Convenient Recipes for the Busy Chef

Sometimes in these last-half-of-summer weeks, and/or getting back into a school routine,  leisure time is coveted and rarely interrupted- especially for dinner. Though, that temptation to not cook an 8-hour meal doesn’t automatically mean families should consult a restaurant take-out menu, but instead as presented by Pinch of Yum, families should embrace the lackadaisical atmosphere of summer with this list of tried and true “lazy person”  or busy chef recipes that are delicious without too much effort exerted.

CURRY CHICKEN SALAD OR AVOCADO EGG SALAD

At-home chefs are well-aware of the easiness of the traditional option of chicken and egg salad sandwiches, but this recipe varies the familiar with an incorporation of avocado in egg salad that is placed atop a toasted everything bagel. This gives a new life and presentation to the 5-8 ingredient meal that takes no more than 15 minutes to prepare.

INSTANT POT MAC AND CHEESE

An instant or Crock pot is a tried-and-true tool in any busy chef’s arsenal, so it’s fitting that this recipe pairs the convenience of the instant pot with that of the boxed mac and cheese, both requiring minimal effort. Though, this combination recipe is made ever more thoughtful by highlighting and building upon the texture, sauciness, and cheesy flavor found in homemade mac and cheese, giving a family flavor from a low-effort meal-saver.

CASHEW CRUNCH SALAD

While the salad is an important go-to meal for those lacking time, sometimes the variety of ingredients can pose as an obstacle, impeding preparation. This recipe builds on that convenience with ease, as this is more of a production of assembly rather than cooking. The dressing poured atop a bed of edamame, cashews, and cabbage is unusually creamy and sweet, and it can even be shaken up in a jar with the crunchy chow mein noodle sticks that give this meal a much-desired texture.

SHEET PAN FAJITAS OR SHEET PAN PITAS

Few kitchenware compliments the low-effort style of a busy chef other than the sheet pan, and with this recipe, you won’t need prep time. Resulting in a “food hack” pan pita, stuffing chicken and peppers with store-bought sauces and extras like tzatziki, hummus, or pitas, all of which can be home-made or conveniently store-bought.

Salmon Burgers

Reject the idea of eating salmon from a can unless it’s through the lens of this savory, good, and hearty meal that can be ready in fifteen minutes. Once made into a patty and quickly fried, a can of salmon quickly turns into a burger situation once placed atop a bun or bed of saucy cabbage slaw. Readers might be adverse to the ingredient, but it’s a favorite recipe for the at-home chef in a rush.

The Actual Easiest Fish Tacos

When you’re all ready to give up on dinner at home and ready to just grab your keys and leave to get takeout, this recipe comes in at the last second as a saving grace. The simple recipe included merely has a chef placing fish, butter, and spices in a hot pan to be baked, flaked, and consumed. It can also be made better by pairing the tacos with a garlic cilantro sauce that compliments the meal deliciously well.

CARNITAS

Following along in the conveniently easy tradition of south-of-the-border recipes is this dinner-time favorite: the carnitas, or crispy pork that is loaded with flavor and asks very little of its preparer. You are able to make this pile of savory meat in a slow-cooker or instant pot, and the recipe can be multiplied to feed large crowds who will relish in how “great” of a cook their host is.

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The Best Salmon Recipes For Your Busy Week

I’m sure you’ve heard about the health benefits of salmon. Not only is this fish absolutely delicious, but it also boosts your immune system, is a great source of protein, improves brain function, increase your heart health, aid in weight loss, strengthen your bones, and help with inflammation, among other things. So the real question is – why haven’t you incorporated salmon in your diet sooner? Below is a list of some delicious salmon recipes that are sure to get your family’s approval and help you get healthier.

Pan Seared Salmon Recipe

“Simply seasoned with salt and pepper, these salmon fillets are pan seared with capers, and garnished with slices of lemon.”

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Dip

“This dip fits perfectly with grilled salmon. Serve with rice. Greek style yogurt is a bit more sour than regular plain yogurt.”

Chef John’s Salmon

“I love the combination of tarragon and Italian parsley, but I’ve used herbs like basil and thyme, which worked wonderfully as well. As far as the fish goes, a center-cut salmon filet is a perfect thickness for this, but other similarly shaped seafood will work.”

