Meal Planning: Basic Instant Pot Chicken and Roasted Vegetables

A little meal planning goes a long way. I try to plan our meals for the week the night before I go grocery shopping, so that I can make my list dependent on what I’m going to cook that week.

On weekends, I try to cook extra items to make our meal preparation for busy weeknights easier. I received an Instant Pot for Christmas. It is a great too for meal prepping.  Either I make dinner in the instant pot, while I make the meal for other nights on the stove or vice versa, make the meal for later in the week in the Instant Pot while I cook our dinner on the stove.

Here are a couple of easy recipes that will make multiple meals.

Basic Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot

Marinade:

Ingredients

About 3 pounds of chicken breasts

5 Tablespoons lemon juice

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of pepper

1 teaspoon of garlic paste or 1 clove of garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon onion powder

½ cup of water

Directions

Mix all the ingredients together in a gallon freezer bag with the chicken breasts and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Take out of marinade. Add into instant pot on steamer shelf with about a cup of water and set to pressure cook for 10 minutes. Allow natural release for 5 minutes and then manually release the remaining pressure.

Now you have cooked chicken breasts to be able to add to whatever you like for the week. Roasting some veggies while the chicken is cooking, will lessen your load during the week even more.

Roasted Veggies

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 Green pepper, sliced into sticks

1 Yellow pepper, sliced into sticks

1 zucchini, sliced into sticks

1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved

1 teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

¼ teaspoon of thyme

Directions

Toss veggies with olive oil and spices. Spread out on a sheet pan. Roast at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Here are some meal ideas with the chicken and veggies.

First Meal

This feeds 5-7 people

Greek Inspired Chicken Pasta

Ingredients

1 ½ cups of cooked chicken, cubed

Roasted tomatoes and zucchini

1 16 ounce box of pasta shells (small shells – I like Wegman’s gluten-free)

4 to 6 ounces of crumbled feta

Juice of ½ a lemon

Pasta water

Directions

Cook pasta according to instructions on package and save some of the pasta water. Pour the pasta in to a serving dish. Add chicken, tomatoes, zucchini and lemon juice and one ladle full of the pasta water. Mix. Add more pasta water if too dry. Stir in the feta and serve. Add fresh basil if you have some.

2nd meal – for one ( This was my lunch one day)

Baked Sweet Potato with chicken, roasted veggies and feta

Ingredients

1 Baked Sweet Potato

¼ cup of chicken, diced

A couple of roasted peppers

1 to 2 ounces of crumbled feta

Directions

Cut open baked sweet potato.  Add chicken, peppers and feta. Enjoy!

Baking the sweet potato in the oven is really my favorite way to cook it, but lack of time usually means that I make it in the microwave.

3rd meal feeds 4 to 5

Chicken Quesadillas

Ingredients

6 flour tortillas (my gluten free favorite is Joseph’s or Mission GF)

1 to 1 ½ cups of cooked chicken, chopped

Roasted green and yellow peppers

8 to 12 ounces of shredded cheddar

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray sheet pan. Place cheese, chicken and peppers on one half of each tortilla. Fold other side over and cook about 6 to 8 minutes on each side.

If there are any chicken and veggies left, toss them into a salad with your favorite dressing.

What are your favorite meal planning recipes? Here are some of my other recipes that have great leftovers to help you out during the week! It is all about making our lives easier: What to do with leftover cod, Turkey Fried Rice  and Sweet Potato Two Ways.

 

Marinated Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Chicken can be found on the dinner table in many American homes on any given night. It can be easy to get into a chicken rut, making it the same way each time. It is just as easy to change it up however – marinate it, stuff it, roast it, brine it, fry it or cook it in the Instant Pot.

This recipe was developed because I was craving spinach and artichoke dip and had some chicken breasts to use. I decided to channel some of my stress and pound the chicken breasts flat with a meat mallet (you can also use a rolling pin) and stuff it with a version of my spinach and artichoke dip.

