Kid-Friendly Weeknight Recipe: Asian-Style Crusted Chicken

Asian-Style Crusted Chicken

Guest Post by Meredith

Are you interested in guest posting on Family Friendly Frugality? Please email me heather @

If you have picky eaters in your family, a couple things are probably true. First of all, you probably have a lot of boneless chicken breasts in your freezer since they can be used in so many different meals, and secondly, you probably end up repeating the same meals over and over again. If you’re stuck in a recipe rut because of picky kids, try bringing them into the kitchen to help cook. Kids who help make what’s for dinner will be much more likely to eat—or at least try!—an unfamiliar dish, and it can serve as quality family bonding time, too!

This Asian-Style Crusted Chicken is a great go-to weeknight meal that your kids will love helping out with. It has a lot going for it in the kid-friendly department: it resembles chicken fingers, involves dipping sauce and—here’s the best part—popcorn is one of the main ingredients! Kids will love helping to crumble up the popcorn for the chicken coating and will be excited to be eating a dinner made with a movie-theater treat.

At just 325 calories per three piece serving, though, you can feel good about serving your family a nutritious, good-for-you meal. Because the chicken is dipped in an egg substitute mixture rather than shell eggs, this dish is lower in fat and calories than many other breaded chicken recipes. This is also one of those easy recipes for dinner where you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already—try it out and watch it work itself into your weeknight dinner rotation!

Asian-Style Crusted Chicken

Prep Time: 20 min

Total Time: 30 min

Serves 4 (3 pieces each)

Calories: 325


  • PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 2 cups popped Orville Redenbacher’s® Smart Pop!® Butter Microwave Popcorn, crushed into
  • crumbs
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Egg Beaters® Original
  • 1 teaspoon La Choy® Soy Sauce
  • 12 boneless skinless chicken breast tenders (12 tenders = 1 lb)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup La Choy® Sweet and Sour Sauce


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set it aside.
  2. Combine popcorn crumbs and peanuts in a shallow dish; set aside. Whisk together Egg Beaters and soy sauce in another shallow dish. Tip: For an easy way to crush your popcorn, place popped popcorn in a gallon resealable bag and crush it with a rolling pin.
  3. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Dip each tender in the Egg Beaters mixture, then roll in the popcorn mixture. Place coated tenders on your baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn tenders over. Bake for 5 more minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the centers. Serve with sweet and sour sauce for dipping. Enjoy!

Author Bio: This is a guest post by Meredith K. on behalf of ReadySetEat. For more easy chicken recipes and other quick weeknight dinner ideas, visit

Check Out My Enchilada Casserole Recipe!

Who here loves Enchiladas!?

Here’s a quick and easy weeknight enchilada casserole that uses an unusual ingredient!

I think you’ll love it! We do!

Click here to check out my Enchilada Casserole recipe. 


Roast Beef & Mushroom Tacos w/ Avocado Salad

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This recipe was submitted by a wonderful reader. Thank you Amy Jestus for contributing such a yummy recipe to Family Friendly Frugality! It’s going on my menu plan for next week!

Do you have a favorite recipe you’d like to share? Email me heather @ 🙂

Roast Beef & Mushroom Tacos w/ Avocado Salad

(The base for this recipe came from Rachel Ray, which I’ve “tweaked ” – because it’s what I do! **smiles**)


  • 1-2 pd chuck roast
  • 2/3 C. soy sauce
  • 2/3 C. Water
  • 2/3 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1-2 jalapeno (stemmed & seeded, I leave them just cut in 1/2 to infuse some spice w/o having to dig them out for my kids, otherwise you may chop them finely & really “kick up the heat”)
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms (I prefer baby portobello)
  • 3 cloves garlic (thinly sliced or minced)
  • 2-3 avocados (cubed)
  • 1/2 onion thinly sliced and rinsed to lessen the bite
  • the juice from 1-2 fresh limes
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Slow cook the chuck roast, soy sauce and water for 8 hrs. Remove & shred beef.

In a large skillet sauté the following: olive oil, onion, jalapeno, mushrooms

Once the mushrooms have released their own juices add salt & pepper to taste. Then add meat, & 1/4- 1/2c of liquid from roast. & heat through.

Meanwhile (or before you start): in a separate bowl prepare the avocado salad by mixing the avocados, onion, lime juice and salt & pepper to taste.

Load into a warm flour tortilla.

Garnish w/ sour cream & chips!



