Orzo with Chicken, Spinach, Tomatoes, Onions & Feta

This is one of the quickest and most delicious go-to recipes I have. I loooove orzo, if only because it makes me feel like I’m getting away with eating pasta, because it’s not in traditional noodle form. Add some spinach and chicken? A balanced meal in no time flat. This is great hot or cold.

– Half a box of orzo
– Shredded cooked chicken, approx. 2 cups
– 4 cups spinach
– Halved cherry tomatoes, approx. 1 cup
– Half a vidalia onion, diced
– 1 Tbsp butter
– 1 Tbsp EVOO
– kosher salt and pepper
– 1 cup crumbled feta (or Parmesan, if you don’t like feta)
1. Cook the orzo according to package directions. You can do the rest of this while it’s boiling.
2. In a large sautee pan, melt butter and EVOO together over medium heat.

3. Dice the onion, then add to the butter & EVOO. “Sweat” it with a little kosher salt and pepper. Cook approx. 3 minutes, or until softened a bit.

4. Add the halved cherry tomatoes, cook until skins start to blister, stirring frequently.

5. Add the spinach, keep stirring, and turn the heat down to low. You want to start to wilt this down, but the heat from the cooked orzo and the pan should do the trick as is.

6. To the pan, dump in the cooked orzo, stir everything together. Add the shredded chicken and feta (or parm). Mix well. Serve.

…birthday tomorrow!!!

Black Bean Burgers (the best)

Black bean burgers could make me go back to being a vegetarian again. (I ended that college streak one summer down in Philly with an ill-advised trip to Pat’s at 4 in the morning, but that’s a different story for a different time.) These are so awesome, completely worth the messiness of eating them, and a welcome substitute for “real” burgers, which make me want to take a nap after eating them, almost every time.

BLACK BEAN BURGERS (make 5 large ones or probably 7-8 normal size ones)
– 2 cans organic black beans, rinsed and drained and dried. Drying them is key to keeping these from falling apart.
– 1/3 C. minced red onion
– 1/3 C. minced red bell pepper
– 1 egg white
– Handful chopped cilantro
– 1 tsp. onion powder
– 1 tsp. garlic powder
– 1 tsp. cumin
– 1 tsp. paprika
– 1 tsp. salt
– vegetable oil, for frying

1. After rinsing the black beans, lay them in one layer in the fridge and let them dry. Meanwhile, mince the red onion and red bell pepper.

2. In a bowl, mash about 3/4 of the black beans into kind of a paste. Add the rest of the black beans whole for texture.

3. Add egg white, red onion & red bell pepper, cilantro, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika and salt. Mix well. 

4. Form mixture into patties. In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. 

5. Fry black bean burgers in oil when hot, being careful not to burn, about 3 minutes on each side. 

6. When burgers are done, serve with thick slices of avocado (or avocado mash) and a reaaaaally fancy mixture of ketchup and mayo.

7. Enjoy. One is enough for a normal person. Two is enough for someone who can eat impressively and still stay in shape (not, obviously, me).

Detox Herb & Romaine Salad

This is just about the most detoxifyingly delicious salad I can think of. It’s perfect for winter and feeling like it won’t be snowing forever. There’s an equal mix of lettuce and herbs, and a light lemon dressing is, as always, my fav. Thanks for Colly Doll for the recipe – enjoy!

HERB & ROMAINE SALAD (makes as much or as little as you want)
Equal parts:
– Romaine (the freshest you can find)
– Parsley
– Mint
– Green onions
– Dill
– Juice of 1 lemon
– Splash of EVOO
– Good quality Kosher Salt

1. Pull apart (don’t chop, this will be prettier) the herbs into equal amounts.

2. Add everything to a big bowl, then add romaine – torn, if you want.

3. Juice a lemon over the salad, then add EVOO. Top with Kosher salt and gently mix all together.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hope everyone’s spending it with the one(s) they love!

Heart-Shaped Fruit Salad
– fruit
– mint

1. Get a bunch of pretty-colored fruits
2. Cut them into heart shapes
3. Toss with freshly-torn mint and keep covered in the fridge until ready to serve.

Cheesy Cauliflower-Potato Soup

Oh weird, it’s snowing again. Let’s make some soup to warm things up!  I love cauliflower in just about  every form imaginable, and this soup was no exception. It was the perfect thickness, completely delicious for how little went into it, and any time I get to add cheese to anything is just fine by me. As with most soups, this was even better the next day, and someone liked it so much that they basically stopped breathing in order to spoon this in as fast as possible. So you know it’s good.

CHEESY CAULIFLOWER-POTATO SOUP (makes an enormous pot of soup)
– 1 large head cauliflower, broken into florets
– 2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
– 5 cups chicken broth (I thought this made the perfect soup consistency, but if you like a thinner soup, add another cup or two)
– 1 vidalia onion, diced
– 2 cups freshly-shredded cheddar cheese
– 1 tbsp. nutmeg
– 1/4 c. heavy cream
– 1 tbsp. butter
– 1 tbsp. EVOO
– Kosher salt – about a tablespoon to start, then as needed
– Chives, for topping

1. In a French oven, melt the butter and EVOO over medium heat.

2. Add the diced onion, add a pinch or two of kosher salt, and “sweat” the onion until soft, approx. 10 minutes.

3. When soft, add the cauliflower florets and potato pieces. Mix it all up.  Don’t panic when you see all of this basically filling the pot to the top. Think of all the delicious soup you’re going to have!

