Are you as sick and tired as I am of the seemingly endless cooking all the way through quarantine? Daniel and I have spent way more time in the kitchen this year, but the days of sourdough and elaborate all-day meals became arduous several months ago. Quarantine cooking has gotten old, and I for one am always on the hunt for easy weeknight recipes that get me in and out of the kitchen fast.
Today I come to you armed with FIVE easy weeknight recipes in the hopes that I can encourage you to keep on keeping on with your cooking journey – with just little a bit more efficiency.
Even your quickest meals should be delicious.
I used to be a self proclaimed bad cook. (Okay, also like, an objectively bad cook, to be fair.) So I really do get it.
I actively hated home cooked meals and I literally had to be taught to make pasta when I was in college. But, since moving in with Daniel 3 years ago, I’ve found a serious love for home cooked meals and experimenting in the kitchen. Especially since moving to London, I’ve grown so much more confident with cooking. I think it has a lot to do with those two months of living alone while Daniel was in Jordan last summer. I swear I only had frozen pizza… a handful of times.
Also, since getting on top of my finances and making a stricter budget for myself, we have radically cut down our eating out/ordering in frequency, even long before COVID. This, coupled with the fact that Daniel essentially abhors ready-made food (cannot relate) means two things:
- We were so prepared for the quarantine cooking it wasn’t even funny.
- We won’t be leaving this lifestyle behind any time soon.
So every couple of weeks I’ll be posting a round-up of the most delicious easy weeknight recipes we made recently – a combination of our go-to favorites and new things we’ve tried.
To start us off I’ve rounded up five easy weeknight recipes we make often.
Important note: Neither of us has any dietary restrictions. We also get a weekly veg box which we let guide us in our meal planning. While we try to not rely too heavily on meat, I can’t pretend we don’t eat plenty of animal products. But, for all my carnivore readers, that should give you some peace of mind anytime we share vegan or vegetarian recipes here… it means they’re good, period. Not “good for vegetarian”. Let’s jump in.
Monday: Easy Vodka Sauce
I thought I’d start you off really easy with probably the simplest and most delicious pasta sauce out there.
This vodka sauce is creamy. It’s tangy. It’s glossy. The way it coats your pasta is just *chef’s kiss* and you’ll be amazed how much the beautiful crumbles of parmesan, freshly ground pepper, and fresh basil add much needed texture.
It also takes about 15 minutes to throw together. If you have another 5 to spare, I highly recommend frying up some Italian sausage, slicing it up, and throwing it on top. Also, store bought garlic bread is obligatory.
I think this was probably the first recipe we made from Bon Appetit. It has been one of our favorite quick and easy weeknight recipes for almost 3 years and is largely responsible for turning us into devoted BA followers! Come to think of it, I think it was also the first time I tried fennel or leeks. What a journey I’ve been on with food.
This dish is truly so rich and amazing. Make sure to follow the instructions to the letter to get the chicken skin to crisp up just right. It smells so good while the fat is rendering, and that skin will be almost sinful. Then the orzo adds a perfect creamy element…. Honestly I think I have to make this again soon because writing about it is making me crave it.
I have literally no cons, no alterations, nothing. Just make this and thank me later. You’ll have leftovers for lunch too!
Wednesday: Grilled Eggplant and Halloumi Sandwiches
One area in the kitchen where Daniel and I are both hoping to improve is not relying so heavily on recipes. I think that’s why I love this one so much. It’s one of those easy weeknight recipes we whipped together one night with no recipe at all! It’s easily become a household fave. If you skip the halloumi as well, it’ll be vegan.
This is super versatile and you can add or swap things as you see fit. I like to really make sure the onions get to caramelize with the harissa for maximum flavor. The combination of the salty halloumi with the sweetness from the onions, mixed with the hummus is just so delicious. In my opinion this is great for hot and cold weather, and literally so quick to put together!
I obviously have no alterations since we made it up! The only con I can think of is that it doesn’t use much of the eggplant or the halloumi to make one sandwich. This is fine normally, but not ideal if you’re trying to use things before they go bad (our toxic trait to be honest).
Say that 10 times fast!
This is one of those soups that just makes you feel at home. It’s an elevated take on chicken soup, and it doesn’t at all make you feel like you’re at home sick, but rather home and cozy and having the best night in of your life.
We make this a ton in the winter, but the lemon, greens, and dill make it feel super appropriate for summer as well. I think the main event of this dish is without question the garlicky oil you make at the start. The way the garlic gets a bit crispy, plus the bite that the spice gives it is just so delicious. When you add the lemon as well it offers a freshness that really pulls it all together.
- Use a whole cup of rice, instead of just 2/3. This will give the soup as a whole a heartier feel, but also, crucially, will help it last for even longer. When we last made this we both had it for 3 meals.
- Make extra chile oil. Especially if you add extra rice as I’ve suggested, you’ll want to make sure you have enough of that oil to go around. I promise it’s the best part of the whole meal.
- Use more lemon than they suggest! I find that you can hardly taste the lemon, so add and taste as you go. I sometimes like to even just add the lemon to my own bowl instead of the larger batch.
Friday: 10-Minute Thai Basil Chicken
As far as easy weeknight recipes go, this one is no joke and the title does not exaggerate. It literally takes 10, maybe 12, minutes. It’s delicious and easy and you can sub any meat you want really. We’ve used ground turkey several times and you cannot tell a difference in taste or quality.
You will have to get fish sauce for this recipe (if you don’t have it already) but if you like Asian food then it’s worth having around. I would, however, suggest you go a bit light on the fish sauce. Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. I will say that we buy Sainsbury’s brand fish sauce, so there’s a high possibility it’s the quality of that product I’m noticing more than anything else.
The other great thing about this recipe is that it’s super cheap (aside from the one time cost for the fish sauce), and definitely makes plenty of leftovers.
I hope you enjoyed these easy weeknight recipes!
I hope this has inspired you to get creative in the kitchen. I know it’s reminded me why I love cooking. Share your favorite easy weeknight recipe with me in the comments and I may include it in a future roundup. Or, if you try any of these, tag me in a picture on instagram!