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Share your favorite rather simple dinner recipe

Trying to get some new ideas for pretty quick dinners- besides pasta dishes. Please share your favorites for a busy couple who loves good food and eats out way too often.

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  1. One of the quickest and most delicious dinners I've been cooking recently is Ma Po Tofu...I use Mabziegurl's recipe from this board...the title says tofu but there is a small amount of ground pork (or turkey works too) in it.

    Another one we love is Salsa Chicken whereby you take a few pieces of skinless chicken (bone-in for us), season with a mixture of chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder & a little salt...bake that at 375 for about 20 minutes, then spoon your favorite salsa over it...bake for another 15 or 20 minutes and then top with reduced-fat sour cream & grated cheddar cheese & cilantro and bake for about 5 minutes. Okay, this recipe may not fit your "quick" qualification, I don't know.

    Stir-fry meals are always pretty quick to prepare also; anything with shrimp is very quick-cooking also.

    1. One of my faves is "Thai Beef". I think it's a recipe I found in Cooking Light and kinda altered it to my own taste.

      I don't actually measure:

      1 lb of ground meat (turkey works great here) -- browned with one large leek chopped finely
      add -- 8 oz tomato sauce
      brown sugar
      fish sauce
      1 clove garlic
      fresh ginger
      chili paste
      lime zest
      red curry paste

      Cook until reduced by half.
      Add 1/2 a can of coconut milk (i use light)
      Look again until reduced by half
      Add the juice of one lime before serving over rice.

      It's really delicious and only takes about 25-30 minutes. It's great with a simple green salad dressed with rice wine vinagrette.

      1 Reply
      1. re: geg5150

        Oh, and don't forget "Lazy Enchiladas". Use leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken, I try to keep poached/shredded chicken in the freezer.

        Store bought enchilada sauce (red or green), but add anything you like to spice it up. I always add garlic, at least, and cumin, pepper, etc.

        Heat in a skillet. Using corn tortilla, just dip and flip the tortilla, do it quickly to make the tortilla more pliable, but you don't want it to fall apart.

        Stacked enchiladas are easiest...just put the tortilla right on the plate, add the chicken, another tortilla and top with cheese! Super easy! If you're feeling like "New Mexican" add a fried egg on top.

        As a matter of fact, that's what we had for breakfast this morning!

      2. I'm really big on frittatas. Very versatile - you can usually throw one together from just about anything you have in the house, even from leftovers of other meals. I even made one from a leftover arugula salad from a restaurant once, that my husband very frugually wouldn't let me leave there. It was already dressed and you know how greens wilt once vinegar hits it? I never would have saved it for the next day but my husband insisted I bring it home. Anyway, I decided to try it in a frittata, with some potatoes and goat cheese and it was really wonderful.

        Another time, we were out for a Spanish meal, and one of our appetizers was chorizo with potatoes. It was a very generous portion, even for the two of us. Next day, those leftovers went into a frittata too.

        One of my favorites is a recipe I have for a fresh corn, scallion, potato and cheddar one. It's one of those "go to" recipes I love.

        Served with a hearty salad and good crusty bread, it's a perfect, simple dinner which doesn't take much time and (usually) has leftovers for another day.

        4 Replies
        1. re: sivyaleah

          I love frittatas too....so I'm very interested in your recipe for the one with fresh corn...would you share? TIA

          1. re: LoN

            It's from Gourmet and is in Epicurous. It actually has mozzerella, not cheddar, I forgot which it was (and I answered my own question actually from earlier, I was looking for something to do with fresh mozzerella I bought yesterday, duh! I hadn't made this yet this summer because my husband has been traveling so much, just haven't had the opportunity). Enjoy!


            We nearly always wind up eating the whole thing - very hard to resist saving any for leftovers :-)

            1. re: sivyaleah

              my goodness, that does look great! I will definitely use Pepper Jack cheese with it and a red bell pepper, I think, when I try it this week. Thank you!

