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Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumpling Stew

By Polly Conner

Chicken and Dumplings in the slow cooker? Yes! It can be done!

This classic comfort food will fill your home with delicious smells and is a total crowd pleaser. To make Chicken and Dumplings even more versatile for you, we’ve included instructions not only for the crock pot but also for how to make it a freezer meal AND how to make it in the Instant Pot!

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings in a white bowl
Image credit: Helene Dujardin/From Freezer to Cooker (Rodale)

This easy Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumpling recipe comes from our cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker ,and was good enough to make national television. Seriously! Here is a segment of us cooking Chicken & Dumplings on Hallmark Home & Family!

Polly Conner and Rachel Tiemeyer on Hallmark Channel

In fact, all of the photos in this post were pulled from this very cooking segment on Hallmark.

Hopefully the process photos will give you a visual of how easily our Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumpling Stew comes together.

How to Make Chicken and Dumplings in the Slow Cooker

SAUTÉ YOUR VEGGIES

While we would love to not have to pre-cook vegetables for this slow cooker meal, we found that they don’t get cooked enough in the 3-4 hours it takes for the chicken to get done in the slow cooker. Plus, sautéing vegetables adds lots of flavor!

Sautéd vegetables for chicken and dumplings

SEASON THE CHICKEN THIGHS

Once those veggies start to get tender and you’ve added your garlic and seasonings, transfer them to the slow cooker and season your chicken.

We use chicken thighs for the recipe because they stay incredibly tender and juice when cooking in the slow cooker. Just make sure you cook the chicken the correct amount of time!

Chicken thighs on a baking sheet being seasoned

COOK IN THE SLOW COOKER

Add the chicken, broth, and bay leaves to the slow cooker and stir to combine.

Cover and cook on Low for 3 to 4 hours. (The chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally.) Trust us, this is really only how long you cook it or else it will turn out dry! Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves (make sure to return the lid to the cooker quickly).

MAKE THE DUMPLINGS

Set the slow cooker to High. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley. In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter and milk together until warm, about 1 minute, then whisk to melt the butter and combine. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined (do not overmix).

Making dumplings in a glass bowl

ADD YOUR DUMPLINGS TO THE SLOW COOKER

Working quickly and using a soup spoon or tablespoon, uncover the slow cooker, scoop out heaping tablespoons of dumpling batter, and drop into the stew. (Wet your hands to prevent sticking and use them to help slide the batter off the spoon and into the stew.)

Try to spread the dumplings out so they cover the whole surface and aren’t on top of one another. Get the lid back on the cooker as soon as possible.

Cook on High for 30 to 40 minutes or until the dumplings have doubled in size and a toothpick inserted into the center of a dumpling comes out clean.

Scooping out dumplings into the slow cooker

DICE YOUR CHICKEN AND ADD IT BACK IN

Meanwhile, shred or chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside.

When the dumplings are done, gently stir the chicken and peas into the stew. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Moving chicken into slow cooker

Can I Make Chicken and Dumplings in the Instant Pot?

One of the beauties of this recipe is that it can be made in both the slow cooker AND the Instant Pot.

INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS

  1. For the stew: Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Place the butter in the pot. When the butter has melted, add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring, until they just begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper and stirring in the poultry seasoning and garlic during the last 30 to 60 seconds of cooking. Watch to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Press “Cancel.” (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken, broth, and bay leaves to the pot and stir to combine.
  3. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 6 minutes, then quick release the pressure. (The chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally.) Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  4. For the dumplings: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley. In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter and milk together until warm, about 1 minute, then whisk to melt butter and combine. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined (do not overmix).
  5. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté” and bring the stew to a boil. Using a soup spoon or tablespoon, scoop out heaping tablespoons of dumpling batter, and drop into the stew. (Wet your hands to prevent sticking and use them to help slide the batter off the spoon and into the stew.) Try to spread the dumplings out so they cover the whole surface and aren’t on top of one another. Cover the Instant Pot loosely with the lid, leaving a crack. Cook for about 12 minutes, until the dumplings double in size and a toothpick inserted into the center of a dumpling comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, shred or chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside.
  7. When the dumplings are done, gently stir the chicken and peas into the stew. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

INSTANT POT FREEZER MEAL INSTRUCTIONS

FREEZE FOR LATER: Follow step 1. Let the veggies cool. Season both sides of the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and place the chicken in a gallon-size freezer bag or round container (do not stack the chicken thighs in the bag/container; instead, place them side by side). Add the broth, bay leaves, and cooled veggies. Seal and freeze (if using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen). Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley in a quart-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze alongside the stew.

PREPARE FROM FROZEN: Note: You will need to have butter, milk, and frozen peas on hand to complete this meal. Set aside the dry dumpling mix. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Transfer the frozen stew to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel.” Follow step 3, but cook at high pressure for 15 to 20 minutes. Follow steps 4 through 7, using the bag of dry mix to make the dumplings in step 4.

Can I Freeze Chicken and Dumplings for the Slow Cooker?

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for fabulous freezer meals. THIS IS WHAT WE DO!

Many would not consider Chicken and Dumplings to be a great freezer meal. Wrong! We have devised a way that Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings can be frozen and thawed and still taste like a fresh, delicious meal.

Holding a freezer meal of chicken and dumplings

FREEZER MEAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SLOW COOKER VERSION

FREEZE FOR LATER: Follow step 1. Let the veggies cool. Season both sides of the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and place the chicken in a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Add the broth, bay leaves, and cooled veggies. Seal and freeze. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley in a quart-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze alongside the stew.

PREPARE FROM FROZEN: Note: You will need to have butter, milk, and frozen peas on hand to complete this meal. Thaw. Transfer the chicken-vegetable mixture to the slow cooker and follow steps 3 through 7, using the bag of dry mix to make the dumplings in step 4.

What should I serve with this dish?

We love that Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings are a one-pot wonder. You’ve got vegetables, protein, and bread/starch all in one delicious bowl! But, if you’d like to add in something on side, here are a few ideas to round out this comfort meal…

Autumn Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Crock Pot Cinnamon Apples

Have questions? Feedback? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: american

Description

Chicken and Dumplings are probably the ultimate comfort food.  This one-pot-wonder is filled with tender vegetables, juicy shredded chicken, and soft dumplings in a rich creamy-brothy gravy.


Ingredients

Stew

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 4 carrots, sliced ¼ inch thick (about 1 ½ cups)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Dumplings

  • 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (You can sub white whole wheat flour, but we do not recommend subbing whole wheat flour.)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons dried parsley
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
  • ¾ cup milk (your choice)

Instructions

Make It Now

  1. For the stew: In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring, until they just begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper and stirring in the poultry seasoning and garlic during the last 30 to 60 seconds of cooking. Watch to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Remove from the heat. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Transfer the vegetables to the slow cooker. Lightly season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and place in the slow cooker. Add the broth and bay leaves and stir to combine.
  3. Cover and cook on Low for 3 to 4 hours. (The chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally.) Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves (make sure to return the lid to the cooker quickly). Set the slow cooker to High.
  4. For the dumplings: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley. In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter and milk together until warm, about 1 minute, then whisk to melt the butter and combine. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined (do not overmix).
  5. Working quickly and using a soup spoon or tablespoon, uncover the slow cooker, scoop out heaping tablespoons of dumpling batter, and drop into the stew. (Wet your hands to prevent sticking and use them to help slide the batter off the spoon and into the stew.) Try to spread the dumplings out so they cover the whole surface and aren’t on top of one another. Get the lid back on the cooker as soon as possible. Cook on High for 30 to 40 minutes or until the dumplings have doubled in size and a toothpick inserted into the center of a dumpling comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, shred or chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside.
  7. When the dumplings are done, gently stir the chicken and peas into the stew. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Freeze for Later:

Follow step 1. Let the veggies cool. Season both sides of the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and place the chicken in a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Add the broth, bay leaves, and cooled veggies. Seal and freeze. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley in a quart-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze alongside the stew.

Prepare From Frozen:

Note: You will need to have butter, milk, and frozen peas on hand to complete this meal. Thaw. Transfer the chicken-vegetable mixture to the slow cooker and follow steps 3 through 7, using the bag of dry mix to make the dumplings in step 4.


Notes

“I added some leftover grilled corn to it, and that was an excellent addition.” —Ashley D.

Want to Stock Your Freezer with 6 Meals in 1 Hour?

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Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken

By Polly Conner

This Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken recipe is easy, tasty, freezer-friendly, and made in the crock pot. Shred up those tender chicken thighs and serve it over rice for a delicious, filling dinner. For a dump and go crock pot freezer meal, it doesn’t get much better!

Slow cooker teriyaki chicken on a plate with green onion

Oh man, was this Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki good. Yes, I do repeat. This is a GREAT SLOW COOKER RECIPE. I have tried one too many slow cooker recipes that have failed to impress me, but this one is a keeper.

What Ingredients Do I Need to Make Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken?

The ingredients are simple. I bet you have most of them at home already! Here is what you’ll need…

Ingredients in slow cooker teriyaki chicken
  • Olive or avocado oil to saute the onions
  • 1/2 onion, diced – We found that this needs to be sauteed in order to be done when the chicken is done. If not, you’ll have crunchy onions!
  • Garlic cloves, minced – Shortcut: 1-2 teaspoons pre-minced garlic
  • Soy sauce Gluten-Free Option: Use coconut aminos or gluten-free Tamari Soy Sauce
  • Honey
  • Brown sugar 
  • Rice wine vinegar 
  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (This is where we get our favorite organic chicken*.) – You can also use boneless, skinless thighs!
  • Cornstarch – To thicken the sauce at the end.

*affiliate link

That’s it! In fact, watch this short video to see how easily Teriyaki Chicken comes together:

How Long Do I Cook Chicken Thighs in the Slow Cooker?

There is a lot of misinformation out there about how long to cook chicken in the slow cooker. After testing hundreds and hundreds of slow cooker recipes for our cookbooks, we have nailed down the perfect cooking times for all the most common cuts of meat. In fact, we created a free, printable slow cooker cooking times chart. You can download it and print it off to have on hand for the future.

When it comes to chicken thighs, we have found it’s always best to cook them on Low and only for 3-4 hours at the very most. While chicken thighs can cook a bit longer than chicken breast, they will definitely start to dry out after that amount of time cooking.

