From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Last night I made a huge pot of a light soup that's a great candidate for a Frugal Friday lunch or supper. Unexpected oral surgery has limited what the Silver Fox can eat, so my planned menus had to be replaced with liquids and other soft foods that can be swallowed with minimal chewing. He's moved passed lime jello, which I've been informed his mother made better than I do, and he's ready for food with a bit more substance. I've made this soup before and have found it is wonderful for those with dental problems or stomachs that are not quite up to par. It can be made quickly and it truly falls into the category of no-fuss no-bother food. While my soups tend to be theme and variation creations, the recipe I'm featuring tonight is the original version that first appeared in Cooking Light magazine. This is a recipe that can't be spoiled, but it can be greatly enhanced if you start with a really flavorful chicken stock. Don't be afraid to use chicken bouillon to increase the flavor of canned broth if it seems weak. Better still, start with your own stock and additions won't be necessary. I normally use chicken thighs in this recipe because I think they are more flavorful and less prone to overcooking if left in the pot for too long a time. Overcooking destroys the texture of chicken, so watch your timing carefully. All in all, this is a very nice, very cheap and very quick soup to prepare. I suspect you and your family will like it and I hope you'll make it whenever chicken parts go on sale. Here is how it's made.
Chicken and Orzo Soup...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Cooking Light magazine
1 (32-ounce) container fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
1/2 cup uncooked orzo
2 teaspoons olive oil
2/3 cup coarsely chopped carrot
1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1-1/4 cups water
3 fresh parsley sprigs
1 fresh thyme sprig
4 cups fresh baby spinach
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1) Bring 1-3/4 cups broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add orzo and cook for 10 minutes, or until done. Drain.
2) While orzo cooks, heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add carrot, celery, onion, and chicken; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining 2-1/4 cups broth, 1-1/4 cups water, parsley, and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Discard herb sprigs. Add orzo, spinach, juice, salt, and pepper and simmer to wilt spinach, about 1 minute. Yield: 4 servings.
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