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3.22.2012

Mediterranean Chicken and Orzo

It's official.  I am in love.

With one-pot meals that is.  I'm a married lady.  Don't get the wrong idea.

What's so great about the one-pot meal, you ask?  Let's work it out.

1) Let's say you're the type who loves when different foods "touch" on your plate.  You know what I mean.  Why make your chicken, rice, and veggies occupy separate plate real estate when it all ends up in the same place?  Am I speaking to you?  If so, this kind of meal will be one shake below Thanksgiving in your book.  (Woa.  That was a bold statement.)  If not, well, just keep reading...

2) One pot!  A meal made in one pot equals a break for your dishwasher, whether your dish "washer" is made of metal parts or cute husband DNA.

3) A one-pot meal is super easy and quick to throw together.  It's perfect for a weeknight, and is usually perfect for your waistline and wallet.  You're in control!

4) Did you over-pour?  Under-measure?  No big deal.  Take some risks!  Play around.  You can't mess this up.

5) All you really need to devour your finished product is a big spoon and a deep bowl.  Totally disregard what looks like a civilized dinner situation up there.

6) Plus, add the TV and your couch, and you have a fuss-free, cozy meal, and an excuse to skip the dinner table and those other pesky utensils.  Yes.  This is a free pass to eat in front of the TV.

7) And if you're really hungry, I'm also giving you permission to skip the bowl altogether, and bring the pot to the couch.

For all these reasons and more, I find myself in love.  Maybe you got your free Rita's water ice on Tuesday, and now you're ready to close the door on winter meals, but I'm not putting the Dutch oven away just yet.

(Hey now....let's keep it classy.)

This is a hearty, healthy one-pot meal that incorporates all of my favorite Mediterranean ingredients: olives, feta, artichokes, and lemon.  Pasta and chicken help make this a well-rounded, delicious dinner.

Not a fan of olives?  Does feta freak you out?  It's cool.  Give toasted pine nuts a shot for some crunch and nutty flavor.  Ricotta salata might be a tasty, tangy substitution for feta as well.

"What are these rice nut things?  They are good!"
                              -Cute husband DNA

Orzo, honey.  Slender, little, uncooked orzo pasta gets tossed into the pot dry, and is allowed to cook up to perfection along with the other ingredients, but feel free to go with ditalini or elbow macaroni.  Like I said, play around!

Just make sure you keep it easy.  This is not a high-maintenance love affair.

Mediterranean Chicken and Orzo
Yields 4-5 servings

Ingredients:
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, halved
Salt/pepper
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 c orzo
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 c fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1-14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 c kalamata olives, sliced (optional)
1 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
Feta cheese, crumbled (optional)

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and add the chicken to the skillet once it's hot.  Cook one side of the chicken for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.  Transfer the chicken to a plate, and set aside.


Add the onion, garlic, oregano, and orzo to the skillet.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes.


Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and chicken broth.


Place the chicken and any accumulated juices back into the skillet along with the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and olives. Sprinkle half of the fresh parsley on top.


Cover with a lid, and place into the oven to bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the lid and continue to bake for another 10 minutes, or until the orzo has soaked up most of the liquid and the chicken is cooked through.  Sprinkle with the feta cheese and the remaining parsley.

1 comment:

Joanne said...

I'm totally a one-pot meal kinda gal..I mean, I think most of the meals that I post end up being one pot meals. Because I'm LAZY. And have no cute husband DNA dishwasher...so I have to use my OWN DNA to dishwash. Not cool.

Love the mediterranean flavors in this! Uber yum.

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