Hello, and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes. Sometimes the quickest meals are also the richest, because ingredients like cream, cheese and butter are shortcuts to satisfaction. Fat carries flavor, so you don’t need a ton of other ingredients to build a dish, or a long cooking time to develop rounded flavors. (I’m thinking about fettuccine Alfredo, or Aaron Hutcherson’s brilliant meld of spinach-artichoke dip and mac and cheese.)
Probably, eating more fat is not a goal for your weeknight cooking.
Here’s the school of thought I belong to: Barring specific dietary needs, home cooking provides better nourishment than anything you can microwave, order in or eat at a restaurant. And by the way, one reason restaurant food tastes better than ours? Fat, like the spoonfuls of melted butter that chefs use to baste the “plain” seared fish we order. So maybe let’s not beat ourselves up about the occasional creamy casserole?
Here are five dishes for the week:
I like to make this one-pot dish taste even more like spinach-artichoke dip (where you’ll always find me at a buffet). Try adding oregano, extra garlic and something in the onion family like scallions to the skillet.
Is this the nutrient-dense, flavor-packed, doesn’t-take-forever dinner you have been waiting for? I think so. Swap out the Cheddar for avocado to make it vegan, and add a little salsa to the beans as they simmer for extra flavor.
As if shrimp scampi wasn’t easy enough, now you can stick it in the oven — which clears the stovetop for cooking greens or broccoli to go alongside.
Braised chicken is not the first dish that comes to mind when racking my brain for quick dinner ideas at 4 p.m. But with coconut milk, tomato and ginger in the pot, the flavors come together fast.
Yes, pasta e ceci (pasta with chickpeas) is mighty similar to pasta e fagioli (pasta with beans). But since canned chickpeas hold together much better than canned white beans, chickpeas have the edge in the weeknight version of this Italian classic.
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