Roast Beef & Mushroom Tacos w/ Avocado Salad
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Amy Jestus
The base for this recipe came from Rachel Ray, which I’ve “tweaked ” – because it’s what I do! **smiles**
  • 1-2 pd chuck roast
  • 2/3 C. soy sauce
  • 2/3 C. Water
  • 2/3 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1-2 jalapeno (stemmed & seeded, I leave them just cut in 1/2 to infuse some spice w/o having to dig them out for my kids, otherwise you may chop them finely & really “kick up the heat”)
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms (I prefer baby portobello)
  • 3 cloves garlic (thinly sliced or minced)
  • 2-3 avocados (cubed)
  • 1/2 onion thinly sliced and rinsed to lessen the bite
  • the juice from 1-2 fresh limes
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Slow cook the chuck roast, soy sauce and water for 8 hrs. Remove & shred beef.
  2. In a large skillet sauté the following: olive oil, onion, jalapeno, mushrooms
  3. Once the mushrooms have released their own juices add salt & pepper to taste. Then add meat, & 1/4- 1/2c of liquid from roast. & heat through.
  4. Meanwhile (or before you start): in a separate bowl prepare the avocado salad by mixing the avocados, onion, lime juice and salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Load into a warm flour tortilla.
  6. Garnish w/ sour cream & chips!
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Steak & Blue Cheese Baked Potatoes- Making Meat the Sidekick

Photo Credit: By Jinx!

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Steak. It’s what’s for dinner.

What if you don’t have much though? There are few things in life more unsatisfying than a small tiny piece of steak on a plate. If you are going to have a steak, you really should have a steak.

That’s the dilemma I found myself in recently.

It was one day past grocery shopping day and I had NOT been grocery shopping yet. Our freezer is always pretty well stocked since we strategically shop, but the only meat I had defrosted was one sad lonely sirloin. Too small to feed us all, but oh so convenient.

Wanna learn to shop with strategy? I’ve written, oh a dozen or so, posts all about it! Click here.

When I find myself with too little meat and too many hungry bellies, I make the meat the sidekick. In this case, I grilled up the steak as usual and sliced it thinly.

The (Informal) Recipe

Meanwhile, I threw some baking potatoes into the oven to get nice and crusty on the outside and tender on the inside (I rubbed them with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle some kosher salt on them too! Baked at 400 for 45 minutes to an hour depending on how large your potatoes are and how many you are cooking).

I can’t have steak without grilled onions, so I also slowly grilled up some onions in a pan with a bit of olive oil, salt and a small pat of butter. (Slow cooking onions is the way to go. The slower the better!)

When it was time to eat, I put a bit of butter on the potato and smushed up the insides really well. A bit of salt and pepper and blue cheese came next.

I paused before setting the grilled onions on top, but I’m SO glad I went with it and it was an excellent decision.

Topped with my sliced steak and dug in.


As a side note: I got caught by my neighbors standing on the picnic table in the backyard taking pics of this dish. It was slightly embarrassing. If you’ve never stood precariously on top of a table outdoors with your very expensive DSLR in an effort to get the perfect balance of light and vibrant color, well than you probably aren’t a blogger 😉 .
Do as mommy says. Not as mommy does. You are exactly right. This is NOT safe.


The food, the picture, the stretching of one simple steak into a meal for an entire family…even the likelihood I just convinced the neighbors I have some weird food fetish, it was all totally worth it.

Yum to Steak & Blue Cheese Baked Potatoes. (Served with this yummy broccoli recipe Katie posted awhile back. My new favorite way to eat broccoli!)

You can also stretch your meat by:

  • Using rice and beans as fillers
  • Use your meat in a soup w/ plenty of veggies
  • Casseroles are a great way to stretch your protein a bit farther! Rarely do you need as much meat as the recipe calls for.

What’s your suggestion for stretching too little meat a bit farther to feed your family? Tell me in the comments. 

Hey, be sure you sign up for free emails. You’ll get everything FFF has to offer in one awesome daily email. Best of all…it’s FREE! Sign up here.


Frugal Recipe: Chicken, Bacon, & Cheese Stuffed Pastry

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Do you have plans for Valentine’s Day yet? Restaurants are always SO crowded and you end up breaking the bank trying to have a ‘special’ dinner. How about staying IN and making a restaurant quality meal at a MUCH LOWER price?! Try our Chicken, Bacon, & Cheese Stuffed Pastry!

This recipe has tender chicken, crispy bacon, melted cheese, and a flaky pastry. I bet I’ve got your attention now!

I adapted this recipe for Chicken, Bacon, & Cheese Stuffed Pastry from a Rachel Ray recipe, Love Birds–Chicken in Pastry. You aren’t going to believe how easy this restaurant quality main dish is!

Chicken, Bacon, & Cheese Stuffed Pastry


  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
  • Blackening seasoning, or seasoning of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 slices of mozzarella cheese
  • 6 strips of bacon, cooked
  • 1 sheet puffed pastry (I use Pepperidge Farm), thawed to room temperature.


