Easy Chicken Dinners

4 Easy Chicken Dinners

These 4 quick and easy chicken dinner recipes will take the guesswork out of meal planning.
Clockwise from top left: Grilled Lemon Herb Mediterranean Chicken Salad, Creamy Parmesan Garlic Mushroom Chicken, Lazy Spinach Artichoke Chicken Breasts, Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders

There is a reason the term “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” came into existence. Who doesn’t love good, easy chicken dinners? I know chicken is my go to when I am in a rush and desperately trying to throw something together. It’s quick, easy, and everyone likes it! Here are 4 of my favorites, most of which can be made with the items already in your pantry!  I can’t think of anything better than not having to run to the store to pick up something for dinner.

I came across all these recipes when trying to find low carb meals to serve my family that everyone would love. The best thing about these recipes is they don’t taste low carb – which means everyone can enjoy them!  

If you aren’t following a low carb diet, enjoy these dishes with your favorite veggies, sweet potato fries, your favorite pasta or a slice of homemade bread.

Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders

From Skinny Minnie Moves 

With 3 simple ingredients, almonds, chicken and olive oil this is a quick and easy main dish to prepare on those busy nights. The almonds make a really nice crust, and much healthier alternative to traditional bread crumbs.  Pair it with a salad or your favorite side dish and you’ll have a complete, healthy meal!

Creamy Parmesan Garlic Mushroom Chicken

From The Recipe Critic

This is one of those dishes that look fancy, taste fancy, but is super easy to put together.  The creamy garlic sauce will satisfy your need for something rich and filling, while the mushrooms and spinach add a variety of textures to the dish. Your family will surely be impressed by your culinary skills after you serve this up over a bed of their favorite pasta with a side of garlic bread.  I like to go low carb and serve with steamed broccoli. 

Lazy Spinach Artichoke Chicken Breasts

From Joy Filled Eats 

Talking about easy chicken dinners, I just had to try anything that has the word lazy in the title and looks this delicious! I love stuffed chicken, but putting in all the work to make such a dish is more time then I have to spare! This recipe has made it possible to have the deliciousness of stuff chicken without all the work.  Roast some root veggies while the chicken cooks and you have an easy, complete week day meal to serve your family.

Grilled Lemon Herb Mediterranean Chicken Salad 

From Cafe Delites

OK, this one may not be as quick as the others, but the flavor in this dish is well worth little extra planning it takes to marinate the chicken.  The marinate recipe is the same as the dressing, use half to marinate and the remaining to dress your salad. And you can get all the veggies chopped and prepped while the chicken marinates!  

What’s really great about this recipe is that you can save it for those hot summer days when it’s just too hot to cook inside.  It’s light enough on those days you don’t feel like eating too much, but filling enough that you won’t be raiding the freezer for ice cream later.

Did you try any of the recipes above?  What’s your go to chicken dinner or quick weeknight meal?  I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

 

Want another quick and easy chicken dinner recipe?  Try my Chicken Tortilla Soup.

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4 Basic Ways to Cook Eggs

Check out these 4 tips on cooking the perfect egg. www.the-modern-mom-blog.com

Who doesn’t love a good egg to go with breakfast? I can’t believe there was a time that I had no clue how to cook eggs. My first attempt at making an over easy egg ended up being called an “over everywhere” egg! I’ve come a long way in my cooking skills since I first moved out of my parent’s home, but I am still trying to master the basics. I hope this post will give you some tips on the basics of how to cook eggs.

Check out these 4 tips on cooking the perfect egg. www.the-modern-mom-blog.com

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled eggs are my go to, especially on a lazy Saturday morning. Quick, easy and very little mess to clean up. Recently I have been wanting something a little more polished then my old technique of putting some butter, eggs and a splash of milk in a pan and moving everything around until cooked.

Of course, who better to teach about cooking than Gordon Ramsay?

Fried Eggs

Fried eggs are most definitely a guilty pleasure. A buttery, greasy crisp, sunny side up egg over a piece of toast hits the spot when you are looking for a comfort food breakfast.

J. Kenji López-Alt teaches a great technique on making the perfect fried egg

 

Poached Eggs

The perfect poached egg is necessary for making Eggs Benedict for your next Sunday brunch.

