Shannon O'Donnell: Rainy Day Cafe

Shannon O'Donnell


Shannon O'Donnell
Shannon O'Donnell
Meteorologist Shannon O’Donnell joined the KOMO4 Forecast Team in August 2009 as a weekend weather anchor.

Hailing from the Sammamish Plateau, Shannon is a graduate of Redmond High School and the University of Washington, where she earned a B.S. in Atmospheric Sciences.

Shannon's love for 'all things atmospheric' began as a 7-year-old, when her Bellevue elementary school covered a unit on weather. Famous local weatherman Harry Wappler came for a visit during their studies, and Shannon was hooked...she loved the weather and loved to talk, so what a perfect career: something that combined the two! Shannon enjoys the full circle experience of bringing weather education back into the classroom. She frequently visits area elementary schools with her traveling 'weatherwise' presentation, which enables the children to better understand concepts like pressure, clouds, precipitation and lightning as they assist her with various experiments. Her STEM outreach has been featured in publications by the Girl Scouts and Microsoft.

Before joining KOMO, Shannon was the morning meteorologist for seven years at the San Francisco NBC station, KNTV. While in the Bay Area, she filled in many times on the national level at MSNBC and Early Today, and enjoyed working alongside the Today Show's Al Roker.

She was also a meteorologist for KING and NWCN from 1995 to 2000, and again in 2008. While in college, Shannon worked as a weather producer at KOMO, and credits Steve Pool’s relentless lessons in front of the green screen for helping her make the leap to on-camera work!

As an undergrad at the University of Washington, Shannon worked as a research assistant in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences for famed Professor Robert A. Houze, Jr.. Her duties included flying in P-3 aircraft over the Pacific to gather data designed to improve northwest storm forecasting, and launching radiosondes (weather balloons!) from the decks of NOAA research ships. She is now back in the Department assisting with various research projects, including the Olympex field campaign, a ground-based effort to calibrate and validate precipitation measurements made by the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) constellation of satellites over the Olympic Peninsula.

Shannon has received numerous awards in her field, including ‘Best Meteorologist’ by the Golden Gate Chapter of the American Women in Radio in Television in 2005 and 2006. She was part of the multiple Emmy-winning morning news program at KNTV, and has been featured in Men’s Health magazine.

Shannon is working on a few pieces of children’s literature that she hopes to publish to help benefit the National Sarcoidosis Foundation and the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society. She lives in Seattle with her husband, two little boys, and long-awaited baby girl (fittingly, born on the night of the first big fall wind storm in November 2010). In her spare time, Shannon enjoys reading, gardening, running, skiing and cooking.

She authors the Rainy Day Cafe Blog on, and enjoys showcasing tasty seasonal recipes sent in by our viewers. If you have a delicious recipe to share, please send it in along with a picture to, and you may see your dish on our airwaves and website!

Recent stories by Shannon O'Donnell

Weather A Blog Break
Just a little note to say that 'The Rainy Day Cafe' blog is on a bit of a hiatus right now...since my little girl turned one and became a VERY busy and VERY mobile little toddler, cooking fancy meals has gone by the wayside in our household. Add in a five and a seven year old little boy and all of their sports, schooling, and activities, and I'm lucky to get chicken nuggets on the table at night. By eight. So...I hope to get back to my love of cooking again soon, but for the moment, I have to give it a rest.


