Here are 5 easy chicken recipes and meal plans you can make for your family for $5 or less! They’re quick and easy, so you’ll get out of the kitchen fast and they’ll make it easier to save on your food bill! These chicken recipes are from volume 1 of our Dining On A Dime Cookbook.
5 Easy Chicken Recipes And Meal Plans For $5 Or LESS!
In this post, we’ll be sharing 5 easy chicken recipes and meal plans to go with them that you can make for $5 or less!
How To Use These Meal Plans
One way to save a lot of time making meals for your family is to cook once and eat two or three quicker meals later using extra amounts of the items you cooked for the first meal as a base for the next few nights’ meals.
The following meal plans are designed with easy chicken recipes. The first night, you will start out with a whole chicken. Then, you’ll find different chicken meal options you can use with the leftovers. You don’t have to make the meals in the order listed. Pick and choose and see what is easiest for you for each day.
When you prepare meals, everything doesn’t need to be homemade. You can feel free to use store-bought pies, cakes, cookies, dinner rolls or bags of salad, especially on otherwise busier or more difficult days. Even though this may not seem very frugal, it is still much cheaper than going out to eat. It would be far less expensive to pay for bagged salad and make the rest of the meal from scratch than to spend more money on delivered pizza.
To make it easier, these meal plans include ingredients that most people already have at home. Not every menu will not be perfect for your family’s tastes, so feel free to adapt and substitute items as necessary. If your family doesn’t like broccoli, use green beans instead.
Sometimes you may only need to use the main dish from one of the meal plans and create your own dinner ideas from that. It is perfectly fine to mix and match so don’t think you have to follow this precisely. The one caveat is that if you substitute significantly more expensive ingredients, or if you add a lot of extra meat, it might end up costing more than $5 per meal.
Make Meal Planning And Preparation Easier:
- The day before you go to the grocery store, clean out your fridge so you can see what leftovers you have so you can include them in your menus.
- Always plan for one leftover night a week, where you serve all your little dabs of everything that’s left. This will save a lot by reducing wasted food.
- Don’t serve like items:
- If you have mixed fruit for a salad don’t serve fruit pie for desert.
- If you have milk shakes for a drink, don’t serve ice cream for dessert.
- The old saying — “too much of a good thing” or in this case “too much of the same thing” definitely applies here.
If you would like even more easy menu ideas, be sure to check out our meal planning guides!
Tip: Write down the menu number on your calendar or day planner. Then you’ll know at a glance what you need to get at the grocery store, set out of the fridge to thaw or make the day before.
Easy Chicken Recipes and Side Dishes For The Meal Plans
Easy Roast Chicken
This easy roast chicken recipe makes moist, delicious chicken. Spend 5 to 10 minutes preparing it, add carrots and potatoes and you’re done with dinner!
Your family will love this healthy and easy chicken recipe and it’s very versatile, so you can make it with a variety of different sides and have many different meals. Mike and the kids love this chicken and it’s a frequent favorite at our home. You can also use the roast chicken leftovers to make lots of other recipes that are best with roast chicken!Print
The BEST 3 Ingredient Roast Chicken Recipe
This easy roast chicken recipe makes moist, delicious roast chicken. Spend 5 to 10 minutes preparing it, add carrots and potatoes and you’re done with dinner!
- Yield: 6-8 servings
- Preheat the oven to 450°.
- Rub the inside of the chicken with garlic cloves.
- If you’re using the optional items, put the thyme, rosemary and oregano (to taste) inside the bird.
- Rub the outside of the bird with olive oil and salt and pepper.
- Bake at 450-500° for 15 minutes.
- Then turn the oven down to 400° and roast for 35-45 minutes (for a 2 1/2 pound bird) or 1 hour (for a 3-5 pound bird) or until the temperature of the thigh reaches 180°. You can also let it cook all day in the crockpot on low.
- Allow the chicken to rest 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.
Easy Garden Salad Recipe
Here is a super yummy and easy garden salad recipe that makes a healthy and delicious salad that’s sure to please!
- Yield: 2-4 servings
1/3 cup zucchini, sliced
1/3 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 small tomato, sliced
1/3 cup green pepper, sliced
1/3 cup celery, sliced
1/3 cup green onions with tops
1/2 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup olives, optional
Salad Dressing Ingredients
- Combine all of the vegetables in a bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
- Pour over the salad and toss to coat.
This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.
Easy Chicken Fajitas
Five Cup Fruit Salad
Tortilla Chips and Salsa
Easy Chicken Fajita Recipe
This easy homemade chicken fajitas recipe makes an easy $5 dinner recipe! It makes a tasty meal your family will love and is a great way to use leftover chicken, roast or steak.
