Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

What Are Your Favorite Go-To Weeknight Dinners?

Here’s some truth: lately, I feel like I’m kind of kicking ass at life, at least as far as time-management and getting things done goes. Over the past eight or nine months, I’ve been on a Swedish Death Cleaning blitz. (Although I didn’t know it was called this until just recently; I’d been referring to it as just “getting rid of crap we don’t need anymore,” which isn’t anywhere near as cool or sexy as Swedish Death Cleaning.) And I’ve whittled down our household belongings to pretty much only the things we need, want, and cherish. This is proving to be a very good thing as we prepare to move in a few weeks. Also, I already have holiday gift lists for Jackson and Joanie, which I will happily send to Santa, my parents, and any other family members who ask. The kids got their flu shots yesterday, and I’m about to get mine. I’m already working on the sixth annual DW holiday book drive, and I’m pretty sure I have the perfect new dining table picked out for our new house (that we close on in a few days, eee!). But, as awesome as I surely sound, there is something that never fails to throw me off my game:

weeknight dinners.

The week might start off ok — I’ll plan a few dinners — in heavy rotation these days is this chicken dish; slow cooker pork chops; chili or a white bean stew; a rotisserie chicken with roasted brussels and sweet potato fries; and “breakfast for dinner” (the kids’ fave) — and swing by the grocery store and get the necessary ingredients. I’ll defrost meat in the mornings, do some prep work around lunchtime, and by 5, 5:15, I can bring the kids in from the playground and throw everything together and have dinner on the table by 5:45. But by Thursday — which is today — I have no clue what we’re doing for dinner. Not a clue. Actually, that’s kind of a lie. I will probably run by the gourmet grocery place in a bit and pick up their fancy marinara sauce (which is actually the same price as a jar of the generic stuff at the supermarket) and some of their yummy ricotta cheese that I’ll mix together and throw over some cooked pasta and sautéed carrots and zucchini. Lately, I’ve been doing this once every other week or even every week because it’s delicious, it takes about ten minutes to “cook,” the kids will actually eat it, and we have leftovers for another dinner or lunch.

Lately, on Fridays we’ve been going out for tacos. And tequila.

All of this sounds fine, I guess, but I feel like I’m in a bit of a rut. We’re eating the same things over and over, because they’re fast to put together and I know the kids will eat it without too much fight. (Except for the chili. On chili night, they get chicken nuggets and apple sauce.) I’d like to add some more dishes to the rotation though, ideally kid-friendly dishes that can be made with minimal prep work or cooking time (I did make these easy enchiladas this week which checked all the boxes and were delicious to boot). I have an instant pot my parents gave us for Christmas last year that I’ve only barely experimented with. Does anyone have any recipes they like for the instant pot? Any quick weeknight recipes they recommend? I found this post recently and thought I might start working my way through it (the pork fried rice sounds especially good). What are your weeknight standards? Do you feel stuck in a rut? Maybe if we all share a couple of recipes we like, we’ll all have a bunch new ones to try out…

[image via]

49 comments… add one
  • Anon from LA October 26, 2017, 1:14 pm

    A Greek salad with some crusty bread and Italian cold cuts on the side. Simple, relatively, healthy, good with a glass of wine, and can be done in 15 min.

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  • ktfran October 26, 2017, 1:17 pm

    I love this topic because I love food!

    RE: Meal planning. In our household, I do the meal planning and grocery shopping and more than half the cooking. I’m pretty good at planning for Sun – Wed dinners, breakfasts and all of my lunches. The husband eats lunch at this club he’s a member of. Phew! One less thing to plan. But like you, Wendy, by Thursday I have had it. We’ve started going out on Thursday’s then we’ll either pick up some steaks or order in on Friday’s. I honestly don’t know how my mom use to do it. She planned dinners for the entire week for a family of five and shopped on Sunday’s.

    I have a lot of go to’s. This is one of our absolute favorites:

    I make the chicken, lemon and red onion concoction, place over quinoa and usually make broccoli as a side.

