Easy Dinner Ideas: Chicken with Sauce

I think every recipe on this blog will start with the word “easy.” I really do not like to cook, so I don't want to spend any more time at it than I have to. So you can bet that if I put a recipe on here, it's gonna be mucho easy, easy, and did I say easy.

This is one of my favorite easy dinner ideas -- just take IQF Chicken and pair it with a sauce from the list provided. So easy, so quick!This recipe is one of my favorite easy dinner ideas, and it fits into Week 1 of my Two-Week Menu Plan. The basic premise is boneless skinless IQF chicken taken out of the freezer and placed STILL FROZEN in a large skillet on the stovetop, not quite covered with sauce, and left to cook on low or medium heat for a slightly longer period of time than if you had thawed it first.

Thawing, to me, is a hassle. Mostly because I usually forget to do it, and then there I am at 5pm trying to make dinner with a rock-hard piece of meat. And I don't like to thaw in the microwave, because for me the end result after expending time and effort on cooking the micro-thawed meat is almost always a tough, often dry, chew. So this type of recipe, with no thawing necessary, suits me really well. And the final product is moist and tender and yumsters.

There are two ingredients to this recipe: 1) chicken, and 2) sauce. What brings the variety in is what type of sauce you choose to use for a given meal. But in each case you will cover the chicken in a large skillet with the sauce, turn the heat up until it bubbles nicely for a minute or two, then turn the heat down so the bubbles are much more gentle, and let it sit for 45 minutes or so.

Here are the sauces I have used with success:

1) Green Enchilada Sauce – use the big can from the Hispanic food section of the grocery store. Just open the can and dump it over the chicken and you're good to go. This goes well with rice and beans for sides. You can also add a dollop of sour cream or guacamole or pico (or all three!) to the plate when served.

2) Alfredo Sauce – Again, your favorite brand in a jar is fine, or make your own if you're so inclined. (I generally am NOT, lol.) Emtpy the jar over the chicken and cook as above. With this you can have a side of pasta and some broccoli, maybe some crackly garlic bread. Mmmmm…

3) Hawaiian Sauce – this I make from scratch when I have the motivation to do so (recipe will follow soon). :-) But it is very quick and thoroughly yummy. Rice goes good with this, and green beans or whatever other veggie you like.

4) Barbecue Sauce – buy a bottle of your favorite brand and pour the whole shebang over the chicken. Serve with some kind of potato and corn, maybe.

5) Spaghetti or Marinara Sauce – same song, different lyrics. Open the jar, dump the whole thing onto the chicken, cook. This one goes really well with some spaghetti squash and a salad.

6) Mandarin Oranges and Honey — Use one of the large cans of oranges and include the juice.  Drizzle with a little bit of honey.  Serve with rice and something green — maybe a salad?

This is one of my favorite easy dinner ideas -- just take IQF Chicken and pair it with a sauce from the list provided. So easy, so quick!
This is what the chicken looks like when you first put it in the pan. It really doesn't take much sauce–this is about a cup of applesauce.

7) Applesauce and Onions (also pictured above) — Slice an onion and cook it in oil in a skillet first, to slightly caramelize it.  Then put it on the chicken and pour some applesauce from a jar over top.  Sprinkle some cinnamon or some basil.  Instead of the white potatoes that we had it with, I think it would go better with sweet potatoes…  (And just in case you're curious, I actually chopped the onions in the picture; that's the reason for the reddish-brown splotches on the chicken.  I do think slices would be nicer; I just forgot, lol.)

8) I just tried this one a few days ago, in the spirit of the season: Cranberries and Lemon Juice — I used a half a bag of real cranberries and drizzled some lemon juice from a bottle.  I did get scared it might be too tart and added a little honey towards the end of the cooking.  And the end result was very good; we had it with quinoa and broccoli.

If you are looking for easy dinner ideas, it doesn't get much easier than this.  And as part of the Two-Week Menu it doesn't get boring, because every week you choose a different sauce. The chicken juices combine with the sauce to make it especially tasty, just as if you had baked it in the oven; and those same juices mean there's enough sauce to spoon some over your rice or potatoes or pasta… In my family growing up we would say “nummy” instead of “yummy” when something was especially good; and let me tell you, any of these chicken-and-sauce combos are NUMMY.

What other sauces could you use for this easy meal?? Let me know in the comments; I'm always up for suggestions. :-)

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