Wish Upon A Dish: May 2011

May 31, 2011

Jamaican-Spiced Chicken with Sweet Potato Chips

I thought I had chicken thighs in the freezer but after defrosting the package I realized it was breast meat medallions.

I like to pre-slice a few breasts into scaloppini before freezing so I can have a quick Piccata or Marsala for dinner.

I will just have to make Jamaican alla Scaloppini. The leftover chicken will be a nice addition to a Caribbean salad later on in the week so I better load up on some mangoes, papayas, red onions and jalapenos.

I was cleaning out my Email box and stumbled on this recipe from MyRecipes.com.
Since I was planning on making healthier yet well spiced foods this summer, I immediately read the reviews and made it our dinner for tonight.
I changed a few ingredients to suit our tastes but the inspiration came from the original recipe.

It is probably one of the easiest dishes to prepare and we all love that, right?

The marinade will also serve as a glaze on pre-nuked sweet potato chips I will grill alongside the chicken and I will reserve a few tablespoons of the marinade before adding it to the chicken, to use as a sauce for some snap peas which I will nuke first.

No oven, no stove, no sweat....my kinda meal.

Jamaican-Spiced Chicken
inspired by Cooking Light
YIELD: 4 servings
* 1/4 cup minced red onion
* 1 tablespoon agave nectar
* 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, finely chopped
* 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
* 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
* 1/2 tsp galangal (or ginger)
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into medallions
* Cooking spray

* 1. Combine first 13 ingredients in a large bowl; add chicken, tossing to coat. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add chicken and grill cook 2 minutes. Turn chicken over; cook 2 minutes more or until done.

Nutritional Information
* Amount per serving
* Calories: 187
* Calories from fat: 27%
* Fat: 5.7g
* Saturated fat: 1.4g
* Monounsaturated fat: 1.7g
* Polyunsaturated fat: 1.4g
* Protein: 27.5g
* Carbohydrate: 5g
* Fiber: 0.5g
* Cholesterol: 115mg
* Iron: 1.6mg
* Sodium: 503mg
* Calcium: 21mg

Hot Dog Onions ♥ Do you also wait all year for Vidalia onions?

My Shop-Rite stopped selling boxes of Vidalia onions. They have resorted to breaking open the boxes and selling them in bulk, which is OK I guess but the price doubles.

I used to wait all year for Vidalias to appear and was visibly upset at them.

I would spend the day dicing, slicing and chopping, then measuring amounts into bags to process with my Food Saver.

I had Vidalias to cook with all year.

What I did not portion, I would slice and skewer, caramelize, stew and saute to use with everything that came off my grill.

This year I found them at BJ's (or a warehouse-type club) in a net bag and at a price I could live with at $2.99 for a 5lb bag.

Onions are wonderful for diabetics. They add sweetness without adding calories and have a GI of only 15, and a GL of 5 so eat 'em up!!

Onions are a rich source of chromium, vitamin C and dietary fiber. Chromium is a trace mineral that can help control glucose levels, as it aids in providing blood sugar to cells and therefore can increase sensitivity to insulin. According to the World's Healthiest Foods, research indicates that eating onions regularly may also lower the risk of some cancers.

I just added pickled onions to my list of things I want to make this year and Vidalia's would be perfect for pickling. I might just make enough to process and can one jar for each family member. I do believe I will share my recipe for Sabrett Onions with you. In a tightly covered glass container (like a Ball canning jar) they keep in the fridge for 2 months.

If you can find Vidalias, buy them...hell, buy 2 and you will be happy all year.

Sabrett Onions are synonomous with those Sabrett Hot Dog carts on every corner in NYC as well as every ball park in the Tri-State area. Unfortunately those being born in the Mid-West are unaware of Mr. Geisler's creation.

Since I refuse to pay $10.00 for a jar of prepared onions, I have tried 3 different recipes and have found this one to be the closest. Now everyone can have Sabrett-style onions all year round.

Sabrett-Style Prepared Onions
makes about 1 cup but doubles & triples well
* 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
* 1 medium onion, sliced thin and chopped
* 4 cups water
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 2 teaspoons corn syrup
* 1 teaspoon cornstarch
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 1/4 cup vinegar

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
2. Sauté sliced onion in the oil for 5 minutes, until onions are
soft but not brown.
3. Add water, tomato paste, corn syrup, cornstarch, salt, and red
pepper flakes, and stir.
4. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45
minutes. Add vinegar. Continue to simmer for an additional 30 to 45
minutes or until most of the liquid has reduced and the sauce is

May 30, 2011

Key Lime Cheesecake ♥ Italian Style

I decided to make a Key Lime Cheesecake. I wanted it to be a lighter texture than an all cream cheese one so I used a 16oz container of ricotta cheese and cut the cream cheese bars down to 2, upped the eggs and added lime zest and lime juice until it was as tart as we wanted then I added the sugar until the balance was perfect.