    Another easy go-to is baked sweet potatoes. We add black beans, greens and cheese to those.

    Another is sliced russet potatoes laid out with white fish on top and some butter, lemon and thyme. That’s baked. Again, I serve with some kind of green.

    I have more that I can share after my afternoon meetings, but I definitely get stuck in a rut. The easiest way for me to get out of that is to check and see what is on sale at our grocery store and plan a couple of meals around that. It’s so helpful! For instance, chuck roast was on sale last week, so I did a roast on Sunday, and yum!

    Can’t wait to hear what others have to say.

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    • SpaceySteph October 26, 2017, 2:00 pm

      We just did Mexican stuffed potatoes last night! Made the sweet potatoes in my instant pot (faster than an oven, better tasting than a microwave) and while they cooked, I drained a can of corn, can of black beans, and chopped some tomato, onion, and avocado. Finish with a sprinkle of shredded cheese. Delicious! Only my husband isn’t a big fan of sweet potatoes so I can’t do those too often.

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  • ILiveforOlives October 26, 2017, 1:22 pm

    As someone who loves to eat but hates to plan, my partner and I solved this by creating a shared Google docs spreadsheet of our favorite recipes! There’s a column for the meal itself, then a frequently-needed item column (IE, if we’re making chili and always have beans but *never* have avocados, avocados get listed), and then a hyperlink to the recipe itself. It’s solved *so* many problems because I feel like we’ll make a recipe, love it, and then promptly forget what it is a week later. Now when I’m feeling rushed or uninspired, I just open the doc! It’s also fun to see when he adds recipes in to surprise me.

    So, here are some of the most delicious and fastest:

    -spinach-smothered lentils: http://www.tastespotting.com/features/spinach-green-lentils-palak-moong-recipe-and-660-curries-cookbook
    -white chicken chili: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/10/white-chili-with-chicken-best.html (this is pretty kid-friendly, as far as chili goes)
    -marinated lentil salad: https://www.budgetbytes.com/2016/10/marinated-lentil-salad/
    -rice bowl with fried egg and avocado: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/rice-bowl-fried-egg-avocado
    -Parisian gnocchi with roasted cherry tomato, corn, and zucchini: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/09/parisian-gnocchi-roasted-cherry-tomato-corn-zucchini-food-lab-recipe.html
    -ultra-gooey mac and cheese: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2015/10/the-food-labs-ultra-gooey-stovetop-mac-cheese.html

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    Portia October 26, 2017, 1:50 pm

    I hope others have instant pot recipes! Here are two I’ve liked and saved the recipes:
    http://ministryofcurry.com/aloo-gobhi-instant-pot/ (I usually use a can of tomatoes)

    If I want to cook but don’t have too much energy or time, these are my favorites:

    For the first, you need to cook two separate things (boil the lentils and sautee the carrots and onions) and the second is only one (quinoa), then the rest is chopping a few things and combining. I cook and chop at the same time and can get each done in about half an hour.

    If you have some time but want easy:

    Chop the sweet potatoes (and optionally broccoli), then throw it in the oven and set some timers. The rest is making a grain (mine is quinoa) and mixing together some stuff for the sauce (with an immersion blender because I don’t like cleanup from a food processor/blender). I’d say all in all it takes a little over 45 minutes, but most of that is unattended roasting. Instant pot makes the quinoa part a little easier.

    But my best method for quick and easy dinners is my husband – he can throw together stuff super quick and has a good sense of flavors. I usually do the complicated recipes when we have a little more time.

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      Copa October 26, 2017, 3:08 pm

      Tell me about your instant pot! What are the benefits of it compared to a slow cooker?

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      • SpaceySteph October 26, 2017, 3:24 pm

        An instant pot is like an all in one: pressure cooker, slow cooker, and I replaced my rice cooker with it as well.
        The pressure cooker means you can cook things that would normally take a long time much quicker (like the pho recipe I posted– that kind of chicken stock would take hours on the stove).
        Also it has a saute feature so if you get annoyed like me when you have to first sear the meat before putting in the slow cooker and now you’ve gotta wash the pan, you can saute and then slow cook in the same instant pot insert!

