Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Weeknight Dinner: Orzo Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes

Weeknights are hard to cook a real meal!  I don’t get home from work until 7:15 – 7:30 most nights (and that’s when I’m not rehearsing for anything).  The last thing I want to do is start cooking the moment I walk in the door.  If I do cook during the week, I won’t start until 8ish, which often means dinner at 9 (or 10 if I've chosen a recipe that is too difficult . . .note to self: don't ever pick a Julia Child recipe on a weeknight!).  I don’t really mind eating a late dinner, and I know Aaron doesn’t either – I guess when we have kids we may need to change that schedule, but we’ll see.  I can remember several family dinners growing up that were pretty late.  We always managed to eat dinner together as a family . . . even if it meant eating at 8 or 9 or sometimes 10 (but that was usually when Dad was out of town and Mom was busy with a community meeting or something).

Tonight I decided to try some “real” cooking, even though it’s a weeknight.  My CSA box came with heirloom tomatoes, and I’ve always wanted to try something special with them (rather than my usual green salad).  So, I found a recipe for Orzo salad withheirloom tomatoes on the Farm Fresh To You website.  This recipe definitely fits the weeknight requirements: quick, easy, healthy, and tasty. It took about 30 minutes from pulling the box of orzo out of the cupboard to when it was ready to eat.

First I boiled the orzo.  While it was boiling, I cut up all the herbs and tomato, etc.  After draining the orzo, I whisked together the vinegar and lemon juice.  I used the juice of an entire lemon (bc it was just easier than squeezing out only 1 tablespoon).  Then I slowly added the olive oil.  I actually used a little under ¼ cup of oil, and I think that was plenty!  I also used half the amount of mint the recipe calls for and twice the amount of olives (I sliced up both black olives and green olives to give it more flavor and color).  Once the dressing is done, I just mixed all the ingredients in a pretty blue bowl, and dinner was ready.

It is really a nice, easy recipe both to follow and to eat!  I also grilled up some chicken to add some protein to the dinner.

Here’s how much the weeknight meal cost (add $0.50 per person for the chicken breast):

Orzo & Heirloom Tomato Salad

9 oz Orzo*

2 tbs White wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

2 large heirloom tomatoes

3/4 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup sliced olives

1/2 cup sliced basil*

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


6 servings =
 per person

* A note on the costs, that box of Orzo has been sitting, half full in my pantry for who knows how long – so I don’t actually know how much it cost.  I do know however, that I would never spend more than $2 on a box of pasta, so I estimated high and guessed at $2 for the box, of which I only used half.  On the basil, when I opened the small container of fresh organic basil, I was very disappointed to discover that it was already starting to wilt terribly.  So I used half of it and threw the other half away – had it been good, I would have been able to save the rest for future use.  Also, I easily could have spent half and gotten twice the amount of basil had I been able to organize myself a little earlier and trek over to the Lake Balboa farmer’s market on Sunday morning.  Oh well!

1 comment:

Danielle said...

That looks delicious.