Weather Cinnamon Roasted Chicken with Pumpkin-Sage Grits Cinnamon Roasted Chicken with Pumpkin-Sage Grits
I've had this recipe that I'd torn from a magazine sitting in my 'must try' pile for quite some time, and I finally got around to giving it a whirl this week. It is a decidedly 'autumn appropriate' meal, so I wanted to make it before fall got away from me. It definitely did not disappoint! The pumpkin grits were so easy, and the cinnamon chicken was a wonderful combo of sweet and savory. Less than 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish, it made for a wonderful November comfort meal, even on a busy weeknight.
Weather Decadent French Toast Souffle Decadent French Toast Souffle
This is a scrumptious version of 'french toast'...cream cheese is baked right in to make it extra sinful, and like a bread pudding, you can make it the night before...just pop it in the oven the next morning, and breakfast is served!
Weather Savory Gruyère-Apple Tarts Savory Gruyère-Apple Tarts
This was the second 'tester' recipe in a row that turned out much better than I expected...I've had a stash of 'must-try-this-sometime' recipes cut out from magazines, and I ripped this savory autumn tart one out of a recent copy of Country Living Magazine. I added some fresh thyme, but other than that: simple, elegant perfection! And so easy, too.
Weather Stuffed Heirloom Tomatoes Stuffed Heirloom Tomatoes
Once in awhile I make a dish that really WOWS that exceeds my expectations and turns out to be so much tastier than I imagined. THIS was that dish for me this month. It is absolutely fantastic. Flavorful and fairly easy, it makes a beautiful presentation and would be perfect for company. I tore it out of the Williams Sonoma catalog many years ago...I'm so glad that I hung on to it and finally gave it a spin!
Weather Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
Ahh, fall. My favorite season for so many reasons, with delicious autumn recipes being one of them! Here is my own recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto. The touch of cayenne cuts through the sweetness of the ginger and cinnamon. This is wonderful with just a green salad and some crusty buttered bread. So cook up a batch and savor the taste of autumn in every bite!
Weather Smoked Salmon Linguine Smoked Salmon Linguine
If you like bagels with cream cheese and lox, you'll love this pasta dish. It's delicious and easy, and you'll probably want to double it to have enough for leftovers!
Weather Potato-Leek Gratin Potato-Leek Gratin
This delicious, rich recipe was yanked out of an old WS catalog. Granted, a box of semi-instant gratin potatos are much easier to throw together than this (and while not exactly chic, the yummy box kind SO reminds me of Mom's dinners during the 80s!), but these *are* actually worth all of the time and trouble. I think they might be even better if you added in crumbled bacon...what isn't?
Weather Baghali Polow Baghali Polow
I was a very picky eater growing up...for some reason I wouldn't even drink milk at other kid's houses. But when I met my best friend Roz in my teens, that all changed. Roz's family is from Iran, and I fell head over heels in love with Persian food. My absolute favorite dish is Lubia Polow (a saffron spiked rice dish with ground beef and green beans), but this one hits the spot, too. You really need a rice cooker to make it authentically Persian, especially if you want to create the scrumptious tadeegh (crusty fried rice) at the bottom of the pan.
Weather Tuna au Poivre with White Beans & Bitter Greens Tuna au Poivre with White Beans & Bitter Greens
I was one of Rachael Ray's biggest fans when she first hit the broadcast cooking scene: her fresh and kicky spirit matched the colorful, quick and healthy dishes she seemed to turn out with little effort but loads of personality! This was one of the first recipes I tried from her ever-expanding collection, and it's still my 'go-to' version for delicious ahi at home. Her on-air presentation taught me how to cook it correctly (fast and hot!) so that it will be rare on the inside but seared brown and crisp on the outside. This recipe looks long and complicated, but it's so fast and easy...perfect for a busy weeknight. As she would say: DELISH!
Weather Classic Caprese...with a Twist Classic Caprese...with a Twist
My cooking (and blogging!) has gone by the wayside with three kids home for the was a very busy couple of months around our house! Now that the kids are back in school, it's time to get back to business in the kitchen. it's too hot to cook! With summer suddenly making a sizzling comeback this September, who wants to slave over a hot stove right now?
Many were worried that the cool summer we DID have going would result in buckets of green tomatoes, but the mid-September heat has allowed for them to ripen beautifully. And this recipe is so fast and simple, you won't be in the hot kitchen preparing it long. I add a bit of fresh lemon juice (that's the 'twist') to really bring out the flavors.
Weather 1, 2, 3...What Am I?  Recipe 1, 2, 3...What Am I? Recipe
I first saw this recipe taped up on my Mother-In-Law's refrigerator many years ago...I think she'd printed it out in hopes of trying it out with future grandchildren one day. A decade (and then some) later, and that time has kids (6 and 4) are the perfect age for enjoying this food 'experiment', and we gave it a whirl during a trip to her house in Spokane last week. They had just as much fun MAKING it as they did EATING it, and it's a wonderful cure for boredom on a hot summer day.
Weather Seattle Salmon Seattle Salmon
Do you ever get included on those 'recipe exchange' email chains...the ones requesting that you jot down your favorite recipe and email it off to ten people? Several years ago I received this recipe in just that way, courtesy of my old friend Mari Stevens. I still pull it out once a year--I always bake it per the recipe, but I'll bet it would be great on the grill, too!
Weather Chorizo, Red Pepper & Potato Galette with Arugula Chorizo, Red Pepper & Potato Galette with Arugula
This was another 'test recipe' that I tried out on my girlfriends Jen and Keli the other night. This was a savory galette (essentially a rustic, folded pie) recipe featured in Sunset Magazine earlier this spring. Other than pre-cooking the potatoes just a bit, I think the recipe was perfect as is...a 'fancy' but simple appetizer or light dinner to serve any time of year. And I love that it calls for store-bought pie crust…easy as pie!
Weather Quick Shrimp Ceviche Quick Shrimp Ceviche
I met Jen & Keli during my first week at the UW, and we've been friends for a couple of decades now...often when we have a girls' night IN at my place, they let me try out some of my new recipes on them. After 20 years of friendship, they don't mind being my guineau pigs for new dishes! I tore this recipe for Shrimp Ceviche out of Coastal Living magazine some time back. We all agreed that it was pretty decent as is, but I feel like it needs a kick of something...perhaps some avocado next time? Or a titch of cayenne to kick up the heat? Regardless, it's super easy, and very refreshing on a warm summer's eve.
Weather Strawberry Chevre Salad Strawberry Chevre Salad
With all of the July vacations in our Weather group this month, I've been at the station so much that my cooking has gone by the way-side! So I'm re-posting a blog from last year...with the sunny & warm weather on Sunday, this is a quick and COOL salad to throw together. If you don't have strawberries, various fruits will work in their place. Maybe even some summer watermelon!

