With a busy schedule and a few select quality ingredients on hand, this past weekend was one for simple no-cook recipes…

Like this!


Did you know I “didn’t like this stuff” until just recently…


Not exactly sure what planet I was living on when I came up with that one.

Orzo. Round two.

And simple-to-serve cannellini beans.

Freshly chopped arugula… 

Layered with steaming hot orzo…

And tossed gently so as to wilt the greens and cook them slightly.

Followed by some cannellini beans

And seriously what could be considered one of my favorite foods ever that I about shrieked with joy over finding at our local Whole Foods.

Sadly, this is not a joke.

Cava Mezze harissa

Remember this “best meal of 2012” during my recent visit to Cava Mezze while visiting my bestie in D.C.?

Remember me raving about the harissa that they served with fresh, warm pita to start the meal?

Yea. This stuff. Find it. Buy it. And get ready to be amazed.

Seriously.SO.GOOD. 🙂

And what a great way to make a simple pasta salad into something super special!

Tomatoes, garlic, crushed red pepper, spices, olive oil.


Finish with just a bit of olive oil before really giving it a good toss.

Then voila! 

Serve this cold, at room temp or even give it a quick heat in the microwave for a warm meal – do what ya want – it’s great any way! (I tried them all 😉 )

Have you ever had harissa before?

Yesterday was probably one of the best beach days I’ve had in a while 🙂

Highs in the mid-80’s, a cool breeze coming off the ocean water and clear blue skies dotted with just a few puffy white clouds come afternoon… *sigh*

“Stephy” courtesy of Lil’ Sis… this was before the “for sale!” part was added. 

THAT was courtesy of this smart guy who arrived yesterday, soooooo funny Myles 😛

At least the third amigo showed up at our beach house doorstep bearing gifts! 😉

Check out the awesome gift basket that his Mom sent him down from Philly with.  The linen is covered in beautiful painted tomatoes and she got it for me because she’s knows how much I adore tomatoes!

Plus some cheese crisps, broken pretzels, taffy, wine and balsamic vinaigrette.

The balsamic has a recipe for panzanella salad on the back of the bottle that I will be making veryyyyyyyyyy soon too, I think you guys are going to love it!

Thanks Lyn! 🙂

After a full day of sand & sunshine it was time to pull together a seafood dinner — and fresh North Carolina shrimp were on the menu.

We picked these up at our favorite seafood spot, Austin Seafood Company, 2 pounds to be exact (whoa!). 

They had just been caught that morning, yummm 🙂

And since this Pesto Orzo Salad that I’ve made before is (1) super delicious (2) super easy (3) one of Lil’ Sis’s favorites, that was the side dish of choice to go with our shrimp.

Check it out, 5 ingredients (plus a few spices) and 3 easy steps.  Comes together in the time it takes to boil the pasta!

5 Ingredient, 3 Step Pesto Orzo Salad w/ Green Peas & White Beans

  • 1 box orzo pasta
  • 1 bag frozen peas
  • 1 jar pesto (6.5oz. from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 onion, chopped small
  • red pepper flakes, sea salt & black pepper to taste
  1. Boil pasta according to direction.  Add chopped onion during the last minute or two of cooking, this will cut the sharp onion flavor a bit.
  2. Stir together the drained beans, frozen peas, hot pasta and onions, and pesto.  The warm pasta will defrost the peas and also help the pesto to incorporate nicely.
  3. Add red pepper flakes for a bit of a kick plus some sea salt and black pepper to taste.


This pasta salad will serve ALOT of people, and last for a few days in the fridge, making it perfect for an easy weeknight (beach!) dinner and great to have for lunch leftovers throughout the week 🙂

To finish off the seafood dinner we cooked up some fresh green beans that were picked up during our stop at the Morris Farmer’s Market.

Still lovin’ those summer green beans!  They taste even better when you put the rest of the group to work snapping off the stemmy ends 😉

Just sayin’…

Boiled for 7 minutes in some water flavored with a split garlic clove, then seasoned with some sea salt and black pepper and a pat of fresh butter.  Mmmmm mmmm!

North Carolina shrimp seasoned with Old Bay.

Pesto Orzo Salad.

Green Beans w/ a hint of garlic and butter.

Now THIS is the stuff great vacations are made from!!!

Well along with mango vodka spritzers on the beach before noon, but that’s a whole other story now isn’t it 😉

Time to start the day, I hear another perfect forecast is on tap… no complaints here.  Make it a good one!

Hoping to be back with a recap of the amazing wedding weekend soon…

But until then, how about a quick summer salad recipe that I pulled together last night?!

Perfect answer to an easy Sunday dinner after a weekend of traveling 🙂

Pesto, Artichoke & White Bean Orzo Summer Salad

Serves 6-8 

Best when served room temperature, but can be eaten warm or cold too.

  • 16 oz. package orzo pasta
  • 6.3 oz. jar basil pesto
  • 1 can northern beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can whole artichoke hearts in brine, drained & chopped
  • sea salt
  • black pepper

Love orzo, how cute is this stuff?!

Simply cook the orzo according to directions.

Chop the artichokes into small pieces.

Stir pesto into cooked orzo while still warm. 

Then add chopped artichokes.

Followed by the white beans. 

 Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste – alot of pepper if you’re me 😉

And serve!

Goes wonderfully with a simple side salad dressed in white balsamic vinegar too might I add 🙂

Enjoy your Monday!!!