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Every year during Lent, my family joins three other families for what we call, Fish Friday. We meet on each of the Fridays during Lent to share a meal and pray the Stations of the Cross together. Our little group began many years before we moved to Kingwood and it’s always stayed at about four families. About seven years ago, we were invited to our very first Fish Friday dinner. It’s been wonderful through the years that we’ve been a part of our Fish Friday family to watch each other’s children grow up. Since we don’t all get to see each other at length very often during the year, it’s so much fun to catch up and hear all the news that’s new. Our group has certainly gotten smaller each year with the older children from each of our families going away to college, but that’s okay, we’re learning to adjust. The other day, we received news of our first engagement from our group. One of the boys asked his longtime girlfriend to marry him and she said “yes”…how exciting! Our first Fish Friday wedding!!
At each gathering, one family brings a green salad, another brings a fruit salad and another brings bread and wine. The family hosting prepares the main course. Last Friday, we had our Fish Friday dinner at our good friends, Cathy and Ken’s house. We’ve known Cathy and Ken since we moved to Kingwood over ten years ago. In fact, I like to joke that Cathy was the very first friend I ever met in Kingwood. Their five children are just about the same ages as ours and we’ve always loved getting together with them.
Cathy served a very tasty baked salmon and I volunteered to bring the green salad. To me, green salads can be somewhat boring and I wanted to bring a dish that was not only flavorful but unique and still fit the requirement of being a green salad.
I came across a recipe for this Spinach and Orzo Salad and it sounded so incredible, I knew I had to make it. I combined orzo and spinach with toasted pine nuts, crumbled feta, chopped red onion and a dressing of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I added a handful of chopped sun dried tomatoes and kalamata olives to the salad to give it a little more depth and flavor.
This colorful salad was a huge hit at the party and the biggest compliment of all was that I returned home with a nearly empty bowl and all the kids, even the very young ones loved it. This salad came together in minutes and will be a dish I know I’ll be making over and over again.
Spinach and Orzo Salad
- 16 ounce package uncooked orzo pasta
- 10 ounce package baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives (optional)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook for about 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.
- Toss the spinach, feta, onion, pine nuts, basil and pepper in a large bowl. Add the orzo and stir well. Mix together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Pour over the spinach and orzo salad and toss.
- Top with sun dried tomatoes and kalamata olives.
- Refrigerate and serve cold.
Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com