Chicken Recipes: Easy, Cheap, Delicious

I was fortunate enough to stay home with my daughter for the first three years of her life, and in that time I learned that finding tasty recipes to please everyone in the family, stay on budget, and ...
Chicken Recipes: Easy, Cheap, Delicious
Written by Amanda Crum
  • I was fortunate enough to stay home with my daughter for the first three years of her life, and in that time I learned that finding tasty recipes to please everyone in the family, stay on budget, and stay within a reasonable realm of prep time was more difficult than I thought it would be. Now that I’m back at work and am even more pressed for time, cooking dinner is a nightly hassle rather than something to be enjoyed. And, at one time, I actually did enjoy it. I even enjoyed grocery shopping, if you can believe that.

    There’s something about finding just the right ingredients and putting them together to create something delicious that is so satisfying. Maybe it’s the foodie in me, or the artist, or both. Whatever the reason, I love to cook, but I hate trying to think up different easy recipes for weeknights. Since chicken is pretty much universally loved in my house, I seem to cook it more than anything else, and it’s hard to keep it from getting old. I’m always on the lookout for new recipes and am constantly experimenting with different things.

    So here is a short list of some of my favorite chicken-inspired dishes, put together here in the hopes that you’ll use them and find joy in them as well.

    Chicken Crescent Rolls

    This is a favorite in my house, and the recipe can be changed up a bit for picky eaters or to be diet-friendly. We usually have these with mashed potatoes and a veggie, but they work great with stuffing or mac-and-cheese (both of which are less time-consuming than potatoes) as well.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    1 8-oz. package cream cheese
    1 small bunch green onions, chopped
    1 can chunked chicken (or cubed cooked chicken, if you have the time; the pre-cooked packages of Tyson chicken strips are awesome, as well)
    1 can crescent rolls
    salt, pepper
    Estimated cost: 8$
    Feeds: 4-6

    Unroll crescent dough and separate triangles on a cookie sheet (there are usually eight in a package, which is just enough for this recipe). Soften cream cheese (this can be done in the microwave on low heat). Mix up all ingredients well, add seasoning to taste. Spoon small portions of the mixture into the middle of each triangle, then pick up the long end of the dough and roll it over until you have made a crescent-shaped pocket. Brush tops with butter. Bake according to temperature directions on the dough package until lightly browned (about eight minutes).

    *Note: This can also be made with shredded cheddar cheese instead of cream cheese, with broccoli cuts added in.

    White Chicken Chili

    Just typing this out is making my mouth water for this recipe. And while it’s a most excellent meal to have on a blustery winter day with a side dish of cornbread, it’s also a great crock-pot meal for any time of year. Mix all the ingredients into the crock-pot on low heat and let it simmer while you’re at work all day. You’ll thank me later.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    1 can cream of chicken soup
    2 cans chicken broth
    1 bag Great Northern beans, dried
    1 small bunch green onions, chopped
    1/2 white onion, chopped
    1 small can green chiles
    2-3 large cans chunk chicken (or equivalent of cooked chicken)
    dash of milk to thicken
    salt, pepper, cayenne
    Estimated cost: 12$
    Feeds: approx. 6-8

    If you go with dried beans, which is preferable if you’re cooking this in the crock-pot, you’ll need to throw them in a colander first and wash them off, then let them soak in water overnight. This just cleans any debris off the beans and softens them up a bit. Mix all ingredients well; you can add a bit of milk to make it thicker if you like. You’ll need a large crock-pot to cook this recipe in, because it calls for a lot of ingredients and you don’t want to come home and find half your meal spilled over on the floor.

    *Note: This dish goes wonderfully with fried cornbread, which is made just like pancakes only with Jiffy cornbread mix. Also, it makes quite a bit, so you can freeze some if you find yourself with too many leftovers.

    Stuffed Peppers And Tomatoes

    This is one of my favorite summertime recipes because it uses fresh ingredients. If you’re tired of chicken, you can substitute it for thinly sliced skirt steak marinated in Dale’s (or your favorite marinade).

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    Large red tomatoes
    Large green bell peppers
    shredded cheese (your favorite)
    canned chicken (at least 2)
    white onion
    fresh corn
    fresh cilantro
    salt, pepper, garlic salt to taste
    Estimated cost: 10-15$
    Feeds: approx. 4-6

    The great thing about this recipe is that it’s so open to whatever ingredients you want to use. Pick your favorite veggies and thrown ’em in!

    Cut the tops off the tomatoes and peppers. Scoop out the insides, reserving the tomato filling. Saute the chicken with butter (I like to use a little bit of brine from a jar of green olives to give it a nice flavor) and add in the tomato filling, plus whatever veggies you want to use, chopped. My personal favorite is chicken, onion, tomato, and cheese with corn on the cob on the side; however, you can cut the corn off the cob and saute it in with the meat if you prefer). Once you’ve cooked your rice (I use brown rice with chicken, white with beef), layer it inside the bottom of the hollowed-out tomatoes and peppers. Stand them upright on a cookie sheet. Fill with meat/veggie mixture. Add cheese to the top. Broil or bake for 5-10 minutes.

    *Note: These are also excellent on the grill.

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