I do not use a standard recipe for flavored cheesecakes because the flavorings can change the ratio. I taste as I go and they turn out perfect every time.
This particular cheesecake was an Italian-style cheesecake, the kind they make with ricotta.

Italian-Style Key Lime Cheesecake
makes 1 (8") cake
* 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
* 2 tablespoon butter
* 2 tablespoon sugar

Process these ingredients until mixed, press into a parchment lined 8" springform pan and bake at 350F for 11 minutes. Remove and cool.

* 2 bricks cream cheese, room temp
* 16oz container room temp ricotta cheese, pureed
* 4 eggs
* 2 tablespoon flour
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/3 cup lime juice
* zest from 1 lime
* 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix everything in a stand mixer and pour into cooled cracker crust.
Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 325F. Turn off oven and crack the oven door opened a few inches for 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate.

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Key West Revisited and a Grilled Pork Dinner

It will take me days to crop and edit all the 200 pictures I took in Key West.

This first batch is the outside pool and beach area of our resort along with the area just outside our front door.

This was the outside patio, an extension of the Strip House, and where the breakfast buffet was served.
I overexposed this pic so you can see The Nudge under the canopy which was dark compared to the bright outside.

Straight out between the 2 beaches was the gazebo where the weddings are staged. We heard from a wedding planner they wanted $4,000.00 to use it. There were 2 weddings the first Saturday & Sunday we were there.

To the right is were the Skidoos were parked for the jet ski tour they had 2x a day. It was fun watching the people try to get up onto them.

The beach to the left was where the chairs went and the best place to enter the ocean. The wharf to the left of that belonged to the sister resort Casa Marina. We went over there the first night but it was way too noisy and busy for us. A younger couple would love it though.

Those green market umbrellas belong to Louie's Backyard. A local restaurant and bar that Norman van Aiken was a chef at way way ago. It is still a good restaurant. We were there our last night. Pictures on that meal later.

The flags are the USA flag, the Conch Republic flag and the Waldorf Astoria flag.

These pictures are of the beach area of the sister hotel that is really only 1 block east of where we stayed. This place was the Casa Marina Resort. It was a little bigger, a little more expensive and a lot noisier. The beauty of this deal was we could use any of their water facilities, equipment and bars but leave when we wanted quiet.

The resorts were just left (east) of the southernmost point on the island, near this famous landmark.

These 2 pictures were taken facing east on the beach and the 3rd.........

....was taken facing the west, which is were our hotel was located in reference to where I was standing.

When we came out of our room, this view stretched out before us. This was the dock areas where the cruise ships were, which is located completely opposite us on the other side of the island.

Nice view, huh?

As soon as you walked out the door, there was a deli and.....

....stop #10 for the conch tour train and.......

...stop #10 for the trolley.
For $29.00 each you could ride this from 9:00-5:00, two consecutive days and get off and on from 12 stops around the island. Cheaper than a taxi and the drivers are very good guides. They constantly tell funny stories and the history of the island that you won't get from a tour book.
If you take your family, this is a great and economical way to get around.

This is the end of my picture tour of the area around our resort.
Tomorrow I will try to start the wharf area tour.

Tonight I made Grilled Pork Loin Chops with a Blueberry, Fig and Wine Sauce, roasted baby potatoes and the last of the Creamed Truffle Spinach.

I was watching NJN this morning when they were making this and I was looking for something new to try with pork.
I am brining 3 boneless loin chops and will flatten them to 1/2" before grilling.
I could not get a recipe for the sauce so I jotted down some key ingredients and will improvise on the rest.

I have a pint of blueberries, some California Calimyrna figs and the other ingredients on hand. I think even without a recipe I can make a good sauce. Anything with a base of red wine reduced to a glaze, can't be bad.

I butterflied 3 - 1" boneless pork loin chops and pounded them to little bit larger than 1/4". I mixed 1 tablespoon with Emeril's BAM with 1/4 cup EVOO in a large zip bag and placed the chops in there for about 3 hours to marinade.

