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Dinnertime: Go-to Meals

I've always enjoyed cooking and try to cook week nights at our house {it doesn't always happen}.  To make things easier when things get busy, I have a few go-to meals.  I learned in my past that you can't control a lot in your life during stressful {finals} times, but you can control what you eat.  

Onto the recipes...

In October of 2008, Real Simple printed these ideas on how to use broccoli.  Since then I've made the broccoli soup and broccoli and chicken dish {both multiple times} and they are scrumptious {and the soup can be made vegan using vegetable broth instead of chicken}.  I've posted a few of their tips below:

  • Broccoli almondine: Toss steamed broccoli with butter and fresh lemon juice; sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds. 
  • Broccoli salad: Toss cooled steamed broccoli with chickpeas, halved grape tomatoes, crumbled Feta, olive oil, and red wine vinegar.
  • Broccoli soup: Sauté chopped onion in olive oil. Add broccoli and enough chicken broth to cover and cook until tender. Puree until smooth.
  • Broccoli slaw: Combine chopped raw broccoli and red onion with a dressing of mayonnaise, sour cream, cider vinegar, and honey. 
  • Broccoli pesto: Puree cooled steamed broccoli with garlic, toasted pine nuts, grated Parmesan, and olive oil. Toss with pasta, spoon over chicken, or use as a dip or a spread.
  • Broccoli and chicken: Toss broccoli, bone-in chicken pieces, and whole garlic cloves with olive oil. Roast at 400° F until cooked through, 35 to 45 minutes.
And a meal I make at least once a week is Roasted Chicken Legs with Potatoes and Kale.  It is so easy and beyond quick to whip up {and also good for gluten free diets}.  I'm afraid the photograph doesn't make it look that appetizing, although I promise it is.  I found the recipe a few years back from Food & Wine .  I cut the recipe way down and I prefer to use sweet potatoes instead.  But, this one pan dish can be switched out with whatever you have in the house.  I use broccoli a lot too and find it's just as delicious.

So the Big Question is: What is your go-to meal?  I would love to hear it as I'm always searching for quick delicious recipes for these busy weeks.


1 1/2 pounds tender, young kale, stems and inner ribs removed
1 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 whole chicken legs (about 10 ounces each)
1 teaspoon paprika
Lemon wedges, for serving


    *Preheat the oven to 450°. In a very large roasting pan, toss the kale, potatoes and onion with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and spread in an even layer.

    *Set the chicken on a cutting board, skin side down. Slice halfway through the joint between the drumsticks and thighs. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the paprika and set on top of the vegetables.

    *Cover the pan with foil. Roast the chicken in the upper third of the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and roast for 30 minutes longer, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Transfer the chicken to plates and spoon the vegetables alongside. Serve with lemon wedges.


    1. Fiery Angel Hair Pasta...My all-time favorite and crowd-pleaser. It's a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis. (2008)

      1 pound angel hair pasta, 1/2 cup Chili Oil ( 2 cups olive oil, 4 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper flakes - Cook until oil is warm
      Remove and cool. *Can be refrigerated up to 1 month)1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves, 1 lemon, juiced, 2 tablespoons lemon zest, Coarse sea salt, Dried crushed red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel, optional, 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

      Cook pasta and stir the oil, parsley, lemon juice and lemon peel in a large serving bowl. Season the pasta with salt and red pepper flakes, to taste. Sprinkle grated lemon peel over pasta for extra flavor and texture. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, serve, and enjoy!

    2. In the spring and summer, it is a Williams Sonoma recipe for Lemon Basil Pesto. I serve it with whole wheat spaghetti. Check it out on their website. It's delicious and super cheap if you grow your own basil.

    3. We love to make shish-kebobs, lots of vegetables and you can use fish, shrimp, peppers, onions, mushrooms and pineapple too. Then a bowl of quinoa, or cous cous - or tabouleh. Strawberries for dessert and a bit of dark chocolate.

    4. These all sound so delicious. Thanks for sharing...can't wait to try!

    5. Risotto! Any kind, really. Once you know how to make one, there are endless variations available.

      I'm bookmarking this page for the broccoli almondine. Thank you!

    6. My version of Tabbouleh. I put a head of parsley, frozen peas, diced tomatoes, green onions, and cucumber, together in a bowl and drizzle with some olive oil and plenty of fresh lemon juice. Season with Allspice, garlic powder, salt and pepper and allow to sit for a few hours and up to a day or two. So fresh and healthy!

    7. I love Real Simple magazine. Especially their recipes. I hardly ever cook with kale. Will have to try it. I am getting hungry from reading this post!

    8. broccoli is my absolute favorite! i'll have to try some of these. and thank you for the tip about making it vegetarian-friendly!

    9. I cooked your recipe tonight, and it was delicious! Thanks for sharing!


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