Easy weeknight meals while staying safely at home

The global pandemic has stretched longer than anybody initially anticipated. While the first few weeks of staying home were relaxing and fun, you are now falling back to your old routine and have stopped experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen. Nobody is making the viral Dalgona coffee anymore and not too many people have continued baking their bread.

 

Even though there have been some relaxations with dining in and take-outs, social distancing and self-quarantining probably made you stay put at home for most of the week. Though stocking up on frozen food and getting your favorite burger delivered home is easy and convenient, you need to start consuming more whole foods that are healthy and nutritious.

 

Now, do not worry, eating healthy does not have to be tedious or time-consuming. Here are four quick and easy recipes for you to try when you are bored of microwaving frozen pizzas and chicken.

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUPLow incalories, nutritious, and incredibly delicious, this easy-to-make chicken noodle soup will become your favorite comfort food on chilly nights.

This chicken soup is also a quick way to devour some of the fresh veggies!

This chicken soup recipe will take around 45 – 60 mins from start to finish, depending on if you are using a store-bought broth or making your own from scratch.

Using skinless and boneless thighs speeds up the cooking time without compromising on taste, perfect for when you want to whip up something yummy without putting in too much time.

So, let’s get started.
You will need (for 3 servings):
# Olive oil or butter – 1 tablespoon
# Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
# Onion – 1 medium, chopped
# Carrot – 1 large, chopped
# Celery – 1 stalk, chopped
# Skinless, boneless chicken thighs – 2 to 3
# Chicken broth – 4 cups (when using store-bought, look for healthier low-sodium options)
# Egg noodles – 2 to 3 ounces
# Dried thyme – ½ teaspoon
# Fresh parsley – 2 tablespoon, chopped
# Lemon – 1 (optional)
# Salt and pepper – as per taste

Recipe:

a. Add the olive oil or butter in a large pot on medium heat. Wait till the butter melts or the oil heats up.
b. To this, add onion, carrots, and celery and stir every few minutes. Cook for 5 minutes or till the vegetables start to become soft.
c. Add the garlic and thyme. Keep stirring till the garlic starts to turn golden brown.
d. Add the broth to the pot and bring the heat to low. After cooking it for a few more minutes, taste the broth and add salt and pepper as required.
e. Next, add the chicken thighs to the broth and make sure the chicken pieces are completely covered and submerged. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for around 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
f. You can add more broth or water to the pot if needed.
g. Once the chicken pieces are cooked, remove them from the broth and place them in another dish. Add the noodles to the pot and cook until they are done.
h. In the meantime, shred the chicken pieces or cut them to smaller chunks or cubes and add them back to the pot once your noodles are cooked.
i. Perform a final taste test and add any additional seasoning if required. You can also add a dash of lemon for some acidic flavor.
j. Garnish with parsley and your yummy & nutritious chicken noodle soup is ready!
The chicken noodle soup is best served hot and with a side dish of garlic bread or crackers.

SWEET POTATO FRIES

SWEET POTATO FRIESAh! Fries, so addictive, but so unhealthy. Deep-fried and loaded with salt, the fries from your favorite fast-food joint have a big NO written all over them.

But don’t worry, you do not have to give up eating fries entirely, you only have to make a simple swap. The next time you are craving some crunchy fries, give these sweet potato fries a try.
These sweet potato “fries” are baked to perfection and will soon replace all your other side dishes. And the best part, it takes under 30 minutes to make them. These crunchy and delicious sweet potato fries are going to check off all your boxes.
You will need (for 2 side servings):
# Sweet potatoes – 2 medium
# Sea salt or kosher salt – ½ to 1 teaspoon
# Cornstarch – 2 teaspoon
# Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
# Seasonings (optional) – pepper, garlic powder, dried herbs – as per taste

Recipe:

a. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line your baking tray with parchment paper. Spray some non-stick cooking oil on the parchment paper so that your fries do not stick to the sheet.

b. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into thin French-fry like pieces. Try to keep all your pieces as similarly sized as possible, about ¼ inch thick usually works best. This will help them bake evenly.

c. Transfer the fries on your baking tray and spread them across the sheet. Do not overcrowd the fries on the tray or they will not turn out crispy.

