Weeknight Cooking

Dinner This Week: Simple Pre-Holiday Dinners

This week’s menus include Garlicky Spaghetti with Lemon, Tuscan Bean Stew, and Tomato, Bacon, and Garlic Omelet for dinner in about an hour.
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Published Nov. 20, 2020.

With only a few days left before Thanksgiving, we realize it's crunch time for many cooks. So we've put together three recipe pairings, each with an entree and a side, that don't require a lot of advanced planning or many ingredients. We've also provided ideas for subsitutions, so if you don't have an ingredient, you don't have to make a trip to a crowded supermarket. 

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Dinner 1: Garlicky Spaghetti with Lemon and Leafy Green Salad

Game Plan: Start by bringing the pasta water to a boil. Next, cook the garlic mixture for the pasta, using any unattended time to prep the salad ingredients. Toss the salad once the pasta is done.

Both of the recipes in this pairing are customizable. For Garlicky Spaghetti with Lemon and Pine Nuts, the only two flavorings that we consider absolutely necessary are the garlic and extra-virgin olive oil. With those ingredients alone, you can produce a great pasta dish. The recipe works best with a long strand pasta, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. The Parmesan and pine nuts add richness and texture, but other cheeses (try Pecorino Romano) and nuts (we like slivered almonds), are good, too. The Leafy Green Salad  can also be adapted. Feel free to use any type of vinegar in the dressing, but make sure to stick with a 4:1 ratio of oil to acid. 

Shopping Lists: Garlicky Spaghetti with Lemon and Leafy Green Salad

Equipment Review

The Best Garlic Presses

Sure, you can mince garlic with a knife, but a good garlic press makes the job faster and easier.
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Dinner 2: Tuscan Bean Stew and Garlic Bread

Game Plan: Preheat your oven and start preparing the stew. Once the stew is simmering, prep the garlic bread. Once the rosemary is added to the stew, bake the garlic bread.

Quick Hearty Tuscan Bean Stew is a simple, hearty, one-pot dinner fortified with garlic and rosemary. There are a couple of ingredients that can be substituted to suit what you have on hand. Pancetta may be traditional, but bacon is fine, as is Italian sausage. No cannellini beans? Most types of canned beans will work here; some of our favorites are great Northern, navy, and pinto. Parmesan and Asiago Cheese Garlic Bread starts with toasting the garlic, which helps to mellow its flavor. We like a 50:50 blend of Asiago and Parmesan, but feel free to use just one or the other or another hard grating cheese, like Pecorino Romano. A loaf of supermarket Italian bread, which has a soft, thin crust and a fine crumb, works best here.

Printable Shopping Lists: Tuscan Bean Stew and Garlic Bread

Equipment Review

The Best Rimmed Baking Sheets

A rimmed baking sheet is essential for baking but also for roasted veggies, proteins, and more. We found the best models in every size.
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Dinner 3: Omelet with Tomato and Bacon and Home Fries

Game Plan: Prepare the home fries through step 3. While the potatoes roast, prep the omelet ingredients and cook the filling (step 1). Cook the omelet once the onions have been stirred into the potatoes (step 5).

Breakfast for dinner starts with our Family-Sized Tomato, Bacon, and Garlic Omelet. Feel free to change up the filling to use what you have on hand, aiming for about ½ cup filling total. We like the spicy kick provided by pepper Jack cheese, but another good melting cheese can be swapped in. Our oven-cooked Home Fries are best with russet potatoes, but other varieties of potatoes can be substituted in a pinch. No matter what type of potato you use, don’t skip the baking soda: It's critical for the best texture.

Printable Shopping Lists: Omelet with Tomato and Bacon and Home Fries


View more weeknight dinner ideas below, or check out all of the Dinner This Week menus.

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