One Pot Spanish Chicken and Rice

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Spanish Chicken and Rice in pot is hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes
Spanish Chicken and Rice on plate with fork.  It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Warm, hearty, and smokey, this rustic One Pot Spanish Chicken and Rice is everything!  It’s comfort on a plate.  Tender chicken thighs are seared with a smoked paprika spice blend that gives deep flavor to the tender meat.  It’s then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor!

And…the entire thing, rice and all, cooks in this one pot!  Yes!  It starts on the stove and then moves to the oven where the rice and veggies cooks to perfection.

This is also the perfect ingredient-flexible recipe for using what you have in the pantry!  Just scroll down to see.

Spanish Chicken and Rice in pot is hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Perfect Pantry Dinner!

When times are tough, the pantry can be your best friend for helping to pull together a family dinner.  This One Pot Spanish Chicken and Rice recipe is a perfect example!  Click here to get more pantry dinner ideas and  Pantry Must-Haves for Quick & Easy Dinners!  

For this Spanish Chicken and Rice, here is what you need and how you could swap with other ingredients if needed:

Refrigerator/Freezer

  • Chicken Thighs – You can use chicken breasts if you don’t have thighs, but boneless skinless thighs really are so perfect for this dish.  If you need to use frozen chicken, be sure to put it in the fridge to thaw 24 hours before planning to cook this recipe.
  • Carrots and Celery – You can make this recipe without these veggies, but they add flavor and texture, as well as vitamins and nutrients.  You could use frozen carrots if you have them too.  Simply add them straight from the freezer, do not thaw first.
  • Other: Not included in this recipe, but would also be delicious in it are red pepper and Chorizo (out of the casing).

Pantry

  • Spices & Seasonings – This is where you can make substitutions based on what you have on hand.  The one ingredient you do really need for this recipe is Smoked paprika, which gives the dish it’s distinct Spanish smokey flavor.  If you don’t have this and cannot get it, you could swap with chili powder. 
  • Long grain rice – You can use other types of rice, but if you are going to use a converted rice or quick cooking rice, you will want to cook the chicken 10 minutes longer on the stove without the rice.  Then add the rice and cook in the oven for 20 minutes vs. 30min.
  • Onion & Garlic – If you do not have fresh onions, you can use frozen.  You could use onion/garlic powder or flakes if needed.
  • Tomato – If you do not have a fresh tomato, you can use 1 can diced tomatoes.
  • Tomato paste – This ingredient gives the dish a deep deep tomato flavor which is hard to replicate, but you can leave it out as long as you have another tomato product in the dish.
  • Spanish Olives stuffed with Pimento – I like to keep these on hand in my pantry, but if you do not have them, you can use any olives.  You can also substitute with capers or even artichoke hearts in a pinch.  Of course, you can simply leave them out altogether!
  • Chicken broth – You can substitute with bouillon mixed with hot water, vegetable broth, beef broth, or just water if needed.  Be sure to taste for seasoning and adjust for more flavor by adding salt, garlic powder, onion powder, etc.

For more easy Pantry Dinner Recipes, CLICK HERE!

Spanish Chicken and Rice on plate with fork. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  But, I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

For this recipe, you need a large (5-6 quart) pot with lid that can go from the stove to the oven. My prized possession dutch oven was perfect for this! Or any good quality enameled cast iron 5-6 quart dutch oven with lid is great.

PREP-AHEAD TO MAKE YOUR ONE POT SPANISH CHICKEN AND RICE

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are the steps you prepare in the day(s) in advance and store in the fridge as your meal Kit… (See the recipe below for more details)

This is the kind of recipe that you can reheat later and it’s nearly as good as when it first comes out of the oven.  So, you could make the entire recipe ahead if you need to!

In terms of prepping ingredients, you can dice the carrots, celery, and onion. Mince the garlic. Rough chop the olives so that most are at least cut in half.  Cut the tomato into large chunks.  Chop the parsley, if using(optional).

Diced carrots for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Diced celery for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Diced onion for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Knife cutting tomato into large chunks for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Tomato cut into large chunks for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Chopped green olives with pimento for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Measure out the tomato paste. Make the chicken broth if using bouillon.

Then make your spice rub by mixing Smoked Paprika, Garlic Powder, Salt, Black Pepper, and Cayenne powder (optional).

