Easy weeknight chicken dinners

“What’s for dinner?” It’s the last thing most of us want to think about after a long day at work. Naturally, we want to make something that is delicious but doesn’t take a lot of time. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts have become a staple for weeknight chicken dinners; they’re protein-packed but lean, cook quickly and are almost universally liked. Unfortunately, they can also become incredibly boring!

To help make your weeknights a little easier, we created four chicken dishes that are packed with flavor, easy to make and require only minutes of prep time. Add these into your repertoire and boring weeknight dinners will become a thing of the past!

bourbon chicken
Bourbon Chicken
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The history of bourbon chicken is shrouded in mystery. Some claim it comes from Kentucky, home to most of the bourbon distilleries in the United States. Others say it's named for Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Was it created by a Chinese chef in New Orleans as a localized version of drunken chicken, which uses rice wine? Does it even contain bourbon?

While some of these questions will never be answered, we can tell you if it actually contains bourbon. The answer is "Sometimes!" This version includes a small amount of bourbon, but it's entirely optional.

The other thing we are sure about is that this dish, which features four of the five flavor groups, will be a hit with your family. It’s easy to put together on a weeknight and can be served with rice, couscous or spiralized zucchini noodles.
Bourbon Chicken
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The history of bourbon chicken is shrouded in mystery. Some claim it comes from Kentucky, home to most of the bourbon distilleries in the United States. Others say it's named for Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Was it created by a Chinese chef in New Orleans as a localized version of drunken chicken, which uses rice wine? Does it even contain bourbon?

While some of these questions will never be answered, we can tell you if it actually contains bourbon. The answer is "Sometimes!" This version includes a small amount of bourbon, but it's entirely optional.

The other thing we are sure about is that this dish, which features four of the five flavor groups, will be a hit with your family. It’s easy to put together on a weeknight and can be served with rice, couscous or spiralized zucchini noodles.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4 10minutes 30minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10minutes
Cook Time
30minutes
Ingredients
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 cup apple juice or apple cider
  • 1⁄3 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1⁄2 cup Water
  • 1⁄4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 cup bourbon whiskey optional
  • 2 teaspoons Cornstarch
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
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Ingredients
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 cup apple juice or apple cider
  • 1⁄3 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1⁄2 cup Water
  • 1⁄4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 cup bourbon whiskey optional
  • 2 teaspoons Cornstarch
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
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Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Saute chicken until browned on all sides. Remove chicken from pan.
  2. Add all other ingredients to the pan, except cornstarch, and whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved and ingredients are well-blended. Return chicken to the pan and bring to a boil.
  3. Lower heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes. If the sauce thickens too quickly, add chicken broth as needed to maintain a thick but liquid sauce.
  4. Stir cornstarch into 1/4 cup chicken broth or water until completely dissolved. Slowly stir into boiling sauce until the sauce thickens. If desired, garnish with toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions.
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Apricot Balsamic Chicken
Chicken with Apricot-Balsamic Sauce
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This easy, but delicious, chicken dish is sweet and savory and tangy all at the same time. It takes no time to put together and doesn’t require any odd ingredients, perfect for a busy weeknight… but we think you’ll want to make it on weekends too!

For a complete dinner, serve with rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice or roasted potatoes, as well as roasted green beans. To roast green beans, heat oven to 400 degrees. Do that before you start the chicken. Put green beans on a baking sheet (line with aluminum foil for easy clean up!) and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, turning once half way through if you like. If you don't turn them, the bottoms will turn a deep brown color that lends a wonderful nutty flavor, so that's a matter of preference.

If serving with rice or quinoa, start that on the stove while the oven is heating. Potatoes can be roasted at the same time as the green beans, but need to be cut fairly small to cook evenly. That way, everything is done at about the same time and dinner is served!
Chicken with Apricot-Balsamic Sauce
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This easy, but delicious, chicken dish is sweet and savory and tangy all at the same time. It takes no time to put together and doesn’t require any odd ingredients, perfect for a busy weeknight… but we think you’ll want to make it on weekends too!

For a complete dinner, serve with rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice or roasted potatoes, as well as roasted green beans. To roast green beans, heat oven to 400 degrees. Do that before you start the chicken. Put green beans on a baking sheet (line with aluminum foil for easy clean up!) and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, turning once half way through if you like. If you don't turn them, the bottoms will turn a deep brown color that lends a wonderful nutty flavor, so that's a matter of preference.

