Easy Weeknight Chicken Meatballs and Orzo Skillet Dinner Recipe

Originally, I made this recipe with Trader Joe’s chili lime chicken patties, which I turned into meatballs in a one-skillet chicken meatballs and orzo dinner with sun-dried tomatoes and kale.

But, all good things come to an end, and Trader Joe has discontinued them. Don’t worry, here is my version of the chili chicken that’s super still tasty, easy and satisfying.

Creamy and delicious orzo dinner recipe with chicken meatballs kale and sun dried tomatoes.

Why You’ll Love This Easy Chicken Meatballs and Orzo Dinner

Did I mention this entire dinner happens in one-skillet? That’s very little clean up for a lot of flavor.

If you’re not a fan of sun dried tomato and kale you can easily skip them or substitute with spinach or other hearty and leafy greens you like.

Everything You Need to Make this Easy Weeknight Meal

  • ground chicken
  • red bell pepper
  • cilantro
  • garlic
  • red pepper flakes*
  • lime
  • orzo
  • chicken stock
  • olive oil
  •  kale
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • parmesan cheese*
  • salt and pepper
  • heavy cream*

* You can skip these items if you want to keep this recipe dairy-free, and you’ll still have a cozy and creamy dinner.

How to Make this Orzo Pasta Dinner with Chicken Meatballs

Step One —Make the Meatballs

Let’s start by making the meatballs. Add ground chicken, pepper, garlic and 1/2 an onion to a bowl and mix well. Add lime juice and parmesan cheese and then roll the chicken mixture into small meatballs.

Step Two —Cook the Meatballs

Add olive oil to the pan and fry your meatballs for 5 minutes on each side.

Step Three—Add Orzo Pasta

Once the meatballs are brown on all sides, set them aside. Add more olive oil to the pan and and the other half of your onion. Cook until translucent. Add orzo to the pan and stir.

chicken-meatballs-and-orzo-recipe-4

Step Four—Pour Your Liquids

Pour the chicken stock into the pan over the pasta. Add meatballs. Allow everything to cook for a few minutes on medium heat.

Add kale and sun-dried tomatoes. Lower the temperature and allow everything to simmer. Add more liquid if the pasta doesn’t seem done.

Once cooked, mix everything and serve with a lime wedge. (Or pour 1/2 a lime over the skillet before serving).

chicken and orzo one skillet dinner

Chicken Meatballs and Orzo with Kale and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

a one-skillet easy dinner made with chicken meatballs, orzo pasta, kale and sun-dried tomatoes

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 red pepper, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbs cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup kale, core removed
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup orzo
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions
 

  • Add ground chicken, peppergarlic and 1/2 an onion to a bowl and mix well. Add lime juice and parmesan cheese and then roll the chicken mixture into small meatballs.
  • Add olive oil to the pan and fry your meatballs for 5 minutes on each side.
  • Once the meatballs are brown on all sides, set them aside. Add more olive oil to the pan and and the other half of your onion. Cook until translucent.
  • Add orzo to the pan and stir.
  • Pour the chicken stock into the pan over the pasta. Add meatballs. Allow everything to cook for a few minutes on medium heat.
  • Add kale and sun-dried tomatoes. Lower the temperature and allow everything to simmer. Add more liquid if the pasta doesn’t seem done.
  • Once cooked, mix everything and serve with a lime wedge. (Or pour 1/2 a lime over the skillet before serving).

Additional Notes & Tips

  • The recipe calls for kale but you can also substitute with spinach or even arugula. Since kale is a bit tougher, I recommend massaging the leaves gently and also cutting the core of the kale.
  • You can add heavy cream to this recipe for a more creamy and savory dish. Lots of parmesan too. But you also won’t miss it if you don’t have any on hand.
  • I previously made this recipe with readymade meatballs, and there is no shame in skipping a few steps to try to get dinner done in a hurry.

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