1. Go-To Dinners
For the meal you have no problem coming home and orchestrating no matter how tired you are, pasta always seems to save the day. It's just so easy too boil some water, toss some veggies with oil and herbs, and wait only a few moments for a super-satisfying meal. I've featured the italian classic, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, and a dish with an Asian flair for you to choose from; both will beat the delivery guy to the dinner table.
Go-To Dinner Meals:
- Pasta with Garlic and Olive Oil from Kyle Phillips
- Sesame Soba Noodles and Sicilian Meatballs from Raquel Pelzel
2. "Looks Impressive" Meals
Something that’s both impressive, and easy to prepare so you can entertain your guest (a date, your mother-in-law) while you wait for dinner.
Looks Impressive Meals:
- Salt and Pepper Fish with Green Beans, Brown Butter and Toasted Almonds from Raquel Pelzel
- Honey-Mustard Roasted Beets from Kevin D. Weeks
- Garlic Herb Chicken Breast on Lentil and Arugula Salad from John Mitzewich
3. Basic Lunches
Sick of the soup-salad combo? Want something a little more exciting than ham and cheese on whole wheat? In How to Meal Plan, I recommended bringing in dinner leftovers for lunch. You could also reverse that and have lunch for dinner. Bonus: both of these recipes will keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Basic Lunch Meals:
- Avocado Pocket Sandwiches Recipe from Los Angeles Times California Cookbook
- Lemony Pulled Chicken Sandwiches from Derrick Riches
4. Crock Pot Meal
A go-to crock pot meal that requires little to no work is a dinner essential. You can quite literally "set and forget" these as you prepare them in the morning and let them simmer all day long. Bonus: Your house will smell heavenly.
Crock Pot Meals:
5. Make-Ahead Meal
These are life-savers! Burritos, hearty soups and chilis always freeze well, and you can pull these out and defrost in the sink in room-temperature water on a moment's notice.
6. Salads That Keep For a Few Days
I like to have salad on hand at all times, so I've been experimenting with cabbage and kale since you can dress them and they'll last a few days longer than lettuce. You can also try grain salads which will last 3-4 days in the fridge and are a little heartier for lunch or dinner (Mark Bittman recommends them for breakfast!).
Hearty Salad Meals:
- Kale Salad from Molly Watson
- Crunchy Red Cabbage Salad from Giora Shimoni
- Greek Quinoa Salad from Jolinda Hackett
7. Sunday Dinner
Ah, roast chicken, pot roast, roast beef; these are the Sunday night supper meals that conjure up childhood memories of Grandma's house. The other bonus to there meals, is that they can be made one or two-pot for less clean up.
Sunday Dinner Meals:
8. Pantry Meals
With minimal ingredients and cooking times, these can be thrown together from your pantry when you don't have time to shop.
9. Hearty Vegetarian Dishes
Meals to cook on meatless Mondays--although I'd eat these two any and every day of the week--vegetarian dinners tend to be healthier and better for your budget (meat being most expensive item in the grocery store).
- Vegetarian Portabella Mushroom Enchiladas from Jolinda Hackett
- Curried Winter Squash and Sweet Potato Stew from Jen Hoy
10. Versatile Sauces
A versatile sauce can turn a so-so batch of vegetables or an un-seasoned piece of chicken into a go-to meal. I use both of these sauces regularly by mixing a bath early in the week and then drizzling them on meals as needed.
More about Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping: