Back when I worked as an editor at Woman’s Day, one of our most popular features and bestselling coverlines was “Month of Menus”. It was a calendar with simple dinner suggestions. My editor and I would often make fun of them for their weirdness, a sample entry was probably something like “tuna fish sandwiches and flavored gelatin”, but boy did our readers love them.
Flash forward a decade and I’m starting to understand why. It’s not that I don’t like to cook, often I even downright enjoy it. But spending the time surfing Pinterest or flipping through the few cookbooks I have deemed worthwhile to keep in order to find a week’s worth of menus is difficult. It’s no only finding the time. It’s also getting inspired enough by five recipes to actually want to make them.
When I stumbled across Delish.com on Instagram and subsequently looked at the site, that all changed. (I should interject that I’ve worked with the site director and know her to be an amazing baker. Editor, too!) I was intrigued enough by its “Insanely Easy Dinners to Try This Week” to give it a shot. I’m glad I did!
I started with this week, that featured a shrimp dish, grilled chicken and roast pork. The standouts for me were the Creamy Shrimp Linguine with Kale. I made mine with chicken, because my husband forgot to pick up shrimp at the grocery store, even though it was on the read-to-print PDF list.
Another favorite was the Butternut Squash Spinach Salad with Shallot-Bacon Vinaigrette, shown top. I substituted walnuts for pecans, because that’s what I had on hand. It was amazingly delicious and surprisingly, my husband didn’t even miss a larger serving of meat.
The pork on the Spiced Pork Tenderloin was super flavorful, but unfortunately we ran out of propane on our grill. I baked the peaches instead and they came out mushy and stuck to the pan. Lesson learned.
The only downsides to the recipes were that they left me with a lot of leftover produce, though it’s not the site’s fault that you can only buy a pint of grape tomatoes when you only need a cup. Some of the leftover produce, like the kale, I was able to steam and turn into baby food for my 8-month old daughter.
And my husband was craving more carbs, but it’s easy enough to cook a side of rice or pick up a loaf of French bread.
Overall, I love that the recipes are simple, but not basic, and delicious. Nothing took me more than 30 minutes to prepare. The weeks include a nice mix of protein and veggies and seem relatively healthy to me (minus the odd tablespoon of bacon grease). I also like that it was easy to substitute for what I had on hand–chicken for shrimp, walnuts for pecans.
More than anything, it has helped me reconnect with my love of cooking. Once the question of “What’s for dinner” is answered, it’s easy for me to commit to a recipe and cook a tasty meal for my family.
Check out the dinner recipes on Delish.com.