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3 Quick-And-Easy Dinner Recipes For Those Busy Weeknights

Dec 5, 2017

Resident chef Kathy Gunst joins Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson and Robin Young with recipes for quick, easy and healthy dinners that can be thrown together on a hectic weeknight.


Quick Mushroom And Ricotta Pizza

Find a locally made pizza dough — or buy one from your local pizza shop — and you can have a homemade pizza on the table in about 30 minutes. Roll out the dough, saute the mushrooms, spread the cheese on the pizza and bake. Add a green salad and dinner is served.

This makes enough for two 8-inch pizzas. Serves 2 to 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pizza dough, whole grain or whole wheat or white
  • Flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped or 1 1/2 teaspoon dried and crumbled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) mushrooms, shiitake, portobello or your favorite variety, thinly sliced (the more varieties you use, the better)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Cut the pizza dough into two equal-sized pieces. On a well-floured surface roll out each piece of pizza dough about 8 inches across; the shape can be round or irregular.
  3. Working with one piece of dough at a time, spread 1 teaspoon oil over the dough and sprinkle with a quarter of the thyme on each piece of dough.
  4. In a medium skillet heat the 2 1/2 tablespoons oil over moderate heat. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, salt, pepper and remaining thyme and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender and soft. Remove from the heat.
  5. Spread half the ricotta cheese on each of the dough rounds. Divide the mushrooms and then the mozzarella on top of the dough.
  6. Place the pizzas on a baking sheet or pizza stone and bake on the middle shelf for about 15 minutes, or until the dough appears cooked and is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling.

Roast Chicken With Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Tangerines And Walnuts

This is a whole meal in one pan. The chicken thighs are tossed with yogurt and spices and roasted with sweet potato and carrot chunks. Walnuts and tangerines pieces are tossed on top and baked for a few minutes and then the whole dish is scattered with fresh cilantro.

Serves 2 to 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices or chunks
  • 1/2 pound carrots (2 medium or 3 small), peeled and cut into 1-inch slices or chunks
  • 1 tangerine, peeled and separated in sections and each section cut in half
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. On a large sheet pan, toss the chicken with the yogurt, salt, pepper, half the cilantro, thyme, oregano and cumin. Arrange the potato and carrot pieces around the chicken and drizzle with the oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Bake on the middle shelf for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and scatter the walnuts and tangerine pieces on top and bake another six to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables and potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with the remaining cilantro.

Healthy Rice Bowl With Sauteed Greens, Poached Egg And Pumpkin Seeds With A Tahini-Ginger Sauce

You can adapt this rice bowl using your favorite greens, nuts, etc. I like to make it with brown rice (white is way quicker) and top it with sauteed Swiss chard (or spinach or kale), a creamy tahini-ginger sauce and a poached egg and sprinkle the whole thing with crunchy pumpkin seeds. A whole meal in a bowl.

Serves two generous portions.

Rice, Spinach And Egg Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown or white rice (brown rice has greater texture and nutrients)
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces fresh-chopped Swiss chard, spinach or kale
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, peanuts or other nuts, coarsely chopped or left whole

Tahini Ginger Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons very hot or boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon mirin rice wine (optional)
  • Dash hot pepper sauce (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make the rice: In a medium pot mix 1 cup rice with 2 cups water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Stir. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook about 15 minutes for white rice and 40 minutes for brown rice.
  2. Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a medium bowl stir all the ingredients together to make a smooth, thickish sauce. Taste for seasoning.
  3. Bring a small pot or skillet of water to boil over high heat.
  4. In large skillet heat the oil and cook the garlic for one minute. Add the chard, spinach or kale and cook over high heat for four to 10 minutes (spinach cooks fastest; kale and chard take a bit longer) stirring until wilted. Season to taste.
  5. When water is boiling, gently crack the eggs into the water and reduce heat to moderate; simmer for three minutes.
  6. Add cooked rice to two bowls, top with the spinach and then top with the poached egg. Spoon some tahini sauce around the rim of the bowl and serve topped with nuts or pumpkin seeds if desired.
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