Your Next Favorite Weekday Recipes

Summer is in full swing and for some of us, the kids are home for summer break so now more than ever, quick, healthy (or healthy-ish) recipes for busy weeknights are essential. 

I originally wanted to do a step by step, fully pictorial blog post of one of my favorite recipes I've perfected over the years - chicken lettuce wraps. This was two weeks ago. I bought all the ingredients, had the kitchen set up, my camera ready, and I was going to create this helpful post sharing something I love with you. That was the plan. The reality became much different...

First, the ground chicken I had only purchased the night before went bad. I could smell it before I even opened the package - yikes. I had already set everything up and freed up two hours of my work day to create this blog post but now I have to run back to the grocery store; a frustrating delay before I could even get started. The store was of course packed and parking was horrendous. I finally made it back home but I had already missed my free window of time and that's when a bunch of emails and phone calls starting coming through. People and work could no longer wait. Into the freezer my ground chicken packages went and there they still are to this day.

I'm sure I'll defrost and cook them up for lettuce wraps one day. For now, here are my family's favorites to sit down to; my no-fail, go-to recipes that I turn to time and time again with my own photos of what my end results were to show that they really are do-able. As a bonus, you'll find a dessert torte recipe that I've made countless times. Because at the end of a long day, I'm always happy to plop down on the couch with a small (or big) slice of heaven.

The Woks of Life

I'm Taiwanese-American. My grandmother and mother are amazing home cooks and I was raised eating their food. My mom even opened up a neighborhood restaurant in Taiwan when we were growing up so I crave authentic Chinese and Taiwanese flavors when it comes to home cooking. This blog and its Taiwanese recipes are on point and I pour over it to cook up meals that bring a little bit of my childhood into my American home.
Photo by The Woks of Life

All Purpose Biscuits

When the house starts smelling like warm, buttery biscuits, my husband praises and curses me at the same time. It's very confusing. What's not is that these biscuits are very, very delicious. I make at minimum two batches at once. Just making one batch of these babies I fear will put my marriage in jeopardy. 

Add bacon, cheese, and a fried egg, you've got an easy meal. Maybe an old-fashioned biscuit and gravy is in order. A side salad and a piece of baked fish or pan-seared steak go nicely, too. Tuck in some fresh strawberry slices, with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you'll be the hero of young and old in the household.

Photo by New York Times

Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara

Damn Delicious blog has some of my favorite pasta recipes. Since Cauliflower is one of my favorite things to eat even before it became super trendy, I appreciate all the new recipes popping up in recent years that fully explore the possibilities of this tasty and healthy ingredient.

Photo by Damn Delicious Blog

Arugula with Parmesan

I geek out over Ina Garten. As a surprise, my husband got us tickets years ago to her meet and greet when she was in town and I had a chance to ask her a question on stage and have my cookbook signed. Other people have comic cons and sports tournaments, I have my cooking idols and their fan meets.

It all started with Ina's Perfect Roast Chicken. I made it, it was glorious, and I was hooked. I also make baskets and baskets of her Popovers when I'm up for it on the weekends. For busy week nights, this Arugula Parmesan salad below is so simple and one of my husband and my favorites.

Photos: My own 

Plum Torte

When I have friends or family over, I whip this torte up on a whim. It looks and tastes impressive, but it's unbelievably easy to make. I don't even sift the flour, I also microwave the stick of cold butter it calls for for 15 seconds instead of waiting for it to reach room temperature (blasphemy to a baker's ears, I know) but still, I have never had one torte fail on me.

Not just plums, I use any fruit I have on hand as you can see in my photos below. For one torte, I mixed fruits because I didn't have enough of either. Leftover berries, overripe peaches, fresh pineapple slices - they all taste amazing in this recipe. I brush a glaze of apricot preserve on top and fresh whipped cream on the side before I serve. Prepare yourself for the raves.

Bon Appétit!

Photos: My own