What’s for dinner? Winter Edition.

A few weeks ago, I shared some basics of meal planning. I’m a firm believer, simply because it saves me time and money, and we (almost always) have something delicious and wholesome on the table for dinner.

20140114_084943All my theories and tips are all fine and well and good, but how do they play out in real life? Both the husband and I work full time. We often don’t get home until 6:30 pm, so don’t have infinite amounts of time to make dinner. Here’s what we’ve been eating recently to work around our time constraints:

Tacos or Fajitas. They’re so easy, and can be prepped ahead of time if you’re on top of your game. Bonus points for making your own taco seasoning or fajita marinade–it’s not hard!

Italian Wedding Soup. Make your meatballs ahead of time and freeze them. If you do, this is a very simple weeknight meal.

Jambalaya. One of our favorites, because it’s so versatile. I often leave out the shrimp to keep the cost factor manageable.

White Chicken Chili. Just had this one last night. So delicious. To make it even easier, dump everything in the crock pot before you leave for work, put it on low for up to 10 hours, and dinner is served right when you walk in the door. If you do it this way, you don’t have to cook your chicken first–just add two raw chicken breasts, and it will be juicy and cooked to perfection by dinner time. Shred and serve.

IMG_5723Meatloaf. Another great one, though it requires you to be home an hour before you eat. In order to cut down on prep time, I make this recipe the night before, and cover with saran wrap in the fridge. Then all I have to do is slide it in the oven.

Chicken Fingers. 30 minutes start to finish, and you’re done. Serve with a veggie side and some ketchup for dipping.

IMG_5915Pea Soup. Maybe not one for the masses, but we like it. Another recipe that’s easily made ahead or quickly made on a weeknight.

Loaded Nachos. This has become something of a Sunday night tradition. And I like it.

IMG_6116Chili. Ever faithful, traditional, meat and beans chili. Comfort food at it’s finest right here.

IMG_4537Barbeque Chicken. Take the desired amount of chicken breasts or thighs. Put in baking dish. Slather with BBQ sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Lemon Pepper Salmon. Thaw desired amount of salmon. Sprinkle both sides with lemon pepper. Saute in 1 Tbs. olive oil for 4 minutes (or so) a side. It’s done when it flakes.

Whole Roasted Chicken. Nothing like it. Like the meatloaf, this one is very little hands on time, but does require you to put it in the oven 1.5 hours before dinner.

IMG_2021It takes some planning, but eating well on a weeknight is doable, no matter your schedule!

What have you been eating recently? Have any quick, weeknight meals I should add to my list?

Mix it up

Please make this avocado pasta. It’s quick. It’s relatively healthy, depending on the pasta you use. It’s tasty. And it really is done in 15 minutes. No complaints here.

I decided to change up my lunch routine today. Usually, I make a salad or have a bowl of leftover soup. But today, I wasn’t feeling it. Dinner is going to be late. I needed something that was going to stick to my ribs. So I made pasta. With avocado. And it was brilliant. And will most assuredly stick to those ribs well into the evening.

I followed Angela’s recipe, and it led to this wonderful dish. Creamy. Delicious. To make the avocado goop, I didn’t use a food processor as she recommends, and I mashed it with a fork. It worked!

The only downside? No leftovers. Avocado doesn’t really do well if you want to save it. The upside: if you have leftover avocado goop, use chips and eat it like guacamole.

Happy Wednesday, friend!

Grilled sweet corn

About 3 months ago, I walked out my front door on an ordinary Friday morning, and was surprised to see a grill sitting on the sidewalk. A grill with a red bow on it. Since then, I’ve been grilling up a storm.

When I was in Iowa last weekend, I picked up some sweet corn. When in Iowa, right? I’ve had boiled sweet corn many times (and love it!), but, because of the new grill, thought I’d give grilled sweet corn a try.

Now, prepare yourself, there are two ways to grill sweet corn: in the husk or already husked. So, like any equal opportunity corn consumer, I tried it both ways. My conclusions:

  • Already husked corn cooks quicker, but is more dry
  • Corn in the husk takes a bit longer, but stays nice and moist and has a lovely smoked taste to it. It wins!

Grilled Sweet Corn

  1. Soak your ears of corn in a bowl of salt water for about an hour. Use 1 Tbs. of salt for every 2 cups of water.
  2. Lay the ears on the grill and rotate them periodically.
  3. They’re done when they have a slightly charred outside layer of husk all the way around the ear. This will take about 15-20 minutes.

Husk, slather with butter, and enjoy, preferably while sitting outside on your back porch and enjoying the summer evening.

I wanna know:  What’s your favorite summer food? There is something about corn on the cob that just screams SUMMER to me!