4. Add chicken broth. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for approx. 30 minutes. You’ll see that the florets and potato pieces get soft and fork-tender.

5. With an immersion blender, blend the soup to your desired consistency. Taste, then add the cheddar (it was great to find DiBruno Brothers cheese in a store around here, but any cheddar you can find that you like is good, too). Stir it in so that it melts, then taste it. 

6. Add nutmeg, heavy cream and kosher salt to taste.

7. Serve a bowl topped with a little more shredded cheese and chives.  Snuggle up and enjoy.


Black Bean and Cilantro Hummus


The incomparable Caravia’s does just about everything perfectly. Their food is amazing, their produce is the best/most organic you can find in the area, everything is selected with care and detail, and the health inspector, while visiting, told them “If every place was this clean, I’d be out of a job”. Oh, and it’s a family-run business (by one of my favorite families of all time) and you should go there immediately, if not sooner.

Anyway, they make a ton of awesome food, but one of my favorites is their black bean and cilantro hummus. I tried to duplicate it, but I’ll admit a loss when I meet one – theirs is still better.  So the next time you visit Clarks Summit, pick some up. If not, this will do as a substitute!

BLACK BEAN AND CILANTRO HUMMUS (makes enough for a party-size serving)
– 1 BPA-free can of chick peas (also called garbanzo beans)
– 1/2 BPA-free can of black beans
– approx. 3 tbsp. cilantro
– 1/4 C. tahini
– 1/4 C. EVOO
– 1/4 – 1/3 C. chicken (or vegetable) broth
– juice of 1 lime
– 1 tsp. cumin
– kosher salt to taste

1. Drain and rinse the black beans and the garbanzo beans. Add the garbanzo beans to a bowl, set the black beans aside for later.

2. In the bowl with the chick peas, add the tahini, EVOO, 2 TBSP of cilantro, cumin and kosher salt. Mix it all together pretty well.

3. Add the mixture to a food processor, pulse it until it’s combined. 

4. Little by little, add the broth – continuing to pulse the mixture – until it’s pretty light and fluffy.

5. Put the mix back in the bowl, stir in the 1/2 can of black beans and the remaining 1 TBSP of chopped cilantro. Mix it all together and refrigerate. Serve with chips, veggies, pretzel chips, or even use it as a sandwich spread.

Top 10 Recipes of 2013

Hi everybody – here are the top 10 recipes from 2013 – thanks for an incredible year!














Crunchy Chopped Salad with Feta, Mint and a Lime Vinaigrette


Oh, did you overdo it with all the food on Superbowl Sunday? Me too. I needed a serious detox meal the next day, and this salad was pretty perfect. It’s super easy, healthy, completely delicious and fun to eat. You can use whatever veggies you want, but try to get a couple different colored ones to make it look pretty. I also strongly recommend using sugar snap peas, because man, are they ever satisfying to eat. Crunch crunch crunch.

– 1 cup each of 4-5 different kinds of veggies, chopped into pretty uniform pieces. I used an english cucumber, sugar snap peas, radishes and red onion.
– 2 scallions, chopped, white and green parts
– 1/3 C. crumbled feta
– approx. 6 large mint leaves, chiffonaded

– juice of 1 lime (approx. 1 tbsp)
– 2 tbsp. EVOO
– 1 tsp. cumin
– kosher salt and pepper to taste

This is a really tough recipe. Ready?

1. Get all your veggies cleaned. Chop into similar size pieces and throw them into a bowl.

Sugar Snap Peas win the world
2. Add the feta, mint and the scallions, mix everything together. 

3. In a different container, combine the lime juice with the cumin, salt & pepper. Stir to combine. Add the olive oil and mix it all together. Just before serving, pour dressing over the salad and stir everything together gently but thoroughly.

4. Serve.  We had this with salmon burgers with avocado slices and a dill sauce on sourdough-rosemary bread, and oh, my god. This dinner almost cancelled out the over-indulgence of Super Bowl Sunday – I probably felt almost as bad as the Broncos did by the end of the night. You’ll get them next time, Colorado!

Simple Lemony Dill Sauce

This couldn’t be simpler or more delicious. I use this for salmon burgers, but you could use it as a Greek tzatziki sauce too. It has bright flavors and it’s even better when it sits in the fridge for a couple of hours to blend. 

SIMPLE LEMONY DILL SAUCE (makes about 3/4 C., which is a lot for a topping)
– 1/2 C. sour cream
– juice of 1/2 lemon
– 1 tbsp. dill
– 2 tbsp. chopped scallions
– 1 tsp. garlic powder
– kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste

1. In a bowl, combine the sour cream with the lemon juice, dill, garlic powder, kosher salt & pepper,  and scallions.

2. Mix everything together and refrigerate for at least an hour if possible. This keeps about as long as your sour cream would. It’s awesome.