Spice Rub spices for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

COOK YOUR ONE POT SPANISH CHICKEN AND RICE

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel and season all over with the spice rub. Rub it in with fingers.Patting skinless chicken thighs with paper towel for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Sprinkling seasoning on raw chicken thighs for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Rubbing seasoning on raw chicken thighs for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

In a 5-quart oven safe dutch oven or deep pot/pan with lid, heat 1 tbsp olive oil on high heat. Add the chicken thighs top/presentation down and leave them alone for 5-6 minutes without touching so they get a nice sear. After five minutes, turn the chicken over and sear the other side for another 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Adding chicken thighs to pot for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Chicken thighs in pot for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Transfer chicken thighs to plate for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

To the same pot, add the carrots, celery, onions, garlic, chopped tomato, chopped olives, tomato paste, chicken broth, salt, and smoked paprika. Bring to a boil.

Veggies added to pot for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Pouring broth into veggies in pot for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Boiling broth and veggies in pot for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Stir in the rice and half of the parsley (if using) into the cooking liquid. Add the chicken back on top of the rice.

Mixing rice into broth and veggies in pot for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Adding chicken back to pot for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Cover and place the pot into the oven and cook for 30 minutes.

Pot covered in oven for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipesSpanish Chicken and Rice in pot is hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Serve and Enjoy!  😍 Carrie

Spoon serving Spanish Chicken and Rice from pot.  It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

Spanish Chicken and Rice on plate with fork. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

One Pot Spanish Chicken and Rice

Warm, hearty, and smokey, this rustic One Pot Spanish Chicken and Rice everything!  It's comfort on a plate.  Tender chicken thighs are seared with a smoked paprika spice blend that gives deep flavor to the tender meat.  It's then cooked to perfection with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #chickenandrice #easydinnerideas #familydinnerideas #dinners #chickenthighs

Course Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Keyword chicken, one pot, paprika, rice
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Spice Rub for Chicken

  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional)

All Other Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup long grain rice
  • 2 lbs Chicken Thighs, boneless, skinless (about 6 thighs)
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Carrot, Large
  • 1 Celery Stalk
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 large ripe tomato (or 1 can diced tomatoes)
  • 5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup Spanish Olives stuffed with Pimento
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth (reduce to 3 cups if using canned tomatoes)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 4 tbsp Chopped Italian Parsley (optional)

Instructions

Prep Ahead Steps

  1. In a small bowl, mix the spice rub ingredients.

    Spice Rub spices for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes
  2. Dice the carrots, celery, and onion. Mince the garlic. Chop the tomato into large chunks. Rough chop the olives. Chop the parsley, if using(optional).

    Chopped green olives with pimento for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes
  3. Measure out the tomato paste. Make the chicken broth if using bouillon.

Cook your Chicken and Rice

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and season the thighs all over with the spice rub. Rub it in with fingers.

    Rubbing seasoning on raw chicken thighs for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes
  3. In a 5-quart oven safe dutch oven or deep pot/pan with lid, heat 1 tbsp olive oil on high heat. Add the chicken thighs top/presentation down and leave them alone for 5-6 minutes without touching so they get a nice sear. After five minutes, turn the chicken over and sear the other side for another 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.

    Chicken thighs in pot for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes
  4. To the same pot, add the carrots, celery, onions, garlic, chopped tomato, Chopped olives, tomato paste, chicken broth, salt, and smoked paprika. Bring to a boil.

    Pouring broth into veggies in pot for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes
  5. Stir in the rice and half of the parsley (if using) into the cooking liquid. Add the chicken back on top of the rice. Cover and place the pot into the oven and cook for 30 minutes.

    Adding chicken back to pot for Spanish Chicken and Rice. It's hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes
  6. Garnish with remaining parsley. Serve and Enjoy!

