Tag Archives: quick dinner

Spinach Bacon Quesadilla

I didn’t have the energy to grocery shop or cook today so I dug through the fridge and pulled out some flour tortillas, cheese, spinach and bacon and set to make something with minimal effort and maximum flavor. Success!

Bacon Spinach Quesadilla - a quick and simple dinner from Alaskaknitnat.com

Bacon Spinach Quesadilla

Makes one quesadilla

Ingredients:

  • 1 large flour tortilla
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • cream cheese
  • pinch of granulated garlic
  • pepper
  • Mexican-style grated cheese
  • Handful of baby spinach

Directions:

Fry bacon in a medium pan. Meanwhile, spread a thin coat of cream cheese all over the tortilla. Season with garlic powder and pepper.

Set bacon aside to drain on a paper towel and add spinach to the pan. Cook until spinach is wilted.

Chop the bacon into bits. Sprinkle the grated cheese on one half of the tortilla. Add the bacon and spinach. Fold tortilla in half and place back in pan. Brown on both sides until cheese is melted. Cut in half and devour.

Bacon Spinach Quesadilla - a quick and simple dinner from Alaskaknitnat.com

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Baked broccoli fritters – how to use frozen broccoli for good, not evil

Since starting a full-time job a year ago, I’ve had to get creative with dinners. I have a limited amount of time before I put my son down for bed.

This evening I came home from work with absolutely no plan and a near-empty fridge. My freezer, however, was chock full of random Costco impulse buys: tamales, gyoza, hash brown patties, broccoli.

I contemplated the frozen broccoli. Why, why did I buy this? It’s never as good as fresh broccoli. It’s sort of chewy and crumbly. So I decided to get creative.

I fried up some hash brown patties, chopped up some thawed broccoli and came up with a seriously delicious side dish that’s sure to please the whole family. My husband ate five of them!

Baked broccoli fritters - the best way to use frozen broccoli | recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com
Photo Credit: famfriendsfood. Flickr

Baked broccoli fritters

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. frozen broccoli, thawed and set to drain
  • 1/2 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 frozen hash brown patties
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 grated sharp cheddar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the butter in a sauté pan and cook the onions till soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds.

Place onions and garlic in a mixing bowl to cool. Place hash brown patties in the pan and brown on both sides. Crumble up and add to the mixing bowl. Finely chop the broccoli and add to the mixing bowl.

Once all the ingredients have slightly cooled, add the egg, bread crumbs, cheeses, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.

Lightly grease a baking pan (I used a silpat mat instead). Form mixture into small patties. Bake 15 minutes, flip and bake another 15 minutes. Serve with sour cream.

Quick weeknight meal: green coconut curry

Being unwell and a parent is like an uphill battle sometimes. You still have to get food on the table whether you feel like roses or crap. On my really down days, I’ve been known to order a pizza or three. But sometimes I can muster up the strength to make something healthy and tasty in a relatively short amount of time.

This green curry recipe is adapted from one I found in Cook’s Illustrated. I’ve made it three times in the past month and have added my own flair to it. The problem is, I don’t remember what that flair is, which is why I’m sharing it here.

It’s quick, flavorful and has vegetable(s) in it! A winner in my recipe book.

Quick meal: green coconut curry with tofu, chicken & peas | a tasty weeknight meal from Alaskaknitnat.com

Green coconut curry with tofu, chicken and peas

Serves 4

Marinade ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon green curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • pinch of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper

For the curry:

  • 6 chicken tenders (about a pound)
  • 1 brick of extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 can of coconut milk (found in the Asian cooking aisle)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
  • 1 lime

Directions:

Mix together all the marinade ingredients in a gallon Ziploc. Add the chicken. I marinate the chicken tenders the night before when they are still frozen so they are thawed and marinated the next evening, but if you have time, marinate for an hour before cooking.

Start on the rice as you prepare the rest of the meal.

Add 1 tablespoon cooking oil to a large nonstick pan over high heat. When oil is hot add the tofu cubes and brown them on as many sides as you have patience for. Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. Cook the chicken in the same pan, browning on both sides. Set aside.

