Skillet Chicken with Cheesy Orzo and Zucchini
Skillet Chicken with Cheesy Orzo and Zucchini

Chicken and pasta and cheese, oh my! Zucchini adds some veggie love to this weeknight meal, and the best part? The whole thing cooks in one pan, minimizing the mess.

One-pan dinners have a real beauty, and it’s not just due to the fact that there’s only one pan to wash up.

There’s just so much satisfaction in placing a pan right in the center of the table and essentially scooping up your entire meal. It’s family dining at its finest. (Just watch out for the hot pan!)

How to serve this pan chicken

Serve this skillet dinner straight from the stove with the chicken breasts in the orzo and let everyone create their own portions.

Alternatively, once the whole dish is cooked, remove the chicken from the pan, slice it, and then place it back onto the orzo mixture. This makes it easy for people to take what they like – and come back for more.

Add a side salad

This dish definitely stands on its own as the veggies are built right in thanks to the zucchini, but it also pairs great with a simple salad that you can prepare while the orzo and chicken cook. Try one of these salads for a light, crunchy partner to this comfort food dish.

  • Kale Caesar Salad with Creamy Parmesan Dressing
  • Grapefruit Avocado Salad
  • Spinach and radish salad with feta
  • Romaine and kale salad with lemon dressing

Leftovers are great for lunch!

This recipe makes quite a bit of cheesy orzo with zucchini, maybe more than you’ll eat at this meal. But you can bag up any leftovers and reheat later in the week for lunch or as a side for a bonus round – my favorite variety.

Fried Chicken with Cheesy Orzo and Zucchini

preparation time
15 minutes

cooking time
30 minutes

total time
45 minutes

up to 6 servings

If you want to swap the zucchini for 2 cups of small florets of broccoli or peas, both are good options.


  • 1 to 2 tablespoon olive oilas needed

  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (4 to 6 pieces)

  • 1 Middle yellow onionchopped (about 1 cup)

  • 1 1/2 cups dried orzo

  • 2 Middle zucchinidiced (about 2 cups)

  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt

  • 3 cups chicken broth

  • 1 Cup half and half (or whole milk)

  • 1/2 Cup Cheddargrated

  • 1/2 Cup font or Havarti, grated


  1. Roast Chicken:

    In a very large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.

    Sear the chicken about 4 minutes on each side or until browned but not cooked through. (It should still be slightly pink in the center if you choose to cut into one of the pieces to test.) Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

  2. Boil the onions and add the orzo:

    Reduce the heat to medium-low, adding the remaining tablespoon of olive oil if needed (if there’s about a tablespoon of oil left in the pan, skip it).

    Add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes until they start to soften. Add the orzo and stir for another minute to coat with the oil and onions.

  3. Add zucchini and broth and let simmer:

    Stir in the zucchini, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the chicken broth, increase the heat to medium-high and allow the liquid to simmer for about 3 minutes, scraping off any browned bits from the bottom.

    Stir in half and half and simmer for about 2 minutes. Cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is almost tender, about 8 minutes. Most of the liquid will be absorbed, but it should still be fairly runny at this point.

  4. Add the cheese and chicken:

    Sprinkle in the cheese in batches, stirring after each addition until the cheese is completely melted. Taste the orzo after all of the cheese has been added, adding additional salt if needed.

    Tuck the browned chicken into the top of the orzo mixture and drizzle over any juices that have collected from the chicken’s resting.

    Cover the pan and simmer for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the chicken is tender (165°F using a digital thermometer) and the orzo and zucchini are tender. The orzo mixture will have thickened slightly but should still be quite spicy, like a very fluffy risotto.

  5. Serve immediately:

    Serve the chicken and orzo hot from the pan.

nutritional information (per serving)
571 calories
22g Fat
25g carbohydrates
66g protein
Previous articleLion House Rolls
Next articleSlow Cooker Chicken and Rice Soup
Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!