week night dinners

Weekday Dinners

Weekday Dinners

capability mom.com blog chicken dinner easy weeknight recipesThe summer of no-cook dinners is over and it is time to pull it together and actually use my kitchen to cook. Sigh. Well, I have a few tricks to making weeknight dinners easier and I will share them with you, because I am generous like that. Also, because I am pretty happy that I figured out to do this and am bragging a little bit. Let’s not get carried away, I didn’t split the atom, I just made easy dinners. Still.

First, plan a menu for the week. Hate to do that? I know, me too. Okay. Plan two days out and make the third day an easy default recipe (something you can make with your eyes closed). Here is my Monday-Tuesday solution.

Buy two whole chickens (on sale at Whole foods for 99 cents per pound) and roast them both at the same time. Make one your Monday dinner with roasted veggies. I added potatoes and apples to the pan, any root vegetable would be great or some squash (use a separate pan for squash and apples). Note, the apples will be mush if you leave them in for the whole time, they only take about 30 minutes. Check out Martha for the best recipe, I just tossed them in whole because I’m lazy. My go-to recipe for Perfect Roast Chicken is from The Barefoot Contessa. I ran out of time for the gravy but all was devoured without. Serve with a big green salad.capability mom.com blog chicken dinner easy weeknight recipes

The next night use the second chicken for a fun Make Your Own Burrito Night. We always have tortillas, cheese, avocado, rice (we used frozen brown rice) and beans in the house, so all that is needed is some lettuce, salsa and sour cream if that’s how you roll. Feel free to sautee up some onions and peppers if you want to or add some of the roasted veggies from Monday.

Set up a station on the kitchen counter and let everyone build their own. Carve up the chicken and you are good to go. For little ones, put small containers on the table filled with the choices you most want them to eat. Have cut up some carrots, cucumbers, celery and peppers on the table for maximum veggie intake.

But Wednesday? What about Wednesday? No, I won’t leave you without. I made pork chops (again from Martha) but I think I am a little in love with Whole Foods for this:

Image from Whole Foods

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Mini Turkey Meatloaf and Maple Green Beans Sheet-Pan Dinner

I haven’t tried it yet (found it while I was trying to make sure the Whole Foods whole chickens were still on sale). Yum. My family are recent meatloaf converts and I am running this. Only one pan? I’m there.

Note- we didn’t use all the chicken for Burrito Night so I chopped up the rest for chicken salad. Also, if you are still looking for meals, take the chicken carcasses (never a pretty word), place in water and/or boxed chicken broth with some veggies to make a soup. Add pasta or rice. I use my pressure cooker for this quick soup. So very frugal of me, don’t you think?

Yet another easy dinner from Real Simple

Okay, the first Real Simple recipe was okay but this one was wonderful.  Turkey cutlets and green bean salad.  I adjusted the salad to exclude some non-favorite items such as tomatoes and olives but I think it would be lovely with – I used orange bell pepper and it was nice.

I’ve made chicken cutlets this way but the turkey was a nice change. Verdict: All in favor and want the leftovers with what is now known as simple tomato sauce (from http://www.smittenkitchen.com)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb green beans, trimmed and washed
  • 1 lb grape tomatoes, halved (I used orange bell pepper)
  • 1/2 pitted kalamata olives, quartered (you could also use hearts of palm here)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and lemon wedges for serving (it was lemony enough without extra)
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil (I  used more as needed)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 thin turkey cutlets – about 1 lb. (I used 2 lbs – and had leftovers – glad I did)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (1/2 cup)
  • 2 large eggs – beaten (add 2 more eggs)
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs (I did not measure – just used all I had on hand – probably 1 cup plus a bit)

Directions:

In a large saucepan with a steamer basket, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Place beans in basket, cover and steam until tender – about 4 to 5 minutes. Rinse beans under cold water to cool.

Toss the beans with veggies of choice, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl.

Season the turkey with salt and pepper (calls for 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper – I used less). Dredge cutlets in flour and then dip into egg, let the excess drip off.  Coat with breadcrumbs.  Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat (if making more, add the additional oil later) and place cutlets in pan. Cook until golden and cooked through (2-3 minutes per side). I put everything in a 350 degree oven because I wanted to hold them a bit and I am always concerned about undercooked poultry.

Serve with green bean salad and side green salad. A crusty bread if you are adding carbs or some cous cous or quinoa (good protein)would add nicely to the dinner.

 Thank you folks at http://www.realsimple.com All in all a fast (under 30 minutes) and lovely meal.

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