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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Cranberries with dried cherries

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recipe source: food magazine

My father has an obsession with cranberries during the holidays. Rather than have him resort to cranberries out of the can, I decided to experiment with a new recipe; this was a big hit at the table.

You Need:

  • 1 package fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water

Step one: In a large sauce pan, combine the ingredients and bring to a boil.

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Step two: Simmer for 20-25 minutes until most of the berries have burst and the liquid is syrupy.

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Step three: Cover and chill in the refrigerator.

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Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with cherries and walnuts

This is a great side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I cannot emphasize to you how delicious and easy this is. I planned to have leftovers, but not a single piece was left in the bowl despite making two batches.

You will need:

  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbs butter, melted
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries

Step one: Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Step two: Arrange potatoes in an even layer in a 9 by 13 inch glass baking dish.

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Combine maple syrup, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Step three: Cover and bake the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir and cook for 30 minutes. Add walnuts and cherries and stir. Cook for 15-20 more minutes.


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.