Showing posts with label Orzo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Orzo. Show all posts

Saturday, October 1, 2016

One Pan Chicken & Orzo #Recipe @PegCochran

One Sunday, when it was too rainy to grill (I will grill until the last possible minute and even then I'll shovel the snow off the grill), I went looking for something that a) didn't require a trip to the grocery store and b) was easy to make and c) was a complete, one pan dinner.  I found a recipe for chicken with orzo. 

Of course I changed a few things (what else is new, right?)  I thought the proportions of orzo to chicken were way off--we would be overwhelmed with orzo.  I cut down on the quantity and correspondingly cut down on the broth.  I also increased the tomatoes because I hate having 1/4 of a can sitting in the refrigerator until mold grows on top and I can throw it out!

And I added the olives because I like them and I had them!  I thought they added a nice briny touch to the dish.


4 to 6 chicken thighs—with bone or boneless/skinless—whichever you prefer
a glug of olive oil – about 1 tablespoon
1 cup orzo pasta
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. Italian seasoning or a blend of
1 cup chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
several grinds of fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
a handful of Kalamata olives, cut in half

Heat olive oil in sauté pan and add chicken thighs, skin side down (if using thighs with skin.)   

Saute until skin is nicely browned (skinless thighs won’t brown as much and will take less time.)

Remove chicken and place on a plate.  Add orzo to pan and sauté until golden.

Add onion and garlic to pan and sauté until onion softens.

Put chicken back in pan, add broth, tomatoes, seasonings and olives.  Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat until chicken is done (approximately 20 minutes) and broth has been absorbed and orzo is al dente.

 Out Now!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Orzo Primavera

A couple of weeks ago a number of us Mystery Lovers attended the annual mystery conference Malice Domestic in Maryland. We have a wonderful time, spending days (and nights) talking to old friends, making new ones, attending panels, applauding tributes to some of our favorite authors, and more. Every now and then we were invited to a party of some sort outside the conference hotel—and believe me, we needed the walk and the fresh air!

Me, Linda Wiken/Erika Chase, and MJ Maffini
(half of Victoria Abbott)
A couple of those took us past a charming specialty food shop, Secolari, which specializes in an amazing array of olive oils and vinegars and flavored pastas. You can even taste the olive oils, dunking with a small cube of country bread. Of course we went in, and of course we bought things. Lots of things. (Would you believe I now have a bar of blood orange olive oil soap? It smells amazing!)

Some of us went home with olive oil. I was flying and my suitcase was pretty full (hmm…books or olive oil? The books won.), so I opted for pasta: three kinds of orzo (hey, it was three for the price of two). I like orzo because it’s easy to cook, and because it’s kind of an inside joke because it looks like rice but it isn’t. It goes with just about anything.

Of course we asked the nice young man behind the counter if he had recipes. He did. We asked if we could borrow a few for our blog? No problem. This was the one that I grabbed, mostly because it’s pretty. 

Orzo Primavera

Ingredients: (Note: as usual, I cut this recipe in half when I made it, because it’s just the two of us eating. As given here it should serve four.)

1 lb. Pappardelle Rainbow Pasta
2 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 Tblsp garlic, minced or pressed (if you’re garlic-phobic, you can reduce this)
3/4 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock, heated
2 Tblsp butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups prepared vegetables (whatever you have on hand)


Par-cook the orzo in a pot of lightly-salted boiling water for 6-8 minutes (it will not be fully cooked yet!). Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again, and set aside.

This stuff expands more than you think when cooked!

In a skillet, sauté the onions in olive oil over medium heat until they are translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.

Add the white wine and reduce the liquid until it is all but dry, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock and continue stirring until the liquid is reduced by half. 

Add the partly-cooked orzo and mix. Then add the rest of the chicken stock, a little at a time. Keep stirring! (Kind of the same principle as risotto.)

Blanch whatever vegetables you’re using (I went with peppers, because the colors are so lovely, but you could substitute carrots, peas, asparagus, broccoli, and so on. Blanch means cook them briefly so they’re partially cooked but still crunchy). 

When the orzo is creamy and al dente (cooked through—keep testing), add the vegetables to the mixture and cook for one minute. Toss with the butter. Taste for seasoning and add salt if you think it’s needed (remember, the cheese will be salty).

