4 Quick & Easy Chicken Marinades

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Mediterranean Chicken sliced on plate with a tomato and feta pasta. This Mediterranean Marinade is only a few ingredients, can be made ahead, and is delicious!

It’s Back to School, Back to Fall, Back to the Grind TIME!  That means life may be gettin’ a little crazy and you need easy go-to dinners!   Well, I got you!  Here I have 4 Fantastic Make-Ahead, Quick & Easy Chicken Marinades guaranteed to make dinners easier! Jump to Recipe

One of the easiest ways to get ahead on meals for the week AND save some money, is to buy in bulk and then divide up for several different meals. BUT…it’s boring if you divide up into the same exact 4 meals.

So, today, I have 4 super easy Prep-Ahead Chicken Marinades that will completely transform the bulk chicken into 4 unique and delicious dinners.

Here are 4 Delicious Make-Ahead Quick & Easy Chicken Marinades that you can make now and enjoy later!

 

Get ready to make Dinner Easier with these Chicken Marinades!

Jump to Recipe

1.  Hungarian Paprika Chicken

Hungarian Paprika Chicken sliced on plate with Paprika Aioli drizzled on top and fork dipping a bite. The paprika gives beautiful color and a deep, peppery flavor. #chicken #easychicken #easydinner #dinner #healthydinner

First up in Chicken Marinades is my  Hungarian Paprika Chicken Marinade recipe that I published back in May.  This recipe is a quick way to get those delicious goulash flavors into a weeknight dinner!  The Hungarian Paprika gives beautiful color and a deep, peppery flavor. This recipe only has 5 ingredients, which means it’s so simple!  Drizzle with or dip in the easiest Paprika Aioli for a creamy, irresistible finish!  Prepare days or months (in the freezer) ahead!  On this side, my Veggie Quinoa Salad with Cream Lemon Vinaigrette would be a terrific pairing!  

Not only is this one yummy and easy, but Paprika is a great source of antioxidants and can help eye health. If you go for the hot paprika, then the capsaicin that gives the heat also has anti-inflammatory benefits.

Full recipe is down below, but the gist is this…put all the ingredients into a storage bag/container and then marinade for 1 hour up to overnight.  Cook in a skillet or roast in the oven, make aioli, and enjoy!

Hungarian Paprika Chicken raw marinating in a bag. The paprika gives beautiful color and a deep, peppery flavor. #chicken #easychicken #easydinner #dinner #healthydinner

Hungarian Paprika Chicken raw cooking in a skillet. The paprika gives beautiful color and a deep, peppery flavor. #chicken #easychicken #easydinner #dinner #healthydinner

Mixing paprika and garlic into mayonnaise for the Aioli for Hungarian Paprika Chicken. The paprika gives beautiful color and a deep, peppery flavor. #chicken #easychicken #easydinner #dinner #healthydinner

Squeezing Paprika Aioli from a baggie to a silver cup next to Hungarian Paprika Chicken. The paprika gives beautiful color and a deep, peppery flavor. #chicken #easychicken #easydinner #dinner #healthydinner

 

2.  Mediterranean Chicken Marinade

Fork with bite of Mediterranean Chicken sliced on plate with a tomato and feta pasta. This Mediterranean Marinade is only a few ingredients, can be made ahead, and is delicious!

Mediterranean Chicken Marinades are so versatile and can go with so many different side dish options.  You only need a few ingredients here, fresh garlic, tons of herby dried Oregano, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  It’s simple, but full of flavor! 

Scroll down for the full recipe, but again, just put all ingredients into a storage container and let marinade for 1 hour up to overnight.  Then cook in a skillet or roast in the oven, serve with a simple pasta and enjoy!  My favorite sides to go with this are my Grilled Halloumi & Tomato Salad which takes it in a Greek direction.  Or, try my amazing Walnut & Ricotta Pasta with Spinach which takes you to Italy.  Or, go red with this easy Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta

Mediterranean Chicken marinating in a storage bag. This Mediterranean Marinade is only a few ingredients, can be made ahead, and is delicious!