Teriyaki chicken thighs in a slow cooker

Can you freeze Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki?

Yes! This recipe makes for an awesome make ahead Crock Pot freezer meal. Here’s how:

To Freeze For Later: Place the raw chicken thighs and all of the marinade ingredients (except for the cornstarch) into a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal and freeze.

To Prepare From Frozen: Thaw using one of these safe methods and then cook as directed.

Teriyaki Chicken thighs in a freezer bag with marinade

Can I add vegetables to this meal in the slow cooker?

While you can for sure add vegetables to the recipe in the slow cooker, I’d recommend giving them a quick saute on the stove instead and then stirring them in at the very end. That way they stay fresh and crisp. When cooked in the slow cooker, vegetables can get a little soggy.

I also love to serve it over a bed of brown rice.

Teriyaki chicken on a serving platter with vegetables

Can I use other cuts of chicken instead of thighs?

You bet! Just use our cooking times chart to navigate how long to cook the chicken for in the slow cooker.

Print

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Freezer Meal
  • Method: Slow cooker
  • Cuisine: Japanese

Description

This fast, healthy chicken teriyaki dinner will thoroughly impress your family and friends. The best part – it’s made in the slow cooker, so you have very little work to do!


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (Shortcut: 12 teaspoons pre-minced garlic)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (Gluten-Free Option: Use coconut aminos or gluten-free Tamari Soy Sauce)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar 
  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (This is where we get our favorite organic chicken*.)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

*affiliate link


Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Heat the oil in a small saute pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Saute the onions for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add in the garlic and saute for another 30-60 seconds. (Shortcut: Place the onions and oil in a small microwaveable bowl and microwave for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add in the garlic and microwave for another 30-60 seconds.) Add to the slow cooker.
  2. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and honey to the slow cooker and whisk until combined. Nestle the chicken into the bottom and make sure it’s coated in the sauce.
  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours, until internal temperature registers to 165°F.
  4. When chicken is done, remove it from the marinade to a serving platter*. Then, carefully pour the marinade into a medium sauce pan.
  5. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together 3 tablespoons cold water and the cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved and no longer lumpy.
  6. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the teriyaki sauce mixture, and whisk to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat, and let it cook for about 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat.
  7. Pour the sauce over the top of of the chicken until it is well coated. (This won’t take all of the marinade; you will have some remaining). Optional: Using two forks, shred the chicken and serve over rice.

Freeze For Later: Place the raw chicken thighs and all of the marinade ingredients (except for the cornstarch) into a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw using one of these safe methods and then cook as directed in Step 3.

COOKING NOTES:

*If you want the skin on the chicken to be crispy, transfer it to a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil the chicken under the broiler for about 3-5 minutes, until crispy. Keep a close eye on it.

Want More Slow Cooker Freezer Meals?

We have an amazon collection of make ahead crock pot meals. Here is a great round up of 25+ Slow Cooker Recipes to get you started!

slow cooker and crock pot Recipes for groups of people

Southwest Chicken Tenders

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This southwest chicken recipe is sure to please all the eaters in your house. It’s easy, healthy, freezer-friendly, and full of flavor but not spicy. You can bake it or–even better–grill it!

Southwest Chicken tenders on a white plate and on the grill

These Southwest Chicken Tenders take main stage in our Southwest Chicken and Bacon Wraps and Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls recipes. However, we’ve also learned that they are delicious on a salad or a chicken sandwich. There are so many ways to use them.

How to Make Southwest Chicken Tenders

Just check out how easily this southwest chicken recipe comes together…

Do I have to use chicken tenders for this Southwest Chicken recipe?

Heavens, no! We know our readers love versatility. The marinade will work for almost any cut of chicken. You can use it on:

  • Chicken breasts
  • Drumsticks
  • Thighs
  • And, of course, tenders.
southwest chicken marinade in a freezer bag with chicken breasts

What Ingredients are in the marinade?

As a mom of three younger kids, what I love about this marinade is that it’s so very flavorful but not too spicy. The resulting meal is a home run with all ages. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Avocado or olive oil – Use a fairly neutral oil keeps things moist without an overpowering flavor.
  • Apple cider vinegar – Cider vinegar adds a delicious twist on the acid component but white vinegar will work.
  • Fresh chopped cilantro (or parsley) – Adds a pop of green and fresh flavor. Use dried parsley (half the amount) as a sub.
  • Chili powder – Smoky, subtle heat from ground chilis. Flavor can vary between brands.
  • Garlic powder – This pantry staple adds big (and convenient) garlic flavor that rounds out the whole marinade.
  • Ground cumin – Love this smoky yet not spicy addition.
  • Dried oregano – Crush in your hand before adding to release the oils in this dried herb.
  • Salt – A must in any chicken marinade.
  • Ground black pepper – Gives a little bite. Add more if you’d like.
Ingredients in a southwest chicken recipe

Can I Freeze Southwest Chicken Tenders?

YES YES YES!

This recipe is one of my go-to freezer meals. It’s so easy to scale up and make multiple batches at once.

HOW TO FREEZE:

Combine all ingredients except the chicken tenders in a large freezer bag, seal, and shake. Add chicken tenders, seal tightly, and shake again. Label and freeze.

HOW TO THAW AND PREPARE:

Place the frozen chicken in the fridge and let thaw for about 24 hours. If you need your chicken defrosted sooner, use one of these safe thawing methods.

Southwest Chicken recipe in a freezer bag
 

How Should I Cook Southwest Chicken Tenders?

The two best ways to prepare southwest chicken tenders are:

Grill it!

Grill chicken tenders over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes per side. Chicken is done when there is no longer any pink inside or it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. (source)

Bake it!

Bake at 425°F for about 15 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking time. Chicken is done when there is no longer any pink inside or it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. (source)

Southwestern Chicken on a grill

How Should I Serve Southwest Chicken Tenders?

Here are some ways to use your chicken tenders:

  1. Serve them in Southwest Chicken and Bacon Wraps. This is my personal favorite, and I make it all the time for groups.

2. Use it for Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls. We love this option, because everyone can personalize their own bowl.

3. Turn it into a chicken sandwich like the Gourmet Grilled Chicken Sandwich.

Create the ultimate chicken sandwiches for any weeknight by prepping and freezing all the components ahead of time. This well-seasoned, versatile grilled chicken also works to top pasta or salads.

4. Dice the chicken and use on top of a salad, perhaps with our Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette.

However you serve it, be sure to double and freeze a batch for later. Your crew is going to love this southwest chicken recipe!

Print

Southwest Chicken Tenders

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 23 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These southwest chicken tenders are sure to please all the eaters in your house. They are full of flavor but not spicy. 


Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup apple cider or white vinegar (Gluten-Free: Make sure your vinegar is gluten-free.)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Combine all ingredients except the chicken tenders in a large zip top bag and shake. Add chicken tenders and shake again. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Place bag in a dish and set in the refrigerator. Let chicken marinate for 2 and up to 24 hours, occasionally turning the bag to evenly distribute the marinade.
  3. Cook the chicken using one of the following two methods. Chicken is done when you cut into it and there is no more pink or it registers 165°F internally. Do not overcook. 
    1. OPTION ONE: GRILLING – Grill chicken tenders over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes per side. 
    2. OPTION TWO: BAKING – Bake at 425°F for about 15 minutes, flipping half way through. 

Freeze For Later: Follow Step 1. Seal and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw using one of these safe thawing methods. Cook the chicken according to Step 3.

Southwest chicken tenders after being grilled

7 BEST Chicken Marinades (+ Printable Recipe Cheat Sheet)

By Rachel Tiemeyer

These 7 easy marinades for chicken breasts will transform this boring cut into several tasty and healthy meals! Learn how to prep and freeze for later OR how to make them for dinner tonight. Plus, snag our FREE one-page cheat sheet of all the recipes.

7 chicken marinades

Affiliate links included.

Why We Love Marinating Chicken Breasts

Chicken breasts are the go-to cut of poultry in our houses. They are lean, easy to find, and versatile. But, without some serious culinary help, this cut can be flat-out boring and lackluster.

chicken marinade in freezer bags

That’s where our 7 marinades for chicken breasts come in! Marinating chicken helps to infuse flavor throughout and adds moisture to a cut of chicken that can be notoriously dry. We’ve developed 7 delicious combos of marinade ingredients so you never get bored again!

marinades in small mason jars

In this article, you’ll find:

  • Video Tutorial: How to Make 7 Chicken Marinades
  • FREE Printable Cheat Sheet
  • 7 Amazing Chicken Marinades
  • FAQ: Can you freeze chicken marinades?
  • FAQ: How long should I marinate chicken breasts?
  • FAQ: Can you use these marinades for other cuts of chicken?
  • FAQ: Where do you buy your chicken from?

1 Minute Video: How to Make All 7 Marinades for Chicken Breasts

Check out just how quickly these marinades come together using mostly pantry staples…

Download our Free Chicken Marinades Cheat Sheet Printable!

If you want to have these simple marinade combos on hand anytime, download our quick cheat sheet. This handy one-page printable includes all the recipes and 4 options for cooking your marinated chicken breasts. Tape it up inside a cabinet or pantry door, so you can whip up these recipes anytime.

7 Chicken Marinade Recipes

There is a marinade for everyone in our collection! Each recipe works for 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts. Which flavor profile looks tastiest to you?

chicken breasts in marinades in freezer bags

1. Asian Sesame Chicken Marinade

With just a few key Asian-inspired ingredients, you can create some seriously tasty marinated chicken. Serve it in wraps, on salads, or over rice. A perfect side dish is our Asian Slaw…yum!

marinade in a small mason jar and two chicken breasts in a freezer bag with marinade

2. Honey Dijon Chicken Marinade

You had me at 5 ingredients! That’s right. This recipe only requires 5 pantry staple ingredients for a perfect sweet and tangy result. Delicious on top of salad with our Honey Dijon Dressing or serve on a bun with your favorite chicken sandwich toppings.

