I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get a little overambitious. “OF COURSE I can work eight hours, do a few loads of laundry, walk the dog, squeeze in a workout, call my mom, help my kid with school, cook three meals, and still have energy for a little more work before bed.” Subtract the laundry and workout and change “more work before bed” to “mostly be standing upright” and we have a much more realistic picture of how a typical day goes down.
Yet I still make my to-do list the same way the very next morning! Until I morph into Superwoman, it’s just not going to happen. Fortunately, I’ve learned to stay realistic about dinner. This week, we’re using time-tested assists like the slow cooker, plus leaning on a light and quickly simmered soup, and the most favorite of my personal Hail Mary meals: Big Salad.
Whether KISS means “keep it simple, stupid” or just a 70s glam-metal band, keeping dinner simple is one way to stay grounded.
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Creamy Potatoes with Cheese and Tomatoes
This rich potato meal is inspired by a classic Columbian dish, papas chorreadas. Make a creamy sauce with cream, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, onions, and cilantro, then stir it into boiled new potatoes. Serve eggs on the side, if you’d like, and a simple green salad. You may want to make one and a half times the recipe so there’s enough for everyone.
Chicken Soup with Ginger and Shiitake Mushrooms
This is not one of those simmer-for-hours chicken soups. It’s light but intensely warming, with few ingredients: chicken thighs, ginger, shiitake mushrooms, soy, a little sugar, and in less than 30 minutes of cooking, it’s ready. If you’re feeling ambitious, enjoy with scallion pancakes. If not, add boiled noodles to the soup, or serve rice on the side.
Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Pot roast was on rotation a lot at my house when I was growing up. The key to making a great one in the slow cooker is using chuck roast or rump roast, and adding the vegetables partway through the cook time so they aren’t mush before the meat becomes tender.
Poached Egg and Bacon Salad - Salad Lyonnaise
The very best part of this salad is serving it with crusty bread so you can dip it in the runny egg yolk. But the other parts aren’t shabby, either! This classic bistro salad is not usually a main course, but who can object to having eggs, bacon, and salad for dinner?Continue to 5 of 6 below.
Angel Hair Pasta with Salmon, Arugula, and Creamy Lemon-Parmesan Sauce
The lattice of skinny angel hair pasta forms a network to hold a light, creamy parmesan sauce. Sear the salmon, then use the same pan to make a sauce with white wine, lemon juice, cream, and butter. Toss peppery arugula in at the end so it wilts and mellows.
Weekend Baking: Snip Doodles (Snickerdoodle Coffee Cake)
A cross between bar cookies and a coffee cake, these charming squares have cinnamon sugar appeal. This recipe calls for a stand mixer, but if you have patience you could use a hand mixer—or a sturdy spoon and brute force. My mom had me mix doughs and batters by hand when I was young, and it certainly kept me busy!