I like the challenge of making delicious & easy weeknight meals using as few ingredients as possible, preferably 5 or less not including the basics (like salt, pepper, turmeric, onions & garlic – I put that ish in everything!).

This is one of my family’s favorites & can be made in so many variations – AND cleanup is easy!  It’s 1 skillet Chicken & Orzo. It is basically an “Italian” version of my son’s favorite chicken & rice pilaf.

Try this simple recipe with your family with a veg or 2 on the side, or cooked directly into to orzo.


  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, sliced or chopped
  • 4-6 chicken thighs, skin on
  • 1 cup of orzo
  • 2 ½ cups of water or broth (get a simple recipe here)
  • salt, pepper & herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil) to taste
  • add seasonal chopped veggies, root vegetables, green beans, peas & greens work really well for this (optional)

The Process:

First things first, preheat the oven to 400°.  Brown the chicken on all sides in the skillet.  If you’re using a cast iron skillet you won’t need much oil, if any.  If you’re using (a high sided) stainless pan, use just enough oil to coat the bottom of the skillet.  I don’t suggest using any other kind of pan for this.

Once the chicken is browned on all sides, move it off to a plate for later.  Here’s what you’ll be left with… DRIPPINGS!!!!  THIS is cooking GOLD.  Nothing is more valuable than drippings.

To this pan full of goodness, add the onions & garlic with just about a tablespoon of water to help stir up the drippings. Then add the orzo & sauté on medium heat until the onions get a little translucent & the orzo starts to look a little “toasty”.  Trust me, you’ll know when you see/smell it.

Pour in the rest of the water, stir, & bring to a boil.  Then put the chicken on top of everything & put the pan into a preheated 400º oven & bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, poke the chicken with a fork to make sure the juices run clear.  If they don’t, put the pan back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Trust me the orzo will be okay.  If the water has been soaked up, just add more a little (1/4 cup max) at a time.

What you DON’T want is under-cooked chicken.  Keep checking on it in 5-10 minute intervals until the juices run clear.

Once it’s done, I serve it right from the pan.  There’s a rustic sweetness to it served from a cast iron skillet.



  1. You can substitute chicken breasts or tenderloins for the thighs if you want a lighter version.  Dark meat has more flavor & juiciness so that’s what I prefer.  A happy medium would be boneless skinless thighs.
  2. Substitute brown rice for the orzo, but be prepared to cook it a longer – at least 40 -45 minutes.
  3. Do NOT open the oven once you put the skillet in.  You’ll let out heat & it’ll take longer to cook.  I usually just turn on the light to see if all the water is gone.  If it is, I open to taste it, make adjustments & close it right back up.  If I have to cook for more time, do it in small 5-10 minute increments.

This is also my method for making 1 Skillet Chicken & Rice Pilaf.  Only difference is I add a LOT more flavorings (dried basil, thyme, rosemary, celery (sometimes), bell pepper (sometimes)).  Other than that the process is pretty much the same & so is the time.

I love this because it’s pretty hands off once you get things going, especially if you chop, prep, & store ingredients ahead of time.

After sushi & shrimp & grits, this is my 8 year old’s favorite!  So go ahead… Give this recipe a try – on a WEEKNIGHT!

And let me know how it works out for you.  Also, if you come up with any tips or tricks to make it even easier, share with us!

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