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What are your weeknight standbys?

  • l

It's a new year and we have resolved to eat out less (gasp, not very Houndish) to save money. Looking for some tasty and preferably health recipes that can go on the table quickly after a long day at work. We just got a crockpot, so make ahead and slow cook all day works too. Just nothing that will take more than 30 minutes in the morning including chopping stuff.

So, what are your regular dinner menus?

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  1. My emergency food is quesadillas. You can fill them with pretty much anything. I'm trying to eat healthy so I use whole wheat tortillas, beans, and low fat cheese. Sometimes meat. I layer in spinach also.

    1. I just baked some boneless skinless chicken thighs in Annie's Organic BBQ sauce (marinate overnight in sauce)


      Some faux baked beans. 1 can of canellini beans drained and rinsed. Sautee an onion and a few garlic cloves in OO, add Applegate Turkey Bacon, a spoon of brown sugar (I used the splenda kind), a spoon of mustard, some tobasco, chopped tomatoes and organic ketchup, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Cook in a sautee pan til flavors are combined.

      Took about 20 minutes total.

      1. Crockpot beef burgundy - super-simple morning prep; smells wonderful when you walk in the house from work! This is from Mabel Hoffman's "Crockery Cookery" cookbook, now posted on southernfood.about.com:


        1. Chicken curry, using boneless chicken, takes me about half an hour. And the rice cooks simultaneously.

          1. Stir fries are an obvious solution.

            Quesadillas (as mentioned) and other tortilla dishes are super quick.

            Whole-wheat couscous is ready in minutes. You can add canned beans, steamed veggies and dried fruit for flavor.

            I also fall back on eggs - they're really versatile. I had a frittata phase, but now I'm into a soft-poached egg over salad or roasted veggies.

            1. 'Shake-n-bake' Chicken with Roasted Vegetables.

              As soon as you walk in the door, set your oven racks and preheat the oven to 425F.

              2 Tb mustard + 1 beaten egg for dunking.
              1 cup seasoned non-MSG breadcrumbs + 1 tsp oregano + extra black pepper for crust.

              Just before baking, dip skinless chicken pieces in eggwash and coat with crumb mix, and lay on ungreased baking sheet.

              ROASTED VEGETABLES, (you could cut them up ahead of time)
              6 to 8 large zucchini, chunked
              (1 or 2 peppers, chunked -or- some button mushrooms, whole)
              1 yellow onion or handful of shallots, coarsely chopped
              Toss it all in regular (not extra virgin) olive oil with kosher salt & black pepper & sprinkle of thyme or oregano.

              Put both sheets into the oven - roast vegetables on the upper rack close to the broiling elements, and chicken in the middle.

              The veggies will be done in 20-25 minutes.
              Take them out of the oven, and turn the heat down to 400. Give it a squeeze of lemon to finish.
              The chicken will be done in another 15 minutes, about 35 to 40 minutes in total.

              This is my one of my favorite TV dinner foods.

              1. pork chops either baked with mushroom soup or just breadcrumbs

                chicken and gravy

                1. oh and another great one is...Taco's without the Taco (which I guess is really Taco Salad)

                  I think you know the drill. Meat, Cheese, Let, Tom, Onion Salsa, Guac, Sour Cream..... Add FF spicy refried beans for an extra kick.

                  1. A bag of frozen Asian veggies. Some frozen shrimp. Rice noodles. Mix miso paste, red chili sauce, oyster sauce, toasted seasame oil, seasame seeds, a dash of rice vinegar. Cilantro and green onion.

                    Boil some water and rehydrate the rice noodles. Drop a half cube of chicken broth in some water in a 2-4 quart pot. Bring to a boil. Add veggies, rice noodles and shrimp. When it comes back to a boil, remove from heat and add wet condiment mix. Add cilantro and green onions. Done. Delicious and only 20 minutes.

                    1. grilled boneless chix on the grill with seasoning, side of wheat pilaf or cous cous (Near East); quesadillas, either on a skillet or grilled; couple of dogs; steak/chops on the grill.

