12 February Weeknight Dinners
Consider this a cheat sheet to getting a warm and wonderful dinner on the table quickly on those cold, dark nights.
The Pot Pie That Has Your Resolution in Mind
Whether this year's goal is to eat less meat, try something new or finally master pot pie (hey, everybody has a dream), this recipe can help you get there. The filling is a savory mix of mushrooms, barley and white beans; and instead of making homemade crust, you use store-bought phyllo dough, which is a time-saver that still delivers delicious results.
Get the recipe: Vegetable Barley Potpies
A Spiced—and Speedy—Indian Meal
Curries are such a smart idea for cold-weather dinners: The spice heats you up, while the fragrance of cumin and cardamom instantly welcomes anyone coming in from the chilly outdoors. This version has you sauté quick-cooking shrimp, and then dust the shellfish with a mixture of spices that have just enough kick to benefit from a cooling squirt of lime juice.
Get the recipe: Vadouvan Curry Shrimp
A Nourishing Chowder That Hints at Summer
We tend to think of chowder as a summer treat, but this version—which includes salmon, creamed corn and potatoes—is wonderfully warming on a winter night (and doesn't require freshly caught clams). Bacon and leeks add deep flavor, making the soup taste as if it'd been simmering for hours; when in reality, the whole thing comes together in just 45 minutes. Bonus: leftovers freeze well.
Get the recipe: Salmon and Creamed Corn Chowder
A Hefty Yet Healthy Pasta
When you're trying to reduce the amount of white carbs you eat, whole wheat pasta is a great choice—and its strong wheat flavor can pair better with heartier sauces. Chicken or turkey sausage and broccoli rabe (which is in season now until spring) stand up well to the whole wheat variety. This dish combines all three and just might become your go-to winter pasta.
Get the recipe: Whole Wheat Penne with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
The French Bistro Dinner
Simple, satisfying eggs can be a welcome break from heavier winter fare. Done well (and this recipe shows you how), a three-egg omelet will be fluffy and filling, the perfect dinner alongside a salad and glass of red wine. Best of all, it's ready in about five minutes.
Get the recipe: The Perfect Omelet
The Ridiculously Quick Lasagna
A piping-hot dish of lasagna is one of the best meals you could ask for on a frigid night—and it turns out you don't need to carve out three hours to make it. This one-skillet recipe has you sauté ground beef, add canned tomatoes and seasonings and then throw in wide egg noodles, which cook in the sauce. Swirl in ricotta and shredded mozzarella, and the cheeses melt on the spot.
Get the recipe: Easy One-Skillet Lasagna
The Unexpected Dinner Salad
Fried garbanzo beans are a revelation: They're a snap to make and are as tasty on their own (crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside) as they are on top of salads. Add crumbled bacon, tomatoes, cucumber and feta, and mix everything with a crisp bed of sliced Romaine, and you've got a hearty salad that gives chili or any other winter standby a run for its money.
Get the recipe: Chopped Salad with Bacon and Fried Garbanzo Beans
The Classic Comfort-Food Sandwich
Inspired by a classic comfort-food pasta, this sandwich equivalent of spaghetti carbonara includes cheese and bacon, and while it's missing the eggs, it more than makes up for them with a few spoonfuls of sautéed leeks (you cook them in butter for about 20 minutes so they turn sweet and limp); they add lovely caramelized flavor.
Get the recipe: Gruyére, Chèvre, Leek Confit and Pancetta Melt
An Alternative to Chicken Noodle
If you've been eating chicken noodle soup since late November, change things up with this beef ramen. It's one of the fastest dinners you can make (10 minutes—really!) and it's budget-friendly, too.
Get the recipe: Chili Beef Ramen
The Shortcut to a Russian Favorite
When you're craving beef stew but it's already 7 p.m. and you're not willing to eat at midnight, try this cheater's version of beef stroganoff. It calls for deli roast beef and a casserole guru's not-so-secret weapon: cream of mushroom soup. It only has to cook for 10 or so minutes, which is just enough time for you to prepare buttered egg noodles for soaking up the sauce.
Get the recipe: Beef Stroganoff
A Vegetable Soup You'll Want to Stockpile
Velvety butternut squash soup is so easy to make and freezes so well (up to two months!), you might consider making a double batch. This recipe also includes celery, carrot and onion, which, when browned in olive oil, lend rich depth.
Get the recipe: Buttermilk Squash Bisque
A 30-Minute Chili
Yes, chili gets better with age
—but this rendition of the winter wonder meal is ready in a half hour, and delivers a surprising amount of flavor. While the meat, tomatoes, beans and spices simmer, scan the fridge for fixings—scallions, cheddar cheese, cilantro, sour cream—and arrange them in bowls so everyone can help themselves.
Get the recipe: Turkey Chili
Next: Vegetarian casseroles even meat eaters will love