Place the orzo mixture in a serving dish or individual bowls. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and serve immediately.

Thank you, Secolari and Pappardelle. Hmm, Malice will be at the same hotel next year—I’ll have to leave some room in my suitcase.

Dead End Street (Museum Mystery #7), coming in three weeks and four days--but who's counting?

Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society President Nell Pratt puts her life on the line to help save the city that she loves--not what she expected when she took the job!

Look for Dead End Street for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Spicy Fish

by Sheila Connolly

Redfish was back this week in my market (okay, flash-frozen then thawed). I loved working with it for my recent Blackened Redfish recipe, because it stands up well to cooking and has a pleasant flavor. The filets are small, but that means they cook fast, so it’s a quick and easy dinner dish.

A pound of filets

 Spicy Fish

4 Tblsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced

1 cup flour
1 tsp ground cumin
1 Tblsp dry mustard
1 Tblsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp curry powder

2 Tblsp cooking oil

1 lb fish filets (skinned)
Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tblsp lemon juice

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat until the garlic just begins to brown (about 3 minutes—do not burn!). Place in a small bowl and set aside to cool for an hour.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and spices.

In a cast-iron skillet, heat the cooking oil over medium-high.

Dredge the fish filets in the flour-spice mixture and shake off the excess. Season with salt and black pepper. Place the filets in the pan and cook until they begin to brown lightly (1-2 minutes). Turn the filets in the pan, then immediately remove the pan from the heat and let the filets rest in the pan for about a minute.

Remember that garlic-flavored oil? Whisk it with the lemon juice to make a kind of vinaigrette, the spoon it over the fish when you serve—it really brightens up the flavor.

I decided to serve orzo on the side, but that would have made a rather blah plate of food. So I took some cauliflower and broccoli and a red pepper that I had on hand and cut them fine, then steamed them in the microwave while I cooked the orzo (which takes longer than you’d think), then blended them at the last minute. Love the colors!

Told you it was easy!

It's been a busy month, with not one but two new books!

Picked to Die is the latest in the Orchard Mystery series. You can find it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Seeing the Dead is the sequel to last year's Relatively Dead, and it looks like it's now part of a series (ebook only). Look for it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Comfort Orzo

by Guest Edith Maxell/Tace Baker
Thanks for inviting me into the kitchen!

I'm thrilled that my debut mystery, Speaking of Murder, will be published by Barking Rain Press in September of this year.  The book is being published under my alter-ego's name, Tace Baker.

In it, the murder of a talented student at a small New England college thrusts linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau into the search for the killer. Lauren is a determined Quaker with an ear for accents. Her investigation exposes small town intrigues, academic blackmail and a clandestine drug cartel that now has its sights set on her.

Convinced that that the key to the crime lies hidden in her dead student's thesis, Lauren races to solve the mystery while an escalating trail of misfortune circles ever closer. Her department chair behaves suspiciously. A century-old local boat shop is torched. Lauren's best friend goes missing and the unsettled relationship with her boyfriend threatens to implode just when she needs him the most.

Lauren doesn't cook, but her sister Jackie does, as well as her boyfriend, Zac Agnant. The following is the end of a scene.

I closed and locked the door behind me. My legs tingled with fatigue and the aftermath of fear. Wulu ran to his dish, back to me, back to the dish, and looked up with expectation on his face.

"Just a minute, Wu. Just give me a minute." I leaned against the door. I sank to the floor, knees up in front of me, groaning when my bruised and swollen knee bent too far for comfort. Wulu ran back, gave a little bark, and then licked my hand. My world was exploding. My head was, too, and I sank it into my hands.

The phone rang. I wanted to reach for it. My ebbing adrenaline fought with being too exhausted to move. I needed to call Natalia, report the incident on the house boat, have her see if Thomas was all right. Coming up with the energy to do that seemed beyond me, though. I closed my eyes for just a second. Just a minute to let the throbbing in my knee ease up.

After Lauren wakes up injured and cold in the dark, she listens to the voicemail and finds Jackie offering to bring dinner over. When Lauren asks what's on the menu, Jackie responds, "Comfort food. Orzo with sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and spicy chicken sausage."