Honey Dijon Chicken Marinade

3. Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade

Thanks to fresh lemon, garlic, thyme, and more, this bright and flavorful marinade completely transforms any cut of chicken. Pairs perfectly with our Crispy Smashed Potatoes and Strawberry Fields Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette.

lemon garlic marinade in mason jar and in a freezer bag with chicken

4. Balsamic Herb Chicken Marinade

Fresh herbs and pantry staples combine to create this complex marinade. Grill or bake the chicken, then enjoy on its own or atop a salad. Side dish ideas include our Simple Boiled Baby Potatoes or No Boil Corn on the Cob.

chicken breasts in freezer bag with balsamic marinade and marinade in a mason jar

5. Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade

Cilantro, lime, garlic and more marry together to create this fresh, citrusy marinade. Serve on tacos, in quesadillas, or shredded on top of nachos, like these Instant Pot Chicken Nachos.

marinade in a mason jar and marinade and chicken in freezer bag

6. The BEST Savory Chicken Marinade

This marinade packs a flavor punch! In fact, I think it’s the BEST savory one you’ll find. With just a few pantry staple ingredients, boring chicken is taken to a whole new flavor level! Enjoy a la carte, on top of our Favorite Cobb Salad, on a sandwich, or in a wrap.

savory chicken marinade in a mason jar and in a freezer bag with chicken breasts

7. Southwest Chicken Marinade

Of all the marinades in the world, THIS Southwest Chicken Marinade is the one I make the most. Hands down. My kids love it. All adults love it. And it can be served any way you dream up–a la carte, in tacos or quesadillas, in Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls, or in our Southwest Chicken and Bacon Wraps.

chicken marinade in a small mason jar and in a freezer bag with chicken

FAQ: Can you freeze these chicken marinades?

Absolutely! As freezer cookbook authors, we especially love how easy it is to prep these chicken breast marinades ahead of time and freeze them to have on hand for another night. Every recipe includes freezing instructions, so you can double and freeze a batch anytime.

frozen chicken in marinades in freezer bags

To Freeze: Simply add all the marinade ingredients to a BPA-free gallon-sized freezer bag or one of our favorite freezer meal dishes, toss or whisk to combine, and add in 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts per marinade batch. Then, squeeze out as much air as possible, seal, and freeze for up to 3 months for best results.

To Thaw: Thaw, using one of these safe thawing methods and then cook the chicken according to our recipe instructions. No additional marinating time needed once it is thawed!

We encourage you to stock up on all the ingredients for these marinades and prep them in bulk for an hour or so over the weekend. You’ll love having them on hand in the freezer!

FAQ: How long should I marinate chicken breasts?

In our tests, we found that it’s best to marinate your chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Less than 1 hour didn’t seem to infuse enough flavor into the chicken breasts and more than 24 hours can cause them to become a bit mealy and mushy, especially if the marinade has a high acid content.

marinades for chicken breasts in freezer bags

If you’re freezing your chicken in the marinade, skip the time in the refrigerator and throw it immediately into the freezer. It will not over marinate in the freezer, but the chicken will begin to absorb some of the flavor during its stay. Then, while it thaws using one of these safe methods, it will marinate even more.

FAQ: Can you use these marinades for other cuts of chicken?

Absolutely! All cuts of chicken can benefit from a dip in a marinade. So, these marinades work just as well for chicken thighs and bone-in chicken. Cooking time will vary from our recipes, however, since we direct you how to cook chicken breasts.

chicken marinades in freezer bags

FAQ: Where do you get your chicken breasts from?

We are HUGE fans of Butcherbox and have been getting our chicken (and beef, seafood, and pork) from them for years now. We love that their chicken is 100% organic and all their meat is healthy and sourced responsibly. It’s so convenient to have it delivered to our doorsteps whenever we choose!

You should definitely check it out and see if Butcherbox would be a good fit for your family. Our readers and we just love it!

We hope you find these recipes helpful in your home and helpful for stocking your freezer with healthy and delicious meals!

Don’t forget your Free Chicken Marinades Cheat Sheet

Disclaimer: Some of the links in below are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Here’s our full disclosure.

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marinades for chicken breasts in freezer bags

7 BEST Marinades for Chicken Breasts

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 45 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Any cooking method
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

These 7 easy marinades for chicken breasts will transform this boring cut into an amazing meal! Prep and freeze for later OR make them for dinner tonight.

All of these marinades work best for 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts but feel free to double or triple the recipe.


Ingredients

Asian Sesame Chicken Marinade:

  • ⅓ cup oil (recommended: peanut or avocado)
  • ⅓ cup rice vinegar (make sure it’s not “seasoned” rice vinegar)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (Gluten-Free option: coconut aminos or gluten-free Tamari Soy Sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Honey Dijon Chicken Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons (about ¼ cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (sub: ½ teaspoon dried thyme or ¼ tsp ground thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Balsamic Herb Chicken Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup oil (recommend: avocado or olive oil)
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (sub: 2 tsp dried parsley, crushed in hand)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed in hand
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed in hand
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade:

  • ½ cup oil (recommended: avocado or olive oil) 
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes (about ¼ cup)
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

The BEST Savory Chicken Marinade:

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Southwest Chicken Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup oil (recommend: avocado or olive oil)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Add the marinade ingredients to a gallon-sized freezer bag or a freezer container with lid, seal, and shake. Either seal and refrigerate until ready to use, OR add 1.5-2 pounds chicken to the bag, seal, and squish around to make sure the chicken is covered in marinade. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  3. Cook the chicken breasts however you’d like (grill, slow cook, pressure cook, or bake). See tips below in the Notes.

Freeze For Later: Follow step 1. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw, using one of these safe thawing methods, and follow Step 3. No additional marinating time needed once it is thawed!

COOKING NOTES:

How to Know If Chicken Is Done: Chicken is done when it reaches 165°F internal temperature. (A digital meat thermometer is a must to help cook chicken perfectly.)

How to Cook Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts:

  • Bake in Oven: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken in a casserole dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, until done.
  • Slow Cooker: Place chicken and marinade in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Really! That’s all it takes to get it done, otherwise you’ll overcook and dry it out.
  • Instant Pot: Place chicken, marinade, and 1/3 cup chicken broth in a 6 quart Instant Pot. (Note: If using an 8 quart, add an additional 1/2 cup of broth.) Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes and use a quick release of the pressure when the cook time is up. (Note: It will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure before the cook time starts.)
  • Grill: Pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even cooking. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and clean the grates well. Grill for about 4-5 minutes per side, maybe longer depending on the thickness, until done.

Notes

These marinades work best for 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of chicken breasts, but feel free to double for triple the batch for a larger portion.

You can use other cuts of chicken with this marinade, but our cooking directions are specifically for chicken breasts.

The nutrition info below is for the Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade, but they are all fairly similar. Check each recipe in the post above for specific nutritional information. 

More Freezer Meal Round-Ups You Might Like

Top 10 Ground Beef Recipes

70+ Healthy Freezer Meals (Listed by Category!)

Southwest Chicken Marinade

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Of all the marinades in the world, THIS Southwest Chicken Marinade is the one I make the most. Hands down. My kids love it. All adults love it. And it can be served any way you dream up–a la carte, in tacos or quesadillas, on top of a burrito bowl or salad.

chicken marinade in a small mason jar and in a freezer bag with chicken

*Disclaimer: We are an affiliate of ButcherBox and have included links in this post.

Ingredients in Southwest Chicken Marinade

Marinating chicken is THE key to infusing flavor into typically lean, bland poultry cuts. This complex marinade requires mostly pantry staples to turn that lackluster cut into something that makes your tastebuds sing.

ingredients for southwest chicken marinade on a counter

Let’s meet the key ingredients…

  • Avocado or olive oil – Use a fairly neutral oil keeps things moist without an overpowering flavor.
  • Apple cider vinegar – Cider vinegar adds a delicious twist on the acid component but white vinegar will work.
  • Fresh chopped cilantro (or parsley) – Adds a pop of green and fresh flavor. Leave out if you don’t have it on hand, though.
  • Chili powder – Smoky, subtle heat from ground chilis. Flavor can vary between brands.
  • Garlic powder – This pantry staple adds big (and convenient) garlic flavor that rounds out the whole marinade.
  • Ground cumin – Love this smoky yet not spicy addition.
  • Dried oregano – Crush in your hand before adding to release the oils in this dried herb.
  • Salt – A must in any chicken marinade.
  • Ground black pepper – Gives a little bite. Add more if you’d like.

How to Make and Store the Marinade

marinade in a small mason jar

You can mix up this marinade and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a jar to use when ready. Or, you can freeze it in a mason jar, too, but allow at least 1 inch of headspace at the top for expansion.

marinating chicken breasts in a freezer bag

When ready to use the marinade, pour it over chicken in a zip-top bag or container with a lid. Let it marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours to infuse flavor. If you plan to freeze the chicken in the marinade, do not let it marinate first.

chicken marinade in a freezer bag with chicken breasts

Then, grill, slow cook, pressure cook, or bake your marinated Southwest Chicken. You choose your method! We’ve included instructions for how to cook boneless chicken breasts any of these ways in the recipe below.

Ideas for Serving Southwest Chicken

Idea #1: Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Kids love this fun way of eating chicken! You can also thread your favorite veggies, like onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini, on separate skewers and grill at the same time. I keep the chicken on separate skewers from the veggies because they usually cook at different rates.

Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Idea #2: Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls

I love this make ahead meal option. Cook your chicken ahead of time. Then provide cooked rice or quinoa, the chicken, black beans, and all your favorite Mexican toppings so everyone can personalize their bowls.

Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls - A healthy and filling dinner idea for everyone!

Idea #3: Southwest Chicken and Bacon Wraps

Inspired by one of my favorite restaurants in town, I created this build-your-own wrap recipe using marinated chicken and a super simple sauce. Plus…BACON! You’ll love it!

More Ideas:

MORE CHICKEN MARINADES YOU MUST TRY

Try some of other other favorite healthy chicken marinades to mix things up:

Download our Free Chicken Marinades Cheat Sheet Printable!

If you want to have these simple marinade combos on hand anytime, download our quick cheat sheet. This handy one-page printable includes all the recipes and 4 options for cooking your marinated chicken breasts. Tape it up inside a cabinet or pantry door, so you can whip up these recipes anytime.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in below are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Here’s our full disclosure.

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southwest chicken marinade in a freezer bag with chicken breasts

Southwest Chicken Marinade

  • Author: Rachel Tiemeyer
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 5 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Any cooking method
  • Cuisine: Southwest
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

The perfect combo of smoky southwest ingredients without being too spicy, this chicken marinade makes kids and adults alike happy! Use the chicken for taco and burrito filling, salads, kabobs, quesadillas, and more.


Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup oil (recommend: avocado or olive oil)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Add the oil, vinegar, cilantro/parsley, chili powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, ground cumin, salt and pepper to a gallon-sized freezer bag, seal, and shake. Either seal and refrigerate until ready to use, OR add 1.5-2 pounds chicken to the bag, seal, and squish around to make sure the chicken is covered in marinade. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  3. Cook the chicken however you’d like (grill, slow cook, pressure cook, or bake). See tips below in the Notes.

Freeze For Later: Follow step 1. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw, using one of these safe thawing methods, and follow Step 3. No additional marinating time needed once it is thawed!

COOKING NOTES:

How to Know If Chicken Is Done: Chicken is done when it reaches 165°F internal temperature. (A digital meat thermometer is a must to help cook chicken perfectly.)

How to Cook Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts:

  • Bake in Oven: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken in a casserole dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, until done.
  • Slow Cooker: Place chicken and marinade in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Really! That’s all it takes to get it done, otherwise you’ll overcook and dry it out.
  • Instant Pot: Place chicken, marinade, and 1/3 cup chicken broth in a 6 quart Instant Pot. (Note: If using an 8 quart, add an additional 1/2 cup of broth.) Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes and use a quick release of the pressure when the cook time is up. (Note: It will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure before the cook time starts.)
  • Grill: Pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even cooking. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and clean the grates well. Grill for about 4-5 minutes per side, maybe longer depending on the thickness, until done.

Notes

We get our meat from ButcherBox. The chicken is organic and curated from small, trusted farms. We highly recommend this service to source healthy meat–like uncured bacon, wild salmon, and grass-fed beef–and have used it for years ourselves. 

ingredients for chicken marinade on a counter

Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Thanks to fresh lemon, garlic, thyme, and more, this bright and flavorful marinade completely transforms any cut of chicken.

lemon garlic marinade in mason jar and in a freezer bag with chicken

Disclaimer: We are an affiliate of ButcherBox and have included links in this post.

Ingredients in Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade

Marinating chicken is THE key to infusing flavor into typically lean, bland poultry cuts. This light and citrusy marinade only requires a few ingredients and yet turns that lackluster cut into something that makes your tastebuds sing.

The star ingredients of Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade are fresh lemon juice and zest, good olive oil, fresh minced garlic, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. So simple!

lemon garlic marinade in small mason jar

How to Make and Store the Marinade

You can mix up this marinade and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a jar to use when ready. Or, you can freeze it in a mason jar, too, but allow at least 1 inch of headspace at the top for expansion.

chicken breasts in freezer bag with lemon garlic marinade

When ready to use the marinade, pour it over chicken in a zip-top bag or container with a lid. Let it marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours to infuse flavor.

chicken breasts in freezer bag with lemon garlic marinade

Then, grill, slow cook, pressure cook, or bake your marinated Lemon Garlic Chicken–whatever floats your boat! We’ve included instructions for how to cook chicken any of these ways in the recipe below.

MORE CHICKEN MARINADES YOU MUST TRY

Try some of other other favorite healthy chicken marinades to mix things up:

Download our Free Chicken Marinades Cheat Sheet Printable!

If you want to have these simple marinade combos on hand anytime, download our quick cheat sheet. This handy one-page printable includes all the recipes and 4 options for cooking your marinated chicken breasts. Tape it up inside a cabinet or pantry door, so you can whip up these recipes anytime.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in below are affiliate links. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Here’s our full disclosure.

Print
chicken breasts in freezer bag with lemon garlic marinade

Lemon Garlic Chicken Marinade

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 45 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: No cook
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Thanks to fresh lemon, garlic, thyme, and more, this bright and citrusy marinade completely transforms any cut of chicken. This amount of marinade works for 1.5 – 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, thighs, or tenders. 


Ingredients

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons (about ¼ cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (sub: ½ teaspoon dried thyme or ¼ tsp ground thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Add the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper to a gallon-sized freezer bag, seal, and shake. Either seal and refrigerate until ready to use, OR add 1.5-2 pounds chicken to the bag, seal, and squish around to make sure the chicken is covered in marinade. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  3. Cook the chicken however you’d like (grill, slow cook, pressure cook, or bake). See tips below in the Notes.

Freeze For Later: Follow step 1. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw, using one of these safe thawing methods, and follow Step 3. No additional marinating time needed once it is thawed!

 

COOKING NOTES:

How to Know If Chicken Is Done: Chicken is done when it reaches 165°F internal temperature. (A digital meat thermometer is a must to help cook chicken perfectly.)

How to Cook Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts:

  • Bake in Oven: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken in a casserole dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, until done.
  • Slow Cooker: Place chicken and marinade in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Really! That’s all it takes to get it done, otherwise you’ll overcook and dry it out.
  • Instant Pot: Place chicken, marinade, and 1/3 cup chicken broth in a 6 quart Instant Pot. (Note: If using an 8 quart, add an additional 1/2 cup of broth.) Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes and use a quick release of the pressure when the cook time is up. (Note: It will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure before the cook time starts.)
  • Grill: Pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even cooking. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and clean the grates well. Grill for about 4-5 minutes per side, maybe longer depending on the thickness, until done.

Notes

We get our meat from ButcherBox. The chicken is organic and curated from small, trusted farms. We highly recommend this service to source healthy meat–like uncured bacon, wild salmon, and grass-fed beef–and have used it for years ourselves. 

Fresh lemon, garlic, thyme, salt, and olive oil in small bowls

Grilled Honey Garlic Chicken Kabobs

By Polly Conner

This 5 ingredient chicken kabob marinade is sweet, savory and incredibly easy! With just a few simple pantry ingredients, you can take your kabob game to the next level.

Grilled honey garlic chicken kabobs

Grilling season is my jam.

I really feel like I eat healthier when a grilled recipe is on the menu plan. Having a simple marinade recipe for chicken kabobs like this one makes it even easier. And when I say simple, I really mean it!

What’s in the chicken kabob marinade?

Here’s what you’ll need to make your chicken & veggie kabobs delish...

  • Oil – I prefer avocado oil or olive oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Honey
  • Ground black pepper
  • Minced Garlic

Seriously. So simple, right? After whipping up the marinade, you’ll just need some chicken and veggies. Try to chop them up in similar sizes.

chopped up veggies to go with chicken kabobs

A short video of how the kabobs come together

How long do I marinate the chicken and veggies?

Place the marinade, chicken, and chopped veggies into a container and let them sit for at least 2 hours. As with most marinades, the longer it sits, the better and more flavorful the food will be.

Once they’ve done their fair share of marinading, it’s time to get those puppies on skewers! Your hands will get down and dirty during this process so just embrace it and wash up well after.

Can you freeze Honey Garlic Chicken Kabobs?

raw chicken and vegetables on skewers

Great question! If you want to make this a freezer meal, we recommend just freezing the uncooked chicken in the marinade without the veggies. Because of the high water content in the bell peppers and onions, they won’t hold up well on a skewer after being frozen and thawed.

To prepare, simply thaw the chicken using one of our safe thawing methods and then add them to the skeweres with fresh veggies.

Grilled honey garlic chicken kabobs

What to serve with Grilled Honey Garlic Chicken Kabobs

While the chicken and veggies are enough for a meal on their own, here are some ideas to beef up your meal:

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Grilled Honey Garlic Chicken Kabobs

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This 5 ingredient chicken kabob marinade is sweet, savory and incredibly easy!


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (Gluten-free option: Use coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari soy sauce.)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 23 bell peppers, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces (any color)
  • 1 red onion, cut into bite-sized chunks

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, soy sauce, honey, black pepper, and garlic.
  2. Add the chicken and veggies to the marinade, cover, and let it marinate in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
  3. Preheat grill to medium heat (around 350-400 degrees).
  4. Thread the veggies and chicken on skewers and discard the remaining marinade.
  5. Grill for 12-15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (at least 165°F or no longer pink inside). Do not overcook the chicken.

Freeze For Later: To a gallon-sized freezer bag or container, add all the ingredients except the peppers and onions. Seal and toss gently to combine. Freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need the chopped peppers and onions on hand to complete this meal. Thaw completely using one of these three safe methods. Add the fresh chopped peppers and onions to the bag and toss in the marinade. Follow Steps 3-5.


Notes

We get our meat from ButcherBox*. The chicken is organic, curated from small, trusted farms, and absolutely delicious. We highly recommend this service to source all your healthy meat, from grass-fed beef to uncured bacon, and have used it for years ourselves. *Disclaimer: We are an affiliate of ButcherBox.

Grilled honey garlic chicken kabobs on a white plate

Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This chicken burger recipe is a kid and adult fave! Make ahead and freeze a batch for later or make them tonight for a delicious and healthy dinner.

chicken burger on a bun with cheese on a plate

Why Are These the BEST?

I’ve been making these Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs for well over a decade now. In fact, my Freezer Club deemed them a “home run” recipe and it became one that we made for our group several times per year!

Here’s the deal. These miniature patties of ground chicken goodness fit every value I have for a family meal:

Tasty? Check.
Kids like them? Check.
Easy to make? Check.
Healthy? Check.
Freezable? Check.

mini chicken burger recipe

They take just minutes to cook on the stovetop and the taste is out of this world, thanks to fresh garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and the seasoning. The bread crumb coating get toasted on the outside and forms a nice crust that seals in all the juices, too.

Bottom line: No complaints from my crew when I make these. #winnerdinner

How to Make Chicken Burgers

Watch this 1 minute video tutorial to see just how easy it is to make these Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs…

How Do I Freeze Chicken Burgers?

A super smart use of time is to double (or triple) the batch and freeze chicken burgers for later. If you’re already getting your kitchen, bowls, and utensils dirty, why not spend just a few more minutes putting together an extra batch or two for a future dinner?

To freeze for later, place the burgers on a sheet pan and flash freeze them for an hour or so. Once they are hard, toss them in a gallon-sized freezer bag or container and seal well. Freeze for up to 3 months.

How Should I Serve Chicken Burgers?

white plate with chicken burger on bun, sweet potato fries, and grapes

We have two suggestions for how to serve chicken burgers.

  1. Serve them a la carte with Avocado Aioli on top or on the side. Dipping each bite of my mini chicken burger in the avocado aioli is my hands-down favorite way to eat them! The sauce is super easy to whip up.
  2. Serve them on a bun, topped with your favorite cheese if you want. I would suggest Provolone or Havarti cheese over the top, but pick whatever kind you love. Kids especially love the burgers served this way. You can also top them with lettuce (or arugula), tomato slices, and that amazing Avocado Aioli I mentioned.

