Something not many people know about me is that I actually really love to cook! I enjoy finding and trying out new recipes to feed my friends and family. With the Back-to-School season upon us, cooking can sometimes feel like a chore – just one more thing you have to do before you can even think about relaxing. I don’t have children to contend with, but I always try to make dinners that generate a lot of servings, so I can have lunch the next day and leftover dinner at any point in the week.
Here are a few of my favorite go-to “bulk” recipes! As a general rule, I try to avoid eating a lot of red meat and stick mostly to poultry-based dishes. I’m trying to expand my horizons to include fish but…it’s been slow going. 😉
Buffalo Chicken Chili from Gimme Some Oven: This is the perfect fall/winter soup. I love buffalo flavored anything, and this chili definitely packs a punch. For simplicity’s sake I sometimes use ground chicken instead of shredding chicken breasts myself. I also usually only use 1/2 the amount of chicken broth recommended by the recipe, so 2 cups broth and 2 cups water, as a way to cut down on the salt. I’ve done it both ways and it makes no difference in the flavor. This recipe also freezes really well, so I like to portion out individual servings and pop them in my freezer for easy lunches or dinners down the road.
Mexican Quinoa Casserole: There are a ton of variations of this on the internet, and mine is kind of a mix of all of them. Like the recipe above, this casserole freezes well! Here’s how I usually do it:
Preheat the oven to 350*F.
Rinse 1 cup of dry quinoa until the water runs dry, and then cook according to package instructions.
While the quinoa is cooking, crumble 1 pound of ground turkey (or beef, chicken, whatever) in a skillet with one yellow onion. When the turkey is cooked, mix in 1/4 cup of water and some taco seasoning (either storebought or homemade – I opt for making my own). Put the turkey mixture into a large bowl. Chop up 2-3 bell peppers (any color) and 1 jalapeno (if you like spice). Put them in the skillet with a little glub of olive oil and cook until soft. Add the peppers to the large bowl with your turkey mixture. At this point, you can also toss in avocado, black beans, corn and/or tomatoes (all according to your preference).
Add the cooked quinoa to the meat and veggie mixture and combine. Sometimes I add a little salsa for flavor and moisture. Spread the mixture into a greased 9×13 pan and top liberally with cheese (I like the Mexican cheese blends). Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs from Simply Recipes: This is literally the easiest recipe ON THE PLANET. All you do is mix up the honey mustard dressing, drizzle it over the chicken, and bake. I like to serve it with a side of brown rice and this crispy baked broccoli.
Baked Pasta with Sausage and Spinach from Skinnytaste: Confession: I do not like lasagna and I think spaghetti is boring. This, however, is HANDS DOWN my household’s favorite recipe. We eat it regularly, as it is highly requested by my other half. I like this recipe because it’s simple, yet hearty, and satisfies my pasta cravings. For this recipe, I make the following changes:
Omit the ricotta (I don’t like it)
Use fresh spinach in favor of frozen (the globby-ness of frozen spinach weirds me out)
Use regular old green-bottle grated Parmesan in favor of the Pecorino Romano cheese (for simplicity)
So there you have it! These recipes are all in my regular rotation during the school year and for my 2-person household, each one makes more than enough for dinner plus several lunches throughout the course of the week. AND they’re easy! If you have any recipes to share, please do! I’m always looking to add to my arsenal.
And if you’re like me and enjoy ending your evening with a little nightcap, ahem…I find that The Drink Kings have some excellent concoctions!