It used to happen everyday…dinner would weigh on my mind ALL DAY…what will I make…will I actually have the energy to make it…will we just end up driving through McDonald’s again because all of the stuff at home will take TOO long to make…
Then I’d feel bad about all of the money we were spending eating out…and then I’d feel bad that we’d spent yet another dinnertime in the car…and that we SHOULD be eating healthier…
I knew something needed to change, but I also knew that that something required energy and a plan and my track record for sticking with these types of things wasn’t exactly stellar.
So I decided that we would commit to eating at home for one whole month. It didn’t matter if it was chicken nuggets or corn dogs or frozen pizza, it’d be AT HOME. During that month we ate our fair share of chicken nuggets, but I also began whittling down my recipe repertoire to the easiest and quickest meals that I physically knew how to make.
And here they are! My favorite QUICK dinner recipes that have now stood the test of time for over a year. We eat out once per week, and that’s it! The rest of the time, there is a good chance you’ll find one of these beauties on our dinner table!
I hope you enjoy them, make them your own and find yourself cooking at home more and eating out less like us :)
6 FAST (& Easy) Weeknight Dinner Recipes with Chicken
Ok, so these first four dinner recipes all use shredded chicken. For this, I bake the chicken breasts in casserole dishes in the oven. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until cooked through.
I then cut the chicken breasts in half and put them in my stand mixer to shred. Once in the stand mixer, turn on the lowest speed until the chicken is mostly shredded. I also like to add in a little of the liquid from the baking dishes to keep the chicken from getting dried out.
Tip: Don’t go too far! If you over mix the chicken it will turn into mush…we don’t want that! ;) Once most of the chicken is shredded to the desired consistency, you may have to pull out any large pieces and shred them by hand.
At this point, you can throw it in some freezer bags and keep it for another day, or use it up!
Ok, now that our chicken is shredded, let’s get on to the good stuff!
Easy peasy as the kids would say! Three ingredients and super easy to make up ahead of time and have in the fridge or freezer for last minute meals.
3-4 Cups shredded Chicken
1 Large jar of salsa
1 Packet taco seasoning
Favorite taco toppings
In pot or microwave safe bowl, mix first three ingredients together. Heat through on stove or in microwave. I like to start with about 2/3 of the jar of salsa and half of the packet of taco seasoning and add more to taste. Heat through and serve on tortillas with your favorite taco toppings like shredded cheese and sour cream.
*This is also PERFECT for quesadillas, or my FAVORITE, nachos! YUM!!!
FAMILY FRIENDLY CHICKEN ENCHILADAS
The basis of our Family Friendly Enchiladas is the same chicken taco meat that you made above. I like to make BIG batches of the chicken tacos when I make it, because it can be used in SO many ways!
3 Cups Chicken Taco Meat (recipe above)
8-10 Tortillas (depending on size you use)
1 Can Enchilada Sauce (we use mild)
Shredded Cheese to taste
Sour cream, jalapeños and any other garnishes that you like!
Fill tortillas with the chicken taco meat, roll and place in baking dish. Top with Enchilada sauce and shredded cheese. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until heated through. Serve and top with sour cream and other garnishes (I like green onions or jalapeños!)
CREAMY CHICKEN CHILI
This is a family FAVORITE! The kids don’t even use spoons, they just dig in with tortilla chips and enjoy!
2 cups shredded chicken (if you have leftover chicken taco meat you can use that, too!)
1 8oz block cream cheese
2 cans black beans (or bean of choice)
1 large jar of salsa
1 can corn
1/2 packet chili seasoning
1/2 – 1 packet ranch seasoning (optional)
Put all ingredients in a crock pot or large pot, cover and heat through until combined (about 15 minutes on the stove on low). Enjoy with tortilla chips.
Swap the jar of salsa for Fire Roasted tomatoes or use Rotel tomatoes for a little more heat. I also like to add Frank’s and jalapeños…YUM!!!!
BBQ CHICKEN BAKED POTATOES
It really just doesn’t get any easier than these guys. Throw some baking potatoes into the oven, into the Instant Pot, into the microwave or wherever else you throw them. Get them cooked up, top and enjoy!
Baking Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes
BBQ Sauce of choice
…and any other toppings you like!!
Bake or microwave the potatoes. Mix shredded chicken and BBQ sauce together to your liking. Heat through on stove or in microwave. Top potatoes with shredded cheese, BBQ chicken and anything else that sounds good!
OVEN BAKED PARMESAN CHICKEN
I don’t know what is my favorite thing about this recipe, the fact that it is SO easy…or how GOOD our house smells while it is baking…or how TENDER the chicken stays with this savory topping…I just love it all!
3-4 Chicken breasts
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. ground parmesan (you can use shredded parm, too!)
1/4 c. Italian bread crumbs
If the chicken breasts are large, I like to butterfly them (slice them down the middle) and pound them out a little with a meat mallet. Place in a baking dish. Mix mayo and parmesan cheese together. Spread on top of chicken breasts. Top with Italian bread crumbs and any other seasonings you care to add, but it really doesn’t require much! Bake uncovered at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes until dark brown on top.
*We skip the bread crumbs to reduce the carbs and hardly miss them!
CHICKEN WILD RICE SOUP
Who doesn’t love a good chicken wild rice soup recipe?? Well my kids didn’t…or Tom…BUT…with a little patience, and by basically removing all fo the flavor from this recipe and then slowly adding it back in, they’ve come around!!
5 medium carrots, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
half of an onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup uncooked wild rice
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (see notes)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups shredded or diced Chicken
CREAM SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
This recipe is from Pinch of Yum, you can find the Instant Pot DIRECTIONS HERE. I’ve made hardly any modifications! I go a little lighter on the poultry seasoning and thyme, I don’t like it to taste quite as earthy. And we usually skip the sauce at the end to eliminate the dairy…but of course, for most that probably would seem silly ;)
FOR STOVE TOP: I like to use the precooked long grain & wild rice mix from Aldi. I put all of the first ingredients in a pot and let them simmer until the veggies are tender (about 15 minutes), then add the rice until heated through and at that point you could add the sauce as well :)
I HOPE YOU ENJOY…
…these recipes like our family has! Here are a few other links you may find helpful:
>> 5 EASY Instant Pot Recipes for Busy Weeknights
>> Life Changing Minimalist Meal Planning with Worksheet
Thank you for stopping by and HAPPY COOKING!!