Hello, weeknight fans! This is Krysten, stepping in for Emily. Is this your first day back from vacation? You’re not alone. Here in New York, the last weeks of August feel so desolate that I half-expect a tumbleweed to cross my path. Then, come early September, everyone is back from their summery reveries, ready to get down to business.
And that return to reality may or may not include a look at those bank accounts. Are budgets a little tight after a European romp? Or maybe you, like me, didn’t go anywhere, but still feel the ripple effects of inflation?
I’m a firm believer that affordable meals don’t have to come at the expense of deliciousness. These five dishes feel rich, fresh and sustaining, but won’t break the bank.
This meal is a boon to those who keep their freezers stocked: Frozen shrimp and frozen mixed vegetables (and even frozen leftover rice!) can all work wonders in this abundant recipe from Eric Kim. I swap in a bag of frozen broccoli for some of the rice and feel especially grown-up until I spend 20 minutes making the same joke: “You mean a shrimp fried this rice?” (Do not forget the yum yum sauce, equal parts delicious and versatile.)
Buttered noodles get a fancy update in this smart recipe from Ali Slagle. It may seem fussy to blanch and process the basil, but it can easily be done ahead of time — and even doubled. Any leftover basil butter can be saved to make sandwiches feel extra special.
To my mind, vegetable tacos are the perfect combination of fun and nutrition. And this Kay Chun recipe is yet another opportunity to use timesaving frozen broccoli. Just add it a tiny bit early, so it can defrost while the potatoes cook.