Chicken and Orzo Soup


OK…So it is Sunday, my husband is gone all day at the Eagles game, and I am quarantined at home with one barfy child, and two healthy, but very bored other children.

I should take this opportunity to clean my very messy house, and when I say messy, I mean laundry hurricane, tornado looking destruction! I should maybe also grade the papers that I collected on Friday, or organize the garage, which also looks like it has endured a not so natural disaster. But, I will not do any of these things. Today, I have other plans.

On Friday, at work, a colleague told me about a book she was reading. It is called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I read a few lines and decided that I needed to read this book ASAP!

Just to clarify, I believe that I am a happy person. I have a beautiful family, the best friends on the planet, a rewarding career that I really enjoy, a nice house, my health…all the things that I attribute to a happy life. But, I also feel like the ring master at the circus some days, and I catch myself forgetting to appreciate what is really important.

So, when I got a call at 5:00 this morning from my sister to come get my vomiting middle daughter from her sleepover, I started to grumble over what was not going to get done today. Then the words from chapter one of this book started to creep into my head. It was then and there, on a dark back road, dodging deer, and listening to the whimper of my sick little duck in the backseat, that I decided that I would start my “happiness project”.

Today, I will not clean my house! I will let the mess go, and I am just going to love my kids. We are going to snuggle on the couch, make brownies, watch movies, and eat soup! Today is not just about healing my sick baby, but celebrating happiness.

So if there should be some emergency between now and tomorrow, please don’t judge me by the state of cleanliness in my home. Know that the mess is a symbol of how happy we were today. A mama and her girls on a day-long quest to find happy!

Find happy, heal the soul, and eat soup.


  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3/4 pounds of chicken, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 2/3 cup orzo pasta
  • 2 cups arugula, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top


In a medium stock pot, bring the chicken stock to a low boil.
Meanwhile, in larger pot, sauté the chicken in the olive oil until browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the thyme and bay leaf, then stir in the onion, carrots, and celery.

Season with salt and pepper.

Cover the pan and cook the vegetables until softened, about 5 more minutes.
Add the stock to the vegetables and bring to a boil.

Stir in the orzo and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the arugula and basil to wilt.

discard the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with lots of grated cheese at the table.

*** you can use leftover grilled, cooked, or rotisserie chicken

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