April 29, 2010

What's Cookin' - Saucy Chicken Orzo

We love cooking shows, especially the challenges. If you've ever watched "Chopped" that airs on Tuesday night, you know they give the competing chefs a mystery box of ingredients to work with. Hubby keeps saying that we should have mystery box nights where we just pull a variety of ingredients out of the pantry and refrigerator and cook it all up. Last night, I decided to try it.

I had four small half chicken breasts to start with and I just started grabbing stuff. I had a package of cremini mushrooms and a shallot in the fridge that needed to be used so I chopped and sautéed them in a hot skillet with the last of a jar of minced garlic in water. (This is my favorite new thing. I always buy fresh garlic, but YD's BF cooked for us one night and brought this jar of minced garlic, then left it here. I have been using it more and more often because it not only tastes great, but it's so easy!) I am a huge fan of creminis and shallots - they produce such a wonderfully rich, earthy flavor together. Chopped the chicken breasts into chunks and threw them in the skillet, too.

Digging around in the pantry I found half of a 16 oz. package of orzo, which is tiny pasta that looks kind of like rice. I started that boiling. Also in the pantry, there was a 12 oz. jar of Heinz Homestyle Mushroom Gravy ... okay, that sounds good.

I wanted another vegetable besides the mushrooms, so I grabbed what was left of a bag of frozen corn out of the freezer and dumped that in the skillet. Then, the jar of mushroom gravy. Hubby walked into the house about this time and said it smelled great!

After I drained the orzo in a strainer, I mixed it into the skillet with everything else. We had bread and butter with it and, I have to say, considering I made it up as I went along just using up stuff that needed to be used, it was very good.

I read an article not too long ago about a family who, once a year for an entire month, does not spend any money except on perishables like milk and fresh vegetables. They clean out their pantry right down to the spices, using everything up. I think this is a great idea! And it's amazing what you find in the back of your cupboards that you didn't know (or remember) you had.

So, just for fun, try mystery box night ... and let us know what creative meal you come up with!


Jennifer Norch said...

Mmmm...off to the store to buy some orzo, cremini mushrooms, shallots, and gravy! Looks like this could be delicious and satisfying!!

Robyn Jones said...

Actually, I am doing the same thing with my cupboards right now...it is too easy to get a whole bunch of junk you don't need...I don't watch many cooking shows, but I do like Hell's Kitchen..except the guy swears like a sailor...LOL!

cfoxes33 said...

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Robin said...

That looks delicious.

My husband would do really well on a show like that - his favorite way to cook is to start sauteeing onions and then figure the rest out while that's going. Me? I'd still be standing there looking perplexed and trying to decide what to make when the buzzer went off.

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Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Um, come up with a recipe on my own? HA! I can barely make white rice! yours looks awesome though!