feta and tomato orzo pasta with pat’s favorite chicken

After preparing dinner for my husband in our newly-unpacked 1-bedroom apartment, I had a realization. Up until last night, I have truly taken for granted the expansive counter space in my parents kitchen. And that great little invention called the dishwasher. Oh, and don’t forget a sink that is bigger than the pan I am trying to wash…

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Cooking in our “new” kitchen is definitely a challenge. But who says I’m not up for a challenge?

Last night’s menu was feta and tomato orzo pasta with “Pat’s favorite chicken” and fresh white-nectarines, a.k.a the best fruit to ever touch my lucky taste-buds.

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ingredients for the orzo:

for the dressing

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

for the pasta:

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound orzo
  • 2 cups grape or teardrop tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 7-oz package feta cheese, broken in small cubes
  • 1 cup chopped basil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup pine-nuts *although I omitted these because they are the one food I can’t stand.

directions: 

  1. Bring the chicken broth to a boil and add the orzo, cooking until tender. Drain and allow to cool. (This may be done in advance, as it may take awhile for the pasta to cool.)
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice and honey, then slowly add the olive oil while mixing. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Chop the basil and green onions into small pieces. (Or if you don’t have fresh basil because you are on a newly-wed-college-student budget like me, you can use dried basil…) Cut the tomatoes in bite-size pieces.
  4. Toss the pasta in the dressing and add the chopped vegetables. Sprinkle with feta cheese and toss lightly.

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ingredients for “Pat’s favorite chicken:”

  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (or freshly-pressed garlic if you have it on hand…)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and mix well.
  3. In a large skillet, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat.
  4. While the oil is heating, coat the chicken breasts with the well-mixed seasonings.
  5. Place the chicken breasts in the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until they start to brown. *if you like your chicken to have a “crunchy” outside, cook a little longer, however not too long or it will become tough.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a small pan, lined with tin-foil.
  7. Cook the chicken in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the insides appear white.

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Summer food is so delicious, I didn’t even mind the heaping mountain of dishes I had to conquer after dinner…buon appetito! 

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