Hi and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes. I just want to take a moment to sing the praises of fried rice, which I made this week for the first time in years. It’s so easy and so completely hits the spot after a long day, the dinner equivalent of stretchy pants and Netflix.
The recipe is below; if you can get into a rhythm of cooking a meal from scratch two or three nights a week, you’ll most likely have what you need to make it kicking around. I like dishes like that, the ones that allow you to sweep odds and ends out of the fridge, put them together like culinary papier-mâché, and end up with something good to eat.
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Here are five dishes for the week:
CreditAndrew Scrivani for The New York Times
This is a very simple but classy dish that you can make in about 20 minutes just because you feel like it. The recipe calls for trout, but it’d work with most other fish fillets, like salmon or halibut. You could also substitute broth for the cup of wine if you like. Small boiled or roasted potatoes would be great alongside, with a heap of salad greens.
We made this on Monday for dinner, and I polished off the leftovers today for lunch. (That was me at the office microwave.) There are enough vegetables in here to make it a meal, and you could replace the orzo with fun pasta shapes (Tiny stars! Letters!) if you’re feeding kids, or adults who love adorable things. Adjust the cook time accordingly.
This clever recipe has you roast boneless, skinless chicken breasts on a bed of garlic and bell peppers. It’s tangy, sweet, saucy and lively, and it plays well with good bread or pasta. I would add a sheet pan of cut-up broccoli, tossed with olive oil and salt, to the oven when you put the chicken in. It’ll cook in about the same amount of time.
Colu Henry’s cumin-lime shrimp with ginger.
CreditCon Poulos for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.
Serve these juicy, saucy shrimp over a big bowl of rice with steamed or sautéed spinach, and shower it all with cilantro and scallions. Any leftover cooked rice (make a lot!), along with extra uncooked ginger, garlic and scallions, can be put to work in the fried rice below.
This is a no-recipe recipe, one of Sam Sifton’s easy-breezy recipes written in narrative form. We made ours with leftover pancetta, though it would be great meatless, or with other meat, or tofu, or mushrooms. You do need leftover rice. I mentioned it with the shrimp, but really you could serve rice with any of the recipes above (you could even use it instead of orzo in the stew); just make a very large pot, enough to have extras.
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