    Spanish Chicken and Rice in pot is hearty, smokey, and delicious! Paprika spice blend rubbed chicken thighs are seared then cooked with rice, onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, and olives for unbelievable flavor! #easydinners #chickenrecipes

 

10 Easy Pantry Dinner Recipes

Easy freezable meatballs in dill cauliflower cream sauce, 1 of 10 Easy Pantry Dinner recipes where you can lean on the pantry and the freezer to help you in a pinch!  They are fast, easy, but also healthy and delicious.  In addition to these 10 recipes, I also give you a Printable Pantry Must-Haves Grocery List, more dinner ideas, and a Freezer Hacks Cheat Sheet!  #pantrydinnerideas #pantrydinner #pantrymeals #easydinners #freezermeals #quickdinnerideas

Pantry Dinner Recipes to the rescue!  Of course, most of the time we want dinners filled with fresh food.  However, there are times when digging through the pantry and freezer to concoct something for dinner becomes a necessity.  Maybe it’s after having a baby, or nursing an injury, taking care of a loved one, or even being (ehem) quarantined to your home.  Whatever the reason, there will come a day that you need your pantry and freezer to work hard for you!  

Here are 10 Pantry Dinner recipes where you can lean on the pantry and the freezer to help you in a pinch!  

What is a Pantry Dinner?

My definition of a Pantry Dinner for this post, is a complete meal that is entirely made with ingredients that are stored in the pantry or freezer with a shelf life over 1 month.  In other words, it’s a meal that you can make with ingredients on hand and does not require anything fresh.

I have also put together a Pantry Must-Haves Grocery List with Quick & Easy Dinner Ideas! Print this list and stock up.  The dinner ideas provided here are in addition to the recipes below.

Technically, the pantry is where you store ambient, or room temperature foods.  This could be grains and pasta, canned goods, seasonings, as well as produce that does not need to be refrigerated, such as onions or potatoes.  However, for this post, I’m expanding ‘Pantry’ to include freezer foods since they also can be stored for months.

There are some pantry items that can actually last you much longer if you freeze them, such as sesame seeds or nuts.  Be sure to check out my 10 Freezer Hacks to make easy dinners for more like this.

Use Your Freezer For Easy Dinners

The freezer can be a huge friend in the kitchen, helping you to keep fresh veggies, meats, and so much more on hand.  You will see that I have recommended easy freezer-prepped items for each recipe.  Be sure to check out the full printable cheat sheet with 10 Freezer Hacks to make easy dinners!

  • For fruits and veggies, I suggest dicing them and then freezing them on a sheet pan, then transferring them to portioned freezer bags or storage containers.  When cooking with these, you can add them to the skillet, pot, or pan frozen, you do not need to thaw them first.
  • For Herbs or leafy veggies, such as spinach, I wash and then dry the leaves completely.  Then lay flat on a sheet pan to freeze.  Transfer to storage container.
  • For raw meat or fish, you can bring it home from the grocery store and immediately freeze it raw.  When you are ready to cook it, thaw it in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.  
  • For cooked meats, I suggest freezing the following cooked meats: ground, shredded, pulled or diced…beef, pork, or chicken.  For these, I suggest reheating them directly from the freezer and not thawing them out first.

10 Delicious & Easy Pantry Dinner Recipes

1.  30-Minute Stove Top Tuna Casserole

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!

This Stove Top Tuna Casserole is a creamy and delicious comfort dish. It’s full of flavor with tuna, carrots, scallions, cheddar cheese, noodles, and a surprise pop of sweet from Pimiento. This 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!

  • Pantry: Noodles, Tuna, Olive Oil, Flour, Broth, Pimiento
    • half & half or milk (or broth) – Here you will probably need to swap for broth unless you have shelf-stable milk or half & half in the fridge
  • Freezer:
    • Carrots and Scallions – I love to dice these raw and then store them in the freezer for soups, skillets, or casseroles 
    • shredded cheddar – this stores so wonderfully in the freezer
    • butter

 2. Pancetta, Parmesan, & Pepper Pasta

Pancetta, Parmesan, and Pepper Pasta on plate with fork holding bite. The Pancetta gives a salty and slightly peppery flavor, Parmesan cheese creates a nutty and creamy sauce, and the ground black pepper gives a peppery flavor that makes this pasta stand out. #pasta #easypasta #easydinner #dinner #italian #familydinner #onpotdinners #onepandinners #parmesan

This 30-Minute Quick & Easy Pancetta, Parmesan, and Pepper Pasta is a creamy, peppery, and absolutely delicious pantry dinner.  The Pancetta is diced to give a salty and slightly peppery flavor and meatiness in every bite. The Parmesan cheese creates this nutty, salty, and creamy sauce coating every piece of pasta. And last, but not least, the ground black pepper gives that peppery flavor that really makes this pasta stand out.

