Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Got All Your Barbecue Fixins? ... "ORZO" You Thought


The warmer weather is upon us.  That means one thing in my neck of the woods ... BARBECUES!!!  But who says that you have to stick to the old standards when it comes to grillin' and chillin' for your friends and family?  No matter what you plan to grill on the barbie mate, you will be remiss if you don't add my Show Stoppin' Orzo Salad to your picnic table.  So simple to prepare, easily made in bulk quantities, stores beautifully (yay leftovers!), and it's just plain delectable.  I make this weekly in my household in the Summer months and often send guests home with extra servings or, at a minimum, my tried and true recipe for this refreshing dish.  This salad makes any barbecue "upscale" and will leave them coming back for more.  For the working women and busy moms out there, you can feel good knowing that this salad is made from healthy ingredients and can even be served as a side dish to any dinner you make during the week.  A delicious time saving classic which packs a punch in both flavor and texture!!  I'd be honored if you serve this at your upcoming holiday barbecue or bring it to one that you're headed to.  Enjoy!

1 lb. orzo, cooked al dente, drained and cooled
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice  (I use the juice of at least 3 lemons plus a little more)
Feta Cheese (crumbled)
3 or 4 scallions, freshly chopped
Red seedless grapes (cut in half if they are big)
Pine/pignoli nuts (1 bag), toasted
Salt and pepper to taste (preferably kosher or sea salt)

- Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste salt.
- Toast the pine/pignoli nuts in a sauté pan over medium high heat.  Keep shaking the pan or the nuts will burn or throw the pan in the oven under the broiler – watch carefully so they do not burn!!
Put the cooked, cooled orzo in large bowl; add cheese, scallions, grapes and pine nuts.  Mix together. 
Pour whisked olive oil/lemon juice mixture over the orzo.  Mix together and refrigerate.

NOTE:  I do not put all the olive oil/lemon juice mixture on top of the orzo all at once.  I usually make this one or two nights before I’m going to use it so I pour ½ the oil/lemon juice mixture on the orzo and then refrigerate.  In the morning I re-mix the orzo salad once more and add as much of the oil/lemon juice mixture to the orzo salad as needed, mix together and serve. 

SUGGESTION: This salad is also great with a protein added as well as shredded carrots and chopped mint for an extra POP of color and flavor!

Real Meals for the Working Woman

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