There’s an easy recipe in my dinner repertoire that calls for three main ingredients plus fresh thyme, a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
There’s barely any prep, and it takes about a half hour to cook, from start to finish. Yet every time I cook up a batch of Roasted Chicken Thighs with Asparagus (plus cherry tomatoes and thyme) in a cast-iron skillet, my husband can’t stop raving.
Somehow those few ingredients add up to more than the sum of their parts, with the fat-laden juices of the crisp, bone-in chicken pieces seeping into the melted tomatoes, and the sweet juice of the tomatoes glazing the crunchy asparagus underneath.
Other cooks must have similar recipes up their sleeves, don’t they? Stupidly simple slow-cooker, one-pot or sheet-pan dinners that require little prep or clean-up?
To find out, we asked our readers, including home cooks and a few pros, to share a favorite recipe or two for when they need to make something delicious that can be thrown together quickly.
Not surprisingly, cherry tomatoes and chicken popped up frequently, often on a sheet pan. But the one recipe for a whole chicken assumed a surprising position, riding astride a Bundt pan filled with veggies.
Other uncomplicated recipes gathered here include a crustless quiche with ham and cheese, pork chops with apples and onion, a deconstructed stuffed bell pepper casserole, salmon baked in parchment paper and a spicy ramen soup topped with your choice of garnishes, vegetables and leftover proteins.
Here are our top 10 simple suppers, with recipes (or links to recipes online.)
1.) Crustless Quiche — Reader Jeanine Miller of Santa Rosa has fond memories of a quiche that her grandmother and young cousin used serve whenever she came for lunch. So she added it to her own repertoire.
“Today … I have a lot of guests that I whip up this quiche for and serve at anytime of the day,” she said. “Flavor combinations can vary on whatever protein and cheese you have in stock, but my personal favorite is tuna and Swiss.
“The best part is it takes a few minutes to assemble, and while it bakes for 45 minutes I get to visit with my guests.”
Vovó Morisson and Tegan’s Quiche
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1/2 cup Bisquick Mix
1/2 cup butter, melted (if using bacon, reduce butter to 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Protein options: 1/2 cup ham or 1/2 cup cooked and crumbled bacon or a 4.5 ounce can of drained, deveined shrimp or a can of drained tuna
Cheese options: 1 cup shredded Swiss, cheddar or whatever you have that works best with protein
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a pie pan with Pam or smear with butter. Mix all of the above ingredients and pour into pan.
Bake for 45 minutes and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving with a green salad.
2.) Pork Chops with Apple and Onion — “We eat a lot of pork because it’s fairly inexpensive and tasty,” said Amy Meiers of Santa Rosa, a serious home cook.
Pork chops and applesauce was one of my favorite dinners growing up so this is a more grown-up version of that.”
Harvest Moon Café
Where: 487 1st Street West, Sonoma
When: 5:30 to 9 p.m. Sun., Mon., Weds. & Thurs., 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Fri. & Sat.
Contact: (707) 933-8160, harvestmooncafesonoma.com
Cuisine: California, Mediterranean, Asian
Price: Very expensive, entrées $22.95-$34.95
Summary: After 12 years, the beloved Sonoma Plaza bistro continues to shine with its nightly-changing menu of inspired Cal-Med cuisine.