Breakfast: simple. Lunch: not much work. Dinner? Sometimes smoke can pour out of your ears just thinking about what to cook. When you forget to take something out of the freezer or feel exhausted from the rigors of everyday life, you may often think: I guess I’ll skip dinner tonight. In a word: not. The recipes below let the Eater editors know their weeknight dinner recommendations that have been approved.
Gochugaru Salmon with Crispy Rice
Eric Kim, NYT Cooking
It’s no secret that Eric Kim’s cookbook Korean American is an Eater.com favorite — specifically these mashed potatoes with roasted seaweed and sour cream dip. True Kim fans, however, still draw inspiration from his wealth of recipes on NYT Cooking, as they now feel like the band’s first underground album before the explosion. (“Oh, are you an Eric Kim fan? Name three songs from his first record.”) This gochugaru salmon recipe is one of my favorite weekday recipes because salmon is too often bland and bland while Kim’s easy version loads Add gochugaru, maple syrup, and a healthy amount of butter to the party, and all with little to no extra effort. Crispy rice and cucumbers: great side dishes. – Dayna Evans, editor of Eater Philly
Tofu with black pepper and asparagus
Sarah Jampel, Good Appetite
As someone who 1. loves dinner that takes under half an hour and 2. loves black pepper, this recipe is basically to die for. I love that it only requires a small number of fresh ingredients (asparagus, fresh ginger, and garlic) and a few staples (rice, tofu, soy sauce). Also, it’s an easy recipe that won’t become so if you refuse to use actual measurements Yes, really Throw things out — sure, you could measure out the soy sauce and rice vinegar, or you could just squirt it into the pan, whichever feels right. My only suggestion would be to completely ignore the garlic (go ahead and double up if you want, who’s stopping you?) and cornstarch measurements; I’ve found that to get a really crunchy coating on each cube, you might just want to sprinkle it liberally in the bowl and toss it with your hands. — Lauren Saria, Eater SF Editor
Sylvia Rosenthal and Fran Shinagel, How cooking works
Every winter I make chicken soup, and after scooping the bits out of the broth and peeling the meat from the carcass, I use the dark meat to make this chicken pot pie from an absolutely shredded copy of this cookbook that I own think my mom got it at one of her 70+ bridal showers. What I love about this recipe is that it has lemon in it, and now every other chicken pot pie makes me bored. No secrets; I just like it. Here’s a dish that couldn’t possibly be eaten outside of the 8pm and 11pm hours of the months of January and February without the lights dimmed and a large number of candles lit – this isn’t lunch or a dinner party; this is just dinner Serve with a green salad, Lost Larson Limpa Rye, and a rambling anecdote about which recipes all the pie ingredients were left over from. — Rachel P. Kreiter, Editor-in-Chief
Sabrina Synder, Epicurious
Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup formed the basis of some of my favorite dishes growing up, so it’s only natural that when I don’t want to think outside the box at dinner, I return to my most basic cravings: creamy, salty, mushroomy. Although canned goods aren’t a regular on my shopping list, mushrooms and sour cream or Greek yogurt are. Stroganoff is the easiest way to turn those things, plus a few other staples — like flour, butter, leeks, and broth — into a dinner (I usually skip the wine since I rarely have bottles lying around). Tired on a weekday isn’t my favorite way or time to play around with new dishes; On those nights, a bowl of stroganoff always feels just right. — Bettina Makalintal, Senior Reporter
Chicken Lo Mein
In the short time I’ve been sucked into the TikTok maelstrom, I’ve found myself intrigued by a food blogger and TikTok user named CJ Eats. CJ’s recipes range from baked mac and cheese to Benihana mimic fried rice, but I was particularly in love with his Chinese-American recipes, many of which he inherited from his grandfather, a Southern California chef and grocer — dishes like honey walnut -Shrimp, General Tso’s chicken and beef, and broccoli that really taste like what came out of a 90’s red and white Chinese takeaway. Cooking through his recipes, I’ve learned the techniques and ingredients that are key to nailing these dishes: how to velveteen chicken, how to use just the right amount of MSG, and which special soy sauces are right for which recipes.
The recipe I repeat the most is his chicken lo mein, which comes together quickly and is easy to adapt to what I have in my fridge. I often use a few different varieties of locally made pasta and usually swap out the traditional lo mein for Umi Organic’s yakisoba. I’ve also been known to add a little more Shaoxing wine or sugar to make it a touch sweeter. But the resulting Lo Mein has that nice hint of stir-fried char, that hint of salt from the oyster sauce and soy sauce, and the satisfying crisp of undercooked veggies. – Brooke Jackson-Glidden, editor of Eater Portland
Sarah Jampel, Good Appetite
My toddler still loves to eat green foods, and I’m convinced part reason is that we regularly have green versions of kid favorites like pesto pasta and green smoothies. When I saw this recipe, I was immediately excited at the prospect of adding “green rice” to our rotation. I’ve made this recipe a few times, but somehow never when I have all the ingredients. It never mattered that I didn’t have the right number of spring onions, or that I substituted garlic for spring onions, or that I didn’t even have a lemon once. That is why it has quickly become a dinner staple in my household; It’s functionally a pantry recipe. This spanakorizo has proven to be an adaptable, comforting, and delicious staple of our weekend menu — and it’s not particularly difficult to cook, either. While the recipe doesn’t call for it, I highly recommend crumbled and tossed in some good-quality feta before serving. And if you happen to have some chicken leftover, add that to make this a more complete dinner. — Hillary Dixler Canavan, Restaurant Editor