And just like that we are stepping into fall! I feel like July went by really slowly, but August just basically disappeared. While I have enjoyed the summer and summer cooking with lighter fresher tastes, I am excited for fall and holiday cooking. Warmer, cozier, heavier meals that nourish the soul.
With fall beginning many of us are returning to work, at home or at the office, and some people are also sending kids back to school, again either in person or virtually from home. Regardless, we are coming out of vacation mode and into the busy season of fall.
For myself, it is definitely a return to a time with more work and fuller days, and so I find myself looking to make quick meals on the weeknights when I’m tired or short on time. This also when meal planning becomes essential for me, here are my 10 tips for successful meal planning.
And I thought with fall beginning I would share some of my favourite quick and affordable, from frozen but still tasty weeknight dinners.
- Perogies (or Pierogi): I love perogies. They are really yummy, super affordable, and very quick on busy nights. You can buy them frozen at the grocery store and there are many different ways to cook them. They also come in a variety of flavours, here I was having classic potato and cheddar. I personally love to just fry them with a little butter, salt, and pepper in a frying pan and it takes about 15 minutes from frozen (about 5-7 minutes a side on low to medium heat). You can also boil them if you prefer them softer, or even deep fry them. I usually serve them with some buttered Brussels sprouts, sour cream, and sauerkraut. I haven’t learned to make these beauties from scratch yet – although it is definitely on my to-learn list for cooking – but that’s not really an easy weeknight dinner. I highly recommend keeping some of these in your freezer!
- Spinach Ravioli with Creamy Pesto Sauce: This is another really easy and affordable combination from frozen that’s great for those busy nights. You can find bags of frozen ravioli in the freezer section at the grocery store. My personal favourite is the spinach and cheese variety. I like to serve it with a super quick creamy pesto sauce which I make using fresh pesto, Parmesan cheese, and a splash or two of heavy cream (even half and half works!). First I cook the pasta, then once the pasta is cooked and drained I warm up a couple spoonfuls of fresh pesto, throw in a splash or two of cream in the bottom of the pot, and toss the ravioli back in. It only uses 1 pot which is also really nice. I top it all off with some fresh Parmesan cheese! Yum!
- Salmon filet with Maple Ginger Sauce or Creamy Lemon & Dill Seasoning: This has to be one of my absolute favourite meals in general but especially if I’m trying to whip up something quickly. It’s just really delicious, flavorful, but also nutritious, salmon has lots of omegas and other healthy fats. Frozen salmon fillets go on sale a lot (at least where I live) and when they do I make sure to pick some up . For both flavours I bake the salmon in the oven at about 400-425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20-25 minutes. I place them in a shallow baking dish, salmon tends to let out a lot of moisture which is great as it keeps it from getting overcooked and dry, with a little slice of butter underneath to keep them from sticking. For the Maple Ginger Sauce, I combine equal parts of maple syrup and soy sauce (typically 1-2 tablespoons of each depending on how many fillets I have) and about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of crushed fresh ginger. I mix this together and pour it over the fillets before they go in the oven. For the Creamy Lemon & Dill, I put a slice of butter underneath AND on top of each fillet, sprinkle on some dried dill, salt, pepper, and squeeze on some fresh lemon juice. I also add a slice of lemon to each filet before placing them in the oven. And that’s it! I like to serve the fillets with some easy peas and usually rice or buttered noodles. Easy and delicious!
These are 3 of my all time favourite affordable dinners from frozen. They make weeknight cooking a little easier but still feel satisfying and tasty. So load up your freezer!
Let me know if you try any of these out, I would love to hear about your experiences and also any of your favourite weeknight meals!