Creamy One-Pot Chicken, Carrot, and Spinach Orzo – Spring can be a crazy time with school-aged kids. Thankfully, this 30-minute-meal makes it easy to balance a healthy dinner with all those end-of-year activities!
I can’t believe it’s already May and nearly the end of the school year. My oldest is in first grade and his school is holding Kindergarten Day today. Basically, that means all of the incoming kindergarteners for next fall get to visit a kindergarten classroom while their parents are given all kinds information about what to expect when their little one starts school.
According to Mr. Simple Seasonal, there was some excitement at the bus stop this morning, because the sister of my son’s best buddy is going to be one of the visiting kindergarteners. My son adores her and I think he’s looking forward to her joining the rest of the neighborhood gang at school next year (even though she’s a girl and all).
When my son had his Kindergarten Day two years ago, they overloaded the parents with all kinds of information, but one thing they forgot to mention was the month of May. Now, if you have had kids at some point in your life you probably know what I’m getting at. May is insane! It’s a whirlwind of concerts, recitals, championships, art shows, book fairs, school parties, and whatever other sources of fun the Home and School Association can think up. Unsuspecting parents should really be warned about this…
With the craziness of May at hand, it’s officially become 30-minute meal month in my home. My latest addition to my 30-minute meal repertoire is my Creamy One-Pot Chicken, Carrot, and Spinach Orzo. It’s ridiculously easy to make and it’s a balanced meal. It’s creamy, cheesy, flavorful, and comforting. And did I mention? All of that creamy cheesiness hides the spinach that is going to keep your family healthy and having fun through the month of May!
- 1 lb cubed boneless chicken breast
- 2 Tbsp olive oil evenly divided
- 3/4 C diced sweet onion
- 1 1/2 C finely diced carrot
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 2 1/2 C chicken broth
- 1 C milk
- 1 C orzo*
- 2 C roughly chopped baby spinach
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 C grated sharp white cheddar cheese
- Trim excess fat from the chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces, and then pat dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once heated, add the chicken and cook for 6-8 minutes or until it is cooked through. Transfer the chicken into a bowl and set aside.
- Reduce the pan to medium heat and add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Sauté the sweet onion and the carrot for about 3 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook one more minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add 1 Tbsp of butter to the skillet with the vegetables and cook until melted. Next add 1 Tbsp of flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring to evenly combine. Once the flour is cooked, slowly add in the chicken stock while constantly stirring to evenly incorporate it with the flour while avoiding lumps.
- Next pour in the milk and add the orzo. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil and then reduce to a rapid simmer. Cook for about 5-7 minutes*, stirring every couple of minutes to prevent sticking. Cook until the pasta is al dente or to your desired softness. If the orzo begins to dry out before it is cooked through add an additional 1/8 C of chicken broth to the pan as needed.
- Add the chicken back into the pan and also add the chopped baby spinach and cook for 1 more minute.
- Lastly stir in the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
*I have whole wheat orzo pictured here, which requires an additional 1/2 C of chicken broth and a cooking time of 9-11 minutes.