Easy Dinner Formula + Loaded Chicken Breasts

Chicken Breast with Cheese, Bacon & Green Onion
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During the summer months, the quickest (and healthiest) dinner I make for my family is grilled chicken breasts plus a carb and a veggie. But sometimes, I want to kick it up a notch. Enter Loaded Chicken Breasts.

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I don’t know about you, but when I get home from work, my family is ready to eat. Now!

And while I love to cook, after a long day at work, I don’t appreciate a complicated recipe while kids ask, “How many more minutes?” So last summer, I determined I needed to create a list of meals I could have on the table fast.

Of all the meals I put on the list, the easiest was the one that went over well most often with the family. Go figure.

The Summer Dinner Formula

The dinner formula we use is simple:

Grilled Meat + Carb Side + Vegetable = Healthy Happy Family Dinner

Grilled Meats

We mostly stuck to grilled chicken breasts, but switched it up with steaks and pork chops occasionally. The key to not letting things feel repetitive is to change up the marinade often. Sometimes we grill outside, but in the blistering Oklahoma summer heat, we normally just use the trusty George Foreman. Some of our favorites are:

  • Teriyaki
  • Barbecue Sauce
  • Greek
  • Balsamic
  • Citrus
  • Italian
  • Honey Mustard

I recently completed a freezer stock up using lots of these marinades. Post on that coming soon!

Carb Side

I know “low carb” is popular right now, but our family is definitely not into that. Most often I make a quick rice pilaf using brown minute rice cooked in broth and some herbs.

Other times I will make sweet potato fries, corn on the cob, roasted potato wedges, or a box of macaroni and cheese.

Vegetable Side

In the summer, I mostly want a fresh dinner salad. But when I make a hot veggie, we tend to do one of these:

  • Sauteed zucchini & summer squash
  • Roasted broccoli or asparagus
  • Green beans – roasted or canned

For the first time, we’ve planted a vegetable garden with green beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, zucchini, summer squash, and corn. Fingers crossed it continues to do well! My goal is for dinner sides to mostly be determined by what is ripe this year.

Kicking it Up a Notch

You can use this formula to mix and match enough different combinations that even if you make it a couple times a week, you don’t get bored of eating it.

But still, some days you want something just a bit more special.

For that, I came up with the Loaded Chicken Breast recipe below.

This recipe came from thinking about how a loaded baked potato feels much more desirable than a plain potato. I figured you could do the same with chicken.

First, marinate the chicken in Dale’s Marinade. Next grill. Once it’s cooked, brush with BBQ sauce, add cheese, bacon bits, and green onion and bake until the cheese is melted.

It really only takes five minutes longer than a plain grilled chicken breast!