Red Wine, Fig and Blueberry Sauce
makes about 1 cup sauce
* 3 dried figs, chopped (any kind will do)
* 2 cups red wine
* 1 cup chicken broth
* 1 large shallot, minced
* 1 tbls molasses
* 2 tbls white wine vinegar
* 1 tbls agave nectar
* 2 tbls butter
In a small saucepan, pour in wine, broth, shallot, figs, molasses, white wine vinegar and boil until reduced to 1 cup. Strain through fine sieve back into saucepan. Add blueberries, remaining tablespoon vinegar, agave nectar and butter.

Simmer until blueberries pop. Turn off heat.

When ready to serve, add additional tablespoon of butter & swirl until combined.
Serve over chops.

Grill on a very hot fire for only 2-3 minutes per side.

I turned mine 1 quarter turn after one minute to get those nice grill marks.

The chops remained moist and tender with the brine I did. Even if you only have 2 hours, brine your pork, it makes such a difference.

May 25, 2011

I'm back from Key West and am totally on a diet

We had such a good time these last 12 days.

If you want a place to veg out and just relax, this is the vacation destination for you.

I came back with all kinds of ideas for dishes and ones I want to replicate.

We ate at every gourmet restaurant on the island but my favorite dish of the week has to be the roasted mussels in a spicy/sweet tomato sauce. I cleaned my plate with too many slices of bread, it was that good.

I have to try to make that sauce, it was perfect for seafood. Sadly, the day I ordered it, I did not have my camera with me to snap a pic. I will be making it this week, for sure. I have never roasted mussels before and am dying to try it.

All week as I go through my pics, I will post a few to let you see the whole island through our eyes.

This first pic is of the back of The Reach resort from our floor. Imagine waking up to this every morning.

The Nudge was only too happy to jump right into the pool as soon as we unpacked and checked out the layout of the land.

Our first day we laid low and sat by the pool until it was time for dinner.

We had made reservations for the Strip House in the resort and I treated The Nudge to a steak. I knew we would be eating tons of seafood so I wanted him to get the meat craving out of the way.
I had one of many different versions of a Caprese salad that I ate almost every night and the roasted grouper for dinner. This salad used grape tomatoes that spilled out over a half a small ball of fresh mozzarella with a mound of pea shoots, some fresh peas, fresh basil and spring greens placed on top with a light vinaigrette. Very basic but very good.

The grouper was wonderful. First time I ate the skin and was surprised to find it crunchy and tasty.

This was the Strip steak with roasted garlic. The Nudge started his meal with 6 oysters on a half shell.

I have to say that the Best Vegetable of the Week was the Truffled Creamed Spinach. Over the Top great!!

I have truffle butter in my freezer and I now know what to use it for, besides mac 'n cheese.

Unfortunately I need to get back to reality and back to cooking my own meals once again.

I pulled a package of chicken breasts from the freezer and will grill them all.

I made a marinade using fresh oregano, chives, parsley, basil and mint with EVOO, soy sauce, garlic asian chili sauce, half a beer, garlic and balsamic glaze.

We were served a corn salad with some Key Lime roasted oysters (later on those) so I made a corn salad to serve with the chicken.

Couldn't have been easier. Frozen corn, minced onions, peppers, basil, garlic, oil and balsamic glaze.

A nice simple, healthy and good for you, finally, meal.

May 14, 2011

Gumbo - Daring Cooks Challenge May 2011

Before I wet on vacation I made a Cajun Gumbo for the May Daring Cook's Challenge. Although we ate this Tuesday night, the official posting date is today.

The girls at The Daring Kitchen always give you lots of references and recipes for each challenge but they encourage us to make it our own creation.

I chose to make my gumbo like a red bean and rice stew.

A Cajun gumbo has chicken and a pork product like sausage or ham whereas a Creole is seafood, shrimp or crayfish.....I chose a Cajun style with chicken and a smoked turkey kielbasa sausage. The Cajun one has a darker roux and is spicier....yum!

Cooking with Diabetes is all about the Glycemic Index and the addition of red beans to this dish allows me to have a scoop of wonderful white rice to sop up all that wonderful stock. I also wanted to try a technique I saw on a healthy Emeril show where he bakes the flour so that there is no addition of oil, but still has the flavor.

Our May hostess, Denise of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need from creole spices, homemade stock and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

I seasoned the chicken quarters with BAM on both sides and sauteed them in canola oil for 5 minutes on each side in a Dutch Oven.