Sesame Grilled Salmon Recipe

“Delicious grilled salmon. A very flavorful main dish. Great when served with grilled yellow bell peppers, green beans, and wild rice with herbs.”

Baked Dijon Salmon

“This is a wonderful way to prepare fresh salmon fillets in the oven. Be sure to make extra, your family will be begging for more!”

Lemon Dill Salmon with Garlic, White Wine, and Butter Sauce

“I had a craving for fresh fish and dill, so I played around and came up with this. It’s been rated one of my greatest hits! Great with rice or potatoes and steamed green beans.”

Citrus Baked Fish

“Salmon works best in this citrus-flavored dish.”

Smokey Salmon

“Salmon grilled with a light seasoning of spices with the sweetness of maple syrup! I served it with rice and baby carrots.”

Paleo Pecan-Maple Salmon

“This recipe is not only easy but healthy and tasty! Paleo, gluten-free and dairy-free!”

Lemon Pepper Salmon

“Simple, tasty and fast! Salmon is sauteed with all ingredients at once, and served over couscous. Great with a spinach salad.”

Pepper-Honey Cedar Plank Salmon

“I live in Alaska and have 3 sons that love to fish. I have had to come up with some pretty creative ways to prepare salmon, this is by far my family and friends favorite way to eat fresh salmon. I soak an untreated cedar plank in water and bourbon while they are out fishing for the day and fix the barbeque sauce so that it is ready to get grilling…..”

Alaska Salmon Bake with Pecan Crunch Coating

“I am completely addicted to this! I used already prepared honey mustard (I bought from tastefully simple), mixed the bread crumbs in with the mustard mixture it was FANTASTIC! Thank goodness my Dad goes Salmon fishing & shares his catch with me (it’s best with fresh Salmon).”

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Eight Cheap and Easy Dinner Recipes

Sometimes it can be hard to find recipes for delicious meals that won’t break the bank. A simple trick to reduce the price at the end of your receipt is to choose cheaper protein options like ground beef, chicken, or using beans in place of meat.  Regardless of your diet, check out these great-tasting, cheap and easy dinner recipes from Delish that will make you want to never eat out again (or for a while, at least)!

Tex-Mex Balls

Delicious on a sub, over spaghetti, or by themselves!

“It was perfect on hero bread and the sauce was AMAZING. I’m sure it would taste delish over spaghetti as well. This is a keeper in my house.”

Classic Calzones

This recipe is perfect for getting the whole family involved in making dinner. Just set out the ingredients, then pop in the oven when everyone is done. Easy, fun, and yummy!

“My daughter and I made the pepperoni calzones and I must say it was very easy and very tasty.”

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Cilantro and lime are the perfect pair, especially in this easy chicken dish. Pair with a side of roasted veggies or mashed potatoes for a well-rounded meal!

“One of our favorite recipes. Easy to double but I do have to cook it in two batches, so takes a bit longer. I do sometimes add more lime and cilantro than the recipe calls for because we love the combo.”

Better-Than-Takeout Beef and Broccoli

Once you try this dish, you’ll never crave take-out again!

“Very tasty and easy to make.  It was a hit in my house and the leftovers heated up quite well.”

Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp

Get ready to pull out your air fryer for this perfectly crispy shrimp that pairs well with spicy mayo. Best. Shrimp. Ever.

“This was so delicious! I did have to adjust the time to about 7 minutes as the first batch was just a little over done. Thanks for the recipe.”

Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken

This pretzel coated chicken recipe leaves you with perfectly crunchy chicken that only gets better when dipped in honey mustard. It’s the best of both worlds!

“Truly delish!”

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Who wants an easy and cheap alternative to taco Tuesdays? For this recipe, all you have to do is combine everything in one pot and set it to cook for the day. Easiest dinner ever!

“This is by far the best chicken tortilla soup I have ever had! My husband and I both absolutely loved it and I am going shopping today for ingredients to make it again. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!”

Easy Cajun Jambalaya

Get ready to be transported to Louisiana because this Jambalaya has all the key elements of true Creole cuisine!

“This turned out great! Followed the recipe and it came out perfect. Super easy to make and full of flavor. Will definitely make this again.”

