Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Recipe | Family Life | Weekends + {More} Soup

Yesterday, when saying good bye to the other preschool moms, I wished everyone a "happy weekend".  It was Monday.  I sure hope that isn't any indication of a dragging week ahead.  I'm occasionally off by a day, but a whole week?!

We did have a nice weekend even though it already feels like we are due for another.  We've been watching Emma, my parent's dog since last week.  Is this joy or desperation on her face???

She actually far prefers being my kitchen companion than the boys' playmate, but she is a good sport and puts up with their shenanigans.

Friday night we walked into town for pizza....

The pizza parlor is just off the square, in what was once the village library.  Next door is a gift shop that was originally referred to as the "five and dime."

I spent my ENTIRE Saturday organizing Lego with Andrew.  His room had become a safety hazard and I couldn't take it a second longer.  It feels good to have it all in order and I just hope he can make it last, at least for a few weeks.  Because I certainly kept my room neat as a pin growing up. {insert lots of laughter and eye rolling from my parents + brother}  Sunday morning, I went to see the Hunger Games with friend Katie and her 11 week old baby, Elise.  Baby slept through the whole movie and we ate popcorn at 10:00 in the morning.  We had a little chuckle about feeling a bit sacrilegious, both of us Catholic, watching the Hunger Games no less, on a Sunday morning.  The movie was pretty good, but the book is so much better. No big surprise.   Which brings me to soup...Katie and I both had a slight obsession with Panera's chicken orzo soup last summer.  She was pregnant and had a good excuse, I on the other hand, just suffered from unexplained cravings.  When fall arrived and Panera slowly started phasing out the soup we would text each other when we found a location that still carried it and then grab it for lunch or dinner.  But sadly, one day, all was depleted and I don't see any signs of it coming back this year.  I had searched for some recipes online but they just didn't sound right.  I finally stumbled on this one via pinterest, made a few tweaks and viola, "nailed it" {Katie's words, not mine}  Anyway, it is good, really healthy, very springy, and addictive.  Enjoy....

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
2 tsp olive oil
1 c diced carrots
1 c diced celery
1 small onion, diced
half of a chicken breast, with skin + bone
1 cup roughly chopped spinach
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
3/4 c orzo pasta
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
8 - 10 cups chicken broth
2 lemons

Preheat oven to 350.  Rub chicken breast with olive oil, season liberally with salt + pepper, place on baking sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes, remove, loosely cover with foil and let sit.  I made a whole chicken breast.  I used half for the soup and saved the other half for stuffed manicotti the next night. Turn up heat to 400.  Slice one lemon and place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Roast lemon slices for 20 min. Remove and set aside.

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 2 tsp olive oil over med. heat.  Add carrot, celery and onion and saute for about 6-8 min.  Add 8 cups broth, spinach, thyme, and orzo, season with salt and pepper.  Bring to boil, cover partially with lid and reduce heat, let simmer for about 15 -20 min.    

While soup is simmering peel skin off chicken and cut meat away from the bone.  Shred chicken. Add chicken to soup along with the zest and juice of one lemon.

Stir + serve.  Top soup with roasted lemon slices.  Yum, yum.... 
Tip: Add additional broth as needed. After soup sits for a while the pasta absorbs broth and you'll need to thin it back out.  


  1. I'm thinking rotisserie chicken would work in this too. Looks like a great recipe.

    1. yep, agree, rotisserie would be perfect too!!

  2. This looks like wonderful soup and I've printed off the recipe -- sounds easy to make and sooo good! Our little town doesn't have a Panera so I've never even had it!!! Love walking to the Pizza Parlor -- that IS the fun of living in a small town!

  3. I think it's so cool that you can walk into town for pizza! Oh how I would love to not live so far out in the country and closer to an actual town....someday. That panera soup sounds yummy...I will have to check the menu next time I am there! I love that your friend said, "nailed it!" :)

  4. This weather is perfect soup weather and this recipe sounds yummy! I just want to kiss Emma's nose. She looks so sweet!

  5. Love your little town! You have to share your method for organizing legs (especially if its a successful one!). I have yet to find a way to keep the legos organized in a way that's easy for my boys to maintain.

    1. well, the jury is out on how well it works. so far, so good, but it's only been three days. all broken sets or pieces were dissembled and sorted by color. for the intact creations, we also sorted by series into large bins on wheels. he has star wars ships/vehicles in one bin, star wars characters in another, avengers in another and so forth. we left a few empty shelves for new creations and a bin to dump newly destroyed sets before he can take them apart and sort by color. i used plastic containers with divided compartments for sorting. also plastic dish tubs {couple dollars at walmart}. see through containers are best for any sort of storage and skip the lids. hope that helps!

  6. I will def. try this soup - love orzo and am really wishing, due to allergies, that this was already made and simmering on my stove at this moment. Or rather, that we lived near each other and you could bring me some! :)

    Does the mirror in the top pic have an eagle on it? I spied one at an antique store yesterday that I'm contemplating buying. Can't decide...

    1. T ~ it sure does! i love my federal eagle mirror! if you found an old wood one {like mine} snatch it up. i officially approve and support the purchase! haha!! mine was a christmas gift from jimmy this year. i had been looking at them for some time but they were either too big, too expensive or knock-offs of the real thing. happy shopping!! :)

  7. Oh Emma is just darling! We have a golden puppy and they are the best dogs! I would love to try that soup - and I would love to live in that beautiful town!

  8. That dog must be a patient soul. Your town looks so idyllic...would love to be able to walk to somewhere (besides the pasture!) Love Panera! Your soup sounds delicious. How bad would it change the flavor if I leave out the carrots? I am one of those bad children who doesn't eat her carrots. (Wonder if that is why I have to wear contacts AND glasses at the same time!)

    1. kelly ~ you could easily leave out the carrots. i think they are more for color and texture than taste in this soup!

  9. Tessa, your town looks adorable. One of things I love about living in Vienna is that we can walk everywhere. Being able to walk into town for dinner is a luxury! And, I had to laugh because yesterday as I was leaving my doctor, I told him 'Have a great weekend!'. I'm so happy I'm not the only one that does that! :)

  10. Love your little town. I want to live in a little town like that! i spent all day Saturday too with Legos, except we were making them. My kids usually just want the lego people but recently the oldest is getting into building the entire set, yet needs help. So that's what we did for hours on Saturday, and we only completed 1 star wars ship.


  11. Tessa, made this today while the kids were at school. So yummy!! Thank you for sharing!


  12. Hi Tessa!
    Stopped by to catch up with you....your town is so pretty! Love that photo of your federal mirror with the flowers and pretty curtains. Am going to try that soup...looks yummy!
    Take care...Michelle

  13. Hi Tessa,

    I love your blog as well as your Pinterest page. You inspire me with all your energy to be so creative in the kitchen and the home while busy with your sons. You meals look amazing and your home is beautiful! Thank you for sharing them with us.

    - Meg

  14. Looks like a yummy recipe to try! I saw it first on Everyday Occasions by Jenny Steffens Hobick. I had to stop by and check it out after hearing how she loved it!
    I'm going to put it on my menu for next week. I can't wait to try it!

  15. This looks like the perfect lemony chicken soup I have been looking for. To prevent the Orzo from absorbing too much broth and stay a bit firm, cook it separately for 7 minutes, then add to the soup. I learned this from Ina Gartens Easy tomato soup. It works perfectly.

  16. i actually try this recipes once when i visited my husband home town ,also tried to cooking it (my mother inlaw thought me) well its really tasty and very tasty meal indeed