When you’re my age, a teacher, a homeowner, and in a serious relationship with Sallie Mae you are constantly looking for the best way to save some money in the the kitchen. Buying chicken in bulk is something Nolan and I do to keep costs down during the week so I am always looking for creative ways to cook it. However, it’s good to have those standby, low maintenance meals in your back pocket that you pull out and guarantee yourself and your family a great meal. Below are my top 5 favorite 3 ingredient chicken dinner recipes.
A pet peeve of mine is when people say something requires “3 ingredients” but they don’t count certain items as ingredients. I stuck to meals that truly require 3 things with the exception of water. All of these meals include ingredients that we always have on hand. Because these are our go-to meals, I try to stock up on the necessary ingredients when we go shopping but most are things that build up in our pantry.
- Chicken Bruschetta Bake
When I’m making this for Nolan and I, I use 8 oz of chicken, a small can of tomatoes, and about 1/2 a box of chicken stuffing mix. I start by cutting up the chicken into bite sized pieces and fill the bottom of a small square casserole dish. Next dump a can of diced tomatoes undrained into a single layer over the chicken. In a bowl, mix the stuffing with water until it’s damp but not saturated and pile it on top of the tomatoes making the top layer. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the chicken looks done at 375. I sometimes class this one up with a cheese layer, or basil when I have it. It def adds a little extra but it’s not necessary.
2. Chicken Stir Fry
This is the one thing we eat the most. There are hundreds of ways and ingredients you can use to make it but my absolute favorite is chicken, Trader Joe’s Harvest Hodgepodge, and World Harbor Jamaican Jerk Sauce. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, cook them in a skillet in about 2 tbsp of sauce. When the chicken is just about cooked, add in the bag of vegetables and cook until they are thawed and tender. Top the mix with more sauce and enjoy!
Nolan loved this mix over rice but I usually just eat it as is!
3. Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Pasta
This was a recent creation because I got hooked on frozen creamed spinach a few months ago. Weird, I know, but frozen vegetables are like fucking GOLD in our house. All you need for this one is chicken, pasta, and a bag of frozen creamed spinach.
While pasta is cooking, throw 1 inch chunks of chicken breast into a skillet and cook until it’s done. While that’s happening, the steamable pack of spinach can cook in the microwave. Add the pasta to the skillet of chicken and pour the cooked spinach sauce over everything and enjoy!
4. Pulled BBQ Chicken in the crock pot
This is a classic in the Sullivan house and it doesn’t really get easier. It’s no secret that I am a huge crock pot fan because it’s low maintenance and there is just nothing better than coming home to the smell of dinner being ready. The three ingredients for this meal are frozen chicken breast (1 or 2 depending on how many you are feeding) bbq sauce, and chopped onions. When it’s just Nolan and I, I throw one frozen chicken breast, about a cup of bbq sauce, and a diced onion into the crock pot and set it to low for 8 hours. About 20 minutes before we want to eat, I drain some of the extra liquid so it’s not watery, pull the chicken apart with two forks, and add in another cup or two of bbq sauce. Let it sit for 20 minutes and then enjoy.
I make this a lot during the summer when we have backyard barbecues. It;s something different from the traditional hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, and it’s a super cheap and easy way to feed a lot of people. Nolan usually puts his on a bun and eats it like a pulled pork sandwich but I usually eat it plain with a side or two.
5. Shredded Chicken and Spaghetti
To go along number 4, I make something very similar with chicken breast and tomato sauce in the crock pot. In fact, it’s what I am having for lunch this week! All you need for this one is chicken breast, a jar of spaghetti sauce, I love Ragu, and your favorite pasta or spaghetti squash. Toss a frozen chicken breast or two into the crock pot with about a cup of spaghetti sauce and cook it on low for 8 hours. 20 minutes before dinner, drain some of the extra liquid so it’s not watery, pull the chicken apart with two forks, and add in another cup or two of sauce. Let it sit for 20 minutes and then serve over pasta or spaghetti squash.
So there you have it! Those are my current favorite chicken recipes, all of which require only 3 ingredients, and probably cost less than $6 each to make. You could buy a family pack of chicken breasts on Sunday for $12 and make all of these recipes Monday-Friday. Up for it?