Introduction: Easy Chicken Dinner
This chicken dinner is a delicious meal that will feed 3 people easily, or 4 people with slightly smaller portions. We make this meal regularly, and everyone who has tried it loves it. It is a full meal with an entree and three sides that is easy enough for anyone to make, whether you have been cooking for years or you have never touched an oven in your life. This meal is also inexpensive if you already own the necessary materials, as well as some of the common cooking ingredients, such as the seasonings. The chicken, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob alone should cost you under $25, which is a steal compared to paying for three to eat at a restaurant. At this price, it is comparable to some fast food options. However, this homemade dish will most likely be nutritionally advantageous to eating fast food. We think that this is an extremely important part to the meal because even the stereotypical “broke college kid,” who wants to spend as little as possible while also having a delicious meal, can make it. This is a great dish for dinner with the family or a small get-together with friends that everyone is guaranteed to enjoy!
Step 1: Preparation
- Baking sheet
- 3 pots
- basting brush
- 2 mixing spoons
- aluminum foil
- tupperware container with lid (optional)
- 2 lbs. chicken breast tenderloins
- (1) 12 oz. box Velveeta Shells and Cheese
- (1) 20 oz. package Bob Evans mashed potatoes
- (6) count mini corn on the cob nibblers
- Olive oil
- Garlic powder
Step 2: Chicken
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add water to the two larger pots, if you have pots of varying sizes, for the macaroni and cheese and the corn; bring water to a boil. Cover the bottom of a baking sheet with aluminum foil to prevent the chicken from sticking. While the oven is warming up, place chicken onto the baking sheet as pictured and coat top with olive oil using the basting brush. Sprinkle with basil, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to your liking. Optionally, you can use fewer seasonings or different ones altogether. Once you are done with one side, flip the chicken over and repeat on the other. Once the oven has reached 375 degrees, place the chicken in the oven and set a timer for 8 minutes.
If you want everything to be done together, it is recommended to work on all three sides at the same time.
Once the timer is done, take the chicken out of the oven, flip the pieces over, and return to the oven for another 8 minutes. If the chicken is done before the rest of the sides, remove from the oven for a few minutes and set the oven to 200 degrees. Once the oven has cooled sufficiently, place the chicken back in the oven to stay warm. At this temperature, the food should stay warm without cooking further. This is very important if you want moist, juicy chicken. If you simply leave the chicken in the oven at 375 degrees, your chicken will definitely overcook and become dry.
Step 3: Macaroni and Cheese
Feel free to use your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe, but for the purposes of this project (to make a simple yet delicious chicken dinner), we will be making a box of Velveeta Shells and Cheese (other brands are available).
Fill a pot with 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Once the macaroni has reached the desired softness, drain the water by pouring the contents into a colander in the sink, do not rinse. (If you do not have a colander, you can drain the water by covering the pot with a lid, leaving a small gap between the lip of the pot and edge of the lid. Tip the pot to the side to drain the water while holding the macaroni in the pot with the lid.) Return macaroni to the pot and add the cheese. Stir until macaroni is evenly coated. When it comes to Velveeta macaroni and cheese, we noticed that if the macaroni and cheese is left in the pot too long after stirring the cheese in, or if the hot is placed back onto the hot burner, it has a reheated taste to it. It is recommended to plate the macaroni and cheese as soon as it is done.
Step 4: Mashed Potatoes
As with the macaroni and cheese, you may make mashed potatoes using your favorite recipe. However, we will be using Bob Evans loaded mashed potatoes (other brands are available).
Place the potatoes into the empty pot at medium heat and stir often to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning. Continue until hot, then lower the temperature to low until all dishes are complete. Keep stirring occasionally to prevent the potatoes from burning.
Step 5: Corn
Add enough water to a pot to completely submerge the corn and bring to a boil. Add the corn to the water, using tongs to avoid splashing the water and burning yourself, and cook for 8-10 minutes. Take the corn out of the pot using the tongs and add butter and salt.
Optional: We have a method for buttering and salting corn on the cob which keeps your hands clean and evenly coats the corn. Place butter into a tupperware container and place in a microwave for a few seconds at a time until melted. Then sprinkle salt into the container, place the corn inside, and cover with lid. Shake around for 30-60 seconds. Take off the lid and serve.
Step 6: Enjoy!
This is a dish that we know the entire family will enjoy. If the portions are too small, or you are making dinner for a large family, just double up on the part that you want more of! If you end up making this dish, be sure to let us know down below in the comments! Which of the four parts was your favorite? Will you make the dish again? Also, let us know if we can do anything better to make the instructions easier or clearer. We hope you enjoy!