Creamy Lemon and Shrimp Orzo Pasta

Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday. On birthdays in our household, the birthday person gets to choose the food that is eaten the WHOLE day! Yes… our family does, at times, revolve around food and meal time. We enjoy eating! So… needless to say, I think we ate out all 3 meals yesterday and cooking was not happening! HA! My little girl LOVES to eat out. We eat out maybe 3 or 4 times a month, so I guess it’s exciting still?? At least she does say she likes my cooking, so still a win.

So I figured I’d make a yummy lunch so that I could post today. This one is delicious too. I’m gonna be full for a few hours on this! No needing a snack this afternoon like usual!

You can make this for a lunch, or have bigger portions for a summery refreshing dinner out on your back porch on a summer evening. Doesn’t that sound delightful? For some reason when I think of lemon and shrimp I think: outdoors, sunshine, summer, hanging out on the porch on my Outdoor Furniture. I eat those two ingredients all times of the year… but this dish just made me think summer. YUM!

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This makes 3-4 servings

INGREDIENTS

For the shrimp:

  • 1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • dash cayenne pepper

For the Lemony Orzo pasta:

  • 1/4 cup diced onion (about 1/4 of a small yellow onion)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup Orzo pasta
  • 1 cups Organic Chicken Broth
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 TB heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2-3 TB fresh parsley chopped

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INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Season shrimp with salt and pepper, garlic powder and cayenne. Toss with olive oil and place onto a Aluminum Foil
    lined Cookie Sheet (with a lip on each edge, or curve up all edges of the tin foil to catch all of the juice and liquid from the shrimp)
  • Bake shrimp at 375 for 12-15 min, depending on size of shrimp. Make sure white and cooked all the way thru, and pink on the outside. No more transparent parts of the shrimp.
  • While the shrimp is cooking in the oven, heat olive oil in a large Skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion and oregano, and cook, stirring often, until onions have become translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in orzo until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes. (FYI, IF you do actually have a cast iron skillet, check out this cleaning tool: Cast Iron Cleaner
  • Stir in chicken broth and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and cooked shrimp that you have removed from the oven and set aside. Sprinkle with Parmesan and stir and remove from heat. Add the frozen peas and the cream and stir in.
  • Serve immediately garnished with fresh parsley and a bit of shaved parmesan cheese.

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Oh me oh my. Soooo good!

Give this one a try for SURE!

And now, for the quote of the day:

YOU MAY BE Pretty, AND YOU MAY BE Talented, BUT NOBODY WILL REMEMBER THAT IF You’re mean. -Katie Holmes

Lemony Orzo Chicken Sausage Soup

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Ok, so since it’s officially fall, I figured I wanted to do some posts on SOUP! What’s better in the fall and winter than soup? The ultimate comfort food, even when it’s low cal! And this one definitely fits both descriptions. Delicious, filling, high in protein and low in fat. So, over the next 2 weeks you will be seeing a lot of soup recipes as I figure out which I like best, which I will put in jars for freezing and lunches… and which I should leave for someone else to perfect… 😉 . So, this one was a winner. I loved it! It was inexpensive to make too. A box of orzo was only $0.89 at Publix! Woohoo! Try this one out for sure!

Ingredients

  • 1 10 oz package chicken sausage halved and sliced (I used 4 out of the 6 links and froze the remaining 2) I also used “Thin&Trim” brand chicken sausage “Sweet Italian” version that is 95% fat free, and has all natural ingredients w/out nitrites!
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1/2 small onion diced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic minced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspon dried sage
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • splash white wine (only if so desired)
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1 cups fresh spinach
  • juice and zest of 1/2 lemon (about 1-2 TB of lemon juice)
  • 2-3 TB shaved parmesan for garnish

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As you can see, I served this with Grilled cheese that had a couple of sliced of avocado in it… YUM!

Instructions

  1. In stock pot heat sliced sausage until heated through, about 5-8 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add olive oil to pan. Add onion and garlic, sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add carrots and herbs, lemon zest and juice and 1 TB butter. Continue cooking just until carrots begin to soften. Add splash of white wine if so desired.
  3. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and stir in orzo. Continue cooking for 8 minutes or until pasta has finished cooking. Add 1 cup water. Stir in sausage and spinach, stir and bring back to simmer. Serve.

Enjoy!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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Mediterranean Pasta with Chicken

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It’s still a bit rough for me around the house… still can’t get my “chopped up” finger wet with those stitches… and I had a crown put in today… and my head is pounding! So, easy pasta dish it is! I’m going to try to do more than just pasta dishes… but to be quite honest… anything that has pasta, chicken, and vegetables… no matter the combinations… you can almost bet I’d love it!

This one is a very good one, but you have to like capers. I do though!!

Ingredients:

6 chicken tenderloins, or 2 chicken breasts
2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chopped fresh basil
1 large grilled zucchini cut into large pieces
1 red bell pepper chopped into small pieces
1 cup (dry) orzo pasta (or another small pasta)
1 TB chopped fresh parsley
1 TB capers (drained and rinsed well)
1/2 cup fresh spinach
5 or 6 grape tomatoes halved
1 TB grated parmesan on top after serving

Cook the pasta according to the package until al’dente. While the pasta is cooking, place the chicken into a skillet w/the olive oil, salt and pepper the chicken on either side before you place into the skillet (or after!). Cook until browned, and then add fresh herbs and the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and add the spinach. Stir in the cooked pasta, and then add in the vegetables and let simmer until thickened. Stir in the capers, top with parsley and serve. Enjoy!

Grown-ups Mac&Cheese

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I’m going to call this MY version of grown-ups mac&cheese. Because truly, this is what I would pick over baked Mac&Cheese, or anything similar. This is my comfort food. YUM!

original recipe credit: http://www.lifeasastrawberry.com/parmesan-spinach-orzo/

(Anything that I Change or Add, I will put afterwards with a parenthesis or an asterisk *)

  • 2 and 1/2 cups whole wheat orzo (*I used high-fiber orzo)
  • 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 green onions, chopped (* I used a sweet onion)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. flour
  • 1 cup milk (I used skim!) (I used unsweetened coconut milk)
  • 2/3 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded, plus extra for garnish

I then cooked 2 pieces of pre-cooked Trader Joe’s uncured bacon in the microwave until extra crispy, and set it aside. (approximately 40 seconds)

Take 4-6 frozen Trader Joe’s boneless chicken tenderloins and put into skillet w/2-3 turns of extra virgin olive oil. (They do not need to be thawed). Put salt&pepper, garlic powder and a little bit of Mrs. Dash to each side of the tenderloin, and simmer on medium to low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until firm. Then remove from heat and set aside.

Directions:

  1. Cook orzo according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, salt and pepper and saute for 1 minute or until onions are translucent. Add flour to form a roux and cook for an additional minute.
  3. Add about 1/4 cup of the milk to the pot and whisk to work out any lumps from the roux. When lumps are worked out, add the remaining milk and whisk to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce has thickened, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add chopped spinach to sauce and cook an additional 2 minutes or until spinach has cooked down. Remove sauce from heat.
  5. Stir parmesan cheese into sauce. When cheese has melted, add cooked orzo to sauce and toss to coat. Garnish with extra parmesan cheese and *crumbled bacon and add *chicken to top or chop the chicken into bite size pieces, and serve immediately.