Many weeks back, I had about 20 soup recipes on my must-make list. Maybe even 30 recipes…who knows, but it was out of control. I even asked Facebook friends if they would mind all soup recipes for a bit. I received a resounding, “Bring it on…we love soup!” We’re in business!
I’ve tried several of the recipes, slowly crossing them off my must-make list…and you know what? I’m yet to find a soup I don’t really, really like.
But this soup, I really, really love. As soon as Renee posted this recipe, I was intrigued by the ingredient list…the lemon, the orzo, the chicken. Everything about it screamed, “MAKE ME!” Almost literally. Do blog sites speak to anyone else? Err…maybe don’t answer that.
I made this soup last Wednesday. I remember that because I picked up the rotisserie chicken on my way home, after picking up Lily from daycare. Lily is my dog, and yes, she goes to daycare one day a week (yes, this makes me a crazy dog person…and I own that 100%).
When I returned to the car with the rotisserie chicken in tow, she awoke from her post-daycare coma to start sniffing around the car for the source of the chicken. Girlfriend goes absolutely b-a-n-a-n-a-s for chicken. Just the smell throws her into a state of uncontrollable fidgeting and squirming with anticipation…probably because I can’t deny her chicken and she knows she’s going to get some. (P.S. Lily is down 3lb from her last vet appointment a few weeks ago when I was told we need to get her to drop a few pounds!).
Lily loves chicken as much as I love getting cards from my husband. I give the man all sorts of heck around here, but my gosh, he can write a love note that will melt my little heart every time I read it. He also knows me pretty well because he got me a 6-pack of beer for Valentine’s Day. And I got him chocolate. What can I say? Perhaps we have things a little backwards. Whatever.
What we both loved was this soup, however. Who knew comfort food could be so refreshing with a punch of citrus? This is one of the few foods that is actually better as leftovers, too. The orzo thickens the broth to make it all the better.
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup slightly adapted from My Kitchen Adventures
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 med onion, chopped
4 carrots, halved length-wise and chopped
3 ribs celery, halved length-wise and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 – 32 oz boxes (12 cups) fat free, low-sodium chicken stock
1 lb cooked chicken (I used a small rotisserie chicken and it yielded 1 lb exactly)
8 oz orzo pasta
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
zest from one lemon
black pepper, to taste
8 oz baby spinach
In a large stock pot or dutch oven heat oil on medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook until vegetables begin to soften and onion starts to become translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add in the bay leaf, thyme, oregano, and pepper. Cook for another 30 seconds or so, and add in the broth. Bring to a boil and then partially cover and turn down to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are just soft, about 5-6 minutes.
Add in the pasta, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir.Simmer for 7-8 minutes.
Add in the cooked chicken. Allow to heat through. Stir in baby spinach and allow to get wilted in hot broth. Remove bay leaf and serve.
Yield: 8 servings (2 cups each).
Nutrition Information (per serving): 246 calories; 2 g. fat; 47 mg. cholesterol; 214 mg. sodium; 31 g. carbohydrate; 3.6 g. fiber; 24.5 g. protein
Result: Tart, fresh, clean flavors. I loved the addition of spinach to add some fun texture and fiber, and upping the chicken made this a soup recipe that offered some serious staying power. Because this is homemade and uses low-sodium broth, the sodium content was kept nice and low – a big success for a soup recipe! And only 2 grams of fat! Plus, it’s ready in 30 minutes or less. Win-win. Mr. P and I both loved this…especially as leftovers! Enjoy!
Money Matters: The rotisserie chicken was $4.99. I get my chicken stock from CostCo for $1.25 per 32 ounce carton — $3.75 total. Onions are also from CostCo – $0.50 each. Celery was about 1/3 of a head — $0.39, and 4 carrots (about 1/2 bag) totaled $0.33. I used 1/2 box of orzo that cost $1 (used $0.50 worth). Lemons are $0.50 each this time of year – $1 total. Spinach was $1.99 for an 8 ounce bag (organic). The total cost of the recipe comes to $13.85 making the cost per serving $1.73!
Congrats to Rebecca C. who won the Eggland’s Best “EB Mine” Giveaway! Thank you to everyone for entering!
This week is dragging, but at least it’s Thursday!