Yesterday my kids walked out the door as a freshman, 8th grader, 6th grader, 5th grader, and 3rd grader -- and you know what that means... Well, besides the fact that I'm feeling a little old and my house is eerily quiet, it means the weeknight dinner dash is ON!
Our after school hours are packed with sports and homework, so getting a healthy dinner (that everyone will actually eat) on the table quickly is essential. And it's pretty much going to fall on my shoulders as, in addition to school starting yesterday, my husband also started a new job, which means he won't be home until around 6:30 every evening.
Mustard-glazed chicken thighs to the rescue! Truly, I can't believe that I haven't shared this easy baked chicken thighs recipe before. It's one of our favorite dishes, so I make it at least every other week. My boys absolutely devour them, and the best part is they can be ready in just over 30 minutes. Really!
Now, I'm guessing that some of you might be a little on the fence about chicken thighs, but here's why you should give them a try: FLAVOR! Dark meat chicken is ever so much more flavorful and tender than boneless skinless chicken breasts.
You've probably heard that chicken thighs are fatty and greasy, but it's the skin that contains most of the fat. I use the Harvestland Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs from Walmart, so there's no fatty skin and the rest of the fat will cook off when baking. See? Nothing to be scared of at. all.
After packing the chicken thighs into a baking dish, I brush them with a mixture of coconut oil, mustard, poultry seasoning and salt, give them a small dose of freshly cracked black pepper, and bake. Seriously, that's it! Just 6 simple ingredients -- or 4 if you don't count the salt & pepper, since those are universally considered pantry staples.
A few easy ideas for quick sides to pair with these yummy baked chicken thighs:
- Make double batches of grains -- When I make grain sides, like coconut milk rice or coconut lime quinoa, I prepare a double batch so I can just reheat the leftovers for a second meal later in the week.
- Keep prepped fresh veggies on hand -- Taking a few minutes early in the week to cut up fresh bell peppers, carrots, celery, green beans, etc. shaves precious minutes off of meal prep later on. I can serve them as is with a dip in a pinch or toss them with some olive oil, salt and pepper and pop them in the oven with the chicken for a roasted veggie side.
- Toss a simple salad -- I've found that the key to getting my kids to eat more greens is to add a generous serving of fruit to our salads. Grapes, strawberries, mandarin oranges and blueberries always go over well, and they taste great drizzled with a simple vinaigrette.
What are your favorite quick and easy weeknight dishes and sides?