I’m sitting here trying to figure out what to write. Does that ever happen to you? Whether you’re writing a novel or just writing an email, sometimes you just sit there staring at the computer screen thinking, what the heck am I going to say?!
As I sit here with writer’s block, completely at a loss as to what to say… so I’m just going to dive right in to this Chicken and Orzo Salad. This is one of my favorite dishes while living among boxes and clutter due to our recent move. It’s simple, healthy, fresh, and requires little effort after a long day of work.
When I was making this dish amidst the towering boxes, I used a rotisserie chicken and my favorite jared Pesto to make things easier – so by all means, if that’s what you would like to do to make your evening dinner a little easier, than go for it! Otherwise, I have provided a simple and delicious way to prepare the chicken. A hot pan, a little salt, some pepper and you’ve got a quick and easy chicken breast that’s juicy on the inside and golden-brown on the outside. If time and sanity allows, on a busy day cooking up your own chicken and making your own Pesto is always preferable. However, if you pick-up a jar and rotisserie chicken, no judgment – I totally understand. Either way, you’re going to love this dish!
- Pesto Dressing (See Note)
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 2 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ½ cup parmesan, freshly grated
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Chicken (See Note)
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 16 ounces orzo pasta
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 5 ounces mixed baby greens
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil in preparation to cook the orzo.
- To make the pesto, add the basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan, and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse while slowly adding ½ cup olive oil until smooth. Add the salt and pepper and pulse a few more times to incorporate.
- To make the chicken, in a large heavy bottomed skillet, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Liberally season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Cook on one side for 5 minutes, flip and cook the other side for 4 minutes. Remove, cover, and allow to rest. When cool, shred the chicken with two forks.
- Add the orzo pasta to the boiling water, stir immediately to make sure it doesn't clump. Cook according to the recommended manufactures time.
- Drain and rinse with cold water; drain and place in a large bowl.
- Add the pesto dressing to the orzo and toss well to combine. Add the tomatoes and shredded chicken breast, toss again. To serve, place a handful of lettuce on each plate and spoon the orzo chicken mixture on top. Serve and enjoy!
- To make this a quick dinner, use a rotisserie chicken and your favorite jar of Pesto.
This was yummy. I followed exactly using rotisserie chicken. It makes a lot and would be perfect for a potluck. Topping with some more pine nuts adds a nice crunchy texture. Thank you!
That’s great, Casey! It’s one of my favorite go-to recipes for a quick weeknight dinner and I have even brought it to a potluck 😉
I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I love that you added extra pine nuts for crunch (love pine nuts)!
Vineetha @ Mint and Mimosas says
This looks so good! I want to make if for lunch next week!
Thanks! I actually just made it for a neighborhood block-party and it was a huge hit! 🙂
I had to smile.
a) I make a pesto pasta salad just like this. Seriously, this could be my recipe
b) I am obsessed with Breaking Bad! I have marathon sessions too, where I watch them back to back! I’m on season 1 again, my 3rd time. Seriously, there just aren’t any good series anymore so I do Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Friends, SATC reruns constantly. Oh, and the NewsRoom! So do not get why they axed that. 🙂
You and me, we’d be dangerous in the same city together. At least you’re moving close to me!
Oh we would totally be dangerous in the same city! My hubs would probably never see me again because I’d be having cooking parties/doggie play-dates/marathon series watching with you all of the time 😛
Never heard of NewsRoom – I’m going to have to check that one out! I seriously just discovered Mad Men… it only came out 8 years ago 😉 I’m always the last one to jump on the bandwagon 😉
Were you typing this while talking to me the other night or have you been on a SERIOUS Breaking Bad binge?
No, I’ve been on a SERIOUS Breaking Bad binge – still am 😛
karrie @ Tasty Ever After says
Writer’s block is the worst and I get it all the time (as in every time I sit down to write!). Love the pesto dressing in this salad. At least once a week I roast a chicken and this recipe would be a perfect way to use up the leftover chicken. Delicious and can’t wait to try it 🙂
That is totally me too! I spend FOREVER trying to find the words! Anyway, I hope you enjoy the dish 🙂 If you roast a chicken once a week, whatever leftovers you have will be perfect!
