Go West Sponsors


Cutest Kids in the World


Go West Young Mom wants to feature the Cutest Kid in Your World.  Click HERE for details.

Entries in weeknight dinners (27)


Weeknight Dinners: Pineapple Chicken

Our latest entry in the “Weeknight Dinners” series comes from regular contributor Tracy Richter, who sent it me last week. She wrote: “I made this one up last night as I was scouring the kitchen for something different - super easy and healthy!” She also confessed – and I don’t know if she really intended this for publication – that it was so good she was tempted to lick the pan. Yes, ladies, Tracy comes up with her own recipes. Shhh. Don’t tell my husband. -- Tara

Photo by Seuss on Flickr.Pineapple Chicken


1 and 1/2 cup water - divided into a 1 cup and a 1/2 cups

1 can pineapple tidbits (separate juice and tidbits)

1 oz soy sauce or teriyaki sauce.

1 tablespoon dried minced onion

1 tablespoon fresh or dried parsley

2 teaspoons garlic powder

3 medium sized boneless skinless chicken breasts

olive oil

salt and pepper

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Click to read more ...


Weeknight Dinners: Brined Pork Chops

The latest recipe in our “Weeknight Dinners” series comes from Geneva resident Edith Tarter, a regular contributor at Go West Young Mom. I will confess that I have never “brined” a cut of meat, but she makes it seem easy enough that I might just have to give it a try! -- Tara

Brining a turkey is a major challenge, usually reserved for big holidays. Brining smaller cuts of poultry or pork is easy enough for a weeknight meal and allows you to use inexpensive cuts of meat. Brining meat before cooking yields a tender and juicy entrée (that shouldn’t taste salty).

A brine usually consists of water, salt and sugar, but additional spices can be added, depending on what you want as an outcome. My recipe details a basic brine, but try add-ins like bay leaves, peppercorns, brown mustard … the choices are endless! Try brining boneless chicken breasts; you'll be amazed at the flavor boost a quick brine bath will give the chicken. My kids are especially fond of brined chops that are patted dry, then rubbed with brown sugar, cumin, allspice and black pepper before cooking. Around our house, that combination is fondly known as “Mama’s Good Pork Chops.”


Brined Pork Chops

3 lbs pork chops or country ribs

1/3 cup table salt

1/3 cup sugar

Directions: Mix salt and sugar with enough warm water to dissolve, add the chops and cover with cold water. Brine the meat for 30-60 minutes (longer brining on thin cuts makes meat tough). Drain and pat dry. Pan fry or broil on both sides until done (8-10 min depending on thickness).


Weeknight Dinners: Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmigiana

Our latest “Weeknight Dinner” is our very first gluten-free recipe. It comes from my friend and former co-worker Deanna Bellandi, who has always enjoyed cooking. (I remember being jealous of the leftovers she would bring to eat at work. They were tastier and healthier than anything I could buy for lunch or dinner in the Loop.) 

When her partner Amy was diagnosed with Celiac diseasein 2008, Deanna cleaned their kitchen of everything that had gluten in it and started teaching herself how to cook g-free. She says she looked to the web and other resources for help, and then decided to share her own ideas and recipes on a blog she created called Gluten-Free Good Eating.

If you also have someone with Celiac disease in your home, you'll want to check her blog out regularly -- she provides recipes for all sorts of dishes and treats (a recent post was for homemade eggnog) and also occasionally reviews mass-marketed, g-free items. 


I’ll be also be featuring Deanna's recipes regularly since I know gluten-free cooking is something many readers are interested in. As Deanna says, “Cook with me and you’ll never miss gluten again!” -- Tara

The Gluten-Free Good Eating Recipe for Eggplant Parmigiana

I used to make eggplant parmigiana years ago when I didn’t care about gluten. My original recipe called for breading and frying the eggplant slices before coating them with sauce and cheese and topping it all with butter-soaked bread crumbs. Besides being loaded with gluten, it was loaded with fat and calories.

For dinner tonight, I took out the gluten and lightened up the recipe. The result: a tasty, satisfying, vegetarian dish.

Here’s how you can copy it. First, thinly slice two eggplants, salt the pieces and roast them on a cooking spray-coated cooking sheet at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

In a roasting pan, layer the eggplants slices and top each layer with a sauce of your choice and shredded mozzarella cheese.  Bake in the oven covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Broil for 3 minutes to brown the cheese. Serve.


Weeknight Dinners: Crock Pot Beef Sandwiches

This week’s “Weeknight Dinners” recipe comes from one of our favorite contributors, Edith Tarter. This meal seems like a particularly good one to return to after a long day of sledding, ice skating or post-holiday shopping! --Tara


3-4 lb chuck roast (any inexpensive roast cut works great)

1 jar pepperoncini, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic, whole


Cut roast into large hunks, slitting meat in a few places and stick the garlic cloves in the slits. Pour the pepperoncinis over the meat, and cook on low in a crock pot for 6-8 hours, until meat is tender and falling apart. Serve on hoagie buns with a side salad. Great with a generous dollop of sour cream mixed with horseradish. (If you think the pepperoncini will be too spicy for little ones, use beef broth instead.) Leftovers work great ladled over wide egg noodles or white rice.


Weeknight Dinners: IKEA-Style Swedish Meatballs

Photo by Steve Webel on Flickr.My kids love to visit IKEA and we never miss the chance to have a plate of meatballs with lingonberry sauce! Here's a take on traditional Swedish Meatballs that a close substitute for those at IKEA. The recipe makes over 100 meatballs, so plan to freeze two bags of cooked meatballs for later. For those who need a quick gravy, use a canned brown gravy (or even the brown gravy packet mixed as directed) and just add the jelly and sour cream. It's still homemade...even with a few shortcuts!




IKEA-Style Swedish Meatballs


1 cup milk

2 cups bread crumbs

2 eggs

3 pounds ground beef (or pork, veal, turkey or equal combination -- your preference)

Click to read more ...