Our Favorite Back-to-School Chicken Dinners
Your family is of coming off the joy of summer, back into a scheduled routine for the school year with soccer, ballet, and piano practice squeezed in-between. Chicken comes to the rescue when it’s time to make a dinner that the whole family will enjoy (even the picky eaters). The big question when it comes to everyone's favorite lean protein: How do avoid preparing it the same way over and over? You've mastered your favorite go-to chicken Parm recipe, and now it’s time to venture into new dishes and develop fresh favorites to keep in your back pocket for a moment’s notice. Here are some of our personal favorite, weeknight-friendly chicken dinners that the family will request again and again.
Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots
The trick to extra-savory veggies is cooking the chicken atop the potatoes and carrots.
Kids will love swapping forks for skewers to build their own kebab bites. The sweet-savory glazed chicken is perfect served with basmati rice and crisp steamed veggies.
Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Baby Potatoes
A very hot oven quickly roasts the potatoes and finishes the chicken without overcooking. You can substitute fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise, for the small Yukon gold potatoes.
Orange-Sauced Chicken is a super-fast supper (think 10 minutes!) that’s rich with flavor, yet only has around 200 calories per serving—which means you don’t have to feel bad about going in for seconds. Orange juice, chicken broth, orange marmalade, and fresh lemon juice combine to make a truly irresistible sauce for chicken breasts dredged in Italian-style breadcrumbs. Orange marmalade can be found near the jams and nut butters at your local grocery. Serve over sticky white rice with mixed vegetables on the side. This is such a simple chicken recipe that is also impressive.
Instant Pot 40-Clove Chicken
Mexican Chicken Stew
Ground guajillo chile powder is found in Mexican markets and adds a complexity to the stew that regular chili powder cannot. Though it's more mild compared to other chile powders, guajillo chile powder is tangy, smoky, and rich.
Pressure Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
This speedy take on chicken tikka masala is one of those big flavor, low effort meals you'll want to put on repeat week after week. In fact, this recipe exemplifies just about every reason we love the pressure cooker—it's efficient, it's easy to use, and it produces huge flavor in a matter of minutes. If you do a little bit of prepping ahead (say, cooking your rice and chopping aromatics the night before or in the morning), this rich and saucy supper can be on your dinner table in 10 minutes.
Asian Chicken Thighs
Serve these saucy chicken thighs over cooked noodles with a side of steamed broccoli for a well-rounded meal. Finishing the chicken thighs in the broiler to ensure a crispy outside and juicy on the inside.
Chicken with Rich Lemon-Herb Sauce
Bow-Tie Pasta with Chicken and Pesto
For a fresh pasta dish, toss bow-tie pasta with chicken, pesto, and red pepper strips.
Arroz Con Pollo
This classic Spanish and Latin America chicken and rice dish cooks in just one pot.
Parmesan Chicken and Rice
Chicken, Broccoli, and Brown Rice Casserole
This healthy whole-grain spin on a comfort food classic is indulgent, creamy, and a guaranteed family-pleaser. Cost for 4: $10.31
Lemon Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowl
Chicken, broccolini and rice: What more could you ask for? Our top-rated Asian chicken bowl is flavorful, healthy and comes together quickly for busy weeknights. Pro tip: Double the soy sauce mixture for added flavor.
Penne and Chicken Tenderloins with Spiced Tomato Sauce
This penne pasta recipe is a simple way to bring Italian flavors to your dinner table. Serve with a green salad and garlic bread for a hearty, filling meal.
Garlic Pesto Chicken with Tomato Cream Penne
Start with a bottle of classic Italian marinade, a can of chicken broth, and tomato sauce and you're halfway to a creamy pasta with tender, juicy chicken for dinner tonight. Optional: You can sub skim milk for half-and-half to save calories, but the end result won't be as creamy.
Tuscan Stewed Chicken with White Beans and Tomato
For a flavorful chicken dinner, serve this Tuscan-flavored chicken with a tomato and white bean mixture.
Oven-Fried Chicken with Spring Salad
Making crispy, golden-brown chicken is possible on a weeknight if you use the oven instead of the stove-top. Enjoy the contrast between the hot cooked chicken and the tangy caper-and-lemon vinaigrette.
Skillet Chicken Thighs with Spring Vegetables and Shallot Vinaigrette
This elegant single-skillet meal for two is deceptively easy to make. Ready in under an hour, this skillet chicken dinner includes your protein (perfectly golden-crisp chicken thighs), green veggies (peas and asparagus), a starch (baby Yukon gold potatoes), and a whole lot of vibrant flavor (hello, shallot vinaigrette). This easy weeknight chicken dinner is one you’re sure to come back to again and again.
Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Chicken Penne
Creamy, cheesy, chicken pasta—what’s not to love? This cozy 25-minute meal from The Food Gays is sure to become your new go-to this school year.
Smoked Chicken, Squash, and Rice Soup
Smoked chicken, which you can pick up from your favorite barbecue restaurant, gives this soup a nice depth of flavor. Lime juice, avocado, and cilantro add a Latin accent.
Creamy Chicken Quesadillas
A creamy base helps the cheese go further and keeps the chicken moist. For a crisp exterior, coat the filled tortillas with cooking spray instead of coating the pan.
Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti
We adapted our simple and delicious Pressure Cooker Chicken Spaghetti recipe to be a perfect fit for your Instant Pot. It's sure to become a new weeknight favorite.
Tahini Chicken with Bok Choy and Mango Salad
Tahini and honey create a beautifully charred crust on grilled chicken thighs in seconds. Sliced baby bok choy adds plenty of crunch and a faintly nutty flavor to the slaw. You can use fresh navel orange sections in place of the mango.
