What is your favorite weekday meal?

September 23, 2007 | 26 comments

I’m sitting at my desk to create my new rotating three week menus (I got the idea here) and realized that my recipe repertoire is pretty pitiful. I could use a few more dishes to round out the menu and to have as backups, so I though I’d ask you guys for your input: what is your favorite basic, weekday meal?

I’m looking for recipes that require less than 30 minutes of active prep time (though longer cooking time is fine). No need to type out the whole recipe — just the title and a brief description would be fine, I’m sure I can Google around for the details.

Thanks in advance!


  1. Ash

    Slow cooker coconut chicken curry-it sounds fancy but is super easy and has the advantage of being put together early in the day when children are happier. (I have a great recipe if you want it.)

    I also love to do frittatas with whatever leftover veggies I have on hand or to do breakfast for dinner…Does cereal count as dinner?

    Also, chicken and broccoli casserole is and easy make-ahead and put in the fridge or freezer.

  2. The Wife of an Addict

    Jen, I second the frittata idea! We really love to do that, plus, they reheat really well for an easy breakfast for Hubby!

    OK, this is something I really enjoy, and I’m the leftover queen, so here are two ideas for you.

    I love to make chopped beef BBQ. It takes hours to cook, but just a few minutes to throw everything in the cooker. I usually make my own buns, but that’s not at all necessary.

    We eat the BBQ for dinner, and again for lunch the next day. For the next night’s dinner I put the leftover BBQ in a skillet, add Velveeta cheese, some Mexican spices, corn, and cilantro. Then I wrap the mixture in flour tortillas and fry them up. Hubby LOVES them, and I usually serve them with a big taco salad.

    If you want the BBQ recipe just let me know!;)

  3. Tienne

    I’m a fan of quiches. My mom has a crustless zucchini quiche that I whip up for lunch every weekend because it’s so easy, healthy and yummy. With a tomato salad it’s perfection.

    I also like tuna and olive linguine, but you have to LOVE both tuna and olives or it’s a pointless dish. If you have a lemon or orange to zest in and some fresh rosemary, then it really sings! http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/linguine-with-tuna-capers-and-olives

    For dinner in a jiffy I also like North African Couscous Paella, which takes all of 15 minutes to make and is one of our favorite dishes. It’s incredibly colorful and easy. You could do it with cooked, cubed chicken, though the recipe calls for tofu. http://www.ivu.org/recipes/african/north-african.html

  4. Milehimama

    We have some version of Flylady’s Garlic Lime chicken very often. Usually a whole fryer, sometimes parts, sometimes just legs depending on sales – and ALWAYS in the crockpot! Leftovers appear as chicken salad, cheaper than lunchmeat [and when you homeschool, you have to feed everyone lunch. Every day! The cruelty of it all…;) ]

    Also, pork chops with Sam’s Choice Pineapple Chipotle Salsa. Dump it in and cook. Love my crockpot! I can usually get a huge pork roast for around 99 cents a pound; leftovers appear as shredded pork, BBQ pork sandwiches, or taco filling.

  5. Nicole

    This is by far the easiest meal I make…I think it’s called Crockpot Lasagna.

    1 28-oz. jar of spaghetti sauce
    1 package frozen cheese ravioli (about 24-oz.)
    2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

    Spray crockpot with non-stick cooking spray. Spread 1 cup sauce on the bottom and layer with half of the ravioli. Sprinkle with half of the cheese and another cup of sauce. Layer the remaining ravioli and top with the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake on low for 3-5 hours, depending on how hot your crockpot cooks.
    you may wish to prepare the lasagna in a 9×13 pan and bake it in the oven (about 45-55 min. at 350°)

    I love the idea of rotating meuns…I will be checking back soon to get some ideas myself!

  6. Kate

    My new favorite is crockpot BBQ chicken. I make my own bbq sauce, and that’s the most time consuming part of the prep!

    My husband and son love my chicken quesedillas (sp?). The hardest part of that is rolling them, but you can just layer the tortillas, filling, and cheese like a casserole instead. Very yummy with a good salsa and sour cream!

    I also have a very yummy and cheesy stovetop mac & cheese recipe, which I will gladly share if you like! Much better than the box stuff, and very easy. My husband really dislikes baked mac & cheese, but this he loves!

  7. Veronica Mitchell

    Frozen chicken breasts and chopped red and yellow bell peppers and onions. Grease a dish with olive oil, sprinkle with sakt and pepper and whatever spice you like, and bake uncovered at 425 for 30 minutes (no need to thaw first). Serve with rice.

  8. Aunt Chrissy

    If there’s a Trader Joe’s in your area, get some of their Spinach Pizzas – you can skillet-cook them in just 10 minutes, and vary them by adding extra cheese, meat, veggies or whatever you want on top!

    (P.S. love your blog!)

