That song from Peter Paul & Mary has been stuck in my head these past few days: I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again. However, it’s not I’m, it’s we, and I do know when I’m coming back. However, it would be cool to have an open ended ticket and just travel the world.
Speaking of traveling, it is hands down one of our favorite things. I’m not talking about visiting major cities, I mean traveling to smaller towns on the outskirts.
It doesn’t need to be significant. I am not talking about living in a hut for a week, though I have no doubt you’d learn a lot about yourself, but rather just making sure to visit smaller cities. For example, don’t spend all your time in London. England has so many great other areas. You become surrounded by less travelers and more locals as you venture out. There is a big difference between walking into a pub in London vs a pub up north in South Yorkshire.
Neither is better than the other of course, but the experiences you gain as a traveler are. When Jane and I travel, we don’t want to be in a major city pub talking to fellow Americans and other travelers. No, we want to be in that outside the city pub speaking and mingling with locals.
We have been lucky to travel around and there are a few things I know for sure. First, no matter who you are, you have some type of stereotypical outlook of people from different countries. It is not necessarily bad, but we all have them. For example, a lot of people think all American’s are loud, and a lot of Americans think All of Britain talks with a thick cockney accent. However, this isn’t true whatsoever.
Secondly, if you show up interested in their culture, way of life, and are willing to go at their pace (you are the guest after all), then you’re in for a surprise and a great time. People in Europe are very proud to be wherever it is they are from. If you show an eagerness to learn more about them, then all the stereotypical stuff goes out the window and you’ve made good friends for the night.
Obviously, travel is on my mind. Jane and I leave in 3 days. However, let us now turn our attention to the food.
May we introduce: Chicken With Tomatoes And Orzo – topped with feta and Kalamata olives.
I’ve been making this recipe in some variation for many years. It is a basic tomato orzo dish that’s spruced up a bit.
I do love cooking with orzo because it does a fine job of absorbing surrounding flavors. Therefore, whatever you’re adding, you can expect the pasta to carry a hint of it.
What I love about making this dish is that it’s a simple dish to make and an honest one. Not a lot goes into it, and the balance of the acidity from the tomatoes works so well with the saltiness of the feta and olives.
The cooking is the easiest, you’re just adding things into a pan, simmering and boom – a delicious dinner is ready. So it’s perfect if you need to do some multitasking. Whether that’s helping kids with homework or finishing the last chapter of your novel (or if you’re like me, thinking about writing one), It’s a good dish that stays true to its flavors and is quite filling.
We hope you enjoy it!
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1 cup orzo
- 1 onion, diced
- 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
- ½ cup of feta, more if desired
- ½ cup kalamata olives, more if desired.
- olive oil
- Heat some oil in a large pan.
- Add diced onion, and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add: orzo, diced tomatoes, chicken stock, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, and brandy if using, mix well.
- Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 7-10 minutes.
- Add chicken to pan, cover and continue simmering for another 20-25 minutes, until chicken is cooked and orzo is finished.
- With 5 minutes left, add olives.
- Once done, remove from heat.
- Plate chicken, and then a spoonful of tomato orzo mixture over.
- Top with feta and serve!