Easy Weeknight Recipes

Working a full-time job and being a full-time parent doesn’t leave a lot of room for weeknight recipe ideas. We want to feed our families the best meals, full of nutrition, flavor, and love. Even if you only have 15 minutes to throw something together or an hour, here are a few easy weeknight recipes that pack a flavorful punch in a short amount of time! 

Homemade Pizza
Homemade pizza is not only a delicious option but pizza is a go-to choice whether we’re in a hurry from work, hosting a girls night, or heading to the bar to meet up with your coworkers. Making pizza at home is a great way to get your little ones in the kitchen! Coming up with your own recipes, trying out different combinations, and trying to toss the dough at home makes dinner fun and tasty for everyone. Try this Margherita Pizza recipe and click here for more combinations to try at home! 

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup pizza sauce
  • 8 ounces fresh bocconcini mozzarella, sliced
  • ½ cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 10 basil leaves
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 500°F.
  2. Spread the pizza sauce onto the dough. 
  3. Top with the fresh mozzarella and tomatoes and bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until the crust is browned. 
  4. Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil leaves and a pinch of red pepper flakes. 
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Sheet Pan Dinners

Also, when we think of a simple and easy weeknight dinner, sheet pan dinners are the first thing to come to mind. Not only are you making an appetizing meal for your loved ones but it doesn’t get much simpler than cooking everything at the same time, with one sheet, and limited cleanup! 

From sheet pan mac & cheese, salmon, sausage, and peppers, there’s plenty of recipes to choose from. Our only dilemma is choosing which to cook first! 

Ingredients

  • 1 12 ounce package precooked Italian chicken or turkey sausage cut into 1/2-inch rounds (I used spicy Italian chicken sausage)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 small yellow onion sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Cooking Instructions 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. For easy clean up, line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the cut sausage, bell peppers, and onions in the center of the pan.
  3. Drizzle with the olive oil and red wine vinegar, then sprinkle with the garlic, salt, basil, oregano, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine, then arrange in a single layer.
  4. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the peppers are as tender as you like, tossing once halfway through. 
  5. Remove from the oven and serve hot.

Chili

Depending on where you live you may be feeling the crisp air fall brings around this time of year. There’s nothing like a delicious bowl of chili to warm you from the inside out. The mix of beans, ground beef or turkey, peppers, spices, and cooling sour cream creates a meal layered with flavor not to mention a little heat depending on your tolerance. In 30 minutes or less, your family will be asking for seconds! Follow the recipe below for a classic chili dinner fit for any fall night. 

weeknight recipes for chili

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of Ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 can diced tomato
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 can pinto, kidney or black beans
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth
  • Chili seasoning

To make a homemade chili seasoning combine the following spices

  • 2 ½ tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne (optional)

Optional Toppings

  • Cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Saltine or oyster crackers
  • Sliced green onion

Cooking Instructions

  1. Add the olive oil to a large soup pot and place it over medium-high heat for two minutes. Add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the ground beef to the pot. Break it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the chili powder, cumin, sugar, tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and optional cayenne. Stir until well combined.
  4. Add the broth, diced tomatoes (with their juice), drained beans, and tomato sauce. Stir well.
  5. Bring the liquid to a low boil. Then, reduce the heat (low to medium-low) to gently simmer the chili, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat. Let the chili rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. ENJOY!

Chicken Parmesan

What’s more delicious than a simple and tasty Italian dinner at home? I love this crispy chicken parmesan recipe. Long gone are the days of dry chicken and soggy breading. We’re saying hello to juicy chicken, savory sauce, and delicious mozzarella cheese to coat! Be sure to make enough for leftovers, the requests are on the way. 

chicken parmesan weeknight recipes

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 3 large chicken breasts halved horizontally to make 6 fillets
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (Italian or golden)
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic or onion powder
  • 1/2 cup olive oil for frying

For The Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 14 ounces tomato puree
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

For The Topping:

  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese sliced or shredded
  • 1/3 cup fresh shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil or parsley

Instructions

For The Chicken:

  1. Preheat oven 430°F | 220°C. Lightly grease an oven tray (or baking dish) with non stick cooking oil spray; set aside.
  2. Whisk together eggs, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Add chicken into the egg, rotating to evenly coat each fillet in the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes (or overnight night if time allows for a deeper flavour).
  3. When chicken is ready for cooking, mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and garlic powder together in a separate shallow bowl. Dip chicken into the breadcrumb mixture to evenly coat.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Fry chicken until golden and crispy, (about 4-5 minutes each side).
  5. Place chicken on prepared baking tray / dish and top each breast with about 1/3 cup of sauce (sauce recipe below). Top each chicken breast with 2-3 slices of mozzarella cheese and about 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with basil or parsley. 
  1. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and melted, and the chicken is completely cooked through.

For The Sauce:

  1. Heat oil in a medium-sized pot. Fry onion until transparent (about 3 minutes), then add the garlic until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
  2. Add the tomato puree, salt and pepper to taste, Italian herbs and sugar (If using). Cover with lid to simmer for about 8 minutes, or until sauce has thickened slightly. Taste test and adjust salt and pepper, if needed.
Meatballs
We’re bringing the Italian flavors back to the dinner table with a family favorite, meatballs! Growing up, meatballs always felt like a fun meal that warranted a serious clean-up after dinner. That still rings true in our home, now full of flavor and various twists outside of your traditional spaghetti dinner. Try making meatball subs or delicious garlic bread along with your noodles. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (1 1/2 ounces) finely-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely-chopped fresh Italian herbs (I used half parsley, half basil)
  • 1/4 cup grated yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Cooking Instructions

  1. Make the panade.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together the panko and milk until combined.  Set the mixture aside to soak for 5 to 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients.  Add the ground beef, ground pork, garlic, eggs, Parmesan, fresh herbs, onion and Worcestershire sauce to the (same) mixing bowl.  Sprinkle the oregano, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes evenly on top.  Use your hands to mix the ingredients until evenly combined, being careful not to over-mix the ingredients.
  3. Chill (optional step).  To make the meatballs easier to form, I recommend covering and chilling the mixture in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  But if you’re pressed for time, you can skip this step.
  4. Prep oven and baking sheet.  Heat the oven to 425°F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Form the meatballs.  Using a medium cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop and roll the mixture into 2-tablespoon balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet.  (I recommend greasing your hands with a bit of olive oil to prevent the mixture from sticking.)
  6. Bake.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer measures the internal temperature of the meatballs to be 160°F.  Remove the pan and transfer to a wire cooling rack.
  7. Serve.  Serve meatballs immediately and enjoy!

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