You’re too funny – yes, I know that feeling well. 🙂 But, look! It came to you and what a beautiful and yummy salad!
Lol! Thanks, Marissa! I may not always have the words, but I always have the stomach 😉
Thao @ In Good Flavor says
Haha! I’m sure once the neighbors meet you, they will immediately see that you are neither Jekyll or Hyde but a lady who cooks really good food that makes them drool as the aromas waft through the open windows. 🙂 I love this 30-minute chicken and orzo salad! It is light but filling and summer-y.
ah, yes, writer’s block. . we all get it. . that’s when the posts are short and to the point! 🙂 I wouldn’t worry about the neighbor situation. . unless there’s screaming and fighting, I’m sure they are fine! 🙂 love this chicken orzo salad. . !!! Looks delish!
Bam's Kitchen says
Now what neighbor would not want to listen to Breaking Bad…?! 🙂 LOL Writings block is something that I think many bloggers get from time to time so don’t worry, you are probably just really tired from the move… You know it all catches up with you after a while. Love this filling and delicious salad. Going to pin this one as this is an awesome idea for the school lunches. My boys are going to love it!
Looks good! I love anything with pesto on it.
I’m totally with you, Sabrina!
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary says
OMG- forgive me!! The comment above accidentally got sent before I could finish! #BlondeProblems. I was laughing so hard I got distracted. Oops!!
Anyways— *now laughing at dumb self*
I totally get writers block ALL.the.time! Like, I want to bang my head against a wall and cry because I just don’t have ANYTHING to say. Well, to be honest, I ALWAYS have something to say… it’s just nothing anyone will ever care about! 😉
And, I SO want you as my neighbor!
Okay, now down to this delicious Orzo amazingness! You already KNOW I’m going to love this! Because hello boxes have taken over my universe! And anything that can be made in 30 minutes or less AND taste delicious? SOLD! All day every day and twice on Sundays! Love the flavors you used and that this dish looks seriously pretty and like you spent all day slaving in the kitchen! Making this. Fo’ Sho’! <3 Pinned! Cheers, pretty! xo
HA! I do that ALL the time – especially with Facebook posts. I would never guess that you get writers block! I always LOVE reading your posts, insightful, fun, and best of all, they always make me laugh!
Hey, if your stuff is still in boxes just pick them up and move them out west 😉 I can only imagine the stuff we would get into if we were neighbors – omg we’d have SO much fun! 🙂
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary says
Girl and the Kitchen says
Kathleen…I really love your photos you know that?! They are simple and clean and fresh… and your food always looks delicious! And I love having the windows open! I love super hot days and cool nights so that I can sleep with my windows open and breath in the fresh night air. This looks so right up my alley its not even funny! I adore pesto and orzo!!! I make a vegan version similar to this! And a not so vegan unhealthy version 🙂 Looks really lovely honey!
Aww… thanks so much Mila! That means so much coming from you – you always make the most beautiful dishes! I’m totally with you on sleeping with the windows open at night. There’s nothing more relaxing than fresh/cool air blowing in.
Ha! I love that you cover the bases on a dish – one healthy, one not so healthy 😉 Every dish should have that option.
Girl and the Kitchen says
Awwww I <3 you! Thank you so much honey!!!! We ally thrive on each other's compliments don't we 😉
Anu-My Ginger Garlic Kitchen says
Chicken and orzea in salad? Wow! Looks so intrging. Loved the addition of pine nuts here! 🙂
Thanks, Anupama! I love pine nuts – it was so hard not to eat all of them before they went into the pesto 😉
Writing could be tough at times… But you are doing well Kathleen! I’m pretty sure you are a great neighbor! Love Breaking Bad! And the salad looks perfect! I’m also planning to make a pasta salad today (a little different one)! Pinning 🙂
Thanks, Mira 🙂 I hope you’re posting your pasta salad soon! You make the most beautiful and delicious salads.
I can totally relate to the blog post blanking and also to having my windows open all day (I live at the beach in L.A). I love orzo, this recipe is perfect go-to lunch for me to have all week. Looks delicious.
I absolutely love being able to leave all of the windows open! So jealous of the smell of the ocean air that probably fills your house 😉 One of the great things about this dish is it’s even better the next day, so lunch all week is definitely a go!