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Lemon Chicken Orzo

Lemon Chicken Orzo is a light but filling meal that mixes together orzo with chicken and a creamy lemon sauce, along with fresh herbs. This dish features Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese and is the perfect comfort dish that is easy to make. Your family will love this! 

Lemon Chicken Orzo with spoon.

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LEMON CHICKEN ORZO

The American Dairy Association Mideast and I are excited to share this Lemon Chicken Orzo recipe with you. It is the perfect back-to-school recipe.

Orzo recipes are some of my favorite recipes to make. 

It is the perfect pairing for so many recipes, whether it is a soup, salad or main dish. 

I especially love orzo paired with cheese and made into a creamy, almost rice- like dish.

Many of you like this 4 Ingredient Cheesy Orzo Recipe so I know you will love a creamy lemon chicken version! 

Today’s Lemon Chicken Orzo reminds me of a chicken and rice dish I used to use, but it instead uses orzo

It mixes together orzo with chicken, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil, along with a creamy lemon sauce. 

You can have today’s Lemon Chicken Orzo on the table in under 30 minutes making it a great option for those busy nights. 

This dish is also is great as leftovers so feel free to make it ahead of time. 

If you like orzo, you also should try my Summer Orzo Pasta Salad, Arugula Orzo Pasta Salad, Cheesy Butternut Squash Orzo, Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad, Tomato Feta Orzo Salad, Greek Orzo Pasta Salad, Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, One Pot Creamy Tomato Herb Orzo or this Mixed Berry Caprese Orzo.

Lemon Chicken Orzo on a white plate.

I love making this for my family because I know that they are getting dairy, which will help keep them feeling satisfied and full.

Dairy foods provide nutrients people of all ages need to grow and maintain stronger bodies and minds. The protein in dairy –whey and casein– keeps you feeling full longer, provides energy to fuel your day and helps muscles recover.

The number of servings of dairy foods you need each day depends on your age.

For those 9 years or older, USDA recommends eating three daily servings of low fat or fat free milk, cheese and yogurt every day to meet dairy food group recommendations, close key nutrient gaps and contribute to nutritious and healthy eating patterns.

As we head into the school year, it is so important to make sure our kids are getting a well-balanced diet packed with protein and calcium. 

Lemon Chicken Orzo with gold spoon.

WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS CREAMY LEMON ORZO

PACKED WITH PROTEIN: This recipe uses two types of cheese: Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. Cheese can help fill the protein gap. Mozzarella is one cheese, in addition to others like Swiss, cottage, ricotta and cheddar, that is high in protein. Cheeses like these contribute high-quality protein as well as calcium, phosphorus and vitamin A to the American diet.

GREAT FOR MEAL-PREP: I love making this dish as part of my Sunday meal-prep. It tastes even better the next day as leftovers, in my opinion. You also can simplify the recipe further by using a shredded rotisserie chicken instead of cooking chicken breasts. 

EASY TO MODIFY: When making this recipe, you can easily modify it to your families tastes. For example, instead of chicken, try chickpeas, white beans, tofu, shrimp or salmon. Add additional veggies, in like bell peppers, green beans, peas, broccoli or carrots. 

Lemon Chicken Orzo ingredients.

WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IN LEMON ORZO?

CHICKEN BREASTS

ORZO

BUTTER

GARLIC

LEMON JUICE

PARMESAN CHEESE

MOZZARELLA CHEESE

CREAM

OREGANO

FRESH BASIL & PARSLEY

Lemon Chicken Orzo with lemon.

HOW DO YOU MAKE CREAMY LEMON ORZO?

COOK THE ORZO: In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable or chicken broth {or water} until simmering. Add the orzo in and simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

Add the butter and let melt for about 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally to make sure the orzo doesn’t stick.

Lemon Chicken Orzo pasta in a pot.

ADD THE SAUCE INGREDIENTS: Turn heat to low and add the garlic, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, cream, oregano and crushed red pepper {optional} and stir until the cheese melts and the sauce becomes creamy.

Lemon Chicken Orzo sauce ingredients.

STIR IN THE CHICKEN: Stir in the shredded chicken until mixed well.

SERVE WARM: Stir in salt and pepper. Remove and serve warm garnished with shaved parmesan cheese, fresh basil and parsley.

Lemon Chicken Orzo with wooden serving spoon.

TO COOK THE CHICKEN:

In a large Ziplock bag add the chicken, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to the bag. Close and massage the spices into the chicken using your hands.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 4-5 minutes, flip and cook until the chicken reaches a temperature of 165 degrees F.

Remove the chicken and put it on a cutting board. Using two forks shred the chicken.

Lemon Chicken Orzo chicken on cutting board.

WAYS TO MODIFY THIS LEMON ORZO RECIPE

BEANS: Beans make a nice addition to this meal. You could leave out the chicken and add the beans or use both. I like chickpeas or white beans. 

CHEESE: I used Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. You could also try feta or goat cheese. 

SPICES: If you want to spice up your recipe, try adding a variety of other spices like cayenne red pepper, paprika, crushed red pepper or smoked paprika. 

VEGETABLES: If you have leftover vegetables to use up try carrots, celery, bell pepper, broccoli, green beans, tomatoes or peas. 

GREENS: I think that greens are a nice addition to this Lemon Orzo. I especially like spinach, arugula or Swiss chard. 

Lemon Chicken Orzo on a plate.

SIMILAR RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE: 

BAKED MAC AND CHEESE WITH BREADCRUMBS

LEMON PASTA 

ITALIAN SAUSAGE PASTA BAKE

SPICY SAUSAGE PASTA

PUMPKIN MAC AND CHEESE

INSTANT POT VEGETABLE MAC AND CHEESE 

Lemon Chicken Orzo with logo

Lemon Chicken Orzo with spoon.

Lemon Orzo

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Lemon Chicken Orzo is a light but filling meal that mixes together orzo with chicken and a creamy lemon sauce along with fresh herbs. This dish features Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese and is the perfect comfort dish that is easy to make. Your family will love this! 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups orzo
  • 3 cups vegetable broth {or chicken broth} or you can use water
  • 3 tbsps. butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced plus zest for garnish
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper {optional}
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish, optional

FOR THE CHICKEN

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsps. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper

Instructions

    1. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable or chicken broth {or water} until simmering. Add the orzo in and simmer for about 8-10 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.
    2. Add the butter and let melt for about 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the orzo doesn't stick.
    3. Turn heat to low and add the garlic, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, mozarella cheese, cream, oregano and crushed red pepper {optional}, and stir until the cheese melts and the sauce becomes creamy.
    4. Stir in the shredded chicken until mixed well.
    5. Stir in salt and pepper. Remove and serve warm garnished with shaved parmesan cheese, fresh basil and parsley.

    TO COOK THE CHICKEN:

      1. In a large Ziplock bag add the chicken, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to the bag. Close and massage the spices into the chicken using your hands.
      2. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 4-5 minutes, flip and cook until the chicken reaches a temperature of 165 degrees F.
      3. Remove the chicken and put it on a cutting board. Using two forks shred the chicken.
Todays post is sponsored by the American Dairy Association Mideast. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that allow me to create new and exciting recipes. 

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Bev George

Wednesday 16th of August 2023

Could this be made ahead and warmed in the oven at serving

Julia

Wednesday 16th of August 2023

Yes! I ate leftovers for a few days and it was great! :)

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