Easy Weeknight Meals

Winter is a great time of year for cooking, so we thought you might like some help with getting dinner on the table.

After all, sitting down and eating dinner together is associated with a whole host of benefits, including increased fruit and vegetable consumption and less substance abuse. So whether you cook a meal from scratch or pick up a roasted chicken from our deli, sit down with the ones you love and enjoy!

Here are some quick and tasty recipes that don’t skimp on the flavor or nutrients.  Consider making part or all of the dish ahead of time, to save you even more time on weeknights!

Moroccan Sweet Potatoes with Quinoa

In this recipe, quinoa plays the same role that rice or millet would play in a North African dish: it’s the base for luscious vegetables and a sponge for their sauce. Plus, it takes only 15 minutes to cook!  We’ve adapted this from Maddhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian (1999).

¼ c. tasty olive oil
2 inches of cinnamon stick
Red onion, very thinly sliced
3 garnet yams, skinned and cut into 1–1 ½ -inch rounds
¾ c.  water
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp ground ginger
3 Tbs. golden raisins
¼ tsp. ground hot pepper
1–2 tsp. brown sugar
½ c. slivered almonds
3 c. cooked, reheated quinoa (microwave does this magnificently; otherwise, steam it)

  • Heat olive oil in heavy pot; add cinnamon and onion. Stir and cook until onion starts to become a bit sticky.
  • Add yam slices; stir and cook for about 6 minutes. Watch yams carefully: they are very sugary and starchy and burn easily.
  • Add ¾ c. water, salt, ginger, raisins, cayenne, and sugar; bring to a boil.
  • Turn heat to very low, cover pot, and cook 7–9 minutes, until yams are tender.
  • Meanwhile, toast ½ c. slivered almonds in small dry cast-iron pan; set aside to top the dish.
  • Serve yams over heated quinoa; top with toasted almonds.


Bong-Bong Chicken

This dish is always a crowd pleaser for families.  Prepare the complex sauce first to save time later and let the flavors meld.  You could roast or poach a chicken over the weekend in preparation for making this dish, or just pick one up from our deli.

10 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled (yes, 10)
Fresh cilantro, most of a bunch
½ c. unsalted peanut butter
½ c. soy sauce
5 Tbs. sugar
½ tsp. Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1–2 Tbs. hot chili oil
1–2 very firm cucumbers
1 package of thin rice sticks (rice noodles)
1 lb. cooked chicken, shredded
Fresh cilantro, a handful, coarsely chopped

  • Combine all ingredients and grind until close to smooth in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle.  Leave a bit of texture to the sauce- it should not be completely smooth.
  • Cover and allow flavors to marry while you prepare rest of dish. (This sauce will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator, if you can avoid eating it all at once.)
  • Slice 1–2 very firm cucumbers as finely as possible; a handheld mandolin is perfect for this, but you can do a creditable job with a sharp knife. Arrange the slices, slightly overlapped, around edge of large plate or platter.
  • Bring large pot of water to boil; turn down to simmer and add package of rice sticks. Stir well to separate them. Cook until they’re al dente (usually about 5–6 minutes). Drain and rinse under lukewarm water to separate. When they have drained, pile noodles onto plate/platter and arrange so that they’re surrounded snugly by cucumber slices.
  • Using your fingers, tear chicken meat into fine shreds.  Pile rest of chicken atop rice noodles.
  • Pour spicy peanut sauce over chicken and sprinkle chopped cilantro over sauce.  Serve at room temperature.