During my time in San Francisco, I fell in love with a wonderful little deli and bakery called Specialty's. They had the most delicious sandwiches and creative salads, plus decadent quarter-pound cookies in flavors ranging from 'black and white' to 'wheat germ chocolate chip' (my personal fave). There was a Specialty's at the base of the Transamerica Pyramid, and I would offer to go pick my husband up from work there just so I could dart into Specialty's for something yummy!
Weather Speedy Paella Speedy Paella
This is a great 'cheater' way to make Paella...the real deal takes much longer. This is the only recipe I've ever used, and it's wonderful!
My Grandma O'Donnell (now affectionately known as 'GiGi' to my children, standing for Great-Grandmother) started the Home Economics Department at Western Tech University in LaCrosse, Wisconsin many decades ago. At 93-years-old, she still keeps an immaculate home, tends to a beautiful garden, and whips up wonderful multi-course meals to entertain friends and family. During my recent June visit to see her, she served a very lady-like, old-fashioned Shrimp and Artichoke Salad. It appears that she'd clipped it from Southern Living magazine many years ago. It was delicious! And perfect for a hot summer's day when it's just too toasty to cook.
Weather Herb Stuffed Chicken Breasts Herb Stuffed Chicken Breasts
During her recent visit here to the Northwest, my step-Mom Annie made this herb-stuffed chicken breast course to go along with the pleated potatos (featured in the last blog). They were divine!
Weather Pleated Potatoes Pleated Potatoes
I love anything with pleats (skirts, jackets, cool seasonal slipcovers for my living room furniture...), so this recipe for Pleated Potatoes is right up my alley. My step-Mom Annie made them at our house during a visit last week. Delicious AND beautiful at the same time.
Weather Sorority Salad Sorority Salad
While attending the University of Washington, I lived in a house with about one hundred other girls. Our poor ‘house cook’ had to prepare three meals a day for that many people, and I’m sure it wasn’t an easy task! Every spring she made this salad for one of our celebrations, and it’s still one of my favorites. Whether you’re cooking for two or two hundred and two, you can’t go wrong with this colorful side dish.
Weather Spicy Black Beans Spicy Black Beans
I think I clipped this recipe out of Real Simple magazine about 10 years ago...still a super easy, fast and colorful side dish when you're going for Hispanic flair.
Weather Fresh Tuna Tacos Fresh Tuna Tacos
This is my favorite recipe for fish tacos--I love that it calls for fresh ahi. It's very quick and easy, plus healthy to boot. You may want to double to have enough for your family.
Weather Sesame Chicken Sesame Chicken
This is a nice little 'one pot' meal...quick and easy on a busy work night. My Mom sent it to me after seeing it on the 'Good Things Utah Show' several years ago.