Easy Recipes

These recipes come together without a lot of prep work or details, perfect for rushed weeknights.

Bean and Rice Burritos

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Another one from the dawn of my culinary bachelor past. This dish is easy, cheap, nutritious, and delicious. It's so easy, I've lost the recipe, I haven't made it in 5 or more years, and still I was able to figure it back out from scratch.

This is a classic easy weeknight meal. Make some rice (20 minutes), build the burritos (5 minutes), and bake for 20 minutes, and you're done. The main ingredients, rice and beans, are pantry staples. The most expensive ingredient is the cheese, but it's good to keep some cheese around for cheese emergencies (though, in my opinion, the only emergency is not having cheese).

Get the recipe for Bean and Rice Burritos

bean and rice burritos on
a plate

Herb Roasted Chicken with Potatoes

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I'm clearing out the chicken from my freezer, which means finding at least a couple new ways to do it. Unlike last week's chicken parmesan, which I've made dozens of times, this week, I found this recipe for Herb Roasted Chicken with Potatoes from SimplyRecipes.

I've seen recipes like this before, simply tossing some chicken on top of some veggies and shoving it in the oven for an hour, but this is the first one I've ever tried. It turned out pretty well, all things considered, and I was pleased at how easy it was.

Herb Roasted Chicken with Potatoes in the oven

I didn't have any red wine vinegar, so I substituted an equal amount of balsamic. The shallots I replaced with small yellow onions, and I ran out of fresh garlic, so I used 1/2 tsp of garlic powder (1/8 tsp powder per clove).

All told this is a great, easy, inexpensive dinner, and you can vary the herbs and sauce for infinite possibilities. Something hot and spicy sounds good, or a heaping helping of your favorite seasoned salt.

Next time, I might try a different cut of meat. Thighs and legs might not be the right cut of meat to use, due to their higher fat content. Roasting the chicken on the potatoes means the fat can't drain away.

Herb Roasted Chicken with Potatoes and Corn

Honey Balsamic Pulled Pork

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I've been eating way too much chicken lately. It's what I know, and it's not scary. But, experimenting is the entire point of this blog! So, as an experiment, I bought a 10 lb. pork shoulder! Because the shoulder does a lot of work, it's good to cook it long and slow to tenderize it. Enter this recipe for Honey Balsamic Pulled Pork by Cooking Classy.

I cut my roast in half and tossed it in the slow cooker. Since I had more roast than the recipe called for, I had to increase the chicken broth and spices for the braise. During my last experiment with balsamic vinegar, I realized balsamic vinegar is quite powerful, so I only used half of what the sauce called for. That was absolutely the right decision: The sauce turned out fruity and sweet, but not overbearing.

This recipe was great for a lazy Sunday: I started the pork, got groceries, went shopping, relaxed a bit, then had enough time to make the sauce and some mashed potatoes for a nice dinner. And, I still have half a pork roast to consider... Maybe some tacos carnitas?

Honey Balsamic Pulled Pork sandwiches with cole slaw and mashed
potatoes

Shrimp and Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

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Standing in stark contrast to the last pasta dish I made, there's this one. The blog I got this from, The Pioneer Woman, calls it Penne a la Betsy. In my mundane way, I'm calling it Shrimp and Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce.

This wonderful, rich, creamy dish comes together quickly and, except for the shrimp, I had everything I needed: A small can of tomato sauce from the Indian-spiced Stew a few weeks ago, some pasta I collected (bow ties are cool), and some cream. I've started keeping the ultra-pasteurized cream in my fridge for emergency scone baking and sauces. It keeps for a month, and it's extremely useful.

I didn't have any white wine left (thank the chicken for that one), so I just used a bit of water. This turned out a bit thin, so I let it simmer to thicken it back up. A bit of chicken stock would help fill in some flavor gaps, I suspect, if you don't have wine. Personally, I filled those gaps with some parmesan and red pepper.

All in all, this one was very good. I gorged myself stupid, have plenty of leftovers, and now, fat and happy, I'm telling you about it.

PS: The leftovers went well mixing the peas right in there.

Shrimp and Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce and some peas

Buffalo Chicken Bowls

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When I started this blog, my refrigerator was practically empty. Now, I've got half-used bottles of dozens of condiments, all waiting for their return to the limelight. Today's recipe, Buffalo Chicken Bowls from Pretty Providence, brought back the buffalo hot sauce (leftover from an interesting pasta concoction that didn't see the publish button), and hot sauce's natural frenemy: Ranch dressing.

This recipe was a piece of cake with a slow cooker. The magic formula for slow-cooking chicken seems to be:

  • 2-3 pounds chicken
  • 1-2 cups flavorful liquid
  • 2-4 cups vegetables (beans, corn, potatoes, onions, carrots, celery)

(for other instances of this formula, see Taco Chicken Bowls and Indian Spiced Stew)

The ingredients for Buffalo Chicken Bowls, and a crock
pot

I left out a few ingredients from the recipe, leaving only:

  • Chicken
  • Buffalo sauce
  • Black beans
  • Corn
  • Rice
  • Ranch dressing

In short, this was the Taco Chicken Bowls recipe with buffalo sauce instead of salsa, and no need for the spice blend.

Like the Taco Chicken Bowls, this goes great in a bowl with some rice, a bit of ranch dressing and cheddar cheese, or wrap the lot in a burrito skin, which is like a tube-shaped bowl you can eat!

The finished recipe served in a bowl over rice with cheese on
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