Discover more from the smitten kitchen digest
10 quick weeknight never-fail dinners
plus: simple eggplant parmesan
Monday, September 11, 2023
The Lies in Your Grocery Store [New Yorker]
Does the beginning September wind everyone else too? Whether you call it la rentrée or back to school [3rd grade and high school, btw] or whether you find yourself reeling from the news and trying to stay focused on the tasks at hand, I’m sure I’m not alone in finding these weeks to be a lot to take in. When things get busy and I’m low on time and energy, cooking gets the squeeze and I wish it wouldn’t. This email is for us, for times like these when we need to be reminded about quick things we can make for dinner. These are my top 10 never-fail low-fuss dinner recipes, the ones I come back to again and again. I hope you send it to someone who needs inspiration, too.
The Smitten Kitchen Classroom Wishlist Project 2023 continues! In the US, a tremendous number of teachers don’t get the funding they need to set their classrooms up for success. Most will end up paying out of their own pockets to buy educational materials, which is all wrong. I’ve asked teachers to send me their wishlists in hopes that we can help clear as many as possible. Help out if you feel you’re able — you will unquestionably make a teacher’s (and their students) day! [Project information. Direct link to spreadsheet.]
I’ve written three cookbooks and I’m a tiny bit biased, but I think you’d love them all. I’m thrilled that this warmer weather means you might be able to cook some of my late-summer favorites from my most recent cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Keepers, such as: zucchini cornbread and tomato butter, clam chowder with bacon croutons, zucchini and pesto lasagna, and raspberry crostata. Were you looking for a list of all the recipes in each of my cookbooks? I’ve added these in a separate page and hope it makes it easier for you to find everything you want to cook.
New: Really simple, weeknight-friendly, breading-and-frying-free eggplant parmesan that's baked until blistered, cozy, and absolutely spoonable, with stretches of cheese trying to drag each spoonful back to the pan. Spoiler: It will fail; you will win.
This is the recipe that converts all of the farro skeptics. It's easy (everything cooks at once, all together, with ingredients you probably already have around), quick, vegetarian, and yet tastes anything but austere. Plus, on the Smitten Kitchen YouTube channel you can watch me make this (and ask my son to subscribe to my channel and get shot down).
Penne alla vodka was the first meal I ever cooked for my husband, but I make it so differently these days -- more flavorful, quicker, and because kids make you totally square (sure, Deb), less vodka. This updated recipe uses my favorite pasta shape and is a cinch; we should definitely make it for dinner tonight.
This dolsot bibimbap-inspired crisped-up bowl of rice (it gets crackly at the edges and almost smells like popcorn), with a crispy fried egg, a mash-up of a classic ginger-scallion sauce and a vinaigrette, and crunchy vegetables is my favorite thing to do with leftover rice and whatever vegetables are lingering in the fridge.
A one-skillet, weeknight-friendly chili with a simple ingredient list that requires little planning ahead, which is awesome because I discovered during quarantine months that even with all of the time in the world, I never quite mastered planning far enough ahead to not be in a rush when making dinner.
Quick, stovetop mac-and-for that you can have 15 minutes from now, or when an intense need for pasta with a sauce of salty melted cheese strikes and nothing else will do.
I was late to find out how easy wings are to roast or grill on short notice, and that picky kids go berserk over them, especially with this glossy, delicious sauce. I’ve been making up for lost time since!
These tacos are a stealth archive favorite for 14 years now -- they seem so simple but they hit all the perfect weeknight dinner notes with a quick black bean filling, easy slaw, and pan-crisped taco shell we should never be deprived of.
Breakfast for dinner is highly underrated and this simple bodega-style egg-and-cheese sandwich takes approximately 3 minutes, while promising that the cheese inside will always be melty and spectacular -- hooray.
A quick skillet chicken with a soy sauce reduction that gives the cutlets a lacquered glaze. This is such a family favorite that it's gone in the regular rotation. We serve it with rice and a quick vegetable slaw.
A 20-minute, 5-ingredient (I bet all 5 are in your kitchen right now), abundantly flavorful dish that I cannot resist adding one slightly crispy and dramatically sizzling finish to. Have you made it yet? Few dishes make me feel rewarded for waiting until the last minute to figure out dinner.
Ever wonder where I get my cutting boards, paring knives, offset spatulas and more than you see when I cook? I've created a page on Smitten Kitchen with links to some of my favorite kitchen items, the ones I'm asked about the most. I recently added several new favorites I’ve bought in the last year. For each item, I've attempted to provide a range of shopping links so we're not just focusing on one giant retailer.
See you next week!