Skillet Chicken and Orzo

Skillet Chicken and Orzo

A shallow serving dish with Skillet Chicken and Orzo garnished with fresh herbs by Compelled to Cook. A cast iron skillet with a serving spoon sits in the background.

Weeknight cooking can be hard!

You forgot to take something out of the freezer, the fridge is empty, and you only have an hour to get something on the table. This is just a few of the hurtles busy families face daily in the quest to enjoy a family meal together. Skillet Chicken and Orzo is a great weeknight meal that’s easy to prepare, dirties only one pot and can be on the table in about an hour. It’s also super delicious with minimal effort.

Tips to easier weeknight meals

1. Make a meal plan for the week which can be as simple as writing down what meals you intend to prepare. Have fun with it by including the family in your choices. Including others helps to identify preferences and dishes that everyone likes.

 2. Make only one trip to the grocery store by purchasing the ingredients needed for each meal in advance.

3. Take items out of the freezer to have completely thawed and ready for use.

4. Make simple dishes that can be on the table within an hour or so.

5. Make dishes that other family members can help with such as washing and chopping vegetables.

6. Make only one meal that everyone can/will eat. So if you have a dish that everyone loves except the “onion” hater, then make the dish without onions and therefore suitable for everyone.

7. Don’t be afraid to settle for something as simple as eggs on toast for supper.  Eggs are very nutritious and quick to prepare. Make them a great meal by simply sauteeing up a few greens, sausage and/or vegetables.  Top with olives, cheese, breadcrumbs, or chives for a great weeknight meal. 

8. If you gotta give your 5-year-old a “grilled cheese night” in exchange for eating other meals later in the week, then everyone eats grilled cheese, making it about balance and compromise.  Besides, who doesn’t like grilled cheese!!

9. Stick mostly to recipes/dishes you are comfortable and familiar with making during your busiest days.  No one wants to fumble around with a new recipe when time is tight.

10. Make extra when you can and freeze for use later, either as a leftover lunch or a meal for someone who gets home late.

 

Panfried chicken thighs in a cast iron skillet in preparation for Skillet Chicken and Orzo.
Sauteed mushrooms in preparation for Skillet Chicken and Orzo in a cast iron skillet on a metal trivet.

The key to Skillet Chicken and Orzo is to give the chicken and mushrooms a good sear. The mushrooms need a very hot pan and should not be overcrowded. Resist the urge to stir them and you will hear them “squeak”. That is a sign that they are becoming golden on the bottom and starting to release some of their liquid. The chicken also benefits from a good sear that helps to render the fat and crisp up the skin. Taking the time to brown both ingredients lends to a more flavourful dish that you’ll want to make again and again. Enjoy!

A cast iron skillet with Skillet Chicken and Orzo ready to be served and garnished with fresh herbs by Compelled to Cook.

Want more great weeknight options? Here are a few of my favourites.

Tarragon Chicken Cutlets

Red Curry Coconut Shrimp

Mushroom and Arugula Quinoa Bowls

 

A shallow serving dish with Skillet Chicken and Orzo garnished with fresh herbs by Compelled to Cook. A cast iron skillet with a serving spoon sits in the background.

A shallow serving dish with Skillet Chicken and Orzo garnished with fresh herbs by Compelled to Cook. A cast iron skillet with a serving spoon sits in the background.
Skillet Chicken and Orzo
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    3-4 people 50 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    25 minutes 2 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    3-4 people 50 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    25 minutes 2 minutes
    A shallow serving dish with Skillet Chicken and Orzo garnished with fresh herbs by Compelled to Cook. A cast iron skillet with a serving spoon sits in the background.
    Skillet Chicken and Orzo
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      3-4 people 50 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      25 minutes 2 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      3-4 people 50 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      25 minutes 2 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: people
      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 350℉
      2. Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a cast iron or oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. When the oil is hot add chicken thighs and cook about 5-6 minutes per side until skin browned. Remove to a plate.
      3. Using the same skillet, heat the remaining oil until hot over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and allow to cook without stirring until bottoms are golden and moisture is starting to evaporate. Once they have browned give them a stir and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and shallots and cook for 3-5 minutes until starting to soften, stirring occasionally.
      4. Add wine and allow to reduce for about 3 minutes. Stir in broth, orzo, cream cheese, herbs, salt and pepper. Once the cream cheese is fully incorporated add the chicken back to the pan with the skin side up. Push chicken down into pasta as far as they will go. Cover with a lid or tin foil and bake for 20-25 minutes.
      5. Remove from oven and turn oven to broil. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and broil for 1-2 minutes to melt the cheese. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 2 minutes prior to serving.
      Recipe Notes

      I personally like the garden vegetable cream cheese, however you may also like the garlic cream cheese.

      Product Favourites!

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      I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
      Cranberry Pork Rib Roast

      Cranberry Pork Rib Roast

      Move over turkey, there’s another succulent, juicy, easy to carve meat in town.  Cranberry Pork Rib Roast is an excellent way to entertain and impress this holiday season.  Flavoured with rosemary, mustard and garlic, it roasts up beautifully in a couple of hours.  Served with a cranberry apple sauce gives it a wonderfully delicious holiday flare that’s sure to impress.

      I love pork rib roasts for the bones.  They provide a little extra fat and flavour, plus, they help to keep the roast moist throughout the roasting process.  This stunning pork rib roast is just as much a showpiece as your golden turkey, it’s easy to carve and perfect for 6-10 people, depending on size and how you slice it.  Pork and apples are a natural pairing, which makes the cranberry apple sauce the perfect accompaniment to this lovely roast.  Enjoy!

      Recipe source for Cranberry Pork Rib Roast:  Compelled To Cook

      Cranberry Pork Rib Roast
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        6-10 people 30 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        120 minutes 20-30 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        6-10 people 30 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        120 minutes 20-30 minutes
        Cranberry Pork Rib Roast
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          6-10 people 30 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          120 minutes 20-30 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          6-10 people 30 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          120 minutes 20-30 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: people
          Instructions
          Pork Rib Roast
          1. Preheat oven to 475℉. Pat roast dry with a paper towel and season generously on all sides with salt and pepper. In a small bowl whisk together remaining ingredients until smooth and rub evenly onto the roast. Place roast on a large baking tray or shallow roasting pan fat side up. Cook for 15 minutes in preheated oven then reduce temperature to 350℉. Continue to roast for 90-120 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 145℉. The meat will continue to rise about 10℉ as it rests.
          2. Remove roast from oven and cover loosely with foil. Allow to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes before carving. For larger appetites, you can carve the roast into chops between the bones and serve. Alternatively, you can carve off the bones from the center loin, allowing you to slice the loin to your desired thickness. Cut the ribs between the bones and serve along side.
          Cranberry Apple Sauce
          1. Heat oil in a small saucepan and sauté shallots for 1-2 minutes until starting to soften. Add cranberries, apple, 1/2 cup water, white wine, brown sugar, rosemary and ginger. Allow to simmer gently, stirring occasionally until the cranberries are soft and the apples are tender. This will take about 20 minutes and most of the excess moisture will be evaporated.
          2. Stir in jellied cranberry, cinnamon and salt, allowing the jellied cranberry to melt into the sauce. Adjust consistency with a tablespoon or two of water if necessary. The sauce can be made ahead and warmed gently for serving. Makes 1 3/4 cups of sauce.