Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup


Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup was one word....amazing!  Let me start off by saying...Chicken soup is NOT one of my favorite kinds of soups...I am more of a vegetable soup girl...but the flavors of this soup worked so well together, I might have to amend my list of "favorites" because of it. I've never much been much of a soup fan.  Probably because when I was young, Campbells was the gold standard for soup in my house.  Not that I have anything against canned soup...but homemade soup is just sooo much better!  And truth be told, not that much more work than opening up a can and heating it up...



ok...maybe a bit more work...but so worth it. 

Chicken in a lemony broth with orzo pasta, carrots, onions, celery and baby spinach.  It was quick and easy since I used what was leftover from a rotisserie chicken from dinner previously in the week and a couple of boxes of chicken stock.  I parcooked the orzo in some salted water before adding to the soup to help keep the starch from muddying up the broth. 


Luckily, I took one serving and froze it for myself for lunch one day in the future...because once my family got at this soup, leftovers were a thing of the past.

**An adaption of this recipe is featured in "Prevention RD's Everyday Healthy Cooking"...this recipe is the original.  The original recipe can also be found on my Allrecipe's profile with credit to me...ReneePaj. **


Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
inspired by Panera Bread's version


Servings - approx. 12 ( 6 quarts)   Serving size - approx. 1 1/2 cups - 2 cups  Points Plus per Serving - 3 Points+
Calories - 126,   Total Fat - 1.1g,   Carb. - 19.6g,   Protein - 10.8g,   Fiber - 2.1g


1 tsp. Olive oil
1 med onion, chopped
3 - 4 med carrots, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
3 - 32 oz. boxes of fat free, low sodium chicken stock
8 oz. cooked and chopped chicken breast
8 oz. orzo pasta, parboiled in salted water for half the time called for on the package and drained
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice ( about 2 lemons)
zest from one lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz. organic baby spinach
lemon slices and Parmesan cheese for garnish ( optional ) 

1.  In a large stock pot or dutch oven heat oil on med heat.  Add the onion, carrots and celery.  Cook until vegetables begin to soften and onion starts to become translucent.  Add in the garlic and cook for another minute or so.  Add in the bay leaf, thyme, oregano and some salt and pepper.  ( as much as you like on the salt and pepper)  Cook for another 30 seconds or so, and add in all the broth.  Bring to a boil and then partially cover and turn down to a simmer.  Cook until the vegetables are just soft.  

2.  Add in the parboiled pasta, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Stir.  Add in the cooked chicken.  Allow to heat through.  ( Pasta will continue to cook at this point)  Before serving, stir in baby spinach and allow to get wilted in hot broth.  Check for salt and pepper and add as needed and remove bay leaf.  Check pasta to see if it is soft enough.  Spoon into bowls and garnish with lemon slices and Parmesan cheese, if desired. 

----------------------------------------------------

I never really used to consider soup a meal...but since WW, I have decided it actually makes an excellent meal.  Homemade soups can be full of wonderful vegetables and are generally very WW friendly in the PP department.  Paired with a salad and some fresh bread, you can have a nice sized meal for relatively low points.  Plus, when you make a big pot of soup, you can freeze leftovers for lunches and dinners on busy weeknights!  Yes, I am definitely coming around to the value of homemade soup in my new WW life! 

I absolutely LOVED the lemon flavor in this broth!  You could cut back on the juice or the zest, if you would like less lemony flavor..but I am a huge fan of lemons...so the more lemony for me the better!  Last week I purchased two bags of Meyer lemons from of all places, Walmart for $1.98 a bag!  Woo hoo!  Although I didn't use them in this recipe, if I had them when I made it, I totally could have.  I am truly a fan of all things lemon!  How about you?  Do you like lemon? 

23 comments:

  1. Yummy! Yes I am a huge fan of lemon and as you know I just got my firt Meyer Lemon tree. It is soup weather here too and like you I much prefer homemade soup over purchased plus I love the leftovers. Soup is one of those dishes that just seems to get better the next day too!

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  2. Someone just gave me a big bag of lemons from their tree and I was wondering what the heck to do with them! I also have a bag of orzo I purchased a looonnnggg time ago sitting in my pantry cuz I never quite figured out what to do with it.

    Sounds like destiny to me.

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  3. There is a restaurant near us that has a soup like this with feta ive been wanting to try! Maybe i will make it at home instead- love lemon

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  4. This sounds so good! And I have everything I need to make it. I know what I'll be doing tomorrow! Pat

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  5. YUM! I've been eating the Lemon Chicken Orzo soup by Progresso...I know this will be SOOOO much better! Can't wait to make it!

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  6. Yummy! I will have to try this. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. I love lemon! I had no idea Panera had such a soup on their menu. Clearly, I need to get to Paneras more often! I think hubby would love this, and obviously I would, too! I can't wait to make it...thanks, Renee!

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  8. Another keeper Renee! I think my daughter would love this too, because chicken and rice soup is one of her favorites - love the stats too!

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  9. Thanks so much for making this. I did try it one time at Panera and really enjoyed it. I was sad to see it is not a seasonal item right now. I hope they bring it back but I am sure glad to have another option right now. Thank you. Liz

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  10. Just wanted to let you know that I made this today and it is FABULOUS! I love it!

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  11. This soup looks absolutely delicious! I love the combination of chicken and lemon and this soup is perfect - tasty and healthy!

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  12. Had this soup at Panera and was very disappointed. Bitter from tooooo much lemon. I kept thinking since I love orzo and lemon that I wanted to give the soup one more try. I saw your recipe and decided to give the soup one more chance even though it said inspired by Panera Bread's version. SO glad I did.. AMAZING flavor!! Loved it and thank you so much for making it BETTER than Panera!! Will add to my favorites!

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    Replies
    1. thank you so much for your review. Glad you liked it. It's really one of my favorites.

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  13. I found this recipe after trying the Panera version yesterday. I loved it so much that I searched pinterest for a recipe and found yours. I can't wait to try this!! My husband can't either :)

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  14. A Panera EmployeeJuly 10, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    Most of the employees of Panera love this soup too, and we were sad to see it leave last year. Then, it returned to the soup screen in late April when they rolled out the code for the summer "season" and most of my coworkers and I freaked out. Sadly, we're more excited about the soup than the most popular salad the company makes. AND, almost all of us have been looking for the recipe, and this is the one that comes the closest to the ingredient list that we have behind the front counter.

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  15. Just made this tonight and it was so refreshing and light. I recently had Panera's version and wanted to recreate it. Your recipe was very very close. Thank you!

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  16. I fell in love with Panera's Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup this summer and now that it's gone for the season I want to try my own :) I have one question.... You say Chicken Stock in the ingredients and then refer to it as broth in the "how to"... I bought Chicken Stock... is that right? Or should I use Broth?

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    1. I don't know whether the terms are interchangable, but that is how I use them here. Chicken broth ( stock ) that you buy in the cans or the boxes are fine. I like to use Kitchen Basics brand. Hope that helps.

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  17. I just had this soup at Panera. Even in summer, stores blast the A/C so I'm always cold and this hit the spot. I can't wait to try this; thank you!

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  18. I made this soup this past weekend and it tastes exactly like the Panera version. Delicious!

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  19. I made this exactly as you described except I substituted cooked quinoa (just a little added to my boil of soup) because I didn't have orzo. It was delicious and so healthy! It tasted just like the Panera version I had this summer. Thanks!!!

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