              1. re: Val

                The beauty of frittatas - change them as you go! Enjoy!

        2. This one is perfect for hot weather--only good in the summertime. Take the best tasting tomatoes you can find, hard salami-maybe 20 slices, leaf basil, and any hardish italian cheese you like--I have done this with Motzerella and also with parmesan shavings . Slice the tomatoes and layer the ingredients in a flatish casserole or pan. -one leaf basil, a slice of tomato, cheese, salami, and repeat till done. Sprinkle with your favorite oil and vinigar type dresseing --or a really good tasting Italian bottled if you are tired. Put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Have a glass of wine and slice up a loaf of good bread. Take out of the fridge. Eat. Good leftover too!.

          1 Reply
          1. re: gungadin

            Awesome warm weather meal!
            I love this kind of dinner. I often arrange platters of cheese, fruit, olives, salami, marinated veggies and bread. Sit out on the deck, drink wine and snack. ;)

          2. Great question! I'm going to keep checking this post to pick up some ideas, too.

            My husband makes fantastic fish tacos--the basic recipe is pretty simple and quick, but you can get fancy if you're in the mood. It is basically breaded, fried fish (something white like tilapia or flounder), with remoulade, and finely shredded red cabbage on soft flour or corn tortillas. If you've got picked onions and cilantro on hand that's good too, but the basic fried fish, remoulade, cabbage and tortilla is great.

            You cut the fish in nuggets or strips, then dredge in flour (seasoned with salt and pepper), egg (seasoned with salt and pepper), and then breadcrumbs (panko, matzoh meal, or plain breadcrumbs, seasoned with oregano, pepper, and maybe basil... don't use Italian flavor breadcrumbs, though.) Deep fry or bake until crispy and golden brown.

            You can make your own remoulade, but we've found that Thousand Island or Russian dressing works just as well and makes it a much less complicated preparation. If you feel like getting complicated, though, here's the remoulade recipe we use:

            Remoulade Sauce:
            1 cup mayonnaise
            1 tablespoon capers, minced
            1 cornichon, minced
            1 or 2 anchovies, minced
            1 shallot, minced
            1 teaspoon minced fresh chives
            2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley leaves
            2 teaspoons ketchup
            Mix to combine... we usually just pulse the capers, cornichons, anchovies, and shallot in a little food processor then add everything else.

            1 Reply
            1. re: matermagna

              I'm the husband mentioned above... last night we made a first time quick stir fry/lettuce wrap thing that we enjoyed a great deal:

              Nice, quick stir fry with a bit of preparatory dicing; full of flavor and quite satisfying. You want to get a fairly small dice on the raw chicken before cooking -- ideally it will give up a lot of liquid to make a sauce, but cook fast enough that it doesn't evaporate off.

              4 cloves garlic
              3 or 4 green onions, diced, white section reserved
              2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts diced
              1 can water chestnuts, rinsed, medium dice
              2 medium carrots, medium dice
              1/4-1/2 cup frozen peas (slightly thawed on counter while preparing)
              Soy sauce
              1-2Tbsp sugar
              Kosher salt
              Washed whole lettuce leaves -- something big and rollable.

              1. Pre-heat cast iron skillet/wok to unfathomable hotness on stove top.
              2. Work garlic and onion whites and a pinch of kosher salt with mortar and pestle (or food processor, chop-o-matic, etc.) into a nice paste.
              3. Add about 2 Tbsp vegetable oil to cast iron skillet, allow it to get hot, then drop in the garlic and onion paste. Stir fry for about thirty seconds, but move on to step 4 if it cooks too quickly.
              4. Add chicken. Stir fry until nearly cooked.
              5. Add a drop more of oil to center of pan. Add carrots and water chestnuts, with fat pinch of salt. Stir fry for another thirty seconds or so (we want these to stay crunchy.)
              6. Add peas, green onion, a couple dashes of soy sauce, and sugar. Stir to combine, then remove from heat. Or remove from heat and stir to combine: if you're cooking in cast iron it doesn't make much difference.
              7. Serve with lettuce leaves -- either roll into a burrito/spring roll sort of thing, or just serve over top. Leftovers can be reheated or served with rice or rice noodles.