1 onion, to taste (optional)
1–2 bell peppers, to taste (optional)
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
- Cut meat crosswise into 1/2 inch thick strips.
- Pound each piece to 1/4 inch thickness.
- Combine lime juice, jalapeños and garlic.
- Place meat in a plastic bag.
- Add the lime juice mixture, turning to coat the meat.
- Close the bag securely. Marinate in the refrigerator 4-6 hours, turning occasionally.
- Combine the tomato, onion and cilantro for salsa.
- Cover tightly and refrigerate.
- If using onions and bell peppers, cut into strips just before cooking. (If you prefer, you can cut them earlier and store in the fridge in a baggie or container.)
- Remove the meat from the marinade. Discard marinade.
- Pat the meat dry with paper towels (to prevent spitting when you add to the oil).
- Heat oil in a large skillet on high.
- Cook the meat pieces in hot oil for 2-3 minutes, turning once. Add the onions and bell peppers, if desired, about half way through. If you prefer the veggies more crispy, add them closer to the end and if you prefer them softer, you can add them when you add the meat.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve the fajita meat and veggie mixture in warm tortillas with salsa.
- Top with Cheddar or Mexican cheese if desired. If you like, you can also serve this fajitas recipe with sour cream, shredded lettuce and/or guacamole. Serves 6.
Five Cup Fruit Salad
1 can Mandarin oranges
1 cup shredded coconut
1 small can cubed pineapple
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mini marshmallows
- Mix all ingredients together.
- Let the fruit salad sit in the fridge for approximately 6 hours.
The amounts of the ingredients can be more or less depending on your needs.
Easy Mexican Chicken Recipe
This easy Mexican chicken recipe makes an easy $5 dinner without a lot of extra work! Serve with our Spanish rice and a vegetable and you’ll have a quick and easy meal your family will love!
- Yield: 4-6 servings
4–6 pieces chicken (remove skin)
1 cup salsa
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Place the chicken in a baking dish.
- Top with the salsa. Cover.
- Bake the chicken for about 45 minutes or until done. (If you are using leftover chicken, shred the chicken, add the salsa and cook until warmed through.)
- If you like, you can sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top and garnish with cilantro and/or green onions.
This chicken recipe is great over rice.
It is OK to use leftover chicken with this recipe instead of raw chicken. When using leftover cooked chicken, shred the chicken, add the salsa and cook until warmed through.
Easy Spanish Rice Recipe
- Yield: 4 servings
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 cup water
1 cup rice, cooked
1 Tbsp. (or less) taco seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup tomato sauce
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Dissolve bouillon in water.
- Mix all the ingredients.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
Chicken Barley Soup
Relish Dish carrots, celery, broccoli
This easy chicken barley soup recipe is a classic comfort food recipe that makes a tasty and hearty soup that your family will love! It’s a great way to use leftover chicken and is perfect for winter days.
Easy Chicken Barley Soup Recipe
This easy chicken barley soup recipe has always been a family favorite! It’s a healthy and delicious comfort food soup that everyone loves!
- Yield: 2 quarts
1/2 cup barley
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 carrot, diced
1/4 cup onion, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup chicken
1/4 tsp. turmeric (optional)
salt and pepper (to taste)
- Rinse and cook the barley in the broth as instructed on the package.
- Halfway through, add the vegetables, chicken and seasonings.
Easy Vegetable Dip Recipe
This easy vegetable dip recipe is the perfect complement to raw fresh vegetables. Make it for yourself or bring it as your quick and easy contribution to a party!
- Yield: 1 cup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. horseradish
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. curry powder dash of lemon juice
2 Tbsp. sour cream
- Mix all ingredients well.
- Chill before serving.
- Serve with raw vegetables. You can add yogurt or cottage cheese in place of, or with, sour cream.
Chicken and Dumplings
Easy Chicken and Dumplings Recipe
This easy chicken and dumplings recipe is an easy way to make chicken and dumplings like mom and grandma used to make! It’s a perfect comfort food!
- Yield: 4 servings
4 cups chicken broth
1/2–1 1/2 cups chicken or turkey, cooked
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1/2 cup carrots, sliced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. parsley flakes
- In a Dutch oven, combine broth, chicken, celery, carrots, bay leaf and parsley.
- Bring to a boil.
- In a bowl, combine baking mix, thyme, and parsley.
- Stir in milk, just until moistened.
- Drop by tablespoonfuls into the boiling broth.
- Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
- Then cover and cook an additional 10 minutes. DO NOT PEEK or your dumplings will be soggy.
- Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon and serve in bowls.
- Remove bay leaf and spoon broth over the top of the dumplings.
These easy chicken recipes are from volume 1 of our cookbook:
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