21 Fuss-Free Dinners to Make The Night You Get Home from Vacation

September  7, 2016

Returning home after a little time away is like a big, warm hug that you desperately need. You'll breathe in that familiar home smell, fling up a window sash or three, let all your confusingly numerous bags fall, then leap over them to the kitchen with a certain hopeful desperation for what you'll find when you open the fridge. (Swedish fish and Gatorade do not a dinner make!)

Sadly, what greets you upon opening it is rarely a cornucopia, since you cleaned it out (right?) before you left. And because all of us at Food52 just got back from Summer Week, and you're probably doing a little vacationing yourself, a remedy: Here are some of our favorite, most manageable dinners to whip up when we return from a break—based on what's in your fridge or pantry.


From now on, don't throw them out before you leave (unless you're going on a months-long sabbatical).


You've got a tub in your freezer, right?

Can of Beans

Swap them in a cook-from-dry recipe or eat them barely gussied up.

Tortilla Chips

Crispy and salty is exactly what I'm always craving.

Potato or Sweet Potato

One of the hardier vegetables, so there's a chance it won't be sprouted when you get home.

What do you crave when you get home from a long time away? Share in the comments!

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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).

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Amanda Sims

Written by: Amanda Sims

Professional trespasser.