As for side dish ideas, we enjoy sweet potato fries or Oven Fries and some fruit for a simple weeknight meal.

More Kid-Friendly Freezer Meals

Looking for more easy, kid-friendly freezer meals like this one? We have a whole round-up of 30+ Kid-Friendly Freezer Meals here or get started with a few of these favorites…

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Baked Italian Meatballs

Baked Penne Pasta

Easy Ham and Cheese Sliders

Make or Print This Chicken Burger Recipe

You and your family are going to love this tasty yet light chicken burger recipe! Be sure to Pin it, share it, or print it now.

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chicken burger on a bun with cheese on a plate

Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings (2 mini burgers per person) 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs are kid-friendly, healthy and tasty! Freezer meal instructions included. This meal is a winner dinner again and again!


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground chicken (sub: ground turkey)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs (recommend: whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs) (*For Gluten-free option see note below.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • Optional: cheese slices (i.e. provolone, cheddar, mozzarella)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. In a large bowl, use a fork or your hands to gently combine the ground chicken, garlic, parsley, oregano, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Form the mixture into 16 small patties.
  2. Place the bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Coat each patty in the crumbs on both sides; set aside. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmery. Add some of the patties (try not to overcrowd the pan) and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, until browned and cooked through. They are cooked through when there is no longer any pink inside or they reach 165°F internally. (Note: If the patties brown before they’re cooked through, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and continue to cook for a few minutes more.) Repeat this step with the remaining oil and patties.
  4. Serve the chicken burgers a la carte or on mini buns with a cheese slice on top, if desired.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-2. Place the patties on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet in a single layer and set in the freezer to flash freeze for about an hour. After they are frozen, transfer to a large resealable bag and store for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw the patties overnight in the refrigerator. Follow Steps 3-4.


Notes

*For a Gluten-Free Option: Coat the mini chicken burgers in almond flour or gluten-free breadcrumbs. If serving on buns, use gluten-free buns.

Freezer Friendly Chicken Spaghetti

By Polly Conner

Chicken spaghetti is an easy, cheesy, make-it-again-soon-please, casserole that your whole family will love. We teach you how to make it fresh AND how to prep it to be a freezer meal. A great meal for groups of people too!

Freezer friendly chicken spaghetti

Chicken Casserole: A Family Favorite Dinner

When I made this chicken spaghetti recipe for the first time last week, my husband ate it for about 5 meals in a row and proceeded to ask me to make it again the next week.

My kids eagerly scarfed it down as well. Tonight’s batch ended up on about every area of exposed skin on my 18 month old, but I take that as a sign he liked it. Needless to say, this recipe is a keeper!

While this chicken casserole recipe is baked in a 9×13 dish, I oftentimes split it into two, 8×8 dishes and freeze one for later. More on that soon though!

Chicken spaghetti with a side salad

Short Video Tutorial for Making Chicken Spaghetti

How to Make Chicken Spaghetti

Here is what you’ll need:

Ingredients for chicken spaghetti

Ingredients ready? Let’s do this.

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, until al dente (slightly undercooked). Undercooking it keeps it from getting mushy while baking. This is especially important to do if you are going to make this a freezer meal.

While that pasta is cooking is a great time to sautee those chopped veggies. Multitasking is your friend for this recipe.

In a large mixing bowl, gently stir together the cooked pasta, cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth, chicken, veggies and seasoning.

Now please take note of this: Add in only 1 1/2 cups of the cheese. I always get moving too fast and add it ALL in at this point. You need some to sprinkle over the top so restrain yourself!

Chicken spaghetti being prepared in a mixing bowl

Here it is all mixed up. Yum. Or yuck. Not sure.

Either split it up between two 8×8 dishes or put it all in one 9×13 dish. Top with remaining cheese. Assuming you listened to my warning above about not mixing in all of the cheese, that is.

Chicken spaghetti prepped for the freezer

How to Freeze Chicken Spaghetti

Freeze for Later: Here’s the fun part: If you have split it into two 8×8 dishes, you’ve just made two dinners! To freeze one of the 8×8 Chicken Spaghetti portions, simply wrap it tightly or place a lid (if you have one) on your baking dish. (Here are the freezing containers we use and recommend for recipes like this.) You can freeze it for 4+ months! Even longer if you’ve packaged it well.

Prepare From Frozen: Place frozen casserole into the fridge and let thaw for 24+ hours. Follow step 5!

Chicken spaghetti on a white plate with green salad

What to Serve with Chicken Spaghetti

Here are some recipe ideas that would go well with your Chicken Spaghetti:

Done and done.

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Chicken Spaghetti

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Freezer Meal
  • Method: Casserole
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This freezer-friendly Chicken Spaghetti Casserole will keep your family coming back for more deliciousness. 


Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole wheat pasta
  • Two (10 and 3/4-ounce) cans organic cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 23 chicken breasts, fully cooked and chopped or shredded (roughly 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1 small or medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, such as Lawry’s Seasoned Salt or use this DIY recipe
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar, divided

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 inch casserole dish or two 8×8 dishes with cooking spray.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, until al dente (slightly undercooked). When the pasta is done, drain it in a colander over the sink.
  3. While pasta is cooking, saute the bell peppers & onions in a bit of olive oil until they begin to soften (about 4-5 minutes).
  4. In a large mixing bowl, gently stir together the cooked pasta with the cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth, chicken, sauteed veggies, seasoned salt, cayenne, and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese. Sprinkle it all with salt and pepper, to your preference.
  5. Place the mixture in the dish (or dishes) and top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  6. Bake until bubbly around the edges, about 40-45 minutes. (If the cheese on top starts to get too dark, cover with foil.)

Freeze For Later: Follow steps 1-5 (do not bake). Cover the casserole dishes with a few layers of plastic wrap and foil. Squeeze out any excess air and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw. (Here are three safe ways to thaw freezer meals.) Follow step 6. If it’s still slightly frozen in the middle, you’ll just have to cook it longer than the recipe calls for or defrost a bit in the microwave before baking. Cover it with foil if the top gets too brown in the oven.


Notes

We get our meat from ButcherBox*. The chicken is organic, curated from small, trusted farms, and absolutely delicious. We highly recommend this service to source all your healthy meat, from grass-fed beef to uncured bacon, and have used it for years ourselves. *Disclaimer: We are an affiliate of ButcherBox.

Freezer friendly chicken spaghetti in a white baking dish

Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Slow cooker chicken and cheese taquitos is a delicious meal that the whole family will love! Be sure to make a double batch for the freezer. Then, you can pull out however many you want and throw them directly in the oven for a quick weeknight dinner.

Slow cooker chicken and cheese taquitos

Affiliate links may be included.

There is a short list of meals in my house that pleases all five of us. It seems like everyone has their own aversions and favorites, which can be exhausting sometimes. Can any moms out there relate??

Now, there is an added bonus when you can find a recipe that is easy, made in the slow cooker, AND freezer friendly. This is why I love Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos! Or, you can make them in the Instant Pot using our Instant Pot Chicken and Cheese Taquitos recipe.

Slow cooker chicken and cheese taquitos

Watch How This Meal Comes Together

How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos

You are going to LOVE how simple this is. Start by seasoning your chicken with some taco seasoning. Toss it in the slow cooker and add some broth. Water works fine too.

Now here’s the key: Do not overcook your chicken! We wrote a whole post about how long to cook chicken in the slow cooker if you want a bit more information but for now, just follow the recipe, got it? Yeah, you got this! 🙂

Slow cooker chicken and cheese taquitos

Once that chicken has cooked, grab two forks and give it a good shred.

Shredded chicken on a cutting board


After this, rolling up the taquitos and baking them just takes minutes. I also love that I can make these in advance and pop them in the oven right before dinner (fresh or frozen).

Slow cooker chicken and cheese taquitos

How to Freeze Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos

As I mentioned above, another beauty of this recipe is that Chicken and Cheese Taquitos are freezer-friendly. Because of this, I almost always double the recipe. Simply follow the cooking instructions right up until baking and then freeze them in a single layer in a freezer bag.

Chicken and cheese taquitos in a freezer bag

Then, you can pull out however many you need on a busy week night and bake them directly from frozen using our freezer meal instructions below.

Side Dish Idea

Looking for something to serve this with? Try our Avocado Lime Salsa!

Avocado Lime Salsa

What to Do with Leftover Tortillas

If you have leftover tortillas, did you know you can freeze them? Here is the best way to freeze tortillas for later.

tortillas in a freezer bag

Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Printable Recipe

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Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Taquitos

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours and 20 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

This is a delicious meal that the whole family will love! Be sure to make a double batch for the freezer. Then, you can pull out however many you want and throw them directly in the oven for a quick weeknight dinner.


Ingredients


Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Place the chicken breasts in your slow cooker. Rub both sides of the chicken with all of the taco seasoning. Add water or broth.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW for about 2.5 – 3.5 hours, until it shreds easily. (Note: Chicken should be 165°F internally when done.) Shred the chicken with two forks and stir, so the seasoning is evenly distributed.
  3. Add cream cheese and salsa to the shredded chicken and stir until cream cheese is melted.
  4. Arrange tortillas on a flat surface. Top each tortilla with an equal amount of chicken mixture, leaving a little room at the edges so the filling doesn’t spill out. Top chicken mixture with 2-3 tablespoons of shredded cheese. Roll up tortillas tightly. (Freezing instructions begin here.) 
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  6. Place the taquitos on a baking sheet, seam side down. Spray the tops with cooking spray and bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese melts and they are golden brown on top. (Note: If you have leftover cheese, you can sprinkle it over the top of the taquitos before they bake.)
  7. Serving suggestion: Top with sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, salsa, Guacamole, or our Avocado Lime Salsa.

Freeze It For Later: Complete the recipe through Step 4. Then, place rolled up tortillas side-by-side in a single later in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal tightly and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: When ready to bake, you have two options:

Method 1 (Thawed): Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave using the defrost setting. Bake as directed, beginning with Step 5.

Method 2 (From Frozen): Follow Steps 5-7, but cover the frozen taquitos with foil after spraying them with cooking spray. Then, bake for about 25 minutes or until warmed through. Remove the foil and bake another 5-10 minutes, until golden brown.


Notes

For Instant Pot instructions, try our Instant Pot Chicken and Cheese Taquitos.