Check out this video from The Food Lab on how to poach an egg:

 

Over Easy Eggs

Another go to in my family is over easy eggs. It can be tricky to master the timing on the flipping of the egg, the whites need to be solid enough to secure the yolk when flipping, but you don’t want to over cook the yolk.

Check out these tips on cooking an over easy egg

 

What’s your favorite way to cook eggs? Please share in the comments below.

Check out these 4 tips on cooking the perfect egg. www.the-modern-mom-blog.com

Check out these 4 tips on cooking the perfect egg. www.the-modern-mom-blog.com

Check out these 4 tips on cooking the perfect egg. www.the-modern-mom-blog.com

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7 Daily Habits for a Clean House

These 7 habits can help you on the path of a cleaner house. www.the-modern-mom-blog.com

Housework!  Ugh, dreaded housework!  It seems like there is always something to do, something that needs cleaned, something that needs washed, something that needs repaired.  What’s worse is once you feel like you are getting a handle on things, you turn around and find the kids have gotten into something else.  You feel like you are never going to get this house clean!

I’ve put together a list of 7 easy to follow daily habits to help you achieve a clean house.  Try incorporating 1 or 2 of these each week.  You’d be surprised how just taking a few minutes on a few tasks each day can help you get your house clean!

1.  Wipe Down the Bathroom Sink Daily

This one is pretty simple.  Keep a canister of cleaning wipes on the bathroom counter and then use one on the sink after getting ready in the morning.  Doing this will help prevent the build up of toothpaste and other grime that seems to multiply every day.

Bonus:  While you are at it, quickly wipe down the counters and the top of the toilet as well.

Keep your bathroom sink clean.
Take time to wipe down the bathroom sink every day.

2.  Empty Vacuum Canister After you Vacuum.

There is nothing I hate worse than going to vacuum and having to empty the canister before I can start!  Get into the habit of emptying the canister each time AFTER you vacuum.  This habit will make your weekly chores much easier mentally.

Have a vacuum that uses bags?  Get into the habit of checking the bag each time you finish using the vacuum and change if needed.

Vacuum for a clean house
Get into the habit of emptying your vacuum canister after each use.

3.  A Load of Laundry Every Day

Laundry is my nemesis.  There is always something to wash.  There is always something to dry.  And of course, there is always a HUGE pile to fold and put away.  Get into the habit of doing a load every day.  Put a load in the wash before work, stick it in the dryer when you get home and fold after dinner while on the couch watching TV.  Use the commercials to put it away.  Instead of focusing on ALL the laundry that needs done, focus on the one load.

Don’t have enough clothes for a full load?  Are there sheets or bedding that could be washed?  Throw blankets from the living room?  You get the point.  Forming the mindset of doing a load of laundry a day will help you stay on top of this chore.

A load of laundry a day will help you have a clean house.
Doing a load of laundry a day will help you stay on top of this never-ending task.

4.  Empty Dishwasher Every Morning

This goes without saying that you will also have to load and run the dishwasher every night.  Thankfully for me this is a habit that my whole family is in.  Because the dishwasher is emptied every morning, we are able to put our dirty dishes in it throughout the day.  After dinner we add the soap and my husband starts the dishwasher just before bed.  I will typically unload it as I am waiting for my morning coffee.

Since the kitchen is the hub of most households, keeping up on the dishes has the biggest impact on keeping your house clean.  With no dirty dishes in the sink or on the counters you will be motivated to keep the rest of the kitchen clean, and that motivation could trickle down to the rest of the house.

An empty dishwasher helps you have a clean house.
Put away clean dishes everyday so that there is always a place for the dirty ones.

5.  Take the Time to Make the Bed

Making the bed is purely for your own mental health and how you see your house.  Think about it, if you walk into your bedroom throughout the day seeing an untidy, slept in bed you are going to feel like your house is a mess.  Even if the rest of your house is spotless.

Now think about how you feel when you walk into your bedroom and see a nicely made bed.  Do you feel at ease?  Happy?  Like your house is on it’s way to being clean?  Try taking 5 minutes everyday for the next couple weeks and see how it changes your attitude.

Making your bed will help you mentally keep the rest of the house clean.
Making your bed everyday will give you a positive mental boost.

6.  Touch Mail Once.

I’ll be the first to admit that I suffer from paper clutter.  I swear papers multiply fast than rabbits!  One trick that I have learned over the years is to only touch mail once.  Junk mail doesn’t even make it into the house, it goes straight to the recycling bin.  Bills get paid (or scheduled online) the day I get them.  Bank statements and any other important papers get filed.

