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Go to Dinner Meals

I love recipes! I love surfing Pinterest or other sites for new ideas on things to cook, as well as own a decent amount of cookbooks. On average, I try one new recipe a week. However, I have my staples and go to recipes that show up in my house frequently. Today I thought I would share some of those favorite recipes. Most of these are pretty quick. When I adjusted my diet a few years ago to loose weight a lot of these recipes came from that time frame. That doesn't necessarily mean they are super healthy, but I do think most of these are better than fried chicken with macaroni & cheese (two dishes I love but know I can't eat every day).

Please note though I enjoy cooking, I am not creative when it comes to doing something from scratch. I will share a links to the original site where I got the recipe. If you compare the two, you will notice I made some adjustments to my version of these (though some are very minor). I do still recommend checking out the original post as well. You may find some helpful tips or ideas from the original recipe.

Ground Orange Chicken

This recipe can be found from the site Dinner then Dessert. Note on my modifications to the original. The recipe itself only uses orange from the zest. I wanted more of the orange flavor and it not so sweet. I remove the water, reduced the sugar, and use the juice from orange.


1 lb. ground chicken

1 tablespoon ginger (I get the paste or minced in a jar but you can use fresh)

2 teaspoons fresh garlic

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flake

1 tablespoon of rice vinegar (or rice wine or white cooking wine)

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 orange zested and juiced (make sure a good size. If using small ones like cuties, use 2-3)

4 teaspoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons of sugar

5 tablespoons of white vinegar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon water


  1. Mist the rice vinegar, sesame oil, orange zest and juice, soy sauce, sugar, and white vinegar together to make a sauce.

  2. Mix the 1 tablespoon of water and cornstarch together in a small bowl and put off to side.

  3. Brown your ground chicken on medium heat on a skillet. I usually do this in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil but use whatever oil you like for cooking meat.

  4. Once meat is cooked add the ginger, garlic, and red pepper flake. Once those 3 items are mixed in add the sauce until it boils. Then reduce heat to low to a simmer and add the cornstarch mixture in. I usually let it simmer a few minutes. You can add more cornstarch if you want it thicker or want to give the chicken more of a "breading."

  5. Serve over rice. I usually make my rice in the instant pot first before I start cooking the chicken.

Picture from Dinner then Dessert and is garnished with green onions if you want that extra flavor.

15 Minute Healthy Roasted Chicken and Veggies

I got this recipe from Gimme Delicious and it is seriously so easy and one of my favorites. I love recipes I can whip together on a sheet and then just toss in the oven. I eat this as is just meat and veggies, but if you want a little more, it goes great with rice. The best thing about this below is you can really modify this to be any vegetables you want. What I list are my favorites veggies, but I will sometimes use others.


2-3 chicken breasts (depending on size or get the smaller tenderloins)

1 pepper (any color though I find green is may least favorite with this recipe)

1 zucchini

1 small onion

Broccoli (recipe says 1 cup, I eyeball it and add a little more as I love broccoli)

Small container of grape tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil



Italian seasoning



  1. Preheat oven to 450 or 475 degrees. The original recipe says 500. I tend to do it a little lower.

  2. Chop the chicken and all the veggies into nice bite sized pieces. I don't like mine too large but don't want them small either. Mine are usually a couple inches in diameter. For the tomato's I leave as is and don't cut them (trust me this is better when you bite into them later and get that burst of flavor).

  3. Put all the ingredients on your sheet pan or I find it easier to sometimes put them all in a bowl.

  4. Add the olive oil and mix so all ingredients are coated. Then I add the seasonings. For the seasonings the website gives amounts. I tend to just eyeball it. I add some mix, and then add more. I do it so that everything looks seasoned but you not covered like a rub. Enough for flavor. I do follow the original recipe in making sure Italian seasoning is the most used, then salt and pepper, and finally paprika the least.

  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Time varies based on temperature of oven. I watch for chicken to be cooked, veggies to be charred and tomatoes to be more wilted. I also make sure to mix everything around about 2-3 times while cooking.

Below from Gimme Delicious shows idea of seasoning. I like mine a little more charred than this.

Taco Skillet

I have embraced the Taco Tuesday motto in a way. Tuesday night tends to be Mexican night in our house. Sometimes its tacos or some Mexican flavored inspired dish like an enchilada casserole. Most of the time its a taco skillet recipe. If you Google taco skillet recipe, you will get a lot of results. I have made a variety of these recipes in recent it years. Some mix up the type of bean used, some don't use beans, some use rice, etc. Their are lots of options! My modified go to one below comes from Clean Food Crush (a site I used a lot when starting to loose weight, it really helped give me a jump start with her 30 day plan).


