We’re halfway through September, and I’m already starting to feel the stress and hectic whoosh of fall. Unfinished tasks are piling up like fallen leaves — and let’s not even talk about my inbox; it’s a terrifying place (current unread email total: 2,429). There’s a kid to send off to school, lunches to pack, and jackets and sweaters and closed-toe shoes to excavate from storage. In moments like these, it can be hard to think beyond takeout for dinner.
But our Margaux Laskey has a better idea: 16 effortless recipes that you can make practically on autopilot. Even on the busiest days, “stopping to make a simple meal and enjoy it can help you slow down and smell the proverbial roses,” she writes.
Easy dishes that will satisfy include ginger-dill salmon with oranges and avocado; dumpling noodle soup (vegan-friendly, and made with frozen dumplings); and 10-minute Cheddar-sauerkraut toasts that are like Welsh rarebit crossed with a Reuben.
Also always soothing to my fraying edges is a steaming bowl of savory miso soup (above), with or without cubes of tofu at the bottom. For something just as comforting but more substantial, you could whip up a batch of chicken tortellini tomato soup in a slow cooker, or a bacon-topped baked potato soup simmered on the stove. Soup season is nigh!
Stovetop mac and cheese is built for busy, hungry people, and there are loads of options to choose from: a vegetable-laden broccoli version, vegan mac and cheese and mac and cheese studded with crisp bits of Spam.
But if you prefer a golden, crunchy baked macaroni and cheese? You’ll probably need to learn how to make béchamel sauce. Kay Chun has a foolproof recipe with loads of tips to make sure your sauce turns out velvety and lush. (No time for a roux? Try this Southern baked mac instead.)
You do need a subscription to access our recipes, and you can sign up right here, right now. You can also find us on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram; our recent blender chocolate mousse video will make you swoon with intense, bittersweet longing — or at least that’s what happened to me. That dense yet airy texture looks utterly divine.
Now, when I get really stressed out, I cope like a hobbit: I dream up a meal. My husband, Daniel, has a lifelong fervor for all things Tolkien, and I can totally relate to the hobbit-like Harfoots on “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” on Amazon Prime. I also love a succulent wild berry. If you’re hobbit-curious, Jenny Turner’s 2001 essay “Reasons for Liking Tolkien” in The London Review of Books is a great literary introduction.