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17 Easy, Inspiring Meals That Are Busting Us Out of Our Cooking Rut

By now, you've probably heard about (if not, begun to experience...) what folks are calling the pandemic wall. Nearly a year into this new state of living we're collectively experiencing, there's plenty to fret about—and frankly, without aiming to go full-on Eeyore, it's exhausting. But because cereal for dinner gets old after the third night straight (trust me...I'm speaking from experience), here are 17 dinners that require only a handful of ingredients and minimal active cooking.

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17 Easy, Inspiring Meals That Are Busting Us Out of Our Cooking Rut
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    Scrambled Red Shakshuka From Sami Tamimi & Tara Wigley

    Scrambled Red Shakshuka From Sami Tamimi & Tara Wigley

    Author Notes This bright, saucy comfort from Sami Tamimi’s childhood in Palestine, modernized with a little Ottolenghi family flair, is one example of a lesser known style of shakshuka that’s nearly impossible to mess up. If you’ve ever felt anxious about poaching eggs, you needn’t: The eggs here …

    Crispy Kimchi and Cheddar Omelette

    Crispy Kimchi and Cheddar Omelette

    Author Notes I first had the pleasure of experiencing Cheddar and kimchi at Milk Bar, where I worked for a spell. One of my coworkers, Helen Jo, would sometimes make little Cheddar and kimchi quesadillas for family meal, especially if we were extra busy that day; they need only three ingredients, …

    Sabrina Ghayour's Persian "Adassi" Lentil Stew

    Sabrina Ghayour's Persian "Adassi" Lentil Stew

    Author Notes Adapted from Sirocco by Sabrina Ghayour (Clarkson Potter, 2015). Here's what Ghayour says of the recipe: “This is a hearty dish that we Iranians enjoy in the cold and snowy winters of Iran, although I first ate it in Switzerland when my aunty Nini cooked it for me. Her version, which I …

    Slow-Cooker Pasta e Fagioli

    Slow-Cooker Pasta e Fagioli

    • Prep time 25 minutes • Cook time 5 hours 30 minutes • Serves 6 to 8 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for serving • 1 large white onion, finely chopped • 1 large carrot, finely chopped • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped • 1/2 teaspoon …

    Italian Wedding Soup With Parm Broth

    Italian Wedding Soup With Parm Broth

    Author Notes As with many recipes that took a trip over from the old country, this particular soup has morphed its way through a long game of recipe telephone. Variations of this classic are found far and wide. The way I know it—and the version I hold near and dear to my heart—is a flavorful, simple …

    Cabbage and Meatball Soup

    Cabbage and Meatball Soup

    Author Notes This soup is the happy result of a search through the refrigerator and pantry for a satisfying and filling meal. It is a warming, comforting choice during the cooler months. —Donna Test Kitchen Notes Loved this soup. Disclaimer: I have a real soft spot for cabbage soup, and this one did …

    Cabbage, Italian Sausage & Orzo Soup With Parmesan

    Cabbage, Italian Sausage & Orzo Soup With Parmesan

    Author Notes Looking for an easy-to-make, rib-sticking soup to warm you from the inside-out? This super cozy rendition brimming with cabbage, Italian sausage, and orzo is just the ticket. It’s layered with umami from the bottom-up—from aromatics sautéed in rendered sausage fat, to a rich, savory …

    Buttermilk Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Cornichon Butter

    Buttermilk Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Cornichon Butter

    Author Notes A simple roasted chicken may be one of the greatest, most satisfying things a home cook can master, but I’m not sure there’s anything that can send me into such a dizzying tailspin of questions. To brine or not to brine? If yes to brine, then a dry or wet one? And if a wet brine, what …

    Tinga de Pollo

    Tinga de Pollo

    Author Notes This recipe is reprinted with permission from "Tu Casa Mi Casa: Mexican Recipes For The Home Cook" by Enrique Olvera with Luis Arellano, Gonzalo Goût, Daniela Soto-Innes: "The first recipe any Mexican will cook as soon as they move out of their parents’ home and live on their own is …

    Ridiculously Easy Macaroni and Cheese

    Ridiculously Easy Macaroni and Cheese

    Author Notes On nights when we have 20 minutes to fix dinner, this is invariably what I make. Am I embarrassed to say I use individually-wrapped American cheese? Not really. This dish is so easy your kids can help you -- or even make it themselves if they're old enough. —mrslarkin Test Kitchen …

    Tater Tots & Cheese Sauce

    Tater Tots & Cheese Sauce

    Author Notes Macaroni, make way for tater tots. Baked until crispy, smothered in cheese sauce, and then broiled until bubbly and colorful, this sheet-pan-style casserole was made to be served alongside a mustard-dressed salad. A cold beer wouldn't hurt, either. —Emma Laperruque Test Kitchen …

    Padma Lakshmi’s Yogurt Rice

    Padma Lakshmi’s Yogurt Rice

    Author Notes There is comfort in knowing that as long as you keep yogurt, rice, and spices on hand, you can always feed yourself and your family dinner. The recipe is pictured here with Padma Lakshmi's Green Mango Curry. If you don't have the spices on hand, try a local spice shop or Indian grocery, …

    Sue Kreitzman’s Lemon Butter Angel Hair Pasta

    Sue Kreitzman’s Lemon Butter Angel Hair Pasta

    Author Notes Adapted slightly from Comfort Food (Gramercy, 1986). —Genius Recipes Watch This Recipe Sue Kreitzman’s Lemon Butter Angel Hair Pasta Prep time 5 minutes • Cook time 10 minutes • Serves 1, but scales up well if needed 2 tablespoons butter • 2 ounces angel hair pasta • 1 cup hot chicken stock • 1 pinch …

    Miso-Mushroom Pasta

    Miso-Mushroom Pasta

    Author Notes A while back, I worked at Table & Apron, a produce-driven restaurant set in the sleepy suburbs of Kuala Lumpur. During my time there, I fondly remember serving up many super jazzy Asian-influenced dishes. Think lemongrass-brined fried chicken, pork ribs with a kicap manis glaze, and …

    Sweet Potato Stew With Chickpeas & Hardy Greens

    Sweet Potato Stew With Chickpeas & Hardy Greens

    Author Notes This autumnal stew is warming and cozy, ready in under 30 minutes, and layered with rich, vivid flavors. It features one of my favorite trios: sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and hardy greens. But the unexpected star of the stew is the vibrant broth, which is delicious enough to slurp on its …

    Gabrielle Hamilton's Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

    Gabrielle Hamilton's Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

    Author Notes The secret to crispier, faster, better grilled cheese sandwiches? Mayonnaise. "This is the greatest cooking medium of all time for a grilled cheese sandwich," she says. It won't burn as quickly as butter, and it won't stick to the pan, and it browns and crisps more evenly too. From …

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