Chicken is my go to protein on our household. It is so versatile to cook. Chicken is a very lean protein depending on how you cook it. You can really do almost anything with it. Down below I will be showing you my version of how to cook easy chicken dinners. I hope you like my take on classic dishes, turned into my own recipes.
Cheesy Chicken and Rice
Here I like to take boneless skinless chicken, rice, a bag of vegetable blend (frozen), cream of condensed chicken of soup mix, or cream of condensed mushroom soup, a splash of milk and cheese. This is all you need for this simple recipe.
- Cook your chicken ahead, buy a rotisserie, used can chicken, or even use the deli carving board chicken.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray or grease a 13x9in casserole dish.
- Cooked chicken 1/2lb or I have even used chunk light chicken in a can for this. I would use 2 larger cans for this recipe. What gets easier than that?
- 1 cup of cooked rice. I use instant here, the other flavors your are going to cook into the dish add up for the generally flavorless instant rice.
- Once you have your chicken and rice prepared, you want to assemble the dish. Take a large bowl, mix the rice with chicken, vegetables, milk, and condensed soup of your choice. Add enough milk to be slightly a looser mix. The rice will soak up the flavor here.
- Pour into your greased 13x9in pan. Once your mixture in spread evenly in the pan you want to top it with cheese. You can grate your own cheese but, for the sake of being easy, just buy a bag of shredded cheese. I do not want to put an exact amount of cheese on here because all ovens cook differently and all people prefer different amounts of cheese. Although, you do want to make sure the top of the whole dish is covered in a light, or thick layer of cheese.
- A dash of salt and pepper on top will do. Go heavy on the pepper, but hold the salt for the most part, cheese is salty.
- Cook for about 25-30min until cheese is melted and brown, and mixture is bubbly underneath.
Pro tip from personal experience on this one. I love this for game nights for my kids. I will prepare it and cook it until almost done, top it with foil and leave in the oven after the oven is turned off. When we get home, it is still warm and perfect to just toss in a bowl.
Lemon Pepper Chicken
Lemon pepper Chicken seems to be pretty self-explanatory for the most part, or some people think. I like to make mine quickbut much more flavorful. The key to this is using fresh ingredients.
- Season your chicken. I use a combination of dried lemon and pepper seasoning with fresh. Coat your chicken using a store bought seasoning blend. Then, I use a whole lemon, or sometimes even two, and quite a few turns of my pepper grinder. Place in a sealed bag in the fridge and let this sit for 30 minutes or so. For even more flavor and ease, season the day before and toss in the fridge. It will just give it that much more flavor.
- You can bake, broil, grill, or even pan sear this recipe. Depending on what cut of chicken you have will depend on how long the cooking time is.
- Pair this with grilled asparagus, or pan seared asparagus.
Whole Chicken/Beer Can Chicken
A whole chicken has recently been one of my favorites to buy at the grocery store. I can season it anyway I want and cook it different ways. A good size chicken (6lbs) will feed my family for one meal. Oh, how I miss the days of making two meals out of these.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
- Unpackage and wash your chicken very well under cold water. (Don’t forget to wash your sink after)
- Season this bird any way you want to. If you like spicy, grab yourself a spicy blend. If you like more subtle, use salt, pepper, and garlic. I personally like injecting my bird with some butter jalapeno. You really can’t go wrong here, I don’t think. Make it what you like.
- You want to have a dark soda, or beer. The beer can be light or dark, but I prefer light. Open it and pour a little into a cup about 1/3cup. If you are using beer and over 21yr of age, do not let that waste! However, whatever you use you will need to use a can opener, or a very sharp knife and poke two extra holes into the top of the can.
- Use a baking pan that will be deep enough to catch the drippings. I use a foil lined bottom broiler pan, and also have used a 13x9in dish. Use what you have and the object here is to be easy. Place the chicken upright onto the can and arrange the legs so it looks comfy sitting there. It will be there a bit.
- Cook for average of 3 – 3 1/2hrs. Even though that skin looks brown and crispy doesn’t mean that the inside is done. You will need to make sure you get a 165 degree temperature reading on your meat thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken, entered at an angle.
- Let the chicken rest for a few minutes. One so you can take it off the can and cut it on a cutting board and two so it will cool slightly and retain all the flavor from the juices.
I like to serve this on a Sunday evening with mashed potatoes, that are obviously instant, and gravy from a jar. Don’t judge me too much, we are talking about easy chicken dinners. Other than the time involved in this, this one really too simple to put together and make it look like you worked all day,
BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
We are talking easy chicken, So I am going to make this one so super easy it is absolutely fool proof.
- Wash your chicken under cold water.
- Put into a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or a pot on the stove with 2 cups of broth or stock. I prefer chicken stock, some like to use beef stock even with chicken. That is ok, make it to what you like.
- Let it cook until fork tender. If you are using the stove for this keep a check on your liquid, as you may need to add more. The main idea of this is to toss it in and forget about it.
- Shred the chicken, return to pot, whichever you are using, add BBQ sauce. Homemade or store bought. Again what you like.
- Toss on a hamburger bun and done. Well almost, my family prefers mayo on their BBQ. If you do not, do not add it. If you haven’t ever tried it, maybe you should.
I might should have addressed this first but with I wanted to jump right into some easy chicken dinner recipes. Depending on what cut of chicken you buy will determine how long it needs to cook. Like bone in chicken will take longer to cook than boneless. You have pros and cons with both. Bone in chicken will always be more juicy and flavorful in my opinion. Boneless chicken can tend to try out too quick, if you over cook it. Regardless of what cut of chicken you prefer or find on sale, remember to always cook to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
I hope these recipes find a way into your kitchen sometime. Please let me know if you try one and what you think about it, or even if you have something similar, /i would love to try it.