5 Exciting, Summery Ways To Mix Up Your Weeknight Dinners (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

Look, I get it. You need a quick bite for dinner, but you’re just so dang tired of the same old thing, over and over again. Chicken, veggies, rice. Spaghetti. Frozen burritos. Takeout.

While there are so many delicious iterations of these meals, you might just want a few nights off from your tried-and-true staples, whatever they may be. 

Here are some great ways to break the monotony during the week:

1. Mozzarella Stuffed Pork Chops With Polenta and Tomatoes

If pork chops sound bland and dry, then you aren’t cooking them right! With smoked cheese and a bit of anchovy paste, you get a seriously savory kick of flavor that goes beautifully with the bright, acidic tomatoes. Want to make them even more tender? Ditch the broiler and use the slow-cooker instead like so.

2. Charred and Raw Corn with Chile and Cheese

With lime, cilantro, chile rings and fresh Cotija cheese, you might just get addicted to this summer staple. If you want to make things a little more filling, consider serving this alongside Grilled Tequila Garlic Lime Flank Steak. P.S. The same marinade goes great with tofu, too!

3. BBQ Eggplant Sandwiches With Provolone and Mushrooms

This recipe suggests broiling your eggplant, but you can also get fabulous results on the grill for a more summer-friendly version. Here’s how to do that.

4. Healthy-ish Cheesy Vegan Nachos

I don’t know about you, but I could eat nachos every single day if I could get away with it. This healthier veggie-packed version allows you to enjoy nachos way more often while still feeling great afterward too!

5. Crustless Spinach Quiche

Toss in some crumbled breakfast sausage, bacon, leftover chicken and/or some cooked veggies like broccoli, red peppers or asparagus if you’d like to make it even more filling.

Featured Image: Max Pixel

Tags: dinner recipes, easy recipe, summer dinners, weeknight dinner, weeknight recipes
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8 Scrumptious Pasta Recipes That Will Fill You Right Up

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By Cooking Panda

National Pasta Day is here, and we are 100 percent down for it. We can’t praise pasta enough for always being there for us, with its sub-$1 price for a thin package that will feed you for multiple meals. Even if you stick to healthier pasta spinoffs, like whole wheat noodles, zoodles, or spaghetti squash, these easy, filling and comforting recipes will still blow you out of the water.

Enjoy!

1. One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta

No need to go overboard on a weeknight by using more than one dish, when you can do it all in one. Double win: the starchy pasta water will thicken up and flavor this dish, making it extra creamy.

2. Zucchini and Lemon Spaghetti

This dish is perfect for zoodles if you have a spiralizer or julienne slicer. We love to mix in about 1/3 zoodles to 2/3 pasta if you go that route, but that’s just us. You do you.

3. Skillet Mac and Cheese Pizza

Life’s rough when you can’t choose between mac and cheese and pizza. Luckily, we’ve found you the perfect way never to have to make that difficult decision again.

4. Pesto with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Roasted Asparagus

That fried egg is optional, but the extra protein boost totally ties the whole thing together with super rich creaminess.

5. Creamy Vegan Tomato-Basil Pasta

Let’s be honest, cashew cream makes EVERYTHING better — although you can swap it out for ricotta cheese, plain yogurt or half and half if you really want to be boring.

6. Easy Beef Stroganoff

Take your hands off that Hamburger Helper! All you need for top-notch homemade stroganoff is 30 minutes and this recipe. Bonus: If you are one of THOSE people who hates mushrooms, go ahead and puree the sauce so it tastes just like the box, but better.

7. Winter Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage

This rock-your-socks-off naturally creamy dish is super adaptable. If you don’t have fresh squash, you can totally use plain canned (unspiced and unsweetened, please!) pumpkin puree. And feel free to add any of the following: crumbled walnuts, toasted pumpkin seeds, meat/tofu, or, our favorite — a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, which ties everything together 100 percent perfectly.

8. Skinny Fettuccine Alfredo

This dish combines chicken stock, flour and low fat milk for a naturally creamy and lower-calorie version of your fave so you can inhale a whole pot of pasta and feel half as guilty as you would have otherwise.

Featured Photo Credit: Christina Holmes/Bon Appetit

Tags: easy pasta recipe, easy weeknight meals, National Pasta Day, pasta, weeknight recipes
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Speed Up Your Evenings With These 6 Craveworthy One-Pot Meals

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By Cooking Panda

As much as we love a good, elaborate, home-cooked meal, spending ages cleaning it up on a weeknight is just not the business.

why does cooking take like six hours and eating like three seconds and washing dishes like seven days and seven nights

— no (@tbhjuststop) August 23, 2015

Fortunately for you, that doesn’t have to be your fate.

We’re huge fans of one-dish meals, where cleaning up takes almost as little time as actually eating. It really doesn’t get any easier. Or more delicious. You’re welcome.

1. One-Pot Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes

Yep, that’s right — one pan pasta. It’s a real thing. We love this recipe because it uses whole grain noodles, which don’t get too starchy or gummy, and everything else is stuff you might already have on hand.

2. Salmon with Pepita-Lime Butter

Salmon is super healthy and delicious, but it’s easy to fall into a butter/lemon rut. Try something new with this lime juice/chili powder/pepitas rub for an extra kick.