            2. Well this is very simple but I love chicken with rice-a-roni. I know, I know but when you need dinner in 20 minutes it's perfect with a veggie.


              1. I have a few recipes for quick soups that I like. One is from Mollie Katzen's Enchanted Broccoli Forest for corn chowder. You can make it in under half an hour but it tastes like you slaved over it for hours.

                1. Curried Cauliflower and Spinach

                  1 head of cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florettes
                  1 box of frozen, chopped spinach, thawed (liquid included)
                  curry powder
                  ground cumin
                  S & P
                  olive oil

                  Saute cauliflower in olive oil until browned, adding more oil as needed. Add a generous amount of curry powder and as much cumin as you like. I've been eyeballing it, but maybe a hefty T-spoon of curry powder and 1-2 t-spoons cumin. Salt and pepper to taste. Throw the thawed spinach in, liquid as well. Mix. Cover and let steam-saute until cauliflower is tender crisp ( 5-8 minutes?). Serve alone, with brown rice, or as a side to leftover protein.

                  1. See if you can find those thin-sliced chicken breasts. Those cook up very quickly and are great for lots of recipes. One thing we like is to dip them in melted butter that has a little garlic in it, then in a mixture of crushed seasoned stuffing mix, fresh finely grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Put it in a 350 degree oven for about fifteen minutes. Very crispy and yummy with mashed potatoes and peas.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bards4

                      Whoa...I have an old recipe called Chicken Sheila that I obtained from a co-worker back in the 90's...it's almost the same as yours only it uses Ritz Cracker crumbs for the coating instead of stuffing mix...I stopped making it because of the melted butter procedure but it surely was absolutely delicious and I believe it uses quite a bit of crushed garlic in with the melted butter...the sons loved it back when they were teens!

                    2. This is one of my quick and easy dinners. If you defrost the shrimp in the fridge during the day then they will be ready to go when you get home.

                      REC: Cajun Mustard Shrimp

                      Serves: 3

                      1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
                      1 T olive oil
                      1 T butter
                      1 medium clove garlic
                      dash crushed red pepper
                      ΒΌ c dry white wine or vermouth
                      4 T jalapeno pepper jelly
                      2 T whole grain mustard
                      2 T Dijon mustard

                      1. Heat skillet with olive oil. Saute shrimp in batches until pink but not cooked entirely. Remove from skillet and set aside.
                      2. Melt butter in skillet and crush garlic into pan. Add crushed red pepper and saute until aroma of garlic is evident.
                      3. Add dry white wine and scrap up any browned pieces from bottom of pan. Add jelly, and two kinds of mustard. Whisk together and let cook for 2-3 minutes.
                      4. Return shrimp to skillet and finish cooking in the hot sauce.
                      5. Serve over rice.

                      I use 21-25 size s

                      1. This one take five minutes, including thaw time.

                        Take frozen, shell on shrimp and put in warm water.

                        Heat a wok.

                        Peel and slice a bunch of ginger.

                        Put grapeseed oil in the wok, add shrimp, ginger, soy and lime juice.


                        Peel and eat.

                        1. Nothing could be easier than searing a couple of steaks (or pork chops) in a hot pan, and finishing them off in the oven while you sautee some mushrooms in olive oil, garlic and parsley. Add a green salad and good crusty bread.
                          In the alternative, lightly flour a few chicken cutlets (salt and peppered) and brown them in a hot pan with half olive oil and half butter (enough to base a sauce). Add white wine and lemon juice, and sautee until thickened and chicken cooks through. Toss in chopped parsley, serve with rice.
                          Polenta and risotto are also very quick meals, actually, they just require that you stand over them constantly, stirring, for 15-25 minutes. There are tons of recipes for these two out there. Good luck.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: vvvindaloo

                            That's my go-to also, when I need a quick meal. Pork chops are usually on sale at my market, so I buy a couple, dredge them in flour, eggs and panko crumbs mixed with parmesan, paprika, cayenne, garlic, parsley, thyme, chipotle powder or whatever's on hand. Fry in olive oil and butter and serve with a squeeze of lemon.

