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Weeknight Dinners Made Easy! 6 Meals For Your On The Go Family

September 18, 2018

By:

Steph Dekker

Chicken_RecipesBy now those of us with school age kids are fully involved in the back to school routine, loving those cute little projects sent home daily and reminiscing of our own school days while hearing the daily report from our kiddos. The leaves are changing, Friday Night Lights are in full effect and another year is underway! But let’s not forget about school pick-up lines, homework, practice schedules, laundry, fitting in a date night every now and then, not to mention those dirty bathrooms that will just not stop screaming for some attention. Who has time to eat? Never mind finding time to prepare food for your family!

That’s where Team LIY comes in! We’ve put together six recipes of easy weeknight meals for you, all starting with one night of prep work! By the way – this is Steph! [See our recent Fall Family Photos blog post for a glimpse of my family!] I’m sharing some of my family’s favorite meals to eat, and my favorites to make for busy nights on the go.

Your easy week of meals begins with preparing extra chicken while making your first meal on the menu. There are a couple of different ways to utilize the recipes for the days that follow. Option one is to do all of your prep work for the week on the first night [Some people like to cook for the entire week on Sunday, for example]. Another way to utilize these recipes is to make all of your chicken while preparing the first meal and complete the other recipes on the day you plan to eat them. No matter which method you choose, you will save tons of meal planning and prep time! It should also be noted that all of these recipes are chicken based – if that’s too much chicken for your family to eat in a week many of these recipes can easily be frozen and prepared another time. Let’s get this cooking party started!

Quick_Chicken_Recipes

Meal 1 // Easy Garlic Chicken + Sweet Potato Fries + Applesauce

With just a little extra cooking time, prepare chicken to be used for every recipe that follows! If you do not wish to use all of the chicken this week you do have the option of preparing and freezing the cooked chicken to pull out of the freezer for quick meals later.Quick-Chicken-Weeknight-Meals

5 from 1 vote
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Easy Garlic Chicken

Make a large batch of Easy Garlic Chicken to use in other recipes! If preparing chicken for all recipes for the week listed in this post, you will need to prepare 12 chicken breasts - which is 3x this recipe. [Allows 4 servings of each meal]

Course Main Course
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Steph Dekker

Ingredients

  • 1 T Butter
  • 1/2 T Olive Oil
  • 4 Chicken Breasts thin sliced
  • 2 cloves Fresh Garlic
  • 1 1/2 t Garlic Powder
  • 1 t Seasoning Salt
  • 1 t Onion Powder

Instructions

  1. Mix Garlic Powder, Seasoning Salt and Onion Powder, coat Chicken on both sides. 

  2. Melt Butter in skillet, add Olive Oil. 

  3. Add garlic and saute for 1-2 mins until fragrant. Add chicken to skillet, cover and cook on each side until cooked through, approximately 7 minutes per side.

5 from 1 vote
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Sweet Potato Fries

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Steph Dekker

Ingredients

  • 2-3 Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 T Olive Oil
  • 1/4 t Thyme
  • 1/4 t Sea Salt
  • 1/4 t Freshly Ground Pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat Oven to 375°. Line baking sheet with non-stick foil

  2. Wash Sweet Potatoes. Cut into fries, approximately 1/2 inch wide.

  3. Toss sweet potatoes in a bowl with Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Pepper and Thyme. 

  4. Bake fries on prepared baking sheet for 20 minutes [or until fork tender], turning halfway. 

Meal 2 // Chicken Spaghetti Casserole + Green Beans + Garlic Bread

This recipe is definitely one where a little bit of extra work goes a looong way. It does take a big longer to prepare, but can be easily mixed up earlier in the day or week. The most exciting thing about this recipe for me is that for my family, it makes enough for two seperate meals (and usually leftovers from each)! Simply divide the recipe into two smaller pans, throw one in the oven and another in the freezer to thaw and cook another day. It’s also one of my go-to’s to take when a friend has a baby since it’s so hearty and will give plenty of easy leftovers for her family.

quick-and-easy-weeknight-meals

quick-and-easy-weeknight-meals
5 from 1 vote
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Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

This recipe can be prepared in one 9x13 pan, or divided into two smaller pans - baking one now and freezing the other for later!

Course Main Course
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4
Author Steph Dekker

Ingredients

  • 2 Cooked Chicken Breasts shredded
  • 12 oz Cooked Spaghetti
  • 2 cans Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1/4 C Chicken Broth
  • 16 oz Sour Cream
  • 1 Stick Butter melted
  • 1/4 t Cayenne
  • 1/4 C Parsley
  • 1/2 t Salt
  • 1/4 t Pepper
  • 1 T Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 C Parmesan
  • 2 C Shredded Cheddar Cheese for topping
  • 1 C Bread Crumbs for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare Spaghetti, drain. Shred or dice Precooked Chicken Breasts.

  2. Melt Butter, mix with Cream of Chicken Soup, Broth, Sour Cream, Cayenne, Parsley, Salt, Pepper, Italian Seasoning and Parmesan. Add chicken and cooked spaghetti.

  3. If making full recipe - pour into 9x13 pan, top with Shredded Cheddar Cheese and Bread Crumbs, bake for 60 minutes or until bubbly.

    If dividing recipe - divide in half between two baking dishes. Top one pan with half amounts of Shredded Cheddar Cheese and Bread Crumbs, bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly. Freeze one half, marking with prep instructions [Top with Shredded Cheddar Cheese and Breadcrumbs. Bake at 350° for 60 minutes if frozen, 45 minutes if thawed.]

Meal 3 // Chicken Fried Rice

This meal can very easily be tailored to your family’s preferences. I’m sharing the vegetables I use when preparing, but knock yourself out creating a dish your family will love! TIME SAVING HINT: This recipe works best with refrigerated prepared rice. Cook rice and chop vegetables ahead of time for a quick 15 minute weeknight meal!Easy-Weeknight-Chicken-Recipes

Easy-Weeknight-Chicken-Recipes
5 from 1 vote
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Chicken Fried Rice

Prepare ingredients ahead of time for a quick 15 minute meal on busy nights!

Course Main Course
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2 C Uncooked Rice prepare per package directions
  • 1 Precooked Chicken Breast shredded
  • 1 T Sesame Oil
  • 1 T Peanut Oil
  • 2 Carrots finely diced
  • 1 Stalk Celery finely diced
  • 1 Stem Broccoli chopped
  • 1/2 C Peas
  • 1/4 C Onion finely diced
  • 2 Green Onions chopped
  • 3 Eggs scrambled
  • Pepper to taste
  • Soy Sauce to taste

Instructions

  1. Begin with 2 cups Uncooked Rice, prepare per package directions. HINT - This recipe works best with rice that has been prepared ahead and refrigerated. 

    Shred or dice precooked chicken.

  2. Place chopped Carrots and Broccoli in microwave safe bowl, cover with water. Microwave 3 minutes. This will greatly reduce your stove top cooking time!

    Scramble eggs in pan, set aside.

  3. Heat 1/2 T Olive Oil and 1/2 T Sesame Oil in large skillet. Add Onions and Celery, cooking over medium to high heat for 3 minutes or until onions begin to appear translucent. Add Garlic, cook 1 minute longer.

    Add a small amount of oil throughout the cooking process if vegetables appear to be dry and sticking to pan.

  4. Add pre cooked carrots and broccoli. Cook 3-5 minutes, until tender. Add Peas and Green Onions. Season with Pepper, cook additional 1-2 minutes.

  5. Add prepared Rice and precooked Chicken. Add desired amount of Soy Sauce, continue sauteing until heated through, stirring continuously. 

  6. Add prepared egg, cook additional 1-2 minutes.

Meal 4 // White Chicken Chili + Cornbread + Salad

Ever have those days when you’re rushing to pick up kids, get them home, fed and back out the door for practice in about 40 minutes? [This is me throwing both my hands in the air like I just don’t care] Insert crockpot meals! Throw all ingredients together before work and let the magic happen while you worry about everything else on your to-do list! Add some cornbread and a quick salad after work and your family is full and happy!
crockpot-recipe

crockpot-recipe
5 from 1 vote
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White Chicken Chili

Easy crockpot recipe for a busy night on the go!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 10
Author Steph Dekker

Ingredients

  • 2 Prepared Chicken Breasts shredded
  • 1 T Butter for sauteing
  • 1 C Onion
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 cans Great Northern Beans drained
  • 2 cans Diced Green Chilis
  • 1 1/2 - 2 C Chicken Broth
  • 1/3 can Corn
  • 1/2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese cubed
  • 1 1/2 C Pepper Jack Cheese shredded
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1 t Cumin
  • 1 t Oregano
  • 1/2 t Pepper
  • 1/4 t Cayene

Instructions

  1. Shred or cube precooked Chicken

  2. Add all ingredients to large crock pot.
    Note: For a more soup like consistency, use 2 cups of Chicken Broth. For a thicker chili use 1 1/2 cups.

