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Weekday inspiration: Orzo Salad With Spicy Buttermilk Dressing recipe and more

Mon | Meatless meal

Pay no attention to the number of ingredients in Orzo Salad With Spicy Buttermilk Dressing (recipe below). It's mostly a measure-and-dump recipe. This is a wonderful vegetarian meal and you just might have some leftovers to tote for a work lunch. You could serve it as a side dish but take note of the calories because they are entree-worthy.

Tues | New treat

A friend turned me on to Marie's refrigerated creamy chipotle ranch salad dressing. She smears it on just about everything and recommends it as a tasty dip for roasted shrimp. Place peeled shrimp on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Make a green Greek salad with feta cheese, black olives, green pepper strips and tomatoes as your side.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Carve up the bird and serve alongside Linguine With Pistachio-Parsley Pesto. To make the pesto, combine 1 packed cup fresh parsley leaves, ⅓ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, 2 tablespoons roasted pistachio nuts, 3 cloves peeled garlic, salt and freshly ground black pepper in a blender and process until smooth. Add more broth to loosen. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Makes enough for ½ pound linguine.

Thurs | Say cheese

Smoked Mozzarella and Granny Smith Grilled Cheese Sandwiches are plenty hearty for a quick dinner. Use thick slices of cheese with thin slices of tart apple on multigrain bread. Florida citrus is in high season so make a salad of mixed greens and orange sections drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette.

Fri | Dip and sip

Beefy Nachos and Beer (root for the kids) is a make-it-your-way sort of dinner. I like my nachos with cooked ground beef mixed with ranch-style beans in sauce. I layer that up with big chips and lots of grated cheddar. Bake for 10 minutes or so at 350 degrees, until cheese is melted. For garnishes, all or just some: pickled jalapeno slices, chunky salsa, sour cream, guacamole, chopped tomato and sliced scallions. Ah, TGIF.

Janet K. Keeler can be reached at jkeeler@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8586.

>>MODERATE

Orzo Salad With Spicy Buttermilk Dressing

1 cup uncooked orzo

1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed and drained

12 cherry tomatoes, quartered

3 scallions, sliced

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

¼ cup low-fat buttermilk

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided use

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons light sour cream

2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground red pepper

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 peeled avocado, cut into 8 wedges

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse; drain well.

Place orzo, corn, tomatoes, scallions and beans in a large bowl; toss.

Combine buttermilk, 2 tablespoons cilantro, and next 8 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle over orzo mixture; toss. Top with avocado; garnish with remaining cilantro and parsley.

Serves 4.

Nutritional information per serving: 424 calories, 15g fat (2g saturated), 13g protein, 64g carbohydrates, 10g fiber and 607mg sodium.

Source: Cooking Light

Weekday inspiration: Orzo Salad With Spicy Buttermilk Dressing recipe and more 01/31/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 3:30am]

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