July 27, 2010

... Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken

I feel like I've started out nearly every post lately with 'this is such a great recipe for summer...', but, hey, shoot me.  It's summer!  This one was so easy to whip up and has great texture with the crunchy fresh veggies, smooth orzo pasta, and flavorful lemon dressing.  And you know how big of a fan I am of rotisserie chicken - hello time saver!

This was terrific as a weeknight dinner.  I think it literally took me 20 minutes to put together.  It'd be great to take to a picnic, or a get together, too, as it can definitely be made ahead of time and I'm sure the flavors just get better the longer they've had time to blend.  So, before we can't say 'it's summer!' any more, be sure to take a few minutes to give this recipe a shot.

Lemony Orzo-Veggie Salad with Chicken
serves 4

3/4 cup uncooked orzo
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded, skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
1/2 cup diced English cucumber
1/2 cup prechopped red bell pepper
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese

Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.  Drain and rinse with cold water; drain and place in a large bowl.

While orzo cooks, combine lemon rind and next 6 ingredients (through black pepper), stirring well with a whisk.  Drizzle juice mixture over orzo; toss to coat.  Add chicken and next 4 ingredients (through dill); toss gently to combine.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Taylor's Notes:
Ok, first off, find a colander with teeny little holes.  If you don't, all of your orzo will fall through the colander into the sink.  Not good, my friends, not good.  If you don't have a teeny-holed colander, you can drain the pasta with the lid to the pot - just be careful not to burn yourself with the steam - or let the orzo fall through.  It's not rocket science, but it is a little tricky.

Secondly, do you know the brand Alouette?  If not, you should check it out.  They have several great flavors of creamy spreads that are the consistency of cream cheese with great herbs.  What I just discovered, though, is that they also have cheese crumbles.  As in, goat cheese crumbles.  And they're delicious and easy and you should definitely give them a shot when you make this recipe.

And, lastly... enjoy!

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