Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup with Spring Peas

I know, I know...soup often isn't top of mind as we head into the warmer Spring and Summer months but this soup is so refreshing because of the fresh lemon that it really works all year long.  The original Bon Appétit recipe doesn't call for the addition of Spring peas but I think they brighten up the dish even more. I also made a few other small tweaks, so my adapted version is below:

Weekly Menu: May 19-25, 2013
Sunday: Roasted Pork Loin with Stuffed Squash Blossoms and Dandelion Greens
Monday: Grilled Halibut with quinoa and asparagus
Tuesday: Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup with Spring Peas & Spring Onions
Wednesday:    Leftovers: Pork Loin with Roasted Purple Cauliflower & Salad
Thursday: Leftovers: Chicken & Orzo Soup
Friday: In San Diego!
Saturday: In San Diego!
The bounty of soon-to-be Summer appears to have arrived early in the Bay Area!  The Farmer's Market was exploding with colors and scents this morning so while parts of my menu were already set I've managed to work in as much of that fresh, local produce as possible.  Starting with tonight...to go along with our traditional Sunday dinner of a roasted pork loin we were inspired by the beautiful squash blossoms at the farmer's market.  So we'll serve those stuffed and baked alongside some fresh dandelion greens sauteed in a bit of olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes. .  Monday we'll continue with some of our amazingly delicious local  asparagus...the spring season is almost over here, so we have to eat it up while we can.  Tuesday we're making a soup that we made about a month ago that we both just loved...Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup, but in the spirit of Spring I'm adding in some fresh spring peas and onions (the tops...similar to scallions).  This soup is so easy to make and so surprisingly fabulous...that zing of freshly squeezed lemon really wakes up your taste buds and turns a normally comforting dish into something light yet still soul satisfying.

The rest of the week and early next week we'll be in San Diego to hang out with good friends for Memorial Day Weekend...probably lots of grilling and beer!  If you need some additional recipes to get you through check out my recipe archives and menu archives.
Weekly Menu: May 12-18, 2013
Sunday: Italian Vegetable Stew
Monday: Leftovers: Papaya Salad with Grilled Shrimp
Tuesday: Leftovers: Italian Vegetable Stew
Wednesday:    Leftovers: Italian Vegetable Stew
Thursday: Mexican Style Tofu Scramble with tortillas and fruit 
Friday: Leftovers: Mexican Tofu Scramble
Saturday: Eat Out
We're continuing our simple and healthy trend this week with a mostly vegetarian menu…summer's right around the corner you know! So first up is a new recipe from Bon Appétit for an Italian Vegetable Stew. It's a little wintery since it has collard greens and kale in it, but it looked so rustic and yummy I just couldn't resist…served alongside some hearty whole grain bread and you have yourself the perfect Sunday meal.

Then we'll have some of our yummy Papaya Salad leftovers from late last week with grilled shrimp and then since I'm at a local conference this week Christian will have the Italian stew leftovers for a couple of nights.  We'll finish the week out with a spin on our typical egg tacos, but this time substituting tofu for the eggs.  It's another new Bon Appétit recipe and since I pretty much love anything Mexican I'm sure I'll love it and I hope you do too!
Weekly Menu: May 5-11, 2013
Sunday: Indian-Spiced Chicken with Chickpeas & Spinach
Monday: Flounder Poached in Fennel Tomato Sauce with Quinoa
Tuesday: Leftovers: Indian Spiced Chicken and Rice
Wednesday:    Asparagus & Leek Frittata with Sweet Potato Home-fries
Thursday: Leftovers: Frittata & Home-fries
Friday: Eat Out
Saturday: Spicy Thai Green Papaya Salad with Grilled Shrimp
After almost a week of eating fabulously decadent and delicious food in New Orleans I'm ready to get back in the swing of healthy, homemade cooking!  So I'm being a bit ambitious this week, leaning on leftovers less and planning to make four dishes...two new and two old stand-bys.

We're starting off the week with the new recipes...both from past issues of Bon Appétit that I finally had time to catch up on during my plane rides.  The chicken dish is pretty straightforward although it does have quite a long ingredient list, most of which you'll have if you have a well stocked pantry. The flounder is a nice easy weeknight dish, but instead of using jarred marinara as the suggested base I'll likely use canned San Marzano whole tomatoes and crush them up with my hands. A bit fresher and more authentically Italian.