d. Sprinkle the sweet potato fries with cornstarch and salt. You can also use regular table salt if you do not have sea salt or kosher salt at home. Toss the fries so that all of them are evenly coated.

e. Drizzle the olive oil over the fries and toss once more.

f. Check to make sure there are no clumps of salt on any of the fries and that the fries themselves do not stick on the sheet.

g. Bake the fries for 15 to 20 minutes or until they turn crispy. You can check if your fries are done by noticing their color and texture. The shiny surface of the sweet potatoes should turn matte and slightly golden brown on the edges.

h. Carefully remove the fries from the oven and sprinkle your favorite seasonings on top. Toss your fries around one last time and voila! Your delicious, crispy, and healthy sweet potato fries are ready for you to devour.

i. Serve with ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, or any condiment of your choice.

GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH

GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHIf you thought grilled cheese sandwiches were just for kids’ lunch, you thought wrong!

Whether you are short on time or would rather just watch Netflix without worrying about dinner too much, this revamped grilled cheese sandwich will tickle your taste buds with its sweet and savory delights.

Bring back your childhood memories with this new and improved grilled cheese sandwich with a French toast twist!

You will need(for 2 servings):
# Bread – 4 slices
# Cheddar cheese – 4 slices
# Ham – 2 slices (optional)
# Eggs – 3 large
# Milk – ¼ cup
# Salt – ½ teaspoon
# Dijon mustard – 1 teaspoon
# Sugar – 1 teaspoon
# Black pepper – 1 teaspoon
# Butter – 1 tablespoon

Recipe:

a. In a big bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, sugar, pepper, and Dijon mustard till they are mixed Make sure it has a runny consistency with no lumps.

b. On a plate, stack one slice of bread, one slice of cheddar cheese, one slice of ham, another slice of cheddar cheese, and close the sandwich with another bread. Repeat with the remaining slices of bread, ham, and cheddar cheese.

c. You can also use any other deli meat or cheese slice if you prefer.

d. Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat and add butter when the pan is heated. Lower the heat to let the butter melt without burning.

e. Dip one of your sandwiches into the egg mixture till both sides are sufficiently coated.

f. Transfer this egg-coated sandwich to the pan and cook till the bread becomes brown and crispy. Flip over and repeat on the other side.

g. Once both bread have browned as per your liking and the cheese is melted & gooey, remove from pan and cut into half to serve.

h. Enjoy with a side of the delicious sweet potato fries from the previous recipe!

LEMON LINGUINE

LEMON LINGUINESometimes, the simplest recipes are the ones that turn out the best, and this pasta dish guarantees just that.

Easy to make with very little ingredients, this lemon linguine pasta will leave you wanting more.

You can also substitute the linguine with any long-cut pasta like fettuccine or spaghetti if you like.

You can even add more veggies like roasted tomatoes, broccoli, and mushrooms if you want to increase your veggie intake for the day.
This pasta dish is perfect for experimenting, so go ahead and add your own spin to the recipe and have fun.

 

You will need(for 2 servings):

 

# Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
# Garlic – 1 clove, minced
# Linguine pasta – 6 ounces
# Shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese – 3 ounces
# Baby spinach – 1.5 cups
# Lemon – 1
# Thyme – 1 tablespoon
# Basil – ½ cup
# Sea salt or kosher salt and pepper – as per taste

Recipe:

a. In a pot, heat the olive oil. Once the oil has heated, add garlic, lemon juice, and some sea salt or kosher salt. Add shredded cheese and whisk together to make a rich and creamy sauce.

b. Use another pot to prepare the pasta. Check the cooking instructions on the pasta package and follow the directions to cook till the pasta is al dente (chewy but firm). Do not throw away the pasta water just yet.

c. While the pasta is cooking, grate the zest from the lemon into a bowl, and squeeze the juice into the cheese sauce.

d. Transfer the hot pasta and ¼ cup of the pasta water into the pot with the cheese sauce. Stir everything together till the pasta strands are evenly coated with the sauce.

e. Toss in the baby spinach or use any other greens as per your likings, such as arugula or watercress. Add basil leaves and some more lemon if you like an extra tangy flavor.

f. Serve on a plate and season with thyme. Your delicious pasta is ready in just about 20 minutes!

g. Feeling fancy? Add some chopped hazelnuts and pine nuts on your pasta for some extra flavor and crunch.

