I am definitely a firm believer in cooking meals at home. It saves me tons of money and I am confident that I know what I am actually putting into my food. That being said, I have also had to find ways to be creative with my cooking to fit with my busy schedule. One lifesaver has been the Rotisserie Chicken from my local grocery store I used for easy chicken dinner ideas. It is delicious and actually cheaper than buying a chicken I have to cook myself!
Chicken is incredibly versatile but I get tired of just eating a roasted chicken every day. This is where the creativity steps in and the magic happens! I have included 8 easy chicken dinner ideas for you to make a variety of cheap and healthy chicken meals.
#1. Chicken Soup
There is nothing easier or more comforting than a big bowl of homemade chicken soup. It takes me back to my grandmother’s kitchen table on a cold, wintery day.
After eating the majority of the chicken, I will make a stock from the bones and the leftover meat. (Sometimes, I am pressed for time, freeze the bones, and make the stock on another day!) Remove the bones, of course, and now is your chance to jazz it up.
I add tons of veggies (carrots, onions, celery, peas, cabbage) and usually potatoes or noodles of some kind. I also like to play around with spice beyond just salt and pepper.
Of course, there is the standard chicken bouillon but I have added fresh dill, turmeric, or even cumin. And if you are feeling a little indulgent, add some cream! Oh my word, simply heavenly!
Related article: health benefits of turmeric and black pepper.
Quesadillas are definitely one of the easy chicken ideas that can be made to suit the preference of each family member. Why not even get the kids involved and have them add in their own ingredients. Chop up the chicken, add shredded cheese, and even some additions (tomatoes, green onions, black beans, white beans, corn, etc.).
Place a small amount of oil or butter in a hot frying pan on medium heat. Place the tortilla in the pan, add the fillings, and top with the second tortilla. Flip the quesadilla once it begins to crisp up and the cheese is melted. Add a side dish of salsa, sour cream, and guacamole!
Ughhhh, salad. Hold on. Yes, salad can be terribly boring and unfulfilling but it can also be one of the best meals you have had in a long time!
Get innovative with your ingredients. Ditch that boring iceberg lettuce and choose spinach or romaine. Chop up the chicken (I sometimes will heat it up quickly in a pan before adding it to my salad.).
Add other veggies (peppers, thinly sliced red onion, avocado, etc.). And to step it up a notch, experiment with adding fruit (I personally enjoy strawberries or green apple.) and a nut of some sort (almonds, peanuts, cashews, walnuts, even sesame seeds).
Top it with your favorite salad dressing. (I discovered I love sesame oil, rice vinegar, peanut butter, and some freshly squeezed lime juice mixed together.)
#4. Wraps and Burritos
Another great opportunity to use that chicken and get your vegetables for the day are wraps and burritos.
Add your chopped chicken, vegetables (lettuce, tomatoes, onions, corn, and avocado), beans (black, white navy), I prefer the garbanzo beans (Chickpeas) because of its outstanding health benefits.
Add your favorite shredded cheese and choose a sauce (ranch, BBQ, Catalina salad dressing, etc.). The combinations are endless and you can portion them to each individual in your family.
#5. Chicken Sandwiches
Again, sandwiches can be boring but use that creativity. A family favorite has always been chicken salad sandwiches (chopped chicken, mayo, a bit of mustard, and salt and pepper) but sometimes that is a bit heavy.
Try slicing the chicken and adding different cheese (blue cheese, Havarti, gouda, goat) and a fruit compote (cranberry, apricot). Top with some tomatoes, spinach and thinly slice onion, all on a piece of hearty bread. Delicious!
#6. BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
Chop or shred the chicken while it is still hot. Mix it with some BBQ sauce and spoon onto a crusty roll or bread. (A crusty bread works better as it prevents the sandwich from getting soggy.)
Top it with any shredded cheese and bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and gooey!
It isn’t just pepperoni and mushroom anymore! You can make your own crust or try a store-bought one. Often I am eating alone and actually use store-bought garlic naan bread and make it in my frying pan! It is the perfect size and I don’t have to heat up my oven.
Start with a sauce of your choice (tomato sauce, Alfredo sauce, BBQ sauce). Add some mushrooms, green onions, or even a sliced tomato. Chop up some chicken and top with some shredded mozzarella and bake. Just another one of the easy chicken dinner ideas to add to your repertoire!
This is another chance to get the children involved in cooking! It is a life skill they need.
#8. Vermicelli Noodle Soup
I work long hours and like to eat a fairly hearty lunch so I am not ravenous when I get home. Leftovers are usually my go-to but I do not always have some in the fridge.
So, I turn to a quick vermicelli noodle soup. In a large bowl (that has a lid), I add dry vermicelli noodles. They can be found in the Asian food section of any grocery store. I then chop up some chicken, peppers, green onions, cherry tomatoes, and any other veggie I have in my fridge.
In terms of spices, I add chicken soup mix, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and some chili pepper flakes.
Once I am at work, I fill the bowl with water and microwave it for about 4 minutes until the noodles are soft and appear glass-like. It is a delicious meal that I can feel good about putting inside my system.
Staying on budget and not eating the same old thing over and over can be a difficult task. However, with a little imagination and a rotisserie chicken, you can be sure to enjoy some delicious meals.
How exactly do you incorporate chicken into your meals? Let me know about other easy chicken dinner ideas you have in the comments below!