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“What’s For Dinner?!” Easy Weeknight Recipes with Linda Burner Augustine

“What’s For Dinner?”

These 3 words can be such a gut punch!  We’re here to help you get dinner on the table with a spring in your step with the help of Linda Burner Augustine, a Seattle-based chef and founder of the website “A Year at the Table”. Joanne has taken cooking classes from Linda and uses her website ALL THE TIME for easy-to-make, delicious recipes that don’t take a lot of time or ingredients.

A little about Linda:

Linda brings to the table (ha ha) a Paris-based cooking education coupled with work experience as a Seattle-based freelance food consultant.  She’s worked as a caterer, chef, recipe developer, and writer for food companies, publications, and restaurants and as a culinary instructor for many Seattle-based cooking schools. She says it’s the many years of making dinner for her family that gave her an understanding of the kind of recipes that work for making dinner at home!  They are uncomplicated and easy and the ingredients and instructions are minimal and simple.

Linda says your at-home meals will be healthier and less expensive than eating in a restaurant or getting takeout. But the real silver lining is the satisfaction of producing something from start to finish, and then sitting down with your family or friends to enjoy it, without breaking your back or your spirit.

Fab5 Linda Tips:

  • Pick 5 or so recipes and make them routinely for a month.  Uncertainty makes people not want to grocery shop and cook, so if you pick 5 recipes and make them each week for a month (cook 3-5 times depending on your affinity for leftovers) you will get in a groove.  It might not be exciting, but you get to know your recipes and it becomes second nature to shop and to cook.  So during a single week, you can make one recipe and eat that twice (original night and leftover night), cook 4 other meals, and go out or carry in 1 night.   At the end of the month, pick 5 or so new ones and repeat.
  • If you don’t mind leftovers, you can cook 3x a week (for 6 dinners) and go out/carry in the 7th night.
  • Make a dinner that calls for just 1 recipe – a one-dish meal that contains protein, starch, and veggies.  If you need to supplement with a veggie, simply steam or microwave what’s in season, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle on some lemon zest.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.
  • Try Shakshuka, an easy-to-make dish of eggs poached with tomatoes and other vegetables!
  • Linda keeps crepe batter in her fridge at all times!  Using a non-stick pan (like the Green pan, see below), it’s easy to make a crepe with some deli ham and grated cheese.  Or peanut butter.  Or a little syrup.

Linda’s Key Tools: 

Your tools don’t have to be expensive, they just have to work!

And Now Linda’s Gives Us Her Top 10 Recipes:

Fast Asian Noodle Stir Fry: In my perfect world, all my weeknight dinners would be one-pan friendly and with as few ingredients as possible. My favorite pan for any stir-fry is a wok. It easily contains all of the ingredients and because of the large surface area, the vegetables have more heat contact and cook more quickly. A large saute pan will also work well.

30-Minute Skillet Enchiladas: Everything that makes enchiladas taste good without the time it takes to make a sauce, roll tortillas, and bake them. Using ground chicken saves time and packs more flavor from the spices, garlic, and onion that entangle it during the cooking process. Canned beans, tomatoes, and pre-grated cheese all cut cooking time. Chopped fresh cilantro and a smidge of freshly sliced jalapeno pepper add to the flavor in this super easy recipe. A smattering of crunch in shredded iceberg lettuce, a spoonful of sour cream, and a few avocado slices and you’re ready.

30-minute Asparagus Chicken Skillet: If you’ve always considered asparagus a side dish, here is your chance to try it a different way – cut into short rods and used as a main ingredient along with bite-size slices of chicken breast. Ground chicken can also be used as a shortcut to get it on the table faster. Using a large skillet (or a wok if you have one) makes the cooking process faster as there is more hot surface area for the ingredients to touch and cook. The four-ingredient sauce made with a base of soy sauce and hoisin sauce, and brightened with the distinct flavors of orange zest and sesame oil, can be made ahead to save time. The handful of crunchy peanuts and refreshing cilantro leaves stirred in at the end will seal the deal for this to be in your regular meal rotation.  For a more substantial meal serve it over cooked farro, rice, or quinoa.

30-Minute Lettuce Chicken Wraps: I am pretty sure these were inspired by P.F. Chang’s, but I cannot give proper credit. What I do know is they’re incredibly flavorful, fun to eat and the recipe goes together in 30 minutes or less.

One Pan Fresh Mozzarella Chicken Parmesan: The cooking is done in one pan with the simple marinara sauce cooked after the browned chicken has been removed. Once returned to the sauce the chicken is topped with fresh mozzarella slices and grated Parmesan cheese. At this point, my choice is to heat it under the broiler to melt and lightly brown the cheese but you could also opt to put a lid on it and melt the cheese this way, eliminating one step.

30-Minute Green Curry Chicken with Sweet Potato and Red Pepper:  Contrary to what you might think, Thai food can be made quickly. Green chiles, lemon grass, garlic, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves are a few of the ingredients ground or pounded together to create this incredible paste. A few tips on preparing the curry. Tofu can be substituted for the chicken and can be added after the sweet potatoes are tender. Fresh Thai or regular basil can be used instead of the cilantro. Drizzle in a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lime juice after you remove the curry from the heat. Remember the sauce is supposed to be somewhat thin so it’s best to serve it in low-sided bowls.

Fresh Mozzarella Skillet Lasagna:

You can literally make and serve this recipe within an hour from start to finish. The preparation is made easy with “oven-ready” lasagna noodles that do not require boiling. This is definitely one of my family’s favorite recipes for the taste and mine for the preparation.

I love the fresh mozzarella for the texture and subtle flavor it gives to the lasagna. I use store-bought marinara sauce to save time, although homemade obviously would be great, too. Italian chicken sausage is my preference, but you can also use pork sausage if you prefer.

Ginger Cilantro Chicken Meatballs:
These are addicting!  The meatballs are a harmonious combination of little fiery chunks of fresh ginger and cool and spicy chopped cilantro. They’re simmered in a sauce with the predominant flavors of curry, ginger, tomato and coconut milk, a bit reminiscent of Indian butter chicken. If you have all the ingredients and you’re focused, you can have this on the table in less than an hour and it can be served with rice or quinoa if desired.

Carbonara Revisited in 25 minutes!

I know, I know. I can hear you whispering the “f” word when I say that Carbonara should be on your regular dinner rotation. Yes, it’s true. Bacon, cream, butter, egg and parmesan – they all add up to one big fat party. And that’s exactly what I love about them – so much flavor! What I also love about Carbonara, it consists of pretty basic ingredients that most of us keep in our refrigerators. And best of all they go together quite quickly in a dinner you can have on the table in less than 25 minutes.

Smoked Salmon Pasta

Smoked salmon is a bit of a secret weapon in the kitchen. The cooking has already been done, a small amount goes a long way, and it’s a nutritional powerhouse. This is exactly why this recipe has been on repeat in my kitchen all winter. It even checks the box for on-the-table-in-30 minutes with little kitchen mess. And it features the technique of using some of the hot water from cooking the pasta to “extend” the sauce – so there’s only a bit of cream in it (more water, less cream).

 

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Chrissie and Joanne love discovering, curating and creating. They developed FabList as a place to share their favorite finds with you.

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Chrissie and Joanne love discovering, curating and creating. They developed FabList as a place to share their favorite finds with you.

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