A Week of Dinners: Jessica Merchant — A Week of Dinners

(Image credit: Erin Alvarez)

Welcome to Kitchn's new series A Week of Dinners, where we show you how people put dinner on the table for their family, thanks to the five weeknight recipes they rely on.

Jessica Merchant lives with her husband, Ed, and 2 1/2-year-old son, Max, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she writes and develops recipes. "I'm madly, outrageously, inexplicably in love with food," Merchant explains enthusiastically. She is the author of bestselling cookbook Seriously Delish and upcoming cookbook The Pretty Dish. Since 2009 she's been the blogger behind How Sweet Eats, a wildly popular food blog with the most gorgeous photos. (Do yourself a favor and follow her on Instagram immediately. I'm serious.)

Today Jessica shares how she gets food on the table for her family (even when she's 9 months pregnant right now!) and what weeknight dinners look like for them.


Recipe: Creamy French Mustard Chicken — Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinners

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/The Kitchn)

One of the techniques I walked away with from French culinary school was how to make a pan sauce from all the tasty browned bits left in the pan after searing meat. Combined with a few très French ingredients, like shallots, white wine, and two kinds of mustard, this braised chicken dish has all my French favorites: tender chicken with super-crispy skin sitting on top of a comforting-yet-elegant mustardy pan sauce. And believe it or not, it comes together in just about 30 minutes in one skillet, making you the hero of the weeknight dinner, mon ami.


Recipe: Butter-Roasted Sweet Potatoes — Quick and Easy Weeknight Sides

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman/The Kitchn)

You've had roasted sweet potatoes before, so you've had them all, right? I used to think the exact same thing until I learned a technique for butter-roasting thick slices of sweet potato until they turned from hard tubers to almost butter themselves.

Popularized by the blog Dessert for Two, this technique for butter-roasted sweet potatoes — dubbed melting sweet potatoes by Christina over at Dessert for Two — roasts the potatoes until they are a dark amber on the outside, creating a layer of deeply caramelized sweet potato that just barely holds the soft, buttery insides together. She serves this with an incredible maple pecan sauce, but we think they are perfection all on their own with a fat pinch of salt to finish them off. This recipe won't let you think of roasted sweet potatoes the same way ever again.


5 Dinners Anyone Can Make from Scratch in Under 30 Minutes — Recipes from The Kitchn

Quick and easy dinners are the bread and butter of my meal plan, week in and week out. From Monday through Friday you won't find recipes with a laundry list of ingredients, long prep times, or a lot of hands-on time at the stove. I save those for the weekend, when I have more time and I'm not tired from the day. Weeknight dinners need to be delicious, easy-to-make meals that go from prep to hitting the table in 30 minutes.

From tomato tortellini soup to crispy orange beef, these five recipes will show you that 30-minute meals are well within your reach — no matter your cooking experience or what your pantry looks like.


17 Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Dinners to Add to Your Meal Plan — Recipes from The Kitchn

The make-ahead magic of the slow cooker does it again. With the right recipes, this handy appliance is one of the best tools in the kitchen for getting super-easy, nearly hands-off chicken dinners on the table night after night. From slow cooker burrito bowls and fajitas, to the easiest ever chicken tikka masala and comforting soups, here are a handful of easy slow cooker chicken dinners to keep in regular rotation in your meal plan.


15 Easy Sheet Pan Suppers for Cooler Days — Recipes from The Kitchn

After an easygoing summer, getting thrown back in to the busy fall season can be enough to make anyone's head spin. Between school, work, appointments, sports, and other activities, dinner feels hard to get a handle on. Luckily there are sheet pans, which make getting a meal on the table as stress-free as the carefree days of summer we are all secretly still longing for. Pile every bit of your dinner — veggies, protein, and all — on one pan, toss it in the oven, and in next to no time you have a weeknight meal that wins. Here are 15 recipes to try out.


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