This was back-to-school week for us…time to gather my favorite quick, weeknight dinner recipes so that I can start each week with a plan. If you are in need of more family-friendly dinner ideas, this post is for you!
I love buying Costco’s big bag of chicken breasts for $17.99. With about 15 breasts in each bag, I am able to easily prepare a week’s worth of chicken dinners that everyone in my family will eat. Here are some of the recipes that work for us.
Lemon Grilled Chicken: This could not be simpler. I defrost 2-4 breasts out of my giant Costco bag, squeeze about 1/2 a lemon into a bowl, stir in about 1/8 cup of olive oil, add a bit of salt and pepper and marinate the chicken in this mixture for about 20 minutes. (that’s what I do, but here’s a “real” recipe you could use). Grill the breasts and serve with veggies and rice pilaf or the like. I like to make a double batch of my lemon grilled chicken so that the leftovers can be turned into Mal’s favorite chicken fajitas…
Chicken Fajitas: One of the keys to this dish, in my opinion, is a package of raw flour tortillas, also from Costco. Toast them up in a frying pan until lightly browned and, basically, anything you roll up inside the tortilla is going to be delicious.
To make our fajitas I just slice up one red bell pepper, one onion and cook them together with a bit of butter and olive oil until tender. I squeeze a little lime juice on top, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, add in the sliced leftover lemon grilled chicken breasts and, voila, dinner is served.
As you can see, I improvise a bit in the kitchen. If you hate to approximate, here’s a nice “real” fajita recipe from chef Jamie Oliver, which leads me to another Humora family favorite…
Crunchy Garlic Chicken: Earlier this year Mallory and I participated in Jamie Oliver’s Big Rig Kitchen where she used a chef’s knife for the first time while helping prepare a delicious oven baked garlic chicken. This recipe is incredibly simple, very tasty and very inexpensive to prepare. It’s now Mal’s specialty and we even prepared it together during our summer vacation to serve 9 people! To read more about cooking with kids, check out this article from last May.
Chicken & Broccoli : When I’m not cooking, Chinese take out is my hands-down favorite, and chicken and broccoli is what I order for my kids. But ever since I found this recipe from ateaspoonofhappiness.com, I truly prefer to cook my own. I usually make a double batch because that’s how much we love this one!
Chicken Parmesan: Remember the night you made the grilled lemon chicken breasts? Well if you have leftovers, try making this healthy, simple version of chicken parmesan; take a jar of marinara sauce and pour enough into a baking dish to coat the bottom. Place chicken breasts on top. Pour remaining jar of sauce over chicken, and cover that with shredded mozzarella. Bake in the oven until bubbly and serve with pasta. That’s my weeknight solution, but when I have more time I love this recipe.
Chicken Piccata Toss: The only thing my kids enjoy more than chicken for dinner is pasta. Rachael Ray’s Chicken Piccata Toss marries the two in a buttery, lemony way. Greg and I love the capers in this recipe, but we just sprinkle them on our plates since the kids are not fans.
Fun fact!! Celebrity chef Melissa D’Arabian happens to live in Coronado and just happens to follow the Mom’s Guide to San Diego. She shared her 4-Step Chicken Piccata recipe with me because it’s one that her four kids enjoy. (Thanks Melissa!)
Share your own easy weeknight recipe on this blog post for your chance to win a copy of Melissa’s book, Ten Dollar Dinners. One reader will be randomly selected from the comment section next week.
FOUR-STEP CHICKEN PICCATA
Reprinted from the book Ten Dollar Dinners. Copyright © 2012 by Melissa d’Arabian.
Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.
This is my go-to recipe for an unplanned weeknight meal. It’s super easy—in just four steps you get a family-friendly and company-worthy chicken dinner in minutes. To get extra mileage out of my chicken breast dollar, I like to slice a thick breast into two or three thinner cutlets. I find that three chicken breasts wisely prepped is plenty for serving a family of four. Plus, thin pieces of chicken cook more quickly than thicker ones, meaning dinner gets on the table that much faster. I love the bright citrus flavor and tanginess of the lemons and capers in piccata, but feel free to adjust the ingredients as you like. Be sure to check out the ideas on page 149 for ten ways to switch up this fail-safe recipe. Tip: Cutting chicken breasts into cutlets is easiest when the chicken is slightly frozen.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound white button mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Step 1: Dredge and brown the chicken. Place a chicken breast on a cutting board and set your palm on top of it. Use a sharp knife to slice the chicken into 2 or 3 cutlets. Repeat with the other 2 breasts. Blot dry with paper towels and season with the salt and pepper. Place the flour in a shallow dish and dredge the chicken through it, evenly coating the chicken on both sides. Place on a plate and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Set the chicken in the pan and cook on each side until browned, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a platter.
Step 2: Sauté the aromatics. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring often, until they are browned, about 5 minutes.
Step 3: Deglaze the pan. Pour the wine and lemon juice into the pan, using a wooden spoon to stir and scrape up any browned bits from the pan bottom.