Shrimp and Spinach Orzo With a Side of RHONJ

imageIf you follow me on Instagram you get your fill of foodie pictures. Every recipe I try I photograph and post to my social media. This acts as a great gage for what you, the readers, want to eat. Last week I posted a photo of my favorite orzo dish and the response was overwhelming. I started making this dish after I dined at one of my favorite Greek restaurants with a good friend, who also happens to work closely with Jacqueline Laurita.

This dish will satisfy your craving for all the food groups…well almost, you just will have to add some baklava for dessert. Opa!

Speaking of dessert, I was driving through Franklin Lakes over the weekend and passed a massive house that is under construction. The place was huge with several garages on the side and a turret in front. Could it be? When I met up with a local gal pal I mentioned the home and asked if it was the future residence of The Wakiles. My friend mentioned the street name and told me she’s pretty sure it’s the house. Ladies and gents, I really don’t believe Franklin Lakes is that large. How many turreted houses in the phase of construction that Kathy‘s is at could there be? Kathy and Rich, if it is your house, it is AMAZING! I also think it’s big enough that I could move in and you guys will never notice I’m there. Got a spare room for a mommy who needs a vacay?

One mommy got a little vacay, if only for an afternoon. Another set of Jersey eyes I know spotted Caroline Manzo out shopping with her great niece Olivia, daughter of Dazzle Candy owner Candice Laurita, over the weekend. I’m sure this was the calm before the storm as Caro and company’s new show Manzo’d With Childen starts this coming Sunday on Bravo right after RHONJ!

Tell us, what do you think of Kathy and Rich’s new house? Will you watch the Manzo’s new show? Will you make this recipe?

Shrimp and Spinach Orzo

*1 package of orzo (I like tri-colored)

*1 package of fresh baby spinach leaves

* 2 cloves garlic

*1 package grape tomatoes

* sea salt

*several fresh basil leaves

*1-2 cups  cooked shrimp, tail on or off

* 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (or goat)

Coat bottom of sauce pan with olive oil and place over medium low heat. Add chopped garlic cloves and whole grape tomatoes. Cover and let sit until tomatoes start to open (about 10-15 minutes). While tomatoes are cooking prepare orzo according to package directions. When tomatoes are soft and opening add spinach, basil, shrimp, and pinch of sea salt. Lower heat and cover until spinach is steamed and shrimp is warm (about 3 minutes). Add sauce mixture to drained orzo and sprinkle with feta. The leftovers are great heated or cold!

RHONJ Season 5 Ep 16 “The Blonde Drops a Bombshell”

Did Penny just blow Teresa's cover? Credit:

Did Penny just blow Teresa’s cover? Credit:

Instead of giving you all a huge song and dance, which is not me being authentic, I’m going to open up and be totally honest. I was NOT feeling this episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I think it’s a combination of factors from just having finished my first full week back in the working world, to a long day at my future SIL’s bridal shower, to the fact that BOTH my sons came down with bad colds right after the party…then again it could simply be that I, like a lot of you, am getting tired of the same old thing. I’m also getting tired of Bravo and Siren Media operating under the assumption that their viewers are idiots.

Instead of my usual chronologically structured recap I’m going to go through the cast and talk about what they were up to last night. That’s right, last night, as I was so not with it that I’m writing this a full day later as opposed to thirty minutes after the show.

Jacqueline: The Manzo/Laurita clan is hosting a sports themed event to raise money for an Autism charity. Jac needs to speak at this charity and is nervous so she employs Tre to assist her with writing her speech, which Chris finds so hilarious he loses his normally stoic composure and cracks up during his OTF interview. I suppose he feels that this is a blind leading the blind scenario. So Jac’s storyline last night revolved around a fear of first time public speaking. Really? Well this is all fine and dandy for the show, however this was NOT her first time speaking publicly. Last September, long before this was filmed, I attended Jac’s Sparkle Speaks event. This is an annual charity dinner hosted by Jacqueline and her nieces to raise funding for Autism Speaks. Jac spoke at that event. She spoke about Nicholas’s diagnosis, treatment, and how Autism Speaks has been a tremendous resource for her family, very similar to what she said on the show last night. (FYI Sparkle Speaks will happen again this Thursday, and yes I will be there.)

Teresa: Teresa is now getting to be Jac’s BFFL again and that means making Nicholas comfortable around her. She may want to take the voice shriek down a notch, I mean that even frightens me sometimes. Tre is also working on getting along with Melissa and Joey since the Arizona trip. The big happy family meets for dinner with the elder Mrs. Gorga, however Mr. Gorga Sr. is unable to attend due to kidney stones.

