So, you didn’t plan dinner and you don’t feel like cooking and it’s hot outside? Yeah, here too. How about a platter of fresh vegetables and Mediterranean treats, scooped up from the olive bar at your local market?

Mediterranean Platter (Greek salad, stuffed grape leaves, olives, hummus, grilled lemon chicken, etc.)

Love to Cook: This Composed Greek Salad makes a pretty presentation, and a hearty vegetarian meal. For a different twist, try this hummus made with white beans and anchovies.

Weeknight Reality: Here’s a Greek salad that’s ready in 15 minutes, even with homemade dressing. Provided you have a food processor, this simple hummus is also super quick. Serve with some store-bought stuffed grape leaves and a tray of olives.

Need a Miracle: Yep, you’re buying it all pre-made from the market, or take-out from Taziki’s.


Ok, it’s 4:30. You thought you were getting out of work by 2:00, but, well, no. And you still have more work to do. Also it’s about to rain, and you have nothing for dinner. Fear not! This is, without a doubt, the most universally popular dinner ever prepared in my kitchen. Kids like it. Adults like it. It’s easy to make in small or large quantity. It’s adaptable to a variety of tastes and diets. The preparation is essentially the same whether you love to cook or need a miracle. It will take you 40 minutes, start to finish, but half of that is baking time. What is this miracle dinner?

blackberries june 2014

Oven-baked Parmesan Chicken Tenders | Spicy Fries | Bibb Lettuce & Berry Salad

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (one for the chicken, one for the fries).

Put some chicken tenders (or mix of breasts and thighs – skinless, boneless, pounded thin) in a large glass bowl or dish and cover with bottled vinaigrette (I like Brianna’s French Vinaigrette because it doesn’t have any sugar).

While the chicken marinates at room temp, wash and slice some fresh strawberries (or other berries in season) and put them in the salad bowl with dressing, nuts and a bit of cheese. Let this mix sit at room temperature until the end, then toss with fresh lettuce right before serving.

Cut some potatoes into strips, toss them in olive oil and season with a mixture of salt and chili powder, or dry rub, or whatever you like (alternative: use frozen spicy fries). Slide them into the oven and bake about 20 minutes.

In another shallow bowl or plate, mix bread (or Panko) crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese (50/50 mix). Take the chicken pieces one by one from the salad dressing and dip them in the crumb/Parm mix to coat; place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, until cooked through.