Good Home Cooking Without Weeknight Stress

If you’re willing to do about 15 minutes of preparation over the weekend, you can have a great home-cooked meal on the most stressful of week nights.

Kelly and I enjoyed a variation on a recipe I found in Real Simple earlier this year. I can think of lots of ways to change up the ingredients to take advantage of seasonal produce and interesting flavor combinations.

Fall has arrived in North Texas, so our meal this week featured an abundance of root vegetables and squash. It’s delicious with fresh-baked rolls and a nice glass of Cabernet.

Make-Ahead Chicken and Vegetables
1 lb new potatoes
2 carrots
2 small zucchini
Olive oil
Whole-grain mustard
2 t. Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
4-6 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 1-gallon resealable plastic freezer bags
Clean and quarter the potatoes. Peel the carrots. Cut carrots and zucchini into 2-inch sticks. Mix them in a bowl with 2 T. olive oil, 2 T. mustard, Italian seasoning, 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper.. Season chicken with 1 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper. Divide everything about the 2 freezer bags. Freeze until ready to cook, for up to 3 months.
Heat oven to 400F. Lightly coat baking dish with cooking spray. Remove the bags from the freezer (each bag is 2 servings). Empty the contents of the bag(s) into prepared dish. Roast for 25 minutes. Toss the vegetables, turn the chicken and continue roasting until the chicken is cooked through, 20-25 minutes more.
Divide among individual plates. Full recipe serves 4-5.


  • Substitute fresh rosemary for the Italian seasoning.
  • Change up the vegetables with what is in season. Adjust the seasonings to blend. What about this? Veggies: onion and carrots. Add bok choy at the end of cooking. Marinade with teriaki sauce.
  • Save money by buying frozen chicken breasts in bulk. A 3-lb bag of boneless, skinless chicken breasts normally retails for less than $10 at Kroger. Thaw the portions needed; one bag will serve several recipes.

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