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Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes from Home Cooks


This month, our Cookbook Club has been busy cooking through three books: our popular vote, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan; our moderator pick, POLPO: A Venetian Cookbook (Of Sorts) by Russell Norman; and our bonus year-long book, Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables. But in between all that pasta and pizza and Parmesan-smothered eggplant, members are also cooking all sorts of weeknight wonders.

Curious to learn from their vast wealth of cooking know-how, I asked the club to share their go-to, trustiest weeknight dinner recipes. They chimed in with hundreds of tried-and-true dishes—and we’re sharing 25 of our favorites to help inspire you:

One-Pot & Pan Wonders

  • Chicken curry with coconut milk and vegetables, over rice—fry minced garlic in a little olive oil, add a good curry powder, then add a can of whole tomatoes and an equal amount of water to the pot. Turn heat up high, and use a stick blender to purée everything. Add cubes of chicken breast or thighs, and any vegetables you might like (carrots and butternut squash are good). Simmer till the vegetables and chicken are cooked. Add a can of coconut milk and simmer for another 5 minutes. Super easy and really quick.” – Siobhan Passmore
  • “My favorite speedy pasta at the moment is the Penne alla Vodka that is attributed to Amanda Hesser’s husband in A New Way to Dinner. Simple to put together and delicious…all you need are butter, heavy cream, tomatoes, Parmesan, and, of course, vodka. My other go-to dinners are often sheet pan suppers. EmilyC on Food52 has some great riffs on this idea…as does Melissa Clark and Jessica Battilana in Repertoire (my new favorite cookbook).” – Paula Marchese
  • “Rice & beans. I also probably make these sheet pan meatballs with crispy turmeric chickpeas from Smitten Kitchen every week or two (but with chicken, and doubled).” – Kristy Oliver Jones

  • Cold Oven Chicken!! I may be biased but it is my go-to, all-time favorite recipe and can be adjusted for whatever herbs/citrus you have in the fridge!” – Jennie Levitt

Speedy Superstars

  • “Tacos! These are a staple in our house. Flour tortillas, leftover cooked or fresh vegetables, and any leftover meat if we have it. If we need to stretch out the leftovers, I will make rice, beans, or both. Fresh pico de gallo, cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, and mozzarella all work), hot sauce, and lettuce or whatever greens we have on hand. Voila! Dinner is ready in no time and everyone gets to make tacos the way they like. These are a win for all of us.” – Dorrena Ortega

  • “Clam fettuccine. I always throw in canned clams and juice, olive oil, garlic, onion or shallots, and herbs. A little milk, or not. So easy, so quick.” – Janet Winans Kennedy

  • “A great veggie chili—chock full of fresh and frozen veggies, canned beans canned tomatoes and cracked wheat or quinoa. Comes together fast and easy. Serve with tortilla chips, guacamole, sour cream, and shredded cheddar.” – Rachel Mandel Berger

  • Stir fry with sliced steak, broccoli, green onions, and a bag of shredded cabbage. Mix it with ramen noodles and certain non-veggie-loving family members don’t even realize how many they are eating!” – Leslie Dunkin Adair

  • “A frittata. I can make one with any kind of veg and cheese. Super easy and satisfying. I’ll admit I’ve had two in the last week—one with tomato, green onions, and cheddar (would have added bacon if I had any), and a second with garlic, spinach, tomato, and Parmesan.” – Shawna Ernst

Short-Ingredient Lists

  • Shakshuka! I always have eggs, canned tomatoes, and onions on hand to make a basic one. I then add in chickpeas for extra protein and top with Greek yogurt. You can keep most staples in your cupboard or staples in the fridge.” – Madeline Buitelaar

  • “Buttery leek soup with lemon. Only three ingredients, all in salty chicken stock. Drop some bread in, sprinkle over some cheese. 10 minutes!” – Kristen Fink


  • “I always keep a supply of Ashley Thomas’ onion masala in the freezer, and our go-to meal is chicken or shrimp curry.” – Rebecca Story

