The Off Season + Lemon Orzo Chicken Soup

Here it is. I’m past my goal races for Fall. I don’t completely know what next year’s race calendar looks like yet.

And here’s the thing: when I don’t have a training plan to follow, I’m absolute garbage at consistency. Somehow time spent running will dwindle down to almost nothing, I’ll grow lazy with cross training, and before I know it I’ve lost all my fitness and I’m having a bit of a struggle concealing the spare tire that’s begun to take up residence around my middle.

I’ve looked at Hal Higdon’s Winter Training Plan, and thought I might peruse some on Runner’s World. I have this great plan that I’m going to run, and also incorporate yoga and strength training and spinning. Really go into next season with a good base. Realistically…well, we’ll see.

In other news, it’s Fall! I made soup! I’ve actually made so much soup lately that my husband is forgetting what it’s like to chew solid food.

Last night, I made this Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, adapted from Damn Delicious.

I followed the recipe pretty closely, but made some minor tweaks:

  • I swapped out the chicken brother for low sodium vegetable from Trader Joe’s. I usually make my own broth, but didn’t have any thawed. TJ’s Vegetable brother is an easy one to pick up from the store that doesn’t have a laundry list of hidden ingredients like sugar and soy.
  • I 86’d the celery in favor of more carrots
  • I used avocado oil (my newest love) in place of the olive oil
  • I added in closer to 1.5lbs of chicken


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, to taste. Add chicken to the stockpot and cook until golden, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.
  2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the stockpot. Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in thyme until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Whisk in chicken stock, bay leaves and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Stir in orzo, rosemary and chicken; reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Serve immediately.

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