                            Italian sausages stir-fried with tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin and turmeric make for an interesting meal in minutes, too.

                          2. I make easy quesadillas...large flour tortilla with just a drop or two of veg oil in the fry pan. I slice tomato, and use pickled jalapeno slices...sometimes scallions or red onions. I then put some grated cheese on it, top with the other tortilla, and let em get crispy before eating with reduced fat sour cream and picante sauce. Other times I give them an Italian twist...the tomato, basil from the garden, mozerella and maybe a little sauce... Occasionally I will add some sliced chicken to the Mexican one, or cooked Italian sausage to the Italian one. YUMMY!

                            1. jfood makes a few cups of brown rice on sunday night and places in the fridge. During the week it's grill time most nights. Season the chicken, pork, fish, shrimp, scallops, whatever and then play a little with the rice. If the family wants a little asian influence, heat it up in the NS skillet with some soy or five spice w a little sesame oil. Lighter, jfood adds some scallions and edemane. or maybe some corn forn the night before. he just plays a little with the brown rice. Way better than playing withcooking a starch (if corn is not on the grill). Then for a veggie it's normally a salad that mrs jfood makes. Sometimes on weekends jfood will also make a big vat of roated veggies (this time of year squash, onions, mush, brussel sprouts, carrots) and also keep in the fridge.

                              Hard to beat grilled "meat" with the sides of roasted veggies and some brown rice "to order". a salad with some gorganzola and a few slices of pear and it's off to the races.

                              1. Fish is really quick and good on the grill...when it's done, top w/ a flavored butter, Thai sweet chili sauce, roasted red pepper mayo or simply a drizzle of olive oil and s&p. Serve w/ cole slaw for a nice summer dinner.

                                Also, if you're running early in the morning steal a few minutes to do a little prep work--maybe wash lettuce leaves, make a flavored mayo sauce or butter. Little things that leave you a bit more relaxed when making dinner.

                                1. Candlelight on a Budget

                                  From Southern Living
                                  Celebrate Valentine's Day or other special occasions with our cozy menu. You could certainly spend big bucks at a trendy restaurant, but true romantics know that feasting doesn't have to cost a fortune. For less than $30 and a mere hour of your time, you can cook a fabulous meal that's straight from the heart.


                                  Cherry Tomato-Caper Salad
                                  Chicken Cakes with Creole Sauce
                                  Raspberry Shortbread

                                  1. Simple and easy? I love complex recipes on the weekend, but during the week we like to grill shrimp on skewers or baby lamb chops and toss together some cous cous with choped peppers and shallots and cukes and tomatoes, add some lemon juice and olive oil and voila. Easy peasy. Sometimes we throw a whole bunch of clams on the grill, wait for them to open and put a dot of a compound butter in each and eat with a salad and/or and some good bread. I love peas (I use frozen) with pancetta and shallots. I toss 'em up in the pan, grill a steak and have a baked potato. Little work involved there (so little prep work). We are fortunate enough to have bought a grill this year for our little plot of concrete behind our house, but even if you don't have that leisure, these can all be adapted to a cast iron skillet.

                                    Hey, sometimes we even buy a bunch of cold cuts and cheeses and roasted peppers and some bread from the bakery. He gets home early, puts it under a weight and then we have a out it in the George Forman or in the cast iron for a pannini better than one we can buy.

                                    Those are so easy. Now if you talk to me after I peruse my books and mags and websites...a different story. That is my hoby. After a long day of work though, easy is easy. And still delish and better than take out!