You can extend this mindset to the rest of the papers that come into your house.  Notes from the kid’s school can be addressed immediately.  Throw the grocery list away when you get home from a shopping trip.  Think twice before printing that recipe (would it be easier to bookmark or pin it)?  Each time you hold a piece of paper in your hand ask yourself if you truly need to keep it, and if you do, make sure to put it away.

less paper means a cleaner house.
Touch your mail once to help keep paper clutter away.

7. Get the Family Involved.

I know this one is easier said then done!  The key here is to focus on one task that you would like each individual to work on each day until it becomes habit for them.  Have the kids pick up their toys before bed.  Ask your significant other to help with doing a load of laundry every day. The most important part is to remember that, no matter the size, you are part of a family, and as such it is everyone’s job to help keep the house clean.

What habit or habits do you have that help you keep your house clean?  Or which of the habits above have you incorporated into your daily routine?  Please share in the comments below.

These 7 habits can help you on the path of a cleaner house. www.the-modern-mom-blog.com
These 7 habits can help you on the path of a cleaner house.
www.the-modern-mom-blog.com

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

This versatile chicken tortilla soup recipe will leave your family wanting more. www.the-modern-mom-blog.com

 

When I was first introduced to chicken tortilla soup as a child, I fell in love! I’ll admit that it was mostly because I was able to put cheese and chips in my soup. But something about the flavors kept me coming back for more! The way the tomato and cumin blended so well, but still had their individual flavors. The excitement of getting a spoonful of tortilla chips that have soaked in the broth. The juicy morsels of chicken. I can honestly say that this was my food awakening. The first meal I remember really noticing the individual flavors and appreciating food for more than just tasting good!

Fast forward several years. As a young mother and wife I had ZERO cooking experience. Sure I could bake, but I couldn’t sustain my family on gingerbread cookies and brownies. My idea of a fancy meal was a box of Hamburger Helper and a can of green beans. Something we were all getting tired of. We needed a change!

This is when I asked mom for the tortilla soup recipe. I remember it being really simple to put together and my memory didn’t fail me. My husband fell in love with it immediately and my children have never known a world where tortilla soup didn’t exist!

The best thing about this recipe is not how easy it is to throw together, but that my picky eaters don’t complain at all! They happily prepare their own bowl, to their taste, often coming back for seconds. This is a major win for this mom!

This recipe is also so versatile. I lost the original recipe mom gave me years ago. I go off memory now. Often not even measuring my ingredients, but just eyeballing the seasoning and adjusting per taste. Because of this I have made very different versions over the years, and not one batch has been bad.

 

The thing that really pulls this meal together is the garnish! A nice layer of crushed tortilla chips and avocado on the bottom of your bowl. A generous helping of soup, topped with shredded cheese, sour cream and cilantro. I’m telling you, this is heaven!

This versatile chicken tortilla soup recipe will leave your family wanting more. www.the-modern-mom-blog.com
This versatile chicken tortilla soup recipe will leave your family wanting more.

Another thing I love about this recipe is that it can be cooked several different ways. On the stove top, in the crock pot, or pressure cooker. You can make a large batch for a group gathering, or a small batch for the family. I usually make a large batch though, because this is one of those meals were we will actually eat the leftovers!

I always keep the ingredients for this recipe in my pantry, along with some frozen chicken breast and corn in the freezer. This makes it a super easy meal to throw together when the unexpected comes up. Company coming? Been too busy to make it to the grocery store? Tired after a long day at work? Kids get sick and ruin dinner plans? No problem! Just throw this meal together and you have something tasty, and healthy, to serve for dinner. It sure beats Hamburger Helper and canned green beans!

Don’t be afraid to experiment with this recipe. Adjust the flavors and garnish to your families liking. This is a fool proof recipe that anyone can make!
What’s your family’s go to, favorite recipe? Let me know in the comment section below!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I prefer to cook my chicken tortilla soup on the stovetop, but this recipe can be easily adapted to cook in a crockpot or pressure cooker.
Course Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

Soup:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 (16 ounce jar) medium salsa (I like Pace Chunky)
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (32 ounce) box chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

Garnish:

  • Tortilla chips
  • Diced avocado
  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. Add all the soup ingredients to a large stockpot and heat to a boil. Once boiling lower heat and simmer for 1 hour. Turn off heat.
  2. Remove chicken breasts from soup onto a cutting board. Dice or shred chicken and add back to the soup. Add black beans and simmer 10 more minutes
  3. To serve, add a handful of coarsely crushed tortilla soups to the bottom of a bowl. Top with avocado and soup. Finish off with a serving of cheese, dollop of sour cream and sprinkling of cilantro.

