Tag Archives: easy weeknight dinners

Comforting Three-Cheese Cacio e Pepe in Spaghetti Squash Form

Cacio e Pepe translates to “cheese and pepper”, and is the ultimate no-nonsense pantry pasta consisting of freshly ground pepper, noodles, and good quality cheese. Spaghetti squash presents much like spaghetti noodles and is generally available all year-round, making for an excellent alternative for gluten-intolerants (more gluten-free dinner inspiration here) or those looking for a healthy low-carb twist on the classic. So grab your cheese grater, and start prepping tonight’s dinner.

Three-Cheese Cacio e Pepe Baked Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 80 minutes (includes squash roasting time)
Servings: 4 (raw veg = 5 cups before mixing in cheese)

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
1 ½  tsp coarsely ground black pepper, divided
2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
¼ cup mascarpone cheese or smooth ricotta (optional)
Chopped parsley or basil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and strands with a spoon. Brush inside with 1 Tbsp oil and sprinkle with ¼ tsp each salt and pepper. Place cut side down on the prepared pan.

Tip: Don’t forget to save the squash seeds and roast them as a snack. Here’s how to roast tamari and sea salt pumpkin seeds (follow the same instructions).

3. Roast until a paring knife is easily inserted in the centre, about 45 minutes. Let cool.

4. Using a large spoon, spoon out and shred into long strands. Spread on a double layer of paper towel or clean kitchen towel to absorb any liquid.

5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and then the squash, remaining ¼ tsp salt and remaining 1 ¼ tsp pepper and toss. Stir in mascarpone (if using), stirring until just melted and combined. Remove from heat and sprinkle with the Parmesan and Pecorino cheese, tossing to combine.

Tip: Like its namesake, this dish is all about pepper and cheese. For the best pepper flavour, toast whole black peppercorns in a skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant, shaking the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool and crush with the bottom of a heavy bottom pot or skillet.

6. Divide among plates and sprinkle with parsley and more cheese, if desired.

Another cheesy pasta recipe with a twist: this winter greens mac & cheese will make you feel healthy. You’ll also devour this vegetarian spaghetti puttanesca with cauliflower. Lastly, test out these weeknight dinners where veggies replace carbs.

These Coconut Shrimp Tacos are Cheaper Than Taking a Vacation

Looking for a simple, bright and sunny dish to cast away your winter blues? Look no further! These flavour-packed tacos are the key. Fresh and flavourful charred pineapple salsa, zesty pickled cabbage, tender, crispy coconut shrimp and zesty lime crema come together to make for a new 30-minute dinner favourite.

Tropical Pineapple Coconut Shrimp Tacos

Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 tacos

Ingredients:
1 cup water
1 cup rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt, divided
2 cups finely sliced red cabbage
4 slices pineapple, about ½ inch thick
1 jalapeno
2 rings red onion, about ½ inch thick
½ cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped
2 limes, divided
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp agave syrup or honey
450g medium shrimp, thawed, peeled and deveined
½ cup flour
¼ tsp pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
12 small flour tortillas

Directions:

1. Bring water, vinegar, sugar and ½ tsp salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add cabbage and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

2. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pineapple, jalapeno and onion in batches until charred and tender, about 4 to 6 minutes, flipping halfway. Set aside to cool slightly. Once cooled, remove pineapple rind and chop the fruit and vegetables (use the seeds of the jalapeno if you want heat, discard if you want a milder salsa). Toss with the juice of one lime and cilantro.

3. Stir together the sour cream, juice of remaining lime, agave syrup or honey and 1 tsp zest in a small bowl.

4. Place flour and eggs into separate medium sized bowls. Stir remaining ½ tsp salt and pepper into eggs. Stir together coconut and panko in another medium bowl.

5. Dredge shrimp in flour, then egg mixture followed by coconut mixture. Heat enough oil to generously coat the bottom of a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Fry shrimp in batches until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes, turning halfway and replenishing oil, if needed between batches. Set aside on a cooling rack-lined baking sheet.

6. To warm tortillas, heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add tortillas in batches, cooking until browned on both sides, about 1 to 2 minutes, turning halfway. Wrap in a clean kitchen towel to keep warm while cooking remaining tortillas.