Slow cooker chicken and cheese taquitos

Be sure to try our Instant Pot Chicken and Cheese Taquitos for a faster cooking method.


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Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer
These Grilled Marinated Chicken Kabobs are one of our favorites for the grilling season. Make ahead and freeze before or after grilling!

You want a killer marinade that everyone will like? Give this baby a try. This Southwest-inspired marinade packs a little smokiness, just a hint of heat, and a salty punch. We love it, especially on these fast-cooking kabobs.

For juicy, tender bite-sized chicken that will please a crowd try these Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs.

Just chop up your chicken, throw it in a bag with the marinade, and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or two. While it soaks up the flavor, sit your kabob sticks in some water so they don’t get obliterated on the grill.

These Grilled Marinated Chicken Kabobs are one of our favorites for the grilling season. Make ahead and freeze before or after grilling!

Then, all you have to do is quickly thread them on the sticks and grill away. This recipe only takes a few minutes on each side. The marinade would also be great on grilled veggie kabobs like peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. But, I prefer to cook them on separate kabob sticks, because they cook at a different pace than the meat.  

For juicy, tender bite-sized chicken that will please a crowd try these Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs.

As long as you don’t overcook these guys, you’ll end up with very moist, tasty pieces of meat. Serve them over rice, a salad, inside a taco, or on their own with some of your favorite sides.

For juicy, tender bite-sized chicken that will please a crowd try these Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs.
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Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Grilled Marinated Chicken Kabobs {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Southwest

Description

These Grilled Marinated Chicken Kabobs with a southwest flare are one of our favorites for the grilling season. Make ahead and freeze before or after grilling!


Ingredients

  • ⅔ cup olive oil (or I like avocado oil b/c of it’s high smoke point)
  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar (sub: white vinegar) (Gluten-Free: Make sure your vinegar is gluten-free.)
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (sub: fresh parsley)
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, crush in hand
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients (except the chicken) in a large zip top bag and shake. Add chicken and shake again. Place bag in a dish and set in the refrigerator. Let chicken marinate for an hour or two, occasionally turning the bag to evenly distribute the marinade.
  2. While chicken marinates, place wooden kabob sticks in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
  3. Grill chicken kabobs over medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes per side. Chicken is done when you cut into it and there is no more pink. Do not overcook.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions: To Freeze: Place marinade and chicken in a freezer bag, shake, and freeze. To Prepare: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Grill according to directions.

Light and Easy Chicken Cacciatore {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Crispy chicken bites atop a tomato-based, veggie-rich sauce are served over whole grain pasta. This healthy and satisfying classic Italian dish tastes like it’s been simmering away all day long.

How can something so easy be so complex-tasting? This dish is what our tastebuds need--flavor, texture, and a beautiful dish to boot.

Although this recipe was a little out of my comfort zone, my husband and I (and my neighbor friend, Kelley, who is my trusted taste-tester) really enjoyed this Light and Easy Chicken Cacciatore. Now it is the week after holiday binge eating, so I feel obligated to tell you that this recipe is low fat and loaded with veggies. But what I really want to tell you…

…is about the tomato-based, vegetable-rich sauce. Oh my. It reduces down and develops this deep rustic Italian flavor while it simmers away. How can something so easy be so complex-tasting? Look, friends, if we’re going to eat healthfully in the New Year, this dish is what our tastebuds need–flavor, texture, and a beautiful dish to boot. 

How can something so easy be so complex-tasting? This dish is what our tastebuds need--flavor, texture, and a beautiful dish to boot.

My updated twist on this classic includes adding in browned chicken breast bites at the end, assuring the chicken doesn’t overcook (which was my mistake the first time around!) and still retains its crispy texture. Serve over whole grain pasta, brown rice, or quinoa for a healthy, comforting dinner. Don’t forget to add a glass of good red wine for an added “heart healthy” boost.

How can something so easy be so complex-tasting? This dish is what our tastebuds need--flavor, texture, and a beautiful dish to boot.

Bonus: The leftovers are great the next day or to freeze for later.

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Light and Easy Chicken Cacciatore: How can something so easy be so complex-tasting? Look, friends, if we're going to eat healthfully in the New Year, this dish is what our tastebuds need--flavor, texture, and a beautiful dish to

Light and Easy Chicken Cacciatore

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Crispy chicken bites atop a tomato-based, veggie-rich sauce are served over whole grain pasta. This healthy and satisfying classic Italian dish tastes like it’s been simmering away all day long.


Ingredients

  • 4 (about 2 lbs) chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat or unbleached flour
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large celery stalks, sliced
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (or dry white wine or chicken broth)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, juice and all
  • Cooked pasta, rice, or quinoa, for serving
  • Optional: freshly grated Parmesan cheese, fresh chopped Italian parsley

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Season chicken pieces lightly with salt and pepper. Toss with a little olive oil to coat.
  2. Add whole wheat flour to a gallon-sized zip top bag. Add chicken pieces to the bag, close, and shake until pieces are coated.
  3. Sauté chicken in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat until cooked through and browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Turn heat down to medium and swirl 1 tablespoon olive oil in pan. Add peppers, onion, celery, mushrooms, and garlic, and sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Season vegetables with red pepper flakes, dried oregano, dried basil, salt and pepper (to taste) while they are cooking.
  5. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour over the vegetables and stir and cook for 1-2 minutes. (Note: You can omit this step, but the sauce will be thinner.) Add wine and tomatoes to vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil, scraping up any bits off the bottom of the pan, and reduce to simmer.
  6. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced some and smells fragrant. Taste and adjust seasoning. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  7. Add chicken pieces back into the sauce (or place them on top of pasta and add sauce over the top on each individual plate).
  8. Serve over whole grain pasta or brown rice with some fresh Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped Italian parsley on top.

Freeze For Later: Follow steps 1-6. Let sauce cool, then stir in the chicken. Place in a freezer bag or container, making sure to squeeze out any air and seal tightly. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Prepare From Frozen: Thaw the sauce and chicken overnight in the refrigerator. Warm in a medium saucepan over low heat on the stovetop, stirring regularly. Serve as directed in step 8.

 

Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Freezer Friendly Balsamic Herb Grilled Chicken is moist, tender, and packed with flavor through and through. This easy grilling recipe be turned into a freezer meal and is a great recipe for groups of people. What more can you ask for in a chicken recipe!?

chicken on a grill and on a plate

Grilling season isn’t quite over yet in mid-Missouri thankfully. We’ve had 70 and 80 degree sunny days for what feels like months and our family is loving it! We just moved across town in late August to a “new” house that has a lovely back yard, so we’ve been enjoying many nights eating dinner on the deck.

A few weeks ago I decided to try out my Balsamic Dressing with Herbs as a marinade for grilled chicken, calling it Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken (original, eh?). I had a feeling the acidity from the balsamic vinegar combined with all those herbs and spices would transform this lack-luster piece of meat. And oh my! You can see the moisture and flavor on this chicken from the pictures. But, the taste…it’s even better! This will be one of my go-to marinades, in addition to Southwest Grilled Chicken, from now on.

Chicken on a grill

I threw some Mediterranean Shrimp Skewers on the barbie too. Have you tried these yet? My kids claw for them when I set them on the table. (What you can’t see is me holding my daughter’s greedy little hand out of the photo here.)

chicken on the grill

I added some cooked quinoa (seasoned well with salt, pepper, a little butter, and garlic powder), steamed green beans, and grapes to the table for what ended in a filling, tasty, and quite healthy dinner.

Balsamic Herbed Chicken on a plate with salad

The best part: no one complained. Can I get an amen to that, parents? 

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grilled chicken, rice, zucchini, and peaches on a gray plate with fork

Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken recipe is made with all pantry staples and turns out moist, tender, and packed with flavor through and through. 


Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes, crushed in hand
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed in hand
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed in hand
  • 4 chicken breasts (about 1 1/22 lbs)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Pound out the chicken to about 3/4 inch thick (or cut it in half lengthwise) to help with fast and even grilling.
  2. To a large zip-top bag, add the balsamic vinegar, oil, garlic, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, and oregano. Seal and shake to combine. Add the chicken and seal. (Freezing instructions begin here.) Refrigerate for about 2 hours and up to 24 hours to allow chicken to marinate. 
  3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and clean the grates well. Grill for about 4-5 minutes per side, maybe longer depending on the thickness, until done. Chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally or has no more pink inside.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-2. Seal the bag tightly and freeze. 

Prepare From Frozen: Defrost the freezer meal using one of these safe thawing methods. Cook the chicken according to Step 3. Note: Be sure to cook the thawed chicken as soon as possible so it doesn’t get mushy or tough from over-marinating.

Here are a few more easy chicken recipes you might like. All of these can be turned into freezer meals too!

Southwest Grilled Chicken Kabobs

These Grilled Marinated Chicken Kabobs are one of our favorites for the grilling season. Make ahead and freeze before or after grilling!

 

Gourmet Chicken Sandwiches

 

Gourmet Chicken Sandwiches are the ultimate chicken sandwiches for any weeknight! Just prep and freeze all the components ahead of time. This well-seasoned, versatile grilled chicken also works to top pasta or salads. #freezermeal #realfood #thrivinghome

Southwest Chicken Tenders

 

This southwest chicken tender marinade is sure to please all the eaters in your house. This healthy, freezer friendly dinner idea is full of flavor, but not spicy. Great make-ahead meal or for freezer parties or freezer clubs!

 

On-the-Go Chicken Burritos {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

These simple, individual chicken burritos make for a filling, healthy, and satisfying lunch or dinner anywhere and anytime. Be sure to double the batch and freeze some for later.

These simple, individual chicken burritos make for a filling, healthy, and satisfying lunch or dinner anywhere and anytime. #freezermeal #realfood

Why We Love On-the-Go Chicken Burritos

Our family is kind of obsessed with these make-ahead chicken burritos. I regularly pull them straight from the freezer to either warm in the oven or microwave for a quick and healthy lunch or dinner. Keep them in the freezer at work, send in a child’s lunch box (simply heat and wrap in foil), or grab-and-go on busy nights.I have a feeling we are going to depend strongly on these once the school chaos starts up again!

These simple, individual chicken burritos make for a filling, healthy, and satisfying lunch or dinner anywhere and anytime. #freezermeal #realfood

Similar Recipes to On-the-Go Chicken Burritos

If you want an even simpler, meatless burrito version, try our Make Ahead Lunch Wraps. It doesn’t get much easier to make healthy food in bulk!

