Some comfy weeknight recipes to keep you busy (but not too busy)

Some comfy weeknight recipes to keep you busy (but not too busy)

Illustration for article titled Some comfy weeknight recipes to keep you busy (but not too busy)
Photo: Tom Werner (Getty Images)

“None of us know what will happen tomorrow or a week from now,” writes Staff Writer Allison Robicelli, “but in the meantime, we can cut carrots into perfect little cubes. We can learn how to sear a steak. We can simmer stock for hours and make a pot of beans. We can pound at dough with our fists. We can make cookies and cakes and eat them all ourselves. We can do our very best.”

In times when weeknights feel like weekends and, regrettably, vice versa, The Takeout has compiled this roundup of recipes that can function as soothing, enjoyable diversions for home cooks of any level—without feeling like a slog. And if there are kids running around your house in a state of mounting restlessness, many of the steps involved in these recipes are simple enough that you can keep an eye on stray family members while you’re cooking, or let them help you at the stove.

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Creamy, garlicky fettuccine Alfredo

Creamy, garlicky fettuccine Alfredo

Illustration for article titled Some comfy weeknight recipes to keep you busy (but not too busy)

Creamy, garlicky fettuccine Alfredo

The first ingredient in the list is “half a pound of dry, dirt-cheap pasta.” That’s because your ingredients don’t have to be fancy to make a meal worth writing home about—you just need the right techniques. This “super-recipe” is a combination of two different Alfredo sauce methods, resulting in a dish with a silky, ghostly-white sauce that is perfectly photogenic and, yes, caloric. A good pasta dish will never try too hard to be healthy, and the best pastas just might try to kill you.

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Impossible-to-mess-up potato dumplings

Impossible-to-mess-up potato dumplings

Illustration for article titled Some comfy weeknight recipes to keep you busy (but not too busy)

Impossible-to-mess-up potato dumplings

Maybe you’d like to keep your hands busy right now so that you’re not scrolling through the news on your phone—but you don’t want to be staring down a measuring cup at eye level to toil in exact measurements, either. This is the pyzy recipe for you: it’s approximate, it’s imprecise, and no professional could make it more delicious than it already is.

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Turnips turned up to 11

Turnips turned up to 11

Illustration for article titled Some comfy weeknight recipes to keep you busy (but not too busy)
Photo: Ludovica Maria Busdraghi (Getty Images)

Turnips turned up to 11

There’s a reason no one eats turnips: cruciferous vegetables have always had to fight tooth and nail to claw their way into our hearts. Their flavor profile typically ranges from bland to bitter, and there just aren’t enough recipes out there that transform these veggies into something craveable. But if Brussels sprouts can transcend their once terrible reputation, surely turnips can, too? These melting glazed turnips are the answer. The recipe plays up the very best characteristics of turnips to help you fall in love fast.

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Your favorite Sicilian food, casseroled

Your favorite Sicilian food, casseroled

Illustration for article titled Some comfy weeknight recipes to keep you busy (but not too busy)
Photo: Lauri Patterson (Getty Images)

Your favorite Sicilian food, casseroled

A truly great rice ball (like the kind served at Joe’s of Avenue U in Gravesend, Brooklyn) is a softball-sized orb of creamy risotto stuffed with garlicky, sauce-simmered ground beef and sweet peas, breaded and deep-fried until a crisp golden brown, drenched in tomato sauce, dolloped with fresh ricotta, and drowned in shredded Pecorino. But they’re absolute hell to make at home. So instead of the arduous process of forming stuffed rice balls, this recipe layers the rice and meat filling together in a baking dish—a New York casserole if ever there was one.

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Canned clams with—wait, come back

Canned clams with—wait, come back

Illustration for article titled Some comfy weeknight recipes to keep you busy (but not too busy)
Photo: JustineG (iStock)

Canned clams with—wait, come back

If you think this recipe isn’t your thing, you’re wrong. It contains bacon and Manchego elements that we haven’t even told you about yet. Clams Casino Pie is a simple weeknight meal that’ll only dirty one bowl and a cast iron skillet. Plus, a lot of the ingredients are things you probably already have lying around: onions, garlic, breadcrumbs, and lemon. You know, the ingredients that make all things good.

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Turn a classic dinner on its head

Turn a classic dinner on its head

Illustration for article titled Some comfy weeknight recipes to keep you busy (but not too busy)
Photo: Justin Smith (iStock)

Turn a classic dinner on its head

We’re sure you’re familiar with stuffed shells—that is, pasta shells stuffed with cheese and baked in sauce. But this meal features shells stuffed with sauce and baked in cheese. Use the biggest baking dish you own for this; you’ll need it. You will never say to yourself, “Oh no! I made too many stuffed shells!” because that, as a concept, is impossible. Even if you’re only one person, you can easily eat these stuffed shells over the course of two days.

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Test the limits of your garlic enthusiasm with toum

Test the limits of your garlic enthusiasm with toum

Illustration for article titled Some comfy weeknight recipes to keep you busy (but not too busy)
Photo: subodhsathe (iStock)

Test the limits of your garlic enthusiasm with toum

Toum is a spread/dip/sauce that comes to us from the Levant, and it packs a furious, pungent bite that invigorates your body and reminds you that life is worth living. Toum is what aioli would be if it would stop chickening out on the garlic. Eat it as a dip with torn and toasted pieces of good pita, succulent chunks of grilled meat, or lots of simple roasted vegetables. Alternatively, you can use it in place of mayonnaise on sandwiches, and you can smear it under the skin of a chicken before roasting. Toum is just like any other condiment, except that it’s better.

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Genius piled high atop a sandwich bun

Genius piled high atop a sandwich bun

Illustration for article titled Some comfy weeknight recipes to keep you busy (but not too busy)
Photo: BWFolsom (iStock)

Genius piled high atop a sandwich bun

This started as a two-ingredient recipe for sloppy joe sauce—just ketchup and Coke—but has since been perfected with a few more tweaks. The ketchup and cola actually work well together: The caramel flavor of the cola concentrates as it cooks down, and the ketchup’s tomato-onion-garlic savoriness tempers the sweetness. A few extra savory and spicy balancers like mustard and Worcestershire sauce give it character. The result is a sloppy joe that puts a canned mix to shame. It’s more Red Roof Inn than Ritz-Carlton, but you and your kids are going to love it.

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White Castle sliders like Mom used to make

White Castle sliders like Mom used to make

Illustration for article titled Some comfy weeknight recipes to keep you busy (but not too busy)
Photo: Win McNamee (Getty Images)

White Castle sliders like Mom used to make

What’s a recipe roundup without a good copycat? These homemade sliders will cause you to marvel at the sort of Midwestern motherly resourcefulness that can take a pound of ground beef and turn it into two nights’ worth of dinners for a whole family of picky eaters. Plus, the meat is baked in the oven, meaning less splatter on your stovetop.

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Make pork chile verde tonight, or save it for the weekend

Make pork chile verde tonight, or save it for the weekend

Illustration for article titled Some comfy weeknight recipes to keep you busy (but not too busy)
Photo: rez-art (iStock)

Make pork chile verde tonight, or save it for the weekend

Take however much time you want with this recipe—there’s both a shortcut version and a scenic route, so you can bring the flavors of tender meat and tart green sauce to your table no matter what kind of day you’re having. This is a worthy addition to your Instant Pot rotation, and the plating instruction to “serve with plenty of warm tortillas” is like a rallying cry for all those who seek a comforting weeknight meal.

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