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5 Ways to Get a Jump Start on Spring Cleaning

Get a jump start on your spring cleaning tasks in 5 easy steps. www.the-modern-mom-blog.com

Aww, spring! After months of cold, snow, grey and being stuck inside things are starting to brighten up. The grass is turning green, trees are budding and you may even have a few flowers starting to pop up! Isn’t spring wonderful? But with spring comes that dreaded task: Spring Cleaning!

The yearly ritual of throughly cleaning everything in your house from top to bottom. Sure, having everything fresh and clean sounds great, and it IS great, once the task is complete. But getting started on spring cleaning can often be daunting.

Everyone has their own idea of what needs to be done for spring cleaning. I’ve put together a list of 5 things you can do TODAY to give you a jump start on your spring cleaning.

1.  Clean the oven.

A clean oven
A clean oven works more efficiently.

If you have a self cleaning oven this is a great first task for your spring cleaning. Remove the racks and wipe up anything that may already be loose in the oven. Turn on the self clean function and walk away. Spring is a great time to do this because the weather should be mild enough to open a window so it doesn’t get too hot in the house and to let the smell vent outside. Once the self clean cycle is finished, and the oven cool enough, take a damp rag and wipe out the ash.

If your oven is not self clean, or if there are some stubborn spots that the self clean function didn’t get, try following the steps provided by TheKitchn in their article How to Clean an Oven with Baking Soda & Vinegar.

2. Curtains and Blinds

Clean blinds
Cleaning blinds, curtains and windows will let the glorious spring time sunlight in.

I don’t understand how my curtains become so dirty over winter. The windows aren’t open to collect the dirt that may drift in from the outside, yet they still seem to accumulate the dust from the rest of the house. Now is a good time to take down your curtains and run them through the wash (or take them to the dry cleaner if needed).

The best thing about freshly laundered curtains? They smell great and infuse that smell to the rest of the house.

While your curtains are being washed, take the time to dust your blinds. You can get as fancy with this as you want. Me, I’m pretty simple and just take a Microfiber cloth to my blinds, but some people prefer to use a feather duster or special tool designed to clean blinds. Whatever you preferred method, just do it!

Bonus: since you are focusing on the windows, take the time to wash at least the interior of your windows and clean out the tracks. You’ll be surprised how these few things can give your house a clean feeling for minimal work.

3. Tops of cabinets.

A clean kitchen
A quick cleaning of the tops of your cabinets will help keep your kitchen fresh.

This is something that I tend to ignore the rest of the year. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Get your vacuum and Step ladder out and tackle the tops of the cabinets. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but getting those dust bunnies taken care of will help to keep them from spreading to the rest of the house.

4. Vacuum under beds.

A clean bedroom
Vacuuming under the bed will help you breath easier at night.

Since my vacuum doesn’t fit under my beds, this is a task that I often put off since it requires me to move the beds to get those areas. Ask for help moving the beds if needed.

Bonus: While you are moving the beds around, take the time to flip the mattresses.

5. Dust the ceilings, walls and baseboards.

A clean living room
Take the time to dust your walls and ceilings to help keep your house clean.

It’s amazing how much dust collects on the ceilings and walls. Use a dry microfiber cloth on my mop head and go over my ceilings and walls. Then take another microfiber cloth and go over the baseboards by hand. Remember to work from the top down so you don’t push dust onto a surface you have already cleaned.

When you think of spring cleaning, what are the tasks that come to mind? Please share in the comments below.

Get a jump start on your spring cleaning tasks in 5 easy steps. www.the-modern-mom-blog.com
Get a jump start on your spring cleaning tasks in 5 easy steps. www.the-modern-mom-blog.com

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Korean Beef

Living with an all things Korean crazed teenager is quite the adventure! From K-Pop to K-Drama (think Korea’s version of soap operas), to learning about the language and cultural traditions, our whole family has been (forcefully) immersed in Korean culture.

