Monday, July 27

Pesto Chicken Orzo

I've been trying to bring my lunch to work and eat less frozen, packaged meals. Granted the ones I tend to eat are organic, GMO free, etc. But still. Cooking food gives me control of what I'm eating. Sunday as I was making my list for the grocery store this week, I tried to think about what would be good to bring. Pesto popped into my head, which it tends to do this time of year when the basil in the garden is abundant (I didn't make fresh pesto for this, instead I purchased some, but either works!)

I looked at Pinterest for some ideas and created my own dish that works hot or cold. Rather than cooking up chicken breasts, I "cheated" and grabbed one of the roast chickens from the store, which allowed me to simply pull off the white meat and not have to dirty another dish while cooking. Zucchini have looked good and are healthy and easy, so I picked up a few of those that were locally grown from the grocery store (mine have yet to produce more than flowers, so far). Mushrooms seemed like a nice pairing with the zucchini. And of course onion and garlic had to go in.

As I was cooking, I realized I had some shredded mozzarella and I added a handful of it which helped give the dish an almost risotto-like consistency. I kept the seasoning simple since pesto flavor was what I was after. I'll definitely even try this with rice as well. Because, pesto is good on EVERYTHING.

You can play with the veggies you include as well to suit your tastes or clean out your fridge.

Chicken Orzo Pesto

  • 1 cooked chicken, shredded or cut in bite size pieces (for this I got a oven-roasted one from the store to speed up time)
  • 3-4 medium zucchini cut in bite-size rounds
  • 1 package orzo
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1- 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, diced
  • about 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded (optional)
  • about 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
  • 1 package (7oz) pesto (or make your own fresh)
  • 2-3 TBSP olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
1) Cook orzo according to box instructions/al dente.
2) When done, reuse pot. Add olive oil, onion, garlic. Saute until onion starts to soften.
3) Add garlic, mushrooms. Cook down a little.
4) Add zucchini, salt & pepper to taste, and cook until veggies are tender, browned and water is evaporated.
5) Turn off heat. Taste for seasoning & adjust as needed.
6) Add cooked orzo.
7) Add cheese. Stir.
8) Enjoy.

Makes 4-6 servings.

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