Friday, August 26, 2011

Frugal Fridays - Multitasking

I think I may have mentioned my aversion to hot weather. Hot, sticky weather is even worse. Cooking of any kind ranks pretty low on my list of things I get excited about when the temperature gets about 85º. But when I landed another catering job at work this week, I found myself standing over a hot oven with the temperature outside a whopping 91º and the humidity level… well, I don’t even want to know what it was.

And so to minimize, even slightly, the amount of time spent sweating through food prep, I decided to buy enough extra to eat off of one of the salads I was preparing. At least dinner would be taken care of.

This salad is light but filling, and paired with a little baguette smeared with butter and sprinkled with a bit of sea salt, made for a very satisfactory dinner.

Greek Orzo Shrimp Salad
Adapted from Wives with Knives

1 red bell pepper
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
¾ lb orzo pasta
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
½ cup Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
2 scallions, finely sliced
½ lb peeled shrimp
2 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs white wine
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp dill
3 Tbs course ground Dijon
1 cup crumbled Feta

Line a small baking sheet with foil and add the bell pepper and tomatoes. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the tomatoes and cover loosely with one end of the aluminum foil, leaving the bell pepper exposed. Place under broiler and scorch the pepper on each side, turning once each side is blackened. Remove from oven and place the pepper and tomatoes in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to steam for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil to keep from sticking. Place in serving bowl and allow to cool.

In a skillet over medium, heat 2 Tbs of olive oil. Add pepper flakes and garlic, cooking and stirring for a minute, or just until garlic begins to soften. Add shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook until shrimp begins to brown on one side. Flip over and cook for about another 30 seconds. Add 2 Tbs white wine and cook just until wine evaporates. Add shrimp to the pasta.

Peel the skin from the bell pepper, remove seeds and cut into strips (I only used about half of the pepper and saved the remainder for another time). Add to pasta and shrimp, along with the tomatoes, cucumber, olives and scallions. Stir to combine.

In a jar, or another small container with a lid, combine the ½ cup olive oil, white wine vinegar, dill and Dijon. Season with salt and pepper. Place lid on container and shake vigorously until the mixture has emulsified.

Sprinkle Feta cheese over pasta and pour vinaigrette over the top. Stir just until combined.

Cost Breakdown:

Bell pepper - $ .99
Tomatoes - $1.50
Orzo - free (see what a good coupon shopper I am??)
Cucumber - $ .75
Olives - $2.00
Scallions - $ .11
Shrimp - $2.50 (another sale item)
Seasonings, etc - $ .60 (guesstimate)
Feta - $1.00 (on sale)
Baguette - $2.49

Total for enough to feed 4 people - $11.94, or $2.99 per serving

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