly complicated and the food is just stellar. Oh to be a guest at one of her parties! I admire how she cooks for all of her friends...all of the time. It's her way of saying Thank You.

It's my turn - thank you Ina for this marvelous Shrimp and Orzo dish - it's a keeper!


Kosher salt
Good olive oil
3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
3/4 pound good feta cheese, large diced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's cooked 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 of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.

Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don't overcook!

Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.

So, I slightly modified and wanted to tell's ok if you don't have fresh dill and parsley - use the dried from your spice rack. Oh, and the red onion - I used a white one and diced it so fine, my non-onion eaters never knew it was there.

I hope you enjoy this as much as my family did.

Have a delicious day!