5 Delicious, Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes

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I have been on the West Coast going on five months now, and I have really started to miss home. While hanging out with my brother and his family can be fun, sometimes it’s just not enough. What better way to remind myself of home than to make some of my favorite comfort foods?

Growing up  my parents kept things pretty simple. It also helps that we are Mexican, and Mexican food typically uses the same group of ingredients.

These are five of my favorite recipes based on my childhood. Not only are these delicious, but they’re also easy weeknight dinner recipes!

A few cooking tips:

  • Before starting any meal you will want to gather up all of your ingredients and prep, as it makes things a lot easier when you are trying to put dinner together.
  • I tend to ‘cook from the heart’ so I am guessing on the quantities. Everyone makes things differently, even if you follow the instructions to the tee, so feel free to play around with it!


picadillo recipe easy weeknight dinner ideas

flickr/Allan Reyes


This has to be in my top 5 favorite dishes, you can use any kind of meat that you prefer, any ground up meat will work.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium-size yellow onions, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 ½ pounds ground beef
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ripe tomatoes, chopped, or one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and crushed
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 bay leaves
Pinch of ground cloves
⅔ cup pitted stuffed olives.

How To:

  1. Add the olive oil to a large, heavy pan set over a medium-high flame. Add the ground beef, and allow it to brown, crumbling the meat with a spatula as it does. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. (This is important, you want to season each layer of your meal, but be sure not to go overboard with the salt!)
  2. Add the onions, and garlic, stir to combine and cook until the onions have started to soften, approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, vinegar, cumin, bay leaves, cloves and stir to combine. Lower the heat, and let it simmer, covered, for approximately 30 minutes.
  4. Uncover the pan, and add the olives. Allow the stew to cook for another 15 minutes or so, then serve, accompanied by white rice.


Chicken Tinga

You can eat this on a tostada with sour cream and beans, in a taco or just with chips. Heck, you could eat this with any carb really and it would still be OK!


1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 large onion, cut in half and sliced
4 cloves of garlic – minced
1/4 (15 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1/4 (7 ounce) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, or to taste
1/2 pound shredded cooked chicken meat

How To:

  1. Add the olive oil to a large, heavy pan set over a medium-high flame. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  2. Add the onions and garlic, cook until the onions have started to soften, approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and Chipotle. Lower the heat, and let it simmer, covered, for approximately 20 minutes. Uncover the pan, and add the olives. Allow the stew to cook for another 15 minutes or so until sauce has thickened, then serve.


stewed green beans


Stewed Green Beans and Tomatoes

You can eat this with rice or throw some meat in it and eat it alone. Don’t forget the pita bread! Stewed meals are more fun when you eat them with your favorite carb and fingers.


1 lb Green beans
Olive Oil
5 Cloves Garlic
1 Medium Onion- sliced
2 Cans of Tomato
Fresh tomato
Ground meat (of your choice*)
Cooked Rice

How To:

  1. Blanch green beans in a large stock pot of well salted boiling water until bright green in color and tender crisp, roughly 2 minutes. Drain and shock in a bowl of ice water to stop from cooking.
  2. Meanwhile dice 1 medium onion. Cook in a large skillet or Dutch oven, stirring now and then, until onions are golden.
  3. Add the green beans to the pan with the onions. Next, throw in the two cans of whole tomatoes with their juice stirring gently and then cover. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 45 minutes.


tortilla - Easy Weeknight Dinner Ideas

Tortilla Española

This one may not be the easiest thing to make (at first), but once you get the hang of it you’ll be making these all of the time. It’s kind of like a omlette, so you can even eat it for breakfast. The Spanish usually eat it at room temperature or cold, but either way it still tastes good.


3 medium potatoes
1 medium 0nion – halved and sliced
Olive Oil
4 eggs

How To:

  1. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper. Once they’re well mixed set aside.
  2. Slice the potatoes, add them in to a heavy pan with oil and pan fry. You will want to make sure the pan is deep, preferably nonstick. As the potatoes cook you will want to break them up, texture is key so try not to turn them into mashed potatoes.
  3. Once you start to notice the potatoes are starting to brown add the onion. Cook until translucent.
  4. Pull pan off of the stove and add potato mixture to egg.
  5. With the pan back on the stove, add in mixture. Using a spatula, gently pull the edges of the tortilla towards the center to release them from the pan and let any liquid egg run out the sides.
  6. After 4 minutes, cover the pan with the bottom of an oiled baking sheet. Using towels or oven mitts, carefully flip the pan onto the sheet, place the pan back over the heat, then slide the inverted tortilla back into the pan.
  7. Cook, without stirring, for 3 minutes. Both sides of the tortilla should be golden brown.


Gai Pad Grapow

3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 lb ground chicken
1-2 packages Thai basil
4-7 minced Thai chili pepper
2 tablespoons cooking oil
Steamed Rice

How To: 

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy and fish sauce.
  2. Heat a large wok (or a pan) over high heat. Add the vegetable oil and, as soon as it begins to steam, add the ground chicken, stirring continuously. When the chicken is nearly cooked through and is golden brown on the outside, about 3 minutes, add the prepared sauce, chilis and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring continuously, until the sauce has evenly coated the chicken and the garlic becomes tender and caramelized, about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil.
  4. Serve immediately, with rice, eggs, and extra fish sauce on the side.




And there you have it! If you really want to take this to the next level, do all of your prep work over the weekend -then all you have to do during the week is come home and cook.

What are some of your favorite easy weeknight dinner recipes?

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