Cheater Chicken Parmesan

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Our clan was busy busy visiting family, opening gifts, eating, (#priorities), etc. This truly is “the most wonderful time of the year” in my opinion!

Today, I have a simple and scrumptious recipe for you. And the best part is… it only requires 4 ingredients! You’re welcome.

The secret of this recipe is in the name, Cheater Chicken Parmesan. I cheated with this recipe by using frozen, breaded chicken tenders instead of breading and frying my own. This dinner comes together so quick by using prepared chicken. Don’t knock it until you try it (I did it for you and can already tell you its awesome!).

Husbands and kids alike will LOVE this dish! Try it out this week.

Have a Happy New Year!

Cheater Chicken Parmesan

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • Frozen, breaded chicken strips (I used a few strips from the Kroger brand 25 oz. bag)
  • 1 jar Marinara sauce (I used Barilla brand)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 lb. spaghetti
  • Salt, pepper, Italian seasonings, etc. to taste

Directions

  1. Cook desired amount of chicken strips according to package directions.
  2. In a large pot, boil spaghetti according to package directions.
  3. In a small sauce pan, add your marinara and desired seasonings.
  4. When chicken is ready, top with a spoonful of marinara and sprinkle with mozzarella.
  5. Broil chicken strips for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
  6. Serve spaghetti topped with extra marinara and chicken strips.
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Meal Prep: Balsamic Chicken & Veggie Pasta

I’m really getting good with my weekend meal prepping. It seems to be getting easier for me to follow through with it, which is great since I know its saving us money!

If you like to meal prep, I cannot recommend doing sheet pan meals enough! It is such a time saver and makes for easy clean-up. Sheet pan meals are a big thing right now, which I’m sure you know if you’re on Pinterest.

My usual meal prep includes chicken, veggies, rice, and some sort of Asian-inspired sauce. This past week, however, I decided to mix things up. I was inspired by this post and this post to do a pasta dish with a balsamic sauce. And I’m so glad I did!

This pasta dish is filling, but also seems light – like a pasta salad – from the sauce and veggies. There was a bit more clean-up than I would usually prefer, but it was worth it! Tip: If you try this recipe, be sure and read all the way through before beginning to get an idea of what prep work you’ll need to do.

I used red bell pepper and broccoli in this recipe, as those are two of our faves and are easy to roast in the oven. But, feel free to use whatever veggies you like! Just know the balsamic sauce is tangy and sweet, so you want veggies that pair well with it.

If you meal prep, I would highly suggest trying this recipe out! It makes enough for my husband and I to have prepared lunches for most of the week. Obviously, you could also make this for your family for dinner, or half the recipe if there’s just two of you. Options here, people!

Maybe I’ll eventually post my Asian-inspired dish that I often meal prep as well. You need variety sometimes 🙂

Enjoy friends!

 

Balsamic Chicken & Veggie Pasta

Servings: 6 (good-sized portions)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil for sauce + more for cooking
  • 2 tsp. each salt and pepper + more for taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. On a large sheet pan, spread out your red bell pepper and broccoli in an even layer. Drizzle 2 tbsp. olive and sprinkle 1 tsp. each salt and pepper over veggies. Mix them up with your hands to coat all the veggies.
  3. Roast at 425 for 15-20 minutes (Note: I only do 15 min. because it keeps the veggies a little crisp).
  4. While the veggies roast, heat a large skillet on medium high with 2 tbsp. olive oil.
  5. While the oil is heating, boil the water for your pasta – cook according to the package, drain, and set aside until the chicken is finished.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, honey, light brown sugar, and a little salt and pepper.
  7. When your oil is warm (it will sort of be rippling when you look at it), add in your diced chicken and sprinkle with 1 tsp. each salt and pepper, plus more for taste if needed. After about 5 minutes, turn your chicken and pour in half of the balsamic sauce (It will bubble up for a bit, but that’s normal!). Cook for about 3 more minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink inside, then turn off your heat.
  8. When the veggies and pasta are done, add them into the pan with the chicken. Pour in the rest of your balsamic sauce and stir the mixture.
  9. Serve for dinner with crusty bread, or divide into well-sealed meal prep bowls (Note: Let the meal prep bowls cool completely before refrigerating).

Crockpot BBQ Chicken

Hello friends!

I hope you all had a great weekend and are having an even better Monday 😉

We celebrated our little girl’s 2nd birthday this past week and this momma is so stunned with how fast time flies! It doesn’t seem that long ago that she spent most of her time in my arms. I’m glad she still likes to cuddle with mommy (for now anyway!).

Although watching her grow up can be difficult, its also fun to see all the new things she is discovering. Here recently that has been presents! After a birthday party and two Christmas gatherings already under her belt, my girl is ready for Christmas day! And so am I; I cannot wait to watch her open her presents!

Our family celebrates Christ this time of year, and we will teach Emma that He is “the reason for the season”. But while she’s still little, its a magical time to see her light up with each tear of wrapping paper.

With Christmas drawing closer and closer, our schedule seems to keep filling up! Because of that, it is mandatory that dinnertime is simple and not time-consuming. That’s one reason this is my favorite time of year to break out the crockpot!

If you’re right there with me, then today’s recipe is for you – Crockpot BBQ Chicken.

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This recipe is a great time saver. Just add a side of mac and cheese, or whatever you like, and dinner is served! Its also adjustable depending on the size of your family. You can make as much or as little as you want for dinner, or to have extra chicken on hand another day as well (BBQ chicken sandwiches, anyone?).

Have a great week and holiday weekend!

Merry Christmas everyone 🙂

Crockpot BBQ Chicken

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or more if you want extra chicken to freeze for later)**
  • 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (you can omit this if you prefer non-spicy chicken)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Lay chicken in crockpot.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all other ingredients.
  3. Pour over chicken.
  4. Cook on low 4-5 hours or high 2-3 hours.*
  5. When finished cooking, remove chicken and shred. Place back into the crockpot to soak up that yummy sauce.

*If using frozen chicken, cook on the longer end of the time frames (5 on low, 3 on high). If using fresh chicken, cook on the shorter end of the time frames (4 on low, 2 on high).

**If you use more than 4 chicken breasts, adjust cooking time as needed. I would suggest an extra 45 min – 1 hr for each additional breast.

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