Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Hi friends! Admittedly I'm feeling sad that Monday is upon us once again. As per usual, the weekend flew by oh so quickly and last night I found myself crashing on the couch at 9:30 and trying to hold my eyes open, wondering how it got to be Sunday night again already. It's still super cold here in the tri-state area and friends...I'm OVER IT! Seriously, this is enough. I could deal with 40 degrees, I even rallied for one last snowstorm on Friday...but today it was 24 degrees and that I'm just not ok with. I guess it's good for blog purposes though because today I'm sharing this really comforting lemon chicken orzo soup! I had shared this on Instagram and on my What I Ate from last week and a bunch of people asked for the recipe. I didn't take great photos of this, but I really wanted to get this up and out since you asked! Penelope loved this soup and she even helped prep it. She ate it all last week for dinner, and couldn't wait to eat 'her soup'.

Next time, I'll update with pretty photos and also add in some greenery! I used up what I had in the fridge, but I think this would really be amplified with some fresh baby spinach, celery and even a chopped up bell pepper. Hope you enjoy!

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
for the chicken:
1 lb skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 1/2 C low sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
Cooking spray

for the lemon orzo soup:
2 C carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
1/2 Tbsp butter
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
6 1/2 C low sodium chicken broth
juice of one lemon
zest of one lemon
1.5 C dried orzo
2 C frozen corn
1 pkg chopped spinach, defrosted (or 1 bag fresh baby spinach)
Parmesean cheese, if desired
Lemon slices for garnish, if desired

Spray the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray. Place the chicken in the slow cooker, sprinkle with salt, pepper, onion powder and paprika. Pour about 1.5 cups of low sodium chicken broth around the chicken until it's almost covered. Cover and cook on low for four hours. When finished, shred chicken in the cooker and set aside.

Start the soup.
In a Dutch oven or stock pot, melt the butter and olive oil together over low heat. Add the chopped onions and carrots and sautée until soft. Add the remaining chicken stock, lemon juice and zest and bring to a boil. Add 1.5 cups of dried orzo and stir together. Turn heat to low/simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Add corn, spinach or any other soft vegetables you desire (if you plan to include celery or bell peppers, I recommend sautéeing those in the beginning with the carrots and onions). Let simmer a few minutes more.

When ready to serve, pour out soup into a bowl and top with shredded chicken. I don't mix these together in the pot if I'm making a big batch to last for a few days because I find that the chicken breaks down quickly. Top with a slice of lemon or parmesean cheese if desired.