Greek Braised Chicken with Spinach and Lemony Orzo

I realized recently that most of the recipes I work off of are found online. Entering my kitchen the other day, I looked back in the corner at the plethora of cookbooks I have... and don't use. Oh. Oops? The cookbook that I pulled out {for my turkey lasagna the other week..} is the WW Annual Recipes for Success from 2011. Old school, I know. 

I found myself flipping through the pages, focusing on the chicken and poultry section. There's something about making chicken that makes me feel boring. It actually sends me back to another lifetime when plain, grilled chicken was a staple in my household and I would need to make it by what felt like the ton. Gross. Now, I always want to make chicken, but there's something holding me back. It was probably knowing that this recipe was out there and I just hadn't found it yet. Holy Hannah... this chicken... I can't. 

ingredients:

For the Chicken + Sauce
6 6-oz skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbl flour
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning 
2 cups fat-free/sodium-free chicken broth, divided
1 Tbl lemon juice
4 medium plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved 
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup or 2 oz crumbled feta cheese {reduced fat if available}
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
Optional: 2 Tbl thinly sliced fresh basil for serving

For the Pasta
1 cup Orzo pasta
1 Tbl chicken broth
1 Tbl lemon juice
Optional: Sprinkle of feta cheese

instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, cook pasta according to package.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a bowl {I used a pie plate} combine flour and Italian seasoning. Dredge chicken in flour mixture, reserving the remaining mixture in the bowl.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken and cook 3 minutes per side, until lightly browned. Remove from pan and keep warm.
  4. While chicken cooks, gradually add 1 cup chicken broth and lemon juice into reserved flour mixture, constantly stirring with a whisk until blended.
  5. Add broth mixture to the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until sauce is thick and bubbly, appx 3 minutes.
  6. Return chicken to pan and add the tomatoes, olives, and garlic. Cook 8-10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Stir occasionally. Halfway through cooking time add in spinach leaves to wilt.
  7. When pasta is done, drain and return to hot pot. Stir in chicken broth, lemon juice and cheese if using. 

notes

  • If you don't have Italian seasoning, which I didn't, you can use garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, basil, thyme, and parsley in the flour mixture
  • Recipe adapted from: Braised Chicken with Plum Tomatoes and Feta found in WW Annual Recipes for Success 2011 cookbook

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