August 23, 2010

Birthdays, Crave, and a "Christina Orzo" Recipe

Saturday evening was my bestie Nancy’s 26th birthday party. We celebrated the fact the she is old, but not as old as me. I have 1 1/2 months on her. This was cool in high school, but now, not so much.
As part of her birthday present, I gave her pretzel m&ms. I think she was pretty happy about that.
Approximately six hours later I was up for some more birthday fun with my favorite Italian stallions. Santo & Frankie had a birthday brunch at Crave Kitchen & Cocktails. Crave’s brunch menu offers 10 different entrees that all include corn bread muffins, fresh fruit, and your choice of juice, coffee, tea, or soda for $11. I chose the Create Your Own Omelet option with shrimp, spinach, and mozzarella. It came with fruit and a side of hand-cut home fries.
The omelet was enormous! They must have used 10 eggs. Here’s a picture of the inside, nice and stuffed!
And here’s a picture of me stuffed between the two birthday boys. Kindly ignore the fact that I am a midget.
Crave Kitchen & Cocktails on Urbanspoon
That evening, I decided to try a new recipe. I have to admit that I have 46 starred recipes in my Google reader. (God bless that thing.) It was time to knock down the number to 45 and make something that I apparently thought sounded tasty on November 16th, 2009.
This was the Serious Eats recipe for Baked Shrimp and Feta Pasta. I made a few changes that I thought my taste buds would find more appealing and renamed it Christina Orzo Shrimp & Feta Bake. Haha, is that legal? Can I name a recipe after myself? Maybe I need to be arrested, because I just did. Technically I’m not naming it after myself because my last name is actually Orso. In Italian, Orso = bear and Orzo = barley. Moving on.
Christina Orzo Shrimp & Feta Bake
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 3-4 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • 3/4 pound shrimp, peeled
  • 4 oz feta, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the orzo according to the directions on the box. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Pour in wine, tomato, and oregano. Stir and bring mixture to a simmer. Cook for five minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • In a large baking dish, combine the cooked orzo, sauce, shrimp, and chives. Sprinkle on the crumbled feta cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the shrimp have cooked. Squeeze lemon juice on top. Makes 4 servings.
 The onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes:
 Wine, tomatoes, oregano:
 All mixed up in the baking dish:
Crumbled feta on top: 
All done! Doesn’t this remind you of the lasagna pic? And yes, my makeup had worn off. Yikes.
A bowl of delicious Orzo:
It’s a shame that I waited 9 months to make this recipe, because it was so good. I was really happy with the results. There was so much flavor from the heirloom tomatoes, fresh herbs, feta, and lemon juice. I definitely recommend using fresh herbs whenever possible. It makes your dish full of flavor and color. If I make this again, I’ll add spinach. Now I’m left with a bunch of oregano and chives. Any recipes you’d like to share?
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  • I liked Craves breakfast! I got the omelet as well and it was HUGE. Its still not as good as my ole faithful though 😉 Glad you had a fun weekend and the bake looks fantastic. Melty feta=awesomeness. Hope your week is fabulous

  • When you make something look that good you are indeed able to name it after yourself! I wish I could go home and make it right now. Nom nom nom

  • I feel just like you do with all the recipes everywhere- just waiting and waiting and WAITING to be made… lol Just too many great ones!

    Love the bday pic of you with the boys! It’s like me next to most people. 😉


  • I love orzo. This sounds great!

  • you’ve got killer arms–seriously, love them! I think a pretzel M & M is a fine gift 🙂

  • i’m obsessed with the dress you wore to the boys’ bday brunch! also, someone needs to be responsible for bringing pretzel m&ms to nc when we go, because i still need to try them…and face it, i won’t just buy them for myself.

  • I think you look pretty – even if you look like a tiny person compared to those 2 dudes and all your makeup wore off! great job on the dish.

  • p.s. does frankie have pit stains in that picture?? hahaha.

  • Did I buy two tickets to the gun show? Listen, you’re starting to rival Kelly Ripa (only you don’t look slightly emaciated and shrively like she does—That woman is FREAKY). Also pretzel M&M’s are fabulous.

  • Ohh I love shrimp and feta togetherrrr!

