Orzo & Feta Salad

This is a very refreshing salad to bring to a party or serve at lunchtime. We used to have a grocery store that made an excellent version of this, and The recipe that follows is the inspiration. I also borrowed heavily from a version that Gia DeLaurentis makes. The beauty is you can add or sub in any ingredients you want – There are versions with fresh tomatoes or garbanzo beans, for example.

Recipe level: easy

Serves: 6

Time: 20 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 c. orzo
  • 4 c. Chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 3/4 cup feta
  • 1/2 cup sweet pepper, chopped fine
  • Sundried tomatoes, chopped fine
  • 1/4 c pitted kalamata olives, quartered

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 c. Red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 c. Virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 c. fresh basil
  • 1/4 c. Fresh mint

Step one:

Boil the chicken broth and add the orzo. Make sure to stir, because orzo can get starchy. Cook for about seven minutes and then drain and set aside.

Step two:

Assemble the dressing and then toss with drained orzo.

Step three:

Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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Beef Chili

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This is a very simple recipe I use. I have a few different chili recipes that I like, but I always return to this one when I need something quick and convenient. The end result is very chunky, and not too spicy – so I this is one I prefer to serve to kids and my parents. Those who want more heat should add some peppers into the mix, according to taste. This takes about ten minutes to assemble, and then you can throw it in the slow cooker and forget about it. I usually cook it on a lower setting, because the longer you let it cook, the more the flavors seem to blend. It’s a simple, clean chili – I hope you enjoy it. It serves four.

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What you need:

  1. 1 pound beef (use less than 10% fat if you want something lighter)
  2. 2 cloves, garlic minced
  3. 1 small onion, sliced thinly
  4. 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
  5. 1 green pepper, seeded and sliced
  6. 1 can black beans, drained
  7. 1 can kidney beans, drained
  8. 1 can (28oz) crushed tomatoes
  9. 2 tbs of tomato paste
  10. 2 tbs chili powder
  11. 2 tsp cumin
  12. 1/4 cup green chiles
  13. fresh oregano

Optional:

  1. beer
  2. corn
  3. 1-2 jalapeno or Habanero peppers, seeded and sliced
  4. green onions, sour cream, cheese (for serving)

Step one:

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Brown beef and garlic together in a sauce pan over medium heat. I prefer a non-stick, because I like to get a bit of crust on my beef. Here you can add a little bit of beer for flavor.

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Beer should not be optional:) Drink the beer AND add it to the chili.

Drain the beef and blend in the chili powder and cumin.

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Add the onions, peppers, beans, tomatoes, chiles and tomato paste to the pot. If you want to add a little more beer here, feel free, put factor in a bit more paste to get the right consistency. Add in a few sprigs of crushed oregano for flavor.

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Cook for on a medium or low setting for 6-10 hours, depending on time. Serve with additional oregano, cheese, green onions and sour cream.

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Side dish: Roasted garlic potatoes, asparagus and brussel sprouts

  
I stole this idea from my friend who is a wonderful cook. Shhhh! This pairs well with chicken, turkey or any kind of beef dish. It is quick, delicious, and easy.

All you need:

  • small red potatoes or fingerlings.
  • Brussel sprouts, five or six
  • asparagus
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 375. Trim the ends off of your Brussel sprouts and asparagus. image(10) image(8)
  2. Half the Brussel sprouts.
  3. Wash and cut potatoes into quarters or slices.

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4. Lightly toss the potatoes with olive oil and minced garlic

5. Arrange on a cookie sheet with asparagus and Brussel sprouts. Drizzle with a little more olive oil. Salt and pepper to your taste

6. Roast the vegetables for 25 minutes. Flip the potatoes once, about halfway through.

Note: you can use sweet potatoes, instead or add fresh herbs for endless variations on the same theme.

Coca-cola BBQ Chicken

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In the summer, I have a my own tried and true barbecue recipe and rub. But during the winter, when I need to to cheat and cook crockpot style? This pinterest recipe seemed too good to be true. We like to serve our bbq with mashed potatoes, but you could do a lot with the recipe – dress it down as a sandwich or make it a more formal meal.

Verdict?

Simplicity– VERY easy to put together. You could cheat even more and use rotisserie chicken

Flavor – Sweet and pleasant. Kids will enjoy it.

Notes – It didn’t seem to make a whole lot, so if you are cooking for more than four, make sure to double the recipe.

If you enjoy this recipe, they have endless varieties on the same theme involving wings and chicken at: http://thefrugalgirls.com.

What You’ll Need:

  • Crockpot
  • 4 – 5 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, thawed
  • One 18 oz. Bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s Cola-Q Barbecue Sauce  {if you can’t find Cola-Q at your store, you can substitute Original Sweet Baby Ray’s Sauce}
  • 1/2 Can Coca-Cola {approx. 6 oz.}

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Seriously, that’s it for ingredients.

What You’ll Do:

  • Cook chicken in crockpot on high for 3 hours {covered}
  • After 3 hours, drain juices from crockpot
  • Mix together BBQ Sauce and Coca-Cola
  • Pour mixture over chicken, and cook on high for 30 more minutes {covered}