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Basics

Vegetables

Sautéed Mushrooms

Leo loves mushrooms, but I am not a fan, so I had no idea how to cook them. He has so few favorite foods and I don’t want to turn him off of anything by cooking it badly, so I had to learn. According to Fine Cooking, sautéing mushrooms over high heat evaporates their moisture quickly so they brown nicely and are flavorful. These mushrooms are easy to make alongside dinner and have, so far, been a hit.

Total time: 15 minutes
Breads

Pizza Dough

This easy pizza dough can be stored in the fridge for almost a week, or frozen to use later.

Yield: 4 10-inch crusts Total time: 6 hours to overnight
Condiments

Garlic-Ginger Paste

This is a game-changer, especially when you’re trying to get a meal together fast, or when you are working on an already-involved recipe and could use a shortcut that doesn’t compromise on flavor. Prepare this garlic-ginger paste in advance, portion it in an ice cube tray, and freeze it. Then just pull a cube or two out of the freezer whenever a recipe calls for freshly grated garlic and ginger, and you’ll be your own food prep hero. You’re welcome.

Total time: 20 minutes
Pork

Quick-Brined Grilled Pork Chops

A twenty-minute soaking in a salt brine makes grilled pork chops tender, juicy, and flavorful. Serve with grilled baby bok choy.

Yield: 4 servings Total time: 40 minutes
Breakfasts

Sunny Side-Up Eggs

Eggs have to be done just right for Leo to eat them. He’s perfectly happy with scrambled eggs or egg ribbons, where the yolk is incorporated in with the whites. Forget about a dry, crumbly hard-boiled egg yolk. I was surprised when he asked for, and then devoured sunny side up eggs, but I’m happy to oblige.

Yield: 4 servings Total time: 10 minutes
Poultry

Crispy, Juicy Chicken Thighs

This is a simple, perfect way to cook crispy, juicy, bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. Dice sweet potatoes in 1/2″ cubes, season, and roast 20 to 25 minutes in the same oven for a simple side.

Total time: 45 minutes
Pork

Cast Iron Pork Chops

Brining pork chops keep them juicy, and this is a great alternative to cooking them on a grill.

Yield: 2 to 4 servings Total time: 2 hours
Breakfasts

Fluffy Pancakes

After years of using the pancake recipe from the red plaid Better Homes & Gardens cookbook I got in college, I decided to look for a recipe that was a little more special. These pancakes are truly fluffy and delicious. The recipe makes a big batch, which is great if you have houseguests, or you can refrigerate leftovers and heat them in the toaster later in the week.

Serve with bacon.

Yield: 12 pancakes Total time: 30 minutes
Pork

Pressure Cooker Pork Tenderloin

A great strategy for getting dinner on the table fast is to prepare part of the meal in a pressure cooker, leaving your hands free to make one of the other dishes. This well-seasoned pork dish is quick to get into the pressure cooker. While it’s cooking, make some garlic broccolini and rice.

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, try these grilled pork tenderloins.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings Total time: 45 minutes
Vegetables

Easy Skillet Kale with Lemon & Garlic

I’m late to the kale party, but have been looking for healthy vegetable recipes to serve as side dishes. This is a super easy (you tear the leaves with your hands, rather than chop them, and you don’t even have to dry the leaves after you rinse them) and quick side for a weeknight dinner.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings Total time: 20 minutes