Dinner 911: What to Eat on Weeknights

During a busy week, it can often seem like there’s no time for a proper supper. Here are a few tips and recipes to help you save time and make that evening meal happen.

2 Chickens, 3 Meals

Meal #1: Why cook just one chicken when the roasting pan can hold two? This tasty and economical source of protein can not only feed you on one night, but the rest of the week as well. Try making roast chicken with herbes salées and vegetable couscous. Herbes salées are just as effective as breading for ensuring that the meat stays juicy. The birds roast on a rack above a mix of carrots, zucchini, tomatoes and chickpeas, all bathed in the chicken cooking fats and seasoning.

Meal #2: With your leftover chicken, create a chicken-and-rice meal soup. With this recipe, you can also use up vegetables that are almost on their way out. Get creative! To make the broth, use the carcasses of the chicken that you cooked. You’ll have a complete and delicious meal in a snap. Add a topping of arugula for a peppery accent.

Meal #3: Leftovers can also go into a Buffalo chicken salad that you can prepare in no time. It’s inspired by Buffalo chicken wings and the blue-cheese sauce and crudités that generally come with the wings, and the family is sure to love it. This crisp and refreshing salad works equally well on the dinner table or in a lunch box. And any leftover vinaigrette can be used as a dip for veggie snacks.

Super-Easy Fish and Chips

This healthier take on fish and chips requires no deep fryer, just a baking sheet. Lay down a sheet of parchment paper to reduce the clean-up at the end of the meal. For the chips, we like baby potatoes sliced in half. As they hit the baking sheet, they will start to brown and form a crust on the outside. We put panko breading directly on the fish pieces with a spicy mayonnaise dressing instead of having to make an English-style breading. We add the fish and the asparagus a little later, so that everything can bake on the same sheet. It’s no-fuss, no-mess and fast!

Quick and Tasty Pasta

Here’s a pasta dish that’s just as comforting as a Bolognese, but far quicker to make. This recipe for sausage and eggplant penne is made from several store-bought ingredients, like pickled peppers and sausage meat. The sauce nicely coats the pasta, making each bite super-tasty. We add ricotta quenelles to elevate this dish and provide a change from the usual Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Trophy Tofu

Tofu is a vegetable-based super-protein that can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner. For a quick and nutritious meal, we suggest Mexican-style scrambled tofu. You can even turn this concoction into quesadillas. In true Mexican spirit, you season the tofu with jalapeño pepper, cumin and smoked paprika. Or if you prefer Indian flavours, use Indian curry powder or a mix of Middle Eastern spices. And because it’s almost impossible to overcook tofu, kids can also make this recipe—under supervision, of course. Also, unlike scrambled eggs, leftover scrambled tofu is perfectly fine when it’s reheated.

Plan B for the Unexpected

Our beef stir-fry with green peppers and mushrooms, served with turmeric rice, will save the day when time’s running short for dinner. All the ingredients can be found at the local grocery store, so it’s always a quick fix. The Jamaican turmeric and pepper flavours, combined with salty soy sauce, make this dish truly tasty. This may be Plan B, but it’s going to rate an A. And if you have time to make the sauce the night before, then this meal will only take 15 minutes to prepare.

All-in-One Stew

This tender, soothing and tasty slow cooker stew almost makes itself. To save time, ask your butcher to debone the meat. Place the pork, root vegetables, Savoy cabbage and herbs in the slow cooker. Four hours later, dinner’s ready. When you’re pressed for time, you also want to reduce the number of dirty pots and dishes. The slow cooker does just that! When you’re ready to serve, just blanch some green beans.