Just like you, I'm wiped out at the end of the day, and I'm usually trying to figure out what I can make for dinner that will minimize my kitchen time.
I have some super-easy staples avocado smashed on toast with a drizzle of pistachio or hazelnut oil; scrambled eggs and chevre in a tortilla, splashed with Valentina sauce; a heap of baby spinach or arugula topped with a poached egg and Parmesan but even these get a bit boring after a while.
I'm trying to mix it up, make something new, something different, even when I'm tired.
Almost all of these recipes, fortunately, require less than a half-hour from start to finish.
quinoa, cannellini and cauliflowerwith arugula pesto
1 small head of cauliflower, florets removed
About 2 tablespoons olive oil ª Sea salt and pepper
1 cup red quinoa
Handful of wild arugula
1 cup (9.25 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Arugula pesto: 1 clove garlic, minced; 4.5 ounces wild arugula; 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted; ¼ cup olive oil; sea salt and pepper
Preheat oven to broil and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil. Put cauliflower florets onto cookie sheet, add olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss. Place in oven and cook until florets begin to brown, about 15 minutes, then flip them and brown other sides, about 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Cook quinoa: Put 2 cups of salted water onto boil, then add quinoa, stir, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Let cook for 10 minutes, then turn off heat and let quinoa absorb the rest of the water. Let cool.
To make arugula pesto, put garlic, arugula, walnuts, olive oil and salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse till combined.
To assemble the salad, put quinoa in a large bowl and add handful of arugula, beans, roasted cauliflower and a tablespoon or two of pesto. Toss and serve.
Spinach stracciatella soup
Serves 2 to 4
4 cups (1 quart) vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups water
Sea salt and pepper
4½ ounces baby spinach
¼ cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Warm stock and water over medium-high heat, with salt and pepper to taste. When it comes to a simmer, add spinach and Parmesan and let cook until the spinach wilts, 5 to 10 minutes. Slowly add beaten eggs, briskly stirring so they'll be streaky throughout and not cook in clumps. Taste for seasonings and serve right away with more Parmesan.
Chicken tinga tacos
Serves 4 to 6
1 pound chicken tenders
1 celery stalk, halved
1 carrot, halved
A couple sprigs of parsley
About 10 peppercorns
½ of an onion, diced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped
2/3 cup canned corn, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
Sea salt and pepper
6 to 8 tortillas (corn or flour)
1 avocado, chopped
Handful of chopped cilantro
3 to 4 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
2 to 3 limes, cut into wedges
Poach chicken tenders: Put chicken, celery, carrot, parsley and peppercorns in a saucepan. Cover with water, put on the stove over medium-high heat, and cover. When it boils, reduce heat to a simmer and set the timer for 10 minutes. Let the chicken cool in the pot if you have time; if you don't, shred chicken and proceed to the next step.
Drizzle a little olive oil in a large skillet, add onion and garlic and turn heat to medium-low. Cook just until the onion is translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add chipotles, corn and black beans and stir. Add shredded chicken and let mixture cook 10 to 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and let it go for 5 minutes more. Taste and add seasonings if necessary. Serve on warmed tortillas with avocado, cilantro, goat cheese and limes.
Chopped steakswith grilled radicchio
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and pepper
4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for radicchio
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 chopped steaks, at room temperature
1 to 2 heads radicchio (depending on size), in fourths
About 2 ounces Roquefort, crumbled
Make the vinaigrette: Put garlic, mustard and vinegar in a jam jar along with a pinch of sea salt and pepper, and give it a shake. After 5 to 10 minutes, add olive oil and shake again. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Put vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet, making sure it's evenly coated, and turn the heat to high. Salt and pepper the steaks, then add them to the skillet and cook 2 to 3 minutes each side, depending on how done you like them. Remove steaks and cover with foil.
Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel and add a tiny bit of olive oil just enough to moisten the bottom. Turn the heat to medium-high. Add radicchio wedges and cook for about 30 seconds on each side.
Put the radicchio on two plates and top with steaks. Drizzle with vinaigrette and sprinkle with Roquefort.