3 Quick & Easy Weeknight Meals on a Budget With Chicken

Leanne's Life
by Leanne's Life

Welcome to Leanne’s Life. Today, I have three easy and delicious weeknight meals on a budget. I know you will love to try these for yourself. Let’s get cooking!

1. Chicken thighs with mustard sauce

Along with the chicken, I’m going to have corn on the cob as a side. I’m making two portions of the chicken – enough for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow.

Ingredients for chicken thighs with mustard sauce

You will need chicken thighs, a shallot, salt, pepper, garlic, a little olive oil, dijon mustard, some kind of cream (since I’m dairy free, I’m using this half and half), two ears of corn, butter to go with my mashed potatoes and chicken broth which I am making from a bouillon cube. I will use the broth for the dijon sauce and mashed potatoes.

The first thing I’m going to do is get some water on the stove to boil the corn, cut up my shallots and get them into a pan, saute them for a little bit, and cook my chicken thighs for four to eight minutes, just until they are cooked through. Then I’m going to make my dijon sauce.

Boiling the corn

I put a pot on the stove for the corn and added salt to the water. I’ll boil the corn for ten minutes and keep it in hot water until it’s ready to serve.

Seasoning and cooking the chicken

Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Saute the chicken in an oiled pan on both sides. Let the chicken rest until the sauce is ready.

Scraping the bottom of the pan

Take the chicken out of the pan. Add a third of a cup of chicken broth. Scrape the good bits at the bottom of the pan up.

Adding cream to the pan

Add two tablespoons of butter to the pan. I forget to saute the shallots in advance, but I’ll add them to the pan anyways. Also, add two tablespoons of dijon mustard and a third of a cup of cream.

Adding the chicken

Once the sauce thickens up a bit, add the chicken and let it simmer for five minutes.

Chicken thighs with mustard sauce

This was my favorite dish out of the three. The mustard sauce was delicious. It really hit the spot and warmed up great for leftovers.

2. Chicken taco soup

It’s cold and snowy outside, so this is a perfect, cheap weeknight meal. I’m turning this into a crockpot recipe.

Ingredients for chicken taco soup

I have ground chicken that I will cook up before putting it in the slow cooker. It will be seasoned with salt and pepper and browned up. I also have chicken bouillon, coconut cream (you could also use cream cheese), a can of black beans, two cans of diced tomatoes, half an onion, and my other seasonings.

These are garlic, and paprika – I didn’t have chili, so I’m putting a pinch of cayenne in for heat, and Walmart was out of fresh cilantro, so I have dried cilantro. Also, some frozen corn. That’s all the ingredients.

Seasoning the ground chicken

The first thing I’m going to do is season the ground chicken with salt and pepper and brown it up.

Dicing the onion

Now, I’m dicing half the onion.

Adding bouillon to the crockpot

I put three and a half cups of warm water from the tap into the crockpot. I’m going to add three teaspoons of this chicken bouillon and whisk it up a bit.

How to make chicken taco soup

Now, I’m adding the onions to the crockpot, along with two cans of tomatoes, one can of black beans, rinsed and drained, one teaspoon of garlic powder, one teaspoon of paprika, and a pinch or two of cayenne.

The recipe calls for fresh cilantro, which would be put on top of the finished dish as a garnish. Since this is freeze-dried cilantro, I’m going to put one heaping palmful into the crockpot. 

How to make chicken taco soup

Mix this up real quick, and next, I’m going to add 12 ounces of corn and my one pound of ground, browned, and seasoned chicken.

I have this on high, and I’m going to cook it for about three hours. The ground chicken is already cooked, so I don’t need that long.

Adding coconut cream

After three hours, I’m going to add my coconut cream and let it melt up. It will be ready to eat in about 15 minutes.

Chicken taco soup

Here’s what’s for dinner. This is a great low-carb dish also. It’s so good, so healthy. You can even add rice to bulk it up.

3. Chicken wings with garlic buffalo sauce

For this cheap weeknight meal, I’m going super simple. It’s Sunday and I’ve been cleaning and washing clothes all day. I need a simple dinner.

Ingredients for chicken wings with garlic buffalo sauce

I got these chicken wings for sale at the store. I’m going to cook these seasoned with paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. I’m going to be warming up this wild buffalo wing sauce and add chopped fresh garlic, to make it a garlic buffalo sauce – my favorite wing sauce.

Then, I’m going to make myself some sweet potato fries. I’m going to season the fries up with old bay, salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder.

I’m going to get the chicken wings into my air fryer. It cooks up the nicest and crispest.

Prepping the potatoes

First, I’m slicing the potatoes into long chunks, adding EVOO, tossing, and seasoning them.

Prepping the chicken

Now, I’m prepping the chicken for the air fryer and seasoning it with paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper.

As a side note, I don’t add my wing sauce on top of the chicken wings. I do a dry rub with spices, and dip my wings in the sauce when I eat them. I just prefer to eat it that way.

Cooking the sauce

I’m sauteing the sauce and the garlic in a pan.

Easy weeknight meals on a budget

Here are the wings, straight out of the air fryer. They are done to perfection. I love wings. This is a great, cheap, easy weeknight meal.

Easy weeknight meals on a budget

What are your favorite budget-friendly weeknight meals? Were you able to cook any of the cheap weeknight meal recipes that I shared? How did they taste? Let us know in the comments.

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 1 comment
  • Nina T. Nina T. on Mar 03, 2023

    Mmmm😋 Can’t wait to try the chicken w/mustard sauce!

    Thanks for sharing