Resetting Your Routine

Resetting Your Routine

It’s time for smoky lentil stew, chile-oil fried eggs and more easy food for the new year.

Hello, Five Weeknight Dishes readers! I’m filling in for Emily today; she’ll be back at it next week, like many of us.

This week has been a time to hibernate, braise and simmer, with wild weather across the country in addition to the usual interholiday lull. (We will not soon forget the couple in Williamsville, N.Y., who cooked for nine unexpected house guests from South Korea.)

But next week brings the start of 2023 and, for most, a return to routine. It’s a time for easy food — and recipes that help clear your kitchen and your head. If you stockpiled root vegetables, alliums, herbs, greens and the like for holiday cooking, the recipes below will help you face the future. Cheers!

A Gray Bowl Filled With Stewed Lentils, Potatoes, Leeks And Herbs Sits On A Granite Surface. A Spoon Is Tucked Into The Stew And A Small Dish Of Herbs Sits Beside It.
Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

To adapt this wintry vegetarian dinner from David Tanis to whatever you have on hand, you can use roasted squash or sweet potato instead of white, and any combination of scallions, onions and shallots instead of leeks.

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

Yewande Kolomafe’s five-minute dinner salad is a weeknight classic for the tired and flavor-starved. I like this with dried rice noodles, which I simply soak in water, drain and then sear in a little peanut oil, with crushed peanuts on top.

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Bryan Gardner for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne

Melissa Clark takes roasted carrots in a new direction, bringing mozzarella, red-pepper flakes and green olives on board for a quick, sweet-salty-spicy vegetarian sheet-pan dinner.

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Julia Gartland for The New York Times (photography and styling)

If you already have chile oil in the pantry, this brunch plate from the lamented MeMe’s Diner, which closed its doors in Brooklyn in 2020, makes a quick and spectacular dinner with warmed flatbread or seeded whole-grain toast. (You can skip the sprinkle of seeds, or use a sesame-based mix like gomasio or everything-bagel seasoning.)

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Gentl and Hyers for The New York Times. Food stylist: Frances Boswell. Prop stylist: Amy Wilson.

Crisp fish fingers, satisfyingly spiced with ginger, garlic, coriander seed, black pepper and red chile, are nearly a meal in themselves; just add a bowl of rice and showers of cilantro and lime juice. Tejal Rao adapted our recipe for this southeast Indian classic from the cookbook author Archana Pidathala.

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