Getting dinner on the table quickly can be easier with one addition: a package of ranch seasoning. The versatile pantry staple incorporates many flavorful ingredients into one handy packet.
Baking chicken tenders, potatoes, and frozen vegetables on a baking sheet make this recipe an easy shortcut meal. Serve with a salad (ranch dressing optional) and rolls—and you’re done with dinner prep in a matter of minutes.
Why Does Ranch Seasoning Go Well With Chicken?
Since the 1950s, ranch dressing has been a perennial favorite on salads. Ranch seasoning mix has also become a go-to seasoning for ingredients including chicken.
Why does ranch seasoning work so well in so many cooking applications? The answer lies in the buttermilk base that serves to infuse proteins with ranch seasonings. Similar to brining fried chicken in liquid buttermilk, ranch seasoning mix is a great shelf stable pantry hack, with herbs and seasonings already included. And you don’t have to keep buttermilk in your refrigerator.
The familiar tangy taste of buttermilk is a great fit for chicken and having packets in your pantry makes dinner easy to prepare and cook.
What Seasonings Are in Ranch Seasoning Mix?
While the exact recipe of iconic brands like Hidden Valley Ranch isn’t known, ranch seasoning mix includes familiar chicken seasoning ingredients like garlic and onion powders, black pepper, dried parsley, dill, chives, and salt. Having these seasonings all in one packet means you don’t have to search for individual spice or herb bottles, saving time on busy weeknights.
For even more flavor, add a teaspoon of paprika to the ranch seasoning mix.
Why Are Chicken Tenders a Good Choice For Ranch Seasoning?
Using chicken tenders instead of chicken breasts can cut out a step: pounding the chicken into flatter pieces. The smaller and flatter chicken tenders take on more flavoring. That means ranch seasoning-to-meat ratio is higher, which is always a good thing.
Additionally, using the thinner chicken tenders instead of breasts helps the chicken cook at a similar rate as the vegetables and potatoes. By using frozen vegetables and simply-quartered smaller potatoes, the entire meal should be done at the same time.
Can I Use Prepared Ranch Salad Dressing in Place of the Dry Ranch Seasoning Mix?
If you don’t have a ranch seasoning packet on hand, you can use ranch salad dressing instead. Use ½ cup of ranch salad dressing to coat the chicken and another ½ cup to pour over the vegetables and potatoes quarters. The flavoring of the ranch salad dressing may not be as strong as the dry seasoning mix; consider sprinkling the chicken, vegetables, and potatoes with paprika, garlic salt, onion salt, salt, and pepper to enhance the ranch flavor.
What Can You Do With Ranch Chicken Leftovers?
If you have any dinner leftovers, there are many great options for easy lunch prep. Some options include:
- shredding the chicken for sandwiches or burrito bowls
- using the leftover chicken in wraps
- serving the chicken with rice and any leftover veggies
You can also slice the leftover chicken and add it as a protein option for salads. The leftover chicken, veggies, and potatoes make a great soup starter added to chicken broth.
1 lb. chicken tenders
1 (1- oz.) pkg. ranch seasoning mix
1 (32-oz.) pkg. frozen mixed vegetables
1 (24-oz.) bag bite-sized potatoes, quartered
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place chicken tenders and half of ranch seasoning packet into a large zip-top bag. Shake to coat chicken in ranch seasoning mix.
Spray or drizzle baking sheet with oil. Place potatoes and frozen vegetables on baking sheet. Spray or drizzle vegetables and potatoes; toss to coat.
Place the seasoned chicken on top of the vegetables and potatoes. Sprinkle chicken, vegetables, and potatoes with the remaining ½ package of ranch seasoning mix, salt, and pepper. Using tongs, mix ingredients together on the sheet.
Bake for 45 minutes or until chicken registers 165°F and is slightly browned.