We end the week with a seasonal frittata and then a culinary journey back to our Thailand vacation where we learned how to make traditional Som Tam while in Chaing Mai.  Som Tam is a spicy thai green papaya salad...not like the sweet stuff you get in the Thai restaurants here in the States. Nothing like a yummy trip down memory lane for a fun Saturday night.  We'll get some Thai beer and maybe even make mangoes with sticky rice for dessert...hope you join us!
Weekly Menu: April 28 – May 4, 2013
Sunday: In New Orleans - Dinner at Commander's Palace
Monday: In New Orleans - Dinner at Le Foret
Tuesday: In New Orleans - Conference Finale Dinner
Wednesday:    Returning from New Orleans
Thursday: Tortellini Soup
Friday: Breakfast for Dinner
Saturday: Leftovers: Tortellini Soup
Well, I'm sorry to say that I'm not going to be much help for your home cooking this week.  I'm in New Orleans for a conference until late Wednesday night and then we're keeping it simple for the rest of the week while I get back into the swing of things. By keeping dinner simple hopefully I can get a few workouts in so I can start exercising off all of those beignets and fried oyster po'boys.  Man I love New Orleans!  If you're heading there yourself anytime soon make sure to check out my Foodie Itinerary and Nightlife & Cocktails Itinerary to plan your culinary journey!

In the meanwhile, please feel free to check out my past menus or recipes to fill your week with delicious home cooking.  I'll be back to my normal menus next week.
Weekly Menu: March 31 – April 6, 2013
Sunday: Whole Roasted Chicken, Parmesan Bread Pudding with Broccoli Rabe & Pancetta and Asparagus Shiitake Sauté
Monday: Brown Rice & Beans with Ginger Chile Salsa
Tuesday: Leftovers: Lemony Chicken & Orzo Soup 
Wednesday: White Fish with leftover Parmesan Bread Pudding & Grilled Asparagus
Thursday: Leftovers: Brown Rice & Beans with Ginger Chile
Friday: Leftovers: Fish Tacos with Sauteed Brussel Sprouts
Saturday: Eat Out
We're not big Easter people, but since this Sunday is Easter and we do like a reason to celebrate and cook good food we're amping up our typical Sunday dinner and making it a bit more indulgent than usual.  Mostly in terms of this delicious Bon Appétit recipe I just found for Parmesan Bread Pudding with Broccoli Rabe & Pancetta...gluten free it is not, but like I said we're splurging a bit.  Served alongside a nice whole roasted chicken and a seasonal sauté of asparagus and shiitakes...sounds like the perfect Easter dinner to me!

Monday we'll get back to our more traditionally healthy routine with another new recipe from Bon Appétit that is a simple yet yummy sounding twist on beans and rice.  We'll then turn our roast chicken from Sunday into a lemony orzo soup and finish off the week with some white fish served alongside leftover parmesan bread pudding and more of that delicious spring asparagus that we can't get enough of these days.

Happy Easter everyone...hope you have a wonderful, delicious day with family and friends.
Weekly Menu: May 20-26, 2012
Sunday: SavoryGirl's Homemade Spaghetti & Turkey Meatballs 
Monday: Shrimp Enchilado with Rice & Swiss Chard
Tuesday: Leftovers: Spaghetti & Meatballs
Wednesday:   Leftovers: Shrimp Enchilado Tacos with sauteed brussel sprouts  
Thursday: Asparagus & Shallot Quiche or Frittata with Sweet Potato Homefries
Friday: Tofu & Veggie Stir Fry
Saturday: Leftovers: Quiche & Homefries
This is it!  Our last week before heading to the Galapagos Islands & Machu Picchu for 2 ½ weeks!  So we're going with a few classic comfort food dishes that are pretty different from what we'll be eating while traveling.  First up, my famous homemade spaghetti & turkey meatballs.  I'm often my own worst critic...but my Italian roots come in handy for this one.  Mmmm, mmmm.  Especially with the handmade pasta.  Bellissimo!

The shrimp enchilado dish is actually a new one that looked good and spicy but also relatively healthy since it's from my Cooking Light cookbook.  Quiche or Frittata with my famed sweet potato homefries is another classic comfort food dish for us.  I love me some breakfast for dinner!  We're trying not to eat out this week since we'll be spending alot of money over the next couple of weeks so Friday will be a quick, easy & healthy DIY Tofu & Veggie Stirfry....brings me back to my grad school dinner days!

