From Sad Leftovers to Dream Dinners

From Sad Leftovers to Dream Dinners

This is Priya Krishna, your replacement captain for this week’s Five Weeknight Dishes. The Priya you see today has come a long way in the kitchen. My young, new-to-New York self had a simple but cost-effective weeknight cooking strategy: Buy the same few ingredients every week (pasta, spinach, tomatoes, feta, frozen dumplings, sausage, yogurt), throw a surprise item (sweet potatoes! cookie butter ice cream! an avocado!) into the cart, and make it all work with the rest of my pantry.

The meals were sometimes mundane, but hey, I fed myself, saved money and wasted nothing. My fridge is fuller now. But I still firmly believe that working with what you’ve got and not overbuying groceries (child-free privilege alert!) are good principles for weeknight cooking. This newsletter is dedicated the to ingredients I tend to have in my fridge, which I think of as ticking time bombs, mere days from becoming food waste. These use-them-or-lose-them ingredients, more than anything, dictate what I cook.

This is what I had left over one recent weekend: herbs, hot dog buns, ground meat, vegetable odds and ends (carrots, broccoli, onion), and dressed salad greens. And here are five recipes that came to the rescue.

1. Creamy Pasta With Ricotta and Herbs

I’ve tried all the clever hacks for keeping my herbs fresher longer. But at some point, you just have to use them. I like this Melissa Clark recipe because it calls for essentially whatever herbs you have on hand, chopped and stirred into a simple ricotta sauce that coats any kind of short pasta. This recipe is forgiving: Even if your herbs are droopy, the pasta will still taste great.

View the recipe.

2. Salt and Pepper Shrimp Rolls

This one goes out to the half-used bag of hot dog buns from that summer cookout (sigh, one day they’ll sell hot dogs and buns in the same quantities). They’re a beautiful canvas for Kay Chun’s crunchy, black pepper-forward shrimp rolls. If you’re nervous to fry on a weeknight, don’t be. The technique here — employing a quick cornstarch coating and a thin layer of oil — is easy. This recipe works with hamburger buns, too!

View the recipe.

3. Rice Noodles With Spicy Pork and Herbs

Anyone else find themselves with a random lump of ground meat from when a recipe called for only 1/2 pound? Do as the chef Simone Tong did in this superfast recipe adapted by Tejal Rao and cook the meat with ginger, garlic and scallions. Make a vinegary dressing and serve it all with some cold noodles and herbs. Peanuts give the dish extra crunch and heft.

View the recipe.

4. Sheet-Pan Bibimbap

So you’ve got a half an onion, a single carrot and small handful of kale occupying valuable crisper real estate. Throw them on a sheet pan and make bibimbap. I have made this recipe, courtesy of Eric Kim, with all manner of hardy vegetables, and it works beautifully every time. A good reason to always have a tub of gochujang handy.

View this recipe.

5. Loaded Baked Frittata

When in doubt, frittata it out! The frittata is a catchall for any and all foods lingering in your fridge. I recently had leftover arugula that was already lightly dressed, and rather than suffer through a slimy salad, I tossed it all into this frittata from Genevieve Ko. The bacon and cheese make even the most wilted of greens taste exciting again. I also love this pimento cheese variation from Vallery Lomas.

View this recipe.

Thanks for reading and cooking with me. If you like the work we do at New York Times Cooking, please subscribe! (Or give a subscription as a gift!) You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Previous newsletters are archived here. Reach out to my colleagues at cookingcare[email protected] if you have any questions about your account.

View all recipes in your weekly plan.

The post From Sad Leftovers to Dream Dinners appeared first on New York Times.

Last Update: Fri, 08 Jul 22 15:23:05