Utter the phrase “easy weeknight meals,” and you likely envision grabbing a to-go order on the way home or reheating last night’s leftovers. If you’re in the camp that assumes flavorful meals with fresh ingredients require a big production best reserved for a weekend when you might actually have a few spare minutes, we’ve got great news! You’re wrong!! Embrace that wrong-ness (just this once!), and behold these five easy (truly, they are!) weeknight meal ideas provided by our friends over at Edible Nashville. They’re each filled with fresh ingredients and amazing flavors, two things that are, indeed, easily accomplished on a weeknight. Here’s the proof:
Summer White Bean Salad
- 1 16-ounce package dried white beans
- Fresh herb sprigs
- 1 garlic clove chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes quartered
- 2 orange or red bell peppers roasted and chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh basil chopped
- 3 Tablespoons sherry wine
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- Black pepper
- For dried beans, soak immersed in water overnight or for 6-8 hours. Drain and then cook for 60-90 minutes in water at least two inches above beans, skimming off any foam and cover with fresh thyme, oregano or parsley and garlic. Drain and let cool.
- If using canned white beans, simply heat the beans in a pot.
- Combine about 3/4 of the cooked beans with the remaining ingredients in a bowl and toss well.
Summer Lasagna with Four Cheeses
- 8 cups fresh tomato sauce
- 1 12-ounce package no-cook lasagna noodles (about 12 noodles)
- 12 ounces fresh ricotta or whole-milk ricotta
- 4 ounces feta cheese
- 4 ounces fontina cheese
- 4 ounces Comte or Gruyere cheese
- 2 ounces Romano cheese
- Fresh basil
- Spread a cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan.Top with 4 uncooked lasagna noodles.Top with ricotta, feta, half of the fontina cheese, 2 cups sauce and basil. Repeat with noodles, fontina cheese and sauce. Top with noodles, sauce and Comte and Romano cheeses.
- Place in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours or bake immediately at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until bubbly and done.
Penne with Squash, Feta and Basil
- 4 cups yellow or green squash sliced
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4 ounces feta cheese or Noble Springs goat cheese
- 4 cups hot cooked penne pasta
- Fresh basil roughly torn
- Sauté the squash in the olive oil in a skillet over high heat until browned; about 10 minutes. Top with feta cheese. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes, until the cheese melts.
- Add the hot pasta to the skillet and toss well, adding pasta cooking water as needed. Top with basil and serve.
Sunday Roast Chicken with Citrus
- Olive oil
- 4 mandarins oranges or clementines
- 1 lemon
- 1 3- to 5-pound chicken
- Fresh thyme sprigs
- 3 shallots
- Salt and pepper
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan. Cut citrus into halves and chunks. Slice 1 lemon thinly.
- Place the chicken in the roasting pan. Using your fingers, gently loosen the skin over the breast of the chicken, and place lemon slices and thyme sprigs under the skin.
- Stuff the inside of the chicken with the shallots, a few sprigs of thyme and chunks of citrus. Tie the legs together using kitchen twine. Rub the outside of the skin with additional olive oil; sprinkle with salt, pepper and fresh thyme leaves.
- Place all the remaining citrus pieces around the chicken along with the garlic cloves and thyme sprigs. Pour the orange juice and lemon juice into the pan. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thicken part of the breast reads 165 degrees. Baste the chicken every so often with the pan juices.
Pasta Carbonara with Farm Eggs
- 4 ounces 1/4 pound linguine pasta
- 3 Tablespoons butter divided
- 2 strips Applewood smoked bacon (such as Nueske’s or other thick bacon) cut into lardons (matchstick cut, 1/4-inch pieces)
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- Salt and coarse ground black pepper
- 3 Willow Farm eggs
- 2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
- 1 Tablespoon toasted pine nuts
- 3 Tablespoons chopped scallions
- Chives for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and cool.
- In a large skillet set over medium heat, melt 2 Tablespoons of the butter. Sauté the bacon and garlic in the butter, allowing the butter to brown and the bacon to become crisp. Reduce the heat to very low. Add the pasta and season with salt and black pepper.
- In a small bowl, beat 1 of the eggs lightly. Add it to the pasta and toss well. When the pasta is well coated, fold in the cheese, pine nuts and scallions. Remove from the heat.
- To finish the pasta: Cook 2 eggs in the remaining 1 Tablespoon butter in a skillet, sunny side up and place on top of the dish. Garnish with chives.
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