CONCLUSION

If you loved these simple weeknight meals, you would love the other recipes we have in store for you. From easy desserts to quick low-calorie snacks, you will find it all in the recipe section of our blog. So, what are you waiting for? Subscribe to our blog and have fun cooking these delicious recipes for yourself and your loved ones.

Make a delicious dinner for date-night

Date night doesn’t have to be canceled just because you can’t eat out. There are a million and one ways to make the most of your time at home and still enjoy yourselves to the fullest. If you’re not sure where to begin or you’re new to having a date night at home, we’ve put together not 1, but 4 delicious dinners that you can prepare to spice things up and seduce each other’s taste buds.

If you need other ideas to while the time away while dinner is getting ready, there are tons of ideas you would find on any food and lifestyle blog you can get your hands on. We understand how difficult it is to think up something really special yet simple and sweet for you and your partner. We have taken the time to put together recipes that are mouth watering delicious enough to make date night a daily affair.

If you would like a properly cooked meal, delicious vegan dinner, or just a side dish, you would find what you need among these recipes. Each of these dishes have rich flavors to wow your taste buds so get ready to whip up the perfect meal, especially if you haven’t had one in a while. Here we go!

SEARED SCALLOPS WITH FRESH TOMATO-BASIL SAUCE AND ORZO

SEARED SCALLOPS WITH FRESH TOMATO-BASIL SAUCE AND ORZOThis recipe is perfect for summertime meals that taste as good as what you would find in any quality restaurant. Count yourself extra lucky if you have a garden blooming with tomatoes and basil because you get garden-fresh ingredients that would bring out all the rich flavors.

This meal is also ideal if you don’t want a pasta dish. Instead, you would be preparing Sea scallops and Orzo. These are three times larger than bay scallops so they would be quite filling. If you have no prior experience with scallops, you should know that all they need is a little spice because of their sweet and delicate taste.

This food blog ensures that you make the most of all your cooking resources; this is why we recommend that you should use dry-packed scallops that don’t have any watery residue. This ensures that they get that nice and golden brown look when they have been seared. It is also advisable that you use these dry scallops the day you buy them for a fresher taste. Lastly, you may use grits or rice as a substitute for Orzo if unavailable.

Before you begin, it is ideal that you prep all you would need to get this delicious dinner going. It takes only about 30 minutes to prepare so you have ample time to prepare and still retain the amazing flavor of this delicious dish.  Here’s what you would need.

Ingredients

1. ¼ cup shared olive oil

2. 1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion (1 large onion)

3. 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt

4. 1½ cups uncooked orzo pasta

5. ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided

6. 2 pt. cherry tomatoes

7. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

8. 1½ tablespoons of minced garlic (up to 6 cloves)

9. 16 dry-packed jumbo scallops (about 1 lb.)

10. ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided

11. ¼ cup salted butter

This makes 4 servings, leftovers can be refrigerated till a later date.

How to Prepare

Step 1 – Tomato-Basil Sauce

1. Begin by heating two tablespoons of oil in a 10-in. Cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Add the onions and cook them, stirring them once in a while until they soften and start to turn brown. Do this for 3-4 minutes.

3. Next, pour in the garlic and cook, stirring continuously for up to a minute.

4. Add your tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of basil, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Cook by stirring occasionally (6-7mins.) until the tomatoes burst open, releasing their juices.

5. Continue to cook for 1-2more minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly. Pour the sauce in a bowl and keep it warm.

Step 2 – Scallops

1. Clean up your skillet and prep it for use. Also, pat down your scallops with dry paper if they are still wet. Add the leftover ¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper.

2. Next, heat up the leftover 2 tablespoons of oil in your skillet over high heat. Place the scallops in the oil and cook for 1 min. 30 secs. on each side. Cook until golden brown and take them out immediately. Do not overcook.

Step 3 – Orzo

Cook orzo according to the packet instructions then drain. Don’t forget to stir it in butter and parsley.

Step 4 – Serving

Divide the orzo into your favorite date night dishes then add a sizable helping of ⅔ cup of tomato sauce on each plate. Top it with 4 scallops each. Sprinkle the rest of the 2 spoons of basil on each dish evenly. Dinner is served!