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        Portia October 26, 2017, 7:17 pm

        Yes, the sautee feature is great to have as part of it! For instance, for the “roasted potato recipe” I posted, you sautee it for a few minutes first to get it all brown, then you steam them with broth. So you get the best of all worlds because pressure cooking doesn’t take as long as roasting (and in the summer it doesn’t heat up the kitchen as much!) Then it also has some of the browning without using multiple pans, like SpaceySteph says.

        It also gives you an extra burner or small oven equivalent (depending on the recipe), which has helped many times.

        I used to have a slow cooker but never ended up using it. We use the instant pot almost every day – it’s certainly earned its place on our counter.

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    Miss MJ October 26, 2017, 2:17 pm

    So my husband won’t really eat chicken unless it’s in like tacos or something, hates pork chops, refuses to eat most casseroles and won’t eat fish unless it’s blackened or grilled. He also won’t eat eggplant, sweet potatoes or black beans or salads with nuts or fruit in them. AND, we’re trying to cut back on simple carbs. Fun! Fortunately, he grills about half the time and is willing to try most other veggies. But that’s what I’m working with when I’m planning meals and we eat dinner in probably 6 days a week. We sometimes go out for drink/appetizers after work a few times a week though, which means I often need something quick to prepare or else we’re eating out! These are some of my sure-fire go-tos.

    Spaghetti and homemade meatballs is one that I love for when we get in early enough that there’s still time to cook but too late to do elaborate. It feels “fancy,” but takes about 30 minutes from start to finish and I love it. The downside is that you have to have fresh ground beef available (frozen works, but you have to add egg to the meatballs or the fall apart). I make my own sauce, but usually use store bought whole wheat pasta, unless I’m feeling industrious (and have the time), I make my own pasta and that’s super fun.

    We also do bacon roasted Brussel Sprouts with garbanzo beans and topped with fried eggs. This works well with that pre-cooked bacon you can get in the store.

    Blackened fish or flank steak and grilled or roasted veggies (like zucchini or squash strips or asparagus) also make the cut and it’s quick, even on the grill.

    I also go to the local farmer’s market every week or so and every couple of weeks I make what I call a “Sausage Party” (yes, I know!), where I take a little bit of spicy sausage and mix it with the leftover vegetables.

    And I routinely will stir fry shrimp and julienned veggies (or a stir fry medley from the store) with sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic and serve it over brown rice (or noodles, but that’s much less healthy!).

    A pork loin (either pre-seasoned or one you season) grilled or done in the oven with grilled veggies or roasted root veggies in balsamic dressing is another favorite. It takes a little longer, but once you put it in the oven, or on the grill, you can leave it alone.

    Homemade pizza – I get a store-bought crust, add sauce made of 1 can tomato paste, plus 1/2 to one can water, plus a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a generous dose of dried oregano – and add whatever chopped veggies, meats and cheese and have it ready to go in half an hour. (Or grill it!)

    “Hoagies” – Italian sausage, sliced bell peppers, sliced onions and sliced portobellos over po’boy (french) bread. I usually bake homemade fries/sweet potato fries (for me!) to go with these.

    There are more, but they take longer and can be more elaborate. I usually include either a Caesar salad (from a kit, sans the seasoning packet) or simple tomato, cucumber and balsamic salad with everything, which helps round it all out.

    Yay, food thread!

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  • SpaceySteph October 26, 2017, 2:40 pm

    So not to toot my own horn too much, but I have always been a champion meal planner. Before we had a kid I planned 5 meals a week most weeks, Sunday-Thursday, with leftovers for lunch the next day. Weekends left open for either going out, ordering in, or clearing out any leftovers. From that I had amassed a huge collection of recipes which I keep in the Pepperplate app (https://www.pepperplate.com/login.aspx). I also came up with tags that I add as I import the recipe: main ingredient (poultry, beef, etc), cuisine (asian, italian, etc), and cooking type (oven, grill, crockpot, you get the picture). Importing them all is a pain but once they’re in there, it makes life so much easier!