Mediterranean Chicken Cooking in a skillet. This Mediterranean Marinade is only a few ingredients, can be made ahead, and is delicious!

Mediterranean Chicken sliced on plate with a tomato and feta pasta. This Mediterranean Marinade is only a few ingredients, can be made ahead, and is delicious!

 

 3. Sesame Sweet Chili Marinade

Bite of Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken on a fork over more sliced on a plate with rice. It is slightly sweet, tangy, savory, nutty, with a touch of heat. You can prepare it days ahead, it takes just minutes to prepare, minutes to cook, and everyone will love it!! #chicken #marinades #easydinner #easychicken #chickenrecipes #easysauces #healthydinner #healthyfood #healthyrecipes

This EASY Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken is quick to make and mouth wateringly yummy! The fantastic marinade and sauce is slightly sweet, tangy, savory, nutty, with a touch of heat. It will please any ‘chicken-is-boring’ naysayers and kids love it for the sweet and salty sauce. Win Win in my house!

There is so much flavor in this marinade that you can pair it with a simple white rice and stir fried veggies and call it a night!  Or pair it with something cooling, my Sesame Asian Slaw!

Once again, it’s a simple 2-step process of tossing the easy few ingredients into a storage container with the chicken and marinating it for 1 hour up to overnight.  Then for this one, I recommend searing and cooking in a skillet vs. roasting in the oven.  That way, you can add a bit of water at the end to pick up all of those delectable sweet and savory bits and create a delicious sauce to pour over top of the sliced chicken. 

Keep on scrollin’ down for the full recipe!

Raw Chicken Marinating in a storage bag propped up in a bowl for Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken recipe. It is slightly sweet, tangy, savory, nutty, with a touch of heat. You can prepare it days ahead, it takes just minutes to prepare, minutes to cook, and everyone will love it!! #chicken #marinades #easydinner #easychicken #chickenrecipes #easysauces #healthydinner #healthyfood #healthyrecipes

Raw Chicken getting seared in skillet for Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken recipe. It is slightly sweet, tangy, savory, nutty, with a touch of heat. You can prepare it days ahead, it takes just minutes to prepare, minutes to cook, and everyone will love it!! #chicken #marinades #easydinner #easychicken #chickenrecipes #easysauces #healthydinner #healthyfood #healthyrecipes

Cooked Chicken in skillet for Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken recipe. It is slightly sweet, tangy, savory, nutty, with a touch of heat. You can prepare it days ahead, it takes just minutes to prepare, minutes to cook, and everyone will love it!! #chicken #marinades #easydinner #easychicken #chickenrecipes #easysauces #healthydinner #healthyfood #healthyrecipes

Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken cooked and sliced on a plate with rice and cilantro. It is slightly sweet, tangy, savory, nutty, with a touch of heat. You can prepare it days ahead, it takes just minutes to prepare, minutes to cook, and everyone will love it!! #chicken #marinades #easydinner #easychicken #chickenrecipes #easysauces #healthydinner #healthyfood #healthyrecipes

 

4.  Mexican Spice Chicken Marinade

Our last stop on the Chicken Marinades Tour is Mexican Chicken Marinade.  The chicken in this recipe is infused with so much smokey, savory flavors from the fresh garlic, chili powder, and cumin.  

As with the four previous marinades, the chicken plus the few other ingredients all go into the storage bag or container.  Then let them marinate for 1 hour up to overnight!  Then cook in the skillet, serve with rice or my super easy make-ahead Cilantro Lime Quinoa!  Or serve added to a Black Bean Taco Bowl!