  • Oh my gosh, I do the same thing! I have so many recipes in my favourites menu and I’ve never made 99% of them! 😛 That pasta bake looks fantastic though!

  • I can’t believe that you are 26! I thought you were like 22 or so! Ya look great 🙂

  • You sound like me- I have a million recipes saved in google. But unlike me, you actually make them from time to time… lol

  • santo

    xtina, the birthday brunch was complete because you came, and singing happy birthday as you walked in the door to sitting down right next to me:) thank you for coming, it meant alot:)

  • Wow, that meal looks amazing – and you still look gorgeous with no make up!

  • Mmm that orzo looks phenomenal! I have SO many recipes that I’ve saved and haven’t gotten around to yet…you inspire me to break them out and get them done.

    Also, you have killer arms. 🙂

  • Those fries with your omelet look reeeally good. I don’t eat fries often although I could totally go for some right now. Haven’t tried the pretzel M&M’s yet but I have no doubt they are wonderful. I think they were on sale at the grocery store….. I might have to pick up a bag. Makin’ me hungry!

  • This recipe looks great! And I think it’s totally awesome that you named it after yourself. 😉

  • feta, shrimp & pasta.. what’s not to love?!

    Oh yeah, and yes, you can totally name it after yourself 🙂 If anyone asks, you can say I said it was ok!

  • That looks delicious! shrimp and feta is such a good combo!

  • Girlfriend, your “guns” look so good! BAM BAM!!! 🙂

    I wish I liked to cook (and I’m pretty sure my hubbs wishes I did, too! HA!) but I just don’t like it. I mean, I REALLY don’t like it. Sigh. It’s amazing my Hubbs loves me so much when I make the same meals and cycle them week after week.However, with this comp diet I can tell he’s getting a little “bored” with the selection so I’m trying to make sides for him that are yummy and fun. I bet he’d really love this dish- it looks so good! Maybe I’ll start cooking once competition is over and I can eat “normal” food again…I’ll probably be dying to cook since I eat pretty much the same things day in and out…

    Peace out, fellow VIP Short Club member!

  • Christina Orzo looks pretty incredible! I’m going to have to figure out the math to make that a single serving recipe. That or I’m going to make a lot of new friends at school by bringing food to class. 🙂

  • This orzo bake looks soooo good! I think I’ll follow your recipe instead of the original one. PS – even with the melted make-up, you still look cute!

  • Yum – the recipe looks great! I have a few boxes of orzo – going to have to try this!

    hehe you’re not a midget -you’re a doll! Love the pics and yum – pretzel m&ms rock!

  • HAHA, I love the Ozo recipe, looks delicious. I love that you named it after yourself too! Sweet

  • I’ve been craving eggs lately, but I’m kind of afraid with the whole recall! I know there are specific ways to track it, but the recall keeps expanding!

    P.S. I LOVE pretzel M&Ms… FYI, great present to me at any time!

  • We are both midgets it’s okay 🙂 the best things come in small packages. (don’t ya know?) I LOVE pretzel M&M’s but I have to keep them out of the house bc I WILL eat them! I have missed you, thanks for your sweet comments. I wonder if I could send you a friendship bread starter kit in the mail?! hmmmm

  • You’re so gorg

  • Pretzel m&m’s would be the best bday present ever!! love it!

    U look so beautiful as always, you and your apron in the kitchen, so cute! Seriously you are just beautiful and sweet, you got the whole package!

    This recipe looks delish, I have so many recipes I have bookmarked too and need to make!

    Have a great day love!


    p.s. Im a midget too!!! Those guys are really tall , my fiance is only like an inch taller than me, lol, he is so short ! I cant wear high heels because of it!

  • Pretzel M&Ms are the bomb…you’re a good friend. I’m always either the giant or the midget. I’m 5’7″, and I swear that all of my friends are either over 5’10” or under 5’4″. I can’t share clothes with anyone!

    That orzo looks great, so summer!!

  • Good job on the recipe! It looks very delicious. And yes, I have to agree with the others….you are very pretty and have killer arms! 😉

  • Rae

    Mmm!! looks delicious!!

  • OK I finally decided I liked shrimp earlier this summer, I’ll have to try this.

