Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Quick & Easy Weeknight Dinner Ideas

One of the many things the 3 of us have in common is that we all love to cook and we all seem to cook/bake differently. Therefore sparking the idea for a “What’s Cooking” series on our blog!

This will be an ongoing series, with each of us contributing our favorite recipes, new finds, holiday traditions, passed down recipes and more!

The first of this series starts with Loni sharing her “Quick & Easy Weeknight Dinner Ideas.”

I love to cook but let’s be honest, after a long day of work who feels like doing anything other than putting on comfy clothes and relaxing on the couch for the rest of the night.

I must say, I am very lucky that my husband also loves to cook and if he gets home first he’ll start or even better make dinner for us – as my grandmother says, “he’s a keeper!”

Once I moved out of my parent’s house (and mom wasn’t cooking dinner for me anymore), it was time to start finding some really great dinners to make that were both quick & easy … and most importantly delicious.

Whether you’re looking to start cooking, love to cook like I do, or want to add some new dinner ideas to your repertoire I hope you enjoy some of my favorites!

My first favorite is what I call “Zucchini Chicken.” I got this great recipe from Skinnytaste.com, but I’ve embellished it into my own over time. I do not make this recipe with cheese (which if you know me may come as a shock, considering cheese is one of my favorite foods!) I use about double the amount of garlic (another one of my favorites) and 2 sometimes 3 lemons depending on their size. I also season my chicken with salt and pepper.

This dish is perfect with a salad and some couscous (which is also quick and easy to make).
  
 

My next favorite dinner is “Salmon Cakes,” (sorry no picture to show for this one). I buy 2 cans of salmon, along with 1 medium onion, 1 red pepper and some scallions.

Dice up some onion, peppers and scallions (the amount you dice up depends on your preference here of how much you want in your salmon cakes) and sauté with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until brown (and the onions are translucent).

In a large mixing bowl mix together the two cans of salmon, your sautéed vegetables, 1 -2 eggs (start with 1 and see if you need the other), a tablespoon and a half of Dijon mustard, two tablespoons of mayo, some garlic powder, and breadcrumbs. Mix until you can begin forming into patties (continue to add breadcrumbs as needed).

Once you've formed your patties sauté on both sides until golden brown. I love to serve these with some horseradish sauce for dipping along with a vegetable (feel free to include a starch with this meal if you so desire).

My third favorite go-to dinner is “Pesto Chicken,” (no picture for this one either).  This dinner is so easy to make - even for someone who hates cooking this dinner can make you look like a professional! This can be made with chicken breasts, tenderloins, thin cutlets, whatever your preference is.

Pick up your chicken of choice and some pesto (I love pesto, so I buy the big jar at Costco). Take your chicken (once you’ve washed and dried it) and dip it into a bowl with some pesto in it (making sure to coat it well on both sides), next dip the pesto covered chicken into breadcrumbs and bake – told you this one was easy!  
Bake at 350° for 15 – 20 minutes (if you’re making thin cutlets or tenderloins, a bit longer if you’re making breasts). 

I like to serve this dish with broccoli sautéed in garlic (can never have too much garlic in your life) and penne pasta.
 
These are some other ideas that are great, self explanatory and most importantly easy:
-Taco’s (can have Taco salad if you don’t want the tortillas) 
-Fajitas (dice up & sauté some onions and peppers to accompany your chicken or steak fajitas) 
-Breakfast for dinner (eggs, pancakes, cereal or fresh toast)

Bon Appetit!

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