Friday, January 23, 2009

Orzo with Shrimp, Feta Cheese and White Wine: Financial Practicality Doesn't Always Taste Good

Single gals who, like me, enjoy eating (and cooking) adventurous food have a tough lot in life. (And not just because we have to dine solo at the table with only Anderson Cooper to keep us company.) It's far easier (and cheaper) to prepare meals and test out new recipes when cooking for more than one person, and as such, I often struggle with justifying the purchase of lots of ingredients for a dinner that will only serve me. The pockets on my two-year-old Joe's "Honey" jeans only run so deep, and in these difficult economic times, I have to be practical about what I lob into my shopping cart at Whole Foods.

One of the ways I try to save money is by planning out my meals several days ahead of time so that when I try a new recipe I can use up the extra ingredients for other meals that week. This past Friday, I made a delicious orzo veggie dish with feta cheese and garbanzo beans, and on Monday I decided to use some of the feta and orzo to make the highly tauted Orzo with Shrimp, Feta Cheese and White Wine from It was a brilliant plan -- until I took a bite.

While the recipe was a snap to make and went together quickly, it was by no means worthy of the four forks (out of four forks) it has received on I wanted to love it -- especially since I was being so financially responsible and grown up and all -- but it just didn't wow me. If I were to tackle the recipe again, I would definitely use fresh basil instead of dried, and either substitute fresh tomatoes for the canned or let the canned tomatoes simmer a while to lose some of that tinny flavor.

Regardless of the less than impressive outcome, the dish was filling and did make me feel more adventurous than when I surrender to my singleness and pop a single-serving Amy's Spinach frozen pizza in the oven like I did last night. But not to worry -- I was practical about it and topped it off with some of my extra feta. Because, you know, it would have been extremely wasteful of me to not give my arteries some extra animal fat to play with.

Recipe for Orzo with Shrimp, Feta Cheese and White Wine can be found here.

Applications to become my boyfriend so I can cook beef short ribs and pork tenderloin and fancy things with saffron can be sent here.


Esi said...

You crack me up. Yeah, it kinda sucks just cooking for yourself all the time, but at least I don't buy lunches during my working week (not that there are any good options around my work). Sorry this dish wasn't so great for you, but maybe you will get some good applicants for the saffron purchasing position.

H. C. said...

Heh, yea, look at the recipe alone I wouldn't have given it 4 forks either -- Orzo isn't really a pasta I'd pair with tomatoes though (or feta), I think it would work a lot better with a lemon-dill-rosemary-garlic sauce (which also goes along with shrimp and the white wine), with a little pine nuts for crunch and texture.

I too have a weakness for Amy's Kitchen frozen stuff but have resisted so far (at least until one of those rare sales come on at Whole Foods).

Diana said...

Esi - Yes, brown bagging it saves loads of money! (Plus I think my sandwiches taste way better than half the stuff I buy out!)

HC - You know, I think you are right about orzo working better with a sauce like that. I love when the orzo takes on more of a risotto-type quality -- I'll have to fiddle around with your suggestion and try to come up with something!

Alessandra said...

I will be your husband if you move to Chicago. We can go to Bar Method classes, then cook nutritious dinners and top it all off with fine wines and chocolates. It'd be a nice change from always needing to fight off my husband in order to protect my dessert...

Heather said...

:( surrender to your singleness sounds so sad. i love being married, but sometimes i would give my left arm to be single again, and not have to consult with someone everything i make plans, buy something expensive or do anything else that might impact another person. so, remember to cherish these moments a little bit, because when you're married, you'll celebrate the rare business trip that your spouse goes on that allows you to make some annie shells mac and cheese and watch 13 going on 30.

The Blonde Duck said...

Awww. That's a shame.

Are there any girlfriends that like to cook near you? Ya'll could trade off having cooking parties or whatever.

Did you seriously nominate me for an award? That's so sweet!

Diana said...

Ali - I like this plan. Especially the eating our own desserts part.

Heather - I never thought about it that way. Thanks for the alternative perspective -- I think I'll enjoy my frozen pizza more this week! :)

Duckie - Don't worry! I'm exaggerating just a wee bit about my woe-is-my-single-selfness. I'm really pretty happy on my own!