Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What's for dinner?

Illustraton by Caitlin McGauley
Our weeknight dinners are usually a fairly dismal affair: on the way home from work, I start to think "ugh, I should make dinner tonight."  After a text exchange that's some variation of "what do you want?/I don't care/it's up to you/I'm not really in the mood for anything," I end up wandering through the grocery store, angry that I'm wearing heels and wishing I actually knew how to cook, until I give up and get stuff to make tacos.  Not fancy tacos, mind you.  The Old El Paso variety.  Sad.

I wish I was one of those oh-so-together people who researches new recipes every week, goes shopping over the weekend, and makes a week's worth of delicious meals on Sundays.  But alas, I much prefer the decadence of lounging on my couch.

Image via Barefoot Contessa by Quentin Bacon
So in an effort to break The Taco Cycle, I've been looking for new dinner ideas that are easy to make after I get home from work.  The winner so far is this lemon chicken breasts recipe from the Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? cookbook.  Unlike the many, many recipes that claim to be easy(!), this actually is.  And because my repertoire is so limited, I cheat on this recipe in a couple of ways:

  • I just buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts (not skin-on, like the Barefoot Contessa recommends).  They come in a pack of three, not four.  It still turns out delicious.
  • I use dried, not fresh, thyme, because I have it in my pantry and that's one less thing to buy at the grocery store.
  • I buy jars of pre-minced garlic so I don't have to peel and mince myself (lazy but fabulous).  

To go with it, I make roasted potatoes (I use this recipe, but instead of fresh chopped rosemary, I use these Herbes de Provence because it's easy) and steamed asparagus.  If you're like me and have an impossible time getting everything finished at the same time, I recommend this sequence: cut up the potatoes, mix them with all of the seasonings and olive oil, and put them in the oven first.  Then, prepare the chicken and put it in the oven.  Finally, right before everything is about to come out of the oven, steam the asparagus.  All told, it will take about an hour and fifteen minutes once you start.

Image via here

I just bought the whole How Easy is That? cookbook, and it looks like it has some other good and not-too-difficul recipes.

What do you make for weeknight dinners?  I'd love to hear your suggestions.  I can't eat any more tacos!

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