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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
Sundried Tomato Chicken Orzo

What's Orzo?

If you've never tried orzo, now is the time. I know; there are so many different types of grains and grain products it's difficult to try them all. You've been told to try barley, couscous, quinoa and bulgur, but the product that makes it to the plate the most is pasta. Did you know that orzo is simply a form of pasta?

Like most pasta, orzo is made by combining durum wheat flour, called semolina, with a liquid, usually water. Once the dough is formed its rolled flat and cut into a pasta shape that resembles rice. In fact, many people who see orzo get it confused with rice. However, orzo is slightly larger. When searching for it in the grocery store you may tend to steer toward the rice aisle, but it's the pasta aisle where you will likely find it.

Nutritionally, orzo is similar to rice. Ounce for ounce they contain similar amounts of fat, carbohydrate and sodium. Like rice, orzo can be made with whole grains, which adds more fiber and nutrients, but it may be harder to find. Orzo makes a great substitute for rice and because its so small, it doesn't take long to cook. Use orzo in soups and stews, in stuffed peppers, or as a base for a cold salad. Boil it in broth and add Parmesan cheese for an easy side dish. You can't go wrong with this tiny pasta!

Sun-dried Tomato Orzo with Chicken (Printable PDF)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ½-inch pieces

1 large clove garlic, chopped

2 ¾ cup low sodium chicken broth

1 ¼ cup uncooked orzo pasta

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

? cup julienne-cut sundried tomatoes, not in oil

In a large skillet or stew pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Transfer chicken onto a plate and cover to keep warm. Add garlic to hot pan; sauté for 20-30 seconds, being careful not to burn. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Add orzo, and boil uncovered for 9-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (It will not soak up all the broth; you need for a sauce). Stir in cheese and sundried tomatoes. Serve warm.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 310 calories, 8 grams fat, 190 milligrams sodium, 32 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 26 grams protein

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