    Now that I have a baby, we cook roughly every other night, a double batch that’ll feed us for at least 2 dinners and 2 lunches. Its sometimes more work to make a big batch than a small batch, but not twice as much work so it still pays off. One night to cook and clean the kitchen, one night to have a bit more breathing room and just pop dinner in the microwave. I try to do a mixture of beef/chicken/vegetarian choices, and different cuisines. I also am definitely favoring more sheet pan, one pot, and instant/crockpot recipes because they are less labor intensive.

    My instant pot favorites:
    Beef Gyro, good in a pita or on a salad! https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/beef-gyros-slow-cooker-instant-pot/
    Chicken pho- this is a paleo recipe so it uses spirulized daikon instead of noodles. We add noodles (cook them separately and put in the bowl then pour broth over) but also add some daikon too. The broth is really flavorful for such a short time! http://www.thesophisticatedcaveman.com/pressure-cooker-chicken-faux-pho/

    Other favorites:
    Chickpea shawarma– really easy sheetpan meal, can use the same spice rub on chicken thighs which is also delicious. Also I would eat that tahini sauce with a spoon given the opportunity. https://minimalistbaker.com/chickpea-shawarma-sandwich/
    Crockpot buffalo chicken- best on a baked potato with blue cheese or ranch dressing! https://civilizedcavemancooking.com/recipes/poultry/crockpot-buffalo-chicken/
    Picked veggies– so the burger recipe here is kinda generic but we love the pickled veggies. I add a couple smashed garlic cloves and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper and leave them in a mason jar. A yummy, easy side.
    Roasted Salmon and potatoes- buzzfeed is an odd place for a recipe maybe, but this is so good and easy. Salmon is the best because it cooks quickly. I add green beans as well as the potatoes. https://www.buzzfeed.com/emofly/quick-and-easy-salmon-recipe?utm_term=.atXJ5nJrR#.pvAzRWzEn

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    • ktfran October 26, 2017, 2:51 pm

      I used PepperPlate too!

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  • K October 26, 2017, 3:20 pm

    Skinnytaste Carnitas (in the slow cooker) – http://www.skinnytaste.com/mexican-slow-cooked-pork-carnitas/ – this is one of our favorites

    Spicy Skillet Hoisin Chicken – https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/spicy-skillet-hoisin-chicken – so quick and delicious

    Another favorite is broiling either pork or turkey sausage and saute zucchini and then topping it all with marinara sauce, and sometimes fresh melted mozzarella.

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    Copa October 26, 2017, 3:23 pm

    My fastest weeknight dinner is cauliflower fried rice! I don’t have a recipe to link to, but make mine using all frozen veggies. I heat up a little bit of sesame oil in a pan, then add garlic and frozen peas/carrots and let them cook a bit. Then I add frozen riced cauliflower, and let that cook for a couple minutes. I might add some rotisserie chicken. I make some space in the center of the pan, and scramble up and egg or two. Then I mix everything together. I add salt, pepper, and soy sauce to taste. It’s about 10-15 minutes of work total. You wouldn’t know it’s cauliflower instead of rice.

    A couple times per month, I’ll cook brown rice (which, btw, I hated at home until I found this recipe http://www.skinnytaste.com/how-to-make-perfect-brown-rice-every/). I often have cooked brown rice in the fridge, and will sometimes use real rice in stead of cauliflower.

    I also tend to make a lot of taco meat out of ground turkey or chicken. If I don’t eat it all, I’ll freeze it. It’s easy to eat on top of brown rice with some chopped bell peppers, pico de gallo, and avocado as a DIY burrito bowl.

    I also like to make this chili in the crockpot: http://www.skinnytaste.com/slow-cooker-paleo-jalapeno-popper/ It freezes really well! The recipe makes a ton of food.

