Today, I’m showing you the easiest, most efficient way to make two really delicious dinners using chicken thighs! For meal 1, you’ll make a bold, one-pan pesto chicken thigh bake, and then, for meal 2, you’ll transform the planned-for leftover chicken thighs into a hearty, comforting chicken noodle soup!

pesto chicken bake and chicken noodle soup dinners

I’m REALLY excited to introduce you to this dinner series concept! In my new book, Cook Once Dinner Fix, I show you how to create a delicious and healthy dinner, then transform it into an entirely different dish on another night. These recipes are designed to help you be as efficient as possible in the kitchen without sacrificing flavor. In this Dinner Fix-style series, I focus on chicken thighs as our main ingredient!

Our Two Chicken Thigh Dinner Recipes

These chicken thigh recipes are really, really flavorful. There’s just something about a humble chicken thigh that really takes a chicken dish to the next level.

a chicken pesto bake in a casserole dish

Dinner #1: Chicken Thigh Pesto Bake

Let’s talk about this pesto bake! Complete with potatoes, cauliflower, bacon, chicken thighs, and pesto, this is a one-pan meal that deserves ALL OF THE LOVE. It’s incredibly family-friendly, really easy, and so delicious.

a close up of a spoonful of chicken noodle soup above a bowl of chicken noodle soup

Dinner #2: Chicken Noodle Soup

You can’t go wrong with homemade chicken noodle soup! It checks all of the boxes: nourishing, comforting, delicious, and exceptionally easy. The good-stuff (veggies, chicken, noodles, etc.) to broth ratio here is spot on.

Combined Shopping Lists

Here’s everything you’ll need to make these two dinners:


  • Bacon, 8 ounces
  • Chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, 3 pounds


  • Basil, fresh, 8 ounces (for homemade pesto, omit if using store-bought)
  • Carrots, 5 medium
  • Cauliflower, ½ large head (or 1 whole small head)
  • Celery, 5 stalks
  • Garlic, 4 cloves (2 for homemade pesto, omit if using store-bought)
  • Lemons, 5 (2 for homemade pesto, omit if using store-bought)
  • Onion, yellow, ½ 
  • Parsley, ¼ bunch
  • Yukon gold potatoes, 1 pound


  • Parmesan cheese, ¼ cup, plus more for garnish (¼ cup for homemade pesto, omit if using store-bought)


  • Basil pesto, 2 (6-ounce) jars (omit if making homemade pesto)
  • Broth, chicken, 96 fluid ounces
  • Noodles of choice, 12 ounces
  • Olive oil, ¼ cup, plus 1 tablespoon (¼ cup for homemade pesto, omit if using store-bought)
  • Pine nuts, ¼ cup, plus more for garnish (¼ cup for homemade pesto, omit if using store-bought)


  • Bay leaves, 2

How These Recipes Work Together

While I’ve given each of these recipes their own home on the website to show how they can be made independently of one another, this is how you’ll make the two work together in the most efficient way possible.

a serving of chicken pesto bake on a plate

Meal One

Here’s what you’ll do for the Chicken Thigh Pesto Bake:

  1. Cook the pesto bake according to the recipe here. Instead of purchasing 1½ pounds of thighs for the bake, you’ll purchase 3 pounds so that you have leftovers for meal 2.
  2. While the bake is in the oven, you’ll want to bake the other half of the chicken thighs (1 ½ pounds) on a rimmed baking sheet for 30 minutes. Once the chicken thighs are out of the oven, let them cool slightly, slice them (if you have time — this can also be done just before starting meal 2), and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator until tomorrow night! 

Meal Two

Here’s what you’ll do for the Chicken Noodle Soup:

  1. Cook the soup according to the instructions here. Skip the step that calls for cooking the thighs, though, and just add them in when you add in the broth and bay leaves!

There you have it: two really delicious meals made easy-as-can-be through strategic planning.

two bowls of chicken noodle soup

How to Make these Recipes as Separate Meals

If you’d rather enjoy these meals independently of one another, find the Chicken Thigh Pesto Bake HERE and the Chicken Noodle Soup HERE.

If this method piques your interest, you can find 60 more dinner series (120 dinners + a bunch of side dishes!) in my book, Cook Once Dinner Fix, coming out on September 14, 2021. Learn more about the book + pre-order it HERE.

About the Author

Brandi Schilhab

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