Dinners For Right Now
To avoid the pre-spring dinner rut, I’ve put our meals on a rotation. It’s not the most creative I’ve ever been in the kitchen. But sometimes it’s more useful to have two weeks’ worth of regulars than to improvise and invent every single night, particularly when winter meals are past their prime but spring produce hasn’t yet arrived.
Here’s what’s keeping us fed and happy on a nightly basis this month:
- Linguine with Broccoli (pictured)
The best way to get your serving of green veggies: slowly cooked in olive oil, with garlic, pasta, and parm.
- Smitten Kitchen Meatballs
You cook these easy meatballs right in the sauce, and not only is the end result delicious, but the pacing of the recipe is just right (you make meatballs, chill them while sauce simmers, do something else while meatballs and sauce cook in unison). I sometimes double the recipe and freeze two-thirds.
- Aziz Ansari’s Mom’s Chicken Korma
Sounds complicated, but it isn’t. Again, the pacing really works: marinate the chicken in the morning. Later, just fry onions and hot peppers and simmer the marinated chicken. I use a hand coffee grinder to grind the spices. Best of all, this yields enough for at least two nights and gets better the next day.
I’ve been making a sourdough crust with my starter. Favorite topping: white mushrooms, cut paper-thin on the mandolin, tossed with olive oil, loaded on top. This is a pretty good basic recipe if you don’t use a starter.
A one-pot Japanese beef dish where you don’t have to brown the meat. The flavor comes from a mix of dashi, onion, soy, and beef. I sometimes add sliced carrots or bok choy to complete the meal. Also see: donburi.
- Utica Greens
Nirvana: greens loaded with olive oil, parm, bread crumbs, hot peppers, and prosciutto. Add chicken or chickpeas to make a full meal.
- Sardine Pasta
This is an all-star, an absolute dinner winner for pantry cooks and pasta lovers. It’s been on the rotation for five years or more. I love that it’s got protein, so you’re not just feasting on a bowl of carbs. Even if you’re a sardine skeptic, try this.
I use my/Cal Peternell’s recipe for ribollita, but I omit the bread and add kale. I’ve been using homemade chicken broth for the soup, so bowls are more filling. I love that squash or sweet potato makes every bite a little sweet. A week of lunches, easy.
- Burrito Bowls
Infinitely variable. We sometimes do them with green quinoa instead of green rice, and all-vegetarian instead of with meat.