Chicken and Orzo

Skillet meals are the best.  It's that much easier to cook dinner at home when you can do it all in one pan.  I used to use the frozen ones, and now I'm into trying out new ones.  Chicken Lo Mein was the first recipe I really learned how easy it is to cook pasta and meat together in one skillet and create your own easy dinner, and now I'm up for an Italian style option with Chicken and Orzo.



The recipe is adapted from a Chicken Penne á la Marengo recipe that was printed on the back of a Progresso broth container. It sounded so good, but I decided to do a few things differently.  For this one I decided to add in some of my new fresh herbs--I just got my first parsley plant and am in the process of growing some oregano from seeds. I've heard repeatedly that fresh ingredients make a big difference in taste, so I'm excited to have some new flavors to work with.


First I cut the chicken up into small pieces and seasoned it with the garlic salt and pepper.  I also sliced the green pepper into small chunks and browned it with the chicken in a large skillet with some olive oil.


Once the chicken began to brown on the sides, I added the broth, water, orzo, and other seasonings and brought the mixture to a boil.  Since orzo takes about the same amount of time as penne to cook, I figured it would be a good swap.  The broth I used is called Tuscany Broth, and it's pre-seasoned with rosemary, thyme, and basil.


A few minutes later, I added in the wine, diced tomatoes, and some crushed red pepper.  I used a sweet white wine called Gewürztraminer rather than a dry, and regular canned tomatoes instead of stewed.  I let it cook for about 10-12 more minutes to make sure the pasta was done.


The end result had a little kick thanks to the crushed red pepper and was really tasty.  I love orzo and was happy to use it, and the green peppers were cooked just right.  My husband said he enjoyed it because the orzo gave the dish a different consistency but felt it needed more spices, so I think I'll need to add more fresh herbs for the flavor to really stand out. I definitely detected the seasoning of the chicken, though, and it was really good. We ended up making a huge amount of food, which was great because it provided several small containers worth of leftovers to take for lunch.  But for a smaller portion, I'll cut back a bit on the chicken and orzo next time.  I'd like to try throwing in some chopped onion, and since I skipped out on the tomato paste of the original recipe I'll have to see how it affects the flavor next time around.  I really changed the recipe all around, but all in all it was a delicious and easy dinner and I can see playing with the seasonings only increasing the flavor.  I'm glad to try anything new!

Chicken and Orzo Recipe

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 green pepper
1 box orzo, uncooked (16 ounces)
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon pepper
1/3 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1 can diced tomatoes seasoned with basil, garlic, and oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup white wine

Instructions:

Cut chicken into small pieces about 1-2 inches in size and season with garlic salt and pepper.  Next, cut the green pepper into small pieces and brown with chicken in a large nonstick skillet in olive oil. Stir in broth, water, orzo, minced onion and parsley and heat to boil.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in tomatoes, crushed red pepper, and white wine and cook uncovered an additional 5-10 minutes, until the pasta is fully cooked.



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