Roasted Chicken Orzo Salad

21 Feb

Yet another week in Vegas for a conference, followed by a sweet wedding on Valentine’s Day, and another resulting cold from the hectic schedule.  Lucky for me, I only have one more work week in Vegas this year, but I’m looking forward to the 2 month break between now and then…as is my immunity.  Doesn’t alcohol kill all the germs?  j/k.

I did have one of those moments you’re supposed to have in life while there though – I had to speak in public.  Now I’ve presented in a small room, presented in front of about 400 customers, even presented on camera – that’s the easiest for me actually.  But this time…in front of ~5000 of my coworkers…well, it was the longest 2 minutes of my life.  I know – you were thinking it was probably a lengthy hour long speech.  Nope – a two minute product demo.  I woke up every two hours the night before and didn’t eat breakfast because I was in fear that something might upset the delicate balance of my existence that morning…all over a 2 minute event. Luckily, it was filmed and upon playback I found out that I didn’t do anything worthy of an HR phone call, but hats off to all of the professional orators and presenters out there.  You guys are rockstars for keeping cool under that kind of pressure!

Lucky for me, my typical performance has an audience of one:  my dog.  On a rare occasion, two, which would include my husband, with this week’s act being a roasted chicken orzo salad.

{Gina’s Take}

This recipe is strangely comforting yet fresh and light all at the same time.  The warm pasta makes it cozy and the crunchy celery and peppers give it a healthy snap.

It’s fairly simple – veggies in one dish; chicken in the other; bake the dishes and boil the pasta at the same time and you’re all set.  Combine and sprinkle the goat cheese over the top while the pasta is still warm and it will soften beautifully over your dish.

And as always – a special thanks to my friend Toni for ever so generously letting me borrow her beautiful ceramics featured.

{Pretty Little Tip}

Like a little extra zing?  Give this dish an extra dash of crushed red pepper or an extra squeeze of a lemon.  I like both.



Roasted Chicken Orzo Salad


  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, cut in half lengthwise and chopped
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh minced garlic - divided
  • 1/2 tsp oregano - divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt - divided
  • 1/4 tsp pepper - divided
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper - divided
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil - divided
  • 2 chicken breasts (~1lb), cubed
  • 1 lemon - Zest and Juice, separated
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled


  1. In an 8"x8" (or 9"x9") oven safe pan, combine the tomatoes, bell pepper, celery, basil, and half of each the garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and oil. Toss together and distribute evenly in the pan.
  2. In a 9"x13" oven safe pan, combine the chicken, lemon zest, and remaining garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and oil. Toss together and distribute evenly in the pan.
  3. In a preheated 450F oven, place both pans in the oven and cook for about 13 minutes, until the chicken is cooked thoroughly.
  4. While the chicken and veggies are in the oven, prepare the orzo as instructed on the package. Once the orzo is cooked, drain well and transfer to a bowl.
  5. After the chicken and veggies are cooked, add them to the bowl with the orzo and toss with lemon juice until evenly mixed. Top with dish with goat cheese & serve

3 Responses to “Roasted Chicken Orzo Salad”

  1. milena velba February 23, 2014 at 6:01 am #

    Can I promote this on my twitter?

  2. Virginia Mabry May 21, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    I made this a couple of weeks ago. It is a perfect light dinner for summer and it’s simple to make. I would make this again but with less celery (gray doesn’t like it)

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