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Top Ten Weeknight Recipes

March 23, 2010

For more Tuesday Top Ten fun, head over to ohAmanda’s.

If  weeknights at your house are anything like weeknights at mine, there’s no guarantee that you’ll have the time or the energy to stand over the stove and make dinner.  Usually Jude’s whining by this time and gearing up for bed, my feet hurt from a long day at school, the house is a disaster, and the dogs are running hyper circles excitedly from room to room.  I try to relax but, to quote Mary Shelley, it’s often like the witching hour.

In truth, I usually want a cocktail more than a nutritious meal, but there’s definitely something rewarding about sitting down to a table of good food , even better if it’s easy-to-make good food.  Here, in no particular order,  are my top ten weeknight meals.  I’ve linked to the website I found them from if it’s available.  Most of these are healthy, fast, and easy clean up!

  1. Black Beans with Onions, Ham, and Greens - I’ve done lots of variations of this recipe, depending on what greens I have on hand.  This is especially a favorite when Scott is gone on business.  I can quickly make my own dinner and have some for lunch the next day.  I only use 2 cans of black beans though.  3 sounds like a lot.
  2. Kale, Tomato, and Mushroom saute, served over polenta - This is another wholefoods.com recipe.  I fell in love with pre-cooked polenta as a result of this one. (It’s sold in a container like a sausage or something, and you simply slice it off and brown it in olive oil.)  We add extra mushrooms, too.  (Kale is said to be the healthiest vegetable, by the way.  We try to eat it a couple times a month when it’s available.)  I sometimes add bacon to this at the beginning of the recipe.  That probably cancels out a few health benefits but it’s yummy.
  3. Black Bean and Ravioli Casserole – This is something that might not sound like it would be good. (Mexican and pasta?)  Let me assure you though… it’s yummy!  I’ve never had a  Southern Living recipe I didn’t like.  My only complaint is that it can be a bit expensive as it requires a whole bag of frozen ravioli.
  4. Marinated Salmon – We always have salmon stocked in our freezer. Combine melted butter with a touch of lemon juice,  worcestershire sauce, and apple cider vinegar.  Sprinkle with parsley.  Yummy.  We usually eat with a baked potato and a fast vegetable like asparagus or broccoli – whatever’s in the fridge or freezer.
  5. Vodka Pasta - I love love love this recipe. It has a little bit of a kick.
  6. Quesadilla with Fresh Guacamole – Alone quesadillas seem boring, but some mashed up avocados (Jude’s favorite food!) combined with a spoon or two of salsa makes for some delicious impromptu fresh guac.  I usually stir-fry onions and mushrooms and place them on the tortilla with some shredded cheese for our veggie quesadillas.
  7. “Real Food” Hamburger HelperGood for you (compared to the boxed, plastic-tasting one at least).  Fast.  Filling.  Comforting.
  8. Trader Joe’s Mandarin Chicken - Okay this isn’t homemade.  It’s seriously good though!  The added bonus is that you can pronounce all the ingredients on the package, and it’s made of whole, real, normal ingredients.  That’s hard to find in the frozen aisle.  We saute and serve it over rice at our house.  Tastes like take-out but cheaper!  I know Land of Lovings likes it, too.  We ran in to each other buying it once at the local TJ’s!
  9. a previously-frozen casserole - Most casseroles can be frozen.  When I make them, I often do a double batch and use it on a hurried weekday.
  10. Cuban Beans and RiceThis is such a healthy dish, and it’s made from absolute scratch, so there are no worries about additives or preservatives.  We like it with crusty garlic bread.  It does take a long time to cook, but you get it started and leave the rest to the stove.  Really easy!

So what about you?  On a hurried weeknight, what dish can you rely on to fill your belly and restore your sanity?

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2010 10:43 am

    Oh, I’m going to have to mark this and try some new recipes!

  2. March 23, 2010 12:41 pm

    OK. Yum. I want to try every single one! So, you live in ATL? Did I know that?

    • March 23, 2010 1:12 pm

      Yep! Soon after I married, we moved back close to family. So happy we have them around now that we’ve got baby Jude. :) Again – thanks for your awesome readers/bloggers post. SO helpful.

  3. March 23, 2010 12:58 pm

    Yummy recipes! My go-to for a busy weekday is a “kitchen sink” jambalaya. I throw in brown rice, chicken, shrimp, or sausage (or a combo of the above), whatever veggies I have on hand (squash, carrots, broccoli, etc.) fresh or frozen or canned, and spice it up with Old Bay, parsley, cayenne, etc. It’s not really jambalaya, but it draws on some of the flavors. It’s quick, it goes a longggg way, and it’s a way to sneak veggies in on the kids without much complaining.

    • March 23, 2010 1:11 pm

      Kitchen Sink Jambalaya sounds delicious! I love recipes like that where you can throw in whatever you’ve got and it comes out tasty. Yum.

  4. March 23, 2010 2:25 pm

    Oh, great list. Anything quick and tasty on a weeknight, and those are so hard to find!

    Mary Shelley is the origin of “the witching hour?” I have a SIL who thinks her mom invented it. I thought it was just part of momspeak. I’m going to google it now. I love finding sources of quotes.

    • March 23, 2010 2:53 pm

      I think she’s the source. I know it’s in Frankenstein anyway. (I teach my students that novel and always notice it.) It might be even older than that!

  5. March 23, 2010 3:26 pm

    I’ll definitely have to check some of these out… I love a quick and easy meal!

  6. March 23, 2010 3:50 pm

    Great list! The quesadillas and mandarin chicken sound good. Unfortunately I am the only person in my fam who will eat beans. I’m not giving up on them though!
    Easy recipes are my favorite!

  7. Cathy permalink
    March 23, 2010 7:23 pm

    These sound good, Katie! Quesadillas are one of our go-to meals, too.

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