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!
The BEST 3 Ingredient Roast Chicken Recipe
1-2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
1 tsp. thyme (to taste)
1 tsp. rosemary (to taste)
1 tsp. oregano (to taste)
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 degrees to 500 degrees for 15 minutes then turn the oven down to 400 degrees 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 degrees. You can also let it cook all day in the crockpot on low. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.
Here is a super yummy and easy garden salad recipe that makes a healthy and delicious salad that’s sure to please!
Easy Garden Salad Recipe
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
Combine all of the vegetables in a bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Makes 2-4 servings. This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.
Salad Dressing Recipe
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Mix and pour over salad.
Easy Chicken Fajitas
Five Cup Fruit Salad
Tortilla Chips and Salsa
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.
Easy Chicken Fajitas Recipe
1 1/2 lbs. chicken
1/2 cup lime juice
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
6 flour tortillas, warmed (p.97)
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
1 large tomato, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
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.
Remove the meat from the marinade. Discard marinade. Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Heat oil in a large skillet on high.
Cook the meat pieces, 2 at a time, in hot oil for 2-3 minutes, turning once. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve the meat slices in warm tortillas with salsa. Top with Cheddar or Mexican cheese if desired. 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 together and let sit in fridge for approximate 6 hours. Amounts of ingredients can be more or less depending on your needs.
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!
Easy Mexican Chicken Recipe
4-6 pieces chicken (remove skin)*
1 cup salsa
Place the chicken in a baking dish and top with the salsa. Cover. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes* or until done. Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top, garnish with cilantro, green onions if you like and serve. This chicken recipe is great over rice. Serves 4-6.
*If you will be using leftover chicken, shred the chicken, add the salsa and cook until warmed through.
Easy Spanish Rice Recipe
Easy Spanish Rice Recipe
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
Dissolve bouillon in water. Mix all the ingredients and bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 4.
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
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 barley in broth as instructed on package. Halfway through, add vegetables, chicken and seasonings. Makes 2 quarts.
This easy vegetable dip recipe is the perfect complement to raw fresh vegetabes. Make it for yourself or bring it as your quick and easy contribution to a party!
Easy Vegetable Dip Recipe
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. horseradish
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. curry powder dash of lemon juice
2 Tbsp. sour cream
Mix well and chill before serving. Serve with raw vegetables. Yogurt or cottage cheese may be added in place of, or with, sour cream. Makes 1 cup.
Chicken and Dumplings
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!
Easy Chicken and Dumplings Recipe
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
2 cups baking mix
1/4 tsp. thyme, dried
1/2 tsp. parsley flakes
2/3 cup milk
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 and 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. Serves 4.
These easy chicken recipes are from our cookbook:
Click here to get our Dining On A Dime Cookbooks, with tasty recipes and great tips to make your life easier and save you money!