  9. LilyBug

    If you like Mexican, green enchiladas are very easy to make. Warm up some corn tortillas in a skillet of olive oil. Then wrap cooked chicekn pieces in the tortillas. Pour green (or red) enchilada sauce on top. Sprinkle grated moterrey jack cheese on top. Put in the oven until the cheese is melted and viola. This is a great recipe for leftover chicken.

  10. LilyBug

    Beef (or chicken) tacos are also great. Just turn up the heat on those corn tortillas until they turn into crispy shells. The rest should be obvious.

    The only think I’m not good at is making good Mexican rice.

  11. Abigail

    French Canadian meat pie (Tourtiere), very easy recipe on my blog. I’m all about stealing cooking tips from cultures with traditionally big families now.

  12. Radical Catholic Mom

    My family LOVES this recipe and it is super easy.

    1 can of Garbanzo beans
    1 can of black beans
    1 can of kidney beans

    chop tomatoes, onions, olives. Sprinkle with lemon or lime juice. Salt pepper. You can add olive oil if you want. And serve. Very filling, very delicious. I will also add left over chicken and salmon when I have it.

    For leftovers, I throw the rest in a tortilla and nuke it.

  13. Karie

    Try a copy of “How to Cook without a Book”. It has awesome recipes of all kinds and all take 30 min. All kinds of foods (soups, salads, entrees, pan sauces, appetizers and desserts)

  14. Ouiz

    I second Milehimama’s suggestion about getting the SAVING DINNER cookbook. It’s phenomenal and she’s got menus planned for the entire year — including already making up the grocery list for you!

    We do garlic lime chicken quite often… I serve it with creamy orzo and lots of steamed vegetables.

    Another family favorite is chicken tacos: two packages of boneless skinless chicken thighs, one package of taco seasoning, and 2 cans of Rotel. Dump it all in the crockpot for 6-8 hours. Shred it and serve on warm tortillas with a bit of cheese. My family INHALES this…

  15. Anna

    My mom’s pot roast:

    Take a can of cream of mushroom soup, combine it with a pack of dehydrated onion soup (1.5 ounce or so), and pour the thing over a chuck roast. (Recipe says 4-5 lb. roast, but I usually do something more like 2-3 lb.) Bake 2.5-3 hours. Throw in carrots, potatoes, onion, turnips, or parsnips for the last hour, if you want.

  16. Christine the Soccer Mom

    Jen, I’ve got LOTS of fast recipes that I like to use. I’ve got two Weight Watchers’ cookbooks that are all 30 minutes or less. If you can get your hands on a WW 15-Minute cookbook, you’ll love it.

    My crock is my best friend, and I’m about to go rub spices on a full chicken, plop it into the crock (sometimes on top of frozen corn on the cob), and pour about a cup or so of either wine, chicken stock, or beer on it. (Haven’t done the beer with the corn yet…but it might go well with the Sam Adam’s Octoberfest beer because of the carmel flavoring in it.) Cook on low for about 8 hours. If you use frozen chicken breasts instead (or even thighs – pieces rather than the entire bird), 8 to ten hours on low does the trick. This is an adjustment on a recipe that called for just the chicken breasts (4 frozen) in the crock with a packet of dry Italian dressing mix on top, then 1 cup of water or chicken stock on top. Cover, 8-10 on low. (“Super Easy Chicken!”)

    Oh, the other WW book I just got is “Cook it Quick” – everything is 30 minutes or less.

    And the leftover chicken makes good sandwiches or can go on top of salads, or you could cut it up and bake a spaghetti dish (like ziti). Yummy!

  17. Anne Kennedy

    I’ve been craving vegetables, so twice this week I chopped up everything I had (like peppers, zuccini, mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, green beans etc.) and sautee’d them down and then added sour cream to thicken (no other liquid). Oh, and in the beginning I threw in some fresh tyhme and oregano, and salt.
    The first time we eat it with couscous (fast fast) and the second with colored pasta. The nice thing was not bothering to cut up onion and garlic which makes me tired right now. The vegetables themselves mellowed nicely together. And I didn’t bother with meat because I was tired. I will probably do this again tonight and maybe tomorrow and the next day. It takes all of five minutes to chop everything, and 10 to cook it, maybe. I actually just put a lid on an walk away.
    The other thing I do probably every week is peanute sauce. Its somewhere on my blog if you’re interested. Very easy, lots of left overs, my kids love it.

  18. Anonymous

    8 can soup is a favorite in our family. Takes three minutes to put together and about 20 minutes to simmer (longer if required). The eight cans are 2 cans Hormel chili (turkey chili makes it lower in fat), 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 can diced potatoes, 1 can green beens, 1 can mixed vegetables, 1 can vegetable beef soup, 1 can corn. Use all the liquids in the cans as your base.

