Quick and Easy Weeknight Recipes

Quick, weeknight recipes are a staple in this house. These easy dinner recipes are intended to be comforting and mindful of dietary and caloric preferences. They are also meant to be easy to cook with minimal fuss and are full of opportunities to try. Recipes include tasty tacos, soups, and more. Because everyone loves tacos.

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5 from 5 votes

Weeknight Bolognese

Weeknight Bolognese
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 Servings
Author Jim

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound pasta*
  • 1 Pound ground meat (Turkey Sausage great here**)
  • 28 Ounces crushed tomato
  • 4 Cloves garlic
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Cup White wine (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper flake
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning (Mine is equal parts basil/oregano/parsley)
  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add in ground meat, season with salt and pepper, and brown, ~8-10 minutes.
  • As meat browns, 
bring a large pot of salted water to boil. As it heats, dice onion and mince garlic.
  • 
When meat has browned, remove from dutch oven. Add in onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes, then add in garlic to dutch oven. Stir for 1 minute, then add in wine, tomatoes, herbs, pepper, and meat. Bring to simmer.
  • 
As sauce simmers, drop pasta into boiling water; cook for 8-10 minutes or per package, drain pasta once al dente, put back in pot with 2 tablespoons oil to prevent sticking.
  • Check seasoning on sauce*** and serve over the pasta, garnished with parmesan cheese.

Notes

*Unpopular opinion alert: For a dish like this, a short pasta like penne or shells even is ideal. Spaghetti has its place; just not with Bolognese.
**You can find prepackaged ground turkey just about anywhere, and it’s pretty good, but some brands are a bit fatty and have additives. I like to hit up the butcher counter, where they typically have either ground turkey, or turkey breast that they will grind for you. I prefer this, because then I know exactly what I’m getting.
*** If sauce is too sweet (unlikely, with the wine), add in a tablespoon of red wine vinegar until sauce is to your liking. If sauce is acidic, add in 1/8 teaspoon baking soda until sauce is to your liking. If sauce doesn’t take like anything (very unlikely), add in 1 teaspoon of salt. If sauce is black and bitter, order pizza.
General Tso’s Tacos
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5 from 1 vote

Instant Pot General Tso’s Tacos

General Tso’s Tacos but air fried
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 Tacos
Author Jim

Ingredients

  • 2 Pounds Boneless chicken
  • 1/4 Cup gochujang (See below for substitution ideas)
  • 1/4 Cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 Cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Mirin
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 Bunch Scallion
  • 2 Tablespoons Ginger
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 Cups broccoli slaw mix

Instructions

  • Mince garlic and ginger. Combine with gojuchang, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, and corn starch into saucepot on low heat to just a simmer.
  • Cube chicken into taco sized chunks, season with salt and pepper. In a large pan over medium high heat or instant pot on "Saute more", spray with non stick, and saute chicken until cooked and 165 deg F, ~5-7 minutes depending on size.
  • As chicken cooks, dress slaw with salt, pepper, and a splash of rice wine vinegar. Slice scallion, set aside.
  • When chicken is cooked, immediately toss into warm sauce to coat. Assemble tacos, garnishing with extra sauce, scallion, and sesame seeds.

Notes

No gochujang or mirin? No problem; combine 1/4 cup sriracha, 2 extra tablespoons of honey, and a 1/4 cup of beer as a direct substitute for both!
Sweet and Sour Chicken
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4.72 from 7 votes

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 Servings
Author Jim

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound Boneless skinless chicken breast (Tenders killer too)
  • 2 Oranges (Or one cup of juice)
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons sriracha (Or gochujang, if you have it)
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 Teaspoons Cornstarch
  • 1 Teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Cook chicken in your favorite method (grilled on medium high for 10-12 minutes, baked/air fried in a 450 deg F oven for 15 minutes, or in cubes sautéed in a pan for 7-8 minutes ) until 165 deg F.
  • As chicken cooks, prepare sauce. In medium saucepan, combine the zest of one orange, cornstarch (premixed in the orange juice), OJ, honey, soy, sriracha, garlic, ginger, and black pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat or until thick. Let simmer for 2 minutes on low heat as you cube the cooked chicken into bitesize pieces. Add chicken to sauce, stir to coat. Serve over roasted veggies, topped with sesame seeds.

Notes

*Note: if your oranges are more sweet than sour, put in a splash of rice wine/apple cider/white wine vinegar, or even some lemon juice.
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5 from 4 votes

Tomato Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup in minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 bowls
Author Jim

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced zucchini (about 1 small one)
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot (about 1 carrot)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 15 ounces cannellini beans (thats one can)
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Italian bread (for sopping)
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  • In a dutch oven over medium heat, add in olive oil, then sweat onion/carrot for 6 minutes along with a heavy pinch of salt. Add in zucchini and garlic for another minute, then add in bay leaf, stock, drained beans, and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer the soup for 10 minutes, then served, garnished with the basil, cheese, bread, and grinds of black pepper. Yeah, its really that easy.
Pizza Soup
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5 from 4 votes

Pizza Soup

Its soup that tastes like pizza
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 bowls
Author Jim

Ingredients

  • 1 Onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cans crushed tomato (28 oz per can)
  • 2 cups low sodium beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon dried italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Red Pepper flake
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pepperoni (dont measure, leftover pepperoni rocks)
  • 1/2 loaf ciabatta bread
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup pepperoncini rings

Instructions

  • In blender, combine onion, garlic, and crushed tomato. Blend until smooth.
  • Add proto-soup to large dutch oven over medium heat along with butter, stock, sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper flakes, and dried herbs. Bring to simmer and keep it there for 20 minutes.
  • As soup simmers, cube bread and place on cookie sheet along with the pepperoni. Toast under the broiler for 3-4 minutes or until bread is browned and pepperoni is just crisp.*
  • Once soup has simmered and toppings done, make a bowl of soup! Top with the cheese, croutons, pepperoni, pepperoncini, and a grind of pepper. Enjoy. Don’t burn your mouth.

Notes

*Yep. Broiling the pepperoni. It’s genius. I know.

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