After going through a phase of brining chicken for the last couple of years, I decided to change it up. This marinade made the chicken so flavorful! It was even better the next day! This recipe made enough for 2 dinners for a family of 5 and plus a couple of leftover lunches during the week.

Marinated Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breast

Ingredients

3.5 to 4 pounds of chicken breast, flattened

Marinade:

1/3 cup olive oil

Zest and juice of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon of salt

2 sprigs of rosemary

5 to 7 sprigs thyme

3 Tablespoons of honey

1 clove of garlic

Stuffing:

About 6 ounces of frozen spinach, thawed

4 ounces of cream cheese, softened

Juice of ½ a lemon

¼ onion, minced (about 2 Tablespoons)

1 – 6 ounce jar of artichokes, chopped

3 Tablespoons of chopped red pepper

1 teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

Cooking Chicken and sauce:

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 ½ cups chicken stock

Juice of ½ lemon

Splash of heavy cream

About 6 ounces of chopped tomatoes

1 – 8 ounce can of tomato sauce

Directions

Mix olive oil, lemon zest and juice, salt, rosemary, thyme, honey and garlic in a gallon freezer bag. Add chicken and allow to marinate for 2 to 24 hours. To make stuffing combine spinach, cream cheese, lemon juice, onion, artichokes, red peppers salt and pepper. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry. Place about 2 to 3 Tablespoons of filling in each flattened chicken breast and roll up. Heat olive oil in large heavy bottomed sauté pan.  Sear the stuffed chicken on each side and then add chicken stock and lemon juice to the pan, cover and cook for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Take out of the oven, remove chicken and finish sauce with tomatoes, tomato sauce and a splash of cream. Simmer sauce for about 5 minutes and return chicken to pan and serve over potatoes, zoodles or your favorite pasta.

What are your favorite chicken dishes? Here are some of my other favorites: One Pan Roast Chicken with Tomato Sauce, Spatchcocked Herb Roasted Chicken, Honey Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs, Apricot Wings and Chicken Noodle Soup.

Bold and Flavorful Marinade!

Marinades can add a great flavor to your grilled meats, vegetables or even tofu. Recently, I shared with you my Steak Rub recipe. Today I’m sharing a marinade bursting with flavor that will make your taste buds zing! Gluten-free food does not have to be boring! Just make sure that your soy sauce, vinegar and spices are free from gluten, so that the marinade is safe for you and everyone to enjoy!

Bold and Flavorful Marinade

Ingredients

¼ cup of olive oil

1/8 cup water

3 Tablespoons of soy sauce

3 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

3 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

zest and juice of one lime

3 to 4 Tablespoons of brown sugar (depending on your taste)

1 Tablespoon of fresh rosemary and/or thyme

1 clove of garlic minced

Directions

Mix all of the ingredients in a large Ziploc bag. Place steak, chicken, pork or tofu into marinade and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours up to overnight. Remove, dry off whatever you marinated and cook how you like. This is great for the grill!

 

You may be wondering what that strange green thing is holding up the ziploc bag? I got it as a present for Mother’s Day. It makes filling a ziploc bag for any reason, so much easier and folds away.

Are you grilling this weekend? What is your favorite tool for grill prep? What is your favorite item to grill? Let me know in the comments!

Here are some of my favorite grilling tools:

Here are some other recipes if you need some inspiration for your weekend bbq:

Haddock on the Grill

My favorite bbq sauce recipe

Tomatillo Salsa

 

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Basic Recipes You Can Adjust To Your Own Taste

After taking a much needed break, the blog is back! I’ve been busy cooking, cleaning out closets and celebrating. I turned 40 and then had a restful Mother’s Day. I have so many great recipes and gluten-free finds to share from the past couple of weeks! Stay tuned!

I am continually thinking about how to put into words the kinds of recipes I like to make and then I had an epiphany while driving by myself in the car the other day. I turned on NPR (WGBH Boston, 89.7) and heard Christopher Kimball’s voice. It was Milk Street Kitchen Radio with Christopher Kimball (formerly of America’s Test Kitchen) and Sara Moulton (who has a show on PBS now but I used to religiously watch her cooking show on the Food Network, over 15 years ago). They took an interesting caller, asking about how to get his fiance to eat more of a variety of foods. He wanted to know any good cookbooks for kids, as he compared her palate to that of a child.

Mr. Kimball’s answer is exactly what mine would be, although much more eloquently said. He said that instead of trying to cook down to her taste level, to make what he calls “bridge recipes.” The light bulb went off in my head. That is exactly what I do! His example included finding a basic recipe for fried chicken and then change up the flavors, because most countries have their version of fried chicken (Japanese tempura, etc).

Here are some of my “bridge recipes” and some variations you can make to help expand your family’s palate or just change up your weekly menu.

My basic meatball recipe can be changed up by making Italian Stuffed MeatballsVietnamese flavored meatballsTex Mex flavored meatballs, Greek MeatballsSwedish Meatballs or even Meatloaf meatballs! Meatballs are a familiar shape for kids or even picky adults 🙂 By changing up the flavors you can expose them to new tastes.

There are a million ways to make roasted chicken. It is also something many people like and are familiar with, so it is another great vessel to make “bridge” recipes from. So instead of Herb Roasted Chicken try my  One pan Roasted Chicken with tomatoes and feta, Honey Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs or Marinated Roasted Teriyaki Chicken.

Another great way to create “bridge” recipes is to change up the sauces you use. Try these sauces to change up your grilled chicken, steak, fish or even veggies: Barbecue Sauce, Balsamic Honey Mustard Sauce or Tomatillo salsa (this post also has a basic quesadilla recipe which you can make many variations of! A great “bridge”recipe!).

Thank you Christopher Kimball for helping me articulate my style of cooking.  I make basic recipes and create “bridge” recipes from them by using different sauces or spices from a different culture. What is your favorite “bridge” recipe?  Check out Milk Street Radio to find out when it is on in your area or download the podcast! They are great!

One pot meals

My husband is always happy when I make a one pot meal. He is the one who does the dishes 🙂 A one pot meal can be anything from soup to chili to pot roast to pasta. Fewer dishes means less time in the kitchen and more time for the many other tasks you have to accomplish or maybe (gasp!) even give you 5 minutes to take some time for yourself.

One of the favorite one pot meals in my house is my Hot and Sour Soup.

It only takes about 20 minutes to prepare and is the recipe I chose to display when asked to be one of the featured blogs on Wayfair.com’s Stock, Soup and Multi-Pots page. Check it out!

If you don’t like hot and sour soup, try my French Onion, Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato Coconut Curry, Potato Leek or Carrot Ginger soup. One pot can also make amazing chicken stock or healing chicken noodle soup

Another flavorful meal you can create in a snap, is my One Pan Roasted Chicken.

Serve it with some zoodles and you have a tasty spring-like meal!

Chili is a one pot meal that can either be made in your slow cooker or in one pot on the stove. My Crowd Pleasing Quinoa Pumpkin Chili can easily be made, simmering on the stove in 2 to 3 hours.

Quinoa risotto is a decadent and healthy one pot meal for dinner one night on its own or you can serve it with some leftover chicken or steak.

One pot meals are versatile and easy. Try one of my recipes above! Let me know how it turns out. Let me know if there are other recipes you want to see.

Marinated Roasted Teriyaki Chicken

The best meals are delicious and easy to put together when you need to get dinner on the table fast. Sometimes that means doing some prep the day before or morning of. This is one of those great meals. It takes a little time to make the marinade, but that is the most effort you will need to exert.

Marinated Roasted Teriyaki Chicken

Ingredients

2 to 3 pounds of chicken thighs

½ cup of vegetable oil

½ teaspoon sesame oil

½ cup of soy sauce

½ cup of rice vinegar

½ cup of honey

3 Tablespoons of brown sugar

1 Tablespoon of minced ginger

1 Tablespoon of onion powder

1 clove of garlic, minced

Juice of 1 lime

1 ½ cups of water

¾ cup Wegman’s Organic Teriyaki sauce (gluten and lactose free), plus more reserved for after cooking.

sesame seeds, optional

Directions

Mix together vegetable oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, brown sugar, ginger, onion powder, garlic, lime and water. Marinate chicken in mixture for 4 hours to overnight. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Discard marinade, rinse chicken and then pat dry. Spray roasting pan with non-stick spray. Pour 3/4 of a cup of teriyaki sauce into a shallow bowl. Coat each piece of chicken with sauce and plan in pan. Cover pan with foil and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover, turn heat up to 400 degrees and cook for another 25 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to ensure each piece of chicken is cooked through. If you want crispy skin on the chicken, place under broiler for 2 minutes.

Serve with rice and broccoli.

You never have enough chicken recipes in your repertoire!

Honey Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs

Chicken again? Definitely! I have been making a version of this roasted chicken recipe for years. It is SO EASY. It only has 6 ingredients, including salt, pepper and olive oil! I make it to entertain with or just on a weeknight for my family.  This feeds my family of 5 with enough for leftovers! Bonus, if you keep scrolling, I have a great recipe to transform the leftovers.

Honey Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

About 3 pounds of chicken thighs (brined if you like)

¼ cup of lemon juice

3 Tablespoons of honey

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dry off the chicken thighs. Whisk together lemon juice, honey and olive oil in a medium sized bowl. Coat chicken with mixture and place in a roasting pan. Cook covered for 20 minutes, rotate pan and then cook for 30 more minutes uncovered. (Reserve juices in roasting pan for leftover recipe below)

To keep it simple, I recently served this with a new favorite product from Wegman’s, 90 Second Steamables, Savory Long Grain and Wild Rice, which one of my 6 year olds made by himself (2 bags for our family) and microwave in a bag green beans, which the other 6 year old made. The clean plate club was full that night!

This also made an incredible leftover dish based on an old favorite from Bertucci’s, Chicken Broccoli and Rigatoni in Cream sauce. I used the juices from the roast chicken above with a dash of pepper and some milk for the sauce. Heat the juices and keep adding a little milk at a time, until it tastes the way you want it. Cut up the remaining chicken and a head of broccoli. Toss everything together with your favorite pasta and it is a delicious meal!

What ways to do you like to cook chicken? How do you use your leftovers? We learn from each other, so comment and let me know!

Here are some of my other favorite chicken recipes:

Spatchcocked Herb Roasted Chicken

One Pot Roast Chicken with Tomato Sauce

Apricot Glazed Chicken Wings

Spatchcocked Herb Roasted Chicken

Roast chicken is a great, easy comfort food for these cold winter nights after shoveling, playing in the snow or running around all day. I decided change it up a little and try spatchcocked chicken. This was my 2nd attempt. The first attempt was not so successful. I cooked it on a bed of roasted veggies and after 70 minutes on 375, the inside was still raw! I ended up have to throw out the veggies and just saute the chicken. Second attempt I roasted flat on the roasting pan and upped the temperature to 400. Spatchcocking definitely doesn’t save time, but it did cook evenly.

Herb Roasted Spatchcocked Chicken

Ingredients

1 – 8 to 12 pound chicken, spatchcocked (here is a tutorial from Martha Stewart)

4 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon of salt (leave out the salt if you brined the chicken)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil in the bottom of your roasting pan. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and place chicken, breast side up on the roasting pan. Rub remaining olive oil on the chicken. If you still have the packet of chicken livers/heart and neck, take them out of the paper and place next to the chicken (trust me, even if you don’t like eating those parts, they make the gravy SOOOO good!). Spread the herbs, pepper and salt (if using) all over the chicken. Roast for 75 to 85 minutes, turning the pan once about 30 minutes in. Check with a meat thermometer to ensure it is cooked through (165 to 170 degrees and juices run clear). Place on serving platter and cover with foil while you make the gravy.

