Pasta, Recipes, Sides

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

So, I used to post once a month on a blog called Today’s Housewife. In fall 2012, the group decided together to stop posting due the busyness of life and families and such. Though sad, I enjoyed being part of the group. As of early January, the blog was officially taken down. But I don’t want to lose my recipes, so periodically I will be reposting them on here. Enjoy!


from April 14, 2011… this salad is delicious and I need to make it again!

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad |

My husband and I each take our lunches with us almost everyday, him to work and me to grad school. Not only is it less expensive to pack lunches, but it’s a lot healthier (and tastier) than eating out as long as you pack the right things. I discovered early on in our marriage that the best way to ensure that we each had delicious, filling lunches that would rival anything at a restaurant was to spend some time in advance doing some lunch preparation. So I started spending an hour or so every Sunday after church prepping our lunchtime vegetables and making a grab-and-go main course option. Then, every week night while we’re cooking dinner or cleaning up, we assemble our lunches for the next day. Having components in the fridge ready to go makes it a snap!

Pasta salads are one of my top choices for packed lunches as they are good served hot or cold, are customizable, and can be quite filling depending on the ingredients. I love that I can make a big batch to eat from throughout the week. This Greek-inspired dish was born out of the need to finish some random ingredients taking up space in my fridge such as a jar of sun-dried tomatoes and Kalamata olives that I used in a recent dinner, Pantry Pasta for Two. Each bite is a little different, and the sweet tang of lemon and tomatoes coupled with the bite of olives and the rich flavor of feta cheese is incredible. You’ll have to try it to believe it, but one bite and you’ll be hooked. It’s like a trip to the Greek Isles without every leaving your lunchbox! Not that I’ve ever been… (hint, hint husband!) I’m not sure this is a super kid-friendly dish depending on picky eaters’ palates, but I think it’d be great for girls’ lunches or family gatherings. Enjoy!
three years ago: The Best Panini Ever
four years ago: Maple Pecan Pear Scones

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

  • Servings: 4-6
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adapted from
  • 1 cup orzo pasta, uncooked (or any small pasta)
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I used the oil that my tomatoes were packed in for extra flava!)
  • zest of 1 large lemon (maybe a couple tablespoons?)
  • juice of 1 large lemon (perhaps 1/4-1/3 cup?)
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/3 cup spinach leaves, torn and packed
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pasta water, reserved
Prepare orzo according to package directions. Before draining, be sure to reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. If you’re like me and don’t have a fine strainer, place a (unused) coffee filter inside your regular strainer. Then drain your pasta carefully so as not to tear the coffee filter and spoon the pasta into a medium bowl. Immediately stir in sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, olives, lemon zest, spinach, and parsley. Mix gently to combine, then add lemon juice. Add feta cheese after a minute or so to let the pasta cool off (unless you don’t mind melted feta cheese). If needed, incorporate a little pasta water to make sure everything is fully coated, especially if you’ll be storing the salad for more than a day, as the sauce tends to be absorbed by the noodles over time. I used about 2-3 teaspoons of water. Season with black pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Appetizers, Recipes

Italian Tortilla Rollups, and a Bridal Shower

Did I tell you guys that I catered a bridal shower about a month ago? Well, I did. 🙂 And it was super fun. The shower was for the niece of one of my coworkers, and I was SO honored to be asked to cater!!

Bridal Shower Spread |


The bride is a healthy foodie like me so we decided to have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies at this shower! It was quite the colorful shower. 🙂 I made three tried and true recipes, and three new ones that I am thrilled to share with y’all! So, what did I make?

Bridal Shower Spread |

Here’s the menu, with amounts for 20-25 guests:

Honey-Lime Fruit Salad: made with strawberries, navel oranges, kiwifruit, and cantaloupe. I made the dressing with my immersion blender so that the mint leaves were chopped VERY fine…and it turned out perfectly! I tripled the recipe.

Honey-Lime Fruit Salad |

Asian Peanut Veggie Dip, served in little cups with red, yellow, and green bell peppers, baby carrots, and celery. I tripled the recipe but should have made even more. I purchased 8 bell peppers, 3 pounds of baby carrots, and 2 bunches of celery.

Asian Peanut Veggie Cups |

Deviled Eggs: I didn’t take great photos, so I wasn’t going to share the recipe separately. However, I make the filling for my deviled eggs with the following measurements for every six hard boiled eggs: 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1.5 teaspoons whole grain dijon mustard, 1.5 teaspoons yellow mustard, 1.5 teaspoons white vinegar, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Obviously mix those ingredients with the mashed yolks! I put the filling into a ziploc bag, cut the tip off, and pipe it into the whites. I topped half with paprika as usual and the other half with chopped bacon crumbles and scallions. I made two dozen eggs [48 deviled egg halves].

Devilled Eggs |

Kale Quinoa Salad: will be sharing the recipe soon!

Dark Chocolate Double Coconut Macaroons: will be sharing the recipe soon!

Italian Tortilla Rollups: last, but certainly not least… and the recipe of the day! I made one batch as reflected below.

Italian Rollups | #easy #appetizer

I chose to share this recipe first because I heard it was the star of the shower… especially with the kiddos. And I tried one that fell apart and let me tell you, the flavors were AWESOME! Pesto and sun-dried tomatoes are meant to be BFFs, and when paired with cream cheese in a tortilla you have a super addictive ‘lil snack bite.

