Prep-Ahead Slow Cooker Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup

Prep-ahead slow cooker lemony chicken orzo soup is a delicious and easy-to-make soup that is perfect for busy weeknights. This soup is made with tender chicken, orzo pasta, and a flavorful broth that is infused with lemon and herbs. The best part is, this soup can be prepared ahead of time and cooked in a slow cooker, making it a convenient option for those with a busy schedule. Enjoy a warm and comforting bowl of soup without the hassle of cooking it from scratch every time.
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Prep-Ahead Slow Cooker Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup

This recipe was originally created as a make ahead freezer meal. The idea is while prepping, double the ingredients and use one-half for dinner that night and place one-half into a freezer bag for another day. It is a great way to get dinner on the table for yourself and create a meal for the future or to prep and gift to a friend in need. It is always much appreciated! The ingredient amounts shown below are for a single recipe made in the slow cooker. It could easily be converted to prepare on the stove-top or in an Instant Pot. Freezer meal instructions are included at the end as a bonus.

Tip:: If preparing as a freezer meal, you can substitute 4 teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon Chicken Flavor to the freezer bag then add 4 cups of water on cooking day rather than chicken stock.

Tip: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs can be substituted if desired.

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 4-6 hours

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup
  • 1 – 1-1/2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts, or tenders 
  • 1 c. chopped celery (2 ribs)
  • 1 c. sliced carrots (2 medium or 12 baby)
  • 1/2 c. diced onion
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 1 qt. low sodium chicken broth
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup orzo pasta
  • 1-1/2 tsp. lemon juice (1/4 fresh lemon squeezed) 
  • 2 T. Fresh parsley, chopped

For Serving:

Fresh parsley and Grated Parmesan Cheese, to taste

Hot Crusty French Bread or Rolls

Directions:

  1. Place chicken, celery, carrots, onion, rosemary, thyme, garlic and bay leaves in a 4 quart slow cooker. 
  2. Add chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are soft.
  4. Shred chicken with two forks. 
  5. Add orzo and lemon juice to slow cooker.
  6. Cover and cook on high 15-20 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente.
  7. Stir in fresh parsley. Adjust seasonings if desired, remembering that the parmesan will add saltiness to the final product.
  8. Ladle into soup bowls and top with additional parsley and parmesan cheese if desired. Serve with hot crusty bread on the side.
  9. Enjoy!

Prep-Ahead Slow Cooker Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup

Freezer Bag Instructions

This cooking instructions can be printed and either placed in a snack size freezer bag and taped to the outside of the gallon bag, or just printed and taped with clear packing tape to the outside of the bag. Either will prevent the ink from bleeding. 

In each one-gallon Ziplock-type freezer bag:

  • 1 – 1-1/2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts, or tenders 
  • 1 c. chopped celery (2 ribs)
  • 1 c. sliced carrots (2 medium or 12 baby)
  • 1/2 c. diced onion
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 2 small bay leaves

SAVE FOR COOK DAY:

  • 3/4 cup orzo pasta in small Ziplock-type freezer bag
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken broth
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1-1/2 tsp. lemon juice (1/4 fresh lemon squeezed) 
  • 2 T. Fresh parsley, chopped

For Serving:

  • Fresh parsley and Grated Parmesan Cheese, to taste
  • Hot Crusty French Bread or Rolls

Directions:

  1. Add chicken, celery, carrots, onion, rosemary, thyme, garlic and bay leaves to a one-gallon Ziplock-type freezer bag.  Gently massage the bag to evenly distribute seasonings. 
  2. Press out the air and place in freezer (or refrigerator if making next day).
  3. Add the orzo to a small Ziplock-type freezer bag and mark on the front of it the name of the recipe it is for. Rubber band or tape it to the quart of chicken broth to ensure that it is not used for something else.

To Cook and Serve:

  1. Thaw chicken bag in refrigerator overnight.
  2. Place bag of chicken and 1 quart of chicken broth in 4 qt. slow cooker.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are soft.
  5. Shred chicken with two forks. 
  6. Add orzo and lemon juice to slow cooker.
  7. Cover and cook on high 15-20 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente.
  8. Stir in fresh parsley. Adjust seasonings if desired, remembering that the parmesan will add saltiness to the final product.
  9. Ladle into soup bowls and top with additional parsley and parmesan cheese if desired. Serve with hot crusty bread on the side.
  10. Enjoy!

Prep-Ahead Slow Cooker Lemony Chicken Orzo Soup

Warm and comforting chicken soup with lemony flavors and served with orzo.

Prep Time 15 mins Cook Time 6 hrs Total Time 6 hrs 15 mins Difficulty: Intermediate Servings: 4 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year

Ingredients

Main ingredients

For Serving

Instructions

  1. Place chicken, celery, carrots, onion, rosemary, thyme, garlic and bay leaves in a 4 quart slow cooker.

  2. Add chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are soft. 

  4. Shred chicken with two forks.

  5. Add orzo and lemon juice to slow cooker.

  6. Cover and cook on high 15-20 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente.

  7. Stir in fresh parsley. Adjust seasoning if desired, remembering that the parmesan will add saltiness to the final product.

  8. Ladle into soup bowls and top with additional parsley and parmesan cheese if desired. Serve with hot crusty bread on the side. Enjoy!

Note

Prep-ahead recipe instructions are mentioned above.

Keywords: Chicken Orzo Soup

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