I have to admit, it feels great getting back into a routine. After a fabulous yoga class this morning I was feeling creative and wanted to make something healthy I haven’t made in awhile. Midway through my “flat back fold-over” I was thinking Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with Kale is just what this Monday called for. A bowl of bright flavor, filled with chicken, pasta, vegetables and herbs is perfect for a chilly winter day.  Pair with a slice of crusty garlic bread for a light supper that is ever so simple and delicious. Oh, and don’t forget freshly shaved Parmesan on top for a little extra comfort.

photo

Ingredients:
8 ounces orzo pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 carrots, chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
3 (32 ounce) cartons fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
8 ounces cooked chicken breast, chopped
8 ounces chopped kale
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional, for topping)

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook orzo in the boiling water until partially cooked through, about 5 minutes; drain and rinse with cold water until cooled completely.
2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir carrots, celery, and onion until the vegetables begin to soften and the onion becomes translucent, 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute more. Season mixture with thyme, oregano, salt, black pepper, and bay leaf. Add chicken broth.
3. Bring the broth to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes.
4. Stir orzo, lemon juice, and lemon zest into the broth; add chicken. Cook until the chicken and orzo are heated through, about 5 minutes. Add kale; cook until wilted, about five minutes.