A Squared: What's For Dinner Wednesday: Easy Baked Caprese Orzo with Chicken

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Easy Baked Caprese Orzo with Chicken

Life is finally starting to quiet down around here and I could not be more thankful. It's been so nice to have a stretch of a few days with no real plans to just get back to normal again. I'm still feeling super busy just trying to catch up on all of my daily routine things like cleaning, laundry, and errands that I neglected during my whirlwind of travel... And it isn't leaving tons of time to experiment in the kitchen as I like to do. These time constraints have helped me flex my creative muscles in a different way though. And I've become an expert in shortcut cooking recently.


If there are three qualities I want in any dinner, it's that I can make it ahead of time, it's all conveniently made in one dish (read: casserole sans weird canned soups), and that it have big bold flavor. This dinner recipe meets all of that criteria and it gets bonus points for featuring one of my favorite flavor profiles: the classic Italian trifecta of tomato, basil, and mozzarella.


This baked orzo comes together quickly- especially if you utilize a few key shortcut ingredients. A precooked rotisserie chicken, jarred pesto sauce, and a bag of shredded mozzarella will cut your prep time drastically without sacrificing flavor. You could make this a day ahead, even further ahead and freeze it, or put it together on a weeknight for a quick 30-minute meal.



Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup dry orzo
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, cubed or shredded *A rotisserie chicken works nicely here.
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup prepared pesto
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
  • 3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a small baking dish by lightly coating with olive oil or cooking spray.
Cook orzo according to package directions until al dente. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl. 

To the mixing bowl, add chicken, tomatoes, peppers, pesto, and 3/4 cup mozzarella. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Spread into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with remaining mozzarella and the grated Parmesan.

Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly. Serve warm.

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