Before I was married, I often used to cook regular-sized batches of things and just eat the same dinner every night for a week. That doesn’t exactly fly these days; not only does Johnny eat significantly more than I do, but he also isn’t quite on board with a meal plan that consists of one item. Still, with working full-time, my priority is to have dinner done as quickly as possible, with as little effort as possible. This also means that I usually forget to take photos, but that said, here are five recipes that fit the bill these days, starting with dessert (naturally).
I married a man who thrives on having dessert every night. The advantage of this is that it’ll be really easy to figure out what to give up for Lent this year. Until then, though, there are occasional nights when he wants something and the cookie jar is empty. This mug cake recipe is a dream come true on those days, because it can be made with ingredients I always have on hand, in less than 10 minutes, and makes just enough for two people.
I was skeptical of the “mug cake” concept, partly because of the stigma of the microwave. But this really works, even up to my standards. I usually use natural peanut butter, a little less sugar than the recipe calls for, and sometimes I add chocolate chips. A batch and a half is more than enough to split between two mugs or mason jars.
I first came across this recipe when I read Feast over the summer. Little doughnuts that use up the end of a container of ricotta that’s always left after you make lasagna? Sign me up. I normally have a big aversion to deep-frying anything, but these are small enough not to need much oil. It’s a quick recipe, which is an advantage since they’re best served very fresh. I made them for Valentine’s Day, and it took me under 20 minutes start to finish.
I didn’t come up with the name for this one, but it was certainly true in our house. Six ingredients total, and two of them are salt and pepper. We almost always have chicken thighs in the freezer, thanks to Costco, and if I remember to take them out of the freezer before I leave, this recipe is even quicker. No marinading is necessary, but the flavor is outstanding.
Another short ingredient list, another hit. Chicken, Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, and bread crumbs. The mayonnaise is unexpected but really makes the meat moist. I made this with chicken thighs (someone prefers them to breasts), and it turned out very well. The only recommendation I have is to take the chicken out of the pan right away because the mayo seems to melt, leaving a fair bit of oil in the pan.
This is a new favorite, thanks to the Cooks Illustrated cookbook I got as a wedding shower gift (the link above is to the same recipe on Brown Eyed Baker). It takes a few hours, so it’s not a weeknight recipe, but it’s not difficult (just a few minutes of work every hour or so). We often have leftover sauce of some kind, which eliminates some work. We don’t have a round cake pan, so I make it in a cast-iron skillet.