Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday: Toasted Orzo Chicken Soup with Parmesan Cheese Toast

As we are rolling into the spring season, even though the weather is warming up, I can't get enough soup dinners. They are super easy, delicious, healthy and satisfying. I got this recipe from one of my Rachael Ray magazines a couple months ago and was actually surprised how much my kids liked it! They usually are not big fans of chicken but they seemed to chow this meal down-no questions asked!

(Printable Recipe)

4 cups or 32 oz of chicken stock or broth
1 lb skinless chicken breast pieces or tenders (
I used 2 cups of cooked chicken that I had saved from a roasted whole chicken we had the night before)
2 TB butter

3/4 cup orzo pasta (see picture and comments below)
2 TB olive oil
1 small zucchini-finely chopped

1/2 red (or yellow or orange) bell pepper, finely chopped

2 shallots or 1 small onion finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

salt and pepper

1 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tsp grated lemon peel

1. If don't you don't have any leftover cooked chicken on hand, bring stock/broth and chicken to a boil in a medium pot and simmer for 12 minutes.
2. In a Dutch oven or soup pot add butter to melt over medium heat. Add the orzo and cook, stirring frequently, until they have browned about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
3. Add the olive oil to dutch oven, and add zucchini, carrot, bell pepper, shallots and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper (I didn't add any pepper-the kiddos don't like anything spicy) Cook stirring every once in a while until vegetables have softened. Put orzo back into the pot.
4. Remove chicken from stock (again, if you already have cooked chicken skip this part). Add stock to the dutch oven. Chop chicken into small bite sized pieces and add to the soup. Add 2 cups of water. Bring soup to a boil and cook about 4 minutes until orzo has softened. Add peas and cook 1 more minute. Turn off heat and add parsley (this was something I added to our individual bowls since the kids are not big fans of parsley) and lemon peel. Voila!

Parmesan Cheese Toast

Either buy a baguette of your favorite fresh bread or whatever bread you have on-hand (I make my in upcoming posts for the recipe! It will save you a ton of $ and it's super yum).
spreadable butter or margarine

freshly grated Parmesan cheese

minced fresh garlic (optional)

1. Turn your broiler on.
2. Slice up your favorite bread and put it on a baking sheet.
3. Spread on either butter or margarine.
4. Grate fresh Parmesan cheese and sprinkle on bread.
5. We LOOOVE garlic--this kids do not. So if you are garlic fans, sprinkle some garlic on top.


Who likes to change it up?

~Try adding roasted diced potato-just skip the toasted orzo part.
~Don't like onion? Try chopped leeks instead.

~You can trade in corn for peas if you want.

~If you like cilantro replace that for the parsley.
~You can make this into a vegetarian meal-just skip the chicken and add chopped tofu at the end or leave it without chicken.


What is Orzo Pasta?

Frequently called "Italian rice" orzo is made of wheat. It kinda looks like a big grain of rice...but it's's part of the pasta family! I go to a store that has a bulk foods section, and orzo is one of the items they sell, but you should be able to find it in the pasta section at your local supermarket or buy online here. 
Rustichella D' Abruzzo Orzo Pasta 17.5 Oz.


Anonymous said...

It looks beautiful. Can't wait to try it. I'm a soup lover! Thanks!!

Renee Maranzino said...

I think my kids would actually eat it! I love the "Who Likes to Change it Up?" section and that you give vegetarian options when you can! Awesome, Kristina! Looking forward to more!

The Rhodes Family said...

Thanks you guys! You know me Renee...I am all about options! :) Let me know when you try it!

MOM said...

I made your first dish today. It was really good. Your Dad had it when he came home from work this evening. He raved over it too.
We did add light sour cream a dollop, since we are used to eating soups that way.


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