Chicken · Mexican · pasta

Southwestern Chicken & Orzo

It’s officially March 1st.

It’s the end of a short month, the last day of the February ratings period, and March Madness is not very far away.

Woooo! What a month it has been. Ratings periods are always incredibly busy in the wacky wonderful world of television news, and this one was no different. I worked on a bunch of great, long-form stories and a lot of our shows did really well ratings-wise. This photographer is super proud of the work we’ve accomplished, but I’m definitely ready to get back into the normal work grind.

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Now, the NCAA men’s basketball “Big Dance” is quickly approaching and I’m excited to announce a special I will be blogging about for the entire month of March: Meal Madness. I’ll be cooking and writing up recipes surrounding a handful of teams that will make it into the bracket. I’ve visited quite a few of these universities and a lot of the states that they’re in. Each recipe will either come from a personal experience (my favorite restaurant in Lawrence, Kansas, for instance) or inspired by the state/region/university (Kentucky hot browns, anyone?). It’ll be a long journey…but one I’m excited to take you on!

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I know it’s called Meal Madness, but desserts and snacks will be in the mix, too. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #MealMadness and share your favorite recipes as well! There are 68 teams in the tournament so there is no way I’ll be able to get around to all of them before April 1st.

Before we dive into all that, I thought I’d leave you with this simple, quick and delicious weeknight dinner recipe. It’s kind of a mix between my carnitas with orzo recipe and this Mexican skillet chicken & rice. I scarfed down two bowls of this chicken & faux rice for dinner, and I’ve been munching on the leftovers for lunch for the past two days.

The best part?

It takes less than 30 minutes to make.

You can’t beat that.

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Southwestern Chicken & Orzo

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

A one-pot chicken dinner that takes less than 30 minutes to make.

Ingredients

  • 2 TBS. olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2 TBS. tomato paste
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen corn (thawed)
  • 1 small can black beans, drained
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • sour cream & cilantro, for topping

Directions

  1. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.
  2. Heat another tablespoon of oil in the skillet and add the red pepper, onion and garlic. Saute until soft and onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add orzo and fry lightly for a minute, stirring constantly. Add tomato paste, tomato, cayenne and oregano. Stir well to combine.
  3. Add chicken broth to the skillet and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat—stirring occasionally, cooking until orzo is almost done (about 8-10 minutes).
  4. Stir in chicken, beans, and corn. Cook until all of the liquid is absorbed and orzo is soft, about another 3 minutes. Stir in cheese and remove from heat. Serve with sour cream and cilantro.

Step-By-Step Instructions

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Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate.

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Heat another tablespoon of oil over medium high heat and then add bell pepper, onion and garlic. Saute until onion is slightly translucent and soft, about 4 minutes.

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Add orzo and fry lightly for a minute, stirring constantly. Add tomato paste, tomato, cayenne and oregano. Stir well to combine. Add chicken broth to skillet and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until orzo is done, about 8-10 minutes.

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Stir in chicken, beans and corn. Cook until all of the liquid is absorbed and orzo is soft (about 3 more minutes).

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Stir in cheese and remove from heat. Serve with sour cream and cilantro.

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