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Creamy Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

If you’re looking for a delicious and easy to make dinner, this is the right recipe for you! These creamy honey mustard chicken thighs will make the perfect mid-week meal to grace your table. This recipe was created by Chris from Don’t Go Bacon My Heart and can easily be made in under 30 minutes, which makes it even more appealing.

Even better? You only need one 12 inch non-stick pan to make this recipe! That’s right – no extra dishes, nothing to marinate, no making the sauce in a different pan. Add a side of mashed potatoes or rice and a canned veggie, and dinner is ready to go!

Ready to get started? First, you’ll need to grab a 12-inch nonstick pan, a wooden spoon, tongs, a sharp knife, and a chopping board.

Then, you’ll need to grab these ingredients:

  • 6 chicken thighs(bone in, skin on)
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy/double cream (room temperature)
  • 5oz pancetta (or bacon)
  • 2 shallots,finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Salt & black pepper

Now, add a drizzle of olive oil to a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Place the chicken thighs skin down and let fry until that side is crispy, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, then flip. Turn heat to medium, season with salt and pepper again, and dry until thoroughly cooked through the center. Remove thighs from pan and drain excess fat.

(Cooking Tip: Keeping the skin on and bone in of the chicken thighs helps the meat cook more evenly because the bone heats the center, and also results in juicier meat.)

Add the pancetta or bacon to the pan and fry until it begins to brown. If there is extra fat, drain it, and then add the shallots and cook until soft. Next, add the garlic and cook for about a minute or until it starts to brown.

Then, add in the chicken stock, honey, cream, and both mustards, then stir to combine. Add the thyme and allow the sauce to simmer until it begins to become thick. Season with salt and pepper, then add chicken thighs back into the pan. Coat with the sauce, then serve!

Love the sauce? This recipe compliments pork well! If you choose to use pork chops, begin by pan-frying them, then basting in butter and herbs – similar to steak. You can find a similar recipe here.

Prefer to use chicken breasts? The prep for these takes a little longer, but it’s definitely worth the extra effort. You’ll start out by marinating the breasts for at least 30 minutes in oil, lemon juice, and herbs. You can see the perfect recipe for this marinade here. You’ll also want to butterfly 2 large breasts, making 4 smaller breasts.

And that’s all! This recipe is perfect for school nights or busy nights when you need a quick meal for the family.

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Five Easy Weeknight Dinners Everyone Will Love

Between work, school, and everything in between, cooking dinner every night can seem like a daunting task. Luckily, the Food Network has got your back! Here are 5 super easy weeknight dinners for those nights where you don’t have the time to cook a big meal:

Tex-Mex Pulled Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 medium quartered tomatoes
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, halved and seeded
  • 1 medium white onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, halved and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 pound thin chicken cutlets
  • 12 flour tortillas
  • 2 limes (1 juiced and 1 cut into 8 wedges – for serving)
  • 8 ounces salsa
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 8 ounces crumbled cotija cheese
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving

Directions

Preheat the broiler on high and position an oven rack 5 to 6 inches below the broiler element.

Add tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, and bell peppers to a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and then add the oregano, chili powder, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss everything together to get it coated with the oil and spices. Push mixture to one side of the baking sheet. Lay the chicken flat on the other side and season with salt and pepper.

Place in broiler for 5 minutes. Flip the chicken and vegetables and return to the broiler until the chicken is cooked through and vegetables are softened and charred, approximately 5 more minutes.

Wrap the tortillas in paper towels and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove tortillas from microwave, unwrap, and put on a platter.

Shred the chicken, then spoon the roasted vegetables into a blender with any juices from the baking sheet and blend until smooth. Toss 1 cup of the sauce with the chicken. Squeeze the juice of the lime over it, and put the remaining sauce in a bowl to serve on the side.

Serve with the warm tortillas, salsa, sour cream, crumbled cotija cheese, lime wedges, and cilantro. Tomato soup is so versatile, it can be enjoyed several ways for an easy weeknight dinner.

Grilled Cheese with Apple and Bacon, Easy Weeknight Dinner

Ingredients

Roasted Tomato Soup:

  • 2 1/2 pounds assorted tomatoes (heirloom, vine, and plum)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, for garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 small onions, sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1-quart chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Grilled Cheese:

  • Country white bread
  • Dijon mustard
  • Cheddar cheese (sliced)
  • Granny Smith Apple (sliced thin)
  • Butter
  • Cooked bacon

Directions:

Grilled Cheese:

Spread the dijon mustard on 4 slices country white bread. Top with sliced cheddar cheese, cooked bacon and sliced Granny Smith apple, then top each sandwich with another slice of bread. Butter the outsides of the sandwiches, then cook in a skillet over medium-low heat until the cheese melts and the bread is golden, about 3 minutes per side.

