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5 Easy Recipes for Busy Weeknights

Written by the YesChef staff

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Nancy Silverton
Teaches her California Cuisine
Finding the time to make a tasty, healthy, and filling weeknight dinner can be extremely difficult. We are busy, and can be too tired after a long day at work to put lots of thought and time into getting dinner ready. Below are some delicious and amazing weeknight dinner ideas, either for the entire family or just for yourself, as explained by some of the world’s most talented chefs. Each of these favorite easy dinner recipes are simple to cook and will provide a complete meal, satisfying your hunger at the end of an exhausting weekday. They include Yellow Chicken Curry, Flattened Beef Tenderloin, Ocean Trout, Siniya, and Pepper Shrimp. Enjoy some of our favorite easy dinner ideas.
Nancy Silverton
Teaches her California Cuisine

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For Aromatic Easy Dinner Ideas, Have Yellow Curry in a Hurry

Yellow Chicken Curry is a great dinner for busy weeknight dinners because it is incredibly simple to make, uses basic ingredients, and is full of flavor. This easy dinner recipe cooks quickly, which makes it perfect for nights when you don’t have a lot of time for cooking. Plus, it’s a great way to use up leftovers, as you can easily add any vegetables or proteins you have on hand. The combination of flavors also makes it a great way to liven up a kid friendly dinner.

A popular Indian recipe made with chicken, spices, and vegetables, Yellow Chicken Curry has many health benefits. Its ingredients are rich in vitamins like Vitamins A, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin C and minerals like iron and magnesium, and are a great source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. The spices used in this recipe, such as turmeric, cumin, and coriander, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Chef Asma Khan’s Yellow Chicken Curry with Kachumber Salad recipe makes a spectacular and easy dinner for a busy weeknight. This traditional curry recipe, which has been enjoyed in Asma’s family for years, is cooked in a light yellow curry gravy, has a distinctive turmeric aroma, and includes simple ingredients like chicken, onion, garlic, and ginger.

To make it, Asma adds oil to the pan which she drops ghee into (“Like an island of ghee floating on oil,” as Asma puts it) which creates a lovely aroma. She makes a base consisting of onion paste, ginger paste, garlic, turmeric, chili powder, greek yogurt, and salt. Once the oil in the base separates, she mixes in chicken, being cautious not to drop any chicken liquid into the gravy. She lowers the heat once the gravy boils fully, then covers it with a lid.

When it’s finished cooking, Asma turns off the heat and adds milk. She serves her Yellow Chicken Curry in a bowl with decorative green chilis on top alongside a plate of salad featuring cucumber, tomatoes, red onions, and pomegranates and garnished with mint, lemon juice, and salt. The payoff is a delicious, healthy, and beautifully-arranged quick and easy plate which took just an hour to make. You can also serve it with basmati rice topped with green onions.

Flattened Tenderloin: This Fast Dinner’s a Smashing Success

Flattened tenderloin makes another easy dinner recipe that is perfect for busy weeknights because it is a lean, tender cut of meat that cooks quickly and evenly. It is full of flavor and can be cooked in a variety of ways, from pan-searing to grilling to roasting. It is also fairly simple to season. Some great herbs with which to flavor your flattened tenderloin include rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, garlic, and fresh basil. Like the other easy dinner recipes on this list, flattened tenderloin goes well with many different sides, from sweet potatoes and steamed veggies to fresh greens – and it is a great way to get a delicious dinner on the table in no time. (You can even make a vegan version of flattened tenderloin, which can be made with a combination of ingredients such as seitan, tofu, and mushrooms.)

Francis Mallmann’s Flattened Tenderloin is a beautiful steak dinner recipe you can make in under 20 minutes. In his YesChef lesson, he shows how to make this easy and unfussy steak, a dish that he began making over 25 years ago and which involves smashing things, something Francis loves to do. Francis makes this recipe by smashing the steak a number of times with his trusty axe, after which he adds ingredients including black olives, capers (which he also smashes first), garlic, olive oil, and a sweet red pepper (he smashes that too) along with chili flakes and salt. Francis grills the steak on his cast iron plancha for four minutes, never moving the steak so that it begins to form a crust, then flips it over and cooks it for another three minutes. He recommends eating the steak with a nice salad, one of his many great potato recipes, and any wine that makes you happy.

Try Ocean Trout, a Fast & Flavorful Fish Dish

Ocean trout is an excellent choice for a busy weeknight dinner because it is an incredibly quick and easy recipe to prepare. It cooks in a matter of minutes, and the delicate texture and mild flavor make it a great choice for those who don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. It is also a healthy choice since it is low in fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids. Some sides that go well with ocean trout include mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, a green salad, roasted potatoes, wild rice, grilled asparagus, sautéed fresh spinach, and lemon-butter sauce.

In an eye-opening and informative YesChef lesson, chef Nancy Silverton of the great Los Angeles restaurant Chi Spacca makes an amazing Ocean Trout with Castelfranco and Wild Arugula. During the lesson, we see how to make this delicious dish while also learning how to compose a plate to account for color, texture, moisture, and flavor.

To make Nancy’s entrée featuring ocean trout, which is huge and looks like salmon but is less fatty than salmon with more flavor, begin by salting the skin side of the fish and adding salt and pepper to the flesh side (Putting pepper on the skin can cause it to burn during cooking.) Put the fish in a pan with hot oil and hold the fish down to prevent the skin from wrinkling as it cooks. This will produce an even sear with crispy skin all the way through.

Next, once the skin is crispy, flip the fish over so that the trout doesn’t burn, being careful not to splatter oil all over the place. Turn down the heat so the fish doesn’t get too brown on the bottom. Nancy serves this delicious ocean trout on top of an arugula salad along with garlic vinaigrette and a lemon vinaigrette. From beginning to end this entire dinner takes only about an hour to make.

Siniya: A Tasty Tahini-Topped Entree, in 10 Minutes

Siniya, which is like a Middle Eastern shepherd’s pie featuring ground lamb, chicken, or ground beef combined with a variety of fresh herbs and spices, is an incredibly convenient and delicious dinner option for busy weeknights. It’s very easy to make and requires minimal ingredients, which means you don’t have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It’s also a healthy choice, as it typically contains lean protein and is often served with fresh vegetables, like tomatoes and onions. Additionally, siniya can be served with a variety of sauces and spices to add flavor, making it an easy family dinner for  everyone. Chef Erez Komarovsky makes a perfect siniya, featuring kebabs baked in tahini, which is his take on this traditional Lebanese dish. Erez makes it by burning whole tomatoes and onions in his oven and then peeling the charred parts off, giving the vegetables a smoky flavor. He cuts the onions and tomatoes down coarsely, spreads them out in the pan, and arranges the veggies so that there are both onions and tomatoes in each bite. He adds kebab meat to the recipe and tops it all off with tons of tahini along with a little salt and lemon juice. The dinner will cook inside your oven at home, Erez says, in just 10 minutes. But don’t overcook it, Erez warns, otherwise it will turn out way too dry.

Pepper Shrimp, for a Quick Jamaican Kick

Pepper shrimp is another great dinner for a busy weeknight because it is quick and easy to make. It only takes about 10 minutes to prepare, and the ingredients are simple and widely available. It also has an amazing flavor that is both spicy and sweet, making it a great way to add some variety to your dinner table. Plus, shrimp is a healthy source of protein, so you can feel good about what you’re eating. Pepper shrimp was one of chef Kwame Onwuachi’s favorite snacks growing up in the Bronx, where it would be sold in paper packets at the market. Packets of spicy pepper shrimp are also sold on the beaches of Jamaica as well as on the roads connecting the Jamaican cities of Kingston and Montego Bay. It’s a very fast dish to make, Kwame tells us. In a pan he builds a sauce of shrimp stock, some super-spicy scotch bonnet pepper (Although you can use a less spicy pepper, Kwame says, like a jalapeno), and annatto seeds ground with allspice for color and flavor. Kwame also adds to the dinner recipe some all-purpose seasoning, salt, and vinegar, and has the sauce come to a boil. He lets the sauce simmer, then adds his shrimp, cooking it on each side until it’s golden brown. He puts all the shrimp on a plate and pours some sauce over it. Not only is this recipe terrific because it’s so quick, Kwame says, but because the heat and vinegar act as a preservation method, you can eat the pepper shrimp as leftovers for up to four or five days afterward.

Conclusion

Yellow Chicken Curry, Flattened Tenderloin, Ocean Trout, Siniya, and Pepper Shrimp are each easy dinner recipes that are perfect for busy nights during the week. They are filling, delicious –  and much healthier than just having a pizza night! These easy dinners are loaded with protein as well as vitamins and minerals. And now that you have simple recipes as explained and demonstrated by world-renowned chefs, there is no reason not to start cooking with them. These recipes are proof that preparing a tasty dinner on a busy weeknight is totally achievable with a few simple ingredients and a bit of planning.

Ocean Trout with Castelfranco & Wild Arugula

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YesChef-Nancy-Silverton-Desktop
YesChef-Nancy-Silverton-Desktop

Nancy Silverton

James Beard Award-winning chef, best-selling cookbook author, and the restaurateur behind Michelin-starred Mozza, Nancy Silverton takes viewers on a journey from her home in Panicale, Italy, to her home in Los Angeles. Viewers learn a range of Nancy’s renowned dishes, including her signature Caesar Salad, Chi Spacca Pepper Steak, 10+ vegetarian dishes, Mom’s Apple Pie, and more.

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