3. Slow Cooker Ribs

Ribs always seem like an extravagant affair, but did you know that enjoying delicious, tender, melt-in-your-mouth ribs on a weeknight is as easy as doctoring up some barbecue sauce and throwing it into the slow cooker with baby back ribs? Bonus: For an extra caramelized touch, broil the finished product for a few minutes with a little bit of the reserved sauce.

4. Savory Pudding with Sausage and Tomatoes

This is technically a two-dish meal, since you need to use a mixing bowl to make your batter. Please forgive us.

5. One-Pan Lasagna

Save yourself half the work by using oven-ready, instant lasagna noodles.

6. Pork and Plums

Take full advantage of plum season with this sweet-savory breeze of a dish.

Featured Photo Credit: Jonathan Lovekin/MarthaStewart.com

Tags: easy weeknight recipe, one pot meal, one-dish meall, one-pan meal, weeknight recipes
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5 Easy Summery Recipes That Will Save You From The Heat Wave

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By Cooking Panda

It’s summer, and there’s a good chance that you’ll be coming home from work, exhausted from your day and the heat wave. But that’s not a reason to stay out of the kitchen!

If you have 30 minutes or so, you’ll be able to whip up some super easy, comforting summer recipes that’ll make you forget about the heat.

1. Orange Chicken

Sometimes you need a good ol’ comfort food to revitalize you from the summer heat. The best part? It’s super easy to make, and you don’t need to use your oven!

If you want to round out your meal, you can add pineapple chunks, kale or similar greens, or cauliflower – either saute it or treat it exactly like the chicken – battered and fried. Want a healthier sauteed version that has all the deliciousness of the original stuff? Skip the batter and use this recipe.

2. Fig and Blue Cheese Tart with Honey, Balsamic and Rosemary

It’s way too hot for the oven! Make small versions of these guys in the toaster oven, or grill them – the best part is that you’ll get a sublime flavor kick. Use this guide to avoid disaster when grilling tarts and pizzas.

3. Sake-Steamed Mandarin Fish

This white fish recipe is delicious, easy and summery, complete with refreshing tangerines. No oven needed – you can either cook in a dedicated steamer or throw it with some veggies in a steamer rack at the top of your rice cooker for a few minutes for a one-pot meal. If you don’t have a steamer, you can also wrap it in foil and grill it like so.

4. Pork Chops with Peaches and Walnuts

Cook in a cast iron skillet (or a regular skillet if you don’t have it) for a super easy 20-minute dish. You can also make this with chicken thighs or breasts – adjust the cooking time as needed to make sure it cooks all the way through.

5. Raw Mango Curry

Spiced mango curry is totally delicious and would make for a refreshing and light meal or side, served with rice and roti (Indian flatbread) or over coconut rice as a tasty dessert.

Featured Photo Credit: Mommyhood's Diary

Tags: fruit dinner, no oven, quick dinner, summer recipe, weeknight recipes
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Make These Tasty Tacos For Taco Tuesday

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By Cooking Panda

It’s Taco Tuesday! We love chicken and carne asada tacos as much as anyone, but if you want to change things up a little, we scoured the internet and found some great ways to kick your weeknight taco game up a notch:

1. Slow Cooker Barbacoa

Nothing beats moist, shredded barbacoa beef on tacos, and it’s great for feeding a crowd, too. But did you know you can make amazing barbacoa in your slow cooker with minimal effort?

2. Tacos Al Pastor

This classic spicy, tender marinated pineapple pork always holds a special place in our hearts, but it can be a lot of effort to cook. If you don’t have a local Mexican meat market, here’s how to make the tasty taco filling without spending days on end.

3. Jackfruit Carnitas

If you are vegetarian or simply cutting back on meat and you miss tender, flavor-packed carnitas tacos, this recipe is really going to blow your mind. When you marinade, brown and shred jackfruit pieces, they turn into a delicious ringer for pulled meat. Seriously, try this. You can thank us later.

4. Quick Rosemary Citrus Shrimp Tacos

These delectable, flavor-packed shrimp tacos are a breeze to make, but they taste like you spent a lot longer than 15 minutes on them. Everybody wins.

5. Chipotle Adobo Breakfast Tacos with Guacamole

If you’ve never tried breakfast tacos, you’re in for a treat. These are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and you can whip them together pretty fast, too.

And don’t forget your condiments…

Mango Salsa

Kick your Taco Tuesday up a notch with this quick mango salsa. It’s delicious and super easy to make. If you don’t have a food processor or the type of blender that can pulse salsa into chunks, go ahead and dice everything by hand. It’s still totally simple.

Avocado Salsa

This avocado salsa is incredibly easy to make in the blender, and it will blow your socks off. Trust us on this – you might be tempted to eat it by the spoonful. If you absolutely can’t find tomatillos, try substituting underripe tomatoes and an extra squeeze of lime.

Sources: The Kitchn, Food and Wine, Clean Green Simple, Melanie Makes, The Kitchen Paper, Vitamix, Spontaneous Tomato / Photo credit: William Neuheisel/Flickr

Tags: taco recipe, tacos, weeknight recipes
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