Monday, May 19, 2014

The Schwartz's vs Recipes: Italian Chicken Bake

I was hanging out with a dear friend and her family this weekend and she mentioned that she missed when I use to post the recipes I tried from Pinterest.  Honestly, I didn't think anyone ever read those posts and I'm not really a foodie so I stopped doing them.  However, I've been back on a food kick recently and have been hemming and hawing about posting the things I've been trying so when she mentioned she missed those posts I decided to start doing them again.

So Cindy--this post is for you.

I like meal calendars.  I don't necessarily always like making a meal calendar but I find it's easier to want to cook when it's all planned out in advance.  When I'm on a roll I calendar out 6 weeks of dinners.  When I'm a slacker I only do 1, well, when I'm really a slacker I don't do any and we eat out a bunch and that's bad.  I do like to do at least 4 weeks at a time and I try not to repeat meals during a month.

I found I was in a bit of a rut and grilled chicken tacos, and build your own salad night were appearing on the calendar every week.  I am burned out on pinterest.  Most of those recipes just seem too complicated.  I'm a simple person.  5 ingredients and 30 minutes is about all I want to commit to in a dinner.  Ha!  I fell in love with Normal Cooking and have made quite a few things from that website and they all turned out pretty good.  I even signed up for the email alerts so when she posts it comes straight to my email.  That's nice.  I noticed that she gets a lot of her recipes from eMeals.  A couple of months ago eMeals ran a Groupon for 40% off a year subscription and I decided to give it a try.  It's been nice having a weekly meal calendar sent to me once a week with a grocery list linked to the grocery store of my choice.  I've yet to make their full week, but I've been able to pick and choose a few meals off each calendar to try.

This week I'm reviewing the Italian Chicken and Vegetable bake from eMeals.  There is a similar pin that went around called One Pan Chicken bake or something like that.  They suggest using green beans and russet potatoes.  I've made that before a couple of times.  Both times the potatoes didn't cook through, the green beans were rubbery and the chicken was dry.  So I was hesitant to try this off the eMeals menu but I love the idea of this easy one pan meal so I gave the eMeals version a try.

Italian Chicken Bake

     2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
     2 lbs red potatoes, cubed
     1 (1-lb) bag baby carrots
     1 envelope Italian dressing mix
     1 stick butter, melted

     Preheat oven to 350.  Place chicken breasts in the middle of a greased 9x13 pan.  Place potatoes down one side of the pan.  Place carrots down the other side of the pan.  Sprinkle dressing mix all over.  Pour butter on top.  Cover with foil.  Bake 1 hour or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender.  

So let's discuss.  Unlike the pinterest pin, the vegetables were actually really good.  Both the potatoes and carrots came out tender and flavorful.  Cody ate all the carrots and asked for more but wouldn't touch the potatoes.  Sarah ate everything.  

The Pros:
* Quick, easy, and cheap.  
* Kids actually ate!
* Little to no prep work.
* Wonderful flavor

The Cons:
* Chicken was a little dry, kids needed ranch dressing.  
BUT, I did forget to cover it with foil for the first 30 minutes so that might be why it dried out.  

The Changes I Did Make/Would Make:
* We used regular carrots that we peeled and cut down.  Not cause I thought would be better, it was more cause I didn't specify on grocery list.  
* We baked it in our larger pan (not sure what the size is but it's bigger than our 9x13).  I thought maybe when we made the pinterst version the veggies turned out bad cause they were piled on top of each other.  So this pan gave more cooking space.  Maybe it helped, maybe it didn't but I'll use the bigger pan next too.
* eMeals suggested to serve this with a sourdough loaf, I served it with crescent rolls.  
* Next time I'll probably check the the veggies after 45 minutes to see if they are soft and pull them out.  I don't think chicken takes an hour to bake, but the veggies might.  Either way next time I definitely remember to cover with foil before I put it in the oven.

Would I Make it Again:
Yes!  The kids actually ate it.  The flavor was great.  And I'm not going to lie the minimal prep work and only one pan clean up afterwards is a big seller for me.  

Looking for an easy meal this week?  Give this one a try and let me know how it goes for you.


  1. Yes definitely share more recipes again! I used to be so good about planning but I have been lazy for months now. I wrote that one down on a post it though and I'm going to add that to my grocery list for next week. I'm going with a post it system now apparently haha

  2. I like your recipe review posts! In fact I've gotten a few recipes off your Pinterest board.