Home ยป Money Matters: Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Money Matters: Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup


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! 😀

Be well,

Share With Your Friends!


  1. Kate
    February 16, 2012 / 5:50 am

    I’m so very into soup lately – maybe it’s the rain. We had it for dinner tonight and it’s on the menu for the weekend too. I can’t wait to see all yours!

  2. Joanne
    February 16, 2012 / 6:53 am

    I eat soup constantly and to avoid everyone being so bored with it, I’ve become more selective about which ones I post. Otherwise it would be all soup all the time. And I know everyone SAYS they’re okay with that…but I’m willing to bet my pageviews would drop. ;p

    This looks fabulous though. A serious winner of a soup. I’m going to tofu-ify it. For sure.

  3. Amy B @ Second City Randomness
    February 16, 2012 / 7:14 am

    This week IS dragging. It must be from anticipation of the extended weekend. Seriously- I could not be more excited about it.

    Lemon chicken was always a favorite of mine that I’d get out at restaurants when I was growing up. I was super super picky until after high school, so it was usually the most basic way I could get it. Anything stuffed or combined with random things was too much for my immature palate… :p

  4. Kim of Mo'Betta
    February 16, 2012 / 7:27 am

    yummmm, this is my new favorite soup. I’ve already told Renee how much I’m in love with it! Can’t wait to make another batch – I made mine with Meyer lemons….HEAVEN!

  5. Renee @ Mykitchenadventures
    February 16, 2012 / 8:29 am

    I’m really glad you enjoyed the soup Nicole. I think it is a winner too! ๐Ÿ™‚ Your pictures, as usual…stunning….when you quit your day job…I think you have a career in food styling photography!

    Congrats to the contest winner!!!

  6. Angie (Sweet Natured Treats)
    February 16, 2012 / 8:37 am

    I can not wait to make this! I had a lemony chicken and rice soup in a restaurant several years ago that was amazing, and this sounds very similar.

    PS – I take my two girls (well, girl dogs) to daycare a couple of times every week too. They love it so much that I think the extra expense is worth it.

  7. Anna @ On Anna's Plate
    February 16, 2012 / 9:07 am

    I seriously could never get sick of soup– so many different possibilities!! I love your napkin!

  8. Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life
    February 16, 2012 / 10:19 am

    The soup looks delicious! I agree-this week does seem like it’s dragging!

  9. Biz
    February 16, 2012 / 10:58 am

    Yep, that soup was a winner – I made it last week and brought some for my boss (who’s 26!) and after he ate it, he came to me and said “that was so good, I would have thought it came from a restaurant!”

  10. Kristen (swanky dietitian)
    February 16, 2012 / 11:57 am

    Ha, yes blogs do speak to me! Or at least cause me to start drooling. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    This soup looks incredible. I love all the light flavors.

  11. Heidi @ Food Doodles
    February 16, 2012 / 3:38 pm

    I know what you mean about soup! I’m a huge soup fan, I don’t think I’ve ever met a soup I didn’t like ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the lemon in this – that sounds amazing!

  12. Erika - The Teenage Taste
    February 16, 2012 / 4:51 pm

    The rainy, cold, dreary weather I’ve been having has been having me crave warm comfort foods like crazy! Soup and sweets are so appealling to me right now!

  13. Jessy
    February 16, 2012 / 8:11 pm

    This looks delicious! Lemon, chicken and orzo – sounds right up my alley!

  14. elly
    February 16, 2012 / 10:27 pm

    This sounds great! I’m definitely bookmarking it and hope to try it soon. I love lemon and this reminds me a tiny bit of greek avgolemono.

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  17. Lizzie
    September 18, 2012 / 2:10 pm

    I made this last night. So yum ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

  18. Tricia
    February 28, 2013 / 1:33 am

    This soup is so fantastic! I made it with kale instead of spinach. Who knew healthy soup could taste so good? Thank you!

    • Nicole, RD
      February 28, 2013 / 10:14 am

      Hi Tricia! I couldn’t agree more — be sure to check out Renee’s blog for more great soup recipes. I swear, she’s the QUEEN of soups!!

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