After I browned the chicken, I removed the chicken and all the fat and replaced it with 1 tablespoon of new oil. I stirred in the roasted flour and sauteed the onions, celery, garlic and green pepper in it. After about 5 minutes on low, I opened a bottle of Bass Ale and poured it in, scraping down the bottom and sides. I placed the chicken back into the pot, added chicken stock to cover, the sliced kielbasa, bay leaves, and can of tomatoes (which I squeezed between my fingers into the pan). Brought the liquid back to a boil, reduced to simmer and set the time for 3 hours.

I do not think you need to brown the kielbasa before putting it into the gumbo. I did not want the flavor of the kielbasa to overpower the chicken and if you brown it it can take on a strong flavor.

Before serving I removed the meat from the chicken bones, placed the meat back into the pot and discarded the bones, they did their job flavoring the broth, and for that we thank them.

In the meantime I used my foolproof method of making microwave cooked rice (in a Corning Ware round casserole, standard 2:1 rice/water & salt, nuke on high 5 minutes, nuke on "5" or medium - 15 minutes. Let sit before uncovering.)
In a small bowl I packed the rice evenly and placed it in the center of my dish.

Now I can sit down and relax after a day of running all over the world and let my dinner cook itself. I just loved braised dishes, and a good gumbo is exactly that.

My Cajun Chicken, Sausage and Bean Gumbo
serves 4-6
* 1 package(4)chicken leg quarters
* 1/2 package turkey kielbasa, sliced into 1'2" coins
* 1 cup chopped green pepper
* 1 cup chopped Vidalia onions
* 1 cup chopped hearts of celery
* 3 large garlic cloves, minced
* 1/4 cup roasted AP flour (in a 350F oven for 5 minutes)
* 1(28oz)can plum tomatoes, crushed
* 1 cup chicken broth
* 1 bottle ale
* 2 bay leaves
* 1/4 cup BAM
* salt & pepper to taste
* extra BAM at the end
* 1 tablespoon file` powder, in a small bowl with a spoon

This was excellent. This recipe is a basic one. You can customize it any way you want. The key is to brown the chicken and develop the flavor of the roux, which I got by roasting the flour instead of constantly stirring the flour with oil. This was not labor intensive at all and no harder then a Chicken Cacciatori.

May 11, 2011

Hillbilly Spaghetti Pie

Tonight I am cleaning out the fridge by making a Hillbilly Spaghetti Pie.
I just made 2 cups of homemade mayonnaise, also to use up the eggs. I can freeze egg whites but not so much the yolks.

If I didn't have too much to already do I would make Egg Pasta and freeze the dough but right now I am eating.....what else?

Yup, an egg salad burrito.....lol

Today is iron and start packing day. Before I came down for my coffee I pulled all my tops and shorts out of the closet to check for stains or cat hairs (ChaCha loves to sleep in my closet).

I bought a box of Space Bag Travel bags.

I love these bags. I put all my under garments in 1 bag (bra, panties, socks and stockings), my tee's in another and my shorts in a 3rd. I do the same for The Nudge's stuff.

When you arrive at your destination you simply pop the seal, pull out the items and there is no wrinkling. It is a wonderful thing. Since Key West is very casual, even the high class restaurants except dress shorts. I bought a pair white and sage green clam diggers for dressier places and 4 shorts for every day. Packing for 11 days can get excessive so I have found that sticking to only 11 tops stops you from over packing, and I have done that many times for cruises. If you are careful you can wear a t-shirt once in the beginning of the week, hang it up and wear it again at the end of the week.
I have a travel Febreze that I bring with me and a downy wrinkle remover.

I also bring at least 2 t-shirts that are a print so if something gets on it you won't notice if stain removal is not 100% effective. And yes, I bring a stain stick too. Along with a travel lint remover and a package of Woolite for washing garments in the sink. I do insist on 12 pairs of panties and briefs, which will give you 2 extra ones, because your travel day is not included in what you pack.

Remember, you have the ability to wash delicates in the sink or just send a load down to the hotel's laundry halfway into the week.

Now, for dinner.....a tasty pie made with spaghetti and eggs. I have made this before but I will use more pasta this time. The last pie was more eggy because I didn't add cheese to it and this time I am making the sauce with the sausage but removing it and mixing it in with the pie for more flavor. The sauce is a bonus. What I do not use I will freeze for after vacation.

