10 Simple, Comforting Recipes for Dinner Tonight

Including 30-minute sheet-pan chicken thighs with magic spice.

October 26, 2018
Photo by Ty Mecham

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm an introvert and a homebody. Friday night to Sunday is this precious pause of time and space; I get to catch up with a close friend or two and cuddle with my dog, Quentin, who spends most of her days alone while I'm at work. The weekend is a gift we don't take lightly.

But it’s a cycle: Sunday afternoon hits, and you start thinking about all the fun things you didn't get to this weekend. Then Sunday evening rolls around, and that Monday-morning meeting looms just a little larger with every passing hour. Before you know it, the weekend is gone...forever. It's the “Sunday Scaries,” as some people like to call that sudden surge of dread (and by “some people,” yes, I mean me).

In times like these, I like to turn, of course, to the kitchen. It helps to have a couple of simple, reliable dinners on hand—a warm and cozy stew, some crispy chicken thighs with white rice, or a plate of creamy risotto with shrimp, maybe. Protein and carbs, essentially, to ensure that you're fully fueled for the week ahead.

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Certain recipes can become ritual in and of themselves. This time of year, and especially on Sundays, I love making my chicken thighs with Magic Spice Blend. I bake off a whole sheet pan of them, have a couple for dinner, and find joy in knowing that I have food to pack for lunch throughout the workweek. And there's immense comfort not just in the eating, but in the cooking as well.

This kind of cooking is, for me, a reliable way to give the weekend a proper send-off and ease into the week ahead. I appreciate the calmness of chopping vegetables and stirring them into butter, standing by the stove with a good book, waiting for a crust to bake or a stew to thicken. Quiet activities that force me to spend time in the kitchen, where I’m most myself.

For this and more, I've gathered ten dinner menu ideas that are at once warm, soul-satisfying, and relaxing to cook. Dishes that I love eating, on Sunday and every day.

10 Dinners for Tonight

What do you like to cook to ward off the Sunday Scaries? Let us know in the comments below.

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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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Eric Kim is a Senior Editor at Food52, where his weekly solo dining column, Table for One, runs every Friday morning. Formerly the Digital Manager at Food Network, he writes about food, travel, and culture and lives in a tiny shoebox in Manhattan with his dog, Quentin "Q" Compson. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can follow him on Twitter @ericjoonho.


BerryBaby October 20, 2018
Definitely making your chicken recipe...looks delicious! On Halloween I make a pot of chili. We can eat between doorbell rings...but it's usually really busy for 2 hours straight with Trick or Treaters! Then tapers off for another one snd a half.
Always popcorn on Halloween, that is tradition. Something about the smell of fresh popcorn that takes me back to 1960 Halloween. Many people gave out little bags with fresh, warm popcorn or homemade popcorn balls. 👻🎃
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Eric K. October 21, 2018
Thanks for sharing, BerryBaby! Love hearing about your Halloween traditions. We used to make caramel corn before trick-or-treating.
Sharon October 28, 2018
OMG, BerryBaby, I just went into reverie. When we were kids, our mom used to make her delicious caramel popcorn balls to give out to all the trick-or-treaters. My brothers and I would help her wrap them in Saran wrap and tie them with an orange ribbon. Of course, that was way back when we knew all of our neighbors, and delighted in receiving homemade goodies from our playmates' moms. Despite all the injustices and problems our country faced and had to solve, we all felt safe and loved within our neighborhoods and communities. Thanks for the memories. We're gonna make it.