A Week of Easy to Cook Meals

Monday, March 5, 2018

This is, sadly, not a meal from this week, but in fact, just the header image for this blog post. One downside to making your own food at home is, well, the fact that it typically isn't aesthetically pleasing enough to want to photograph even if you need photos of your food for this very blog post.

I have a weird relationship with food. I am not a foodie by any means. I really am not thrilled by cuisine in the slightest. Venus Williams had a mini spread in a recent issue of InStyle and she said that she basically just eats to survive. Granted, our versions of surviving are much, much different. She needs fuel for tennis, I need fuel to sit down and write blog posts and occasionally take my dogs out for walks if they're really bugging me.

My favorite food is a New York bagel for god's sake. I don't have a refined palate or get really adventurous with my food. I know what I like, I don't like condiments, and I have weird dietary issues that I just assume are true because I still have yet to find a doctor that isn't my pediatrician because I am the worst fauxdult of all time. Despite this, I don't just like to eat to eat. This is partially because this is what I did in college and all of the boring plain foods I would eat just so I wouldn't like, I don't know, get dizzy or faint or end up ill, I can't eat anymore. Like, the idea of eating plain pasta or rice pilaf or chicken fried rice with veggies just turns me off.

Alas, recently I just got bored of the same old same old and getting takeout or just skipping meals in general (don't do this, I am certainly not a poster child for physical health). So, I scoured Pinterest for hours and hours and found some easy to make recipes that don't require insane amounts of ingredients or prep. I will admit, my dad did most of the cooking because he's a chef and is kind of a control freak, but I only found and adapted recipes that I would be able to physically make myself. Franchefsca is back temporarily to share a few dinner ideas for picky eaters like myself!

Souvlaki Chicken

Grilled and baked chicken is one of the few things I can actually make myself. However, I get bored with most dressings as marinades. This one is so easy to prepare. All you need are your chicken breasts (I prefer the tenders because chicken breasts are too big and a little too thick for my liking, but you can always flatten and cut up chicken breasts if those are easier to get) and a few fairly normal household ingredients: olive oil, lemon juice, garlic (we used minced for ease but you could easily use cloves), oregano, salt, and pepper. 

Poke some holes into your raw chicken and then combine all of the ingredients I just mentioned into a bowl. Honestly, you just sort of have to eyeball this depending on how much chicken you're making. I recommend adding the lemon juice last because you don't want it to taste too acidic. I would just continue to add things in and taste to make sure it has the right flavor. Then just pour it over your chicken and let it sit for a while. I prefer mine to marinade for at least an hour, but longer will just mean that it'll be more flavorful. Then you can cook it however you prefer, whether it's in an oven or on a grill or even pan fried if that's what you prefer. 

We served ours with steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes because it's a family favorite, but have it with whatever you please.

Roasted Chicken with Zucchini and Red Peppers

This was a family favorite. We trimmed and cubed chicken breasts and very simply seasoned them with some olive oil and Italian seasoning. On one pan for the oven, we roasted the chicken with chopped zucchini and red peppers at 500 degrees F for fifteen minutes. We might have added a little more time, but I would just monitor them as they roast. My parents ate theirs with rice, but I preferred mine on its own and thought it was filling enough without making me feel bloated or gross.

Creamy Garlic Butter Pasta

I don't eat red sauce. I despise red sauce so much. The mere smell of it makes me mildly nauseous so I avoid it at all costs. I've gotten to the point in my life where just butter, salt, and pepper or olive oil and garlic and just so boring to me. Alas, I found a "sauce" recipe that actually made me want to eat pasta again. It's so simple that it's going to sound stupid to mention, but if you also don't like red sauce and alfredo sauces are too heavy for you (I can't eat alfredo without getting a massive stomachache, too much cheese, and cream), this might be a good solution. 

We created a garlic butter compound instead of adding everything separately. In a bowl, we combined the garlic, salt, and pepper with some butter. Again, this just depends on how much pasta you want to make. Then, in a pan, add the butter and slowly add in some milk or heavy cream to create a more creamy sauce. Then, pour over your cooked pasta and stir until it's coated. You don't have to add this last step, but we steamed broccoli and also mixed that in so we could add a vegetable right into the meal. I don't like to eat dinner without some kind of vegetable involved because it just makes me feel icky if I don't, but it's not necessary, especially if you don't like broccoli.

Balsamic Steak Tips

This was, by far, the best and probably easiest recipe from the week. My dad bought a sirloin steak and trimmed it of its fat. He then cut it into small pieces and poured balsamic over it and let it refrigerator for about twenty minutes (the balsamic is super strong). Then, on the stove in a large pan, he put garlic and more balsamic and seared the pieces of steak for about three minutes on each side. Super simple, very delicious, and went great with our usual broccoli and mashed potatoes combination.

Shredded Chicken Tacos/Burritos

This one required a lot of copycat Chipotle recipes. I don't remember which one we specifically use for the cilantro lime rice or the corn salsa, but there are so many on the internet that I'm sure most of the recipes are similar. All you need are some chicken breasts, rice, taco shells/burrito shells, guacamole, corn, onions, cilantro, limes, salt, pepper, and anything else that you might like to add. You could easily use rotisserie chicken, but all we did it on the stove (an easy way to do it here) with chicken breasts and it worked just as well and were super easy to shred. My dad seasoned it with normal chicken seasoning so it didn't compete with the cilantro lime themed of the sides for the tacos and burritos.

What is your favorite meal to make at home? I'm still a big fan of just toasting a bagel and calling it a day.


  1. The roasted chicken looks soooo good! I haven't been feeling like cooking lately, but I might have to!

    1. It tasted so much better than it looked. I'm so picky about zucchini too (I don't want to eat bland things, give me #ALLTHESEASONING) and the combination was great. Oh girl, I feel you, I'm literally never in the mood to cook but I've felt much more motivated after some browsing on Pinterest! :)

  2. I HAVE BOOKMARKED THIS TO CONSULT FREQUENTLY IN THE FUTURE. I dread cooking mostly because whenever I do it, it isn't for that meal to eat right away, it's in advance, for lunches for the week. So it's a hassle. And I end up cooking a lot of the same things. But these look DELICIOUS – I'm definitely going to have to try them out.

    1. I HOPE THEY TURN OUT WELL FOR YOU! Honestly, for meal prep, I would definitely recommend the roasted veggies with chicken or the garlic butter pasta with broccoli! They both reheat really well without losing texture or flavor (esp since the veggies are roasted and already a bit mushy so they won't be gross soggy messes throughout the week). I might do an updated post of this at some point in the future because we made a few new bits recently (including a chicken gnocchi soup that was, dare I say it, better than the one from Olive Garden) that are SO delicious (even in my picky mind) and heat up so well a few days after.


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