As much as I love making casseroles and multi-ingredient main dishes, there’s just something special about having a simple protein, veggie, and starch/bread for dinner. And this easy Italian Marinated Chicken does the trick for me!
Only two simple ingredients are required for this recipe: Chicken breasts and a bottle of Italian dressing. And you can double it or multiply as much as you need depending on whether you plan to eat it throughout the week, or even freeze for later. Chicken marinades are the easiest freezer meals; when you put the chicken in the fridge to thaw, it begins to marinade itself and is ready to be cooked by dinnertime.
You can cook this chicken 3 different ways, depending on how much time you have and how you want the texture:
- Cook on LOW in your slow cooker for 5-6 hours: This is the easiest, but it also makes the chicken really soft. It’s still fine to cut into chunks to eat, but I like slow cooker chicken better when it’s shredded.
- Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink. This, for me, makes the chicken slightly firmer and feels better when I cut it.
- Grill the chicken (I use my George Foreman grill!). This takes the shortest amount of time, but requires your constant attention. Cut the chicken in half to make the breasts thinner and cook faster. I like this way the best because I just like the grilled taste!
One thing I’ve learned (and am still learning!) is that with the exception of the slow cooker version, your chicken needs to be fully thawed for the quickest cooking times. A lot of times I forget to put the chicken in the fridge the night before, so I get it out the next morning. And of course, the chicken’s still a little frozen, so it takes a LOT longer to cook. Slow cooker chicken is the exception; you can easily put frozen chicken beasts in there and they’ll be fully cooked in a few hours.
This recipe is meal prep AND freezer friendly! If you want to cook a bunch for later in the week, just double the amount of chicken and Italian dressing, cook in the desired way, and separate into whatever containers you need. To make it a freezer meal, just put the chicken and dressing in the bag and lay the bag flat on a cookie sheet in the freezer.
Here are some great side items that would go well with this:
- Roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes
- Roasted or steamed broccoli
- Steamed green beans
- Some kind of bread or dinner rolls
Like I said, I love the simple protein, veggie, and starch combination of dinners. It makes my meal planning so much easier! Print the recipe below to use it for an upcoming week!
Italian Marinated Chicken- Easy Meal Prep Dinner
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup of bottled Italian dressing
- In a gallon-sized freezer bag, place the chicken and Italian dressing and let it sit in the fridge overnight (or at least a couple hours) to marinate.
- To cook in the slow cooker, dump the contents of the bag in your slow cooker and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours until fully cooked.
- To bake in the oven, empty the contents of the bag into an 8x8 casserole dish and bake at 400 for 30 minutes or until fully cooked.
- To grill, slice the chicken in half to make it thinner and cook faster, and place on grill of choice until the middles are no longer pink.
- This recipe can easily be doubled for meal prep or freezer meal purposes.