  • Pantry: Spaghetti, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, Black Pepper
  • Freezer: Pancetta (diced), Grated Parmesan Cheese, Minced Garlic, Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice portioned or frozen in a baggie very thin so you can break off frozen pieces

3.  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.  It’s a perfect pantry dinner because you can make tons of it ahead and freeze it in batches for months to come.  The flavors of the tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, wine and meat become one and turn into this amazing thick sauce. 

  • Pantry:  Tomato Paste, Whole Peeled Tomatoes, Dry Red wine, Italian Seasoning, Bay Leaf, dried Italian Parsley (or frozen), Salt, Fresh Ground Pepper, Fettuccine
  • Freezer: diced Pancetta, Lean Ground Beef, diced Carrots, diced Celery, diced Onion, minced Garlic, grated Parmesan Cheese

4.  Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Broccoli Pesto Pasta on a plate with fork in pasta. It's delicious AND good for you!  It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  But the flavor is a bit more mellow by adding broccoli! #broccolirecipes #pesto #pasta #easydinner #dinnerideas #familydinner

Broccoli Pesto Pasta is creamy, hearty, delicious AND good for you!  It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts. But rather a huge punch in the face of garlic, it’s a bit more mellow – and healthier for you – by adding broccoli!  This pantry dinner is another one that can be made ahead and stored in the freezer, at least the pesto can.  Then cook up some pasta, thaw the pesto and enjoy!

  • Pantry:  Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, Black Pepper, Fusilli Pasta
  • Freezer:  I recommend making the pesto entirely ahead and freezing it.  However, you can also freeze some or all of these ingredients:
    • Chopped and cooked broccoli, minced garlic, pine nuts, basil leaves, grated parmesan cheese

5.  Black Bean Taco Bowls

Black Bean Taco Bowl with rice, smoky black beans, avocado, salty Cotija cheese, sour cream, fresh tomato, and bright cilantro. This Black Bean Taco Bowl Bar lets everyone fills their bowl with any of the toppings they want! Perfect for kids. #tacos #tacobowls #healthyfood #dinner #healthydinner #familydinner #kidsdinner #blackbeans #vegetarian

Black Bean Taco Bowls have fluffy rice with smoky black beans, creamy avocado, salty Cotija cheese, cool tangy sour cream, fresh tomato, and bright cilantro. This Black Bean Taco Bowl Bar lets everyone fills their bowl with any of the toppings that suits their fancy. You can load ’em up and the kids can pick and choose.

  • Pantry:  Black Beans, Chili Powder, Cumin, Salt, white Rice, tortilla chips
  • Freezer:  Minced garlic, fresh cilantro leaves, sliced scallions, crumbled or grated cotija cheese
  • Optional: If you are able to and want to add these garnishes, then sour cream, avocado, and tomato are best fresh

6.  Asian Teriyaki Meatballs with Veggie Stir Fry & Noodles

Teriyaki Meatballs with Veggie Stir Fry, and rice noodles on a plate.  #asianmeatballs #teriyaki #noodles #familydinner #easydinners #dinnerideas

These Teriyaki Meatballs are sweet, salty, tangy, and so incredibly moist and addictive. The garlic, ginger, scallion, red bell pepper, and soy sauce all infuse the meatballs with the most amazing flavor. Combined with a simple Garlic & Ginger Soy Veggie Stir Fry and served over rice noodles, it’s a perfect family dinner. Drizzle over or dip the meatballs in the tangy Teriyaki mustard sauce and they burst with even more flavor.

  • Pantry:
    • Panko Breadcrumbs, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Chili pepper flakes, Vermicelli Rice noodles
    • Store these in fridge after opening: Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Teriyaki sauce, Dijon Mustard
  • Freezer:  Lean Ground beef, sliced scallions, minced garlic, minced ginger, raw sliced red bell pepper, blanched broccoli florets, sliced blanched carrots 

7. 5-Ingredient Chunky Chicken Vegetable Soup

5-Ingredient Chunky Chicken Vegetable Soup is creamy without the cream (in fact, there is no dairy at all in this dish).  It's chunky but somehow still light.  And with loads of chicken, carrots, and peas, t's full of flavor and texture even though it only has 5 ingredients.

