Lemon Chicken Skillet Dinner

When you really want dinner in a hurry without a lot of pots and pans to clean up at the end of the meal, look to this recipe. Make this lemon chicken skillet dinner with spinach and orzo and all you'll need is a little side salad.

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This recipe for lemon chicken skillet dinner is quick, simple, but oh so tasty and satisfying. None of the ingredients are unusual or hard to find. In fact, you might have them all on hand at any given time. This meal is actually one of those dinners where you can substitute different ingredients pretty easily as well. If you don’t like spinach, try stirring in some arugula or (dare I say it!) kale. If you don’t have orzo on hand, any other small pasta will do – just be ready to add a minute or two to the cooking time. If you’d like dinner a little sweeter, use an orange and orange juice instead of the lemon.

Ingredients on a cutting board - chicken stock, white wine, cream, onion, lemon, chicken, spinach and garlic.

Searing the chicken is the most important step. Make sure you get good color on the chicken and give it enough time in the pan to cook almost all the way through. Then, just set it aside and give the lemons a little color in the pan. 

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Chicken breasts and lemon slices in a cast iron skillet with tongs and a towel.

After that, adding the onion, garlic, orzo and liquids is all there is to this recipe. Cover and cook until the orzo is tender. Stir in the spinach, cream, return the chicken and cook for a few more minutes. It all comes together very easily and dinner is done in one pan. Quick dinner and quick clean up too!

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Lemon chicken skillet dinner on aa white plate with a side salad.

Lemon Chicken, Spinach and Orzo Skillet Dinner

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 25 m
  • Total Time: 40 m
  • Servings:
    4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 4- to 5-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • olive oil
  • 1 small lemon sliced
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • cups dried orzo pasta
  • ½ cup white wine
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • zest of 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Combine the flour and dried thyme and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Dredge the chicken breasts in the seasoned flour.
  2. Pre-heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and brown the dredged chicken on both sides. Transfer the browned chicken to a side plate. Add the lemon slices to the skillet and sear them quickly, until slightly browned. Set them aside on the plate with the chicken.
  3. Add the onions to skillet and sauté for a few minutes until they start to brown. Add the minced garlic and orzo and sauté for another 2 minutes, just to toast the orzo. Add the white wine and deglaze the pan by scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the skillet. Add the lemon juice and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 12 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking process.
  4. Stir in the baby spinach, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Return the browned chicken and lemon slices to the pan and sprinkle the lemon zest on top. Simmer over low heat for a few more minutes until the chicken is warmed through and serve.
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