Spring is right around the corner. While the temperature may still be playing catch-up with the calendar, kick off the new season with fresh dinner ideas that are perfect for busy weeknight dinners.
Like you, I know what a busy life feels like. Sometimes cooking can be the last thing you want to do, but a home-cooked meal is always worth the effort. With just six ingredients (not counting salt and pepper) you can put these simple meal ideas together and get a delicious dinner on the table with maximum flavor and minimum fuss.
Roasted Chicken and Brussels Sprouts with Rice Pilaf is a classic. Roasted chicken is so easy, and this recipe makes it even simpler by using chicken legs instead of a whole chicken. I love using the whole leg — thigh and a drumstick connected in one piece — because the cut roasts up super flavorful and is very forgiving. Cooking with the bone in ensures added juiciness! If you can’t find whole leg pieces, use drumsticks and thighs instead. Let the Brussels sprouts cook with the poultry to pick up some of its fabulous flavor, then add a shallot-flavored pilaf, and dinner is served.
Salmon with Grilled Broccolini and Orange Sauce can be prepared in as little as 15 minutes. Orange juice keeps the salmon bright, and broccolini pairs with a light fish dish and gives the meal a nice pop of color.
Roasted Chicken and Brussels Sprouts with Rice Pilaf
(Makes 8 servings)
- 4 whole chicken legs (thigh and drumstick; about 12 ounces each)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
- 6 shallots — 4 halved, 2 finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups long-grain white rice
- 1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450°F. Place chicken legs on large heavy rimmed baking sheet. Coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until beginning to brown. In medium bowl, toss Brussels sprouts and halved shallots with 1 tablespoon olive oil and scatter them around chicken. Continue roasting chicken with vegetables for about 20 minutes, or until chicken shows no sign of pink when pierced at bone with tip of small sharp knife and Brussels sprouts are golden brown and tender but not mushy.
Meanwhile, heat medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, then add chopped shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until tender. Add rice and stir to coat with olive oil. Stir in broth, ½ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover pan tightly, and simmer gently for about 18 minutes, or until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed. Uncover rice and fluff with fork. Cover and let stand off the heat for 5 minutes. Divide rice, chicken, and vegetables among eight dinner plates. Drizzle with pan juices and serve.
- Calories: 743
- Total Fat: 46 g
- Saturated Fat: 11 g
- Sodium: 389 mg
- Carbohydrate: 39 g
- Fiber: 3.5 g
- Protein: 44 g
- Diabetic Exchanges: 2.5 starch, 6 lean meat, 1 vegetable, 7 fat
Salmon with Grilled Broccolini and Orange Sauce
(Makes 4 servings)
- 2 cups freshly-squeezed orange juice
- 1 bunch broccolini, trimmed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 6-ounce wild salmon fillets
- 2 oranges, peeled and divided into wedges
Pour orange juice into wide heavy saucepan and boil over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, or until reduced to ½ cup. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
To grill broccolini:
Heat indoor grill pan over medium heat. Drizzle broccolini with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill broccolini, turning as needed, for about 8 minutes, or until it is crisp-tender and slightly charred.
To cook salmon:
Sprinkle salmon fillets with salt and pepper to taste. Heat large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, then add salmon and cook, turning salmon over halfway through cooking, for about 3 minutes per side, or until it is mostly opaque with rosy center when pierced in thickest part with tip of small knife. Transfer to platter and let rest for 2 minutes.
Divide broccolini among four dinner plates and top with salmon fillets. Whisk butter into orange juice
reduction and drizzle over and around salmon. Garnish with orange segments and serve.
- Calories: 398
- Total Fat: 21 g
- Saturated Fat: 4 g
- Sodium: 92 mg
- Carbohydrate: 16 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 36 g
- Diabetic Exchanges: 5 lean meat, 1 vegetable, 2 fat
Want more? Check out Curtis Stone’s Spaghetti with Garlic, Lemon, Kale, and Parmesan at saturdayeveningpost.com/spaghetti.
Excerpted from What’s for Dinner? by Curtis Stone. Copyright © 2013 by Curtis Stone. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
This article is featured in the March/April 2021 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.
Featured image: Roasted chicken and Brussels sprouts with rice pilaf (Quentin Bacon)
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