    I also like this spaghetti squash casserole from PaleOMG http://paleomg.com/almost-5-ingredient-pizza-spaghetti-pie/ and her meatloaf http://paleomg.com/italian-meatloaf/ (When I’m trying to be healthy, I eat paleo-ish, and PaleOMG’s recipes are usually very simple because I’m pretty sure Juli, the gal behind the site, hates cooking)

    Lately I’ve been buying a lot of rotisserie chickens. I’ll throw the meat into different meals throughout the week, then use the bones to make my own broth. Now that it’s cold out, I’ll be using the broth to make soups, which I think are always quick and tasty.

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      Copa October 26, 2017, 3:26 pm

      Oh, and one way I sometimes like to use up leftovers is to buy the four cheese frozen pizzas at Trader Joe’s and then pile on the veggies and meat I’m trying to use up. I sprinkle some parmesan and red pepper flakes when it comes out of the oven and it never fails to disappoint.

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    • Ange October 27, 2017, 6:20 am

      I’m super lame at meal prep and cooking because…. Ugh. Just ugh. But I do have a pretty awesome cauliflower fried rice recipe I used a lot before The Great Cooking Tantrum of 2016: https://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2013/03/cauliflower-fried-rice.html

      I don’t use those exact vegetables but the recipe is solid.

      Also: my dinner tonight is wine.

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        Copa October 27, 2017, 9:16 am

        I actually liked cauliflower fried rice less when I use fresh ingredients, oddly enough. I’m sure this has a lot to do with how I tend to multi-task when I cook, but my fresh cauliflower always ended up mushy.

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    Dear Wendy October 26, 2017, 3:33 pm

    I love all these suggestions!! Keep ’em coming!

    Something easy I like to do is make a bath of quinoa once or twice a week and then use it for quick stir-fry dishes with veggies i need to use up. I also like saute kale in some garlic and red pepper flakes, pile that on a bowl of quinoa, and top with two runny fried eggs. That’s a quick, easy, filling, yummy dinner. The kids won’t eat it, so I’ll make scrambled eggs for them with fruit and call it “breakfast for dinner.”

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  • Betsy October 26, 2017, 4:07 pm

    I feel like I’m in a rut, too. My almost 3yo will usually eat these…she is almost 3 after all.

    https://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/02/oven-fajitas/ (i switch up the veggies depending on what we have on hand, carrots are actually awesome in fajitas!)
    http://www.skinnytaste.com/beef-tomato-and-acini-di-pepe-soup/ *instant pot

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    • SpaceySteph October 27, 2017, 11:35 am

      Oh man, foil packet chicken is like my favorite thing to make for camping but for some reason it never occurred to me to make it at home. Brilliant!

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  • SanDiegoSmith82 October 26, 2017, 4:15 pm

    I love sharing my dinner Ideas, and I’m stealing taco potatoes. (except for the sweet potato part).
    I am big on Asian flavors, and they make for really quick dinners and/or pre- planned lunches.
    Damn Delicious’ blog has a ton, but this one is my favorite, because ground beef makes it so affordable. We’ll sometimes top it with a fried egg for extra protein.

    Explore her site, and I’m sure you will find more ideas.

    Recipe Tin Eats is another of my favorites.
    This recipe for pizzas, and I take them to my office and cook them in a toaster oven for lunches.

    Her Thai noodle recipes are the best ones I’ve come across, and my husband now prefers mine (using her tricks) to going out.

    My husband loves homemade Chicken Satay (yellow chicken) as he calls it, and while the marinade take a while to do, it’s simple. It can stain your counters yellow because of the tumeric, so be careful. We make enough for a few dinners, and serve it with fried rice, the Pioneer Woman’s sesame noodles, or on top of salad.

    Recipe can be altered, but here’s most of it:
    1 can coconut milk
    1 tbsp yellow curry powder
    1 tbsp tumeric
    1tbsp garlic powder or three cloves of chopped garlic
    2 tbsp brown sugar
    1-2 tbsp fish sauce (to taste)
    1 tsp Sriracha (or more if you prefer).
    1 thai chili sliced (optional)
    2-3 lbs boneless skinless thighs, or chicken breast (tenders are the best, and cook up faster)

    Marinade for 12-24 hours. Grill until cooked through.

