5 Quick Dinners That Start with 2 Pounds of Chicken Breasts (2024)

5 Quick Dinners That Start with 2 Pounds of Chicken Breasts (1)

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Kelli Foster

Kelli FosterSenior Contributing Food Editor

Kelli is a Senior Contributing Food Editor for Kitchn. She's a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and author of the cookbooks, Plant-Based Buddha Bowls, The Probiotic Kitchen, Buddha Bowls, and Everyday Freekeh Meals. She lives in New Jersey.

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published Nov 8, 2020

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you have a couple of pounds of chicken breast on hand, there’s truly no end to all the easy dinner possibilities. Not only does chicken’s mild-mannered flavor mean it can be partnered with a huge variety of ingredients and flavors, but there are also so many cooking methods you can use to get it on the table for dinner.

This snapshot walks you through five easy weeknight dinners that each begin with two pounds of boneless chicken breasts. From a saucy chicken skillet to Instant Pot enchilada bowls, each one is made in a different cooking vessel to show you just how versatile this basic ingredient can be. No more boring chicken dinners!

5 Snapshot Recipes That Start with 2 Pounds of Chicken Breasts

  • The chicken: Each recipe starts with 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which is typically four pieces of chicken.
  • The timing: Each recipe is doable on a weeknight, and comes together in 45 minutes or less.
  • Serving size: Most recipes serve four, and the soup can serve six to eight.

Spinach-Artichoke Baked Chicken

Heat oven to 400ºF. Microwave 4 ounces cubed cream cheese in a large microwave-safe bowlon HIGH until very soft, 30 seconds. Drain and chop 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts packed in water. Add to cream cheese, along with 8 ounces sour cream, 2 cups baby spinach, 1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Stir to combine.

Pound 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts one at a time: Place 1 chicken breast in a gallon-sized zip-top bag and pound with a rolling pin or flat side of a meat mallet to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Place in a baking dish large enough to fit them in a single layer. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 freshly ground black pepper. Spread spinach-artichoke mixture over chicken.

Bake until chicken is cooked through and registers 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded Italian cheese; broil until cheese is melted and lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

Get the full recipe: Spinach-Artichoke Baked Chicken

Weeknight Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Season 2 pounds chicken boneless, skinless breasts all over with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add 1 medium diced yellow onion, 3 medium diced celery stalks, 2 medium peeled and chopped carrots, 2 minced garlic cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, stir to coat vegetables, and cook 1 minute.

Pour in 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping bottom of the pot, until no lumps from flour remain. Push vegetables to sides of pot and add chicken breasts in the empty space, arranging in a single layer. Add 1 teaspoon dried thyme and 1 bay leaf. Pour in 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Uncover, reduce heat, and simmer until chicken is cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 165°F, 8 to 12 minutes.

Discard bay leaf. Transfer chicken to a clean cutting board; let cool slightly. Add 2 cups dried egg noodles to soup and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 5 minutes. Shred chicken with 2 forks; return to soup. Stir in 1 cup whole milk or half-and-half.

Get the full recipe: Weeknight Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

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Instant Pot Chicken Enchilada Bowls

Cut 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces and season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil in a 6-quart or larger electric pressure cooker or Instant Pot with highest Sauté function. Add 1 medium diced red onion and 2 minced garlic cloves and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 minutes. Turn pressure cooker off.

Add chicken, 1 (15-ounce) can drained black beans, 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles (do not drain), and 1 (15-ounce) can red or green enchilada sauce; stir to combine. Sprinkle 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice over top. Pour 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth over rice, but do not stir.

Lock on the lid and make sure pressure valve is set to seal. Set to cook 10 minutes under HIGH pressure. It will take about 18 minutes to come to pressure. When cook time is up, quick release pressure. Add 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend; stir to combine. Divide between bowls. Top with 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, and lime wedges.

Get the full recipe: Instant Pot Chicken Enchilada Bowls

Garlic-Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Arrange 2 racks to divide oven into thirds and heat oven to 400ºF. Spread 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs into an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden-brown, 4 minutes. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, beat 1 large egg. Place in a gallon-sized zip-top bag with 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Seal bag and massage until ingredients become a mostly hom*ogenous mixture.

Cut 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts crosswise into 1-inch strips. Season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Transfer chicken to bag with mayo mixture, seal bag, and massage to coat each strip.Place cooled panko, 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, and 2 teaspoons garlic powder in another gallon-sized zip-top bag. Using tongs, transfer chicken to panko bag. Seal bag and shake until chicken is evenly coated.

Fit 2 baking sheets with wire racks, or line baking sheets with parchment paper. Use tongs to transfer chicken to baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Bake chicken strips until golden-brown and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Get the full recipe: Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Creamy Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms

Pound 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts one at a time: Place 1 chicken breast in a gallon-sized zip-top bag and pound with a rolling pin or flat side of a meat mallet to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Pat chicken dry with paper towels; season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 10-inch or larger skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in batches, add chicken and sear until deeply browned, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate. Reduce heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. When melted, add 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, stir to coat mushrooms, and cook 1 minute.

Stir in 1 cup half-and-half or whole milk, 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth, and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar until no lumps from flour remain. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan and simmer until sauce is thickened and chicken is cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Get the full recipe: Creamy Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms

Welcome to Snapshot Cooking, the home of Kitchn’s easiest recipes. These mini recipes are so simple you can practically cook from the before-and-after snapshot itself.

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