I love this time of year, as fall turns into winter. The season makes me want to hunker down and snuggle up with the family over warm meals of pasta, soup and sandwiches, stews and chili, and roast chicken. This week’s menu celebrates the comforts of home, family and friends with meals perfect for sharing. And for Friday night – homemade pizza with a nutritional kick from ground flax.
Pasta is usually an easy sell with kids, and quick to pull together on a busy weeknight. This simple lemon linguine is served simply – with shredded basil and Parmesan – although you could add a grilled chicken breast, zucchini ribbons or handful of frozen shrimp, quickly cooked or reheated in a skiff of oil with a clove of garlic. Think of it as a blank canvas – or a quick, inexpensive, meatless meal for a Monday.
Photo credit: Maya Visnyei
I instantly fell in love with these adorable open-faced sandwiches made with apples, Black Forest ham and melty brie, and the kids love them as much as I do. They make a pretty fab afternoon snack, but served with a mug of squash soup and/or a tossed salad they make a quick and comforting fall meal. Try them with ripe pears, too.
Photo credit: Jamie of Sophistimom
Chili doesn’t have to start with ground beef – Shaina upgrades hers with steak, transforming it into a steakhouse-style meal you can top with grated cheese and sour cream. It’s perfect to make in large batches and freeze for dinnertime emergencies down the road. (Chili always tastes better the next day, anyway.)
Photo credit: Shaina of Food for My Family
There’s nothing like the smell of roasting chicken when you walk in the door on a cold day. To quote Aimee: “Roasting a whole chicken is simple: there are no fancy knife cuts to attempt or finicky prep required to get it in the oven. Still, there are a few tricks to getting the most out of your investment.” In this post she walks you through roasting a whole chicken, proving it’s simple to produce a juicy bird with little effort – perfect for a midweek night. You may never pick up a deli roast chicken again.
Photo credit: Aimee of Simple Bites
Fridays are so often pizza nights – once you get the hang of doing it yourself, you’ll have a hard time dropping $40 on takeout. Pizza dough is a snap to mix and knead, and the hour it needs to spend hanging out on the countertop isn’t really a big deal when you’re at home, decompressing and getting things sorted out from a week of work and school. Let the kids mix it up, and by the time you’re changed and ready to bake, it will be soft and poufy and ready to go. To bake, roll the dough out thin (it will rise again in the oven), set on a flour or cornmeal-dusted baking sheet, top with sauce, toppings and grated cheese of your choice and bake at 450˚F for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.