4 Easy and Elevated Weeknight Dinner Recipes

Photography by Casey Easton of Food Lab.

School is back in session and we’re on the hunt for nourishing meals that not only come together in a flash, but will be enjoyed by the whole family. Thanks to the input of four Scouted culinary experts, we’ve rounded up a few restaurant-worthy recipes that even the most hesitant of home chefs can tackle. Bon appétit!


“I love shakshuka because it’s an elegant and delicious one-pan meal that can be made any time of day,” Casey Easton, founder and CEO of Food Lab in Boulder, Colorado, explains. “Many people think of it as a breakfast or brunch dish but it also makes for a fantastic and easy dinner. It creates very little dishes and lends itself very well to whatever veggies you have on hand. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread, perfect for soaking up any leftover sauce on your plate!” 

Yields 2 to 3 servings


  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 28 ounce canned tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Feta
  • 4-6 eggs
  • 8-10 sprigs of cilantro, leaves removed from stem and chopped


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat an oven proof pan over medium heat. Add olive oil, onions, and garlic to the heated pan. Add salt and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in paprika and cumin and add the canned tomatoes. Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes. Crack eggs into the pan, arranging them evenly around the pan. Place the pan in the oven for 15 minutes or until the eggs have set. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with feta, black pepper, and cilantro.

Recipes courtesy of Casey Easton of Food Lab. Food Lab appears in The Scout Guide Boulder.

Photography by Allianna’s Kitchen.

Sheet Pan Shrimp Tacos

“This quick and easy sheet pan shrimp taco meal is something the whole family will love to eat. It makes for a great weeknight dinner,” Allianna Schneider Moximchalk, founder of Allianna’s Kitchen in Mars, Pennsylvania, explains. Bonus: this recipe is naturally dairy-free, gluten free, paleo and Whole30-friendly. 

Yields 6 servings


  • 2 pounds wild caught shrimp, tails removed
  • 2 packets Siete taco seasoning or a taco seasoning of your choice
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 3 whole bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 whole purple onion, thinly sliced

To serve (optional):

  • Tortillas
  • Pickled red onions
  • Avocado crema


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the oil and spices to a bowl and mix. Add the peppers and onions to a separate bowl. Pour 1/2 of the oil mixture on the onions and peppers and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cook for 20 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking. Add the shrimp to a separate bowl with the oil mixture and mix thoroughly. Let the shrimp marinate for 20 minutes while the vegetables are in the oven. Once the 20 minutes is up, move the vegetables to one half of the pan and add the shrimp to the other half. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Serve with desired toppings and shells.

Recipe courtesy of Allianna Schneider Moximchalk of Allianna’s Kitchen. Allianna’s Kitchen appears in The Scout Guide Pittsburgh.

Photography by Beau Branton.

Butter Bean Hummus 

“From the earthy warmth of roasted garlic to the creaminess of pureed butter beans, The Appalachian’s Butter Bean Hummus pays homage to the region—a deep-rooted connection to the soil, to history, and to the passionate hands that bring it to life,” David Rule, executive chef and owner of The Appalachian in Sevierville, Tennessee, explains. “Indulge in the butter bean hummus at home, and let the flavors transport you to the heart of the Appalachians.” Throw in a green salad and crusty bread for a well-rounded weeknight meal.

Yields 3 quarts


  • 2 quarts dried butterbeans or green baby lima beans, soaked overnight 
  • 1 whole garlic bulb
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ½ cup of tahini
  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Hemp hearts, for garnish
  • Sea salt, for garnish

Serve with grilled bread and crudité.


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Trim a half inch from top of garlic bulb. Place in an oven-safe pan or pot and cover with olive oil until garlic is submerged. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven for approximately 2 hours or until the garlic cloves are golden brown. Allow the pan to cool, then remove roasted garlic and squeeze the soft cloves into a separate container and refrigerate. Reserve garlic-flavored oil and store at room temperature. Drain soaked beans and place in a pot. Cover with new water and add halved onion. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer until beans are soft. Once completely cooked, drain beans and reserve approximately 2 cups of cooking liquid. In two batches, add cooked beans and onion halves to a food processor and puree until smooth. If needed, add small amounts of reserved cooking liquid to achieve desired texture. Once smooth, place pureed beans into a mixing bowl and repeat the process until all beans have been pureed. To the mixing bowl, add all of the roasted garlic and roasted garlic oil, granulated garlic, tahini, and lemon juice. Mix well with a whisk or rubber spatula. Season with kosher salt to taste and refrigerate until cool. Once cooled, place a large scoop of bean puree in a serving bowl. Create a well in the hummus with the back of a spoon and fill well with olive oil. Garnish hummus with hemp hearts and sea salt and serve with grilled bread and crudité.

Recipe courtesy of David Rule of The Appalachian. The Appalachian appears in The Scout Guide Knoxville.

Photography by Lindsey Bonte.

Tuscan Chicken

“This quick and easy dish builds flavor and texture that make it seem like you spent hours working on dinner instead of just 20 minutes. I have been making this dish for years and it’s always a crowd favorite. Rich and creamy, this dish can be served over pasta or potatoes and works for any occasion,” Jason Crouch, executive chef and beverage director of Hotel Carmichael in Carmel, Indiana, says.

Yields 4 servings


  • 4 6 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 ounces olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 cup sundried tomato slices
  • 1 cup canned artichoke hearts, quartered and drained
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup kalamata olives


Salt and pepper the chicken breasts on all sides. Preheat a medium straight walled saucepan. Add olive oil to the pan and allow to heat until the oil shimmers. Place chicken in hot oil using tongs. Once the chicken can be easily pulled off the bottom of the pan, turn it over. Wait 1 to 2 minutes and remove the chicken from the pan, reserving on a side plate. Reduce heat to low and add garlic, tomatoes, artichokes, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the pan looks dry from the juice of the artichokes. Note: Be careful at this stage as the tomatoes can burn quickly. Add the heavy cream and place chicken into the sauce. Make sure to push the chicken down into the sauce and submerge completely. Simmer on medium to low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the kalamata olives to the sauce. You will know the sauce is done when it coats the olives. Place chicken on top of pasta or potatoes and ladle the sauce on top.

Recipe courtesy of Jason Crouch of Hotel Carmichael. Hotel Carmichael appears in The Scout Guide Hamilton County.