Baked Italian Chicken





I’m often asked…well, how much do your kids eat?  How much do you give them?

How about a “visual” answer to that question.  Above is my 2 year old’s plate.  Before and After.

He nearly polished off the chicken, almost all of the peas and squash, and ate at least half of his rice…before declaring himself, “fuh,” and asking to be excused.

Tonight’s dinner comes from the freezer. Remember those farm fresh chicken breasts for $1.79/lb from a few weeks ago…well, before I froze the chicken, I added about 1 cup of Italian dressing (that I recently got on sale with a coupon for $.49) into the freezer baggie with the chicken. I took the chicken out last night and put it into the fridge…where it has been thawing and marinating all day!

Plus, that butternut squash from last night’s meal was MUCH larger than I thought! We only ate half of it last night, so we’ll finish the rest tonight. If there is any leftover after tonight, then I’ll use it to make more of these delicious squash muffins!

A simple and nutritious dinner…

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Baked Italian Chicken

Yield – 4 servings

Preparation Time – 30 minutes marinate time

Cooking Time – 55 minutes


  • 4 small or 3 large (about 1.2 lbs.) chicken breasts ($2.14)
  • 1 cup Italian dressing ($.25)
  • 1 cup brown rice, uncooked ($.40)
  • 1 half (about 1 lb.) of LARGE butternut squash ($.57) Leftovers
  • 2 cups frozen peas ($1)
  • Plus some BBQ sauce for the kid’s chicken ($.10)

My “never pay more than” price for 16 oz. bag of frozen veggies is $1!  Stock up when these go on sale!!!


  • Marinate chicken breasts in Italian dressing in a 9×13-inch glass baking dish for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Bake marinated chicken breasts at 350 for 45-55 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center.
  • Cook brown rice according to package directions.  Takes about 45-50 minutes for “raw” brown rice to cook!
  • Reheat or cook butternut squash.
  • Cook frozen peas as directed on package instructions.
  • Serve Baked Italian Chicken with Brown Rice, Butternut Squash, and Peas.

Cost $4.46

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  1. Linda says

    It looks like you’re blessed with a good eater! That’s a big dinner for a two year old! I’m happy on nights when my 7 year old eats that much (but she is on the small side and does only weigh 47 pounds). I was happy to see that your “separated plates” don’t translate into picky eaters. My sister-in-law always fed her kids on them and they are very picky eaters (in college now!) so I’ve always had it in my mind that the “separated” food helped contribute to that. Obviously one of those “when I have kids I won’t do it that way” mind sets that I developed that wasn’t true after all!

  2. Kari says

    I’m lucky when My 8 year old can eat half of that and he’s only 52 lbs, a little picky so I have to puree the veggies and put them into sauces.

    You have awesome eaters! Great blog!

  3. says

    What a great site! As opposed to frozen veggies though, I like to buy fruit and veggies when they are on sale and spend the time to cut these up. You can find out more about my frugal ideas, including this one through my site at

    I LOVE that you have a pay-no-more than limit, me too! In fact, I have a giant list of things that I won’t buy unless they are practically free, including MANY household items. Thanks for the ideas and I too, love the plates!!

  4. says

    This is awesome. I have a 6yr old son who is a pretty good eater too. A little spoiled since he seems to want to eat out all of the time. Not sure where that came from. His favorite meal is actually baked chicken, broccoli and applesauce. I wish that he would eat mashed sweet potatoes. Any suggestions? Thanks.

      • says

        Nope. Doesn’t like nuts. Unless they are peanuts and on the plane. I will keep trying though. I know that it isn’t always a first time thing. I can’t believe that he get’s excited when he is eating something healthy. Of course, he still want’s pop tarts some times. I don’t want to buy them though because they have artificial colors, flavors, hydrogenated oils, ect…ugh. Pick my battles, right?

        • Jennifer Cinotti says

          @Christina Baita,

          I swear my 5 year son has to be the pickiest eater EVER… which is odd because his father & I eat everything!! :) I have found that when I have Ty “Help Mom” make dinner ie: put on an apron, get out the juice etc. he seems to eat better. (strange boy) I also fake him out by making baked sweet pot. french fries & shredding veggies into his hamburgers. Good Luck!


  5. says

    Wow your 2 year old is a great eater! I just started using anthony’s separated plate and he loves it. I got it for .50 on summer clearance at our local DG. :)

  6. Jenn says

    What about making sweet potato fries? Maybe looking like french fries would make them more appealing to kids?

    I’ve tried every trick I can with my kids but they don’t like the consistency. They find them too mushy no matter which way we prepare them. I’ve hidden a little bit in sauces, but can’t get them to eat it intentionally.

  7. says

    Great dinner! I have four kiddos, none of them are picky eaters. We introduce them to new foods all the time and always have so to them, eating sushi is normal and so is trying new things :) Thanks for the menu! I am so looking forward to your ideas and recipes!

  8. Suzanne says

    I am trying to learn from your frugal ways and am working through your meal plans now. I am finding it very difficult here in Canada though. There just aren’t the same coupons/sales like you guys have in the states.
    I checked flyers for all the local stores the past few weeks and the cheapest I could find chicken breast ended up being about $2.50 per breast! Very frustrating.

  9. Suzanne says

    Thanks Erin! I’ll keep trying! This is certainly making me think a lot more about what I spend as well as planning ahead. Thanks for doing this!
    I think not having coupon matching is our biggest disadvantage!

  10. Linda says

    That is insanely cheap for chicken! I live in Australia and we pay $19 (approx US$20) per kilo (2.2lbs) of free-range chicken.


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