                      All of these are on the table in under 30 minutes

                      1. Chicken sausage, cut up with whatever we have; leeks, onions, garlic, sundried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, asparagus, capers, artichoke hearts, olives, roasted peppers, fresh peppers, whatever, etc. The recipe is constantly changing, because we are constantly buying different things. The more you cut up, the longer you are cutting, but you can also cut some things while on person begins cooking. Like after the onions are in the pan, cut up some tomatoes. Change the sausages, and change the whole recipe. Use sausage with thai flavors and add something you would not use with one that has Italian flavors.

                        1. We eat at home most of the time (I guess that's not terribly CH-ish, now that you mention it, though I do travel a pretty wide swath to get good ingredients...) and though I work at home I spend my days, you know, working. So I do a lot of crock pot stuff; some of my go-to meals are:
                          Chicken and Greens
                          Put a layer of sliced or chopped onions in the crock, top with thinly-sliced fennel bulb, a couple cloves (or 10) chopped garlic, about 2 tablespoons of rosemary. On top of that I layer skinless chicken pieces (with or without the bone), a can of cannellini or other white beans, about a cup of marina then top the whole thing with about 4 cups of roughly chopped spinaach, swiss chard or brocolli rabe. Oh, salt and pepper as I go. Pour about a cup of white wine over the whole thing, cook on low for 6-8 hours (my crockpot automatically goes to the keep warm setting after the cooking time is done).
                          I do the same dish with pork tenderloins or pork chops.
                          Stew is always good in a crockpot, just make sure to brown the meat first. I've done that the night before, assembled all the ingredients except potatoes (I don't like how they come out in the CP) to let the flavors meld then cook it on low for 6-8 hours.
                          I also make a big batch of mixed green salad every other day so that's done when it's time for dinner.

                          1. Pizza. Put all the ingredients in the bread machine, wait 2-3 hours on the dough, stretch and cook. Lots of fresh veggies for toppings, and you're done. Quattro formaggio for the frigid days out.

                            Only about 15-20 minutes of real work, the other time is just raising the dough. Alternatively, you can make the dough, freeze it and take it out to defrost it in the fridge in the morning. That allows for a slower rise, which only helps the taste.

                            1. I have a bunch that I turn to again and again. They are nutritious, easy and my kids really like them.

                              Black bean Burritoes

                              Cook one package regular or turkey bacon, diced. Pour off fat if needed. Saute one chopped onion in the same pan. Add diced veggies of your choice (e.g., carrots, celery, peppers, sweet potatoes) with 2 t cumin and pepper. When veg are tender, add 2 cans drained black beans and the cooked bacon. Heat through; serve with whole wheat tortillas and salsa.

                              Lemony Broccoli and Chickpea Pasta (I use whole wheat pasta)

                              Tuna Italiano
                              I add a few handfuls of frozen french green beans, omit the garlic salt (plenty of salt in the olives and cheese) and use whole-wheat pasta.

                              1. Frozen ravioli and light Alfredo sauce. I'm lucky to be near a pasta shop that makes excellent light ricotta and spinach ravis. Also, IQF shrimp, petit pois, etc. My freezer is my best helper. On the weekend, I make things to freeze in portions (we are two), my own filetto sauce, sliced mushrooms that I saute and season with Worchester sauce and freeze in a single layer, break up, and bag. Whole wheat and corn tortillas, reduced fat shredded cheeses. And, I am good at lettuce management and keeping grated carrots, raw cauliflower,slivered almonds, and blanched broccoli florets.

                                1. Giving yourself an hour or so of prep time after you bring in your week's groceries, makes for alot of ease during your work week. Wash, clean, spin out your salad greens, bag. Clean and large chop/slice veggies. You can always chop/slice them smaller as needed or good for just fast snacks. Package out your protein into servings and those are an easy grab to cook as well. If you are really into it, toss prep scraps into a pot and simmer out for some stock.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Quine

                                    I do this as well, and it saves me tons of money. Less waste, less time spent during the week. Sometimes I also roast a whole chicken on Sunday morning, carve it up and chop the meat (for use later in the week in dishes like burritos, pasta, etc... basically anything I can braise the meat in) and then boil the carcass with some veggies so I have fresh broth for the week. I never use stock cubes now.

                                    1. re: djwackfriz

                                      I've also been doing this. I love to cook and if I go out on the weekends I inevitably spend money (a hazard of living in NYC). So, I go to the grocery store, come home and spend the day prepping and planning and tinkering in the kitchen. I'll often make bread or a stew for weekday food. Also, if I know what I'm going to make in the week then I don't feel like going out. So it also cuts down on random eating out.

