We all know how much I like to save a buck when it comes to meal planning. I try and plan my meals according to what I already have on hand and supplementing and splurging when need be. For this meal, I already had every ingredient on hand-which meant a free dinner on our grocery/menu list.
This dinner looks like restaurant quality food in my opinion. It tastes like it too. The softness of the orzo pairs perfectly with little bites of chicken and olives. It's like a little citrus bath in my mouth. But this dinner is so easy to make. In the time that it took my husband to do his evening workout, dinner was nearly done. Like he came down the stairs two minutes before my oven timer started yelling at me.
Though I was in the comfort of my own home watching the season finale of Food Network Star while eating this, I kind of was having an outer body experience where I felt as though I could of easily been eating this meal off in Europe somewhere. This was also my first experience with eating a shallot. My whole family loved them! So in my eyes, this dinner is a winner!
Lemon Chicken with Orzo
1-2 TB lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 TB extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 boneless skinless chicken breast
(Note: for my family of 4, I used 2 breasts, and sliced them in half length wise and then halved them in the middle to create more food our us)
2 tsp fresh oregano ( I used dried)
1 tsp fresh thyme ( I used dried)
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and halved ( I used a combination of the leftover kalamata olives with the black)
1 shallot, sliced
4 lemon slices
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup orzo
1/4 cup shaved romano and parmesan cheese blend
1/2 tsp garlic salt
6 basil leaves, torn
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the lemon zest, juice, oil, garlic, and chicken in a shallow baking dish or ziplock bag. Make sure everything is coated and evenly distributed. Marinate at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
Lightly coat a baking dish with cooking spray and arrange the chicken and marinade in the dish. Sprinkle herbs over chicken, along with the shallots, olives, and lemon slices. Season with salt and pepper. Bake chicken for 20 minutes.
While the chicken is baking, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and cook the orzo according the direction on the package. Drain and return to pot. Add the remaining oil, cheese, garlic salt, and basil.
Take the chicken out of the oven and switch the oven to broil. Put the chicken back in the oven for 3-5 minutes, until the lemon slices start to brown and the chicken is cooked through.
Serve the chicken over a bed of orzo.