    Although, I am a HUGE fan of pretzel M&Ms!

  • Yummmmm I just bought some orzo last week and have shrimp in the freezer..definitely making this tomorrow night!

  • I just starred this in my Reader! haha

  • What a fun birthday celebration!
    Love the omelet although, I don’t think I could handle shrimp in the morning. I love the little fisheez, but like wine, after 12 please.
    As for the pasta – great dish! Can’t wait to see the other 45 recipes.

  • Yum! This recipe looks incredibly delicious! I love the combination of shrimp, feta and tomatoes. And I’m sure the fact that you named the dish after yourself made it that much more fun to eat. 🙂

  • Pretzel M&M’s sounds delicious and so does your recipe! And I never would have thought to put shrimp in an omelete! But it looks really tasty 🙂

  • YUM! That looks delicious! Next time I have a crowd I definitely want to give that a try!

  • I rarely go out for brunch, but when I do, I’m just about always pleasantly surprised. It’s great to have so many options, and those potatoes look really good.

  • I love that dress, I love that pasta bake and I LOVE you! 🙂

  • Jen

    Looks awesome, I’m saving the recipe, but will have to make it without shrimp…crazy allergic to it.


  • Yummm brunch! And pretzels+M&Ms?! My bday is in November…just sayin’ 😉

  • Meg

    Another scrumptious recipe! Love the sundress!

  • I love orzo but I hardly use it – I always forget about it! This recipe is a great reminder though, it looks great!

  • Seriously, you both need to stop because I WISH I turned 26….29 a few weeks ago…I am seriously struggling with it, lol. you both look gorgeous too….hate you 😉

    The recipe looks amazing!! I never cook with orzo, I order it out, but haven’t tried to make anything with it for some reason….

  • That omelet reminds me of one I got a few weekends ago..it was litterally the side of my head! But LOADED with veggies so that made up for the fact it was probably 1000 calories worth of eggs 😉

  • Umm okay you are gorgeous and that recipe looks awesome!

  • I think you wanted to make that recipe since orzo is so similiar to your last name!!

    That omelet looks amazing and I’m not an order an omelet when I’m out kinda girl. Yum. LOL @ the M&M’s. I was talking with my bestie last night who is in DC but coming down here for Labor Day wknd and she was talking about her and hubs got a huge feed bag of M&M’s at Costco. I told her if she really wants to be a friend buy me some but she also schooled me on how now there is mint chocolate M&M’s. WHAT?????? Yes, three of my favorite things in one. Add some creme de menth and it’s a party.

  • Bwahaha. You know I loved that you named the dish after yourself when I saw it on Facebook. I need to hit up Crave. That omelet is insanely massive.

  • 50 comments??!! Ms. Popular ! 🙂

    I MUST find these Pretzel M&M’s…God!

    YOU are too cute! The dress goes great with those oven grabbers on your hand lol 🙂

  • This looks so yummy! I have yet to make orzo but it looks so delicious!

  • I love the shots with you in the kitchen when you cook something! Such a proud cook! I miss feta more than any other cheese! That looks so good. Oh and yes, you should totally name a dish after yourself! Creators rights!

  • You definitely look like a natural holding that pan of food. 🙂 You’re such a homemaker. lol

  • aw! that picture of you smushed between the two boys is super cute.

    that recipe sounds amazing. it also looks amazing, too. any leftovers? i’ll come over and help you eat!

    oh, and pretzel M&M’s are the BOMB!

  • Hey! I’m also another Charleston blogger (just started mine up recently)! Cute blog!

  • Such cute pictures- looks like you all had a great time 😀
    I actually just copy/ pasted your recipe because I want to make it TONIGHT! I just have to grab some shrimp- if the rain keeps up here though, I might have to save it for another night. But I cannot wait to make it!!!!

  • Pretzel M&Ms are my new fave! It’s taking all my willpower not to buy them after a crummy week!

  • nothing like a good breakfast after a night of partying 🙂

    i’ve always wanted to try heirloom tomatoes, but i can’t seem to find them! that, and Larabars. what the heck. Sydney is so far behind in the times 🙂

  • Ooo that omelet does look delicious!

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