Kathy: Kathy is still busy pushing cannoli creme into shells in an effort to push her cannolis. She’s given a great opportunity to have an event at New York City’s famous candy emporium Dylan’s Candy Bar, which, for those of you who don’t know, is owned by Ralph Lauren’s daughter. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know that little bit of trivia because Richie didn’t know it either, despite all those RL collars he likes to pop. The theme of “poor voiceless Kathy” is perpetuated by none of her “friends” showing up on time. Kathy is pissed…well as pissed as she can sound, this is Kathy Wakile we are talking about. Richie’s lack of fashion family knowledge, by the way, is nothing compared to his sister in law and cousin in law’s lack of reproductive knowledge. When Rosie asks Juicy if he wants a son Juicy replies that he doesn’t think Tre wants to be pregnant again but maybe they can take her eggs and his “eggs” and combine them. I suppose this is the neanderthal definition of IVF. He then asks if he has eggs and asks Rosie what his “are called.” Totally expecting Rosie to laugh and say “sperm” she instead says that she doesn’t know as she’s not good at this stuff. I’d be totally amused, except these people are probably making more money than my braniac ass with a Master Degree is. I now feel like the fool.

Caroline: Was she even in this episode? Oh yeah, for a second…with another migraine.

Melissa: While Kathy is cracking cannoli shells, Melissa is cracking the tunes, or just cracking. Blaming a fuzziness in her earphones for a lackluster rehearsal doesn’t go over well with her producers. She gets the we invested in you, don’t embarrass us lecture. She also gets lectured on her work ethic, as in this recording career needs to come first or else. At the end of the episode Melissa and Joey are out at a restaurant and surprise surprise Penny is sitting at the bar. Another insult to our intelligence, as are we really expected to believe that this is just a coincidence? Note to Siren, I think not. Anyway Mel and Joey confront Penny who states that Tre and her really are friends and that Tre is the one behind all of the cheating rumors. This will all come to a head in the next episode when the long awaited Posche 2 party is aired. I was there…hope I don’t look fat on camera.

RHONJ Season 5 ep 7 “When Joes Collide”

We're all begging you ladies to stop screaming at each other. Photo credit"

We’re all begging you ladies to stop screaming at each other.
Photo credit:

Three seconds  in and the word “stripper” already surfaces, which is not good considering the group is getting ready for a relationship strengthening retreat in scenic Lake George,NY. As everybody packs they take turns predicting just how awful this trip will be. Their attitudes suck, setting us up for what could be World War III.

Melissa, Joe Gorga, Kathy, Rich, and Rosie all head upstate in a chartered bus that is complete with a stripper pole. I’m wondering why all these stripper references. Is this forshadowing? Teresa and Juicy head up alone sweetly holding hands, and unsweetly talking about the others. They aren’t the only ones at fault though, everybody on the fun bus is talking smack as well, everyone except for Rosie who gets my vote for best in  show this week. Rosie has the right attitude and a big open heart. Personally I think she would have done a better job than the assigned “team leaders” but I’ll get to that later.

The Manzos and Lauritas are skipping out on the retreat. Caroline instead is trying to get Al to relax from his work schedule (what else is new) and he’s taking her for a walk over a bridge. Being that Caro is terrified of heights this may be a tactic to make her ship him back to The Brownstone. Jac tells us she didn’t go because she’s rather have her lips waxed, “all of them.” Doesn’t matter, she’s too busy cleaning Santino’s poop off her deck.

Back to the traveling 7, they all arrive at the…uh resort? Not sure what to call it, but it’s snowy and desolate, and may as well be the hotel from The Shining, because it’s about to get pretty scary in there. Rosie is all excited for the “team leaders” to arrive. Everybody else seems like they’d rather be getting waxed with Jacqueline.

The team leaders finally arrive and I’m pretty sure one of them is Ron Howard. “Opie” and his co-leader look a little, ok a LOT, too innocent to work with this crowd. Steve states he’s been doing this relationship building schtick for a long time, but even if he had hair when he started his career, I bet nothing could prepare him for the RHONJ cast. They start by tossing a bunch of colored napkins inside a ring (really a giant noose on the floor).  In all honesty it looks like something my kids played at toddler gym.

The exercise is reminiscent of Twister. They all have to stand on the squares without touching the ground. Each time they succeed a square is taken away, and Joe Gorga sticks his hands further up his wife’s ass. After they graduate from Gymboree, Steve and Stephanie want to know why they were able to work together. Kathy says it’s because it was a simple task. Melissa tells the cameras it’s because Juicy’s brain can comprehend it.

After the episode of Romper Room has ended things start to get heated, and it’s not just because the climate system is cranked up too high. Somehow the arguing starts and then snowballs and snowballs and snowballs and as it gets louder and louder members of the “team” really retreat until the last two arguing are Melissa and Teresa who are face to face screaming and squeaking and we can barely understand what they are saying, though I’m sure our dogs could. This is the much promoted scene of Mel on her knees begging “stop hurting us.”

Steve and Stephanie have now gotten so quiet I think they may have left the room…and retired. Suddenly Joe Gorga is calling Teresa “scum”. Teresa then goes outside and calls Juicy in  for back up and then Gorga throws his entire body into Juicy. The saga continues next week in what looks like it could be the ugliest fight in RHONJ history thus far.

Who do you think is at fault for the brawl, Juicy or Joe G? Share your opinion and be entered to win an autographed book by one of the cast members. 

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