Hillbilly Spaghetti Pie
Serves 4-6

* 1/2 onion, chopped
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/2 pound Italian sausage, 4 links (sweet or hot) casings removed
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 3 tablespoons each minced fresh parsley & basil
* 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
* 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I add two more pinches to give it a kick!)
* 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
* 4 eggs
* 2 oz cream cheese
* 8 ounces spaghetti, broken into 3 inch pieces (I used half of a 16 ounce package–Thin spaghetti–not Angel Hair– but you can use regular )
* 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
* 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
* 1 roasted red pepper, cut into 1/2"x1" strips
* 1/2 green pepper, diced
* 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
* 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
* freshly ground black pepper
* salt to taste

1. Saute sausage on medium heat 8 minutes. Remove to bowl lined with paper towels to drain off the fat.
2. Saute onion and when almost cooked, remove half to a bowl. Add green peppers to the other half in pan. Saute until soft. Remove to bowl and cool.
3. Add another tablespoon oil, add back in half the batch of just onions and saute garlic, pepper flakes, oregano, basil and parsley with them.
4. Once browned, add sausage back in and stir in crushed tomatoes, water and salt.
Simmer for 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat and prepare frying pan.

1. Add broken spaghetti to peppers and onion saute with 2 cups water, bring to a boil, lower to simmer and cover for 8 minutes.
2. After 8 minutes, stir pasta so the noodles won’t stick together. Reduce heat to medium low simmer for 6 more minutes until pasta is al dente (almost cooked but still a little firm).
Add cream cheese and melt.
3. Add basil, Parmesan cheese, stir well.
4. Pour in eggs, cover and cook until they set or bake in a 350F oven for 25 minutes.
5. Sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese, put in oven to broil until spotty brown. (stand there and keep watch or set a timer for 3 minutes at a time until it’s ready, or else you may end up with Blackened Hillbilly Spaghetti Pie!)

Serve with sauce on the side and a salad.

May 10, 2011

Turkey Bolognese with Rigatoni

I went to my freezer with all intentions of removing a package of chicken leg quarters but they were frozen solid and would never properly thaw by dinnertime.

I grabbed a package of ground turkey instead. I have carrots and onions and plenty of garlic so I am good to go. Plus, you can cook ground meats from a frozen stage without any taste change.

Bolognese sauce is so easy and once you get all the flavors built up it simply simmers on low for at least two hours while you get more work done. In this case, I could really use the break from cleaning, I have all but the kitchen to finish so I will cook first then clean my stove. No sense cleaning the stove to mess it up again.

Easy Turkey Bolognese Sauce
* 1 pound ground white meat turkey
* 2 Italian hot sausages, casings removed
* 1/2 med Vidalia onion, chopped
* 2 carrots grated
* 3 large cloves garlic, minced
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1/2 cup white wine
* 1 bay leaf
* freshly grated nutmeg
* 1 cup grape tomatoes or chopped
* salt & pepper
* water
* 1/2 cup grated cheese
* 1 box pasta

Saute sausage meat, onions, carrots and garlic until browned. Add turkey and saute for at least 5 minutes or until all water has evaporated.
Add milk and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Add tomato paste and saute until the bottom of the pan develops browning. Add wine to deglaze pan. Simmer until liquid is gone.
Add bay leaf and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes and pepper.
Simmer until tomatoes break down and mixture thickens. Add water to level of meat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Set a pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta 1-2 minutes less then package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup boiling water.
Remove cover and simmer until most of liquid has dissipated.
Add grated cheese and stir in pasta. If sauce is too dry add some pasta boiling water to loosen it up.

May 8, 2011

Bobby Flay BOM May - Pimenton Cheeseburger

Ahhhhh, Pimento cheese.

That ambiguous Southern condiment that shows up on every table south of the Mason/Dixon line.
Whether it be a Sunday Social or a family picnic, you will see that orange spread displayed right up front.

No self-respecting southerner wouldn't even entertain the thought of not making it.

Bobby Flay decided it was worthy enough for his Burger of the Month - May.

I would have thought he would make a Kentucky Burger since he is the Grand Master of parties every where within 5 miles of the Derby and a site devoted to "How to Host a Derby Party".

Never-the-less, we have never had pimento cheese and since we make his BOM every month, I grabbed the chance to try it.
I found a contest winning recipe on the Food Network site and did not change a thing.

What I do like about this recipe is the inclusion of minced ham with the ground beef. I imagine a can of Devil's Ham would work even better then the Virginia ham I used, I did not think about it until after I got home from the market (next time, and there will be a next time).
The ham adds a saltiness, so I did not salt the burger at all.

Three pieces of bacon, three sturdy rolls and three 6oz burgers all ready for grilling.

