As the requirements for meal preparation in my household grow increasingly restrictive (must be nutritious, easy to prepare, appetizing to a husband that craves hearty food and a child for whom vegetables must be disguised, etc. etc.), I feel more than ever inclined to share with fellow families those meals which I have found successful. I’m also preparing myself for the busy weeks and months that lay ahead of us and making sure I have a catalog of easy recipes at my fingertips is crucial. The recipes below are my latest favorite finds – simple dishes that I continue to return to because they are both delicious and convenient.
Weeknight Steak and Rice Noodle Salad
This dish from Bon Appetit comes together in a pinch and is light and bright but substantial and filling enough to be dinner. I marinate the steak the night before or day of in a Ziploc bag with balsamic, soy sauce, salt, pepper, sugar and garlic to give it extra flavor. Skirt steak is relatively cheap and cooks quickly, which is nice. This dish also makes a tremendous leftover for lunch the next day!
Seared Halibut with Tomato Vinaigrette from Food & Wine
This gorgeous dish is so wildly easy to prepare that it seems almost unfair that it should look so good when it’s presented. The tomato vinaigrette puts forth this gorgeous bright pink color and is so perfectly tart and sweet you’ll want to drink it from a jar. I serve this with some basmati rice and a simple salad on weeknights or dress things up with a mango/avocado salad in a ring form (see photo below) for company. This would be the perfect choice for a dinner outside in early summer with a glass of rose - but I'll be honest, we eat it in the winter too!
Spicy Peanut Soba Noodle Salad from Pinch of Yum
This dish is not actually spicy so don’t let the title deter you. It’s the perfect combination of everything wonderful in an Asian dish – nutty, salty, crunchy and bright. Daisy LOVES it and we find ourselves craving it regularly. Instead of cooking the chicken, I buy a rotisserie chicken and shred the meat to save time. I double the recipe and serve half for dinner then portion half for Nick and I to bring to work the next day for lunch – it’s one of those dishes that’s just as good (maybe even better?) cold and a day old. If you can’t find soba noodles, somen noodles are really good too. Whole Foods carries both. You could also probably just use spaghetti. If you have these on hand, I sometimes add grated ginger, rice vinegar and fish sauce to the dressing for a little extra zip.
Campanelle with White Beans, Lemon and Burrata from Epicurious
Guys this pasta dish is so, so, so wonderful. I am a huge fan of burrata – it’s silky and creamy and makes everything in life better – and it marries so beautifully with tart lemon and buttery beans. Make this dish with any fresh curly pasta you can get your hands on although dry will do too. I like to add crispy prosciutto (buy a package of prosciutto, lay it on a baking sheet with some cooking spray and bake for 5-10 mins until crispy then crumble over top of the dish when it’s done) to give it some crunch and add a little extra salt.
Chicken Milanese with Lemon, Tomatoes & Arugula
We’ve been making this spin on the traditional Italian classic for so long, we don’t follow a recipe or measure anything – and it continues to be a dish our families request whenever they visit.
Slice two pints of grape tomatoes lengthwise and set in a large bowl. Toss with a generous dressing of lemon juice and olive oil, salt and pepper (maybe 1 cup lemon, 2 cups EVOO?) and set aside. Set up a breading station for the chicken using medium bowls or shallow plates – one with a combination of egg and Greek yogurt, one with panko and one with flour. Bread thinly-sliced chicken breasts by dipping first in flour, then in yogurt mixture, then in panko. When all chicken is breaded, fry over medium high heat in olive or safflower oil until golden and crispy. While chicken cooks, toss tomatoes with a bag of arugula and grate 2 cups of fresh parmesan. To serve, place a good bunch of the marinated arugula and tomatoes on a plate, top with hot chicken and sprinkle with parmesan and salt. The cheese will melt a bit and the arugula will wilt just enough. Top with a little extra dressing just before eating.
What recipes are life-savers in your house? I welcome any and all suggestions you may have for quick, easy and budget-friendly meals we might figure into our regular rotation over the next few months. We are determined to eat interesting food – even if we can’t go out to restaurants for a while! Hope you all enjoy these ♥