Chicken, Orzo, and Spinach Skillet with Kalamata Olives, Tomatoes, and Basil

I found this Cooking Light recipe on Myrecipes and decided to give it a try.  The reviews for the recipe said it was a little bland so I decided to throw some extra flavors in it including, kalamata olives, onions, and garlic as well as seasonings.  It was a simple and comforting dish that was easy to make, smelled great while it cooked, and tasted even better.  My husband and I both loved it but my kids just thought it was okay.  I am looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow.

Cook the orzo in salted water, per instructions.  Side Note:  Sprinkle a little bit of chicken bouillon granules into the boiling water for extra flavor.  Drain the orzo and all but 1/2 cup of cooking liquid through a colander.

While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and season with a bit of crushed red pepper, oregano, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper, to taste; cook stirring often, for 3-4 minutes.  Remove the onion from the skillet and set aside.  Season the chicken with a sprinkling of oregano, garlic powder, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.  Place the chicken into the same skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté 6 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

Turn the heat to low then add reserved cooking liquid to the skillet, making sure to scrape up all the browned bits off of the bottom of the pan; add the minced garlic and stir.  Add the chopped tomato, softened onions, kalamata olives, and tomato paste,  to the skillet; cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add chicken, orzo, basil, and spinach leaves, stirring until spinach wilts. Taste and re-season if needed.  Remove from heat; sprinkle with cheese and serve.  Enjoy.

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Chicken, Orzo, and Spinach Skillet with Kalamata Olives, Tomatoes, and Basil

Yield: 8

Prep Time: 15 min.

Cook Time: 15-20 min.

Total Time: 30-40 in.

Ingredients:

1 cup of orzo, cooked per instructions
1 tbsp olive oil
1 sweet yellow onion, diced
Oregano, to taste
Dash of Crushed red pepper, to taste
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Garlic powder to taste
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat & cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups chopped tomato
2 tsp tomato paste
Large handful of kalamata olives, sliced
2 cups baby spinach leaves
3-4 fresh basil leaves, torn
Feta cheese

Directions:

Cook the orzo in salted water, per instructions. Side Note: Sprinkle a little bit of chicken bouillon granules into the boiling water for extra flavor. Drain the orzo and all but 1/2 cup of cooking liquid through a colander.

While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and season with a bit of crushed red pepper, oregano, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper, to taste; cook stirring often, for 3-4 minutes. Remove the onion from the skillet and set aside. Season the chicken with a sprinkling of oregano, garlic powder, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Place the chicken into the same skillet over medium-high heat (add cooking spray if needed). Sauté 6 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

Turn the heat to low then add reserved cooking liquid to the skillet, making sure to scrape up all the browned bits off of the bottom of the pan; add the minced garlic and stir. Add the chopped tomato, softened onions, kalamata olives, and tomato paste, to the skillet; cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add chicken, orzo, basil, and spinach leaves, stirring until spinach wilts. Taste and re-season if needed. Remove from heat; sprinkle with cheese and serve. Enjoy.

Adapted recipe and photos by For the Love of Cooking.net
Inspired by Cooking Light on MyRecipes

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26 Responses to “Chicken, Orzo, and Spinach Skillet with Kalamata Olives, Tomatoes, and Basil”

  1. 1

    y — November 26, 2012 @ 9:11 pm

    I love hearing what your kids have to say about meals but it’s so funny – I’m pretty sure I would devour every single thing you made!

    [Reply]

  2. 2

    Chicken, Orzo, and Spinach Skillet with Kalamata Olives, Tomatoes, and Basil | My Best Cookbook — November 26, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

    [...] Print Save [...]

  3. 3

    Carmen Rosa — November 27, 2012 @ 1:35 am

    Pam, What a great looking dish! love the ingredients.

    [Reply]

  4. 4

    Diane — November 27, 2012 @ 2:40 am

    I really fancy this dish, bookmarked for later in the week, thanks. Have a good week. Diane

    [Reply]

  5. 5

    Shell — November 27, 2012 @ 2:42 am

    I’m with your kids on this one. Somehow spinach and chicken don’t sound real good together. If you left the spinach out and had it as a side dish it would be great.