Hand taking marinated Mexican Chicken out of bag to cook in skillet. This marinade is an easy, make-ahead, and delicious recipe! The chicken is infused with so much smokey, savory flavors from the fresh garlic, chili powder, and cumin.  #marinade #chicken #easydinners

Marinated Mexican Chicken cooking in skillet. This marinade is an easy, make-ahead, and delicious recipe! The chicken is infused with so much smokey, savory flavors from the fresh garlic, chili powder, and cumin.  #marinade #chicken #easydinners

Marinated Mexican Chicken cooking in skillet with lid on. This marinade is an easy, make-ahead, and delicious recipe! The chicken is infused with so much smokey, savory flavors from the fresh garlic, chili powder, and cumin.  #marinade #chicken #easydinners

Marinated Mexican Chicken cooking in skillet. This marinade is an easy, make-ahead, and delicious recipe! The chicken is infused with so much smokey, savory flavors from the fresh garlic, chili powder, and cumin.  #marinade #chicken #easydinners

Almost there, scroll a little more and these 4 recipes are your for the printing!

I hope you love these easy Chicken Marinades as much as I do!  Please also send me YOUR easy make-ahead marinade ideas!

😍 Carrie

4 Easy Meal Prep Chicken Marinades

Back to School means life may be gettin’ a little crazy, so you need easy go-to dinners! Well, I got you! Here are 4 Fantastic Make-Ahead, Quick & Easy Chicken Marinades guaranteed to make dinners easier! Hungarian Paprika Chicken ~ Mediterranean Chicken ~ Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken ~ Mexican Spice Chicken #marinades #chicken #chickendinners #easydinners #dinners #familydinners #busymom

Course Main Course
Keyword chicken, chicken dinner, dinner, easy dinner, marinade
Prep Time 15 minutes
Marinating Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 64 oz Chicken, Boneless & Skinless Eight 8 oz Chicken Breasts

Hungarian Paprika Marinade

  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbps Water
  • 1 tsp Hungarian Paprika You can use Hot, Sweet, or Regular
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced

Mediterranean Marinade

  • 1 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper

Asian Sweet Sesame Marinade

  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1 tsp Sesame Seeds

Mexican Marinade

  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Instructions

Prep-Ahead

  1. Open your bulk package of chicken breasts. Make sure that you have 8 breasts about equal in size, 2 for each marinade.

  2. Since every recipe has fresh minced garlic, you can mince all 5 cloves in advance. Note, each clove is approximately 1 tsp, so when dividing it up again, you can use a tsp measure, with the Hungarian Paprika recipe getting 2 tsp and the others getting 1 tsp.

Hungarian Paprika Chicken Marinade

  1. In a storage bag or storage container, add the olive oil, water, paprika, minced garlic, and salt. Mix together, then add the raw chicken breasts. You can marinade the chicken in the sauce for 1 hour up to 8 hours. You can also freeze the chicken in marinade at this point and use it up to 4 months later!

    Hungarian Paprika Chicken raw marinating in a bag. The paprika gives beautiful color and a deep, peppery flavor. #chicken #easychicken #easydinner #dinner #healthydinner
  2. Preheat a skillet on high, add a tsp of Olive Oil and spread around. Remove the marinated chicken breasts from the marinade using tongs, saving the marinade to cook. Add the chicken breasts to the hot skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the the chicken starts to sear.

    Hungarian Paprika Chicken cooking in a skillet. The paprika gives beautiful color and a deep, peppery flavor. #chicken #easychicken #easydinner #dinner #healthydinner
  3. Add 1/4 cup water and the remaining marinade then bring to a simmer. Add back the chicken and juices and then cover the skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 F degrees or the chicken feels firm with a little give.  

  4. Uncover, turn off the heat and move the skillet off the hot burner. Let rest for a few minutes. Then remove the chicken and slice it on a bias in 3/4 inch slices. This should give you about 5-6 slices.  Spoon the sauce from the skillet on top.

    Hungarian Paprika Chicken sliced on plate. The paprika gives beautiful color and a deep, peppery flavor. #chicken #easychicken #easydinner #dinner #healthydinner

Mediterranean Chicken Marinade

  1. In a storage bag or storage container, add the olive oil, minced garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix together, then add the raw chicken breasts. You can marinade the chicken in the sauce for 1 hour up to 8 hours. You can also freeze the chicken in marinade at this point and use it up to 4 months later!

