I was tagged by Powerfille at Food Without Fear to post four easy recipes to have on hand, which frankly are the only kind of recipes I use most days and are sort of the point behind so many of the food blogs that I love; sure, with unlimited time and budgets we can all cook from the most advanced cookbooks (a friend always says, If you can read, you can cook) but in reality I am usually throwing together dinner well after 8:00 p.m. and trying to get it on the table (and yes, that is often the coffee table) at a reasonable hour at a reasonable per-head price -- I personally try to never spend more than $20 on ingredients for a weeknight dinner, out of compulsive tendencies towards efficiency as much as frugality.
So four easy recipes is an idea I can get behind! Below are four of our staples, and all of them morph and evolve (and devolve) depending on what's on hand or in season, so feel free to adapt!
1. Mediterranean Chicken with Tomatoes and Olives
- 4 chicken breasts, bone in
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 cup pitted olives (I like a mix of green and Kalamata but any work)
- olive oil, salt, pepper
Pre-heat oven to 425. Mix tomatoes, olives, salt, pepper, and a glug of olive oil together in a bowl. Let stand. Lightly season chicken breasts. Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large oven proof skillet. When oil is shimmering, add the chicken breasts, skin side down. Brown breasts, about 5 minutes per side. Remove skillet from stove top and turn all breasts skin side up. Heap the tomato-olive mixture over the chicken and place in oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until chicken is done and tomatoes have burst. Serve with rice or cous cous and scoop all the tomato-olive goo on top.
2. Easy Cream of Broccoli Soup
- 1 head broccoli
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 medium-large yellow onion, diced
- olive oil
- 1 quart chicken broth
Remove broccoli florets and reserve for later. Peel and dice stalk. Heat olive oil in large heavy-bottomed pan. When shimmering, add onion and broccoli stalk. Simmer until vegetables are soft, about five minutes. Add potatoes and simmer until they soften, about four minutes. Add chicken broth (and any aromatics you like or have on hand) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 10-15 minutes, until soup thickens. Add two handfuls of coarsely chopped florets and remove from heat. Blend soup to desired thickness (I use an immersion blender and blend right in the soup pot). Serve with salad and crusty bread.
- preheat oven to 425
- season 1lb of ground turkey with salt and pepper
- add 1 granny smith apple, peeled and diced
- add 1 medium red onion, diced
- add 1 egg
- add apprx 2/3 cup of breadcrumbs
- mix the whole mess together, pat into loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes
4. Orzo Salad
- half box of orzo
- can of Italian tuna, in oil
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup almonds or pine nuts, toasted
- cilantro/parsley/scallion or whatever other herb or green thing might be on hand
- feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped olives
- juice of 1 lemon
- splash of olive oil, salt, pepper
Bring small saucepan of water to boil and add the pasta. Chop the things that need chopping. Put everything in one big bowl. Add cooked pasta. Mix. Enjoy. We eat some variation of this meal at least once a week, and it's become a Kitchen Sink dish; I throw in whatever is on hand (I've used cranberries, chopped dried apricots, bell peppers, capers, salmon; I've subbed quinoa and brown rice for the orzo although the orzo is my favorite starch) and am always happy to have the leftovers to take for lunch the following day. It's a perfect one-dish, no-fail dinner!
Now, in lieu of tagging four other bloggers to post their recipes, I am going to be selfish and ask people to offer recipes in comments; I want to add some new goodies to the rotation! So, tag, you're ALL it...