ROASTED BRANZINO WITH LEMON AND THYME

ROASTED BRANZINO WITH LEMON AND THYMEEvery couple loves a good roasted meal from time to time, as one lifestyle blog suggests.

Roasted potatoes are an all-time favorite and work well as perfect date night dinners.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash also makes sumptuous vegan pasta, Roasted Sweet Potatoes work too.

But this recipe is not about potatoes or pasta, it’s about Seafood – Roasted Branzino.

This meal is super easy to prepare and takes only about 10 mins of prep time and 30 mins for every other thing. Here’s what you need.

Ingredients

1. 1 or 1½ pounds whole Branzino(snapper, perch, cod, Arctic char, bass, sea bream can work too).

2. 4 thyme sprigs and 4 bay leaves.

3. Extra-virgin Olive oil

4. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

5. 1 thinly sliced lemon and 1 lemon cut into 6 wedges.

This makes 2 filling servings.

How to Prepare

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. Pat the fish dry and rub the skin and cavities with olive oil.

3. Season it properly with salt and pepper then stuff the cavities with lemon slices and a few sprigs of thyme.

4. Move the fish to a rimmed baking sheet. Set the fish cavity-side down and hold it in place with 3 lemon wedges on each side. Sprinkle the rest of the thyme sprigs.

5. Allow the fish to roast until cooked. This takes about 17 -22 minutes depending on the size of the fish. You can now fillet the fish and serve with roasted lemon wedges or one of the fish slices.

RADICCHIO SALAD WITH CHOPPED-LEMON DRESSING

RADICCHIO SALAD WITH CHOPPED-LEMON DRESSINGMouthwatering vegan dinner recipes are one of our favorites. This Radicchio Salad takes less than 30 minutes to whip together and guess what? You can even make it early on (up to 6 hours ahead) if you think you would be too busy to do it close to date night. Let’s get to whisking!

Ingredients

1. 1 head radicchio (10 ounces)

2. 1 small lemon

3. 1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard

4. ½ teaspoon sugar

5. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

7. 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves

This makes 2 servings and takes about 25 mins to prepare.

How to Prepare

1. Break Radicchio head into individual leaves.

2. Peel the lemon with a sharp knife, remove the pith and slice the lemon into quarters.

3. Remove the center membrane and seeds then chop the rest of the lemon finely.

4. Place the lemon in a large bowl and stir in the mustard, oil, and sugar. Add some salt and pepper for taste.

5.Add the radicchio and mint leaves in the bowl and toss. Add some more salt and pepper. Your salad is ready to serve!

Note: If you are making the salad early, refrigerate it to preserve. Don’t forget to whisk again before serving.

PAN-FRIED CHICKEN WITH LEMONY ROASTED BROCCOLI

PAN-FRIED CHICKEN WITH LEMONY ROASTED BROCCOLIIf you’re going to go all out for a date night dinner, then it’s only fair you do it right. And guess what? You can never go wrong with chicken (except, of course, one of you is vegan!) Here’s a simple recipe to try.

Ingredients

1. 1½ pounds Broccoli; Cut into florets

2. 2 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced

3. 3 tablespoons Olive oil

4. Kosher salt and Pepper

5. 4 Boneless chicken breasts

6. 1 cup All-Purpose Flour

7. 1 Lemon; cut into 1/2 inch pieces

8. 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice

This makes 4 servings.

How To Prepare

1. Heat up the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the broccoli and garlic in 1 tablespoon of oil on a rimmed sheet. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon each of pepper and salt and then roast for 10 minutes.

2. In the meantime, pound the chicken breast till it’s evenly thick then season with ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Coat in flour.

3. Using medium-high heat, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet then cook chicken until it is golden brown. 3-5 minutes each.

4. Arrange the chicken breasts inside the sheet with broccoli and roast nicely for  6 minutes.

5. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the leftover 1 tablespoon of oil and lemon pieces. Stir for 3 minutes until it starts to turn brown.

6. Add some lemon juice and ⅓ cup water and cook. Make sure to stir and scrape up any burnt/browned bits. Serve chicken with some scoops of sauce and broccoli.

CONCLUSION

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