Weeknight Chicken Dishes

Here are some utterly delicious chicken dishes from other sites and my own, each one a bit different, but easy enough that you’ll want to return to them time and again. (And two of them are the reason I included panko breadcrumbs in my Pantry Basics.) Some require marinating–preferably overnight–so you will have to plan ahead. Once the marinating is done, everything else comes together pretty easily. 

Baked Chicken Breast

A simple recipe that gives chicken a lot of flavour without drying it out. As noted in the post I’m linking to, this recipe originally came from Gimme Some Oven. I added some tweaks and suggestions for other seasonings to mix it up. Note that you need time to thaw the chicken and brine it in salt water for a few hours. I use this recipe often because it is so easy. To make it even faster, use a store-bought seasoning mix. I find it also cooks really well with the convection setting on our toaster oven.

Find the recipe here: Baked Chicken Breast.

Oven-Fried Chicken by Carlsbad Cravings

Get the flavour and texture of fast-food chicken without the grease and regret. It’s so delicious, I wouldn’t change a thing. I just have a couple of tips below. The marinating takes time and the breading process is a bit messy. The effort is absolutely worth it though! Check out my variations on this recipe too, all linked to below.

Notes & Tweaks

  • You will need cornmeal and panko breadcrumbs for the breading. I do find there to be a lot of breadcrumb mixture left over, but try it for yourself to gauge it before you cut back.
  • Contrary to what the recipe says, I do find the spice mix salty so I cut it back to about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk, the recipe offers a substitute using lemon juice or vinegar and milk.  
  • The recipe says you can substitute regular paprika for smoked, which you can, but if you can get your hands on smoked paprika, do. It adds so much flavour anytime you use it. 
  • When I buy chicken breasts, I trim the tenderloins and freeze them for use later in this recipe. If you don’t have tenderloins, you can always use breasts sliced into chicken finger size. You may need to get out the meat tenderizer or slice them in half lengthwise to get them to a uniform size. If they are on the bigger side, you will have to cook them longer. 

Ready to try it? Visit Oven Fried Chicken by Carlsbad Cravings.  

For a flavour change, try my adaptations of this recipe: Baked Curry Chicken Fingers and Triple Ranch Chicken.

Firecracker Chicken Meatballs by Little Spice Jar

Make your own meatballs and glaze them with a spicy sauce. It uses fairly standard ingredients so it is quick to pull together. The half-hour time estimate on the recipe is about right.  

Notes & Tweaks

  • As the recipe says, you can make this dish with chicken or turkey. I’ve done both and they’ve worked equally well. 
  • The sauce is a bit too spicy for some members of our household, so you may want to hold the red pepper flakes, or at least cut back, if you are serving people who don’t like too much heat. 
  • I’ve actually never made meatballs with this recipe. I follow it exactly, but make burgers instead. (I’m a little on the lazy side when it comes to stuff like this, so I find burgers less work than meatballs.) The full recipe makes about 8 burgers, depending on size. Since there are only four of us, I make the full recipe of meat, but half the sauce. I freeze leftover uncooked burgers and then serve them another time, making another half-batch of sauce to cook them. I cook the burgers for about 11-12 minutes, brush them with sauce, then finish the recipe as directed. 
  • The sauce alone makes a great glaze for chicken breasts, turkey, and store-bought chicken or turkey burgers for those occasions when you don’t have time to make burgers/meatballs from scratch. (The unbreaded kind.) Try it with frozen meatballs too.

Find the recipe here: Firecracker Chicken Meatballs by Little Spice Jar. 

Skillet Chicken Fajitas by Carlsbad Cravings

As with the oven fried chicken above–also from Carlsbad Cravings–the marinade here is key. The longer you marinate, the better, so try to start this the day before you plan to eat. But, honestly, the first time I made this I only had a few hours and it was still delicious. 

Notes & Tweaks

  • The recipe calls for liquid smoke, which you can usually find in the same section as BBQ sauces at the grocery store. We use one by Stubb’s
  • You can also serve this with rice or in hard taco shells. 
  • The chipotle lime crema is very tasty, but I find the recipe makes a lot. Be prepared to have leftovers. It would be great in a wrap the next day with any leftover chicken.

Find the recipe here: Skillet Chicken Fajitas by Carlsbad Cravings

Chicken Fingers & Sauce

When looking for quick weeknight meals, frozen chicken fingers or nuggets can come in handy. With a little creativity, you can dress them up to be something truly delicious. I had leftover cilantro and made a tasty cilantro sauce for frozen chicken nuggets. You can also used bottled sauces, like chili sauces or dipping sauces, or make Alabama White Sauce which goes very well with breaded chicken. Serve with rice or grains like farro and you’ll have a dish that goes beyond basic chicken fingers and fries.

Find the recipe here: Chicken Nuggets Made Better.

Image by Mozart3737 | Dreamstime

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