If serving with rice or quinoa, start that on the stove while the oven is heating. Potatoes can be roasted at the same time as the green beans, but need to be cut fairly small to cook evenly. That way, everything is done at about the same time and dinner is served!
Ingredients
  • 1 shallot, peeled and minced
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cubed
Servings:
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Ingredients
  • 1 shallot, peeled and minced
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cubed
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Instructions
  1. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Season chicken breasts with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Cook chicken until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees, about 5 minutes per side.
  3. Remove from skillet and cover loosely with aluminum foil. (The internal temperature will continue to rise to the recommended 165 degrees after the chicken is off the heat!)
  4. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and saute the shallot until softened, about three minutes.
  5. Add vinegar and jam, and reduce until syrupy, about a minute. Stir in chicken broth and reduce to 3/4 cup, which should take about 5 minutes. Stir in mustard. Remove from heat.
  6. Add butter and swirl pan until melted through. Drizzle a few tablespoons of sauce over chicken and serve the rest on the side.
Recipe Notes

This sauce is also delicious with turkey or pork tenderloin!

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Chicken Sausage Flatbread Pizza
Chicken Sausage Flatbread Pizza
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This couldn’t be any easier! Roasting the zucchini at high heat before adding it to the flatbread cooks the water out of it and gives it a lovely flavor. We didn’t specify what kind of flatbread to use in this because there are so many delicious options now! From various flavors of naan (try garlic!) to personal-size pre-baked pizza shells to pita bread, you can use anything you like. A green salad is a delicious accompaniment.
Chicken Sausage Flatbread Pizza
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This couldn’t be any easier! Roasting the zucchini at high heat before adding it to the flatbread cooks the water out of it and gives it a lovely flavor. We didn’t specify what kind of flatbread to use in this because there are so many delicious options now! From various flavors of naan (try garlic!) to personal-size pre-baked pizza shells to pita bread, you can use anything you like. A green salad is a delicious accompaniment.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4 10minutes 25minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 10minutes
Cook Time
25minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 9 ounces sweet Italian chicken or turkey sausage
  • 1 package flatbread
  • 1 cup prepared pizza sauce
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 carrot
Servings:
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Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 9 ounces sweet Italian chicken or turkey sausage
  • 1 package flatbread
  • 1 cup prepared pizza sauce
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 carrot
Servings:
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Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 500.
  2. Slice zucchini into ½-inch-thick rounds. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet sprayed with olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and basil, plus one teaspoon oregano. Roast for 5 minutes and remove. Turn the oven down to 450.
  4. If your chicken or turkey sausage is raw, remove it from the casings. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet.
  5. Cook the sausage and one teaspoon oregano, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. It may take a couple of minutes longer.
  6. If your sausage is the fully cooked type, slice it thinly. We made this with raw sausage, but there are several good brands that are cooked, and they work just as well in this recipe!
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (This isn't necessary but makes clean up easier! If you don't use parchment, spray the baking sheet lightly with olive oil.) Place the flatbreads on the baking sheet.
  8. Stir remaining oregano into pizza sauce. Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce on each flatbread.
  9. Scatter the shredded cheese on the flatbreads, dividing it evenly. Divide the cooked sausage and zucchini among the flatbreads.
  10. Bake until the cheese is melted and the edges of the flatbreads are golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Let stand a few minutes before slicing and serving.
  11. If desired, use a vegetable peeler to make a garnish of carrot curls.
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slow cooker chicken chili
Slow Cooker Chicken Chili
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You can assemble this the night before and refrigerate it. Set to cook in the morning and dinner will be ready when you walk in the door!

While shredded cheddar is the standard topping to most people, consider Monterey Jack, crumbled queso freso or crumbled cotija cheeses too. Each contributes a different character to the final dish.
Slow Cooker Chicken Chili
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You can assemble this the night before and refrigerate it. Set to cook in the morning and dinner will be ready when you walk in the door!

While shredded cheddar is the standard topping to most people, consider Monterey Jack, crumbled queso freso or crumbled cotija cheeses too. Each contributes a different character to the final dish.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
6 10 minutes 6-10hours
Servings Prep Time
6 10 minutes
Cook Time
6-10hours
Ingredients
  • 1 16 ounce can black beans
  • 1 16 ounce can kidney beans
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 10 ounce package frozen corn
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • To serve: fresh chopped cilantro, sour cream, tortilla chips, shredded cheese
Servings:
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Ingredients
  • 1 16 ounce can black beans
  • 1 16 ounce can kidney beans
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 10 ounce package frozen corn
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • To serve: fresh chopped cilantro, sour cream, tortilla chips, shredded cheese
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Instructions
  1. Drain and rinse black beans and kidney beans.
  2. Combine all ingredients except chicken breasts in a slow cooker.
  3. Place the chicken on top of the rest. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours.
  4. Thirty minutes before serving, remove chicken from the slow cooker and shred with two forks. Stir chicken back into the chili and cook another half hour.
  5. Serve with fresh chopped cilantro, tortilla chips, sour cream and shredded cheese
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