Easy Dinners All Week Long
Did you get my cooking class update? We’re hosting free live stream Smart in the Kitchen cooking classes through the month of April. I’m working on a full calendar of online cooking classes for May as well. I’ll have a set schedule of classes twice a week, as well as private classes with custom menus for your family and friends. For more information, head to the cooking class page. We’re also scheduling corporate team-building classes for employees and client appreciation classes. I’m working to add online gift cards in time for Mother’s Day, until then you can purchase gift cards via Venmo or PayPal and we will email or mail the gift card. I appreciate your support as I pivot my business to “keep cooking” during this crazy time.
Join me for a pasta basics class sponsored by Memorial Hermann Hospital Systems. The class will focus on how to make better pasta dishes at home, and how to make simple homemade tomato sauce. We’ll create a Roman classic, cacio e pepe, that you can serve for dinner after the class. The tomato sauce can be frozen for a later date, or used to top spaghetti squash or zoodles for an easy meatless Monday dinner.
Are you signed up for my meal planning workshop tonight? I may need to add a second one soon because 150 of you signed up! We’ll talk about how to strategize for a week’s worth of meals, how to make a fast and efficient shopping list and how to cook smart for easy dinners down the road.
For dinner, I’m making one of Alison Roman’s cult classics, “#thestew.” The stew is really a variation of chana masala (which has been around since maybe the dawn of time, but thank you Instagram for making it cool with the hip kids!). It’s a savory chickpea dish with turmeric, ginger, garlic and coconut milk. Make it your own by adding chopped fresh tomatoes, cubed potatoes, collard greens or cilantro. The Kitchn has a version, and so does my friend Pamela Salzman. She also has an amazing new cookbook out that you should order today!!
The husband has asked for pounded and grilled chicken cutlets that we chop for tacos. If you can’t find cutlets, pound chicken breasts to even thickness. To pound them out, you can cover the chicken with plastic wrap and use the back of a cast iron pan or a rolling pin (or a meat pounder if you’re fancy like that). Easy peasy. I’ll throw some sliced zucchini, bell peppers and green onions on the grill as well. You can serve them as a side dish or thinly slice for veggie tacos. Marinate your chicken in a little olive oil, a good splash of lime juice, a dash of coriander, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Best to marinate in the morning and let the meat sit out for an hour or so before grilling on medium heat.
Did you sign up for my frittata class tonight? I’ve been making this easy “breakfast for dinner” on the regular, but my family might want something meatier for dinner. Meatballs from my freezer with spaghetti squash and Rao’s is a super easy dinner, or serve with pasta or in sliders. The frittata can be saved for easy breakfasts the rest of the week.
Easy Weeknight Meatballs
These meatballs freeze well and can be cooked straight from the freezer. Just add 10 minutes to the cooking time and make sure internal temperature reaches 165. If you have an almond or nut allergy, replace almond meal with either gluten-free or unseasoned breadcrumbs. Makes about 18-20 meatballs.
- 1/2 yellow onion, grated on a box grater
- 2 garlic cloves, grated on a microplaner
- 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
- ½ pound mild Italian sausage (or sub same amount ground pork, veal or beef)
- ½ cup unseasoned almond meal
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino (use a microplaner)
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf Italian parsley, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, use a box grater to cut the onion. Add the garlic and the remaining ingredients and gently mix until well combined. Don’t overwork the meat. Use an ice cream scoop to portion out the meatballs and gently roll them. Place on the parchment paper, making sure the meatballs do not touch.
- Bake for 40 minutes, until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
- Freezer tips: Place the sheet pan of formed, uncooked meatballs in the freezer. After 1-2 hours, once they are frozen, place the meatballs in a freezer bag, label and date. Don’t freeze the meatballs on parchment paper because they will stick when you try to transfer them. It’s best to lightly spray the sheet pan with oil or place the meatballs on a Silpat or silicone baking mat before freezing.
I’m all about easy this week. The cooking fatigue has hit even me! One of my all-time favorite recipes is this ridiculously easy slow cooker carnitas recipe. It is RIDICULOUSLY easy and tasty. The only part that’s somewhat a pain is searing the pork shoulder before it goes in the slow cooker. I’ve tested the recipe without completing that step and it’s much better flavor and texture if you sear the meat, so don’t skip it. Serve over coconut lime cauliflower rice with pickled red onions, Instant Pot black beans and La Taqueria sauce. My family could have a Mexican-themed dinner every night of the week. Bolognese or any pasta dish would be a close second.
Cabbage risotto for date night at home dinner. Just lock your kids in their rooms! Just kidding, just kidding.
Creamy Cabbage Risotto
- 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ½ large yellow onion, cut in thin half moons
- ½ pound green cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- White pepper
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano
- Bring the vegetable stock to a boil and then reduce the heat to let it simmer.
- In a large heavy pot, such as a 4-quart Staub or Le Creuset, sauté the onion in the butter until translucent. Then, add the cabbage, about half of the stock, and then cook, covered, on a low heat. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the cabbage is very soft.
- Stir the rice, salt, and pepper in with the cabbage and stock. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.
- Slowly add the remaining stock. Cook until the rice is al dente.
- Transfer the rice to a serving bowl. Slowly stir in the egg yolks and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.