1 lb ground hamburg (sometimes I use ground turkey instead)

1 small onion diced

1/4 cup of water

7 oz can of diced green chilies (I sometimes just use a 4 oz can as well)

1 packet of taco seasoning

2 cloves of garlic (I cheat and used the diced stuff that comes in a jar)

1 bell pepper diced (I prefer a orange or yellow one for this recipe)

15 oz. can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed

15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed

Favorite toppings such as salsa, sour cream cream, shredded cheese, and tortilla chips.


  1. Brown the ground beef and onion on medium heat until cooked, then drain any fat.

  2. Add the water and the taco seasoning, mix well.

Note: the recipe itself uses just cumin with salt and pepper. I will sometimes use those if I don't have a taco seasoning packet but prefer the flavor from the packet. I will also sometimes add some cumin with the taco seasoning if I want a little more spice.

3. I then add the garlic, green chilies, and pepper, and let cook for a few minutes.

4 . Add the beans and then wait until heated through and take off heat. Usually for the beans I reduce the heat on my stove some, add a lid and let them cook for about 4-5 minutes.

Once done serve with your favorite toppings. The toppings I mentioned I tend to do but with crushing my tortilla chips to makes sort of taco salad. Other toppings I have used are taco sauce, fresh cilantro, avocado, lettuce, and tomato. You could also add cooked rice in and wrap this up in a burrito. Lost of options!

Picture below from Clean Food Crush. I never add the corn as the original recipe calls and can be seen in this image.

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli and Rice

I love my instant pot! I was on the fence about but so glad I invested in one. This dish is my favorite to make in this. I got this recipe from I Don't Have Time for That.


2 Tablespoons butter

1 1/2- 2 lbs chicken breasts, cut into cubes

2 cloves of garlic diced

1 small onion

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon garlic power

1 1/3 cup of white instant long grain rice

1 1/3 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup of milk

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

1-2 cups of fresh broccoli

1 1/12 -2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Turn on instant pot to sauté. Add butter until melted and then add chicken, onion, and diced garlic cloves.

  2. Once chicken cooked some and onion is translucent, add the rice, broth, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well.

  3. Cover with lid and then set timer to manual high pressure and I do 7-8 minutes.

  4. While mixture is cooking, cook your broccoli to be soft. I normally cook in microwave with water in a steamer, but you could boil on stove.

  5. Also while other stuff is cooking mix the milk with the flour together.

  6. Once instant pot is done you can do a quick release. I normally will let it sit for 1-2minutes before doing that.

  7. Add the milk and flour mixture once you open lid and stir. then stir in your broccoli and cheese until all mixed together. Note for cheese I will normally ad a handful or so at a time and mix each time until the stuff is to the level of cheesy I like.

Meat and Oven Roasted Veggies

My most common go to meal is doing some sort of meat or protein with oven roasted vegetables as a side. Let's start with the veggies. Similar to the chicken and veggie recipe I will take a fresh vegetable and cut up into bite size pieces. I preheat my over to 425 degrees. Veggies are then tossed in olive oil (usually 1 tablespoon if you are looking for an idea of amount) and then I season them with salt and pepper (do to taste you can always add more once done). I cook for 20-30 minutes, until the veggies are nice and charred. Make sure to flip some while cooking also. My favorite veggies to do this with are broccoli and brussels sprouts. However, it works well with a variety of vegetables and I have used zucchini, green beans, cauliflower, and asparagus.

Picture from Unsplash of a brussel sprout. I like mine to look charred like this.

I then serve these veggies with a meat or seafood side. In the summer I may grill up a steak or a chicken breast. Sometimes I will throw a piece of fish in the oven. To season my main protein, I may try a store bought spice or rub. I love lemon pepper seasoning. I will also sometimes buy a marinade such as Chiavettas. Final option is create your own seasoning from pantry spices. My favorite is to season fish with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and chili powder. The combination is simple but yummy!

Finally, I am not going to type out this recipe but this Spicy Garlic Lime Chicken recipe from Allrecipes is a quick an easy chicken dish I make often. However, I always double this recipe (trust me you need me and want your chicken well coated with this rub). I also take out the thyme just because that is spice I am not a fan.

Hope you enjoy some of these recipes. Reach out if any questions. Share with me some of your favorite go to dinner dishes!


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