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You Tell Us: What's Your Favorite Quick and Easy Dinner?

We're seeking your favorite get-it-on-the-table suggestions for an upcoming series on great meals. Bonus points if it's delicious and local.

 

I, like most people in Sonoma, love an elaborate dinner, made with time and care (maybe using a recipe!) and local ingredients.

But, between my somewhat time consuming job and other personal obligations, most days dinner is perfunctorty; I rarely have time to cook something new and inventive.

That's why, most weeknights, you can find me resorting back to my old standby: pesto veggie rice. It's adapted from this recipe, and is perfect for a number of reasons: It's got enough veggies to feel healthy, enough cheese to make me happy and with a little prep, it's on the table in under ten minutes. 

But there's gotta be better weeknight cooking going on, so we're putting it to a crowd: What's your favorite quick and easy dinner. Share the recipe in the comments and/or upload a photo to the article by clicking 'add.' Or, e-mail the recipe and photo to alexis.fitts@patch.com

We'll feature all our favorites in an upcoming column on easy dinners, so you'll leave with a bunch of great options.

Dorothy February 13, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Great idea and I like your recipe too. A Italian friend sent me a recipe for a tomato omelet that I make when I want a simple meal--and it can be done with all local produce and local free range eggs too. Here in her words is the recipe: Today I made an omelette. We have many tomatoes coming ripe on the vine. I chopped up two of them and put them in a pan with some olive oil and a garlic clove...clipped some parsley and oregano in it and let it simmer on medium heat (no lid). I shredded some aged goat cheese and set it aside...whipped four eggs, spritzed some water in the bowl and whipped again. By then the tomatoes were ready...I sprinkled the cheese on top, waited a minute or two, then poured the eggs on top, turned down the heat and put on the lid. I set the table while it cooked. The eggs were fluffy and filled the lid while they cooked. The eggs were cooked thoroughly and moist with just a bit of juice from the tomatoes. I served this with pane crasau (very thin, crisp bread of Sardinia--made of flour, yeast, water and salt)...perfect bread to soak up the juice. The dish got a DH thumbs up.
Suzanne Barbara February 14, 2012 at 12:17 AM
I usually make a home made soup and salad meal if I want a quick dinner. Ingredients can easily be local though if you want something out of season, you may not be able to get it locally. You can make a nice mushroom soup using baby bella, shitaki, and button mushrooms, I saute the mushrooms, onion and garlic added flour, sea salt, pepper, homemade vegetable broth (but you can use bought) and then at the end, I add in some fat free half anf half, topped off with a little nutmeg. I like strawberries in a green goat cheese salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for this soup, and a crust bread.
Dorothy February 14, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I forgot to mention that the tomato omelet also is good without the grated cheese, in case you do not eat dairy.
Albert David February 14, 2012 at 01:10 AM
One of my favorite meals is salmon croquettes served with an in season vegetable, sliced tomatoes, and rice. The longest part of making the salmon croquettes is that I chill them for about 10 to 15 minutes before I cook them. Here is my basic recipe: about 12 oz canned salmon (up to you if it is pink or red) 2 eggs 1/4 cup finely chopped onion--you can cook the onion in a little oil to soften it before you add to the mixture if you like but it is not necessary. 1/4 cup all purpose flour 2 tbsp yellow corn meal 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or more to taste). You basically put all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix them. A potato masher or a large spoon is fine. I add the flour last and adjust the amount--it should hold together somewhat. Mold this into patties (like hamburger patties). I then put these on a plate and into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes and chill them. Then I coat a frying pan with a little oil. Preheat the pan over medium heat. Slip the patties in the pan.. Leave room to turn them. Cook until medium brown on one side and then turn them over and do the same to the other side. While the croquettes are chilling, you can prepare your vegetable for cooking and slice the tomatoes. It makes a very nice simple meal.
Albert David February 14, 2012 at 01:12 AM
If you have leftover patties they freeze well and can be heated in a microwave for 2 minutes the next time. They also are delicious (in my opinion) for lunch served as a "hamburger" on a bun.
Mary Beth Halsey February 14, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Tomatoes ripe on the vine in February????
Dorothy February 14, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Mary Beth: I did not mean to confuse. I had written the recipe exactly as sent to me by my Italian friend. She lives in the South and does have tomatoes on the vine (and oranges too). But if you do not have a green house to pick your tomatoes, this omelet is simple and quite good with the produce you can purchase in a store. Last night I made it and added some sliced mushrooms to the tomato sauce part--it was quite good.
Dee Baucher February 14, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Quick Greek food is so satisfying. It only takes a few minutes to mix up some lemon juice and olive oil with a dab of Dijon mustard and oregano and garlic. I marinade a couple of lamb chops or lamb leg steaks in half of the mix. While they are soaking in the marinade I mix up some salad with romaine lettuce and red onions and tomatoes and feta cheese and Greek olives (I usually have all this stuff on hand). Then I put the meat on the grill, and when done... serve the salad with the other half of the marinade as salad dressing... along with the grilled lamb... and perhaps some pita bread (if I have it on hand and am not too freaked about carbs that day). Quick Greek taste and a satisfied fullness after this meal.
Renee February 15, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Lots of good recipes to try here. Dee, your simple marinade sounds as if it would be delicious on fish too. Here is my grandmother's recipe for chopped meat and raisins. She would have used beef, but I have tried it with ground turkey and even ground meat substitute and it is pretty good. If you make this main dish and serve it with rice and a salad, it is a great meal and kids love these meat balls. For meat balls: 1 lb meat 1 small chopped onion 2 eggs seasoning cornflake crumbs or bread crumbs--not too much just to hold it together. For sauce: small can of tomato sauce or just tomato paste and water chopped onion 1/2 cup raisins 1/4 spoon of sugar In a flat pan put onion, tomato sauce (or tomato paste and water), 1/4 spoon of sugar. Cook a little while (maybe 5 to 10 minutes). While the sauce is cooking make meat balls with the onions and bread crumbs or cornflake crumbs...Add the meatballs to the sauce. Cook slowly. Add 1/2 cup raisins to the sauce. Add more water as needed. The meatballs will have a nice flavor from the raisins. Serve with rice and a salad. The whole meal takes about 30 minutes to make though the meatballs can be made ahead of time and reheated.
Renee February 15, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Dee, your marinade sounds fantastic and very versatile.
Irene Morgan February 15, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Pasta with greens: Washed and chopped chard, kale, or other green 2 to 3 shallots Pasta - butternut squash or pumpkin ravioli or other pasta Ricotta salata, freshly grated parmesan or other cheese Sliced tomato for tomato salad crusty bread on the side. Saute chopped shallots in olive oil; add the greens (and water if necessary) and cook until the greens are done. While you are cooking the greens, boil water and cook the pasta. Serve the greens on top of the pasta as a sauce. We like the contrast between the savory greens and the sweetness of butternut squash ravioli but any pasta works. Put ricotta salata or other cheese on top to taste (or do without cheese). A tomato salad as a side dish is nice and a crusty bread completes the meal.
Elora February 17, 2012 at 01:53 AM
So many delicious recipes here.

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