    Mediterranean Chicken marinating in a storage bag. This Mediterranean Marinade is only a few ingredients, can be made ahead, and is delicious!
  2. Preheat a skillet on high, add a tsp of Olive Oil and spread around. Remove the marinated chicken breasts and add to the hot skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the the chicken starts to sear. Cover the skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 F degrees or the chicken feels firm with a little give.  

    Mediterranean Chicken Cooking in a skillet. This Mediterranean Marinade is only a few ingredients, can be made ahead, and is delicious!
  3. Uncover, turn off the heat and move the skillet off the hot burner. Let rest for a few minutes. Then remove the chicken and slice it on a bias in 3/4 inch slices. This should give you about 5-6 slices.  

    Mediterranean Chicken sliced on plate with a tomato and feta pasta. This Mediterranean Marinade is only a few ingredients, can be made ahead, and is delicious!

Asian Sweet Sesame Chicken Marinade

  1. In a storage bag or storage container, add soy sauce, chili sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and sesame seeds. Mix together, then add the raw chicken breasts. You can marinade the chicken in the sauce for 1 hour up to 8 hours. You can also freeze the chicken in marinade at this point and use it up to 4 months later!

    Raw Chicken Marinating in a storage bag propped up in a bowl for Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken recipe. It is slightly sweet, tangy, savory, nutty, with a touch of heat. You can prepare it days ahead, it takes just minutes to prepare, minutes to cook, and everyone will love it!! #chicken #marinades #easydinner #easychicken #chickenrecipes #easysauces #healthydinner #healthyfood #healthyrecipes
  2. Add the chicken to a preheated skillet, leaving as much of the marinade behind as possible.  You will add the marinade later to cook down into a sauce.

    Raw Chicken getting seared in skillet for Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken recipe. It is slightly sweet, tangy, savory, nutty, with a touch of heat. You can prepare it days ahead, it takes just minutes to prepare, minutes to cook, and everyone will love it!! #chicken #marinades #easydinner #easychicken #chickenrecipes #easysauces #healthydinner #healthyfood #healthyrecipes
  3. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes on one side to both sear and start cooking.  Then flip the chicken over and cook for another 3 minutes, just until seared.  Remove the chicken to a plate.

    Chicken cooking with char in skillet for Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken recipe. It is slightly sweet, tangy, savory, nutty, with a touch of heat. You can prepare it days ahead, it takes just minutes to prepare, minutes to cook, and everyone will love it!! #chicken #marinades #easydinner #easychicken #chickenrecipes #easysauces #healthydinner #healthyfood #healthyrecipes
  4. Add the remaining marinade then bring to a simmer. Add back the chicken and juices and then cover the skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 F degrees or the chicken feels firm with a little give.  

    Cooked Chicken in skillet for Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken recipe. It is slightly sweet, tangy, savory, nutty, with a touch of heat. You can prepare it days ahead, it takes just minutes to prepare, minutes to cook, and everyone will love it!! #chicken #marinades #easydinner #easychicken #chickenrecipes #easysauces #healthydinner #healthyfood #healthyrecipes
  5. Uncover, turn off the heat and move the skillet off the hot burner. Let rest for a few minutes. Then remove the chicken and slice it on a bias in 3/4 inch slices. This should give you about 5-6 slices.

    Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken cooked and sliced on a plate with rice and cilantro. It is slightly sweet, tangy, savory, nutty, with a touch of heat. You can prepare it days ahead, it takes just minutes to prepare, minutes to cook, and everyone will love it!! #chicken #marinades #easydinner #easychicken #chickenrecipes #easysauces #healthydinner #healthyfood #healthyrecipes

Mexican Chicken Marinade

  1. In a storage bag or storage container, add olive oil, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Mix together, then add the raw chicken breasts. You can marinade the chicken in the sauce for 1 hour up to 8 hours. You can also freeze the chicken in marinade at this point and use it up to 4 months later!