7. Spread tortillas with lime crema, topped with pickled cabbage, shrimp and pineapple salsa.

For a vegan alternative, whip up these coconut-crusted cauliflower tacos. For a post-meal treat, stick with the tropical theme and make one of our sunniest dessert recipes.  You can also add this reliable dinner staple to your arsenal of healthy Mexican recipes.

Lazy One-Pan 30-Minute Chicken Parmigiana Your Weeknight Needs

Breaded chicken parmigiana is quickly regaining its nostalgic magic and has stirred up real excitement as a sexy date-night option. Whether you’re whipping up this easy and soul-satisfying dish for a family or planning for an intimate weeknight meal, the main course’s classic old-world Italian flavours and simplicity will quickly make its way into your dinner rotation.

One-Pan 30-Minute Chicken Parmigiana

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

½ cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup panko or seasoned breadcrumbs
¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
½ tsp each salt and pepper
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise and pounded to ¼-inch thickness (see tip) or 4 chicken cutlets
½ cup olive oil, divided
2 cups passata or Marinara sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch hot pepper flakes (optional)
⅓ cup basil leaves, divided (optional)
Half 340g mozzarella ball cut in 8 thin slices
Salt and pepper
300g spaghetti (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange three plates or pie plates on work surface. Fill one with flour and season with salt and pepper. Fill other plate with egg whisked with 2 tsp water and season with salt and pepper, and the last plate with panko and ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese.

2. Dip chicken cutlet into flour mixture, turning to coat; shake off excess. Dip into egg mixture, shaking off excess then into panko mixture, turning and pressing to coat. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken.

Tip: To make your chicken cutlets, arrange halved skinless, boneless chicken breasts between plastic wrap and pound to ¼-inch thickness with a mallet,  bottom of a small skillet or even a rolling pin.

3. Heat 2 Tbsp of the oil in large heat-proof skillet over medium heat; cook two pieces chicken, turning once, until browned, about four minutes. Transfer to baking sheet. Wipe skillet clean with paper towel and repeat with 2 Tbsp oil and remaining chicken pieces. Wipe skillet.

4. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp oil in skillet over medium heat; add garlic and hot pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add passata, ⅓ cup water, 6 basil leaves and cook for 2 minutes. Nestle in chicken pieces to fit and spoon some of the sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup Parmesan and top with mozzarella.

Tip: Passata or tomato passata is uncooked strained tomatoes. Free from seeds and skin, it’s fresh and packed with pure tomato flavour and is an ideal solution for quick weeknight sauces, soups or stews.

5. Bake in oven until cheese is melted and bubbling and chicken is no longer pink inside, 6 to 8 minutes. Garnish with remaining basil (if desired).

Tip: Meanwhile, in saucepan of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and serve with chicken if desired. Alternatively, you can enjoy on a toasted sub roll or Kaiser bun topped with hot pickled peppers.

Stomach still growling? We’ve rounded up 20 healthy one-pot dinners to make on a budget, cheap dinner ideas for two and our most popular chicken recipes ever.

30-Minute Harissa Tofu, Broccoli and Carrot Sheet Pan Dinner

Sheet pan dinners are unfussy and virtually mess-free, with no pots and pans to deal with after a long day. The trick to cooking an entire meal on a baking sheet is choosing the right vegetable and protein combination for even cooking. All that’s left to do? Sit back, relax and dig right in. This 30-minute healthy dinner, that’s vegan-friendly and jam-packed with flavour, will have you doing just that. We even paired it with a tangy cucumber salad that can be whipped up while the tofu, broccoli and carrots get all crispy in the oven. Dinner is served.

30-Minute Harissa Tofu & Broccoli Sheet-Pan Meal with Sumac Cucumber Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Sheet Pan Meal
350g firm tofu, patted dry and cut in 8 slices
5 carrots, halved or quartered lengthwise
¼ cup olive oil, divided
4 Tbsp jarred harissa
4 Tbsp white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
¾ tsp kosher salt or flaked sea salt, divided
1 head broccoli, trimmed and cut into quarters with stem
¾ red onion, cut in wedges
Half lemon, halved

Sumac Cucumber Salad
5 baby cucumbers, cut in chunks
¼ tsp kosher salt or coarse sea salt
½ cup parsley leaves or mint leaves
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
2 Tbsp olive oil
Half lemon
¾ tsp sumac + more

Directions:

1. Position racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat to 425°F.
2. Lay tea towel or double layered paper towel on work surface. Layer with tofu; top with another tea towel or double layered paper towel. Press with a baking sheet to absorb liquid.
3. Whisk together 4 Tbsp of the olive oil, harissa, vinegar, and all but the pinch of salt, in a casserole dish.
4. Add tofu and marinate for 5 minutes, turning often. Remove, and arrange on one side of a baking sheet. Repeat with carrots; arrange to other side of baking sheet. Reserve remaining harissa mixture.