  • “When I have no plan, and don’t have much on hand, I make Cowboy Beans from Rick Bayless. And pair it with whatever I have: Links of chorizo from the freezer, quickly thawed in warm water, fried up, and served with chopped onion, cilantro if I have it, and lime and tortillas. Or a fried egg, and a sautéed veg mix of whatever I have, (tomatoes and zucchini in the summer, cabbage in the winter) also with chopped onion, cilantro, lime, and tortillas. Or, empanadas that I make and freeze for later.” – Lisa Guitar Komoroski

  • “Everyday pork meatballs from Kathy Brennan’s Keepers cookbook, great in a lettuce wrap with scallions, cucumbers, carrots, and soy sauce, or as a slider on Hawaiian rolls with her magic-miso mayo. It’s also great to toss into fried rice or even cooked ramen noodles. I always keep a batch in my freezer for those weeknights when I’m short on time!” – Tammy Wolf

  • “Deb Perelman’s sausage, kale, and crouton sauté from Smitten Kitchen Every Day. I keep bread cubes and chicken sausage stocked in the freezer so it’s become the perfect backup for when life happens.” – Emma Scott

  • “A ‘make your own salad’ bar—greens with an assortment of toppings in bowls. This routine started as my kids were in finger food territory and has continued for years and years after. Also, when we’re really in a crunch, spicy roasted shrimp and broccoli over rice. You can use frozen versions of all those ingredients and still end up with a really fresh-tasting meal.” – Lindsey Bickers Bock

Cozy Comfort Foods

  • “The Mexican Chicken Soup on Food52. Easy and great flavor. We serve with tortilla strips, avocado chunks, and grated Jack cheese. I use Ina’s method for baking the chicken: 30 minutes at 375°F.” – Beverly Kovarick Scofield

  • Inferekeh (ground veal and scrambled eggs) with ground turkey, even if that is a sacrilege, served with brown rice and Israeli salad! Even my college-age daughter makes it. My recipe is a riff on the recipe found in the best Syrian cookbook ever: Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews” – Susan Murai Raider

  • “I make Sarah Jampel’s stewy white bean recipe from Food52, but with kale, at least once a week! Everyone loves it and it’s dead simple.” – Aleksander Meyer

  • “Pizza. Not the most exciting thing to say, but I make it every which way. Thin crust on the grill, Grandma pie, Detroit style, white pies, etc. I’m best known for pizza, I think.” – Beth Wareing

  • “I live with a very picky eater. Buttered noodles and cheesy broccoli are the things that happen most often with the least resistance.” – Evelyn Vindue-Åbent

Additional recommendations from the Food52 Editors

  • Pasta con ceci—also known as pasta and chickpeas—is the carbs-on-carbs meal of our dreams. It’s beyond simple to prepare, and bonus points: you probably already have the (five!) ingredients in your pantry.
  • A vegan-friendly dinner that takes 10 minutes and a collection of pantry staples to prepare? Sign us up! You can serve this chickpea “tuna” salad over greens or on toast—or add some cheese (or vegan cheese!) and pop it under the broiler to make a chickpea melt.
  • Fried eggs and yogurt are one of life’s greatest combinations—and it’s just a good for brunch as it is for dinner. Fry an egg in super-hot olive oil until it’s lacy-edged, then serve over lemony yogurt and top with any fresh herbs you have on hand. It’s especially incredible when eaten with thick sourdough toast.
  • Sometimes for a quick and easy dinner you need look no further than chicken. This weeknight-friendly chicken Parm comes together in just 25 minutes. Thank you, broiler!
  • This 15-minute (!) chicken stir fry packs enough flavor you’ll think it marinated for hours. Set a pot of rice on the stove to serve with it, and add some sliced raw vegetables like cucumbers or radish for an extra crunch.
  • This sweet and spicy salmon and the accompanying blue cheese-flecked kale salad tastes and looks like a painstakingly-prepared entree at your favorite restaurant, yet it comes together in about 20 minutes, and you can eat it on the couch in your pajamas.

What are your go-to weeknight dinners? Share in the comments below, and if you’re new to the Club, head here for a primer on how to participate.

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