    Hand taking marinated Mexican Chicken out of bag to cook in skillet. This marinade is an easy, make-ahead, and delicious recipe! The chicken is infused with so much smokey, savory flavors from the fresh garlic, chili powder, and cumin.  #marinade #chicken #easydinners
  2. Preheat a skillet on high, add a tsp of Olive Oil and spread around. Remove the marinated chicken breasts and add to the hot skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the the chicken starts to sear. Cover the skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 F degrees or the chicken feels firm with a little give.  

    Marinated Mexican Chicken cooking in skillet. This marinade is an easy, make-ahead, and delicious recipe! The chicken is infused with so much smokey, savory flavors from the fresh garlic, chili powder, and cumin.  #marinade #chicken #easydinners
  3. Uncover, turn off the heat and move the skillet off the hot burner. Let rest for a few minutes. Then remove the chicken and slice it on a bias in 3/4 inch slices. This should give you about 5-6 slices.

 

 

10 Back-to-School, Prep-Ahead Easy Family Dinners

Chicken and Cherry Tomato Pasta with basil and parmesan in a skillet. It's easy and so delicious! #pasta #tomatoes #easydinner #dinner #easyrecipes #healthydinner #chicken

It’s almost Back-to-School time and that means…things are gonna get craaaazzzzyyyy!  But just because your little angels won’t let you use the bathroom in privacy, doesn’t mean you can’t get dinner on the table!  The extra school craziness just means we need to take a little help from wherever we can get it.  So let me help you, Mama!  Here are 10 (plus a bonus 11) super easy, kid-friendly, delicious, Prep-Ahead Easy Family Dinners that you can add to your Back-to-School arsenal.

These Easy Family Dinners will set you up to be the Super-Mom that you are!

 

A few deets for Magically Easy Family Dinners

Before I get into these magical Easy Family Dinners, let me share a few things about them first.

  1. I consider ‘Prep-Ahead‘ as preparing all of the ingredients so that you can simply cook on the night you want to eat.  In some cases, prep-ahead can also mean cooking ahead in a slow cooker or cooking some of the components in advance and finishing it on dinner night.  Bottom line, it means doing stuff ahead so you are less stressed!
  2. When I think of kid-friendly, I considered dishes that were a bit more inspired than just chicken nuggets.  Though, don’t get me wrong, my girls would take chicken nuggets ANY night of the week!  However, I know that spice can be a concern, so wherever possible, the heat is toned down and the spices mellowed out.  You will still see full-flavored deliciousness in each and every dinner recipe!
  3. Finally, a Family dinner is one that won’t break the bank!  Save the fancy or expensive dinners for the weekends and stretch your dollar during the week feeding your family nourishing food that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.  With that in mind, you will see quite a bit of Chicken, vegetables, beans, and healthy grains on this list.  These are foods that fill your family up with healthy vitamins and nutrients.

10 (+Bonus) Delicious Prep-Ahead Easy Family Dinners:

1.  5-Ingredient Easy Meatloaf with Cheesy Cauliflower Rice

Close up picture of sliced meatloaf with ketchup on top. This 5-Ingredient Easy Meatloaf recipe may be short on ingredients, but it is loaded with flavor. The lack of breadcrumbs means you don't have them soaking up the juices, so the meat stays moist - and it's gluten free too! Parmesan cheese, onion, egg, ketchup, salt, and pepper are all that go into this yummy loaf of goodness!

Welcome to my new favorite comfort food with a healthy twist: Cheesy Cauliflower Rice.  If Mac and Cheese met Cauliflower, fell in love and had a baby, it would be this Cheesy Cauliflower Rice. This recipe is so simple with just the flavors from the cauliflower - plus a few other things to help it come together.

First up on the list is none other that the trusty Meatloaf!!  But, this is a special meatloaf, friends.  It’s a super duper moist, flavorful, tangy, and utterly delicious only-5-ingredient Easy Meatloaf.  And you can serve it with equally delicious Cheesy Cauliflower Rice – but of course, you can opt for a simpler side, like potatoes, rice, or a salad!  This Gluten Free, Easy 5-Ingredient Meatloaf is loaded with flavor, but only a few ingredients. It’s also so moist because it replaces breadcrumbs with parmesan cheese for an incredible texture and taste!