                                  2. I really like a recipe for chicken cutlets from Giada d' Lorentis. Go to foodnetwork.com and search chicken cutlets. It's really quick, easy, delicious and has become a weekday standard. I put them on a bed of greens with some tomatoes and kalamatas. Easy cleanup, too.

                                    1. Omelets make a wonderfully satisfying and quick dinner. My favorite is spinach, mozzarella and sauteed mushrooms. :o)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: soypower

                                        Good call with the omelette. One of my favourites as well.

                                      2. My fave "copycat" recipe from a nice italian restaruant in north jersey- Balsamic Chicken with Sundried tomatos

                                        1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
                                        A little flour
                                        S & P
                                        Olive oil and butter
                                        Chicken stock (or broth if you must)
                                        Good quality balsamic vinegar
                                        Splash of white wine (optional)
                                        Bagged (not in oil) sundried tomatos (roughly chopped)

                                        Pound out chicken breasts to your liking
                                        Mix flour, s&p in shallow dish
                                        Dredge chicken in flour mixture
                                        Heat large saute pan over med-high heat
                                        Melt butter and olive oil in pan (swirl together)
                                        Saute chicken until browned on each side (2-3 min per side)
                                        Reduce heat to medium
                                        Add about 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar to coat bottom of pan, about 1/2 cup or so of stock, splash of wine, and chopped tomatos to pan. Cover and allow to simmer about 10-15 minutes or until chicken is done

                                        I serve with orzo pasta and fresh grated parm cheese. Also on the side I make some fresh steamed broccoli. Total prep and cooking time just about 20-30 minutes.

                                        1. We pretty much survive on some kind of boneless chicken breast, veggies and an easy starch.
                                          I will marinate the chicken in advance in some olive oil, lemon juice, foxpoint ( spice from Penzey's) and then toss it on the grill pan when my husband cleans up from work, or walks the pooch. The chicken is always well seasoned and tender. Then, in the micro steamed broccoli, spinach, green beans ( usually the kind in a bag) and sometimes I'll jazz it up with quick toss in a sauce.Lastly, whole wheat couscous jazzed up with chick peas, or sauteed mushrooms, onions or even some black olives. The possibilities are pretty vast. I rotate combinations of these...sometimes the chicken breast is parmesan crusted and we eat a pasta with a quick homemade sauce....anything I can make that won't get ruined if I'm not sure which train husband will be home on.

                                          1. This fajita recipe is very easy and good. I make it often and in fact, we just had it tonight for dinner. I usually cut up the peppers and onion the night before, just to save time when I get home from work. I use less oil than it calls for too.


                                            1. French Dips with Au Jus and salad
                                              Chicken Chowmein - made with chicken breast, bean sprouts & veggies
                                              Shrimp & garlic Egg Foo Yung and sauce
                                              Chinese Spaghetti
                                              Chicken Fajitas
                                              Rotissere Chicken with lime or lemon
                                              Sherry mushroom pork chops and rice

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                Chef chicklet,

                                                Do you have a recipe for Chinese Spaghetti? I love the one at our local restaurant, of course they make their own noodles in house which adds to the appeal..

                                                We just had french dip with au jus and spinach salad last night.

                                                1. re: lisaf

                                                  What exactly is Chinese spaghetti?

                                                  1. re: lisaf

                                                    Lisa F, This is very different, I hope you weren't thinking of something else... anyway I got this from Martin Yan about 15 years ago while watching his program and have made it for my family for years. It may of morphed a bit over the years to our tastes.
                                                    1 pound of vermecelli pasta cooked al dente
                                                    3 cans tomato sauce 2 t tomato paste
                                                    1 can chicken broth or fresh homemade - 1 1-3 cup
                                                    1 med white onion diced small
                                                    3 large cloves of garlic sliced thin
                                                    6 scallions green & white sliced diagonal - 1 in pieces
                                                    2T sesame oil
                                                    2 T soy sauce
                                                    corn starch slurry 1 Tcornstarch mix with 4 T water