Pan Gravy

Ingredients

Pan drippings from roasted chicken

3 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1 ½ cups chicken stock

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

1 Tablespoon of spicy brown mustard

1 Tablespoon of corn starch

2 Tablespoons of butter

Directions

Place the roasting pan over two burners on medium-low. Add the vinegar, chicken stock, syrup and mustard to the pan drippings and whisk together.  Keep liver, heart and neck in the pan, while mixing these flavors together. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove the liver, heart and neck and whisk in the corn starch and let it cook for 5 more minutes. Then add the butter. Pour through strainer before serving if you have lumps.

This is great with gnocchi mashed potatoes, or polenta. These green beans or peas would round out the meal!

I really enjoy sharing with you what I cook for my family. It is something that brings me a lot of joy. It makes me even happier to know that others are reading and enjoying the blog. Thanks to Mamapedia for profiling me this week!! Please let me know know if you want to see anything or have a family recipe that needs to be made gluten free.

Apricot Glazed Wings

I made these wings for dinner last week (waffles and wings, a spin on chicken and waffles) and I could not wait to share it! I let my kids lick their fingers and I may even have too 😉 Many of you are watching football or basketball games over the next couple of weeks. I like to watch. I don’t really understand football and much to my husband’s dismay, I don’t really want to try to understand it. I’m happy to create yummy treats for those who enjoy watching it. Try these for your next game day party! You will not have leftovers! Just remember, lots and lots of napkins 🙂

Apricot Glazed Wings

Ingredients

About 2 pounds of chicken wings

3 Tablespoons of apricot preserves

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 Tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ginger, minced

1 teaspoon onion powder

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all the ingredients, except the wings, together in a large bowl. Microwave for 10 seconds. Whisk the sauce together and pour about ½ of it into another large bowl. Toss wings with ½ of the mixture and place on a cooling rack that is over a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Toss with the remaining sauce (that was kept in a separate bowl) and serve!

If you like buffalo wings follow the same recipe but melt a little butter into your favorite wing sauce (I discovered Wegman’s Buffalo Hot Sauce this week and it is delicious and gluten free!). Separate the sauce into 2 bowls. Toss the wings in one bowl and place on rack over baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Toss with remaining sauce and serve with some ranch dressing or blue cheese (just check that it is gluten-free!)

Put these out on a platter alongside a bowl of Doritos, pot of chili, fruit plate and a veggie platter or some meatballs. Later in the in the week, I’ll have my barbecue ribs recipe for you too! What is your favorite game day snack?

One Pan Roast Chicken with Tomato Sauce

You can never have enough chicken recipes. Chicken is so versatile and often a crowd pleaser. This one pan roast chicken, okay 2 pans, if you count the other one to boil pasta 😉 is easy, delicious and made up of ingredients you probably already have on hand.

Roast Chicken with Tomato Sauce

chicken-with-peas

 

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

4 chicken thighs

Salt and pepper  (unless chicken was brined, then leave this out)

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

½ teaspoon oregano

1-24 ounce can of crushed  tomatoes

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

¾ cup of frozen peas

4 ounces of feta

Directions

In a heavy bottomed large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. If you did not brine the chicken thighs, salt and pepper them. Remove chicken and add onions, garlic and oregano to the skillet and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the can of tomatoes and the vinegar. Stir. Place the chicken back into the skillet and place into the oven for 12 minutes, covered.  Uncover and cook for another 25 minutes. Add peas and cook for another 10-12 minutes.  Serve over your favorite pasta or zoodles and crumble feta on top.

roast-chicken-with-tomato-sauce

This fed our family of 5 for dinner plus enough was left over for 3 lunches with the pasta. You can easily double this recipe to feed more or freeze for a quick meal another time.

TIP: If you are going to brine the chicken, here is my brine recipe, but you probably only need to make 1/4 of it since this recipe is for a turkey 🙂

During the holidays you need easy, one pot meals that are good enough to feed guests. Try this or one of these easy recipes:

3 Easy 10 Minute Meals

Super Easy Pasta Night

Stay tuned for the first holiday cookie recipe tomorrow!