According to Carmen: A healthy twist on Arroz Con Pollo

I looooooove rice but it is not loving me back. I am finding myself older and my metabolism slower. Having said that I may be on a diet but my family is not. I have a growing boy and girl still at home that needs all the food groups. Including the carbs.

Here is a healthy twist on a family favorite.

For the Roasted Chicken:

You can use any part of the chicken you’d like. I prefer dark meat so I will be referencing to chicken thighs. I am sure everyone has their “go-to” ways of seasoning their chicken. I am always up for suggestions but so far this is the best way I have found for every bite of my chicken to be flavorful.

I use Italian dressing to marinade my chicken and season with Adobo, Salt, Pepper, Onion powder, Smoked Paprika, and Oregano.  I allow to marinade for about an hour and then place skin side up in a roasting pan. 375 for 40-45 minutes.


For the Orzo and Veggies:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Mushrooms de-stemmed and sliced (I like Cremini, you can opt for your favorite here)
  • 1 Cup of Red Bell Peppers, de-seeded and diced
  • 1 Cup of Cauliflower cut to bite size
  • 1 Cup of Brussel sprouts quartered
  • 12 oz Cherry Tomatoes cut into 1/2
  • 1 Medium Red or Yellow Onion – chopped
  • 2 tsp Garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 lb of Kale
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Cup Orzo
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Chicken or Vegetable Broth

For the Dressing:

  • 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbs Lemon juiced
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper


Roast the Veggies:

  1. Turn oven up to 425F. Toss all veggies in a bowl with olive 2 tablespoons of olive oil salt and pepper. Place all veggies (minus kale) in a pan, spread the veggies, do not overcrowd so if you need to use another pan go for it. Roast in the 425F oven for 35-45 minutes (not all ovens are created equal so be sure to check in at the 25-minute mark. If your veggies are charring a bit even better!) Rotate pans 1/2 way through roasting.
  2. After you clean your Kale put a little olive oil in a hot pan and place your kale in there (medium-high heat). Season your Kale with salt and pepper add stock and toss. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook while continuously stirring until all liquid is evaporated.

Cook the Orzo:

  1. In a large sauté pan, heat 1 Tbs of Olive Oil over medium heat. Add the orzo, coating the orzo thoroughly with the olive oil. Stir occasionally for about 3 minutes or until the orzo is toasty and golden. Add the broth. Bring to a simmer, turn down the heat to low, cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.


  1. In a small bowl add the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt, and pepper. Whisk until all the ingredients are emulsified.

Put it all Together:

  1. In the large sauté pan, to the orzo, add the veggies, the kale and all their juices, fold in the dressing and nestle the chicken in the pan. Serve immediately.



Carmen Londoño is a self-proclaimed foodie that enjoys to travel and re-create dishes that piques her palette. She is a published writer and is currently working on her second book. Her first publication was a love letter to her daughters in the form of unsolicited advice and favorite family recipes. 

Co-Founder and Managing Partner of The Insurance People, Carmen sits on the executive board of WeWill (Women Empowering Women In Local Legislation) a nonprofit organization that helps support women and children. 


A proud Puerto Rican/Honduran woman that was born and raised in the Humboldt Park area of Chicago, she currently resides in Skokie with her family. 


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