The secret to planning dinner? Ingredients that will go a long way. These ideas will get you started.

By Dawn Perry
Updated September 26, 2018
Roast Chicken
Credit: Adam Kruft

Roast Chicken

Knife & Fork Chicken Salad
Carve chicken and serve warm atop lightly dressed salad greens.

Gingery Chicken Soup
Simmer 5 cups chicken broth with a 2-in. piece peeled and sliced ginger, 4 chopped carrots, 2 ribs sliced celery, and ½ cup tiny pasta. Add 1½ cups shredded chicken and simmer until pasta is tender. Top with torn parsley and pepper.

Chicken Tacos
Top corn or flour tortillas with shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack and broil until melted. Top with shredded chicken, radishes, salsa, sour cream, cilantro, and hot sauce.

Boiled potatoes
Credit: Adam Kruft

Boiled Potatoes

Meat & Potatoes
Toss warm potatoes in melted butter, chopped chives, salt, and pepper. Serve with seared steak.

Cheesy Spuds & Greens
Break cooked potatoes apart with your hands. Cook in a hot skillet in a bit of oil until golden; toss in a couple of handfuls of torn kale, top with shredded Cheddar or mozzarella, and broil until melted and bubbly.

Oven Smashed Hash
Using a sturdy glass, gently flatten potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper; turn to coat. Roast at 400°F until golden and crispy. Top with fried eggs and hot sauce.

Credit: Adam Kruft


Beans & Greens
Toss 1 can rinsed and drained pinto beans, 1 chopped avocado, and a few handfuls of arugula or torn kale with just enough dressing to coat. Top with toasted sunflower seeds.

Easy Marinade
Marinate boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs in vinaigrette overnight. Grill or broil until just cooked through. Serve with greens or roasted broccoli.

Egg Salad
Toss 4 chopped hard-boiled eggs with leftover boiled chopped potatoes, a few sliced scallions, and a handful of chopped herbs. Add enough vinaigrette to bind and serve on whole-wheat toast.

Chard, Kale, or Other Sturdy Greens
Credit: Adam Kruft

Chard, Kale, or Other Sturdy Greens

Hearty Salad
Massage torn kale (1 handful per person) with enough vinai-grette to moisten. Add chopped toasted almonds and a healthy shower of grated Parmesan.

Garlicky Greens
Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet. Add 2 cloves sliced garlic and cook until golden. Add 1 bunch chopped chard, a handful at a time, and toss, adding more as there is room, until wilted. Add a handful of raisins and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Kale Pasta
Add 1 bunch torn greens to your favorite pasta sauce or soup base; cook until wilted.

Quinoa, Rice, or Other Grains
Credit: Adam Kruft

Quinoa, Rice, or Other Grains

Grain Bowl
Top cooked grains with roasted sweet potatoes, a handful of greens, shredded chicken, or a fried egg. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet. Add 4 slices chopped bacon and cook until crisp. Add 1 chopped shallot, 2 cups cooked quinoa or rice, and 1 cup thawed frozen peas. Cook until warmed through. Add 2 Tbsp. each soy sauce and rice vinegar and top with cilantro.

Veggie Burritos
Fill burrito-size tortillas with quinoa, shredded Cheddar, and black beans. Roll up and cook in a hot skillet until tortillas are golden and crisp. Serve with salsa.