                                                    In a saute pan - add the some oil and saute the three pieces of ginger, add the onion and then garlic, add the the 1lb of ground beef or ground turkey. Drain any excess oil. Put all back into the saute pan
                                                    Add 3 cans of tomato sauce and about 1 can of chicken broth thicken with the slurry, and add the tomatoe paste as you thicken the sauce for a deep red add 1 tsp of sugar. Let this simmer, you are looking for the same consistency of a marinara sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes add the soy sauce and the sesame oil. Drain the pasta and toss with a little sesame oil, and then place into a large oval bowl. Pour the sauce over all, garnish with a good handful of scallions. Serve little bowls of scallion and finely chopped cilantro with the meal.
                                                    The sesame oil gives the tomato sauce a wonderfully nutty taste. Watch out for the 3 coins of ginger root, you can either fish them out before serving or let everyone know not to eat them, In my family it was good luck to get the "coin".
                                                    I'm not Asian, just a silly Mom that could get her kids to eat just about everything.

                                                  2. re: chef chicklet

                                                    can you give me your recipe for french dip?

                                                  3. One of my favorite super fast dinners is chicken with coconut and lime from Mark Bittman's Minimalist Cooks at Home book. I haven't even looked at the recipe in awhile--I know I've adapted it a bit.

                                                    Start a batch of Jasmine rice.

                                                    Start with cooked or nearly-cooked chicken (grilled is good, but I often use the frozen chicken tenders that don't even need to be defrosted before cooking in a pan on the stove). Add a can of coconut milk (I often use the light version), a generous squirt of fish sauce, and the zest and juice of two limes. Add some chopped bok choy if you want more green veggies and heat everything through. Spoon over rice and top with chopped cilantro & green onions as well as siracha or hot chili sesame oil.

                                                    This is also good with shrimp, pork, and probably even beef, though I've never tried it. I've also made it without rice on a bed of sauteed asian greens as a low-carb recipe. I could probably eat it once a week!

                                                    1. Two simple and interesting dishes of pork. One, I posted about on another thread today. Mix apricot jelly and coarse mustard to taste and put it over pork and roast. You can sprinkle chopped apricos and pecans over it.

                                                      The other I have used to for pork chops. Find some rather plain but decent tomato sauce, add milk to cream it a bit and then add some ground red pepper, but only so much as you can just taste it. Back the chops in the sauce, and it picks up more spice than you tasted in the sauce. I have added peas over it to bake with the meat.

                                                      1. Spaghetti (if the beef has been defrosted)
                                                        Tacos (if the beef has been defrosted and lettuce is available)
                                                        Macaroni and cheese

                                                        1. one dish I would try if I had a crockpot: put indian simmer sauce in pot w/ cut up chicken, shrimp or tofu and cook. Add peas at end.

                                                          What I really cook for quick meals is pasta -- tortellini w/ cream, peas & pancettaa (bad, bad; I'm resolved to eat healthier!)

                                                          Red lentils made as dal cooks quickly, though accompanying rice takes longer (I use brown rice) but can be put up as soon as I walk in the door.

                                                          Fried (yes fried!) thin pork chops, roasted sweet potatoes cut into wedges w/ olive oil, S&P and chipoltes (added half way through so they don't burn) and veggie, prefer collards.

                                                          1. Spaghetti & Meatballs - I guess these take about an hour from start to finish - but that's not too bad b/c most of the time is in the oven. Lots of other pastas are fast too - pesto, alfredo.... The time is the sauce, but you can boil the water/cook the pasta while you're doing that.

                                                            Stir frys are super fast. I start the rice. Then, defrost some chicken breasts about 1/2 way (b/c it cuts better frozen) - dice into cubes, sprinkle with oyster sauce, soy sauce, & sugar. Cut onion, peppers, bell pepper, garlic and saute in a pan. Remove. Add chicken until done. Readd onion mix and then add cut up veggies.

                                                            Quesadillas - as mentioned - are super fast.

                                                            Chicken/beef/potato tacos, burritos, or nachos (I love nachos for dinner!) are easy.

                                                            BBQ chicken or beef sandwiches are easy (so are cheesesteaks). Grill onions/peppers and remove from pan. Sprinkle some salt/pepper/cayanne on meat. Add thinly sliced chicken or beef to the pan. Squeeze on some bottled BBQ sauce (yes - cheating, but fast). Cook until done. Melt cheese on bread. Then, add meat and onions to hamburger/french rolls. Serve with salad or veg. Done. This takes like 15 mintues.

