Most people have their go-to meals, and mine is definitely chicken and rice. In fact, I so often serve my family one variation of chicken and rice or another that my kids often joke about it – “Let me guess Mom, chicken and rice for dinner?” Chicken and rice is usually easy, and you can do it a million different ways. You can also usually sneak a healthy dose of greens in there too. This Skillet Chicken, Spinach & Sundried Tomatoes combines some of my favorite flavors – garlic, creamy havarti cheese, tangy sundried tomatoes and rich red wine. And the rice technically isn’t really rice – it’s orzo, which is a tiny pasta that resembles long grain rice.
I chose havarti cheese for this dish because it’s such an underrated cheese and it deserves some more attention. If you’ve never had it, you don’t know what you’re missing. Creamy havarti is one of my favorite semi-soft cheeses on a spring or summertime cheese board. Pair it with some green grapes and a crispy Sauvignon Blanc – pure heaven. In this dish, it melts beautifully and lends a richness without feeling heavy. Be sure not to confuse creamy havarti with aged havarti. Although the aged version is delicious in its own right, it won’t melt as well.
While the kids are busy teasing me, I’m able to sneak in a big bunch of baby spinach leaves. If your market has pre-washed bags of baby spinach, you can just throw the entire bag into this dish. It will look like a lot, but it cooks down quickly. If your crew can tolerate kale, you could swap it in for the spinach. Personally, I don’t press my luck just yet.
This Skillet Chicken, Spinach & Sundried Tomatoes comes together in less than 45 minutes, making it equally ideal for weeknight and weekend cooking. Even better? You make the whole thing in one skillet. I love cast iron for this dish, but any large nonstick skillet will do the trick. I hope you’ll like one of my favorite versions of chicken and rice! Enjoy!
- 4 cups boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
- 6 oz. baby spinach leaves
- 2 cups dry orzo
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 onion, diced
- 8 oz. creamy havarti cheese, grated
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped (or 1 Tbsp. dried basil)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped (or 1 Tbsp. dried parsley)
- 1 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Brown the chicken, then remove to a separate plate.
Add the onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent. Add the wine and simmer 1-2 minutes. Add the dry orzo and stir to coat with the red wine mixture.
Stir in the broth, tomato paste, sundried tomatoes, basil and browned chicken. Bring to a quick boil, then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes until liquid is mostly absorbed. Turn off heat and sprinkle the cheese evenly over top. Bake for 10 minutes until cheese is melted.