Tip: Harissa, a spicy chili condiment, is widely used in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine. Made of crushed chilies, garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway, mint and olive oil, it can be purchased as a paste in a tube or as a jarred sauce. Harissa paste is concentrated, to use in this recipe, reduce to 2 Tbsp and whisk in remaining ingredients.

5. Add broccoli and red onion to another baking sheet. Brush with remaining 2 Tbsp oil, turning to coat and sprinkle with remaining pinch of salt. Roast tofu and vegetables, switching racks after 15 minutes; flip tofu and vegetables and roast until vegetables are tender crisp, about 5 minutes.

Tip: Cut your vegetables into even pieces or you’ll end up with mixed tender and mushy results.

6. Sumac Cucumber Salad: Meanwhile, make the salad. In a medium bowl, sprinkle cucumbers with sumac and salt; stir to combine. Add onion, parsley and squeeze lemon over top. Drizzle with olive oil.
7. Transfer to serving plate and sprinkle with more sumac and parsley if desired.

8. To serve, brush broccoli and tofu with reserved harissa mixture and serve with additional prepared harissa. Divide tofu and vegetables among plates and serve with Cucumber Salad.

Keep the summer sheet pan meals coming with this 25-minute citrus rainbow trout recipe, paired with broccolini and bok choy. We’ve also rounded up 15 sheet pan breakfast bakes to feed a crowd.

The Keto Kung Pao Chicken Recipe That is Better Than Takeout

Whether you’re a keto follower or not, this weeknight chicken dish will satisfy protein lovers and healthy veggie seekers alike. At first glance, the ingredient list may seem daunting, but you’re really just re-using the same pantry staples with a few extra options. Better than takeout, you won’t need to invest in a wok, we’ve made this delicious meal in a large cast-iron pan, and no one was the wiser.

30-Minute Keto Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes (this includes marinating. While the chicken is marinating, prep the vegetables and sauce).
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
450g boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch chunks
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 tsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp olive oil or sunflower oil, divided
4-6 dried red chilies
4 green onions, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 red finger chili (optional)
1 bunch asparagus, cut in large pieces
1 sweet bell pepper, halved, cored and cut into cubes
4 tsp each minced garlic and ginger
2 mini cucumber, cut in small cubes
1/3 cup roasted salted peanuts or cashews
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Sauce:
3 Tbsp cold water
1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 Tbsp each soy sauce and white vinegar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Asian chili-garlic sauce (optional)

Directions:
1. In a bowl, combine chicken, 2 tsp soy sauce, 2 tsp rice wine and 2 tsp cornstarch; stir to combine. Let stand to marinate 15 minutes.

2. In large cast-iron pan, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add dried chilies, green onions and finger chili (if using) and cook, stirring until green onions are slightly charred, about 1 minute. Transfer to a baking sheet or large plate.
3. Heat 1 Tbsp of remaining oil in the pan. Add asparagus and bell pepper and cook, stirring until slightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Transfer to baking sheet. Add remaining 11/2 tsp oil to pan; working in 2 batches, stir-fry chicken until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per batch, repeating with remaining oil.

5. Sauce: In small bowl, stir together water, rice wine, soy sauce and cornstarch until smooth. Return the chicken, vegetables and chilies to the pan. Sprinkle with salt; stir in the sauce and cook until liquid is bubbling and thickened, 30-45 seconds. Stir in cucumbers, peanuts and chili-garlic sauce (if using); sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Tip: For evenly browned chicken, avoid crowding in the pan, and don’t stir immediately. Check one piece before turning the remaining with a spatula.

Looking for more healthy recipe inspo? We’ve rounded up 20 Easy Keto Dinners to Make This Week, plus 15 Recipes Packed with Healthy Fats to Keep You Full