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5 Ready-in-a-Flash Dinners, All From 1 Base Recipe

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This week, you're going to spend less time frantically cooking and more time leisurely eating (but no, that doesn't mean popcorn dinners or carry-out). You're also going to win the lottery.

How? Make a giant batch of roasted tomatoes and onions over the weekend. While those burst and sizzle (it'll only set you back 45 minutes!), prep a few additional ingredients (like soft-boiled eggs, cooked beans, and salad dressing) to keep stocked in your fridge.

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You'll have all the puzzle pieces to a week's worth of summery, ready-in-a-flash dinners (or lunches). Read on for a shopping list, a weekend prep checklist, and to see how all of your hard works pays off in five distinct meals.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

Your Shopping List

Organized by when you'll be using the ingredients throughout the week

  • 3 pounds spring onions, pearl onions, or other smallish onions (enough for a 3-times batch of the recipe)
  • Scant 4 1/2 pounds cherry, grape, and/or Sun Gold tomatoes (enough for a 3-times batch of the recipe)
  • 1 loaf of toast-appropriate bread
  • A dozen eggs
  • Ricotta
  • Shrimp (or go with tofu, tempeh, or a different type of seafood)
  • 1 red onion
  • A couple ears of corn (get extra if you'd like to serve it alongside the bean salad; otherwise, pick up some small potatoes)
  • Basil
  • Corn tortillas
  • Dried or canned beans
  • Parmesan, pecorino, or other hard cheese for garnishing pasta
  • Salad greens
  • 2 white onions
  • 1 medium or 2 small eggplant
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 3 summer squash

We're assuming you've got garlic, olive oil, kosher salt, cider vinegar, sugar, dried pasta. If not, stock up on those as well.

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Your Weekend Prep

  • Roast those tomatoes and onions! They're your stars. If you're feeding a big family, consider quadrupling (rather than tripling) the recipe. Do be sure to get all of the juices into the storage container, too (to ease this process, line the sheet with parchment paper before you start cooking).
69df02c2 45fb 42d7 969a 2ae76b088f8f  untitled 13 of 29

Roasted Tomatoes and Onions on Toast

5dd58b70 52d5 415a 8478 ba9053b33e62  kenzi Kenzi Wilbur
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Serves 3 to 4
  • 1 pound spring onions (or pearl onions, or other smallish onions)
  • scant 1 1/2 pounds cherry, grape, and/or sungold tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 to 5 big cloves of garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 to 5 thick slices of country bread
  • Herbs for garnish, optional (I like basil or thyme)
Go to Recipe
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  • Blend the basil oil, which should last for about 3 days.
  • Prep your favorite (or your easiest) salad dressing.
  • Cook beans, if making from dried.
  • If you bought potatoes for the bean salad, boil those, too (or roast them, if you'd prefer).

watch it come together!

Photo by Bobbi Lin

More details:

  • On toast: On Monday, gently rewarm the roasted vegetables on the stovetop. Meanwhile, toast or fry your bread, then use a peeled, halved garlic clove to give it a good rub-down. Smear ricotta over the bread, then spoon the warm tomatoes and onions over top. Perch a halved soft-boiled egg on top, followed by torn basil.
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Tacos: On Tuesday, sauté or roast shrimp (or prepare tempeh, tofu, or fish); strip the kernels from the corn (use it raw or sauté with a couple tablespoons of butter or oil); and warm or char the tortillas. Along with the pickled onions, basil oil, and leftover tomatoes and onions (brought to room temperature), you're all set for tacos.
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Big ole' bean salad: On Wednesday, mix the roasted 'maters and onions with your cooked beans. Coat with basil oil, then add extra raw tomatoes to freshen things up, along with whatever crunchy vegetables you have in the fridge (cucumber, bell pepper, carrots, radishes). Serve with boiled, steamed, or grilled corn (if you have some leftover from last night); the boiled or roasted potatoes; and/or lightly-dressed greens.
  • Pasta: On Thursday, get out the blender! Blend a cup or two of the roasted vegetables to make a sauce, then transfer to a saucepan over low heat and add a couple tablespoons of butter. Meanwhile, boil pasta! When the pasta is al dente, add it to the roasted tomato sauce, along with a few tablespoons of pasta water, and toss together. Mix in lots of fresh herbs (leftover basil from earlier in the week; mint or parsley if you have those in the fridge) and shower with cheese. Serve with a green salad on the side.
Alice Waters' Ratatouille

Alice Waters' Ratatouille by Genius Recipes

Menemen (Turkish Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes and Peppers)

Menemen (Turkish Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes and Peppers) by Liv

  • Cheater's ratatouille: On Friday, you're more than halfway to ratatouille. Use Alice Waters' Genius Ratatouille as your guideline: Cook the eggplant and set it aside, then soften the onions, peppers, and squash. When the recipe instructs you to add tomatoes, use the roasted tomatoes and onions you have leftover. Then finish as directed. Serve with toasted bread and remaining soft-boiled eggs, or orzo, if you prefer.
  • And one last freebie if you're still looking at leftovers (lucky you!): Make spicy and soft Turkish-style eggs: Follow this recipe for menemen, but replace the tomatoes with your roasted tomatoes and onions.
Roasted tomatoes and onions—and all of their prosperous children.
Roasted tomatoes and onions—and all of their prosperous children. Photo by Bobbi Lin

You've just done such honor to the summer's cutest tomatoes and onions—and to the constraints of your time-crunched weeknights.

Ready for more recipes to big-batch over the weekend?

Here are a few more of our favorites:

Let These Spicy Chickpeas Feed You Dinner for the Whole Week

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Make More Creamed Greens than You Think You Need (Your Dinners Will Thank You)

Make More Creamed Greens than You Think You Need (Your Di... by Lindsay-Jean Hard

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A Full-Throttle Steak Salad & 8 Ways It’ll Save Dinnertime

A Full-Throttle Steak Salad & 8 Ways It’ll Save Dinnertime by Ali Slagle

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Make a Dozen Soy Sauce Eggs, Eat Them Morning, Noon & Night

Make a Dozen Soy Sauce Eggs, Eat Them Morning, Noon & Night by Amanda Sims

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How do you prep on the weekend to outsmart the pressure of the week ahead? Tell us in the comments below!