I had a very large bag of green beans from Costco that were a step away from the vegetable graveyard (aka, the trash can) and for some reason, I could only think about making green bean casserole. But I wanted to make a complete meal, so enter: chicken and green bean baked orzo. This is green bean casserole reimagined as a complete meal. Orzo pasta and spiced, sautéed chicken round out what’s normally just a side dish served at Thanksgiving.
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It’s also a one-skillet meal, folks! Ok, well, if I’m honest, it’s *almost* a one pan plan. You’ll blanch the green beans in a large pot so that they fully cook through with a short-ish baking time. BUT. I also use that pot as a mixing bowl. So, I still feel good about this being classified as a one-skillet meal.
Of course, the key to this dish are the crunchy, French-fried onions that form a little crust on top of the casserole. These are always the draw of green bean casserole, right? Honestly, we always have crunchy onions in our pantry because they’re also so, so good on salads and sprinkled on sandwiches. Or you know, on occasion, just a quick snack.
Oh, and by the way, there’s nary a can of mushroom soup to be found in this recipe. Instead, you’ll make a quick and easy creamy bechamel-based mushroom sauce. It’s totally quick, easy, and tastier than that red and white can! I promise.
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This baked chicken and orzo casserole will most-definitely become a family fave–a reason to make green bean casserole all year long.
- Shop: Cast Iron Skillet
Chicken & Green Bean Baked Orzo
- 12 oz fresh green beans trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
- ½ tbsp smoked Spanish paprika
- ½ tbsp garlic powder
- ½ tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil divided
- 12 oz button mushrooms cleaned and sliced
- 1 large shallot peeled and sliced thinly
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups milk 2% or whole milk
- ground black pepper to taste
- kosher salt to taste
- 2½ cups chicken stock
- 2 cups dried orzo
- 1 cup French-fried onions
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add several tablespoons of kosher salt to the water. Then add the green beans to the water. Cook for about 3 minutes. Then drain and rinse with very cold water to stop the cooking. Let fully drain set aside back in the pot. Note: that this cook time will create a crisp tender green bean in the final dish. If you like a softer green bean texture, up your cook time to 5-6 minutes during this step.
- Preheat your oven to 375F.
- Place a 10-12-inch, high sided, oven-proof skillet over medium heat. This is a job for cast iron, if you have it. Let this heat up while you prepare the chicken.Dry the chicken with paper towels and cut into 1-2 inch bite-sized chunks. In a small bowl, whisk together the smoked paprika, garlic powder, and salt. Sprinkle over the chicken so each piece is evenly coated.Add 1/2 tbsp of olive oil to your skillet. Then add the chicken pieces to the pan in one layer. Sear on all sides until golden brown. Remove from the pan and add to the pot with the green beans.
- Add the sliced mushrooms to the pan. Cook until the mushrooms cook down and start to brown. Then add the second ½ tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes until the shallots have softened.Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Then add the flour to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes stirring to mix into the vegetables. The texture will be somewhat sandy looking and you shouldn't see any streaks of white flour. Once the flour has toasted for a couple of minutes, slowly whisk in the milk. Let the mixture come to a simmer and cook until the sauce mixture reaches a gravy consistency. Taste the sauce and add salt and black pepper to your liking. Pour the sauce into the pot with the chicken and green beans; scrape the pan well to get all of the sauce out of the skillet. Stir everything in the pot together to combine.
- Add the chicken stock to the pan and bring to a simmer. Stir in the orzo and level it off in the pan. Carefully and evenly add the chicken and green bean mixture to the skillet so it's in as even a layer as possible. This is going to feel wrong and weird. But trust me, it will all work out!Bake for 15 minutes and then top with the French-fried onions. Bake for another 10 minutes. Rest the casserole for about 10 minutes to let it set up. Serve.
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