Easy Marinated Baked Chicken with Versatile Meal Options

My spouse and I have discovered this to be an incredibly cost-effective method that yields convenient and flavorful meal options, especially when you’re not in the mood to contemplate what to cook.

Our routine involves purchasing two packages of chicken breasts from Sam’s Club, where we meticulously trim the fat and halve each piece. I prepare a marinade, placing it in a freezer bag, and my husband places four chicken pieces in each bag. I label each bag with the flavor and date, emphasizing the importance of keeping them in the fridge for a day before freezing. Typically, this results in a dinner and subsequent leftovers for lunch or another dinner, depending on the accompanying dish.

When it’s time to prepare a meal, I just need to thaw and bake the chicken at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, add some veggies, and voila, dinner is served. We also portion out plain chicken, reserving them for casseroles or shredding purposes. Occasionally, we’ll pre-cut the chicken into chunks, making it even more convenient for stir-fries or casseroles.

In total, we’ve prepared seven bags, and with one plain chicken in the fridge for tomorrow’s dinner, the cost per bag for the eight meals is less than $5 each.

Recipe: Easy Marinated Baked Chicken with Versatile Meal Options


  • 2 packages of chicken breasts (from Sam’s Club)
  • Marinade ingredients (your choice, see suggestions below)
  • Assorted vegetables for roasting or stir-frying
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Marinade Options: Choose one of the following or create your own:

  1. Honey Mustard Marinade:
    • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  2. Lemon Herb Marinade:
    • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
    • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley)
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  3. Teriyaki Marinade:
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated


  1. Prepare Chicken:
    • Trim excess fat from chicken breasts.
    • Cut each chicken breast in half to create smaller portions.
  2. Marinating:
    • In a large bowl, prepare the marinade of your choice.
    • Place the chicken pieces in a freezer bag, and pour the marinade over them.
    • Write down the flavor and date on the bag.
    • Allow the marinated chicken to rest in the fridge for 1 day before freezing.
  3. Freezing:
    • Divide the marinated chicken into portions (4 pieces per bag) and store them in the freezer bags.
  4. Cooking:
    • When ready to cook, thaw the chicken in the refrigerator.
    • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Place the marinated chicken on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes or until fully cooked.
  5. Vegetable Accompaniment:
    • While the chicken is baking, prepare a mix of your favorite veggies.
    • Toss the vegetables in olive oil, salt, and pepper.
    • Roast in the oven or stir-fry in a pan until they reach your desired level of tenderness.
  6. Serving:
    • Serve the baked chicken alongside the veggies for a complete meal.
    • Use the plain chicken portions for casseroles, shredding, or in other creative recipes.
  7. Meal Planning:
    • Plan for at least one dinner and leftovers for lunch or another dinner, depending on the side dishes you pair with the chicken.
  8. Cost-Effective Cooking:
    • With 8 bags costing less than $5 each, this recipe provides a budget-friendly solution for multiple meals.

Feel free to experiment with different marinades and side dishes to keep your meals exciting and varied. Enjoy your easy, flavorful, and cost-effective chicken dinners


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