How many of you would say that the size of your cookbook collection is pretty impressive? That you'd love more space in your kitchen because the number of volumes in your culinary library are "out of control"?
There was a time, when I would have raised my hand high, admitting to the world that I [probably] owned more cookbooks than I really needed. When I moved from New York to Pennsylvania, I made deep cuts to the collection... Then I made even more cuts when I realized that I simply didn't have room to store so many cookbooks. After that, they just sat there, mostly unused.
However, all was not lost. Menu planning saved my cookbooks, saved them from further neglect and deeper layers of dust. As I got into the routine of planning out our dinners each week, I started consulting my cookbooks for ideas. I mean, as much fun as it is to scroll through Feedly to read the latest from my favorite food bloggers, sometimes it's much more satisfying to page through a cookbook to find inspiration.
For this meal, I turned to my copy of Food Network Magazine's 1,000 Easy Recipes: Super Fun Food for Every Day, which was a bridal shower gift from my former coworkers. I wanted to make something different to go along with our painfully ordinary grilled chicken and decided to give the recipe for Lemon Orzo a try. Stephen and I both love the shape of orzo, and I want to start incorporating it more in our pasta salads and side dishes.
Of course, I can't just try a new recipe without tweaking it to suit our personal tastes. I substituted fresh mint for the called-for dried mint and upped the amount of lemon juice a bit. All in all, a nice and refreshing dish that paired really well with our grilled chicken breast. I even think it would be great some fresh peas thrown in (for more color) or served as a cold pasta salad with a handful of halved grape tomatoes!
Grilled Chicken with Lemon Orzo Pasta
- 2 chicken breasts
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 2 strips lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
- 2 scallions, chopped (just the green part)
- Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
- Salt, to taste
- Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Place chicken breasts in the skills and cook for 3-4 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken.
- Turn the chicken breasts over and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the skillet and allow to rest on a plate.
- Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a small sauce pan.
- Add the orzo, the remaining olive oil, salt, paprika, and strips of lemon zest.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the water has been absorbed by the pasta, remove the pan from the heat and allow the orzo to cool for 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the fresh mint and chopped scallions.
- Add lemon juice and salt to taste.
- To serve, divide the orzo between two plates. Slice one of the chicken breasts and arrange the slices on top of the orzo. Repeat with the remaining chicken breast and other plate of pasta.
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