Tuesday, April 26, 2016

5 Simple Week Night Dinners

Dining out isn't something that we do often during the week. I typically meal plan 2 weeks at a time and am responsible for preparing the bulk of our meals, especially dinner. Because I'm still learning my way around the kitchen, I tend to make really simple meals. However, I've challenged myself to make one "new" dish or side for each meal this month. Some times I've succeeded and others.. well, I've failed. But I have picked up a handful of really tasty, husband approved meals over the last month. I'm going to share my top 5 favorites from the month. Keep in mind these are simple meals that are for a family with no dietary restrictions.


 I still learning the basics and it's been working for us so far so if you are struggling in the kitchen, I can promise you these meals will be a hit and you'll love having new meals to add to your dinner rotation. First up is a simple chicken with riced cauliflower and a side of apples and grapes.


This meal is so easy, I'm almost ashamed to share it with you but riced cauliflower is new for us and I can't believe we've been missing out for so long. It's a great substitute for rice or any other high carb side. You can buy it pre-riced, I got my from Trader Joe's, and you simply saute it for 7-10 minutes and you have yourself a veggie. How simple is that? Next on my list with the cauliflower is to make stir-fry with it. Think of all the calories you are saving by switching rice out for a cauliflower.


I am huge fan of soups, strews and chowders so this is heaven in a bowl. It's a crock-pot dish so you know it's a winner. Place one cup chopped or diced ham and one bag of freezer diced hash browns in the crock-pot. Add a can of cream of chicken, diced onion (if you don't like onion you can omit this), a can of sweet corn and 16 ounces of chicken broth. Cook on low for 7 hours and the last hour add in a 8 ounces of Velvetta cheese and a bulk of cream cheese. Allow the cheese to melt completely and serve. You are going to love this chowder. Promise.


If you eat a lot of chicken and are looking for a new way to enjoy it, you have to try al fresco's Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage. I boiled ours one night when I was in a crunch for dinner along side corn and Brussels sprouts and it was such a healthy, filling meal. These sausages have maple syrup and apples blended in, which give them a sweet taste that's fun to have for dinner from time to time. If you love corn on the cob like we do, you can make it on your stove top in 15 minutes. Fill your sauce pan with enough water to cover your corn, 1/2 cup of milk and a 1/2 cup of butter. Bring to a boil and add your corn. 15 minutes later you'll have sweetest strove top sweet corn. Be sure to click on the al fresco link above for your chance to win an all-expense paid weekend getaway in NYC including $1,000, plus a tour and private dinner prepared by Bon App├ętit's Executive Chef in the new BA Kitchen.


This Italian beef is James's favorite dish. Not only is it another crock-pot meal but you can count on leftovers the next day for lunch or even another dinner. To make the beef, add the unthawed meat, one packet of Italian seasoning, 16 ounces of beef stock and 8 ounces of peperoncini peppers in your crock-pot. Let the meat cook for 8 hours on low and you should be able to shred it with a fork. If you don't like a lot of spice, remove the peppers before shredding. We've had this dish 2 ways - as pictured above and on buns as a sandwich. It's so delicious that it's been on our menu every week since mid-March.


I'm sure you've seen the pin floating around Pinterest with this one pan chicken dish. I started making this dish 3 years ago and haven't let up yet. I shared it with a friend and her family loves it, too. It originally calls for Italian seasoning but I've used ranch before too and it's just as good. Add chicken breast, cubed red potatoes and green beans in a glass baking dish. Top with a cup of melted butter (sad but true -- what's a good alternative to this?) and your seasoning. Cover and bake for an hour. It's simple, it's basic, it's tasty.

Share with me your must make dinners. I'm looking for quick and easy meals that are tasty and don't require a lot of fancy skills. I'm slowly working my way up from amateur chef and would love some new ideas for our dinner menu.

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