  • Prep-Ahead 20 min (meatloaf 10 min; Cauliflower 10 min): You can make the meatloaf entirely ahead on Sunday and cook on the weeknight.  The Cauliflower prep includes cutting off the florets and blending to turn it into ‘rice’ and shredding the cheese.  Or, cook both the meatloaf and the Cheesy Cauliflower Rice on Sunday and just reheat!
  • Cook 60 min:  The meatloaf cooks in the oven for 60 minutes straight, not muss, no fuss.  The Cauliflower Rice takes only 15 minutes to saute and then make the cheese sauce, all of which can be done while the meatloaf cooks.

2.  Moroccan Turkey Meatball Stuffed Pitas 

Next up?  Fun, eat-with-your-hands Moroccan Meatball Stuffed Pitas!  These are so yummy; filled with homemade hummus and moist turkey meatballs made with warm Moroccan spices like ginger, turmeric, and coriander.  The flavors are warm, not hot/spicy, so they are perfect for kids.  Then these pitas are topped with creamy, fresh and bright lemon yogurt sauce. Easy, Fun, Delicious, and Good for You!

  • Prep-Ahead 20 min: You can prepare just about everything for this one in advance!  Chop and dice the ingredients, make the meatballs (and even freeze them for months ahead!), make the hummus, and mix the yogurt sauce.
  • Cook 20 min:  The only thing you need to cook are the meatballs, but even these can be made on Sunday and reheated on a weeknight.  You will also want to warm up the pitas a bit.

3.  Chicken & Cherry Tomato Pasta

Chicken and Cherry Tomato Pasta with basil and parmesan in a skillet. It's easy and so delicious! #pasta #tomatoes #easydinner #dinner #easyrecipes #healthydinner #chicken

Sometimes less is more and this Chicken & Cherry Tomato Pasta with Basil, Garlic, and Parmesan Cheese is just that…more, as in you will WANT MORE!   And let’s face it, on a busy school night, LESS IS ALWAYS MORE!  It has a garlic-y backdrop with sweetness from the natural sugars that are released from the cherry tomatoes. Then you get freshness from the basil, salty and nutty flavors from the Parmesan and a hearty bite from the chicken and pasta!! It’s simply divine!

  • Prep-Ahead 10 min: Prep is just cutting the chicken, mincing the garlic, and shredding the parmesan.
  • Cook 20 min:  Cook the spaghetti, then make the chicken and tomatoes in a skillet.  Combine with pasta and parm and enjoy!

4.  Lemon Dill Sauce Chicken & Asparagus

Cooked Lemon Dill Sauce Chicken and Asparagus in pan on stove. It has chicken in a light and creamy sauce flavored with garlic, lemon and fresh dill. It's loaded with fresh asparagus. #springrecipes #dinner #easydinner #healthydinner #lemon #asparagus #chicken #glutenfree #easyrecipes

Creamy, bright, herby, and lemony, this recipe is full of flavor! Lemon Dill Sauce Chicken and Asparagus is an easy one-pan recipe that comes together fast and the entire family will love. It has seared chicken in a light and creamy sauce delicately flavored with garlic, lemon and fresh dill. Then it’s loaded with fresh and bright asparagus.

  • Prep-Ahead 10 min: You can slice the asparagus, mince the garlic, and chop the dill.
  • Cook 20 min:  Everything cooks in one skillet for this one!  You start with the chicken, add the asparagus, then the sauce ingredients.

