Lemon and Feta Orzo

30 Jul
GP and I have taken the 100 push ups challenge (who isn’t these days?). We successfully completed week 1, and then I went to the meeting where I didn’t have time to even think about anything other than science, and thus, only one day of week 2 was done. But I rocked that one day out in a dorm room! Excuse me, Res Hall, as the new terminology goes.

Today we kick off week 2 after work, and we start our own little challenge that I invite you to join along! GP and I are having a “Race to the 6-pack.” I know this means GP will win, but there’s nothing like a little competition to get you to eek out one more sit up, right? Here’s how it works: on the off days from the push ups, work your abs to exhaustion. Make sure to work all the different muscle groups and your back to get the maximum effect! (We started it as a 100 sit ups challenge, but then GP did 100. Had to change it around a little bit.)

I do realize that us gals have it a little harder when it comes to defining our cores. My goal, rather than the 6-pack, is just to get some nice stomach definition and get rid of a little extra room around the middle that I’ve been carrying for awhile. Did I mention I abhor working out my abs? Yeah. This should be fun.

So here’s a good way not to start the Race to the 6-pack (unless you mean the 6-pack of beer in the fridge. Which is not what I mean right now, but may mean later tonight.) Why is this not good? Feta is really salty. Which means water retention and less-obvious muscle definition. Eh, who cares? It’s good food!

Lemon and Feta Orzo
Serves: 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side dish
Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
1 box (small) orzo pasta (that little box really makes a ton of pasta. It plumps up big time.)
1 package feta cheese
1 lemon
3 – 4 tbs freshly chopped parsley

Directions:
Boil a large pot of salted water.
Add orzo and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes
Meanwhile, chop the parsley and zest the entire lemon.

Drain the cooked pasta and place in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest and the juice from half the lemon, along with the parsley. Wait for it to cool a few minutes before mixing in the feta cheese. Add as much feta as you like for a tangier, saltier pasta (we like a lot). Can be served warm, as we ate it last night, or cold, as I will be having it for lunch.

Orzo is a fun pasta to use because it is shaped like rice. It’s size makes it really useful for mixing with drier ingredients like those I’ve used here. You can also adjust the recipe to add fresh basil and chopped tomatoes, some peas, or chopped asparagus. Even the addition of some shredded chicken would be nice! Be creative, and enjoy a really easy meal.

We had this with fresh half-runner beans and pan-seared chicken. It would also go well with pretty much any fish except for tuna steak, which has too meaty of a flavor to pair with this pasta (in my opinion, of course).

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