I thought I'd share that recipe with you here. Does this sound like comfort food to you? And what about a mystery that includes linguistics, Haitian cooking, video editing, a heroin-smuggling ring, and small-town life?

Speaking of Murder Comfort Orzo

1/2 box orzo
2 cloves garlic
Olive oil
1/2 c pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 c soaked and drained sun-dried (or dehydrated) tomatoes
1/2 c fresh cherry tomatoes, halved
Handful fresh basil, sliced
4 spicy chicken sausages, sliced 1/4-inch thick

1.      Boil pot of water.

2.      Add orzo and a pinch of salt.

3.      Stir until boiling, then turn heat down but keep boiling, until al dente.

4.      Add 1 T olive oil and garlic to large skillet over medium-low heat and saute until tender.

5.      Add sliced sausages to skillet and brown on both sides.

    6.      Drain orzo, toss with olive oil, and add to other ingredients in skillet.

    7.      Add olives, both kinds of tomatoes, and basil.

8.      Salt and pepper to taste.

9.      Warm together and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese., red wine, a green salad, and a dose of mystery.

Speaking of Murder, a mystery featuring Quaker Linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau, will be published under Edith Maxwell’s pen name of Tace Baker in September, 2012, by Barking Rain Press. You can find Tace at,, and @tacebaker.

Edith Maxwell also writes the Local Foods Mystery series, featuring organic farmer Cam Flaherty and the Locavore Club. A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die will be published by Kensington in the spring of 2013. She has also had short stories in two Level Best anthologies and elsewhere. Edith blogs at, posts at, and is at @edithmaxwell.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Orzo for a late summer weekend lunch

I am in love with orzo in all its forms. This little gem looks like rice and behaves like pasta, because it is. It’s small enough to let pasta sauce or cheese cling to every little morsel. And for the same reason, it makes a great pasta salad. What’s more, everyone in my family seems to love it no matter what I do to it.

As I am expecting weekend guests in mid-September, I thought I’d test something that would work in for a casual lunch in very hot or very cool weather. We may have both the same weekend! Orzo should do the trick whatever the weather.

One of the guests is a vegetarian who has a hankering for shrimp and one is a carnivore who also likes seafood. I am hoping for warm weather and I think this Orzo Salad will do for everyone. So far it passed the husband test with flying colors when I served it in the screen porch on a perfect August day. Whenever I make this, I will now recall that lovely afternoon. Food and memories, that's what it's all about.


½ lb orzo

¼ cup olive oil

1 pound cooked shrimp (with a good squeeze of lemon)

1 clove garlic, minced

3 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard

½ red pepper, finely chopped

½ yellow or orange pepper, finely chopped

2 green onions, finely sliced

½ parsley, finely chopped

¾ cup light mayonnaise or ½ cup mayo and ¼ cup sour cream or plain yogurt

¼ cup chopped fresh dill (optional)

Salt & pepper

Lemon wedges for garnish


Cook orzo in boiling salted water for about 8 minutes. Drain well and drizzle with olive oil and pepper. Set aside.

Toss shrimp with 1 tbsp lemon juice. Set aside.

Make the dressing by combining garlic, mustard, 2 tbsp lemon juice, half the parsley, remaining olive oil and salt and pepper. Whip until creamy.

Coat the shrimp in two tbsp of the dressing. You can also toss in scallops or other seafood. Toss orzo with peppers, green onions, remaining parsley and dressing. Fold in the shrimp and mayo (and sour cream or yogurt). Garnish with dill (optional) and lemon wedges.

Refrigerate for at least an hour for the best flavor. Like all my recipes you can add, subtract, switch it up and substitute. I will never admit that I forgot the parsley.

Serve it with a crisp green salad and vinaigrette. I'm finding wonderful lettuce at farmers' market now. Some of it is like a work of art. Not sure if we should frame it or eat it!

Late summer weekend afternoons are perfect for reading, especially the wonderful cozies that you'll find by our talented cooks here on Mystery Lovers Kitchen. Make more time for cooking and reading by following some practical time management tips. You'll find one in every chapter of my latest book: The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder, the fifth Charlotte Adams mystery. Have fun. Read mysteries. Now that's managing time well. Drop in to for more on me and Charlotte Adams. Sign up for the mailing list and your name goes in the draw!