5.  Chicken & Cheese Corn Tortilla Quesadillas

Hand holding Chicken Corn Tortilla Quesadilla triangle with melty cheese pulling. They have crispy edges, a soft gooey center, and are mouthwatering flavor. They have hearty shredded chicken flavored with warm and smoky Mexican spices. Then shredded Pepper Jack cheese and Cheddar is layered to get melty and oozy and delicious. It's an irresistible new easy dinner or appetizer idea. #quesadillas #mexicanfood #enchiladas #familydinner #chicken

You can never go wrong with Quesadillas, but these are extra delicious with Chicken, Pepper Jack Cheese, and Corn Tortillas!  If Chicken Enchiladas and Cheese Quesadillas had a baby, it would be these incredible Chicken & Cheese Corn Tortilla Quesadillas! With crispy edges, a soft gooey center, and mouthwatering flavor, they will become your new obsession.  I filled these with hearty shredded chicken, flavored with warm and smoky Mexican spices. Then layered in shredded Pepper Jack cheese and Cheddar that gets so melty and oozy and delicious.  Quesadillas make for easy family dinners!

  • Prep-Ahead 30 min: You can roast and shred the chicken ahead of time, as well as shred the cheese.
  • Cook 10 min:  Each quesadilla takes less than 10 minutes to cook.

6. Healthy-ish Taco Casserole

Close up side view of taco casserole piece on plate with sour cream drizzled on top and diced tomatoes and scallion on top. What could be better than tacos? A Taco Casserole that's made with healthier lean ground chicken and can be made ahead for your busy schedule. This Taco Casserole has corn tortillas layered with browned ground chicken seasoned with smokey mexican spices, black beans, tomatoes, and cheese, and then more cheese.

Who wouldn’t love a Taco Casserole!? Especially Mom when this is ready to go on a busy school night!  Nothing beats layers of taco meat, tortillas, beans, and cheese!  Except, a Taco Casserole that’s made with healthier lean ground chicken and fiber rich black beans. This Taco Casserole has corn tortillas layered with browned ground chicken seasoned with smokey mexican spices, black beans, tomatoes, and cheese, and then more cheese.

  • Prep-Ahead 10 min: For this one, you can actually make the entire casserole and then just cook it on the night you plan to eat it!  That means, cooking the ground chicken, adding the beans, tomatoes, and all other ingredients.  Then layering the meat and beans with the cheese and tortillas.  Or, you can cook it too and then simply reheat it when ready.
  • Cook 30 min:  Cooking this puppy means just putting in the oven for 30 min to melt all of the casserole layers together.

7.  Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese

Anniversary Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese is a souped-up version of the traditional Italian Meat Sauce made EASY in the slow cooker! The flavors of the ingredients with the meat become one and turn into this amazing thick sauce. I add even MORE FLAVOR with Pancetta and Demi-Glace. Delicious!

Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese is a souped-up version of the traditional Italian Meat Sauce made EASY by cooking it in the slow cooker!  It’s rich, creamy, meaty, and of course filling.  Perfect for crowds since everyone loves a good meat sauce or just make it for your immediate family with leftovers.  Beef bolognese is a traditionally cooked slowly on the stove for hours.  The flavors of the tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, wine and meat become one and turn into this amazing thick sauce. My recipe adds even MORE FLAVOR with Pancetta and Demi-Glace and then it all cooks in the slow cooker so you can go about your busy day!

  • Prep-Ahead 30 min: Dice the carrots, celery, and onion.  Sear the pancetta and beef.  Then add all ingredients to the slow cooker.
  • Slow Cooker 8 hours:  Set and forget!

If you don’t have a slow cooker, I highly recommend that you get one!  They are A-MAZ-ING for easy family dinners!  My slow cooker is my very good friend when times get crazy.  I absolutely love love love my easy and simple (and not expensive) Crock-Pot.  I have the 6-Quart version with 5 settings (low 4-hour, low 6-hour, high 8-hour, high 10-hour, and warm).

8.  Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken

Bite of Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken on a fork over more sliced on a plate with rice. It is slightly sweet, tangy, savory, nutty, with a touch of heat. You can prepare it days ahead, it takes just minutes to prepare, minutes to cook, and everyone will love it!! #chicken #marinades #easydinner #easychicken #chickenrecipes #easysauces #healthydinner #healthyfood #healthyrecipes

Make-Ahead Marinades are easy family dinners.  They’re perfect for busy school nights and when mixed with a protein, such as chicken, can even be frozen up to 4 months ahead!  This EASY Sesame Sweet Chili Chicken is quick to make and mouth wateringly yummy! The fantastic marinade and sauce is slightly sweet, tangy, savory, nutty, with a touch of heat. You can prepare it days ahead, tt takes just minutes to prepare, minutes to cook, and everyone will love it!!

