It’s nice to finally get my bearings in the kitchen, and even nicer to have some recipes under my belt that have become a part of our monthly rotation. Below are some dishes that I have made countless times that on a skill level are close to beginner, but the results taste expert. For a lot of them the prep can occur the night before, during nap time, in the morning before you head out, and then it can be quickly pulled together later when you are ready to eat dinner, letting it simmer on the stove or cook in the oven. Trust me, with a toddler at my feet, I have learned to be efficient in my planning and prepping to maximize any free/downtime I have while making sure the meals put down on our table each night are quality and worth the effort. What I particularly like about braised meals is that once they start to cook, you typically have anywhere from 20-60 minutes to clean up, prepare sides, sit on the couch, whatever! until it’s ready. Clicking on the titles will open new windows with the recipes – enjoy!
Chicken Thigh Tacos
What’s great about this is once you buy the spices/seasonings the first time, all you need to make it again is the chicken thighs and any taco night fixings you typically like to use (cheese, jalapeños, etc.). For sour cream, I substitute plain greek yogurt. To go along with these tacos I make this Avocado-Cucumber Salsa, and I usually pair with black beans and rice.
Cinnamon Braised Chicken
The first time I made this, I was like holy sh%t, I did this?! This dish is delicious. I used to be uncomfortable handling/cooking meat with bones, but the meat ends up tasting way better and alI you need is a trusty meat thermometer to ensure the meat is cooked through.
Braised Chicken with Green Olives & Lemon
This is another prep it, cook it and have an amazing meal a short while later.
Chicken with Shallots
The chicken and sauce in this is heavenly! I was only able to find chicken with no bones, but skin on, at my local Fresh Market. I think I had to ask them to debone the chicken breast, but leave the skin, and they were more than happy to do it for me.
I just started eating eggplant a few years ago, and now I make this eggplant parm at least once a month. I pair it with sautéed spinach and garlic, and maybe some quinoa wild rice.
Sage Pesto Crusted Turkey Tenderloin
This recipe rocks, and the portions are huge so you can even consider this for when a few guests come over. I just make the mixture during my son’s nap time and keep it in the fridge until I need to layer it over top the tenderloins, and then just pop it in the oven. Easy peezy and so good. What makes this meal even more appealing, you add potatoes in to cook with the turkey so your side item is handled. WIN.