So while I'm off galavanting in South America over the next two weeks, I obviously won't be cooking.  So while I won't be providing new menus I will be providing links to menus from roughly this time last year for you to leverage if you're interested.  Feel free to peruse the rest of the menu archives as well though...
Weekly Menu: May 13-19, 2012
Sunday: Kale, White Bean & Pasta Soup
Monday: Grilled Salmon with Roasted Rapini & Tomatoes (DIY)  
Tuesday: Chicken & Asparagus with Melted Gruyere
Wednesday:    Leftovers: Soup
Thursday: Leftovers: Chicken & Asparagus
Friday: Leftovers: Frozen Vegetarian Cassoulet from February 5th menu
Saturday: Eat Out: Dave’s in town from L.A.
Friends of ours were heading out on vacation this week, so they graciously offered us their CSA box in their absence...which means I have a great box full of veggies just daring me to let them go bad before I figure out what to do with them!  And as with most CSA boxes, there's a few random ones in there that I don't buy very often, namely turnips and fava beans.  But I'm up for the challenge, so here goes...
Weekly Menu: May 6-12, 2012
Sunday: BBQ for my Board Director's Going Away Party
Monday: Moroccan Halibut & Carrots w/ Cous cous and Cucumber Salad
Tuesday: Poached eggs with mushrooms, tomatoes & grilled toast
Wednesday:    Leftovers: Poached Eggs
Thursday: Saigon Chicken Rice Soup
Friday: Eat Out
Saturday: Leftovers: Soup
No big Sunday meal this week....we're heading up to Vallejo for a BBQ to send off the Executive Director of my board since she is changing jobs.  It will be a bittersweet celebration, but to help sweeten it up a bit I'm bringing to homemade fruit clafouti with me.  It's my all-time favorite quick, easy but impressively delicious & elegant dessert...check out the recipe here.

For our Monday fish night we're making a Morcoccan Halibut that we made once before and I remember it being delicious.  We'll serve it with cous cous and a DIY cucumber salad.  For the salad I'll macerate some sliced cucumbers by putting them in a baggie with 1 tsp salt & 1tsp sugar, some other herbs that strike my fancy and mix it all up in the bag and let it sit for 30 minutes or so to soften the cucumbers and release some of the juices.  Mix in some thinly sliced shallots and then serve.  Really you can mix in any other vegetables or herbs...the macerated cucumbers are just a base for the salad.

You all know we love eggs for dinner and this poached eggs with mushrooms & tomatoes t is a winner that we've made before.  We like to serve it with a rustic wheat bread sliced thinly, rubbed with olive oil and thrown on a hot grill.  The Saigon Chicken Rice soup, is  new one for us though.  It's from my fabulous cookbook, Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever, so I'm sure it will be delish!
Weekly Menu: April 29 – May 5, 2012
Sunday: Niece’s First Communion & Reception in Sacramento
Monday: Pan Seared Scallops with Ginger Orange Spinach
Tuesday: Springtime Spaghetti Carbonara
Wednesday: Leftovers: Spaghetti Carbonara
Thursday: Slow Cooker Sweet & Spicy Asian Pork Shoulder with Brown Rice
Friday: Leftovers: Asian Pork Shoulder
Saturday: Friend’s Cinco de Mayo Baby Shower
Okay, we're ready to get cooking again!  Sorry the last few week's have been so busy and my menus have been so basic, but life has quieted down again for at least the next few weeks so I hope you're back for more with this week's menu.  The first two dishes are new ones for us...but they're from two of my favorite cookbooks: Cooking Light & Almost Meatless.

We LOVE scallops but don't make them very often, so I'm pretty excited about Monday's dinner.  The Carbonara dish looks like a nice slightly lighter version so that will be a bit of a treat mid-week.  The Sweet & Spicy Asian Pork Shoulder is an oldie but a goodie from Martha Stewart's Real Simple magazine.  It's so easy to make and it's seriously addictive.  The first time I made it I honestly made it again one week later when Christian had some friends in town..it's that good.  The bok choy in the dish cook down quite a bit though, so it might not be a bad idea to make another veggie to serve on the side, or maybe a side salad.  Delish! Oh, and if you don't have Chinese Five Spice on hand, no worries.  It's pretty easy to make out of basic spices...just combine the spices below and store in small airtight container in a cool, dry place.