Spinach and Orzo Salad

I often find myself tired of packing sandwiches for family outings.
I have been searching for yummy, health alternatives.
I fould this recipe from Sunset Magazine.
It was an instant HIT.
FYI - I omited the olives and added chicken.

1 cup orzo pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
About 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 quart lightly packed baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup slivered dried tomatoes packed in oil
12 pitted kalamata olives, sliced

Cook orzo according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, oregano, basil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and the pepper and reserve.

Drain pasta, rinse with water until cool, and drain again.
Add to bowl with dressing and gently mix in spinach, tomatoes, and olives to combine.
Add more salt if you like.

Keeps: Up to 2 hours at room temperature (without chicken), 4 hours with ice packs.

Cream Filling for Cupcakes

With this recipe. . .

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend together and pipe into the center of cupcakes.

You get this. . .

cupcake filling (6)

Monster Cookies

A childhood favorite I never grew out of!

monster cookies

  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon corn syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4-1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 pound candy-coated milk chocolate pieces
  • 1/4 pound semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, white sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the corn syrup and vanilla. Mix in baking soda and oats until well blended. Stir in the chocolate candies and chocolate chips. Roll dough into 2 inch balls, and place 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes, before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Chicken Fettuccine with Peanut Sauce

Once again, my neighbor shared a winner.

  • 8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
  • 1 lb. cooked chicken, cubed
  • 1 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup sprouts

For the Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce (if you don't have low sodium mix 1/8 cup soy sauce to 1/8 cup water)
  • 3 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tbs rice vinegar  (I didn’t have any, OK to use White Wine Vinegar or Cider Vinegar)
  • 2 tsp grated, peeled fresh ginger (may use power instead)
  • 2 tsp chili paste with garlic (Didn’t have this either, used 2 tsp Hot Chili sauce)
  • 4 garlic cloves minced

Combined and cook all ingredients in saucepan over medium and whisk until smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cook pasta per package directions in large pot and drain then put back in pot used to cook pasta. Add chicken, onions, carrots and sprouts. Add PB mixture toss gently.  This dish has many variations. Shrimp or tofu instead of chicken. Or add snow peas, bell pepper strips or other veggies. Just use your favorites.

Thanks Krazy cake lady! 
Her recipe is HERE