Weekend Special – Graduation (or not) Celebration!

 Maybe you have a brand new, shiny graduate in your house. Maybe not. If you don’t have a graduation to celebrate, well … the Bruins are in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in twenty-one years. Summer is almost here. Or _________________. (You fill in the blank.)


What ever, why ever, it’s a great time to get together with friends and family. To help your celebration soar like a mortar board and win summa cum laude (highest honors) … here are a few ideas!

To Start:
Set out a few nibblies to get everyone started. My Roasted Almonds are always a winner and Spicy Olives are sure to please. Top it off with some pita chips, raw veggies and Roasted Red Pepper Dip

The Main Event:
Keep it casual with a cookout. Keep it easy with a great buffet. Grilled Lamb is a great choice for a crowd. Or maybe, you’d prefer a tasty Spicy Grilled Chicken. Complete your buffet with Mixed Greens with Roasted Grapes, Olives & Feta or Fennel & Feta Salad and Orzo with Cherry Tomatoes & Spinach.

Sweet Finale:
There is something ever so festive about cupcakes. Bake up a dozen (or more), your guests will grin from ear to ear. Chocolate Chip, Citrus & Spice or my favorite Carrot. They’re all good!

Have a wonderful celebration! Bon appétit!

Orzo with Cherry Tomatoes & Spinach
Serves 12

1 pound orzo
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Grated peel of 1 lemon
2-3 tablespoons chopped basil
1-2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 pints cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 pounds baby spinach
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to bite. Drain and return to the pot.

While the pasta is cooking, put the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, basil and parsley in a mini food processor or blender. Season with salt and pepper and process until smooth.

Add the olive oil, lemon and herb mixture to the drained pasta. Add the lemon peel and toss to combine.

Add the spinach, tomatoes and scallions and toss to combine and wilt the spinach. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. Serve hot or at room temperature.

You can make the pasta in advance and serve at room temperature. Do not sprinkle with the pine nuts and cheese, cool to room temperature and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving to serve at room temperature. Give the pasta a toss, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and pine nuts and serve.

What’s on the menu for your next cookout? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below. I’d be delighted to add you to the growing list of blog subscribers. To subscribe: just scroll back up, fill in your email address and click on the Sign Me Up button. You’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription … confirm and you will automatically receive a new story and recipe every week.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2011


2 thoughts on “Weekend Special – Graduation (or not) Celebration!

  1. Your salad sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing it. It is now on my list of salads to make this summer.I hope you have a wonderful weekeend.



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