  3. Cook on high for 2 1/2 hours or low for 5 hours. Garnish with Cheddar Jack Cheese, Sour Cream and Green Onions if desired.
    Note: Can cook on low setting for longer than 5 hours if required by your schedule.

Meals 5 + 6 // Build Your Own Quesadillas!

Five people = Five different sets of taste buds. Or is that just true for my house?? One of my favorite things to do is make recipes that can be easily customizable for my family members and get the kiddos in the kitchen helping out. There are no separate kids meals being cooked regularly at my house – but it’s fun to make specialized things together as a family! My littlest helpers love picking out their own ingredients and sprinkling their quesadilla toppings into a bowl for me to use while cooking. The sky really is the limit for what you can include in these, but here are two of my family’s favorites:

Chicken BBQ Quesadillas

A favorite for the kids [minus the onions]! Served with apple slices, carrot sticks and ranch for dipping

Easy-Weeknight-Chicken-Recipes
5 from 1 vote
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Chicken BBQ Quesadillas

Delicious from the buttery crisp crust down to the customizable ingredients! Make this recipe your own by easily adding your favorite flavors.

Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1
Author Steph Dekker

Ingredients

  • 1/4 prepared Chicken Breast shredded
  • 1 Tortilla buttered
  • 1 slice Bacon pre cooked
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Onions, if desired chopped
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Ranch

Instructions

  1. Shred or cube pre cooked Chicken Breast.

  2. For a crispy and delicious shell, lightly butter the outside of your tortilla with softened butter or margarine. 

    Pre cook Bacon, 1 slice per quesadilla. HINT: Chop the bacon into small pieces with clean kitchen scissors before cooking. Remove grease from skilled, wipe clean with paper towel.

  3. Over medium heat, add Tortilla to skillet, butter side down. Sprinkle desired amount of cheese over full surface of tortilla. Add to one half of tortilla- chicken, bacon and onions (if using) and lightly drizzle with BBQ Sauce and Ranch.

  4. When cheese begins to melt, fold tortilla in half (covering side with ingredients with the half only covered in cheese). Cook until bottom is browned and cheese on bottom is melted, approximately 3 minutes. Flip quesadilla to other side to finish browning and melting cheese, approximately 3 minutes.

TexMex Chicken Quesadillas

Easy-Weeknight-Chicken-Recipes

Easy-Weeknight-Chicken-Recipes
5 from 1 vote
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TexMex Chicken Quesadillas

Delicious from the buttery crisp crust down to the customizable ingredients! Make this recipe your own by easily adding your favorite flavors.

Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 1/4 prepared Chicken Breast shredded
  • 1 Tortilla buttered
  • Onion chopped
  • Black Beans drained and rinsed
  • Corn
  • Jalapeňo sliced

Instructions

  1. Shred or cube pre cooked Chicken Breast.

  2. For a crispy and delicious shell, lightly butter the outside of your tortilla with softened butter or margarine. 

  3. Over medium heat, add Tortilla to skillet, butter side down. Sprinkle desired amount of cheese over full surface of tortilla. Add to one half of tortilla- chicken, Onions, Black Beans, Corn and Jalapeňo.

    When cheese begins to melt, fold tortilla in half (covering side with ingredients with the half only covered in cheese). Cook until bottom is browned and cheese on bottom is melted, approximately 3 minutes. Flip quesadilla to other side to finish browning and melting cheese, approximately 3 minutes.

PHEW! There you have it, a week full of meals to make on those busy nights when your family is spread all over God’s creation. What are some of your tips for this crazy season of life? We’d love to hear what you do to make those evenings a little bit easier! Now LET’S EAT! My stomach is rumbling after looking at all that goodness!

For your pinning pleasure — 

share this with your best girlfriends:

  1. Just pinned it! It seems obvious, but it’s so true that making all of your meat at once would seriously speed up the process. That’s the #1 reason why I just do a convenience meal — nothing’s defrosted or there’s no time to cook the meat! Thanks for making it easy!

  2. Colleen says:

    I love this post!! Will definitely be trying some of these recipes!!

  3. Atowle says:

    Great ideas! I love how you can use ingredients from one recipes into the next one.Saving this to my recipe pinterest board! Atowle|https://formationvacations.com/

  4. Karen says:

    Love these. Thank you!

  5. Melanie says:

    5 stars
    These look yum! I love a well rounded menu of different type foods. We bought an air fryer at the beginning of the summer. It has changed our lives. Not everything that goes into it has to be fried or battered obviously. Those sweet potato fries made me think of it!

  6. Angela Sharbono says:

    Love these ideas! Going to try several of them! 🙂

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