Weeknight cooking can be hard!
You forgot to take something out of the freezer, the fridge is empty, and you only have an hour to get something on the table. This is just a few of the hurtles busy families face daily in the quest to enjoy a family meal together. Skillet Chicken and Orzo is a great weeknight meal that’s easy to prepare, dirties only one pot and can be on the table in about an hour. It’s also super delicious with minimal effort.
Tips to easier weeknight meals
1. Make a meal plan for the week which can be as simple as writing down what meals you intend to prepare. Have fun with it by including the family in your choices. Including others helps to identify preferences and dishes that everyone likes.
2. Make only one trip to the grocery store by purchasing the ingredients needed for each meal in advance.
3. Take items out of the freezer to have completely thawed and ready for use.
4. Make simple dishes that can be on the table within an hour or so.
5. Make dishes that other family members can help with such as washing and chopping vegetables.
6. Make only one meal that everyone can/will eat. So if you have a dish that everyone loves except the “onion” hater, then make the dish without onions and therefore suitable for everyone.
7. Don’t be afraid to settle for something as simple as eggs on toast for supper. Eggs are very nutritious and quick to prepare. Make them a great meal by simply sauteeing up a few greens, sausage and/or vegetables. Top with olives, cheese, breadcrumbs, or chives for a great weeknight meal.
8. If you gotta give your 5-year-old a “grilled cheese night” in exchange for eating other meals later in the week, then everyone eats grilled cheese, making it about balance and compromise. Besides, who doesn’t like grilled cheese!!
9. Stick mostly to recipes/dishes you are comfortable and familiar with making during your busiest days. No one wants to fumble around with a new recipe when time is tight.
10. Make extra when you can and freeze for use later, either as a leftover lunch or a meal for someone who gets home late.
The key to Skillet Chicken and Orzo is to give the chicken and mushrooms a good sear. The mushrooms need a very hot pan and should not be overcrowded. Resist the urge to stir them and you will hear them “squeak”. That is a sign that they are becoming golden on the bottom and starting to release some of their liquid. The chicken also benefits from a good sear that helps to render the fat and crisp up the skin. Taking the time to brown both ingredients lends to a more flavourful dish that you’ll want to make again and again. Enjoy!