Easy Weeknight Meals

April 9, 2019, noon

Everybody needs a few meals they can keep in their back pocket and pull out at the last minute to feed their family. Here are several that you can stick in your pocket....

from Barefoot Contessa
Serves 6

2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup good mayonnaise
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds striped bass steaks, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, cut into 6 portions
1/2 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (4 scallions)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
3 tablespoons drained capers

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. (Be sure your oven is very clean.) Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.

For the Caesar sauce, place the garlic, parsley, anchovy paste, and mustard in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until the garlic is minced. Add the mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and pulse to make a smooth sauce.

Place the fish on the pan and sprinkle both sides generously with salt and pepper. Set aside one third of the sauce to serve with the cooked fish. Spread the fish on one side with half the remaining sauce, turn the fish, and spread the remaining sauce on the second side. Sprinkle with the scallions and allow to stand for 10 minutes.

Roast the fish for 10 to 12 minutes, until the center is just barely cooked. Cover the fish with aluminum foil and allow to rest on the pan for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small saute pan until very hot, add the capers, and cook for 30 to 60 seconds, until they start to pop and are a little crisp. Serve the fish hot with the lemon wedges, frizzled capers, and the reserved Caesar sauce.


from Jamie Oliver
Serves 4

2 sheets of all-butter puff pastry (cold)
4 skinless chicken breasts
4 heaping teaspoons green pesto
ripe cherry tomatoes on the vine
2 cans whole green beans
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Unroll the pastry, cut it in half lengthwise, then cut each half widthwise into 8 equal strips.
Flatten the chicken breasts by pounding with your fist or a mallet until the fat ends are the same thickness as the skinny ends.
Place them on a parchment-lined sheet pan, season with sea salt and black pepper, spread over the pesto, then lay 4 overlapping strips of pastry over each breast, tucking them under at the edges. Brush with a little olive oil.
Lightly dress the tomato vines in olive oil, season and put onto a second sheet pan.
Place the chicken pan on the top shelf of the oven with the tomatoes below, and cook for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the chicken is cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a board with half the tomatoes, squashing the rest in the tray and discarding the vines. Drain and toss in the beans, taste and season to perfection. Slice the chicken at an angle and serve on top of the beans, with the whole tomatoes.

from Pioneer Woman
Serves 6

1 pound fettuccine noodles
1 stick butter
1 cup heavy cream
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta according to package directions.
In a saucepan or skillet over low heat, warm the butter and cream.
Season with salt and pepper.
Place half of the Parmesan into a large serving bowl.
Pour the warm butter/cream mixture over the top.
Drain the pasta and immediately pour it into the bowl.
Toss a couple of times, and then sprinkle in the other half of the Parmesan. 
Toss to combine, thinning with pasta water if necessary.
Serve immediately as a main course or accompaniment to meat or salad.

from the Kitchn
Serves 4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 (3/4-inch-thick) boneless pork chops (about 1 3/4 pounds total)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Heat the oil and butter in a large cast iron skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat until very hot and almost smoking.
Meanwhile, pat the pork chops dry with paper towels. Generously season all over with the salt and pepper.
Add the pork to the pan and sear until golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side (the pork chops will not be cooked through). Transfer to a large plate.
Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring every few minutes, until browned and softened, about 6 minutes.
Add the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the chicken broth and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Reduce the heat to medium-low.
Return the pork chops and any accumulated juices to the pan, nestling them in the mushrooms.
Cover and simmer until the pork chops are cooked through and register 145°F on an instant-read thermometer, 7 to 9 minutes more.
Remove from the heat.
Stir in the mustard and cream.
Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed.

from Tyler Florence
Serves 4

1 pound dry spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces bacon, sliced into small strips
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished; it is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (as they say in Italian "al dente.") Drain the pasta well, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce if you wish.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame. Add the bacon and saute for about 3 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered. Toss the garlic into the fat and saute for less than 1 minute to soften.
Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the bacon fat.
Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble (this is done off the heat to ensure this does not happen.)
Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency.
Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt.
Mound the spaghetti carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Pass more cheese around the table.

Serves 6-8
1 box ready to bake lasagna noodles
2 jars marinara sauce
shredded mozzarella cheese
sliced Provolone cheese
shredded Parmesan cheese
1 pound ground meat
Brown the ground meat in a skillet. Add the pasta sauce.
In a 9x11 baking dish, put a little of the sauce on the bottom of the dish. Add a layer of the noodles, breaking them to fit. Then add sauce to that layer.
Then add a layer of Provolone cheese.
Add more sauce, then another layer of noodles.
Add more sauce and then another layer of Parmesan cheese.
More noodles and sauce then a thick layer of mozzarella cheese.
Cover with parchment paper and foil and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes until bubbly.
Remove the foil and parchment and allow the lasagna to brown.
Serve hot with salad and bread.

Adapted from THM Cookbook
Serves 4

2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 lb. ground pork (or beef)
6 cups cabbage (finely sliced) (you can use a coleslaw mix here)
1 cup carrot (shredded)
1 medium onion (sliced finely)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
2 stalks green onion (sliced in 1 inch pieces)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
black pepper (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Brown ground pork (or beef) in large frying pan until fully cooked. Turn heat to medium-high and add sliced onion (not the green onions yet) and sesame oil, increase heat to lightly brown the onions.

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, ginger and soy sauce and add to pan, and then immediately add the sliced cabbage and stir. Cook for a few minutes, stirring often, so that it doesn't burn and so all cabbage slightly wilts and reduces in size.
Serve it up!

Recreated from a dish at Rudy Lechner's German Restaurant
Serves 4 – 6 depending on how much you make :)

Link sausages – any kind you want, kielbasa, venison sausage, those weird white sausages that Germans eat :)
Good sauerkraut – a couple of jars
Cut the sausages into 1-2 inch pieces and put them aside.
Slice the onions thinly and saute in a big Dutch oven along with the sausages.
When the onions are caramelized and the sausages are hot, pull off the heat and put the sauerkraut on top. Cover the Dutch oven and let it stay covered for about 10 minutes.
Serve with Dijon and a spicy German mustard. Delicious!

adapted from Bobby Flay
Serves 4

4 cups milk
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup stone-ground grits
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 slices bacon, chopped
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 large clove garlic, minced
chicken broth

Bring milk to a boil.
While milk is boiling, rinse shrimp and pat dry. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned; using a slotted spoon, remove bacon and reserve. In bacon grease, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp turn pink. Add lemon juice, parsley, scallions and garlic adding a little chicken broth to make a sauce. Saute for 3 minutes.
When milk comes to a boil, add salt and whisk in grits. Cook, whisking often, until grits are done, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.
Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Spoon shrimp mixture on top. Garnish with crispy bacon pieces. Serve immediately.

adapted from Jamie Oliver
Serves 4

1 ¼ lb. rib-eye steak (ideally 2 inches thick)
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
4 cloves of garlic
12 oz. mushrooms
23 oz. jar of white beans
Place a large cast iron skillet on a medium-high heat. Rub the steak all over with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Sear on all sides for 10 minutes in total, so good color is achieved on the outside but the meat is medium rare in the middle, or cook to your liking, turning regularly with tongs.
Meanwhile, strip the rosemary leaves off the sprigs, peel and finely slice the garlic, slice the mushrooms.
When the steak is done searing, remove it to a plate and cover with foil. Reduce the heat under the pan to medium, crisp up the rosemary for 30 seconds, then add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for 8 minutes, or until golden, tossing regularly. Pour in the beans and their juice, add 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, and simmer for 5 minutes, then season to perfection. Sit the steak on top and pour over any resting juices. Slice and serve at the table, finishing with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.