I am the worst at meal planning. I have great intentions. I’ll make a shopping list, pick up what I need, keep the fridge stocked. The problem is by the time I’m ready to break away from work, or whatever I happen to be doing, to start cooking everyone is starving and wants something right now!
It doesn’t help that I’m usually not in the mood to cook whatever it is I planned to make for dinner that night anyhow.
Last week I knew was going to be especially busy with afternoon Zoom meetings and conference calls, virtual school, appointments, and driving my kids to/from their jobs. With a little of that “work smarter, not harder” ingenuity, I came up with the perfect menu to help me survive until Saturday.
Using one main ingredient, whole chicken roasters, I made four quick, HEALTHY, and delicious dinners for six. And the best part?!? I spent less money on all the ingredients for those four dinners, than I would have paid for one night of takeout!
And you can do it too.
Monday night I made the most amazing oven-roasted chicken dinner. It was so delicious and simple to make!
Almost ridiculously simple.
Brine the chicken for an hour; season, and cook for an hour. (Scroll down for the instructions.)
I’m not kidding when I tell you it was the best roasted chicken I have ever made. My kids nearly devoured half of one of the chickens within minutes. Good thing I cooked three (when you have six people to cook for, you have to double or triple pretty much everything)! Thankfully, I’m always sure to grab the biggest chickens I can.
Tuesday night I cut up the leftover chicken thighs and legs, and I made my yummy Tortilla Soup. It’s so easy! Just throw all the ingredients in the Instant Pot and it’s ready in about 20 minutes!
Wednesday night I used breast meat to make my new favorite recipe, Pomegranate Chicken with Halloumi Cheese, Tomatoes, and Peppers. This recipe won the Sassool Grocery Challenge (I beat out eight other bloggers!) and the dish is now featured at both restaurant locations through the month of January.
And, finally, on Thursday I used the last bit of the chicken breast to make my Copycat Chick-fil-A Grilled Market Salad. This is one of my most popular blog posts of all time, and another favorite dish of mine.
On Friday we always pick up Papa Murphy’s $5 Favs pizza and have a movie night with the kids, so I didn’t need to worry about dinner.
I can’t tell you how nice it was to not have to stress about what I was going to make for dinner every night.
Hope you enjoy these recipes and can use them to carve out a stress-free week of meals for your family.
The Best Oven-Roasted Chicken Dinner
- 1/2 cup table salt (if using kosher salt increase to 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 quarts cold water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 lemon cut in half
- 1 tablespoon McCormick Perfect Pinch Roasted Garlic & Bell Pepper Seasoning
- Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- Dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 quarts cold water in a large container (I used a KitchenAid mixing bowl, it's the perfect size.)
- Submerge the chicken in the brine, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Place shallow roasting pan in oven and heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Brush chicken with butter and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and Perfect Pinch seasoning.
- Stuff the lemon halves in the cavity of the chicken.
- Remove heated pan from oven and set oiled V rack in it.
- Place chicken on rack, wing side up.
- Roast 20 minutes, then rotate chicken, other wing side up. Roast 20 minutes, then rotate chicken, breast side up.
- Roast breast side up until instant-read thermometer inserted in breast registers 160 and in thigh registers between 165 and 170, 10 to 15 minutes longer.
- Transfer chicken to cutting board; let rest 20 minutes.
- Carve and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 106Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 810mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 17gProtein: 0g
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