Orzo: Rice Pilaf and Seafood Medley

I am SO sorry I forgot to post this on my day. I'm just so out of the routine of blogging. Sorry again!!

Did I mention I live in a small town with no Target, a small WalMart and 2 grocery stores? Well, I do. And in these stores I found no orzo. Well, I didn't look in one grocery store because it's an expensive one. But I did find a rice pilaf mix. And I do love rice pilaf.

Rice Pilaf mix

Seafood Medley and Cream Sauce:
Packaged seafood mix (crab, muscles, calamari, scallops)
1/2 Onion diced
1/2 bunch Spinach chopped
1 clove Garlic minced
1 c Milk
1/3 c Parmesan cheese grated
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 tbsp Flour

Make the rice pilaf according to the directions. Let that cook and get to the yummy seafood! Heat a large, deep skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil. Let that heat up. Add diced onion. Once the onion starts to look slightly golden add the spinach and garlic. Stir this around and let cook for 1 min. Add milk, cheese and flour. Stir and heat. Don't boil it. This is the delicious sauce. Add the seafood. Reduce heat to low. Cover with lid and let simmer for 10-15 min stirring occasionally. Serve over rice pilaf.

**If your muscles are still in their shells, keep the lid on the pan and DO NOT REMOVE for 3-6 minutes or until the shells have opened. If the shells do not open, do not eat the muscle. Same goes for clams and other shellfish steamed in their shell.


I selected orzo to be a part of our cooking challenge. I had cooked it several times but thought it sounded different enough to be in the contest.

After I did, I realized something about orzo. It doesn't make as good a risotto at rice does. Where rice becomes creamy with a little bit of rough texture, orzo just stays a little slimy. The flavor is good, but the texture isn't as nice as rice. The recipe had chicken stock, onions, butter, and mushrooms.
Here is the meal:

Having said that, I won't give up on orzo. I think it would be good in a soup (maybe even broccoli cheese!) or in a pasta recipe. I saw an orzo salad at a mediteranean restaurant on Friday I thought looked good.

Orzo: One Pan Chicken and Orzo Skillet

Mom chose orzo, which was a great choice to me since I never use it.

One Pan Chicken and Orzo Skillet Dinner. Ingredient: Orzo, chosen by Mom.

Probably my least favorite thing I made. The orzo ended up being mushy because I put too much water in--I didn't have the broccoli it called for which needed to be cooked in that water as well. The favor wasn't outstanding either.

I should have made rice pilaf, since I love it. 

Orzo: Mexican Orzo

So I bought my orzo early in the month, planning on doing a new variation of Pam Anderson's orzo recipe from How to Cook Without a Book: Recipes and Techniques Every Cook Should Know by Heart (again, I know). But then . . . suddenly it was May 31st and a Sunday and the last day a large amount of leftover Mexican-flavored chicken in our fridge would be edible.

So I went with Mexican orzo.

Pam Anderson's orzo recipe treats the short pasta like rice for making risotto, but without stirring. Orzotto. (I like that!) She uses more Italian ingredients, such as Parmesan cheese. But since I had a Mexican main course, I didn't feel like multiculturalism was the dish of the day. I substituted Cheddar (okay, fine, Cheddar is English not Mexican, sue me), parsley (because I had it on hand) and green onions (yay for my garden!) to make a creamy, Mexican themed "orzotto." I topped it with cilantro-lime chicken, black beans, corn, tomatoes and parsley.


Wonton Wrappers- Southwest Style

I tried a little fusion cooking with my wontons. I had used them before  with this taco cupcake recipe, so I tried that again with with my own twists.
I made the picture big so you can see that, like the Iron chef, I made wonton wrappers 3 ways.
I made small chicken taco cupcakes using mini-muffin pans. The second dish was a wonton empanada with seasoned ground beef and cheese. I just wet the wrappers with water to seal the edges.
Finally, I put the seasoned ground beef in a wonton wrapper in a large muffin tin.
Each was baked in the oven until it looked crispy and not soggy.

We loved them all! Yum yum!

Wonton wrappers are hard to find in the store! I overheard a lady asking an grocery store employee where they were last week. After he made a few guesses, I butted in to tell them that they are usually in the produce section. They were a little incredulous and I don't even know if it was true for that store, but that is where I have always found them. How about you?

Wonton Wrappers: Southwestern Eggrolls (Chili's Copy Cat)

Sorry I completely forgot to introduce my pick!! While we were watching the many cooking shows we do I saw one of the ingredients used was wonton wrappers. I thought we should give it a go! So here we are!!

Our family loves Chili's. And I especially love their appetizers. I wanted to try out their Southwestern Eggrolls so that was why I chose wonton wrappers! Ok, finding wonton wrappers was extremely difficult for me. I looked at 3 stores and finally found them in the first store when I went back. At my grocery store they were in the refrigerated section where the mushrooms and herbs are. Good luck finding them in your store!

1 Package wonton wrappers (80 ct)
Vegetable oil

1 Red bell pepper diced
1 medium Onion diced
1 bunch Spinach chopped
1/2 can Corn
1 can Black beans rinsed and drained
1 large Jalapeno diced
1/2 c Cheese of your liking
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Parsley (fresh or dried is fine)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper

Chop, dice, grate, drain all the ingredients as needed.  I used half mozzarella and half cheddar for the recipe. Monterrey Jack is also a good one to use since it has some kick. And I took out most of the jalapeno's seeds. Again, I'm a spice wimp. Now's also a good time to heat up your oil in a large skillet or deep fryer. Put enough oil in to fill the bottom of the skillet completely. Turn on medium high heat.

Combine all filling ingredients in a large bowl adding spices last. Mix with a large spoon.  Lay out a few wonton wrappers. Fill each wrapper with a spoonful of filling. Don't overfill! With water, use your finger to dampen the edges of the wonton wrapper. Seal by folding in half and pressing the edges firmly. Place into the oil carefully away from you to prevent splashing back onto you. DO NOT place into oil that hasn't been heated long enough. I turned on the heat then made 8 eggrolls before putting them into the oil. If the oil isn't heated this will make everything really soggy and gross since the wrapper will absorb too much oil. Fry until golden brown (about 1-3 min), flip and repeat. After both sides are golden brown, remove from oil and let cool slightly on a paper towel.

I served our eggrolls with the Tomatillo Cilantro Ranch! So yummy!! Could even use a little more cheese if you're a cheesy fan.

**I halved the recipe (left the spices and beans at the same amount) and still made a ton! So caution in portion control!!
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