Photos by Aimee Broussard

Aimee’s Pretty Palate: Easy Peasey

Does the departure of the holidays leave you feeling down and blue, or do you embrace the possibility that only a fresh new year can bring and usher out the season of overindulgence with quick abandon? Or, perhaps you’re a mixture of both like I am.

While the holidays, with all of the hustle and bustle, are my favorite time of the year, I’m also firmly in the organization camp. I am one who needs the house cleaned up, the reset button presssed, and a paper planner that was purchased back in October ready to tackle the new year.

This month, I’m sharing some easy, fuss-free recipes as we transition into January and kick off 2024. Slow cooker. Sheet pan. One pan. Dump recipe. No brainer. Call them what you will, but now that your kitchen has been cleared of holiday décor, the last thing anyone needs is time-consuming recipes that require tons of preparation and multiple dishes to wash.

Baked to perfection, my Sheet Pan Parmesan Pork Chops with Veggies will have a complete meal ready in mere minutes with practically zero clean up. If pork chops aren’t your thing, half the parmesan topping recipe and use it for the veggies for a side instead. You can’t go wrong with parmesan-crusted anything.

The Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken is ridiculously easy yet quite flavorful making it a weeknight winner.  The reserved sauce pairs well with angel hair pasta but you could also serve it with rice, too. If adding more protein is on your list of New Year’s resolutions list, you’ll love adding this one to your rotation.

Something sweet and ridiculously easy is a handed-down 5-Ingredient Dump Cake. And I know you’re wondering why I’d ever share a recipe that included cake mix when I authored a cake-baking cookbook but hear me out. There are times when you may need to whip together something in a flash, and this cake can accomplish that pronto. My grandmother used to serve it straight out of the pan, but we all know I need to add a little lagniappe to my cake squares.

Sheet Pan Parmesan Pork Chops with Veggies

1 lb. bone-in pork chops (about 4-5 chops)
16 oz. baby red potatoes, halved
16 oz. fresh green beans, trimmed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. thyme
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. salt
2⁄3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine olive oil, herbs and Parmesan cheese.
Brush half of mixture on top of pork chops and place on prepared baking sheet.
Add potatoes and green beans to remaining Parmesan mixture and mix until combined. Add veggies to the baking sheet.
Bake 20 to 22 minutes then switch oven to broil for an additional 3 to 4 minutes until cheese is golden and pork is completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature between 145 degrees to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Let rest 3 minutes.
Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings. 

5-Ingredient Dump Cake

1 (21-oz.) can cherry pie filling
1 (15-oz.) can crushed pineapple
1 (15.25-oz.) package yellow cake mix
8 oz. walnuts, chopped
½ cup butter, melted
Optional: Whipped topping, homemade or store-bought, & Maraschino cherries for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix cherries and pineapple in a 9×13-inch pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pineapple and cherry mixture, stir until just combined. Sprinkle walnuts over top and drizzle with melted butter.
Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Allow cake to cool, then cut into squares and top each with whipped topping and a cherry, if desired.
Makes 10 to 12 servings. 

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken

1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. thyme
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
Add olive oil to bottom of slow cooker. Add chicken breasts and salt and pepper each side. Place sliced onion on top of chicken then sprinkle all herbs. Add garlic. Top with vinegar and tomatoes.
Cook on high for 4 hours and serve over angel hair pasta. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Aimee Broussard is a Southern food blogger and award-winning cookbook author. Seen on QVC, Rachael Ray and more, she is a self-proclaimed accidental entrepreneur with a penchant for porches and sweet hospitality. Find her online at