16 March 2012

Game Changing Lemon Chicken Breasts and Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

Lemon Chicken and Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
Of all of the celebrity cooks my favourite is the Barefoot Contessa. I am always inspired to prepare her homey dishes in my kitchen and I have never had a recipe that is lack lustre or even comes close to heading for the garbage bin. I cannot say the same for every dish I have experimented with in my own kitchen.

In 1978, Ina Garten was working in the White House on nuclear energy policy. For those history buffs who was the President at the time? She saw an ad for a small store in the Hamptons and 2 months later she found herself to be the owner of The Barefoot Contessa, a 400-ft square shop selling gourmet foods that was to become celebrated for its style and delicious food. The store had been named by its original owner in tribute to the 1954 film starring Ava Gardner. Ina kept the name when she took over, as it meshed well with her idea of an "elegant but earthy" lifestyle. Ina continues to build the Barefoot Contessa traditions and brand with new cookbooks, television shows and delicious products that reflect her love of entertaining friends and family especially her husband Jeffrey. Ina's fresh, level approach to home cooking has won legions of fans...I may be her biggest...although it would hard to defend the title!!!

One of our simple pleasures in life is navigating the blogging community and participating where the feeling takes us. Our group is now well past the halfway point on the list of Gourmet Live's 50 Women Game Changers. The past ninth months have flown by as we experimented with dishes from each of the 50 influential women on "the list." Whether you agree or disagree with the authors chosen fifty and their order it has been an enjoyable and creative outlet to cook from the masters and those we admire. There have even been a few successful bloggers on the list. We have checked out books from the library, borrowed cookbooks from friends, surfed the Internet and browsed our own cookbook collections seeking that one recipe that will highlight that weeks outstanding woman. This group is spearheaded by my favourite well-travelled blogger Mary of One Perfect Bite who back in June 2011 invited bloggers to travel along on a culinary journey throughout the year. It is still not too late to join in in 2012.

Lets see what we have been up to with our next Game Changer.......

Mary of One Perfect Bite - Crostini with Tuna Tapenade
Val of More Than Burnt Toast - Lemon Chicken Breasts and Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
Susan of The Spice Garden - Warm French Lentils with Garlic Sauasage
Taryn of Have Kitchen, Will Feed 
Heather of Girlichef - Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits
Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney - Chicken Pot Pie
Jeanette at Jeanette's Healthy Living - Avocado and Grapefruit Salad
Kathleen Van Bruinisse at Bake Away with Me - Seafood Gratin
Sue of View from The Great Island - Beef Bourguignon
Linda of There and Back AgainMexican Chicken Soup and Chicken Piccata and Brown Bread
Barbara of Moveable Feasts - Fruit Salad with Limoncello and Baked Blintzes with Fresh Blueberry Sauce
Nancy of Picadillo - Alis' Asian Salmon
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits - Baked Broccoli
Anne of Most Lovely Things - Chive Potato Patties
Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen - Eggplant Gratin
Claudia of Journey of an Italian Cook - Warm Mushroom Salad
Alyce of More Time at The Table - Roasted Shrimp with Feta
Amrita of Beetle's Kitchen Escapades- Jam Thumbprint Cookies

As with all of the dishes I try from Ina's cookbooks and from her web site the two recipes chosen are packed with flavour. Light, lemony and refreshing are words that come to mind as I tasted these dishes that remind me of summer. I used some "Spring" orzo I found at Pike Place Market in Seattle to add to the roasted vegetables. The chicken breasts are simple and yet packed with flavour. Both of those dishes will be made again and again!

**Ina Garten's Lemon Chicken Breasts **

1/4 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
1/3 cup dry white wine 
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6 to 8 ounces each)
1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don't allow the garlic to brown. Remove pan from stove, and off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and pour into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breast dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn't browned enough, put it under the broiler for about 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Serve hot with the pan juices.

**Orzo with Roasted Vegetables**

1 small eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound orzo or rice-shaped pasta

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:

  • 4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts), toasted
  • 3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pignolis, feta, and basil. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. Is there a free seat for me at your table? Mmmmm, what a healthy and delicious dish :D

  2. The recipe sounds very interesting. need to try it.
    I agree blog navigating is fun, helps us to learn so many things

  3. I honestly don't think I've ever made an Ina Garten recipe. Shame on me.

  4. A mouthwatering dish! Great flavors and ingredients.



  5. That looks delicious Val! I'm a big fan of Barefoot Contessa.

  6. what an earthy and elegant dish - great inspiration for the weekend!

  7. I've never seen the orzo recipe, Val. She's big into roasting vegetables and she's right. There's so much more flavor. Going to try this soon.

  8. I somehow feel that she many many 'biggest fans'! She is a really wonderful presence on the foodie front! you've chosen such a wonderful dish to share! It screams 'Summer!' to me ...

  9. This is a totally delicious meal that I would be more than happy to eat. Yum!

  10. You can never go wrong with orzo! Yum.

    I love Ina Garten, too. Someone compared me to her once. I was beyond flattered.

  11. I love ina garten..I have never missed a cooking show of it..These chicken looks so good..

  12. Simply delicious looking! What a great choice to represent Ina! Great post!

  13. WOW!!! First thing in the morning and I'm craving your dinner. Looks amazingly delicious.

  14. People love her. And I love roasted lemons in this recipe. GREG

  15. I'm a big fan of Ina's too--love her recipes and her style. We enjoyed a slice of her Irish soda bread for breakfast this morning.

