We get asked a lot what we make when we just ‘can’t be bothered’ and, honestly, that feeling occurs more often than you might think. Finding recipes and trying new things will always be exciting, but sometimes you just need a meal you know will work, tastes good and requires minimal effort. This lemon chicken with orzo is one of those. Orzo is rice-shaped pasta and is easy to find in supermarkets, but you can swap it for whatever tiny pasta you can find. We shan’t judge. If you have any leftovers, shred the chicken down, mix with any leftover orzo and leave to dry out a little in the fridge overnight. The next day, form them into ‘burgers’ and gently fry them – fantastic with some sour cream.
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsp onion granules
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
6 boneless chicken thighs
1/2 tsp dried thyme
750ml chicken stock
zest and juice of 1 lemon
150g fresh peas, cooked and drained (or see note)
1. Preheat the oven to 220C/ 200C fan/gas 7 and line a large baking tray with tinfoil.
2. Mix together half the crushed garlic cloves, onion granules, mixed herbs, black pepper and paprika and rub this mix over the chicken thighs. Place on the baking tray and cook in the oven for 40 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, place a large pan over a medium heat and spray with a bit of oil. Add the orzo and cook for 45-60 seconds, stirring continuously. Add the rest of the crushed garlic to the pan with the thyme and mix well, then stir in the chicken stock a little at a time.
4. Bring to the boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the orzo is cooked.
5. Remove the lid, add the lemon zest, juice and peas and stir well.
6. Serve the lemon chicken with orzo.
NOTES FROM PAUL You can use chicken breasts instead of thighs if you prefer. Frozen peas will work fine, too – just whack them in the microwave for 30 seconds to thaw them a bit before chucking them in.
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TwoChubbyCubs The Cookbook: 100 Tried and Tested Slimming Recipes by James and Paul Anderson is published by Yellow Kite, price £20. To order a copy for £16 with free p&p until 30 April, go to mailshop.co.uk or call 01603 648155.