It’s officially holiday season! That means these next few weeks are going to be full of casseroles, pies, cocktails and brunches, and probably a good deal of cooking. Have no fear: This week’s meal planner promises five easy and delicious recipes that won’t take you away from the bigger tasks ahead.
Monday, November 17th
Soups, stews, casseroles and pasta bakes; we just can’t get enough of fall comfort foods. But here’s a spin we haven’t explored yet: adding some sweetness and spice to otherwise hearty and rich dishes. A dash of teriyaki sauce, a sprinkling of chile pepper or even a chopped apple can add a ton of flavor and personality to a dish that will keep your family on their toes. Try making these dishes this week to spice (and sweeten!) up dinner time:
Monday, November 10th
Halloween’s less than a week away, and your front stoop isn’t the only thing that should be getting into the spooky royal treatment. Make dinner super thrilling and exciting this week with five recipes that are sure to put your family in the mood for some tricks and some treats.
Monday, October 27th
When you’re done carving, save those pumpkin seeds for Pepita Pesto Pasta with Roasted Squash
Tuesday, October 28th
Garlic Shrimp is sure to ward off any vampires
Wednesday, October 29th
Spell out fun messages like “Boo!” in Alphabet Stew
Thursday, October 30th
Sweet and Lemony Wings will satisfy your candy-craving sweet tooth
Friday, October 31st
Slow-Cooker Paella is perfect for a Halloween dinner party. It’s nice and warm and will feed the masses!
Have a happy, safe, trick- and treat-filled Halloween!
More Weeknight Dinner Ideas
Bring home the noodle shop craze! Soup up packages of ramen with easy mix-ins to create these classic, comforting bowls.
Smoked Salmon: Prepare ramen according to package directions, using half the amount of water and half the flavor packet. (Broth will just coat noodles.) Top with smoked salmon, pickled ginger, scallions and poppy seeds.
Happy September and — coincidentally — National Chicken Month! With the number of healthy, baked and fried chicken recipes you probably make for dinner on a regular basis, it could feel like every month is National Chicken Month. Make September extra special with some fun and flavorful meals that go way beyond the ordinary — we’re talking truly decadent dinners. Here are (drumroll, please!) six ways to make this month something worth celebrating.
Whip up a homemade comfort food classic: Cajun Chicken and Waffles.
There’s no better feeling than having a full week of delicious, healthy and quick meals picked out for you and your family. So, to make your life easier, we’re recommending our five picks for you to make in the upcoming week. But this week is extra special, because it’s National Sandwich Month. Which means it’s time to celebrate in the only way possible: With five of our all-time favorite sammies ever. Dinnertime just got a whole lot more fun!
Monday, August 11th
Ah, the mid-week slump: so we meet again. Rather than conquering dinner by ordering take-out or driving to the nearest restaurant, try making a meal that’s simple, yet satisfying; flavorful, yet fast: stir-fry. When it comes to dinner, a stir-fry pan is basically a blank canvas. You can throw together nearly any combination of veggies and protein with a delicious sauce, spoon it over rice or noodles and call it a meal. There is no reason why the mid-week slump should have you feeling scared of stir-fry, but if you’re lacking a little in the creativity department, we’ve happily picked out some of our favorite stir-fry recipes for you:
Happy Friday, and happy National Peanut Butter Day! We know you could celebrate by simply grabbing a bag of your favorite peanut butter candies or just spooning it right out of the jar, but here’s a fast idea that’ll satisfy your dinner needs and your peanut butter craving: Peanut Chicken Noodles.
Satisfy your Thai food craving with this quick dish, which brings together flavors of sesame oil, soy sauce, honey and lime, all into one delicious peanut sauce. You’ll never call for take-out again! Get the recipe here.
As a child of the decade that birthed the term “stranger danger”—and a thousand related after-school specials—I just did something that flies in the face of my upbringing: I went to the apartment of people I’d never met, in a place I’d never been, to eat with 10 perfect strangers.
I’d started to hear things—very, very good things—about a certain EatWith. A “global community that invites you to dine in homes,” it launched last February in Israel and Spain, and has since expanded into 31 countries and 15 US cities, with many more outposts to come. So in the not-too-distant future, you may well visit—and/or inhabit—an EatWith-colonized territory where you can go online, find a good-looking homemade meal, fill out a profile (mammal-avoidant Urdu speaker? mayo-phobic spice lover? get as detailed as you want), pay the suggested donation ($17-$150) and show up hungry at the appointed time and place.