                                                            Fish is very fast as well. Just cook vegetables/rice/starch. Then put some herbs and lemon on the fish, broil and you're done.

                                                            This is not houndish - but you can get some good quality andouille sausage and some shrimp and buy a $1 jambalaya mix. Add some vegetables/salad - and you're done.

                                                            1. Salad:

                                                              with sauteed/broiled fish, shrimp, scallops, chicken, flank or skirt steak, with maybe a few toasted tortilla strips or a fistful of fried wonton strips, some fresh herbs and a gingery dressing

                                                              with sauteed garlicky mushrooms and steak with a lemony dressing (great with spinach, slightly wilted)

                                                              with sliced apple or pear, toasted walnuts or pecans, gorgonzola or feta, with balsamic dressing

                                                              with a sherry vinegar dressing, croutons, bacon or pancetta, and a poached or soft boiled egg on top

                                                              arugula with a light dressing, toasted hazelnuts, and some kind of mild runny cheese (taleggio, crescenza; goat) or maybe a sliced firm persimmon

                                                              watercress or spinach with grapefruit sections, avocado and shrimp (or salmon), with a very light grapefruit dressing

                                                              1. Here is a simple crockpot dish....you can jazz it up a bit when you get home. :)

                                                                1 pound stewing beef
                                                                1 can chickpeas, rinsed
                                                                1 cup beef broth
                                                                1/4 cup Patak's curry paste (your favourite kind - I like vindaloo)

                                                                In the morning, whisk together the curry paste and broth. Add beef and chickpeas.

                                                                Cook on low all day.

                                                                When you get home (you CAN eat the curry as is, but it is watery), I advise throwing the curry into a large skillet and turning the heat to medium/high to boil off the excess liquid.

                                                                Meanwhile, you can either make chapati (or use pitas/tortillas). I like to combine low-fat yogourt, a bit of skim milk, fresh coriander and a clove or two of garlic to make a runny sauce. When the curry is still saucy, but no longer soupy, stuff it into your carb of choice, and top with the sauce. Serve with salad and it is YUMMMMY! :)

                                                                1. Linguine Puttanesca. The sauce, from scratch takes about 20 minutes and the linguine cooks in eight and a half minutes.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: MobyRichard

                                                                    I do that too. Such a nice way to jazz up a simple tomato sauce.

                                                                  2. My mom's salmon patties. I'm not a big fan of either crunching or picking out bones, so I buy those smaller cans that have already had the bones taken out. (That makes them more expensive, but it's a price I'm willing to pay not to have to fight off the Insane Kitten Posse the entire time I'm picking out those bones.)

                                                                    Anyway, here's what you do: Drain the cans of salmon (we usually have either 2 or 3 of the little 6-oz cans). PUt them in a mixing bowl and add seasonings (for me, salt & pepper & garlic & parsley flakes), a little finely chopped onion, bread crumbs (my mom always used cracker crumbs, actually), and a couple of eggs and mix it all together. Take your rings off and mix with your hands. Shape it into patties and fry in a skillet sprayed with a little nonstick spray.

                                                                    This is about 30 minutes, max, start to finish even for me--and I'm a very meditative cook; takes about twice as long for me to fix anything.

                                                                    Usually I'll serve this with rice pilaf. Start this after you mix up the salmon and before you start cooking the patties.

                                                                    We eat salmon patties with ketchup--although the last time we were out of ketchup so they got sriracha sauce instead, and were pretty good that way.

                                                                    1. I received a panini press for my birthday and it's been a weekday godsend. In the last two or three weeks we've had curried chickpeas and broccoli in a wholewheat wrap, ham and gruyere with hot garlic mustard on focaccia, roasted peppers, mushrooms and goat cheese wraps, grilled chicken caesar salad wraps each with a healthy spinach salad or steamed asparagus, broccoli or some other vegetable. Easy, inexpensive, flexible recipes, easy cleanup and delicious. The whole wheat wraps keep for a long time and are healthy and not high in carbs, fat or calories. Once in awhile we'll get the foccaccia or ciabatta, but I've been enjoying the lighter wraps.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: jamesm

                                                                        I have a panini press but always use bread. How are you doing it with the wraps? Are you rolling likea burrito and then placing on the press? Or are you doing like a quesadilla? Do you brush them with anything on the outside? I think this would be a change of pace from bread.

