Quick answers to the question of what's for dinner may be — one-dish dinners.
Smart advice on how to proceed from there, saving time with every step, comes in a feature on home cooking for the weeknight table in Cottage Living's September-October issue, the magazine's premiere.
One of three menu plans offered includes the following main dish of shrimp and fresh herb orzo. For it, the menu suggests accompaniments of a cucumber and onion salad as starter or side, and a dessert of Greek-style yogurt with honey and toasted walnuts, for a refreshingly tasty but simple meal.
Food writer Kim Sunee points out that you can cook the orzo ahead, and refrigerate until you're ready to toss it with the fresh shrimp. The testers say they used the longer-grain orzo, a rice-shaped pasta, for a prettier presentation. They also remind cooks: Before using the leeks, be sure to rinse them thoroughly.
SHRIMP AND FRESH HERB ORZO
(Preparation 15 minutes, cooking time 10 minutes)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine or fresh orange juice
1/2 tablespoon herbes de Provence (see note)
2 cups cooked orzo
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or chives
1/2 to 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Optional garnishes: orange wedges, olives, drizzle of olive oil, and fresh dill
Saute leeks in 1 tablespoon hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until lightly golden. Add garlic, and cook 30 seconds; remove leeks and garlic.
Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Turn heat to high, and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add shrimp, and cook 1 minute; stir and cook another minute. Add wine and herbes de Provence; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are just pink and cooked through. Stir in prepared orzo and fresh dill, leeks and garlic; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; top with crumbled feta. Garnish, if desired.
Makes 4 servings.
Note: Herbes de Provence is a blend of dried herbs used to season meat, poultry and vegetables that commonly includes basil, fennel seed, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage, summer savory and thyme.