    Serve with peanut sauce (not included in recipe) if desired. Both of my blogs above have good peanut sauces, but my husband refuses to eat it.

    We also make breakfast for dinner at least once a month.

    One of my other new favorites is the Cajun Shrimp bake. I have changed my version to use some of our locally available sausages, but you can stick with Chunga’s blog version as a start. Serve it with mac and cheese and you have one of my husband’s favorite dinners. (We leave out the corn and potatoes and add bell peppers).

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    • dinoceros October 26, 2017, 4:23 pm

      I just realized we both posted a version of the same korean beef bowl. So good!

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  • dinoceros October 26, 2017, 4:19 pm

    I discovered this Cheddar Ranch Chicken and Veggies a little over a year ago and it’s so good: https://www.buzzfeed.com/clairenolan/this-recipe-for-cheddar-ranch-chicken-and-veggies-is-just-wh?utm_term=.aoEVd6dD#.jtMg232M.
    I also make this version of jambalaya. Not sure how authentic it is, but it’s easy and yummy: http://www.eatliverun.com/breakfast-recipes/hot-spicy-jambalaya/
    One of my most favorite and easiest dinners is to stirfry broccoli and shrimp with soy sauce, oil, and garlic, and then put it over rice. I bought some of that white sauce from Japanese steak houses and I drizzle it over.
    Also, two meal prep recipes I’ve used for lunches are: http://damndelicious.net/2017/04/21/korean-beef-bowl-meal-prep/ and https://www.foodlovinfamily.com/jerk-chicken-meal-prep-bowls/. I have never been good at hardcore meal prep because a lot of foods start to taste nasty by the end of the week, but those held up pretty well.

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    • dinoceros October 26, 2017, 4:20 pm

      Oh, back in the day, I used to make pasta (any of the non-stringy types) and add olive oil, fresh basil, tomato, crumbled italian sausage and goat cheese. Very refreshing. I haven’t made it in years, mostly because I forgot, but I remembered it yesterday and hope to make it again soon!

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    • SpaceySteph October 27, 2017, 8:51 am

      Mmm that pasta recipe sounds delicious. So does cheddar ranch chicken!

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    • SpaceySteph November 7, 2017, 10:15 am

      We tried that cheddar ranch chicken last night and it was DELICIOUS! Thanks for sharing!

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  • Jessica Emelia, LCPC October 26, 2017, 7:05 pm

    I’m a huge fan of the Pepperplate app! It lets you plan your weekly meals and add ingredients to a grocery list directly from the recipes you import, so it’s easy to try new recipes and be sure to have all the ingredients for it.

    NYT’s oven-roasted chicken shawarma (https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017161-oven-roasted-chicken-shawarma) is phenomenal, and easy to make large batches of. You can use some of the leftovers to make a yummy chicken salad (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/8565/beckys-chicken-salad/ – it’s perfectly great without the whipped cream) for your lunches. Turkey meatloaf is easy and lasts a couple days. Baked or pan-fried tilapia is inexpensive, and SO EASY to make, just throw a little olive oil, garlic, lemon, and salt and pepper on it and it’s done in 10 minutes. Roasted vegetables are always super easy and good for you.

    I also always have a pot of veggie chili in the fridge for lunches or to supplement suppers .

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    Miss MJ October 26, 2017, 7:06 pm

    All these recipes seem much better than what I was going to cook tonight!

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  • alsofreckly October 27, 2017, 7:01 am

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    Lianne October 27, 2017, 9:14 am

    I always feel like I am in a rut. I’ve been doing Plated lately. This is the third meal service I’ve tried. I like this above the others because you can choose which meals you get and there are a lot of options. Also, if you like something you made previously, they usually offer it again.

    I also love doing Taco Tuesdays. I usually make pasta at least one day a week and throw in whatever I have on hand. I realized recently I used to make stir fry a lot and stopped, so will pick that back up.

    Summers are easy because we grill a lot. I need to start utilizing my crockpot more. OR get an Instant Pot for Christmas. All these recipes inspired me.

    I will say that I am so much better when I meal plan.

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    • Rangerchic October 27, 2017, 10:23 am

      I also used Plated for a while a couple of years ago and loved it!

      Also, I noticed a lot of people linking to Skinnytaste. I love her website! She has a lot of fantastic recipes. I love the baked potato soup: http://www.skinnytaste.com/baked-potato-soup/

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      • K October 27, 2017, 11:40 am

        I adore Skinnytaste – I’ve hardly ever had a recipe that I didn’t like of hers.

  • ktfran October 27, 2017, 9:14 am

    Ok, work is so much easier today. I have a couple more go-tos….

    If we want a steak, we’ll pick one up at the store along with romaine. We grill both and usually split the steak. For the grilled romaine, I chop up and toss with an easy dressing… It’s 2 parts EVOO to one part red wine vinegar. Add in some salt, pepper, any herbs you have on hand and I’ll usually add a drop of whole grain mustard or anchovy paste. IT’S SO GOOD! Actually, I use that dressing a lot. And I also add in minced garlic occasionally. I never buy dressing anymore.

    So, my one super, super easy go to meal that some might think is weird is my own version of Tuna Noodle Casserole, which is a box of Annie’s Mac & Cheese, a can of tuna and broccoli. We add some hot sauce to top it off.

    And here are a couple more go to soup recipes:

    Cabbage Soup: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/cabbage_soup/
    I add a half pound of ground turkey breast. And sometimes eat with a baguette

    Chicken Noodle Soup: https://www.theyellowtable.com/recipes/best-homemade-chicken-noodle-soup-spinach-recipe

    White Bean Soup with Andouille and Collards: https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/slow-cooker-white-bean-soup-with-andouille-and-collards
    I don’t always use collard greens. Sometimes kale. Or another hearty green leafy vegetable. Also good served with a baguette and some grated parmesan.

    One more. One of my all time favorite recipes that’s heavy on rotation:

    What’s great about that is she offers so many substitutions, it makes it so easy! For instance, I use white wine vinegar instead of sherry. I use honey. Red pepper flakes. Any kind of green, but usually chard. Chopped walnuts. I leave out the raisins. And I usually have parsley on hand.

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  • Vathena October 27, 2017, 10:58 am

    I’m digging this thread! We try to eat mostly vegetarian at our house – my husband ate a completely vegetarian diet for 25+ years until he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last year. Now we have meat a couple of times a week, as it’s a good way to get calories and protein without having to amp up on the insulin to compensate. BUT, this is one of our go-to carb-a-licious vegetarian dishes, and our four year old loves it too: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/carrot-macaroni-and-cheese (the child actually complains if she gets mac ‘n’ cheese WITHOUT carrots in it!) We usually double the recipe. I don’t really care for tarragon, so I substitute fresh basil in the summer and sage in the winter.

    I like cook up batches of dried beans in the crockpot and freeze them for later use, but it takes all day…think I’m definitely going to get myself an instant pot for Christmas!

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    • ktfran October 27, 2017, 11:02 am

      Love and Lemons is my favorite vegetarian recipe blog. I have the cookbook too. Check it out sometime.


      We’re meat eaters, but I like to cook vegetarian a couple nights.

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      • Vathena October 27, 2017, 11:18 am

        Oh awesome! Thanks – I will definitely check that out. Inspiration!