It’s no wonder that the next area of interest was food.

Considering that my idea of an asian meal is getting Chinese takeout I was flabbergasted when this request was made of me. I started researching Korean cuisine and decided there were a few easy things I could try.

Our first experiment with Korean food was Korean Beef, or Bulgogi. It became an instant family favorite! Such a favorite that my teenager finished her meal and immediately asked when I was going to make it again.

This never happens!

Any new food experiments are usually met with an uncertain bias for having to try something new.

What exactly is Korean Beef?

Bulgogi means fire meat. It is traditionally made of thin slices of beef or pork that have been marinated and grilled. It can also be cooked stir-fried style, which is the way I prefer to cook it.

Traditionally this dish is made with a high quality beef cut that is thinly sliced into strips. Since I’m not a huge fan of handling raw meat, I cheat and buy whatever thin sliced precut meat the store happens to have in stock. This also makes prepping quick and easy – what busy mom doesn’t like that?

steak sliced thinly
Thinly sliced steak is a must for this Korean Beef recipe

Marinating is Key

The key to this dish is the marinating process. This tenderizes the meat and fills it full of flavor. All bulgogi recipes have the same basic ingredients, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and pepper.

Since marinating is so important to this dish, it does require a little advanced planning to allow the meet to marinade at least 4 hours, and up to overnight. In my marinade, I incorporate the ingredients I keep in stock in my kitchen. I don’t want to be trying to throw the marinade together in the morning before work only to find that I am out of a key ingredient. Feel free to substitute ingredients that you stock in your kitchen to make the prep time a little easier!

Another trick I do with the marinade is putting all the ingredients in a gallon sized ziplock bag. This makes it super easy to mix and make sure that all the meat is throughly covered in the marinade. It also makes clean up a breeze! If you would rather not use a ziplock bag, a casserole dish or glass pan will do the trick. Just be sure you have a tight seal on it to keep all the flavors in. Place the meat into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to give the marinate time to work.

Stir-Fry

As I said earlier, I prefer to cook my bulgogi stir-fry style, but for one simple reason, we haven’t yet set up our outside grill for the summer! Stir-frying is also quick and simple, a great advantage to a busy family. If you have never used this cooking style before, I encourage you to try it. You really don’t need any special equipment, your favorite frying pan will do. The key is to get the pan nice and hot before adding the oil. You don’t need a lot of oil either, just enough to keep the meat from sticking. With stir-frying you want to keep the food moving around so that all surfaces get an even chance to cook.

The cooking process is rather quick, I usually stir-fry some mixed veggies, remove from the pan and keep them warm, then cook the meat all before my rice has finished cooking! I usually have a little time to whip up a quick teriyaki sauce to serve with the meal!

Korean Beef over rice with vegetables
Serve Korean Beef over rice with stir-fried vegetables

The great thing about bulgogi is that there are so many ways to customize and cook it that you can easily fit this recipe into your repertoire and customize it for how it works best for you! Prefer cooking outside? Throw it on the grill! Have some onions and bell peppers that need to be used? Slice them up and cook them with the meat! Does your family like things a little less spicy? Leave out the red pepper flakes.

How did you customize this dish to fit your needs and schedule? What is your families favorite Korean dish? Please leave a comment below letting me know!

Korean Beef

The tender and flavorful beef in this easy Korean Beef recipe will quickly become a family favorite.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinade 4 hours
Servings 4 People
Author The Modern Mom

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds steak thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 Garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped
  • 2 scallions
  • 3 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. Place the steak, soy sauce, garlic, sugar, sesame oil, vinegar, and red pepper flakes into a gallon sized ziplock bag or shallow glass dish.

  2. Wash scallions and trim roots. Thinly slice scallion and add white ends to marinate. Reserve green ends for garnish.
  3. Tightly seal the ziplock bag, or cover dish with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for 4 hours, up to overnight
  4. Heat a large, non stick skillet on high heat. Add vegetable oil. Once oil is heated add beef, discard marinade.
  5. Cook, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes or until beef is cooked through.
  6. Garnish with teriyaki sauce and reserved scallion greens. Serve over rice.

 

This easy Korean Beef recipe will quickly become a family favorite. www.the-modern-mom-blog.com
This easy Korean Beef recipe will quickly become a family favorite.
www.the-modern-mom-blog.com

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