Serve with Roasted Tomato Soup.

Roasted Tomato Soup:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Core and halve the tomatoes (leave the cherry tomatoes whole). Heat a flameproof roasting pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle pan with 1/2 cup olive oil, then spread all of the tomatoes, garlic, and onions in the pan.

Stirring gently, cook until the garlic is browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until the tomatoes are caramelized, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove the roasted tomatoes, garlic and onions from the oven and transfer to a large stockpot (set the cherry tomatoes aside for garnish). Add 3 cups of chicken stock, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid is reduced by one-third, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves.

Add the basil to the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth (or puree in a regular blender and return to the pot). Reduce the heat to low, add the heavy cream and adjust the consistency with the remaining 1 cup chicken stock, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls and top with the roasted cherry tomatoes; drizzle with olive oil.

Serve with Grilled Cheese with Apple and Bacon.

Steakhouse Pasta for a Weeknight Dinner

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds pappardelle
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 12 ounces skirt steak
  • Heaped 1/2 cup grated fontina
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half, if needed, for thinning
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Directions

Brush the grill with vegetable oil and preheat to medium-high.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Turn the heat off, then add brandy. Turn the heat back on and cook until the brandy is reduced by half (approx 1 minute). Add diced tomatoes, sugar, crushed red pepper, and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt, 1/4 teaspoon each black pepper and lemon pepper and a pinch of kosher salt over one side of the steak.

Put the steak on the hot grill, seasoned side down, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt, 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and a pinch salt on the top of the steak and then flip it. Cook it for a further 3 to 4 minutes until desired rarity. Remove and rest while the sauce is finished.

Reduce heat to low under the sauce. Stir in the fontina and 1 tablespoon of the blue cheese. Stir in cream and horseradish, then add in a little half-and-half if the sauce is too thick. Cook for a minute or two, tasting and adding more seasonings as needed.

Then, cut the steak into 1/2-inch strips.

At the last minute, add the spinach to the sauce and toss to coat. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Mix everything together.

Place the steak on top of the pasta. Garnish the dish with basil and the remaining 2 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles. Serve straight from the skillet.

Korean Grilled Beef

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless beef tenderloin
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced on diagonal
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 pounds snow peas

Directions

Wrap beef in plastic wrap and freeze until firm (not rock hard). Once firm, slice beef thinly, then place in baking dish. In a small skillet, toast sesame seeds. To create the marinade, in small bowl combine scallions, garlic, vinegar, water, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and pepper. Stir well. Pour marinade over beef. Let sit for 30 minutes

In separate skillet heat oil. Add ginger and garlic and cook until the aroma is released, then add carrots and 1/4 cup water. Simmer until carrots are tender, approximately 2 minutes. Add snow peas and simmer until tender (around 2 minutes).

Remove beef from baking dish and grill until brown around edges, about 30 seconds per side. Add vegetables to beef. Stir and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with boiled white rice to enjoy for one of your easy weeknight dinners.

Slow-Cooker Meatloaf, Weeknight Dinner

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 pounds ground meatloaf mix (a combination of beef, pork, and veal)
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (chopped)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 ounces small fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 3 carrots, sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

Directions

Combine the meatloaf mix, panko, eggs, 3/4 cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, the scallions, parsley, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl; mix with your hands until just combined. Form into a 5-by-9-inch loaf.

Transfer the meatloaf to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the potatoes and carrots over and around the meatloaf, then pour in the chicken broth. Cover the slow cooker and cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.

When the meatloaf is done, skim off any excess fat from the juices in the slow cooker. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and the brown sugar in a small bowl, then whisk in 1/4 cup juices from the slow cooker. Brush the top of the meatloaf with the ketchup mixture. Cover the slow cooker and let the meatloaf rest, 10 minutes.

Remove the meatloaf from the slow cooker and slice in half. Serve with vegetables; top with more parsley.

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