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5 days of dinner: Easy chicken and rice, polenta and more

These weeknight dinners will liven things up without stressing you out!
/ Source: TODAY

My husband’s kids were visiting from Portland this past week, so our household grew from one constantly hungry teen to three ravenous youngsters, over night. It’s amazing how much food they can consume and how often they want to eat, so we were doing a lot of big one pot meals and if my husband hadn’t been off work, doing most of the cooking and shopping, we would have been eating a lot of takeout (thanks, honey!). So this week’s collection of recipes for five easy weeknight dinners is inspired by my truly understanding how tough it can be to feed a clan in the midst of everything else you do. Respect.

The important things to note about the recipes are as follows:

  • Using short grain rice is an important detail about the arroz con pollo, because it releases more starch and that binds the sauce, giving the dish that “stick to your ribs” comforting quality. Make sure it’s white – brown rice will need to cook longer.
  • The salmon dish is easy-peasy, but don’t forget to buy skewers, or make sure you have them! Try serving them over orzo, or a bed of quinoa cooked in stock for flavor.
  • Instant polenta is an easy base for a meal, and a nice change from rice or pasta. If you’re up for it, I encourage you to try the slow-cooking kind, which results in a more toothsome and satisfying polenta, but can’t be rushed. A great thing to try when you plan on spending some time in the kitchen anyway, because all you have to do is stir it every so often, but many, many times.
  • For a slightly more authentic pad Thai (or if you’re avoiding gluten), use rice noodles. Most larger supermarkets have an Asian food section that usually carries them. That’s also where you’ll find the fish sauce, a key ingredient. Your dish will taste flat without it, trust me.


Easy Arroz con Pollo


Salmon and Zucchini Skewers

Salmon and Zucchini Skewers

Sweet Potato Chronicles




One-Pot Pad Thai

Shopping list:

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 red bell pepper
  • 1 russet potato
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 bunch of scallions2 parsnip or carrots, plus 1 carrot
  • 2-3 small zucchinis
  • 2½ cups peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen shelled English peas
  • Mung bean sprouts (for garnish on pad thai)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 limes
  • 3 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 cups Spanish Bomba or other short-grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts (plus more for garnish)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, or vegetable concentrate
  • 1 sourdough baguette
  • 1 12-ounce box of linguine
  • Rice vinegar (2 tablespoons)
  • Sesame oil (1 tablespoons)
  • Fish sauce (2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc or other dry white wine
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage
  • 1 3 to 3½ pound whole chicken
  • 3 salmon fillets
  • 1/2 pound peeled and deveined medium or large shrimp

Pantry ingredients

  • Milk (1 cup)
  • Butter (1/2 stick)
  • Dried oregano (2½ teaspoons)
  • Red chile flakes (1 teaspoon)
  • Nutmeg
  • Soy sauce (1/3 cup)
  • Brown sugar(1 tablespoon)