I tend to think of fall as the year’s busy season. But really it’s more accurate to think of it as the year’s crazy season, a cacophony of to-do lists, school orientations, last-minute online shopping, doctor’s appointments, after-work events, full-day conferences, weekend gatherings and overall mayhem, culminating in the one-two punch of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Aah! It’s certainly the most hectic time at NYT Cooking headquarters, as we roast our turkeys and photograph our pies and debate the merits of canned cranberry sauce. (The jiggle!)
So let’s just eat. I have five satisfying dishes you can speed through so you can steal a few minutes to plop down on the couch. There is nothing better. As always, I’m firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Here are five dishes for the week:
O.K., I’ve got it: Your new sheet-pan chicken. This one has potatoes, because potatoes and chicken belong together, and it’s time we stop standing in their way. The potatoes turn rich and shmaltzy from the roasting thighs, while the capers make the dish salty, and the lemon brightens it all up. Add a simple salad, and you’re done.
Are you horrified by the idea of using a cup of cream in a weeknight dinner? This beloved recipe serves three or four for dinner, especially if you use a full 16-ounce package of noodles and toss in big handfuls of frozen peas (which is what I would do) or arugula. But I get it. You could try subbing in whole milk for some or all of the cream. Tossing in white beans rather than peas would make it more filling, or you could make a big bowl of garlicky broccoli on the side.
Why don’t more recipes call for roasted or pan-burst cherry tomatoes? They collapse and turn sweet and jammy in the heat, with no extra effort on your part. Here, they partner with fish to make a truly delicious one-pan dinner that is, dare I say, pretty classy. I’d serve with farro.
This fast recipe is inspired by one from the famed restaurant Chez Panisse. If you’ve never bought the celery at the farmers’ market, now is the time: It is a different and far more delicious creature than the conventional kind you buy at the supermarket and dice to make soup. That said, this will also be great with the supermarket stuff; you could use store-bought pesto to finish it, too. Toast some bread or make a pot of pearl couscous, and you’re done.
These have gone into regular production at my place: They’re the fastest, easiest, most delicious Italianate meatball I know. My husband made them last night and doubled the recipe, along with a big pot of rigatoni and some jarred tomato sauce. He tossed it all together in a big serving bowl like it was a salad (not what I would’ve done, but he has his own distinctive plating style and I respect it). It was awesome. We took all the leftovers and froze them in small batches for our daughter, who can’t get enough of these.
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