    [Reply]

    • Tricia replied: — December 9th, 2012 @ 6:20 am

      Shell, have you ever heard of chicken florentine? Search giadas, its heaven

      [Reply]

  6. 6

    Kim in MD — November 27, 2012 @ 4:57 am

    Yum! I love the combination of flavors in this orzo dish, including the spinach! I also love your hint of adding some chicken bouillon to the pasta water, Pam!!

    [Reply]

  7. 7

    Cathy at Wives with Knives — November 27, 2012 @ 5:13 am

    Love all the yummy flavors in this dish, Pam. I hope you and your family had a very Happy Thanksgiving. It’s hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner.

    [Reply]

  8. 8

    Martha — November 27, 2012 @ 5:36 am

    love how colorful it is. it looks delicious!

    [Reply]

  9. 9

    Jenn's Food Journey — November 27, 2012 @ 6:45 am

    I love the additions you made to this… definitely can’t call it bland now :) Looks delicious!!!

    [Reply]

  10. 10

    A New York Foodie — November 27, 2012 @ 7:46 am

    yum this looks great! Just bought some kalamata olives, now all I need to get is the feta and basil and I am going to try it.

    [Reply]

  11. 11

    Peggy Recker — November 27, 2012 @ 8:35 am

    This looks wonderful!

    [Reply]

  12. 12

    Marjie — November 27, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

    Looks like a great winter dish! Welcome back, Pam.

    [Reply]

  13. 13

    Chris — November 27, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

    Who cares what kids think, lol. I like the salty edge that the feta and olives bring to this.

    [Reply]

  14. 14

    Joanne — November 27, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

    If anything could turn a “just okay” dish to a GREAT dish, it’s kalamatas and feta! Love this!

    [Reply]

  15. 15

    Blond Duck — November 27, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

    I’m kind of obsessed with skillets right now!

    [Reply]

  16. 16

    Emily — November 27, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

    Made this tonight! It was great!

    [Reply]

  17. 17

    Words Of Deliciousness — November 27, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

    Yummy, this dish looks really tasty!

    [Reply]

  18. 18

    Angie@Angie's Recipes — November 28, 2012 @ 1:44 am

    You make the most delicious and healthy meals. Your orzo looks irresistible!

    [Reply]

  19. 19

    Rhonda (@diningalone) — November 28, 2012 @ 9:07 am

    I have that same pan in red :) I think this looks delicious, and I love orzo.

    [Reply]

  20. 20

    The Café Sucré Farine — November 28, 2012 @ 11:53 am

    Looks wonderful, love your tasty additions!

    [Reply]

  21. 21

    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — November 28, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

    This incorporates all of my favorite ingredients into one dish! And orzo is one of my favorite things ever so this here is just perfect!

    [Reply]

  22. 22

    Bonnie — November 29, 2012 @ 8:57 am

    I made this for dinner last night and it was so yummy! I used gluten free pasta instead of the orzo and everyone in my family really enjoyed it which is great because none of them love cooked spinach! :)

    [Reply]

  23. 23

    Rapper450 — December 14, 2012 @ 8:52 am

    Pam, I was really disappointed with this dish, I’m sorry to say. It didn’t have a lot of flavor, although I had left out the kalamata olives due to a concern over sodium levels. Perhaps that omission was the key?? Also, I thought there were too many steps involved for the result. It took me over 45 minutes to prepare, and an hour before it was ready for service. That’s not totally unreasonable, I agree, but the result was underwhelming. Sorry, I’ll keep trying others of your recipes though.

    [Reply]

    • Pam replied: — December 14th, 2012 @ 9:24 am

      I am sorry you didn’t like the recipe. I must say that the kalamata olives are one of the main ingredients that give this orzo tons of flavor. Hopefully, the next recipe you try will be more satisfying.

      Cheers,
      Pam

      [Reply]

  24. 24

    Peggy — January 3, 2013 @ 5:58 am

    This looks so good! I always have a box of orzo in my pantry because it’s our favorite type of pasta!

    [Reply]

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