This 5-Ingredient Chunky Chicken Vegetable Soup is creamy (but there is no dairy!) and chunky, and delicious! With loads of chicken, carrots, and peas, t’s full of flavor and texture even though it only has 5 ingredients. With a soup this chunky and hearty, who needs noodles!  

  • Pantry: Bouillon Cubes or Granulated bouillon or chicken base, Cornstarch, Salt, Black Pepper
  • Freezer:  Cooked and shredded chicken breasts, sweet peas, diced Carrots

8.  Meatballs in Cauliflower Dill Cream Sauce

Meatballs in Cauliflower Dill Cream Sauce in a skillet. The Meatballs are swimming in a beautiful creamy cauliflower sauce flavored with garlic, fresh dill, cream cheese, and a touch of tomato paste. #meatballs #swedishmeatballs #familydinner #easydinner #dinner #healthydinner

Meatballs in Cauliflower Dill Cream Sauce are easy, healthy-ish, and delicious! The Meatballs are swimming in a beautiful creamy light pink Cauliflower Cream sauce flavored with garlic, fresh dill, and a touch of tomato paste. Oh, and cream cheese because, well, every sauce just tastes better with cream cheese!  This is a fantastic freezer meal that you can make ahead and pull out months later.  Simply freeze the meatballs raw and put directly into a 400 F degree oven for 20 minutes.  Freeze the Cauliflower Cream Sauce and thaw when you are ready to enjoy it, warming it up on the stove.

  • Pantry: Tomato Paste, Dill, Chicken Base or Bouillon, Salt, Pepper, Pasta, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Freezer: Lean Ground Beef, blanched Cauliflower florets, minced garlic, cream cheese, grated parmesan cheese, sliced scallion
  • Non-Pantry/Non-Freezer Items:
    • Milk – swap with broth or water
    • Egg for the meatball binder – If you do not have any eggs on hand at all, you can substitute with 2 tbsp buttermilk or 3 tbsp yogurt or if all else fails, add 2 tbsp water + 2 tbsp more parmesan

9.  Creamy Ground Chicken Tomato Soup

Creamy Tomato Soup in a soup pot on napkin on counter with wood spoon on side. It has Ground Chicken and Spinach is creamy and chunky and has a ton of deep flavor. AND it is healthy! It uses all white meat ground chicken that you cook until it is incredibly browned for some serious flavor. Then tomato paste adds the flavor back drop for the soup and a flour roux plus broth creates the amazing creaminess! Finally Spinach is your veggie boost.

This Creamy Ground Chicken Tomato Soup is creamy and chunky and has a ton of deep flavor. AND it is healthy! It uses all white meat ground chicken that you cook until it is incredibly browned for some serious flavor. Then tomato paste adds the flavor back drop for the soup and a flour roux plus broth creates the amazing creaminess! Finally Spinach is your veggie boost. So delicious and so EASY!

  • Pantry:  Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Tomato Paste, All Purpose White Flour, Low Sodium Chicken Broth, Dried Oregano, Salt, Black Pepper 
  • Freezer: Ground Chicken, diced Onion, minced Garlic, baby spinach leaves
  • Optional Topping: Sour Cream

10.  Chickpea Coconut Curry with Veggies

Family Chickpea Coconut Curry over rice in a bowl with red bell pepper, zucchini, onion, coconut milk, and warm Indian Curry spices.

Family Chickpea Coconut Curry with Vegetables is a creamy, crunchy, and filled with warm, soothing, yummy flavors. You get nutty roasted chickpeas, with sweet and creamy coconut milk. Then lots of crunch and texture from the sweet red bell pepper, zucchini, and onion. Finally, I took a little inspiration from Thai Curry and added in aeromatic fresh basil, which brings a wonderful fresh finish. It’s all served on top of fluffy rice that soaks up the delicious sauce.

  • Pantry: Long grain White Rice, Coconut oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil, chickpeas, Vegetable Broth, Cornstarch, Coconut Milk, Curry Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Honey, Salt, Ground Black Pepper
  • Freezer:  Sliced Raw Red Bell Pepper, diced onion, minced garlic, minced ginger, basil leaves
  • Non-Pantry/Non-Freezer Items:  This recipe has zucchini, which frankly does not freeze well without getting mushy, so I would look to other veggies, such as broccoli or carrots if you do not have fresh zucchini. 

Once again, be sure to get these printable Cheat Sheets for more tips and ideas: