I’m trying to watch the most recent episode of Once Upon a Time, which means I have more important things to do than tell you how great this meal is and how it’s my go-to when dinnertime is staring down at me and I just want something everyone will eat with minimal complaining (enormous lie – I haven’t made a dinner in MONTHS that Ella hasn’t complained about, even if she eventually decides she loves it), and also when I serve this for company, it always gets rave reviews.
Take my word for it, so I can get back to watching Regina make snarky comments.
(I just wrote all of this during a commercial break. You think I could look away when Hook is on screen? You’re wrong).
Use the time you saved on dinner to watch some Once Upon a Time. Thank me later.
Cream Cheese and Chicken Orzo with Tomatoes and Basil
(adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)
3/4 pound orzo pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chicken breast, cut into chunks
Salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
1 teaspoon dried basil
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tomatoes, diced
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup reserved pasta water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (optional)
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and let it cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside (reserve 3/4 cup of water from the pasta).
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, then add the chicken chunks and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Cook until browned, then flip and cook on the other side. Add the mushrooms (the chicken doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through) and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the basil, garlic, and tomatoes. Cook about 3 minutes, until the tomatoes are not juicy anymore. Add the cream cheese and stir to coat the vegetables.
Stir in the reserved pasta water, stir and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 2 minutes until thickened, then stir in orzo, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste, top with fresh basil (if desired), and serve hot.