    Tortellini soup is another good one. Brown 1 pound lean ground beef. Add to a big pot your ground beef, 1 can condensed french onion soup, 1 can beef broth, 1 can green beens, 1 can Rotel tomatoes, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and add 1 package of frozen cheese tortellini. Boil according to tortellini package directions.

  19. cordelia

    plain ol’ tacos/burritos: brown ground beef with seasonings, have a really good mild salsa on hand (no need to chop tomatoes)pre-shredded cheese, sour cream, maybe some pre-packaged guac. (trader joe’s), bagged salad for lettuce, soft burrito wraps and lay it all out buffet style and you’re good to go. the only thing you had to cook was the ground beef (oh, maybe you need to warm the wraps)

  20. John Parker

    Shepherd’s Pie is easy and fast to prepare, though it takes a bit to cook. It’s also great leftover velcro. It requires mashed potatoes and hamburger/chopped beef, but you can put any other leftover meats or vegetables in it. I know there’s several good versions on the internet.

  21. Adoro te Devote

    Chicken Tortilla Soup.

    There’s lots of recipes. Here’s mine:

    Take 4 skinless chicken breasts, boil them in water that just covers them. Remove the chicken from the water when cooked, and set aside. To the broth, add a can of Ro-tel (or other brand) diced tomatoes with jalapenos. (Rotel makes a cilantro lime version that is very god). You may need 2 cans. Add a chopped serrano pepper according to taste. Make sure you remove the seeds first!

    Add a fresh chopped tomato and a small chopped onion. (More if you like more). Add various condiments from your fridge. I add salsa and even Tiger Sauce, which is a sweet-mildly spicy sauce/marinade. And other things…all according to taste. Taste is EVERYTHING. If you are not into experimentation, add some salsa but leave the rest of the condiments until you’re more advanced. 🙂

    Blend the soup, say, simmer for…20-30 min? Then cube the chicken and add it back to the soup, at any point, really.

    One caveat; if you want to blend the soup with a hand blender or something, then do that before you re-add the chicken. I’ve served it both ways. Children may not like the chunkiness, so for them, blend it. Adults likely don’t care so much.

    Serve the soup over tortilla chips. you can make your own in a skillet using tortillas, or just buy a bag.

    Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and maybe fresh cilantro if you like the flavor. And tobasco or other hot sauce on the side for people who like more spicyness.

    It’s YUMMY, easy, and really flavorful. And there’s a lot of room for experimentation with flavors you might just have around. Just don’t go overboard on any one thing!

  22. Literacy-chic

    I have a few recipes posted on my blog, mostly from Lent (or Lent-friendly), but all are quick and most of the frozen pre-cooked shrimp (Hill Country Fare from HEB) can be alternated with frozen boneless-skinless chicken of some sort (breasts, tenderloins, thighs).


  23. Literacy-chic

    Also, just a regular, non-seafood jambalaya is easy. Sauteed Onion & bell pepper, chicken (frozen tenderloins are what I use) & sausage of choice (though spicy pork andouille is traditional). Cook until the chicken is no longer pink, add rice (I usually do 1 1/2-2 cups), salt (appropriate to the amount of rice), pepper, cayenne (to taste–or you can leave it out), stir rice so it doesn’t burn, when rice gets translucent, add the amount of water necessary to cook the rice. Then just cook until the rice is done (according to package instructions). I tend to use Texmati or a longer-grain rice, but anything works (except instant), even brown! Kids generally love it!

  24. Literacy-chic

    You might also see if Melanie B at Wine Dark Sea will give you the link to her recipe blog!! 😉

  25. Literacy-chic

    Okay, sorry, but I thought of another…

    It’s like an alfredo, but basically it’s a cream-cheese white sauce: integrate equal amounts of flour and butter (likely 3 T – 1/4 c), then add milk gradually to achieve desired consistency (which should be a little watery because the cream cheese thickens it). Add cream cheese (or neufchatel) gradually. I have used 1-2 packages, depending on whether the cream cheese is the primary protein source or if fat or a tight budget were concerns!! Salt & pepper to taste, then pour over pasta of choice (I like angel hair or cappellini, but a thicker pasta like linguini really is ideal because of the thickness of the sauce).

    The great think about this sauce is the possibility of add-ins. If you saute garlic in your butter before adding the flour, it’s great. Shrimp & crab work well in this sauce, as do tomatoes (fresh, sun-dried, or whatever) and broccoli. This is another that kids just adore!!

    (I grew up cooking full meals for a family of 7… although what they remember most are tuna casseroles, grilled-cheese sandwiches, burnt pizza, and overdone greenbeans drenched in butter. Hey, I was 14!!)

  26. Kevin

    Like Ash from your first comment entry, we love our crock pot for easy to prep week day meals. Curry is a favorite, but so is a great “cheater BBQ’ recipe we have for pulled pork!

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