Italian Rollups | #easy #appetizer

Since the bride is a healthy foodie, I decided to try the Greek yogurt cream cheese and was pleasantly surprised to find that the cost was the same as for regular cream cheese. Score! I couldn’t tell a difference in flavor between the two, but the Greek yogurt cream cheese was definitely healthier and just as creamy as the original stuff is. So use that if you can, but no worries if you decide to use normal cream cheese. These little bites had so much flavor, but really. Can you go wrong with cheese, basil, and tomatoes? I think not. I’ll definitely be bringing these bites parties in the future and hope you will too.

Italian Rollups | #easy #appetizer

And while we’re on the subject of weddings… I just wanted to make a shoutout to Ben. We’ve been married for FIVE YEARS today! We’re going to spend the day celebrating [so glad I could get the day off work]. I’m so thankful for Ben and love him more now than the day we got married. I wouldn’t have wanted to move to Nashville with anyone else. 🙂 Excited to see what the future holds. I love you!

one year ago: Taco Pizza 
two years ago: Triple Chip Coconut Cookies 

Italian Tortilla Rollups
click to print


  • 8 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, chopped [I used the ones that are just dried, but oil/water packed works too–just drain and pat dry]
  • 8 ounces prepared pesto
  • fresh chopped basil, optional
  • chopped olives, optional
  • Parmesan cheese, optional
  • 8 ounces whipped cream cheese [I used the Greek yogurt kind]
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 burrito-size tortillas


In a small bowl, stir together sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, and any of the optional toppings and set aside.

Microwave tortilla for a minute to soften, then spread a tortilla evenly with cream cheese, leaving an inch border around the edges, and top with a spoonful of the sun-dried tomato mixture. Top with a little bit of black pepper, then roll tightly. Cut in half, then cut off tortilla ends [where there’s no filling]. Cut each half into thirds [making six pieces total, not including the ends that were cut off]. Place seam side down on a plate or baking dish.

Repeat with remaining ingredients, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours before serving.

Time: 30 minutes active + refrigeration time.
Yield: 60 slices.

Appetizers, Recipes

SRC: Herb, Tomato, and Cheese Crackers

Happy SRC Day! I love being part of the Secret Recipe Club and getting to explore a new blog every month. If you’ve missed my past SRC posts, the premise is this: you’re assigned a different member’s blog every month. You visit their blog, choose any recipe you want, then make it and share it on your blog… all while keeping your assignment a secret! Everyone else posts about their secret blog the same day. It’s fabulously fun to try out new blogs. If you have a blog, definitely check it out and consider joining! I highly recommend it.

This month I was assigned to Sawsan’s blog, Chef in Disguise. Sawsan writes this wonderful blog from Jordan–a country halfway around the world from my home in Indiana. It’s crazy how blogs and technology can make what is so geographically far so close. Chef in Disguise has tons of wonderful sounding recipes–like Peppermint Chocolate Almond Butter, Coconut Cake, and Fattoush (a Middle Eastern bread salad).  Now that this recipe is posted and the secret is out, I can pin away yummy recipes without Sawsan’s suspicions aroused. 🙂

Herb, Tomato, and Cheese Crackers | The Pajama Chef

This month, I wanted to try to make a completely new type of recipe–something I’ve never made before: homemade crackers. For some reason I always thought they were complicated to make, but that’s ridiculously far from the truth. At least, that’s what Sawsan’s blog taught me. She has several homemade cracker recipes but I wanted to go with a classic cheese cracker. Now, these classic cheese crackers are fancied up with sundried tomatoes, herbs, and spices. Fannncy! 

Herb, Tomato, and Cheese Crackers | The Pajama Chef

In a way, the flavor of these crackers reminded me of pizza–so if you’re not a cheesy tomato person, you might wanna check out the link and see some of Sawsan’s other cracker recipes. I can totally see dipping these in a creamy ranch dip or a spicy marinara sauce for a lovely appetizer. YUM!

Herb, Tomato, and Cheese Crackers | The Pajama Chef

And let me tell you–though these are fancy crackers with great flavor, they are incredibly simple to make. You just mix up the dough, roll it into a log, chill for an hour or so, take it out, and bake. Easy as that! Just like slice ‘n bake cookies. Except, slice ‘n bake crackers. 🙂 New business venture, anyone?!? Next time I make them, I’m going to roll it into a thinner, longer log to have smaller crackers. These crackers were thick and a bit chewy, and I’d like to try them thin and crispy. No matter how you slice them, these Herb, Tomato, and Cheese Crackers are amazing! Thanks for a great recipe, Sawsan!

Herb, Tomato, and Cheese Crackers [from Chef in Disguise]
click to print


  • 6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes [drained, if oil packed, soaked in water if dry]
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


Combine cheese, butter, and tomatoes. Then, add flour, salt, and herbs/spices. Mixture will be somewhat crumbly. Roll the dough into a log and wrap with saran or foil.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. [Can also be frozen for several months.]

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

Thinly slice log and place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Time: 15 minutes, plus chill time.

Yield: 2-3 servings.

Note: can substitute 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence for all the 1/8 teaspoon herbs/spices above.

Be sure to check out the other SRC posts today here:

Have a wonderful Monday!!