  • Season chicken with blackening seasoning. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken in skillet and cook through to internal temperature of 165 degrees. You want the chicken fully cooked in this step!
  • Cut the pastry into 6 pieces. Place a slice of mozzarella cheese on pastry, then bacon & chicken.
  • Pinch and seal the pastry around the cheese, bacon, and chicken, flip over and place on greased baking sheet.
  • Brush the tops of the pastry with egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon water). This will give you a nice golden brown top.
  • Bake in pre-heated 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Yes, it’s that easy! When we have Chicken, Bacon, & Cheese Stuffed Pastry for dinner, I actually cook the chicken & bacon ahead of time (during the kids’ nap time!). All I have to do is assemble, then bake, and dinner is ready in a snap!

So this Valentine’s Day, send the kids to the grandparents, save your money & sanity, and enjoy a restaurant quality meal at your own home!

Hope you enjoy the Chicken, Bacon, & Cheese Stuffed Pastry!

*Here’s a $1/2 Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry printable coupon for you!

Baked Taquitos with Slow Cooked Carnitas & Cheese

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This week I’ve posted game day recipes for:

Now let’s make some baked taquitos!

This recipe is pretty versatile and GREAT for Game Day!

First off, you’ll make your meat. You can make your meat as far in advance as you want. I made slow cooked carnitas based off of this recipe (I mainly changed the quantity of spices. Most of the reviews agree that most of the spices should at least be tripled).

This makes a TON of meat.

If you don’t intend to use all of it for your taquitos (and I doubt you will unless you are actually feeding the Patriots and the Giants, which I kind of doubt you are!), just freeze the rest and pull it out for taco night for the next few weeks! I also love to make nachos with it.

Here’s the recipe for Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas:


  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crumbled dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (4 pound) boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken broth


1. Mix the salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, coriander and cinnamon in a large bowl.

2. Pat pork shoulder roast dry and roll in the spice mixture until fully coated.

3. Put the roast into your slow cooker and slowly pour the chicken broth along the sides (not on the top, you don’t want the spice mixture to wash off the top).

4. Throw in your bay leaves and cook on low for at least 10 hours. Halfway through, flip it over.

5. Take the meat out of the slow cooker and shred it with two forks, discarding any fat. Put the shredded meat back into the liquid to keep moist.

Okay, so now that we have our carnitas, we’re going to set some aside for our taquitos! Here are the instructions for making the taquitos:

Baked Taquitos w/ Pork Carnitas & Cheese


  • Pork Carnitas from above (or whatever meat you want to use)
  • flour tortillas
  • shredded cheese
  • baking sheet
  • cooking oil spray (like Pam)
  • Salt


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Warm your tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds or so. You want them to be flexible.

3. Spoon a small amount of meat and cheese into the middle of the tortilla (make sure to drain the meat of juices so you don’t have soggy tortillas!

4. Roll up tightly and place on a foil lined tray.

5. Repeat for however may taquitos you need or until your tray is fully covered with a single layer of taquitos.

6. Spray the taquitos with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with salt

7. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, take them out and turn them halfway through the cooking time.

Serve with sour cream and salsa and your guests will LOVE you!

Check out more frugal recipes here on Family Friendly Frugality.

Italian Sausage Soup: A Hearty & Wholesome Soup You’ll Love

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I’m a big fan of soups.

I like my soups hearty with a bit of meat, a bit of veggies and a bit of starch.

This soup has it all. 

Sausage, potatoes, beans, onions, spinach…mmmm good!

The best part about this soup? It’s totally a one pot meal!

The second best part about this soup? It includes BACON!

Sold? I thought you would be. 😉

Italian Sausage Soup

Source:**(see note)


  • 2 slices bacon
  • 2 large russet potatoes cut into chunky cubes (about a 1/2 inch size cube)
  • 1/2 lb Italian Sausage, casing removed (my sausage was Chicken Italian Sausage. It had mozzarella in it, which might have made my soup just a tad bit more awesome)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes***
  • 1 carton low sodium chicken broth (32 oz)
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1 can cannelloni beans (15-19 oz) washed and drained
  • 1 cup half and half (I didn’t have half and half. So I did half a cup heavy cream and half a cup of milk. Worked fine)


  1. In a large deep pot, cook your bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and don’t eat it! Seriously…don’t. Crumble it and set it aside.
  2. Crumble sausage and cook until browned in the same pot. Remove from pan and set aside. (you might want to drain your sausage. I didn’t, and as you can tell from the picture above, the soup had a bit of grease in it. Which is not a huge deal, but next time I’ll be sure to drain and pat down the sausage after cooking)
  3. Now throw your onions, potatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes into the same pot. Pour the chicken broth on top and bring to a boil.
  4. After bringing the pot to a boil, take the temperature down to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add crumbled bacon, sausage, spinach and beans to the pot and cook for 10 more minutes or until potatoes are cooked through (took me about 15 minutes)
  6. Just before serving, add half and half and cook just until heated through.