Make Ahead Lunch Wraps

Or try our delicious Beef and Bean Burritos from our popular cookbook, From Freezer to Table. We include all the freezer instructions, too.

What Sides Should I Serve with On-the-Go Chicken Burritos?

We have several delicious Mexican-inspired and other side dishes that would go well with these burritos. Give one of of these healthy and delicious options a try…

Homemade Guacamole

Guacamole

Texas Caviar Dip

Avocado Lime Salsa

Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

On-the-Go Chicken Burritos are perfect for those crazy evenings when you’re in and out or for a slower sit-down meal around the table. Either way they are great!

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On-the-Go Chicken Burritos

On-the-Go Chicken Burritos {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 burritos 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

These simple, individual chicken burritos make for a filling, healthy, and satisfying lunch or dinner anywhere and anytime. 


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 (about 1 lb) chicken breasts, diced and patted very dry
  • 1 packet store-bought mild taco seasoning (or use this homemade taco seasoning)
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup cooked black beans (or half of 15 ounce can of black beans, drained)
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 3/4 cup cooked brown rice
  • ½1 cup mild salsa (adjust to taste)
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas
  • Optional toppings: Guacamole or Creamy Avocado Dip, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, pico de gallo

Instructions

Make It Now: 

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 
  2. When the oil is shimmery, add the chicken and sauté until cooked through (no longer pink), about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add water, taco seasoning, black beans, corn, brown rice, and salsa. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then turn the heat down to low. Let mixture simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Assemble burritos. To each tortilla, add a generous 1/3 cup chicken and bean mixture and 3 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese . Pull in each end of tortilla and roll up tightly. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  5. Warming options:
    1. Wrap tortilla in foil and heat through in a 350 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. (from frozen, 20-30 minutes)
    2. Wrap tortilla in a moist paper towel and warm in the microwave in 30 second increments until heated through.
  6. Serve with optional toppings.

Freeze for Later: Complete recipe through Step 4. Wrap each individual burrito in foil and place in gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal and freeze.

Prepare from Frozen: Options for reheating:

Option 1: Thawed: Thaw burritos in the refrigerator overnight and then place in a 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes, until warmed through. Another thaw option is to remove foil, wrap burrito in moist paper towel, and microwave in 30 second increments until heated through (about 2 minutes depending on microwave). Open up the burrito halfway through reheating, to allow the inside ingredients to get warmed.

Option #1: Frozen: Preheat oven to 350°F. Keep burrito(s) wrapped in the foil. Heat in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until heated through. Another thaw option is to remove foil, wrap burrito in moist paper towel, and microwave in 30 second increments until heated through (about 4 minutes depending on microwave). Open up the burrito halfway through reheating, to allow the inside ingredients to get warmed.

 

COOKING NOTES:

How to Make in the Slow Cooker:

1. Place whole chicken breasts (note: do not dice!) in the slow cooker and top with the water and taco seasoning. Cook on LOW for 2 1/2 – 3 hours, just until cooked through (no more pink in the center and shreds easily).

2. Shred the chicken. Stir in the beans, corn, cooked rice, and salsa.

3. Following directions from above starting with Step 4.

Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer
Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders makes a quick, healthy, and kid-friendly dinner. Double and freeze a batch for later with the included freezer meal instructions!

Skip the messy dredging and breading process of most chicken tender recipes with this easy shake-and-bake one. The oven-fried method produces a crispy, yet healthy version that rivals any deep-fried nugget.

The Old Bay seasoning lends a peppery New England hint, but even the pickiest eaters will enjoy these chicken strips. Be sure to double this freezable recipe and bake directly from frozen on busy weeknights.

Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders makes a quick, healthy, and kid-friendly dinner. Double and freeze a batch for later with the included freezer meal instructions!

Your family is gonna love these Oven Fried Chicken Tenders! Try them with some homemade Oven Fries and Roasted Broccoli for the kid-friendly meal of the century.

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Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Oven-Fried Parmesan Chicken Tenders {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This yummy version of chicken fingers are a sure winner! Your family will love the moist chicken packed with loads of flavor. You will love the healthy twist on classic chicken fingers.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning (omit this ingredient if you don’t want a little spicy-ness)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/3 lbs chicken tenders
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or olive oil)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Cover a metal sheet pan with with foil for easy clean up, if desired. Place the pan in the preheated oven, so it gets hot.
  2. Meanwhile, place the flour, Parmesan cheese, Old Bay, and garlic powder in a large zip ­top plastic bag; shake well to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, lightly season chicken tenders with salt and pepper. Then toss with the oil until coated.
  4. Add several chicken tenders at a time to the bag of dry ingredients. Close and shake well to coat each piece.
  5. Carefully remove hot sheet pan and generously grease with cooking spray. Arrange seasoned chicken tenders on the pan, leaving room between each one.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until done, turning once halfway through cooking time. Chicken is done when there is no longer any pink inside or it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Serve immediately.

Freeze For Later: Bread the chicken tenders according to Steps 2-4. Flash freeze the uncooked, coated chicken tenders by placing on a baking sheet in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Once frozen, place tenders in a gallon-sized freezer bag, squeeze out all the air, and place in the back of the freezer until ready to prepare.

Prepare From Frozen: Follow Step 1. Bake the tenders directly from frozen on the hot greased sheet pan at for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Chicken is done when there is no longer any pink inside or it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: about 2-3 chicken tenders per person

Side Dish Idea:

Want an idea of what these will go well with? Serve these with our Simply Boiled Baby Potatoes!

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken and Veggies

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Slow Cooker Chicken and Veggies resulted in perfectly moist chicken and flavorful veggies. This simple method of generously seasoning the chicken inside and out took no time at all and was a family-pleaser.

Between baseball games, multiple school drop offs and pick ups, working two part-time jobs, and pretending to keep up with laundry…I am ALL ABOUT my slow cooker these days.

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken with Veggies - An easy and healthy weeknight dinner.

For sure the best meals we have at this life stage tend to be ones that require opening the slow cooker lid (and maybe adding a quick veggie, fruit, and maybe some sort of quick starch to the table) at 5 p.m. That’s because I can enjoy my family during the dinner prep hour instead of getting frustrated at interruptions.

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken with Veggies - An easy and healthy weeknight dinner.

One of my family’s favorite meals over the years is this older Roasted Chicken with Veggies recipe. It’s to die for. Plus, whole chicken is one of the cheapest ways to enjoy chicken, especially when you try to buy the organic birds like I do. But, because of my infatuation with the slow cooker, I began researching what it takes to “set it and forget it”. Last night, I gave Slow Cooker Whole Chicken and Veggies a shot.

The chicken came out perfectly moist and flavorful! And the veggies were a bonus, as well. I tried a simple method of generously seasoning the chicken inside and out based on advice from Gimme Some Oven’s similar recipe, which took no time at all. And, the chicken juices made a nice sauce for the veggies, too. I can’t wait to try my original Roasted Chicken recipe with lemon, rosemary and garlic in the slow cooker, too.

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken with Veggies - An easy and healthy weeknight dinner.

Now, one thing to note is that the Slow Cooker Whole Chicken does not come out with a nice browned crust like it does in the oven. So, I went ahead and broiled it in the oven for a few minutes at the end to get that texture on the outside. You can certainly skip this step, though.

Happy weeknight dinner to you!

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Slow Cooker Whole Chicken with Veggies - An easy and healthy weeknight dinner.

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken and Veggies

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

An easy and healthy weeknight dinner that can stretch a buck. Put this one on your repeat list.


Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken (35 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (increase for more heat)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 23 medium yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups carrots, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely diced

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  2. Place the vegetables in the bottom of a large (6 quart) slow cooker.
  3. Remove the neck and other parts of the chicken that are inside the cavity. (Be brave!) Place the chicken, breast side down, in slow cooker. Rub the spice mix all over the bird, inside and out. Wash your hands well.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, until chicken is cooked through. (Chicken is done when it registers 165°F  near the inner thigh, between the leg and breast.)
  5. OPTIONAL: To get a crispy skin, remove the chicken from the crock at the very end of the cooking time and place in a baking dish. Place under a preheated broiler for about 3-5 minutes. Keep a close eye on it so the chicken doesn’t burn.
  6. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving. (I recommend carving on a large wooden chopping board.)
  7. Bonus: Save all the bones and leftover juices (and even the neck!) to make bone broth in your slow cooker. Throw all the bones/leftover juice, along with some onion, celery, carrots, and a bay leaf back into the crock. Set to LOW and let cook overnight. Strain out the vegetables and bones. Cool and freeze the broth for later use.

Notes

To ensure that the vegetables cook evenly, be sure to dice them the same size. I would also suggest cutting them smaller than I did in this picture! My carrots were still a bit too crunchy, but the potatoes were perfect.

Chicken Pesto Pasta

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Chicken Pesto Pasta

Basil. If there’s one thing I think is worth planting in your garden, a mulch bed or a pot, basil is it. I use it on pizzas, pasta dishes, in marinades, but most importantly in PESTO. In fact, my husband calls pesto my other lover. For those who have the pesto-loving gene, you know the robust and addicting flavor. Maybe, like me, you salivate just at the name of your lover pesto.

Now, parents, let’s discuss kids and pesto for a minute. Reality is that pesto is green. And green foods are automatically suspect to little people. Last week was one of the first times I’ve made it with my 3, 5, and 7-year-olds. Then I daringly offered green pasta to them for dinner. Oh, I’m crazy like that. Low and behold, though, Chicken Pesto Pasta was a great success with all but my pesto-repulsed (maybe just jealous?) husband. I shall not speak his name here.

If you want to get your kids to delve into the world of pesto, here’s how it worked in our house:

a) The kids helped me plant our garden. They’ve been an active part of watering our basil and other plants for a few months already this season. By gardening with me and my mom over the years, the children have felt ownership over our produce. And they have tried so many new foods as a result. It really does work.

b) I had my kiddos pick the basil and help me measure out all the ingredients. We also all taste-tested the pine nuts, which they actually liked. This is one of those other tricks you’ve probably heard a million times, but getting the kids to cook with you often results in an expanded palette.

c) We nicknamed the Chicken Pesto Pasta “Green Alien Pasta” and my kids thought it was hilarious. I’m not suggesting you trick your kids, but this just made the dinner fun.