Grilled Chicken Kebabs with Arugula Pesto
Wake up your grill from winter hibernation with flavorful skewers (chicken, sweet onion, and zucchini) paired with a zippy arugula pesto on the side. Serve with plenty of crusty bread to mop up the pesto.
Peach-Ginger Chicken Thighs
The lightly spicy, fresh peach relish that accompanies these simple grilled chicken thighs adds color and a burst of vibrant flavor to create a wow-worthy summertime dish. In fact, don’t be afraid to make a double batch of this salsa, as we have no doubt you’ll be able to find plenty of delicious ways to enjoy the leftovers—even if it’s just with tortilla chips for a next-day afternoon snack. Simple to prepare and loaded with fresh, seasonal flavor, these Peach-Ginger Chicken Thighs are the perfect entree for your next casual cook-out.
Orange-Almond Chicken-and-Cabbage Bowls
Make these low-calorie, no-cook bowls ahead for an easy lunch or dinner when time is tight. Change up the fruit, nut, or protein for whatever you have on hand.
Greek Chicken Grain Bowls
These mediterranean-inspired grain bowls are perfect for make-ahead meal prepping. Hearty and filled with various flavors and textures, this is the kind of packed lunch or simple dinner you’ll be satisfied with all week long.
Chicken Alfredo Soup
Inspired by the favorite pasta dish, this creamy Chicken Alfredo Soup comes together in no time with the help of a few store-bought shortcuts. Rotisserie chicken, frozen peas, and a jar of Alfredo sauce, which serves as the backbone of this highly comforting pot of soup, keep your hands-on prep to a minimum. This convenience factor, coupled with the fact that it’s is a guaranteed kid-pleasing recipe, makes this soup a perfect go-to for hectic weeknights. While it is undeniably luscious and satisfying, the soup is surprisingly not overly heavy. We used Gia Russa brand sauce, but feel free to use your own favorite. Served with a crusty bread, a green salad, and a glass of white wine, this quick and easy soup makes for an outstanding dinner on chilly nights.
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Go ahead and flag this recipe--it's sure to become a family favorite. For convenience, we call for precooked wild rice; if you can't find it, you can substitute 2 cups of your own cooked wild rice or a package of precooked brown rice.
Orange Chicken Skewers with Jalapeño-Mint Yogurt Dip
Packed full of bright citrus flavor, this dish makes for a perfect fuss-free weeknight dinner. Feel free to make the creamy yogurt dip in advance to speed up the prep on this fast and fresh dinner even more. Tangy Greek yogurt and fresh mint are a refreshing balance to the heat of a jalapeño, but to tame the spice a bit more, simply remove the seeds of your jalapeño before dicing and stirring into the yogurt. This recipe serves 2, but is easily doubled to serve more (or if you want to make sure you have leftovers). If you are using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in cold water prior to grilling.
Milanesa de Pollo with Jicama Slaw
“Milanesa” refers to a cut of meat that’s pounded very thin, breaded, and fried—in other words, it’s grade-A comfort food. Here, we went with one of the more popular proteins for this traditional dish to make crispy chicken milanesa, and topped it off with a vibrant, fresh slaw for a pop of freshness and color. This flavor-packed red cabbage and jicama slaw is a great recipe to keep in your back pocket as it’d make a most excellent topper or side dish for any number of occasions—from taco night to your next big backyard cookout.
Quick Chicken Piccata
Chicken piccata is typically made with sliced chicken breasts, but we find chicken "thighccata" to be even more flavorful.
If stroganoff could restore its Russian creators 200 years ago, this chicken version will restore you on any winter weeknight.
Parm-Style Chicken Sliders
These Italian-style sliders put a summery spin on Chicken Parmesan.
Grilled Chicken and Soba Noodles with Miso Vinaigrette
The vinaigrette doubles as a sauce for the noodles and a glaze before the chicken hits the grill. The noodle mixture and the chicken can be made a couple of days ahead.
Kickin' Orange-Glazed Chicken
Don't just quicken your chicken, give it a good kickin', too! Amplify zesty flavors with a citrus glaze for a fast 20-minute chicken dinner tonight.
Crispy Chicken Thighs with White Beans
This method for cooking chicken--often referred to as "chicken under a brick"--creates a crispy skin coupled with a succulent interior.
Lemon-Honey Chicken Thighs
These sticky, saucy chicken thighs are perfectly paired with any grilled zucchini sides (shown here with chopped tomato-basil salsa). You can also use chicken breasts; just cook them a little longer, about 6 minutes per side.
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Satay Sauce
We turn the traditional appetizer of chicken skewers and dipping sauce into a main course by spooning the satay sauce over sliced grilled chicken breasts. This dish pairs well with Cucumber, Carrot, and Orange Salad.
Quick Chicken Picatta with Parslied Orzo
Sautéed lemon slices intensify the flavors of the pan sauce and make a beautiful garnish. Cook the orzo while you bread the chicken; while the chicken cooks, spread the orzo on a baking sheet to cool and to keep the grains from sticking together.
Creamy Chicken Pasta
Cider-Glazed Chicken with Browned Butter-Pecan Rice
With chicken cutlets and boil-in-bag rice, this unique take on the chicken-and-rice dinner couldn’t be easier (or faster!) to make.
Braised Chicken with Honey-Lemon Leeks
Lemon is a bright partner for the caramelized leeks, which cook twice: They are sautéed, then roasted to meld with the honey and lemon.
Grilled Chicken and Pesto Farfalle
Sautéed Chicken with Roasted Pepper Pasta
If you can't find mozzarella pearls, dice a block of mozzarella.
Roast Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Apples
Comforting Roast Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Apples is just the entree for feeding a hungry crowd. One large 5- to 6-pound bird or two smaller ones will satisfy your gang.