Easy Weeknight Dinners

SNACKS

Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies – These are “kitchen pantry cookies.” With lots of optional add-ins, you can throw in whatever is in the pantry.  Consider chocolate chunks, nuts, raisins, etc.  I added some extra honey because my bananas were nowhere near ripe.  If your bananas are super soft and ripe, reducation the honey.

DINNERS

Kale Pesto and Ricotta Spaghetti This is such a fast, easy and incredibly flavorful dish that I cannot get enough of!

Balsamic Vinegar Chicken with Fresh Tomatoes – Pan sear some chicken and onions and then throw them, and a few other ingredients, in a baking dish.  A super flavorful dinner is ready in no time.  Minimal preparation makes this an ideal weeknight meal.

Creamy Spinach Lentil Soup – If you like easy, this soup is for you.  Everything happens in a one stock pot.  Talk about a flavorful, creamy soup option with tons of health benefits too.  A perfect option for a cold winter weeknight.

Hope Something Makes Your Belly Smile…

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Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Adapted from How Sweet Eats


Dry Ingredients

  • 2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 c. white whole wheat pastry
  • 1/3 c. organic ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. sea salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 large organic egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 c. organic coconut palm sugar (yes, this is a wet ingredient)
  • 3 T. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 T. organic butter, melted
  • 3 T. organic milk
  • 2 T. organic vanilla extract
  • 3 T. to ¼ c. local honey (increase honey to ¼ c. if your bananas are not ripe and/or if you like things a little sweeter)

Add-ln Ingredients

  • 1 c. fresh organic blueberries
  • 1/2 c. toasted sliced almonds, optional
  • 3 oz. dark chocolate, chopped (my favorite is liberty chocolates), optional

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.  In a separate, larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredient.  Stir gently, just until combined. Stir in any or all of the add-in ingredients.  Use a scoop to create cookie mounds. Bake on a silicone lined baking sheet or baking stone for approximately 15 minutes.  (If using a baking stone, a few more minutes may be needed)

Note: I added the full amount honey to this batch because my bananas were nowhere near ripe.  If your bananas are super soft and ripe, omit the honey.


Kale Pesto and Ricotta Spaghetti

Adapted from Heather Christo


Ingredients

  • 4 c. organic kale, stems removed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/8 to 1/4 t. red pepper flakes, depending on your preferred level of spiciness
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • ¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 lb. 100% whole wheat spaghetti
  • 4 oz. whole milk ricotta
  • olive oil
  • red pepper flakes

Directions: Prepare the pesto in a food processor.  Add all ingredients, pulsing until combined (but not pureed).  Season with sea salt to taste.  Cook pasta in salted water.  Drain the pasta and return it to the pot in which it was cooked (off heat).  Stir the pesto into the hot pasta.  Plate and top with a generous dollop of ricotta.  Sprinkle with sea salt, a few red pepper flakes, and drizzle with olive oil.  If you like things spicy, add a bit more red pepper flakes.


Balsamic Vinegar Chicken with Fresh Tomatoes

 Adapted from Amazing Pinterest World


 Chicken Preparation

  • 4 organic, boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • Sea salt/pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/3 T. 21 Trader Joe’s Seasoning Salute, optional
  • ½ T. olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced

Basil Sauce

  • 4 – 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 c. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 t. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c. water
  • ¼ c. Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ t. each sea salt/pepper, freshly ground

Chicken Toppings

  • 1 c. mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 2 large organic tomatoes, chopped, (alternative: 1 pkg. organic cherry or grape tomatoes, halved)
  • ¼ c. organic Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

Directions: Warm a skillet to medium heat. Season both sides of the chicken with salt/pepper and a few dashes of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute to each side. Add olive oil to the skillet. Sear the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side to lock in the juices.

Note: The chicken will not be fully cooked at this point. It will finish cooking in the oven.

After flipping the chicken, add the red onion to the skillet in the areas the chicken isn’t.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

While the chicken is searing, prepare the basil sauce in a blender or food processor.  Puree the basil sauce ingredients (garlic cloves, basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, water, Parmesan cheese, and salt/pepper).

Line a lasagna pan with foil. Add the seared chicken. Pour the basil sauce over the chicken.  Next, add the onions, mushrooms, and finally the tomatoes.

Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. During the last 5 minutes of baking, top with the mozzarella cheese. Finish each serving with a drizzling of olive oil and freshly chopped basil.


Creamy Spinach Lentils Soup

Adapted from Pinch of Yum


Ingredients

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 organic carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 organic sticks celery, chopped
  • ¼ t. each sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ c. dry white wine (NOT cooking wine)
  • 2 c. organic uncooked lentils, rinsed
  • 2 medium organic Yukon potatoes, cubed into bite size pieces or smaller
  • 4 c. organic chicken broth (plus 2-3 more cups of broth or water during cooking)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a few sprigs fresh parsley and fresh thyme (alternatively ¼ t. each dried parsley and thyme)
  • ¼ t. dried sage
  • ½ c. organic half and half
  • 4 c. fresh, organic baby spinach
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste (likely ½ t. or more of sea salt is needed)

Toppings

  • olive oil and red wine vinegar

Directions: Heat a large stock pot to near medium heat.  Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot.  Add the onion, carrots, celery, and sea salt/pepper.  Stir occasionally.  Sauté until the vegetables have softened (about 8 minutes).  Add the remaining ingredients (with the exception of the spinach).  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes.  Check the liquid levels often, adding additional broth to keep the lentils covered by the broth.  Add the spinach and stir until it has wilted.  Season with additional sea salt/pepper to taste.

Prior to serving, add a drizzle of olive oil and a scant teaspoon of red wine vinegar to each bowl of soup.

 

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