Pour out the remaining oil and wipe out pan with a paper towel. Add the coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce and sugar and whisk till combined. Add the frozen peas and bring to a simmer. Simmer on low until peas are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Chop up the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the curry sauce with the tofu.

Serve over jasmine rice with a squeeze of lime juice.

Pasta with chicken and spinach in a creamy garlic sauce

My husband travels for work so I’m frequently “solo parenting.” Working full time, picking up our son and getting dinner on the table by 6 or 6:30 can be a struggle. Tonight was really tricky since we got home late, but thanks to my rare meal planning this week I was able to put together a wholesome pasta dish in under 30 minutes.

By marinating the frozen chicken in the fridge overnight I didn’t have to make a mad dash to thaw it out and flavor it right before preparing the dish. I felt like a winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Pasta with chicken and spinach in a creamy garlic sauce | Make this wholesome meal in under 30 minutes! Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Pasta with chicken and spinach in a creamy garlic sauce

Serves 4

For the chicken marinade:

  • 5 frozen chicken tenders
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper

For the pasta:

  • 3/4 pounds pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

The night before, place the frozen chicken in a large Ziploc bag with all the marinade ingredients. Let sit overnight in the fridge. It’ll be delicious by tomorrow.

Place a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil. Cook the noodles according to packaging.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet with a tablespoon of oil over high heat. When the pan is hot, cook the chicken tenders till browned, about 4 minutes on each side. Set aside. When cooled, chop into bite-sized pieces.

Pasta with chicken and spinach in a creamy garlic sauce | Make this wholesome meal in under 30 minutes! Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Clean out the pan with a paper towel and add the rest of the oil and the butter. Add the spinach and tomatoes and cook spinach till it’s wilted. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so. When pasta is drained, add it to the pan with the chicken, Parmesan and cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Pasta with chicken and spinach in a creamy garlic sauce | Make this wholesome meal in under 30 minutes! Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

30-Minute Fried Rice

I recently got a full-time job. This means I come home at 5:15 and if my husband and I want some non-kid, sane time I have 45 minutes to get dinner on the table before we start our son’s bedtime routine.

This is not a lot of prep time, I’ve discovered. It takes all my strength to make something nutritious and non-mac & cheesy.

I am realizing that I need to strategize. I can’t expect to chop veggies, thaw chicken, marinate steak, or do all the other simple, yet time-consuming preparatory steps required to make tasty food.

Here’s the first of hopefully many recipes where you can come home from work, make the food, and then spend some quality time with your family, such as watching “Bob’s Burgers” (that’s what we are currently doing).

30-minute fried rice | this simple, flavorful dish can be made in no time with a little prep work the night before. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com
Photo Credit: Cal ! via Compfight cc

30-minute fried rice

Serves 4-6

To make delicious fried rice you really need to start with cold, cooked rice. That’s hard to do when you want to cook a meal in 30 minutes. But if you make the rice the night before while you’re binge-watching “The Voice,” and stick it in the fridge, you’re good to go the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups uncooked rice, prepared and refrigerated overnight
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, removed from freezer the night before and placed in the fridge (I forgot to do this so we went without today)
  • vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups frozen vegetable medley (whatever medley you prefer)
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3 green onions, chopped finely
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Combine the butter and garlic in a bowl. Set aside. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Lightly coat the pan with vegetable oil.

Pour the eggs in the pan and let set for a minute before stirring vigorously. Set eggs aside. Wipe pan clean and add a little more oil. Toss in the chicken and sauté till cooked through. Set aside.

Add the chicken stock, veggies and onion to the pan. Sauté until veggies are cooked through. Add the sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of the garlic butter. Start crumbling the rice into the pan with your hands, about a cup at a time. Add a little more butter between handfuls. Add the green onions.

When butter and rice are incorporated in the pan, stir in the eggs and chicken. Add the soy sauce and cook until rice gets a little crispy if you like. Add pepper to taste.

Store the leftovers for lunch or cook up some ham or Spam and have breakfast fried rice.

30-minute fried rice | this simple, flavorful dish can be made in no time with a little prep work the night before. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com
Photo Credit: shainelee via Compfight cc