Weeknight Dinner Solution: 9 Sophisticated, but Easy Recipes

We know that weeknight dinners can be a pain. After a long day at the office, the last thing on our minds is what to have for dinner...until it’s too late. Take-out is always an option but those bills can add up fast and frankly, it probably isn’t the healthiest choice night after night. Cooking a home-cooked meal will always be the better option but that involves 1) planning and 2) time, both of which are in short supply during the week.

As part of our Makers series, we’ve partnered with the team at Plated to bring you nine healthy weeknight recipes.  These options are all easy to make, can be made with ingredients you might already have in your fridge, and are a great alternative to the dreaded “I’m too lazy to make anything” Cup-o-Noodle. After a hard days work, you really deserve a good meal.

1. Sirloin with Compound Butter and Pear Gorgonzola Salad

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I’m sure you’re scratching your head with the idea of making a compound butter on a weeknight, but trust us this recipe is about as easy as it comes. The butter will take all of five minutes to make and adds a professional touch to what would otherwise be a normal sirloin. Couple that with a pear and Gorgonzola salad and you have a restaurant quality meal in under 45 minutes. Get our Sirloin with Compound Butter and Pear Gorgonzola Salad recipe.

2. Tortelloni in Brodo with Mustard Greens

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What’s more relaxing after a hard days work than a nice bowl of soup?  A take on the classic Italian preparation, our Tortellini in Brodo (which means “broth” in Italian) is a hearty soup weeknight soup than is 10X better than anything you might heat up out of a can. Get our Tortelloni in Brodo with Mustard Greens recipe.

3. Shepherd’s Pie with Ground Beef and Vegetables

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It doesn’t need to be St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy Shepherd’s Pie (although it’s complete acceptable to make in on March 17). Plated’s version features homemade mashed potatoes and comes together in under 50 minutes, easily enough time for you to have a green beer or two. Get our Shepherd's Pie with Ground Beef and Vegetables recipe.

4. Braised Chicken with Gnocchi and Artichokes

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Braising is one of our favorite weeknight ways to cook chicken, as the technique ensures that everything remains moist while still getting cooked all the way through. Since a large portion of the cooking time can be spent unattended, just make sure you keep the temperature at medium low, Plated’s braised chicken, with gnocchi and artichokes, is a dish that can slowly simmer as you take care of some chores around the house. Get our Braised Chicken with Gnocchi and Artichokes recipe.

5. Tomato Saffron Bouillabaisse with Crab Claws, Pollock and Calamari

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Despite an intimidating hard to pronounce name, bouillabaisse is a surprisingly easy dish to prepare if you have a good recipe like the one from Plated. The fisherman’s stew combines crab claws, pollock, and calamari in a fragrant broth flavored with saffron. Feel free to substitute any of your favorite seafood in the dish if you’re unable to find the listed ingredients. Get our Tomato Saffron Bouillabaisse with Crab Claws, Pollock and Calamari recipe.

6. Pan Roasted Duck Breast with Red Wine and Mushroom Risotto

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Preparing duck might seem like an intimidating chore for a weeknight meal but if you follow Plated’s recipe, you’ll be enjoying duck that tastes like it came from your local bistro. Given that total cooking time approaches an hour and a half for the meal, we recommend preparing this dish when you have a little extra time during the week. Get our Pan Roasted Duck Breast with Red Wine and Mushroom Risotto recipe.

7. Sicilian Style Cod with Parsley Garlic Potatoes

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If fish really is brain food, Plated’s Sicilian style cod is a great weeknight meal to help recharge the mind after a particularly hard day at work. Combining the flavors of Italy and Greece, the Mediterranean inspired dish would also pair nicely with a wine from either region - wine may not “scientifically” proven to help the brain,  but who’s counting. Get our Sicilian Style Cod with Parsley Garlic Potatoes recipe.

8. Sunchoke and Kale Hash with Currants over Red Quinoa

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As the recipe notes, vegetarian hash has become all the rage at brunch, so we ask, why not have it for dinner too? Combining sunchokes, kale, and currants served over red quinoa, this dish is among the healthiest weeknight options you can have. Plus, if there are any leftovers, you could always have some for breakfast the next day too. Get our Sunchoke and Kale Hash with Currants over Red Quinoa recipe.

9. Spicy Beet and Spinach Stir-Fry Over Sesame Rice

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Sometimes a little spice is just the thing you need for a (non-alcoholic) pick me up mid week. Plated’s Spicy Beet Stir Fry get’s it’s heat from a healthy dose of cumin and Thai-chili’s, making the vegan meal a flavorful way to get in some vegetables into your diet. Get our Spicy Beet and Spinach Stir-Fry Over Sesame Rice recipe.

Guess what? It’s your lucky day. Plated is now extending a deal to CHOW readers. Check it out, and you can receive four meals free with your first purchase. Now, that’s something to cheers to!

Dan McKay is a Canadian actor, film director, screenwriter, and musician—oh wait, that's Ryan Gosling. Dan is a Philly-based freelance writer, photographer, and digital marketer. He has written for Eater and Thrillist, in addition to other publications. Outside of work, you might run across him in the Asian market or in one of Philly’s local drinking establishments.

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