Two recipes to brighten the post-holiday haze: skillet lasagna and Greek chicken orzo bake

Two recipes to brighten the post-holiday haze: skillet lasagna and Greek chicken orzo bake

The days after Christmas and before New Year’s can leave people in a state of, “What day is it?” Blur. But that doesn’t mean dinner has to be trivial, even if it feels like a gray area.

Alex Snodgrass, cookbook author and creator of The Defined Dish, is known for her comfort food recipes that use convenient store-bought ingredients to get a great dinner on the table with minimal effort.

Her latest title, “Dinner Tonight,” focuses on just that, applying simple cooking techniques to better-for-you ingredients.

Snodgrass joined “Good Morning America” ​​on Tuesday in conjunction with the cookbook launch to share two new recipes that will make even people who swear they can’t cook look good in the kitchen.

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Greek inspired chicken and orzo bread

Makes 4 servings

Total time: 45 minutes

“Marinated chicken, crunchy asparagus, juicy tomatoes, and orzo come together for a healthy and delicious Greek-inspired dinner. Soft and pillowy orzo absorbs all the delicious Mediterranean flavors and completes this simple and delicious one-pan dinner.”

Click here to purchase recipe ingredients online.


1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed off excess fat

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup thinly sliced ​​leeks (about 1 large leek)

1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces

2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/2 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup orzo (gluten-free orzo is gluten-free)

14-ounce can artichoke hearts, quartered and drained

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (can be omitted as it is dairy-free)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of oregano, black pepper, paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Pat the chicken dry and season with the spice mixture evenly on both sides.

In a large, deep ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, so as not to overcrowd the pan, add the chicken in a single layer and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the fried chicken to a plate and leave it aside. The chicken doesn’t have to be completely cooked as it will finish in the oven.

Reduce the heat under the pan to medium, then add the garlic, shallots, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until tomatoes begin to soften and asparagus turns bright green, about 4 minutes.

Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Cook, stirring, until wine is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the orzo, artichoke hearts, broth, and remaining teaspoon oregano and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, then place the browned chicken in the pan and sprinkle the olives over the entire pan.

Place it in the oven and bake it uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and crumble feta cheese (if using) over chicken. Return to the oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through and the orzo is tender, another 10 to 12 minutes.

Let it cool for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley.

One pan lasagna

Makes 6 servings
Total time: 45 minutes

“I like to call this my lazy girl’s lasagna. While my Italian grandfather gasped at the thought of this wondrous pan, I know that if he were still alive, he would take one bite and then quickly devour the entire pan. Because of my love of lasagna, and one-pot meals , and Hamburger Helper Lasagna This recipe is the perfect way to feed my hungry family with very little effort. Feel free to substitute regular marinara in place of the arrabiata sauce if you’re sensitive to heat; however, we don’t find this dish spicy at all – the arrabiata kicks up the flavor a bit! ”

Click here to purchase recipe ingredients online.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, cut into small cubes (about 1/2 small onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound ground beef (90/10)
Half a kilo of mild or spicy Italian sausage
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
24 oz jar of arrabbiata or marinara sauce
1/3 cup, plus 1/4 cup basil pesto or store-bought basil pesto (page 8)
Grated peel of half a lemon
6 ounces oven-ready, no-boil lasagna noodles (gluten-free, no-boil, gluten-free lasagna)
1/2 kilo fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices
Fresh basil leaves, for serving


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron), heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add ground meat and sausage. Continue cooking, breaking up the meat with the edge of a spoon, until browned and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes.

Drain excess fat, then add salt, pepper, arrabbiata sauce, 1/3 cup pesto, and lemon zest and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low.

Carefully divide the lasagna noodles into 1- to 2-inch pieces and add them to the pan. Don’t worry if it gets a little rough and imperfect, it will still hold together just fine. Gently fold the noodles into the sauce to ensure they are coated, then use the back of a spoon to spread the contents of the pan into an even layer.

Place the mozzarella slices evenly over the top of the pan in a single layer, then spoon the remaining 1/4 cup pesto on top. Carefully cover the pan with aluminum foil, making sure that the foil does not touch the top of the lasagna.

Bake it for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking, uncovered, until the cheese is golden, 10 to 12 minutes more.

Remove the lasagna from the oven and let it cool, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes to allow the sauce to settle and thicken a little more. Top with basil and serve.

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