The cheese was easy to make. I plopped everything into the processor and whizzed away until it was smooth. Stored in the fridge until the burgers were grilled, I didn't have to do anything more.

I really spread it on thick, on both sides of my roll. It was a little messy but what good burger isn't? Just make sure you make extra to keep in the fridge. Would make a great addition to a basic boring grilled cheese and I would even spread it on a hot dog. The Nudge says he would love to spread this on crackers while watching the Yankees.

Pimento Cheese Burger
makes about 1 cup
adapted form the Food Network

Pimento Cheese:
* 1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar, room temperature
* 1/3 cup shredded Monterey jack, room temperature
* 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, room temperature
* 2 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
* 2 ounces jarred diced pimento peppers, drained
* 1 tablespoon bread and butter pickle juice
* 1/2 tablespoon horseradish sauce
* 1 teaspoon yellow mustard

Process everything together or mix by hand. Refrigerate.

May 6, 2011

Shrimp Saganaki - a Greek Specialty

I have to laugh at The Nudge most times. He likes Cook's Country and on the weekend's they are on a few PBS channels. Last weekend they were making Greek-Style Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta. He turns to me and says....Yum, that looks good, can you make that?

Well, yes I can make just about anything but....do I want to?

His sister made this baked shrimp and feta dish a holiday or 2 ago and I did not like the feta with the shrimp at all. I think it's because feta doesn't melt and cheese that is warm or hot to me should melt. I associate feta with salads. This dish isn't baked and it has more then just tomatoes in it, so I will give it a try.
I actually had leftover feta from a salad I made last week.

This dish, as are most Greek recipes, very healthy and flavorful. A friend asked me if Greek cooking is similar to The Mediterranean Diet. I told him yes, but because they are a country of islands, each island only eats what it can grow or make and also because they were not invaded by as many cultures as the mainland Europeans were, there were no heavy influences in the food arena. Their diet has not changed in hundreds if not thousands of years.

I do know they have a tomato, olive, and feta 'Greek' salad with every meal. Condiments are limited to olive oil, wine vinegars, lemon juice and pestos. How could a diet with those ingredients not be good for you?

This recipe makes a ton of really good sauce. I will store half of it for next week when I am planning on cooking nothing. Once I clean my house for vacation, I dirty nothing, so meals will be grilled, salads, eat outs or fast pasta dishes, this being one of them.

Knowing all this, I changed the shrimp salad that was originally on the menu to this dish:

Greek-Style Shrimp w/Tomatoes and Feta
serves 4-6
* 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on, if desired
* 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 3 tablespoons ouzo or Pernod
* 5 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 teaspoons)
* 1 teaspoon grated zest from 1 lemon
* Table salt and ground black pepper
* 1 small onion, diced medium (about 3/4 cup)
* 1/2 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced medium (about 1/2 cup)
* 1/2 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced medium (about 1/2 cup)
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 1(28-ounce) can diced tomato, drained, 1/3 cup juices reserved
* 1/4 cup dry white wine
* 4 artichoke hearts quartered or 16 canned/frozen hearts (this was my contribution)
* 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
* 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1½ cups) (see note)
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves

1. Toss shrimp, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon ouzo, 1 teaspoon garlic, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in small bowl until well combined. Set aside while preparing sauce.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, red and green bell pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Cover skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables release their moisture, 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture cooks off and vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes longer. Add remaining 4 teaspoons garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and reserved juice, wine, and remaining 2 tablespoons ouzo; increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors have melded and sauce is slightly thickened (sauce should not be completely dry), 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low and add shrimp along with any accumulated liquid to pan; stir to coat and distribute evenly. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are opaque throughout, 6 to 9 minutes for extra-large or 7 to 11 minutes for jumbo, adjusting heat as needed to maintain bare simmer. Remove pan from heat and sprinkle evenly with feta. Stir in artichoke hearts, and drizzle remaining tablespoon oil evenly over top and sprinkle with dill or parsley.

Serve immediately over......

Rosemary Lemon Orzo Pilaf
Serves 2
adapted from epicurious.com

* 3/4 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
* 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
* 1/2 cup chicken broth
* 3/4 cup water, heated
* pinch saffron, soaked in water
* 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
* 1/4 teaspoon salt

In a 1-quart heavy saucepan sauté orzo in butter over moderately high heat, stirring, until browned lightly and stir in remaining ingredients. Bring liquid to a boil and cover. Reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.

How easy was that?