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Mama's meatballs and braised chicken: 5 days of delicious dinners

Make these five hearty but simple dinners this week and use our shopping list to get started!
/ Source: TODAY
Braised Chicken with Spinach and Garlic
Andrea Lynn

Mama’s meatballs are classically simple, but pay attention to the technique and quality of ingredients—heaven really does lie in the details for all cooking, especially Italian. There are many great tomato sauces put out by smaller producers which don’t have the sugar and preservatives that some of the supermarket brands do. You could also make your own sauce from canned, preferably San Marzano, tomatoes if your schedule allows. The soup is pretty straight forward, and I think you can safely eliminate the marinara and dip the bread into your soup—or maybe not…

Nicoise salad makes a light but still satisfying main course. This recipe calls for seared fresh tuna, but I find really good quality jarred tuna from Italy, say, or even canned makes for a great salad too. Other classic Nicoise ingredients you could throw on: hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, olives and anchovies. Note: I scaled down the Spring Salad by half since the recipe yields 8 servings, but if you’re feeding a big clan you can go by the recipe as is.


Mama's Meatballs


Parmesan-Garlic Monkey Bread


Tuna Nicoise Salad



Shopping list:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 rib celery
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 2 navel oranges, cara cara oranges, or honey bell/Tangelos (save zest for mussels)
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 radishes
  • 1/3 pound king oyster mushrooms
  • 4 cups salad greens (such as arugula, mesclun, or Boston bibb lettuce)
  • ½ pound fingerling potatoes
  • 1/3 pound green beans
  • 3 (5-ounce) containers or bags of spinach
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1large bunch parsley or 2 medium-sized
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • 1 bunch cilantro and/or mint (optional)
  • 4-5 cups chopped kale leaves (one 5-ounce package cut kale)
  • 1/2 cup farro or barley
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans
  • 7 cups chicken broth or instant chicken concentrate + water
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 jar artichoke hearts
  • 1 small loaf stale Italian bread
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 2 16-ounce cans refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough
  • 3½ cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 strips bacon
  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
  • 4 4-ounce tuna loins, or good quality tuna such as Italian in olive oil
  • 1/2 pound chorizo sausage
  • 2 pounds 80% lean ground beef or veal chuck, or a combo of both
  • 3 to 4 pounds bone-in chicken thighs and legs

Pantry ingredients:

  • Garlic powder
  • Ground oregano
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • Red wine vinegar