Hi! And welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes. What day is it again? Oh, right. It’s Friday. Happy Friday! (Does T.G.I.F. mean anything to anyone anymore?) If your life is like mine right now, each day blends into the next. I wake, I drink coffee, I make what feels like 463 meals, I send approximately 1,232 emails, I break up 56 fights between my kids, then I collapse into bed and sleep. Rinse and repeat.
Meals have gotten a little rote in this house, too. (How many times have I made slow-cooker Mississippi roast during the pandemic? I’m ashamed to say.) I don’t really have time for project cooking these days, but I am looking to inject something new into our rotation. The dishes below have bright, interesting flavors, but don’t require a lot of work, and the leftovers are almost the best part.
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Here are five dishes for the week:
Yakitori is a traditional Japanese dish made with boneless chicken that’s seasoned with a salty-sweet soy basting sauce, then threaded onto skewers and grilled. This riff, from Kay Chun, applies that technique to salmon and vegetables with crazy-good results. I’m excited to try it with extra-firm tofu, and I’ll serve it with piles of fluffy rice.
I love this Mexican-influenced recipe from Diana Henry’s book, “From the Oven to the Table: Simple Dishes That Look After Themselves.” It’s a super easy all-in-one meal that’s so good the first bite is kind of shocking. It’s almost as if you don’t deserve such deliciousness for such little effort, but of course you do.
My crew loves this salty-sweet Korean-Italian mash-up. Another brilliant Kay Chun recipe, it comes together pretty quickly for a meat sauce (about 45 minutes). Serve it over buttered egg noodles, and, if you like heat, stir in a little gochujang. A cold cucumber salad alongside evens everything out.
Even those who think they don’t like tofu love this saucy, peanuty dish from Yewande Komolafe that’s inspired by mafe, a groundnut stew that’s popular across West Africa. The tofu soaks up the sauce’s flavors, and the edges crisp and caramelize in the oven. The tender coconut-lime rice is a perfect counterpoint.
Hi, it’s me again: the Dip for Dinner Lady. This verdant one is made by combining lots of fresh herbs, Greek yogurt and feta in a blender or food processor. I once served it as an appetizer at a party, and one guest asked if she could have a bowl and spoon so she could eat it like soup. (True story!) For dinner, I serve this on a platter with lots of cut vegetables, torn pieces of rotisserie chicken and fresh pita.
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