Hi, it’s Emily with Five Weeknight Dishes. I got a reader email last week from Hagar B., who asked what my favorite weeknight cookbooks are. I love talking cookbooks, so I made a little list, and asked a few of my colleagues for their favorites, too.

This turned out to be an ideal exercise for New Year’s, while I’m thinking about how I want to be cooking and eating in the months to come.

Not all of the books are explicitly for weeknights, but they offer delicious, uncomplicated, habit-forming recipes. I’ve been cooking from Meera Sodha’s book “Made in India” a lot lately, for instance, and my personal January plan is to dive into her newer book, “Fresh India,” which is focused on vegetables.

We’re also into “101 Easy Asian Recipes,” by Peter Meehan and the editors of Lucky Peach magazine; Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics”; and Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.” Melissa Clark’s “Dinner,” which is fantastic, came up over and over again, and I use Melissa’s two Instant Pot cookbooks all the time. (Did you know this newsletter is actually a Melissa Clark fanzine?) Colu Henry’s “Back Pocket Pasta” refreshed my repertoire. “Keepers,” by Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion, and “Dinner: A Love Story,” by Jenny Rosenstrach, also made the list.

Email me at dearemily@nytimes.com with your favorite weeknight books; if we can get a list going, I’ll include them in a future newsletter. Sending you all good vibes for 2019.

Here are five dishes for the week:


Traditional and tomato-ey: Chicken curry with homemade naan.CreditPhotograph by Grant Cornett. Food stylist: Maggie Ruggiero. Prop stylist: Theo Vamvounakis.

1. Meera Sodha’s Chicken Curry

Here’s a small taste of Meera’s cooking, a curry from “Made in India” that is ruddy and gingery-garlicky and laced with cumin and cinnamon. It’s so great and easy to make. It’s not terribly spicy, but you could omit the jalapeño if you’re heat-averse. Serve with naan, rice and a side of roasted or seared broccoli; double the curry for leftovers. The flavors deepen as it sits.

View this recipe in your weekly plan.


Flavorful and fragrant: garlic bread with herbs and Parmesan.CreditGentl and Hyers for The New York Times. Food stylist: Maggie Ruggiero. Prop stylist: Amy Wilson.
Ali Slagle’s olive oil-braised chickpeas with broccoli rabe.CreditLinda Xiao for The New York Times
CreditAndrew Scrivani for The New York Times

4. Steak With Ginger Butter Sauce

I want to give you something a little fancy for New Year’s Eve that’s pretty easy to pull off. Serve mashed potatoes and sautéed greens alongside: spinach if you’re looking for that leather-banquette, martinis at the steakhouse vibe, kale if you’re just not. If it’s in budget, serve caviar with potato chips and crème fraîche first.

CreditLinda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.