Honestly, though, this simple Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe is delicious without all the fanfare. If your kids will give it one try, I think they’ll be hooked. And so will you.

One last point that you know I have to slip in is that pesto is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat this summer. Healthy fats from the olive oil and pine nuts and antioxidants from the basil and garlic make pesto a winner. So eat up…in moderation!
Pesto is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. Healthy fats from the olive oil and pine nuts and antioxidants from the basil and garlic make this meal a winner.

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Chicken Pesto Pasta

Chicken Pesto Pasta

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Pesto is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. Healthy fats from the olive oil and pine nuts and antioxidants from the basil and garlic make this meal a winner!


Ingredients

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound whole wheat rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 2, seasoned and grilled chicken breasts, diced

Instructions

  1. Combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts and cheese in a food processor or high-speed blender and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Toss the pesto with the cooked pasta and grilled, diced chicken. Top with more Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner

Homemade, crispy chicken nuggets with just a few healthy ingredients! Try these the next time your family wants the fast food version. They will not disappoint!

Why I have never made these before now I will never know. What I DO know is that they will forever be in my menu planning.

I’ll be honest. I have fond childhood memories of McDonald’s chicken nuggets in my happy meal. I loved to dip them in those little packages of honey and follow them down with those golden fries. I guess ignorance is bliss because now that I know that my dear McNuggets are made up of nearly 38 ingredients. (I got that fact from Omnivore’s Dilemma), I have never enjoyed them the way I used to.

Homemade, crispy chicken nuggets with just a few healthy ingredients! Try these the next time your family wants the fast food version. They will not disappoint!

Last week I began the quest of finding a good chicken nugget recipe that I could make. I didn’t have to look far because there was a super simple recipe on 100 Days of Real Food that I tried, and my family LOVED.

Since these only require a stove top to make, I recommend making some Oven Roasted Broccoli and Sweet Potato Quick Biscuits to go with the chicken. It was a great combo!

Homemade, crispy chicken nuggets with just a few healthy ingredients! Try these the next time your family wants the fast food version. They will not disappoint!

These chicken nuggets also make a great freezer meal so you could always double or triple the recipe and freeze them for future meals! Freezer Meal instructions are included below.

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Homemade Chicken Nuggets

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 mins
  • Total Time: 23 mins
  • Yield: 12-15 nuggets 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Saute
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Homemade, crispy chicken nuggets with just a few healthy ingredients! Try these the next time your family wants the fast food version. They will not disappoint!


Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (preferably organic)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs (make these yourself by throwing some stale bread into the food processor. It’s THAT easy!)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooking oil (I use avocado oil)

Instructions

  1. Chop the chicken into about 1 1/2-2 inch chunks and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  2. Lightly beat the egg with a splash of water in a shallow bowl.
  3. In another shallow bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, cheese, paprika, and garlic powder.
  4. To bread the chicken: Drop some of the chicken chunks into the egg mixture until they are coated on all sides. Then, dip into the breadcrumb mixture. Roll them around and make sure the pieces are fully coated. Set the coated pieces aside while you finish the rest of the nuggets.
  5. Heat a thin layer of oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
  6. Cook the chicken nuggets in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, for about 2-3 minutes on each side until they are golden brown. Turn the heat down if they are browning too quickly. Cut one down the middle to make sure it is fully cooked (no pink inside!). In between batches, wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and add more oil to coat the bottom.
  7. Keep finished nuggets on a sheet pan in the 200°F oven to keep warm while you finish the rest.
  8. Transfer the nuggets to a plate lined with paper towels to help drain off any excess oil.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:
To Freeze:
Bread the nuggets and stack uncooked in single rows divided by wax or parchment paper in your freezer container. Store in freezer for up to two months.
To Prepare:
When ready to bake, thaw overnight in the fridge or on the thaw setting in the microwave and bake as directed.

To Freeze

Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken {Freezer Meal}

By Polly Conner

This easy dump and go freezer meal will become a regular family dinner in your home. This freezer friendly dinner is so versatile too. Eat it straight from the slow cooker, put it in wraps, or turn it into nachos. Choose your own Cilantro Lime Chicken adventure! Great healthy dinner idea to make in bulk or at freezer cooking parties. 

Slow cooker cilantro lime chicken

I’ve has my fair share of slow cooker freezer meal recipes. I can understand why so many people want these types of recipes. I mean who doesn’t want a meal that you can assemble quickly and be thrown in a slow cooker?!

While I am all about a great dump and go freezer meal, finding a GOOD one can be hard. Most real food recipes that go into the slow cooker need a little help up front or a little help at the end. Otherwise you’re relying on artificial ingredients to bring the flavors you want.

However, I am proud to present to you a meal that actually works well as a dump and go slow cooker freezer meal: Cilantro Lime Chicken!

Close up of cilantro lime chicken in a wrap

Now here’s the key to a great slow cooker meal with chicken: DO NOT OVERCOOK THE CHICKEN. Believe it or not, boneless skinless chicken breast is done in the slow cooker in about 3 hours. Seriously! As we’ve been writing our cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker, we have tested hundreds of recipes. Chicken is done (reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees) between 2.5-3.5 hours, depending on your slow cooker.

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If you go much further past that, chicken will start to dry out. Let as simple meat thermometer like this one be your guide!

Once you’ve cooked your Cilantro Lime Chicken, (You did double it and make it a freezer meal, right?!) you can now choose how you want to devour it.

One option (my personal favorite) is to put it in wraps and top with your favorite Mexican toppings.

Slow cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken

Another option (my kids’ personal favorite) is to shred that meat up, put it over nachos.

This was inspired by our Baked Nachos recipe. We simply spread out chips on a cookie sheet, spread out our leftovers over the chips, and topped it with shredded cheddar cheese. After baking it in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes, we scarfed down our baked nachos.

Cilantro Lime Chicken Nachos

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Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken Recipe

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

Cilantro lime chicken recipe. So easy to make! Dump ingredients into a slow cooker and come back hours later for a delicious, family friendly healthy dinner.


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 (16 oz) bag frozen corn (or once can of corn, drained)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (I only used 1/2 can because I’m not crazy about beans)
  • Whole wheat tortillas or tortilla chips, for serving
  • Your favorite Mexican toppings, for serving (i.e. cheddar cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, lettuce, and chopped tomatoes).

Instructions

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and the cumin on both sides. Then, place all ingredients into the slow cooker and stir until mixed together.
  2. Cook on LOW for 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 hours. Shred the chicken with two forks and stir back into the slow cooker. Taste and season with salt and pepper, to your preference.
  3. Serve chicken with tortillas and toppings, such as with cheddar cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and lettuce. Or, spread chicken out over tortilla chips, top with cheese, and bake at 350°F for about 10 minutes (until cheese is melted).

Freeze For Later: Place all the ingredients in a gallon-sized freezer bag. (You will NOT slow cook this meal ahead of time.) Seal and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw using one of these three safe ways. Follow Steps 2-3.

 

Want more slow cooke freezer meal ideas? Here are 101 Real Food Slow Cooker Freezer Meals

101 Real Food Slow Cooker Freezer Meals - Your life just got easier and healthier with this list of the best whole foods freezer meals for the slow cooker. Enjoy these real food crockpot recipes today or freeze for later.

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Simple, fresh ingredients yield a moist, flavorful one-pot chicken meal that your whole family is sure to love.

Simple, fresh ingredients yield a moist, flavorful one-pot chicken meal.

I won’t prattle on and on about how moist and flavorful this simple roasted chicken recipe turned out.  Or how these were the best roasted vegetables I’ve ever had in my life.  You don’t want to hear about the perfectly light, citrusy sauce in the bottom of the roasting pan that came from the lemons, garlic, fresh herbs, and onion stuffed inside the chicken cavity. 

Simple, fresh ingredients yield a moist, flavorful one-pot chicken meal.

No siree. I wouldn’t want to bore you with the fact that I’ll be making this recipe again and again. I’ll let you be the judge. P.S. Don’t forget to use the leftovers for this or this.

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roasted chicken and vegetables

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Simple, fresh ingredients yield a moist, flavorful one-pot chicken meal.


Ingredients

  • 1 roasting chicken (we get our chicken from here)
  • extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 large bunch of fresh sage, rosemary, or thyme (or a mixture of those; about one big handful should do), divided
  • 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 red onion, quartered
  • 34 red potatoes, cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 1 sweet potato, cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 2 large carrots, sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Prep the chicken: Pull the neck and gizzard out of the chicken cavity (save and use in our chicken stock recipe).
  3. Rinse the chicken under cold water and pat dry.
  4. Coat the outside of the chicken with oil.
  5. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper on outside and inside the cavity, as well.
  6. Using some kitchen twine, tie the legs of the chicken together. Tuck the wing tips underneath the body of the chicken. This makes for more even cooking.
  7. Stuff the lemon halves, half the herbs, garlic head, and 1/2 of the onion into the chicken cavity. Set aside.
  8. Prep the veggies: Cut the other half of the onion into 1-2 inch pieces.
  9. In a heavy-bottomed roasting pan, toss onion, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots with enough EVOO to coat the veggies. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and sprinkle the sprigs/leaves of Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan.
  10. Place roasting pan on center rack of preheated oven.
  11. The chicken is done when an internal meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F or the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. This took about 1 hour and 15 minutes in my oven, but it depends on the size of your chicken. Make sure not to overcook!
  12. Once chicken is done, place on a platter, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Chicken Piccata {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Chicken Piccata - try this light, flavorful, French-inspired twist on baked chicken.

Chicken Piccata might very well be my absolute favorite way to eat chicken. It is simple French cuisine at it’s best.

Lemons provide a vibrant citrus base for the sauce, giving this dish a light, bright feel. The butter–oh the butter!–lends a velvety richness to the sauce that perfectly balances the acidity of the lemon juice and white wine. With each bite, you get crunchy breading, tender chicken inside, and a burst of flavor from the sauce. It’s worth the work!

Chicken Piccata - try this light, flavorful, French-inspired twist on baked chicken.

This recipe was a winner with my family and is probably my favorite Freezer Club meal we’ve had so far. I often serve it on top of whole wheat angel hair pasta, but tonight we had it with Basic Roasted Vegetables. Unforgettable.

Chicken Piccata Recipe - try this light, flavorful, French-inspired twist on baked chicken.

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Chicken Piccata Recipe

Chicken Piccata