                                                                      2. Chicken- we prefer either the thighs, or the split breast.Usually bake the breas. ADd a vegatable and rice/potato and it is an easy meal. WE also have fish at least twice a week. Quick to make, and so delicious. Love haddock- Into a hot oven, with a a drizzle of OO, S/P and lemon juice. SCallops are also quick and easy. Love them seared quickly and served with lemon juice. For some reason, I love tomatoes with fish. Now that is is winter, I usually cut up some grape/cherry tomatoes, and roast them in a bit of oil and garlic.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                            We love all vegatables. I go to a local farm to buy mt produce and we enjoy most everything. This week, we have butternut squash, baby spinach, summer squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, peppers, leeks, carrots, cabbage and the fixings for salad.
                                                                            Tomorrow evening we are having both scallops and haddock. I think I will roast the tomatoes and serve them over some steamed summer squash. Am having my young neice and nephew ( 3 and 5), and they love french fries with the fish, so I will make some oven baked sweet potato fries.

                                                                        1. Fish steamed in foil packets is also a go-to for us. Again, very healthy, flexible, easy cleanup and very simple prep work. Also great for using up any remainders of leftover vegetables.

                                                                          1. We just throw a couple pieces of salmon on the grill. Or chicken kabobs, or turkey burgers. Very minimal prep time.
                                                                            And while that's grilling, we roast veggies. So easy.

                                                                            Omelettes are another standby.

                                                                            1. There's always the salmon standby. I buy frozen wild, eco friendly 4oz pieces of salmon, and throw one in the fridge to defrost before I go to bed. The next night I squeeze a little lemon juice and grind fresh pepper on top and broil. To accompany, maybe sauteed or steamed assorted veggies with a little soy sauce/tekka and sesame oil sprinkled on and some brown rice.

                                                                              1. Salsa Chicken

                                                                                Chicken breasts, rub with whatever spices you want, usually I use some sort of taco seasoning. Put in a baking dish and cover with salsa (I like to use the fresh kind you can get at the store, but also use reg jarred stuff sometimes) and bake. Top with a little cheese at the end. Serve with a little sour cream. Sides are usually black beans and green salad or slices of avocados.

                                                                                Chicken caesar salad made with rotisserie chicken, romaine lettuce and bottled caesar dressing. Serve with garlic bread.

                                                                                Taco salads made with ground turkey.

                                                                                Baked potatoes topped with either chili, or sometimes I use a box of the frozen brocolli with cheese sauce (the one I use is surprisingly low in fat and calories).

                                                                                Teriyaki turkey burgers (add a couple of tablespoons of teriyaki sauce to ground turkey) with baked sweet potato wedges.

                                                                                Baked fish, we usa tilapia most ofter, with sauteed spinach and garlic

                                                                                Ravioli with tomato sauce doctored with mushrooms and canned artichokes.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: bananie

                                                                                  We do the salsa chicken also! It is great...I make my own "taco seasoning" by using chili powder, ground cumin, little onion powder, little garlic powder salt & pepper and sometimes I add chipotle chili powder instead of regular chili powder. The sour cream/cheddar or jack cheese topping is so delish, especially with some cilantro added. I got that recipe from an AOL board and it was called "Craig's Salsa Chicken."

                                                                                2. Always in the fridge, or freezer:


                                                                                  Frozen Pizza

                                                                                  Breaded pork tenderloin


                                                                                  I always make a roast(chicken,beef,pork) on Sunday nights so I have that as leftovers one night during the week.

                                                                                  Chinese carryout one of the weeknights during each week.

                                                                                  1. I'll either do a simple meat and a veg (broiled fish w/steamed broccoli, grilled pork chops w/roasted potatoes), or about once a week I try to make a recipe that takes a little more time but gives us enough leftovers for the next night.

                                                                                    1. Pan-Seared Chicken breasts with a pan sauce that strikes my fancy is my 'holy cow, it's dinnertime already?' meal. I serve it with a starch and a vegetable or salad.

                                                                                      1. My family loves chicken and when my kids were toddlers and we needed to eat quickly I always had a few speedy, healthy and good dishes.

