Creamy Feta and Spinach Orzo

YIELDS | 4-6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 30 MINS

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Creamy feta cheese and spinach melt into the orzo to create a warm and light meal. The lemon zest gives the recipe just enough zing and compliments the feta beautifully.
This dish makes a perfectly balanced meal all on its own or serve along side with roast chicken or fish for a heartier meal.

INGREDIENTS

* 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil or half of each
* 3 large scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced set aside some of the green parts for garnish
* 2 large garlic cloves, minced
* 8 ounces baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1 ¾ cups chicken or vegetable stock plus more if needed
* 1 cup orzo
* 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
* ¾-1 cup cup feta. Not crumbles. Plus more for serving
* 1 cup fresh dill, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat a large pan over medium heat and melt the butter or heat the oil for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
3. Stir in half the scallions and garlic, and cook until wilted about 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the spinach in a few batches and sprinkle with the salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir a couple times until the spinach is wilted but not mushy, about 4-5 minutes.
5. Add stock and bring to a simmer.
6. Stir in orzo, lemon zest and cover. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 12-15 minutes and until the orzo is al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir a few times to be sure the orzo doesn’t stick to the pan.
7. Stir in the feta cheese and dill. Cover and cook for another minute to let the flavors develop.
8. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and garnish with a handful of crumbled feta and scallions.

NOTES

I adapted this recipe from a New York Times recipe. I removed a couple of steps and unnecessary ingredients.

Wild Rice and Pecan Stuffing and Soup

YIELDS | 8-10 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 25 MINS

COOK TIME | 90 MINS

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This double duty recipe blends several tastes that results in a savory, slightly sweet, chewy and tender stuffing. This dish tastes equally as good with turkey as it does with chicken or stuffed into a pork roast. I removed a few steps I felt were necessary and a fair amount of the fat typically found in many stuffing recipes. Be sure to make extra because you definitely will want to make the soup found below in notes-it is that good!

INGREDIENTS

Preheat oven to 350 if not using as stuffing

* 1 ½ cups chopped celery
* 1 cup chopped onion
* 2 cups uncooked wild rice or 1 cup wildfire e and 1 cup long grain brown rice, will yield 6 cups cooked rice
* 2 garlic cloves, minced 
* 1 Tablespoon fresh sage, minced
* 2 cups chicken broth
* 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh sage 
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 4 egg yolks, Save the egg whites to use in another recipe
* 1/2 cup sherry or good cooking wine
* 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 orange, peeled, pith removed and chopped
* ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
* ½ teaspoon salt
* ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a medium to large pot or Dutch oven over high heat, bring 5 cups water to a rapid. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Add wild rice and brown rice, if using and gently stir rice only once only, reduce heat to simmer and partially cover pot and cook until rice is tender, about 35-50 minutes. Drain and transfer rice to a large bowl.
2. In the same Dutch oven or pot, Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and celery and sauté until onions are golden, 10–15 minutes. Add sage and cook for 1-2 more minutes or until fragrant.
4. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add the stock, one cup at a time, stir to thicken and then add next cup, stirring for about 4-5 minutes. Add rice back into pot and stir.
6. Whisk egg yolks and sherry together in a small bowl and then gently mix into rice mixture. Add chopped pecans and orange pieces and mix to incorporate.
7. season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
9. Stuff cavity of turkey just before roasting. If not using as stuffing, bake in oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

NOTES

Double Duty Recipe:
Make a Greek inspired soup with lemon and leftover turkey or chicken. Mix 2 cups stuffing with 4 cups chicken broth, juice from one lemon and leftover cooked, chopped turkey or chicken. Heat through, season to taste with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and serve.
If you have extra stuffing leftover, put it into a small baking dish, cover it tightly with foil and then place it in the oven for the last 45 minutes the turkey roasts. Add additional broth if necessary.
Add chopped mushrooms in apricot and/or walnuts for different variations.

Greek Quinoa Salad

YIELDS | 6-8 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 15 MINS

COOK TIME | 30 MINS

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Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and loaded with protein. This salad explodes with flavor. The chewy chickpeas, cool cucumber and savory lemon vinaigrette make it a healthy crowd pleasing dish. Add a couple handfuls of spinach or some grilled shrimp to make a complete meal.

INGREDIENTS

• 2 cups chicken stock or more if needed
• 1 cup dry quinoa
• 1⁄2 cup green lentils
• 1⁄2 cup red pepper, diced
• 1⁄2 cup green pepper, diced
• 1⁄2 cup cucumber, diced
• 1⁄4 cup green onion, diced
• 1⁄4 cup black olives
• 2 tablespoons capers, minced
• 1⁄4 cup red onion, diced
• 3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
• Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt
• Pita, optional

Dressing
• 1⁄4 cup lemon juice
• 2 Tbsps olive oil
• 1 Tsp garlic, minced about 1-2 cloves
• 1 Tsp dried basill
• 1⁄2 Tsp oregano

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Cook the quinoa and lentils according to its instructions but substitute broth for water, drain and bring to room temperature or refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
2. In a medium serving bowl, add the cooked quinoa and lentils, vegetables, chickpeas, black olives, capers and mix gently.
3. In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice, minced garlic, basil, oregano together. Whisk in the olive oil until smooth. Pour the dressing over the quinoa and vegetables. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the mixture and gently stir. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and Kosher salt.
4. Serve at room temperature with warm pita, if using.

NOTES

Happy Eating!

Strawberries with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Cream

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 0 MINS

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This dish is so easy to make and the creamy, tangy goat cheese blends perfectly with the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar. It makes a beautiful presentation for a dinner party dessert or for a Sunday brunch.

INGREDIENTS

• 1-1.5 ounce log goat cheese
• 1/2 cup good, aged balsamic vinegar
• 1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles
• 1/8 cup basil, chiffonade, for garnish
• Flaky finishing salt such as Maldon’s sea salt flakes

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Cut the log of cream cheese into six or eight pieces and place into a medium size pan over low heat. Stir until melted.
2. Slowly whisk him balsamic vinegar until incorporated.
3. Evenly pour the goat cheese and balsamic blend into bottom of each of the 4 serving bowls, top with sliced strawberries, garnish with basil leaves, sprinkle on a bit of flaky sea salt, the goat cheese crumbles and serve.

NOTES

Be sure to use whole goat cheese for the cream because most goat cheese crumbles will not melt.