Mary Beth Johnson is a photographer, blogger, and journalist with a passion for finding beauty in unexpected places and celebrating the everyday. Originally from the east coast, she now lives in Oklahoma with her husband and three children (dubbed "schooners”). From an office full of fingerprints and walls scattered with imperfect artwork, she’s writing her first book, a memoir of her parents' journey in raising 14 children, and her own lifestyle blog, Annapolis & Company.
Everyone should have a comfortable soup recipe to fall back on for those times in life when you need a feel-good meal or a quick fix for a sore throat. This chicken orzo soup has been there for me countless times and never failed me. The ingredients are all easy to keep on hand and if I stop to pick up a rotisserie chicken I can make it in around 30 minutes - such a blessing on nights when I need something on the dinner table pronto or a nice lunch for a friend coming over last minute.
The thing I love about soup is that it is easy to customize. You can make this vegetarian by omitting the chicken and using vegetable broth - it will still be hearty and flavorful with the fresh parsley and avocado on top. Speaking of avocado, do not skip it...I think it makes this soup!
//CHICKEN VEGETABLE SOUP WITH ORZO
1 ready-cooked rotisserie chicken (or 3-4 large, cooked chicken breasts)
1 medium onion, diced
2 minced garlic cloves
8-10 oz of frozen mixed veggies (or feel free to add in a couple cups of the fresh veggies of your choice in place of the frozen!)
1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
5 cups of lower sodium chicken broth
1 cup of water
1/4 tsp. pepper salt to taste (check and see if you think it needs it at the end)
1 1/2 cups of cooked orzo (according to package directions).
Cook orzo to al dente, not super soft ripe avocado for serving
Heat chicken broth, water, and tomatoes in a large pot while you dice up all the meat (both white and dark) from the rotisserie chicken. Place the chicken in the pot with the broth (heat should be on about medium). Heat oil in a skillet and dice onion. Place onion in skillet and cook until soft but not brown, stirring occasionally. Add in garlic and cook another minute or two, until good and fragrant. Add in 8-10 oz of frozen veggies, and sauté for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then throw it all in the pot with the chopped parsley, pepper, and cooked orzo.
Let it all simmer about 10 minutes, and serve each bowl with sliced avocado on top. Enjoy!