                                                                                        Cut boneless chicken into pieces and sautee in olive oil. When almost cooked through add a jar of tomato sauce: I like Barilla. Cook pasta, and drain. Top chicken with grated mozarella and cover. Make a salad and by the time you are done, dinner is ready.

                                                                                        Cut boneless chicken into pieces and sautee in olive oil. Cook pasta and drain. While pasta is cooking steam brocolli. Prepare Knorrs Alfredo sauce with a cup of milk and a little olive oil. Toss everything and serve.

                                                                                        1. Lotsa pasta - putanesca with whatever's on hand or a big fave is saute garlic with 4-6 anchovy filets in OO with some red pepper flakes, add chopped greens of choice (spinach, kale, rabe, chard; frozen works too), throw over cooked pasta, cheese if desired.

                                                                                          Veg burritos are another standby, sort of like putanesca from another culture.

                                                                                          Doctored frozen pizza (artichoke hearts, prosciutto, more cheese).

                                                                                          Good sausage + Zatarain's red beans & rice in a box, frozen okra if I have it, add hot sauce and chow on!

                                                                                          1. Recent college grad's best friend:

                                                                                            Start a pot of rice cooking.

                                                                                            In a skillet cook up some good sausage in a little olive oil. Add in a hearty dose of peppers and onions and cook until everything softens up a bit. You can also braise all this in a little wine or beer.

                                                                                            When the rice is done, just dump the sausage, veggies, and pan drippings into the rice and stir together. I like to douse it with hot sauce (sriracha is excellent for this), but that's up to you.

                                                                                            Not elegant, but delicious and filling.

                                                                                            1. I also like to make a large batch of soup. It keeps for awhile, and is great to take to work the next day for lunch. And again the possibilities are endless and is a great way to use up stuff that otherwise would go to waste. On Saturday I had some asparagus, leeks, a little bit of gruyere and the end of a baguette that were all getting close to being wasted. 45 minutes later I had a roasted asparagus soup with baked gruyere croutons. What started as a desperation meal ended up being one of the best meals I had that week. Mos def look into making some soups.

                                                                                              1. Ditto on the soup. I always have a bag of frozen mixed veggies available, usually the type with corn, broccoli, and red pepper. I start with a quick roux, add chicken stock, and go ape! I can make a curry flavor, add some ham or other leftover meat, make a cheese chowder, etc. Just add the veggies after the roux and stock have had a chance to get acquainted. Add a salad or pickles and some sourdough toast and voila! ON the table in minutes! YOu can also add whatever leftover goodies you may have in the frig to change the pace.

                                                                                                1. White bean soup with sausage, a small can of white cannelini beans per person, half a can of chicken stock per can of beans. Drain and rinse the beans, add the chicken stock, heat and boat motor til creamy. Add browned italian sausage/chorizo/ham/ whatever and a few grates of good cheese. Top with a little good olive oil and parsley, green onions etc. Serve with a slad and good bread. Fast, easy, cheap.

                                                                                                  Check out Jacque Pepin's "Fast Food My Way", he's a genius at this stuff.

                                                                                                  1. * roast chicken and salad
                                                                                                    * broiled butterflied chicken and salad
                                                                                                    * grilled chicken and salad (during baseball season)

                                                                                                    1. Some I've done recently:

                                                                                                      1. Fusilli (or whatever pasta you want) with broccoli and cauliflower: bring pasta water to boil. Blanch pieces of vegs in pasta water for 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a large pan with olive oil. Add a couple of cloves of garlic (I leave them whole). Brown garlic. Remove broccoli and cauliflower from water with a slotted spoon, add to browned garlic. Add salt and hot pepper flakes if you like. Cook the pasta in the water. When pasta's done, mix with vegs.

                                                                                                      2. Broccoli soup: Saute onion and garlic (if you like) in a pan with butter, olive oil, or a combo of the two. Add broccoli florets, season with salt, pepper, and whatever herbs you want. Add chicken or veg broth, or even plain water to cover broccoli (I sometimes use some Marigold bouillon when I don't have homemade in the freezer). Simmer till broccoli is tender, then blitz with an immersion blender or use a processor or blender. Sometimes I add some stilton cheese right before blending. By the way, this same recipe works well with other vegetables: zucchini, squash, watercress,...

