Weeknight Cooking

Your Favorite Wholesome Weeknight Dinners

December 20, 2014

There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: Your favorite weeknight dinners to keep you going through the holiday rush.

We've reached the peak of the holiday rush. It's down to the wire. 'Tis the time to finish shopping, wrap those presents, and complete all lingering holiday-related odds and ends. And duh -- you absolutely can’t forget to finish baking those amazing oatmeal cookies to leave for Santa on Christmas Eve. They’re his favorite, after all.

But eventually all evenings start to wind down and you realize you haven’t eaten anything all day other than the panettone someone brought to the office. On the days when time to eat is limited, you know all you need is a filling, wholesome, but quick meal to nourish your body and bring you back down to earth from the buzz of the season. KyMorgan came to the Hotline looking for some easy winter weeknight dinner ideas in the midst of all the shopping, baking, feasting, and partying. Luckily our community kicks butt and came up with some great answers.

Shop the Story

Soups or salads:

  • HalfPint suggests soups and stews of all kinds -- particularly tomato soup with canned tomatoes, ginger, broth, onions, and basil all puréed with a side of crusty bread.
  • Jenny Maria agrees, suggesting "any puréed vegetable soup."
  • Or you could try something a little different: Trine Midtun thinly slices red onion and cabbage, and tops it with roasted almonds, salt, and a "quick dressing out of sweet mustard, parsley, garlic and quark" to make a beautiful salad. You can eat it as is, or pile it into tortillas with chicken for soft tacos.

Get your grain on:

  • Marian Bull's go-to dinner is Stewed Cranberry Beans with Kale, saying: "It's SO good and super adaptable."
  • We like Meaghan F's idea, too. She makes a big batch of whole grains as a base for meals throughout the week, and recommends thinking outside of the box for how to use them -- like quinoa patties served with a sauce and a salad on the side.
  • Luvcookbooks likes to make dal with a big pot of rice, and notes: "if you have extra rice, you can have vegetable fried rice the next day."
  • K_Squared loves using a formula of pairing a chicken dish over rice with a vegetable, because it leaves so much room for variation and modification.

More: Pick up one bag of red quinoa, and you're well on your way to five dinners.

Comfort food:

  • There's no denying that bigpan's shepherd's pie suggestion is a great option, especially since it can be made ahead and frozen.
  • Aargersi roasts a chicken almost every week in the winter: "If you roast on high heat and keep the spice simple, it really is a pretty quick and easy thing to do." And you'll get leftovers for another lunch or dinner!
  • As always, trampledbygeese delivers stellar advice: she stir-fries vegetables with leftover meat, tuna, or chickpeas, cooks the mixture in a rich miso sauce, and serves it over a starch like noodles or mashed potatoes. She notes that the miso sauce makes it a hearty winter-friendly option, and it's fast -- dinner's ready in 15 to 25 minutes.

And off course we agree with Pegeen, who suggests turning to related articles for inspiration -- find them here, here, and here.

What are your favorite go-to, wholesome dinner recipes to make in the middle of the holiday madness? Tell us in the comments or join the conversation over on the Hotline.

First photo by Eric Moran, third photo by Linda Xiao, all other photos by James Ransom 

Order now

A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

Order now

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

foodie, writer, performer