  • K October 27, 2017, 11:49 am

    Forgot some more Skinnytaste favorites:

    Thai Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry – this one is nice and quick. Probably the Skinnytaste recipe I’ve made the most. http://www.skinnytaste.com/thai-chicken-and-pineapple-stir-fry/

    Shawarma Spiced Grilled Chicken with Garlic Yogurt. The flavor on this is so good. I don’t have a grill, so I just cook the chicken in a frying pan. http://www.skinnytaste.com/shawarma-spiced-grilled-chicken-with-garlic-yogurt/

    Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili – just dump all the ingredients in to the slow cooker, can’t get any easier! http://www.skinnytaste.com/crock-pot-chicken-taco-chili-4-pts/

    Cube Steak with Peppers & Olives – you can make it on the stovetop, in the slow cooker or in the Instant Pot! http://www.skinnytaste.com/braised-cubed-steak-with-peppers-onions-and-olives-instant-pot-and-slow-cooker/

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      Copa October 27, 2017, 12:30 pm

      I love Skinnytaste! I used to love making this dirty rice dish: http://www.skinnytaste.com/dirty-brown-rice-with-shrimp/ I used to make it all the time, to the point where I had the recipe down pat and knew how I liked it modified to suit my eating preferences. I should revisit this recipe.

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      • K October 27, 2017, 3:23 pm

        That one looks yummy!

  • ecwashere October 27, 2017, 12:25 pm

    We normally plan meals for Sunday – Wednesday. Sometimes we’re successful and other times we end up just grabbing carry out from somewhere. I do have a couple of recipes to share.

    One of my new favorite recipes is Sausage Kale Soup:
    I add some heavy cream to give it more of a chili consistency

    In the fall/winter I like to make homemade meatballs:
    1/2 lb grass fed ground beef and 1/2 lb of ground pork
    1 egg
    Italian seasoning (Mrs. Dash is my favorite)
    Shredded Parmesan w/ basil
    6-8 saltines crumbled

    Normally with the other half of the ground beef and ground pork, I will either make chili or meatloaf for later in the week.

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  • Kate October 27, 2017, 2:33 pm

    I don’t care about cooking, but I just saw because I follow Gizmodo in my tech news feed, that Amazon just discounted two highly rated instant pots, if you’re into them.

    The IP-DUO60 is $20 off and the Instant Pot Ultra is $30 off.

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    • Kate October 27, 2017, 2:34 pm

      Oh – the first one is the one Wendy has!

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  • boosker October 28, 2017, 10:47 am

    Deluxe grilled cheese (regular grilled cheese but add any combo of nice pickles, sliced tomatoes, bacon strips, fried egg, avocado) with a cookie sheet of any roasted vegetable (green beans, cauliflower–I like to add a sauce that’s one part soy sauce, one part siracha and one part sesame oil which I got from the blog Optional Kitchen).

    Mississippi Roast (probably can do in instant pot)–beef roast, stick of butter (or less), packet of ranch, packet of aus jus.

    Wraps (some type of meat, cheese, veggie, and sauce/dressing that you grill in a skillet) plus a side salad or roasted vegetables.

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  • JLO October 28, 2017, 4:20 pm

    This is one of our current go-tos:


    It is SO easy, you just throw it all in a pan and into the oven. The recipe quantities make a LOT, we usually halve it and then serve over rocket. Delicious!

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    Dear Wendy October 29, 2017, 11:36 am

    Another easy one I used to do: red beans and rice with andouille sausage. Super fast, easy, and tasty.


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  • DCLite October 29, 2017, 4:56 pm

    My mom used to make this for us, and the first time I made it I just didn’t tell my husband the ingredients (I knew he’d go on and on about organic, but it’s delish.) Just mix one bottle of Thousand Island dressing, one jar of apricot jam, and one packet of the dried French Onion soup powder. Braise chicken breasts in sauce, serve over jasmine rice. 20 minutes.

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    Lianne March 21, 2018, 11:44 am

    Wendy (and anyone else interested) – this recipe is insanely good and relatively easy to make. It’s mostly healthy, aside from the cheese, too. https://cookieandkate.com/2017/black-bean-sweet-potato-enchiladas/

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      Dear Wendy March 21, 2018, 11:55 am

      Thanks, Lianne!

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    • keyblade March 21, 2018, 11:58 am

      Looks good, thank you for sharing.

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