                                                                                                      And I know I harp on about this one, but if you put 1 or 2 chicken legs per person (the ones with thighs attached) into a roasting pan with sliced onions and cubed potatoes, then drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and tuck in a few sprigs of rosemary, and bake at 375-400 for an hour, you'll have a great, hassle-free, one-pan meal. Takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and you can relax while it's in the oven. Add a salad if you like!

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: Kagey

                                                                                                        The broccoli soup recipe sounds great. I sometimes make a cream of broccoli soup- almost the same recipe, but with a squirt of lemon juice and some whole milk added before blending.

                                                                                                      2. do you bake the chicken with the lid on or off?

                                                                                                        1. I love a chicken breast recipe from America's Test Kitchen's Best Recipe book, Oaxacan Chicken. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but it goes together quickly and easily and is always tasty. After you saute the chicken breasts, you cook some onions and a little garlic, deglaze the pan with a little chicken stock (I add more than the recipe calls for because I like it saucy) adding pineapple, cinnamon, raisins, chopped olives, a little chopped tomato, and toasted pine nuts on top when you serve it. I like to serve it with some brown basmati rice and a simple salad or some sauteed chard and shallots cooked with a dash of balsamic and salt.

                                                                                                          1. i find lamb chops super easy.

                                                                                                            tonight i rubbed them with a spice mixture of cumin, coriander, paprika, S & P.

                                                                                                            simply heat up a little olive oil on a pan and cook the chops 2-3 minutes a side.

                                                                                                            on the side we had steamed asparagus and a small chick pea salad (chick peas, chopped parsley and mint, onion garlic, lemon zest and juice and some olive oil)

                                                                                                            1. Roast take out chicken can be used for pasta, curried chicken sandwiches, burritos, and heated up with steamed veggies and cous cous or rice.

                                                                                                              Frozen ground turkey can be browned as easily as fresh and makes a quick and healthy spaghetti sauce (Classico's Fresh Basil is my new favorite) or turkey sloppy joes (epicurious).

                                                                                                              Frozen chicken or turkey sausages are easy to broil.

                                                                                                              Salmon seared with sesame oil and poached with rice wine vinegar and/or orange juice.

                                                                                                              Pork chops or chicken breaded and baked with italian herbs or sesame oil/rice wine vinegar.

                                                                                                              Weekend soup favorites carried over into the week are lentil, split pea and kale and white beans.

                                                                                                              Clams and linguine is fast if you have all the ingredients on hand. Actually, shopping for all the food takes the most time, so having the kitchen stocked is going to be the best way for fast week night cooking.

                                                                                                              1. My favorite standby is a twelve pack of beer, afterwards I forget that I was hungry!

                                                                                                                1. In my family, there are alot of picky eaters, or at least everyone seems like like different things. So for a healthy meal, I grab some whole wheat tortillas, put some pizza sauce, cheese and different meats and veggies (depending on what the different people like) and bake at 350 until the cheese melts. Meanwhile I toss together a quick salad mixed with olive oil and a favourite salad vinegar/zest and dinners done and everyone gets a pizza they want.

                                                                                                                  1. Believe it or not, I make a Shrimp Scampi that is quick and takes less than 30 minutes. I buy a good frozen shrimp (at Costco) to have readily available that I can start thawing right when I get home. Cooking the pasta simultaneously while the shrimp is cooking in the garlic, butter, olive oil and fresh lemon juice takes no time at all. Serve with a tomato, cuke and mozarella salad topped with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, S&P and voila!

                                                                                                                    1. fish tacos with quick slaw made from cilantro/lime/sour cream/shredded cabbage and frozen battered fish fillets, wrapped up in warmed corn tortillas. yum.

                                                                                                                      whole-wheat penne with a loose sauce made from cherry tomatoes/kalamata olives/parsley/garlic. Don't cook the penne all the way, but add some of the pasta cooking water to the sauce and then let the penne finish cooking in it. Toss with cubed feta. YUM

                                                                                                                      Quesadillas, as lots of others mentioned

                                                                                                                      Tuna melts

                                                                                                                      Quick stir fries with Trader Joe's frozen brown rice--quick and healthy and no rice cooking time.

                                                                                                                      Fried rice with pre-cooked brown rice (either leftover or the TJ's stuff)

                                                                                                                      1. i also like to make some things ahead and freeze, like tomato/cheese lasagna, vegetarian chimichangas, eggplant parmesan, french onion soup.