**Note: the original recipe asks for a lot more liquid than my version and also subs in kale for spinach. I like my version better, but feel free to check out the original as well!
***The kids weren’t HUGE fans of this soup. I eyeballed the red pepper flakes and might have put a bit more than 1/4 teaspoon in. It was a bit hot. It was fine for me and my husband, but if you have kiddos eating it, you might want to cut back or just put the red pepper flakes on your individual bowl instead of in the community pot.

This soup was so yummy and comforting and even better the next day!

Check out all the frugal recipes here on Family Friendly Frugality.

Braided Spaghetti Bread Recipe – Dinner All-In-One Style

Braided Spaghetti Bread

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One night, we were combing through the pantry trying to find something for dinner. That night, we were supposed to go out to dinner, but one of the kids was feeling under the weather, so we needed to stay home.

It’s not that our pantry isn’t well stocked, it is VERY well stocked. However, sometimes when you have your mind stuck on going out for a nice restaurant meal, an old standby meal at home just doesn’t sound very appetizing!

I decided to comb through some of the budget friendly recipes I had pinned on Pinterest for some inspiration.

I came across this braided spaghetti bread and decided that it would be fun to tackle.

Not pretty, but oh so tasty

Well, I’ll say that it was fun to make, but mine did not turn out as pretty or as uniform as the one pictured on the Rhodes website.

In fact, mine was kind of a mess!

It sure did taste good though, and I encourage you to give it a try yourself!

Braided Spaghetti Bread Recipe

adapted from


  • 1 Loaf Rhodes Bread Dough or 12 Rhodes Dinner Rolls (we only had the dinner rolls) Thawed
  • Flour for rolling out dough
  • 6 oz spaghetti, cooked and drained
  • 1 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 1/4 lb ground beef cooked
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 –inch cubes
  • 1 egg white
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Parsley flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. On a floured surface, roll out your bread dough until it’s a 12×6 rectangle (this was difficult for me and is probably the reason my spaghetti bread looks so wonky. I wish you better luck )
  3. Take your cooked spaghetti and go ahead and mix it with your ground beef and spaghetti sauce.
  4. Go ahead and place your dough on the greased baking sheet you are going to cook it on (unless you feel confident you can transfer it easily after you assemble it).
  5. Take the spaghetti mixture and pile it lengthwise in the middle four inches of the dough.
  6. Top with mozzarella cheese
  7. Now you are going to make cuts alongside the filling. They should be about 1 1/2 inches apart and come within 1/2 inch of the filling. Do this up and down both sides.
  8. It’s now time to “braid” your bread. Begin by folding the top and bottom strips up over the filling. Then, alternating strips, braid left and then right over the entire loaf of bread.
  9. Brush the loaf with your egg whites. Sprinkle your Parmesan cheese and parsley over the top.
  10. Bake in your preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Let sit for a few minutes before digging in!

Since I didn’t take any pictures of the assembly process, here’s a crude diagram:

You probably won’t have 14 strips to braid with 😉 but my drawing is definitely not to scale!

Make this, stick a salad with it and bam! Instant meal!

NOTE: Next time I make this, I’ll probably sprinkle some sea salt over the bread before I bake it. I like salt though, for some of you, the Parmesan might be enough. This is a very versatile recipe, do what makes you happy!


Be sure to check out the other frugal recipes here on Family Friendly Frugality!

Quick & Easy Chicken with Rice

Another family favorite.  And the best part is that it’s an easy, thow-it-together-in-ten-minutes kinda meal.  Hope you enjoy.

Chicken & Rice


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 1/2 cup rice
  • 2 envelopes onion soup mix
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2-5 chicken breasts (depends on their size. Cut into nuggets or strips based on preference)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Melt 1 stick of butter in skillet.
  2. Brown 1 ½ cup of rice in butter.
  3. Transfer rice to casserole dish (9×13).
  4. Add 2 envelopes Onion Soup mix, 2 ½ cups water and chicken pieces. (You can use anywhere from 2-5 breasts, depending their size.  Lately, I’ve been using 2 verrrry large breasts. Sometimes I cut then nugget size, other times I cut them into strips – your choice.)
  5. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces.
  6. Cover with foil, and cook 1 hour at 350°.
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