And here’s the key: An EatWith rep has likely been there already to assess the cleanliness, yumminess and—yes, ma—the safety factor. (If so, you’ll find an “EatWith Verified” icon in the profile, and even if not, other guests may have been there and written reviews.) Hosts, for their part, are granted a million-dollar insurance policy—in case, I suppose, Charlie Sheen, Courtney Love and every last member of the Wolf Pack sign up for the same dinner, whether Flautas in Flagstaff, Brazilian in Barcelona, or anything in between.
For me, couscous in Crown Heights was the big draw. And shortly after I signed up, my inbox informed me that “Ron + Leetal want to EatWith you too!” I was surprisingly relieved, and not a little curious about what would have happened had my prospective hosts turned me down. So I went to the FAQ on that very topic:
What happens if my booking request is declined or expires?
…You can contact the host to find out what happened [all contact happens through the site, by the way; not through your personal email]. The host might not have been available to check your request within 24 hours. He or she may also not have been able to cater to your needs (as stated in your profile, e.g., you may be a vegan and the host only does BBQ events). But don’t get discouraged. Look for other offerings in that location. We promise you will find something special just for you! You can also contact us for assistance in booking or to get recommendations at email@example.com.
Now extra grateful to have a place at the table, I used the directions in the confirmation email to find an out-of-the-way, old-school Brooklyn apartment building where—though comforted to see someone by the front door who looked as tentative as I felt (clearly, the guy was another EatWith guest)—I was shamed by what he had in hand: a bottle of wine.
What was I, raised in a barn?
I felt slightly less mortified when I figured out that almost everyone else in attendance had showed up empty-handed—in fairness, after paying $86 to be there in the first place—but my note to self that night was to err on the side of generosity next time.
Apparently, I got over my shame just fine: 15 minutes in, I was already Power-Vac-ing my way through course after course of what was unequivocally one of the best meals of my life. Granted—like a surprising number of EatWith hosts—mine were professional foodies. Known for small-batch, hugely addictive harissa and other Middle Eastern goodness, the duo behind NY Shuk—28-year-old Leetal and 32-year-old Ron Arazi—grew up in Israel on a mix of Turkish, Iraqi, Moroccan and Lebanese food, thanks to their family backgrounds. “We feel that this type of food just feels and tastes better at home, where you feel relaxed,” says Leetal. “We enjoy having guests in our home so why not share with them what we enjoy most of all?”
And the night of our dinner, “what we enjoy most of all” translated to the following: a cured lemon and arak cocktail; freshly baked challah with slada de chizo (braised carrots, cilantro, parsley, lemon and l’ekama, a spice-and-oil mix that was also given to us as a parting gift, and that didn’t last 24 hours in my possession); sautéed carrots rubbed with l’ekama; baked beetroot with herbs and walnuts; matbucha (tomato and garlic salad); chirchi (roasted squash, raisins and spices); oranges and black olives with harissa; charred red pepper salad; garlic-sautéed cauliflower with “Ronesco” (Ron’s twist on romesco) and a Lebanese green onion salad; Jerusalem artichoke and fresh turmeric; pickled fennel and carrots; and stuffed puff pastry.
Then came the star of the show: hand-rolled couscous, served in my case with Tunisian-style black spinach (I’m EDWRR’s resident vegetarian) and in the case of everyone else, ka’aboorot (a seemingly fabulous chicken dish), plus chickpea stew and baked pumpkin with caramelized onion and tanzeya (slow-cooked dried fruit and spices).
Evidently, someone then slipped us a collective mickey and pumped our stomachs, because there’s no other possible explanation for how anyone managed dessert: Turkish coffee-flavored chocolate pudding with whipped cream and pistachios, plus milk chocolate and honey truffles, sage butter cookies and homemade marzipan.
Of course, however spectacular the food, the company made the meal. From the baker to the businesswoman, everyone in this international crowd of 20-somethings to 40-somethings was interesting and friendly—and had all kinds of crazy commonalities. At first, I thought the craziest was that there were two Anglo-Israeli documentarian/video producer guys sitting directly across the table from each other. But here’s what was even crazier: When I wanted to set one of them up with a friend, I learned she’d already been fixed up with him. By someone else at the table. At which point I realized: Ron and Leetal should have hung the same framed Yeats quote that so many Irish pubs do:
“There are no strangers here, only friends that have not yet met.”
Happy Friday! We know the last thing you probably want to do tonight is cook dinner when you can just as easily get into weekend mode and order in. Let us give you an offer you can’t refuse: A pizza recipe that’s almost as easy to make as picking up the phone and calling for delivery — but it’s homemade! Plus, it’ll be done before any pizza boy could make it to your front door. Behold: Pizza Supreme
Spicy Italian sausage, creamy ricotta cheese and tender bell peppers on a warm crust straight out of the oven. It doesn’t get any fresher than that!