Fish tacos, risotto and more! 5 dinners to get you through the week

Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
TODAY Show: Brian Malarkey cooks up pork country meatballs and a roasted potato hash. – January 4, 2016

If you are “wintered out” of your grill and don’t own a grill pan, the fish in the fish tacos can be broiled, to fine effect; I add a bit of honey or agave to my marinade so that the sugars caramelize and you get a bit of browning (butter works, too). Arepas are a wonderful alternative to bread or a bun, especially if you have trouble with gluten. Get the technique right, and there’s no end to the list of things you could serve in them: barbequed brisket, fish filets or fried shrimp with tartar and arugula, herbed egg salad with cornichons, etc.

I did promise at least one meatless day back when I was an idealistic, new, meal-plan creator—so feel free to substitute some sautéed mushrooms for the ham and feel virtuous. Two other tips: roasting the (seasoned) broccoli with extra virgin olive till it gets a bit brown punches up the flavor, especially if you also use an aged cheddar. If warm salad is too out there for your bunch of picky eaters, a salad of greens, sliced green apple and raw fennel, with a bit of parmesan would go wonderfully with the quiche. For more flavor and loads of nutrients you can sub out half or all of the russet for sweet potato.






Shopping list:

  • 1 whole butternut squash
  • 2 Florida avocado (or 4 Haas avocados)
  • 1 russet potato
  • 2 parsnip or carrots
  • 5 roma tomatoes
  • 2 mangoes
  • 1 crisp apple (such as Fuji or Granny Smith)
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, or bag of chopped romaine
  • 1 head of broccoli (1 ½ cups of florets)
  • 2 yellow or white onions
  • 1 bunch kale, lacinato or any variety
  • 1 bunch of scallions
  • 1 bunch of sage
  • 1 bunch of rosemary
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 limes
  • 2 cups of cornmeal flour (preferably Venezuelan Harina PAN, or Goya’s Masarepa)
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 8 ounces cooked or canned, mixed beans (black, red and white beans)
  • Pie dough for single-crust pie, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 sourdough baguette
  • 6 whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 ½ cups half and half
  • 1 dozen eggs (minimum 3)
  • 2 large, on-the-bone, chicken breasts, with ribs and skin
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage
  • 1 ½ cups chopped ham
  • ½ pound peeled and cleaned shrimp
  • 4 skin-on red snapper fillets, about 6 ounces each (can sub mahi mahi or tilapia)

Pantry ingredients:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Vegetable oil or grapeseed oil
  • Mayonnaise
  • Milk (1 cup)
  • Orange juice (1/4 cup)
  • Ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup of your favorite vinaigrette