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Easy Weeknight Meals

Food Design shares dinner tips for those tight on time

Grilled Pork Chop with Sausage Hash

© fstop123/istockphoto.com

With all the commitments families have during the week, sitting down to a family meal every night can be a challenge. Here are some great tips to making weeknight dinners a little easier.

Sunday is a great day to get a jump start and a plan for the week. Thinking about which nights you can get everyone to sit down together for a meal. Plan ahead, the weekend is a good time to go food shopping and get the things you’ll need to the entire week. Having to run out to the supermarket every day just cuts into time with your family, and is just an extra hassle in an already busy schedule.

If you have Sundays free, spend the day cooking with your family. Getting everyone involved makes them more appreciative of the time and effort that goes into cooking a meal. You’d be surprised many children would love to get involved and help. With any extra time, make extra meals that you can refrigerate or freeze for the rest of the week. This way you have easy options on a busy night that don’t involve picking up the phone and order take-out.

Another great idea is to make meals that can be turned into other meals with the leftovers. For example, making a roasted chicken on a Sunday, can provide you with a lot of left over meals (and even lunch for your children) during the week; chicken soup, chicken salad, just to name a few.

At Food Design, we provide a great time-saving service for families on the go; we make dinner deliveries twice a week on Monday’s (for Mon & Tues dinners) & Wednesday’s (for Wed & Thurs dinners). Every Wednesday, we send out a new Dinner Delivery menu for the upcoming week. These menus provide our clients with a wide range of choices including Gourmet Entrees, Vegan, Low Fat and Gluten Free options as well as some classic comfort foods that are always available. We also have a kids menu. All of our meals are prepared the day of your delivery and can be delivered right to your front door.

Here are some delicious choices that we were offering this week:

  • Gourmet Entrée: Grilled Porterhouse of Veal with Natural Thyme Jus
    Garlic and Thyme Roasted Marble Potatoes/ Creamed Swiss Chard
  • Gluten Free/Low fat: Mustard Seared Tuna Nicoise
    Organic Baby Greens with Haricots Verts, Fingerling Potatoes, Grape Tomatoes, Boiled Eggs, Kalamata Olives, Capers and Mustard Vinaigrette
  • Vegan: Red Lentil Indian Dahl
    Brown Rice with Toasted Almond, Caramelized Onions & Cilantro
  • Classics: Braised Short Ribs with Glazed Root Vegetables

No matter what plan you choose, it’s always wonderful to take time out of your busy week to relax, sit down and share a good meal with your loved ones.

Here’s a quick easy weeknight meal for you to try for your family.

Penne Pasta with Shrimp and Vodka Cream Sauce


Salt and black pepper
1 box penne rigate
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 pound slab bacon (small dice)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small red chili pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup vodka
1 can crushed tomatoes (14 1/2 ounces)
A few leaves of fresh basil, torn
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 pounds large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
Crusty bread, for mopping
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, for serving (optional)

Serves 4


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil; salt it, add the pasta and cook to al dente.
  • Drain the pasta reserving 1 cup of the starchy cooking water
  • While the pasta is cooking, in a deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat the Olive Oil over medium heat.
  • Add the Bacon and cook until the fat renders, 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the onion, garlic and chili; season with pepper.
  • Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the vodka and reduce by half
  • Stir in the tomatoes and basil and bring to a simmer.
  • Stir in the heavy cream and bring back to a simmer.
  • Add the Shrimp, then cover and cook for about 5 minutes, then add the peas.
  • Add the pasta to the shrimp, adding some of the reserved cooking water as needed to thin the sauce.
  • Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with crusty bread and cheese, if desired.

Michael BattMichael Batt, Executive Chef/Owner of Food Design Catering graduated from the esteemed Culinary Institute of America in 1990. Immediately upon graduation, Batt began his professional career cooking at Restaurant 44 “The Royalton Hotel working under highly acclaimed chef, Geoffrey Zakarian. Today, Chef Batt spends his time in the kitchen of his Greenwich based catering company, Food Design Catering & Events, incorporating his teachings from these mentors and creating new recipes based on a passion for exquisitely flavored dishes. 

Food Design Catering
28 Old Field Point Road, Greenwich
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