    Have a great weekend.


  16. You may notice that I'm your newest "follower". I've actually been a "follower" for a long time but haven't been getting your posts in my blogroll. This has happened to a few other blogs that I follow.


  17. I just ate breakfast, but after seeing your photo I could eat dinner now!

  18. This is one of my favorites. I am so glad you picked this recipe.

  19. I have always had this weird prejudice against Ina Garten because she's a Hampton socialite. Long befores had had a TV show, I thought of her as "caterer to the beautiful people" and kind of shrank away from her. I know. I'm so bad!

    That hasn't stopped me from liking and using many of her recipes. She's certainly better than many of the cooks I see on FN these days!

    I admit I still get twitchy though when she drives around in her gas guzzler going to all these posh shops and farms and such. I find myself saying, "Nice life, Ina," and taking an imaginary shot every time she says to use a "good ingredient". :-D

    This is the kind of chicken recipe I love to make at home when I have a kitchen full of the best basic ingredients and no idea what to make for dinner - simple and perfect! See? I told you I admit to liking her recipes.

    As for who is the biggest fan, Sue at Food Network Musings could probably give you a run for your money. Maybe we should have a face-off and have Ina judge it. :-D

  20. This dish is perfect to go with the lovely weather we've been having! Bright and fresh flavored!

  21. I guess a lot of us are Ina junkies! You chose two perfect dishes to represent her, I somehow always associate Ina with lemon, chicken and roasted veggies. I'm reading everyone's posts today with a big grin on my face :)

  22. Any leftovers? I love chicken and lemon; that looks lovely.

  23. I have never seen (or heard of for that matter) Spring orzo. We love orzo and the whole dish looks like it came out beautifully - I'll have to try this next time I make orzo.

  24. What a lovely tribute to Ina.Your meal sounds scrumptious and I'd love a seat at your table. I hope you have a great day and enjoy the weekend. Blessings...Mary.

  25. Really enjoyed how you wrote about Barefoot Contessa; she is also one that I respect. These recipes of course are going on my list of Recipes I Must try. Orzo is often prepared at my house and now I have another great recipe.Thank you so much.

  26. Your meal looks beautiful! I've made Ina's Orzo with roasted vegetables so many times and everyone always loves it! I adore Ina too! Seems like many of us do! I really enjoyed your write up and your photos are so pretty!

  27. Look absolutely nice Vall!

  28. I'm such a HUGE fan of Ina. I have all of her cookbooks. Some of my best recipes have been hers. Ina finds the perfect balance of flavor, and her recipes really aren't that hard to make. So glad you featured her, and this recipe looks like another one of her winners.

  29. I love Ina! Her Beef Bourguignon recipe is my all-time favourite, and I highly recommend her chipotle and rosemary roasted nuts recipe. Yum! I'd like to give this chicken and orzo recipe a try. It sounds delish!

  30. Sounds wonderful and I love learning more about Ina, what a fascinating, creative and talented woman!

  31. Isn't the name "Barefoot Contessa" just inspired? I love this dish - the spring-like lemon-chicken, the perfect orzo with a little bite and then those vegetables just roasted into sweetness. It is such a good example of everything Garten is about.

  32. ina's recipes are consistently tasty, doable, and reasonable--she's definitely worthy of the list!

  33. I think there are going to be quite a few fighting for the title of 'Ina's biggest fan' ;) I've yet to come across one recipe of hers that bombed in my kitchen...which is not true for so many others I've tried. Her recipes are more or less flawless, which I love!

  34. I just want Ina's kitchen--that's all. It's so clean, simple and ME. LOLOL

  35. Ina's recipes always work - and are always delicious. This chicken is another great example of her tried and true recipes.

  36. Love Ina Garten, love her recipes. I have never been disappointed. I do believe I have all her cookbooks.

    Great recipe! Thanks for sharing.


  37. I'm one of Ina's biggest fans and love that I can always count on her recipes. You have selected two of my favorites for your post, Val. She really is a game changer and inspiration to us all.

  38. I love Ina and her relaxed way of presenting her recipes. I love her personality and her recipes always taste great. This one looks delicious and fresh for spring!

  39. I love Ina and i love this recipe. It's a summer staple at our bouse!!

  40. I'm another Ina fan. Have made the lemon chicken several times and still wanting to try the orzo and roasted vegetables. Really enjoyed reading your Game Changer Post. What a fun way to celebrate Women & food.

  41. As you know, I'm a big Ina fan. I've made this lemon chicken and it was fabulous. Somehow I missed the orzo. I love orzo, so I'm off to bookmark it so I won't forget next time.

  42. I love it whenever a recipe chooses olive oil over butter. It's got to be healthy and delicious!

  43. Those chicken breasts look so juicy and good!

  44. Like that community spirit :-)

  45. What a lovely idea with the 50 Women Game changers! What about 50 men??!! LOL!
    The chicken and Orzo look really good Val. As always, you dish up a treat!

  46. There is no doubt that there are well over 50 men who could have a list of their own Dharm:D But I am all about the women:D

  47. That is one mouthwatering dish - I love orzo and roasted vegetables, perfect Val!

  48. i love Ina too. This recipe is perfect for the wonderful Spring weather we had here!


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