  • Prep-Ahead 10 min: For this one, you are just preparing the marinade and then prepping any side veggies that you want to make. 
  • Cook 20 min:  This Chicken cooks in a skillet and on the side, a simple rice with veggie.

9.  Easy Stovetop Tuna Casserole with Pimiento

Stove top Easy Tuna Casserole in a pot on counter. This is a creamy and delicious comfort dish with tuna and noodles and a surprise pop of sweet from Pimiento.  This easy recipe is completely from scratch (no canned soup here!) but I can promise you it's so easy and only takes 30 minutes because it's a Casserole that you can make entirely on the stove top!

Tuna Casserole is a school night dinner that I grew up on.  My version refreshes this ‘old school’ recipe!  Here you get a creamy and delicious easy homemade comfort dish with tuna and noodles and a surprise pop of sweet from Pimiento. This version is completely from scratch (no canned soup here!) and I can promise you it’s so easy and only takes 30 minutes because it’s a Casserole that you can make entirely on the stove top!

  • Prep-Ahead 10 min: Not much to prep for this one, but as with the others, you can certainly make this entire dish ahead on Sunday and reheat on a weeknight!  For the prep, it’s just cutting the Carrots and Scallions, as well as shredding cheddar cheese.  You could also cook the noodles ahead.
  • Cook 20 min:  This dish comes together quickly on the stovetop in a large dutch oven or soup pot!

10. Teriyaki Peanut Sauce Chicken & Broccoli with Noodles

Teriyaki Peanut Sauce Chicken and Broccoli stir fry with rice noodles is a simple, delicious, one pan dinner option.  It's also Gluten Free! You get the amazing flavor from the combo of peanut butter, teriyaki sauce, and sesame oil mixed with the Chicken, Broccoli, cabbage, and rice noodles...YUM!

Slurp ’em if you got ’em!  This is a kid fave…Slurpable Noodles!  Teriyaki Peanut Sauce Chicken and Broccoli stir fry with rice noodles is a super simple, delicious, one pan weeknight dinner option. You get a simple, but complex flavor combo from the peanut butter, teriyaki sauce, and the sesame oil. It’s one of those sauces that if no one is watching, I may slurp up a spoonful of it and may even lick my bowl after to get every last drop. It’s that good.

  • Prep-Ahead 10 min:  You can cut the broccoli, marinate the chicken, make the peanut teriyaki sauce, and slice the scallions.
  • Cook 20 min: On the night you’re ready to eat, you just need to cook the noodles and stir fry the chicken, broccoli, cabbage/carrot mix, and scallions with the sauce.

11. BONUS!!! One Pan Italian Sausage, Veggies, & Eggs

This One Pan Italian Sausage and Eggs is LOADED with flavors and textures. You get the salty Italian Sausage, sweet bell pepper, creamy potatoes, sweet and juicy tomatoes, meaty brussel sprouts, creamy eggs, and salty, nutty cheddar cheese. Best of all, the entire meal cooks on one large pan!

Some may call this breakfast for dinner.  I just call it delicious and easy!  Perfect for school nights!  This One Pan Italian Sausage and Eggs is LOADED with flavors and textures. You get the salty Italian Sausage, sweet bell pepper, creamy potatoes, sweet and juicy tomatoes, meaty brussel sprouts, creamy eggs, and salty, nutty cheddar cheese. Best of all, the entire meal cooks on one large pan!

  • Prep-Ahead 10 min: You can prepare the sweet peppers, brussels sprouts, garlic, parsley, and parmesan cheese.
  • Cook 55 min:  This dish does take a bit longer than the others to cook, but it’s all on 1 pan!  So, while you do need the time, it’s time in the oven while you do other things 🙂

What are YOUR favorite Back-to-School Dinner recipes?  Please share in the comments!

😍 Carrie