31 Fast, Satisfying Weekday Meals
Garlicky Spaghetti with Mixed Greens
Kay Chun makes her silky, garlicky pasta with an abundance of greens so that each bite is equal parts of both.
Chicken Smothered in Gravy
This satisfying riff on smothered pork chops calls for skinless chicken drumsticks, which have only slightly more fat than breasts, as well as more zinc and iron and tons more flavor.
Creamy Buckwheat Pasta with Wild Mushrooms
Chefs love showcasing the intensely earthy flavor of buckwheat in rich, luxurious dishes. Chef Matthew Accarrino tosses buckwheat pasta with creamy mascarpone, silky mushrooms and runny eggs.
Spicy Kimchi Tofu Soup
Stop at a Korean market on the way home from work, and you can have this soothing, vibrant dish on the table in 30 minutes.
The secret to this tasty sunflower-seed "risotto"? A pressure cooker.
Italian-Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach
Using sausage in burgers is a smart shortcut, because the meat is already seasoned.
Pork Souvlaki with Tzatziki
Greeks make souvlaki by marinating chunks of meat (usually pork or lamb) in oil, lemon juice and oregano, then skewering and grilling them. Grace Parisi opts for pork shoulder because it's so tender and succulent. Instead of threading the meat onto skewers, she simply cooks it (with onions) in a grill pan until it's nicely charred, then serves it with store-bought pita and the garlicky cucumber-yogurt sauce, tzatziki.
Lamb Chops with Rosemary and Grapes
You’d expect to find lamb chops grilled with rosemary, but the sauce, a fruity mixture of grapes, white wine, and just a touch of honey, is a delightful surprise. You’ll want to choose seedless grapes for this recipe.
Chipotle Shrimp Tostadas
To create this Southwestern-inspired dish, chef Melissa Rubel Jacobson tosses shrimp with chipotle chile powder (made from dried, smoked jalapeños), grills them, then layers them on top of crunchy fried corn tortillas and crisp, citrusy slaw.
Macaroni and Many Cheeses
This adaptation of mac and cheese works beautifully with any semi-hard cheese but is particularly good with an international blend of French Mimolette, aged Dutch Gouda and American Vella dry Jack. A fine layer of Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano forms a crisp topping.
Grilled Shrimp with Mom's Avocado-and-Orange Salad
This grilled shrimp salad uses a surprise of hot sauce in the dressing. Try to use a fruity hot sauce from the Caribbean made with habaneros.
Chicken in Vinegar Sauce
Master French chef Paul Bocuse's recipe reflects his interest in lightening up the classics. For his poulet au vinaigre de vin, he's swapped fresh tomatoes for tomato paste, used lower-acid rice vinegar in place of red wine vinegar and significantly reduced the amount of butter.
Chicken-and-Rice Salad with Pesto Yogurt Dressing
Dinner doesn't get much simpler than this: Boil some rice and toss it with pesto, yogurt, and rotisserie chicken from the supermarket. Leftover cooked chicken or turkey will work just fine, too.
Greek Baked Pasta
The moist and fragrant casserole pastitsio combines béchamel (a sauce of butter, flour and milk), pasta, ground lamb, tomato sauce, cheese, cinnamon and nutmeg. Instead of béchamel, Grace Parisi stirs a ricotta mixture into the pasta before baking it.
To make her Sunday-supper scarpariello—chicken sautéed in a tangy lemon glaze with bell pepper—Fran Parisi always uses a whole chicken cut into pieces, then cooks it on the stove for hours. Grace Parisi opts for faster-cooking boneless thighs and skips the bell pepper in favor of jarred Peppadews, sweet-spicy pickled pepper.
Hanger Steak with Herb-Nut Salsa
Naomi Pomeroy, a F&W Best New Chef 2009, shares her updated version of salsa verde with toasted hazelnuts and doubling the herbs. The salsa is a vibrant addition to simple grilled hanger steak.
Spaghetti with Clams and Garlic
This exquisite, super simple version of linguine con vongole is packed with garlic and a judicious amount of crushed red pepper. If you prefer, shell the clams before tossing them with their juices in the pasta.
Chicken Goulash with Biscuit Dumplings
The chicken stock and sour cream both serve a dual purpose here: They moisten the biscuits and enrich the thick, luscious sauce.
Grilled Fish with Artichoke Caponata
To top meaty mahimahi chef Michael White makes a vinegary caponata (a Sicilian relish) with fresh artichoke hearts, not the traditional tomatoes and eggplant. Trimming artichokes can be time-consuming, so buy marinated artichoke hearts from the grocery store instead.
Grilled-Zucchini Subs with Fresh Mozzarella and Olivada
This fresh sandwich benefits from a generous topping of olivada made with tangy green olives, lemon and oil. It's great with the creamy mozzarella and the lightly smoky grilled-zucchini slices here; it's also wonderful with grilled fish and shellfish and roasted meat and chicken.
Bucatini with Pancetta, Pecorino and Pepper
This rich, pancetta-studded bucatini that's tossed with plenty of freshly ground black pepper and Pecorino is a perfect make-ahead dish—reheat a big bowl of it when you come home from work late at night.
Dry-Rubbed Salmon Tacos with Tomatillo-Avocado Slaw
For maximum flavor in minimal time, opt for spice rubs over marinades. A big pinch of ground coffee lends earthiness to the rub.
Orecchiette with Sautéed Greens and Scallion Sauce
For an easy take on this restaurant-style recipe, toss store-bought orecchiette with arugula and chard (both are tastier than spinach) and make the sauce with scallions instead of green garlic, which can be hard to find.
Shrimp and Avocado Salad
This simple salad showcases the creamy Latin favorite, the avocado.
Crispy Fried Chicken Sandwiches
Creamy truffled artichoke tapenade is a bold and flavorful substitute for the mayonnaise.
Red Lentil Dal with Tamarind and Asparagus
During her stay in Bangladesh, Naomi Duguid fell in love with dals (soupy lentil dishes) known as tok dal, or tart dal. "They all have an intriguing balance of tartness from tamarind and lime, and sweetness from slow-cooked onions." While asparagus isn’t a traditional ingredient, Duguid was inspired to add it because Bangladesh is so fertile, and many green vegetables grow there.
Peruvian Marinated Chicken
This deliciously lemony and garlicky recipe is based on Peruvian rotisserie chicken. A bit of vinegar makes it even brighter-tasting. Serve it with avocado and red onion salad.
Mahimahi with Sage Garlic Chips
Thin slices of garlic cooked in olive oil make a double contribution to this dish: The flavorful oil is used for basting the fish, and the garlic "chips" are sprinkled over the finished dish as a crunchy topping.
Mussels with Saffron and Citrus
Chef Mourad Lahlou simmers mussels in a lovely saffron cream sauce. Lahlou prefers Mediterranean mussels. "The ones I get are called that, but they really come from the Pacific Northwest," he says. "They're plump, juicy and don't toughen up as much as other varieties when you cook them."
Chickpea Vegetable Stew
"The dish is rich in texture and full of healthy goodness," chef Cathal Armstrong says about this hearty vegetable stew. Armstrong adds heft to the coconut milk broth with quick-cooking fingerling potatoes, and subtle heat with harissa, a Tunisian chile paste.
Soba Noodles with Miso-Roasted Tomatoes
Roasting cherry tomatoes in a mix of miso, ginger, sesame, lime juice and honey creates a tangy, bright sauce for soba noodles; try adding shrimp for an even more substantial dish.