Weeknight cooking for the win: NYT Cooking has published its collection of the most popular new recipes of 2022, and at least half are dishes you can make at the end of the day without too much stress. There’s a need for that kind of cooking, and I sincerely hope we’ve helped meet that need for you.
I’ve chosen five weeknight recipes from the top 50 to share below, in no specific order. (The No. 1 recipe is a noodle dish from Kenji López-Alt’s exceptional new cookbook, “The Wok.” If you love garlic, this recipe is not to be missed.)
And finally, did you know that you can give a subscription to NYT Cooking as a gift? The perfect present for everyone on your list!
Pasta Amatriciana is a traditional Italian dish that features a sauce of guanciale (salt-cured pork jowl), tomato, pecorino romano and chiles. Some variations include onion and white wine. The final product tastes much more complex than the ingredient list would suggest: This simple pantry meal delivers deep flavours, as the bright, tangy tomato base balances the rich pork, and a mix of dried peppers adds layers of subtle heat. Guanciale can be found in Italian specialty shops or online, but pancetta is a good alternative. Bucatini is a thicker pasta with a hollow center that captures the thick sauce, but spaghetti delivers equally tasty results.
Greek Chicken With Cucumber-Feta Salad
This meal has the flavours of a Greek combination plate with chicken souvlaki, Greek salad and tzatziki, but it is streamlined for the home cook. Boneless chicken thighs are coated with herby, garlicky yogurt, then seared until tender inside and crusty and browned outside. Extra yogurt dresses cucumbers and tomatoes that have had a chance to drain with salt so they taste their most vivid. Feta and olives add briny bites to the creamy, crunchy salad, but feel free to incorporate other elements of Greek salad or tzatziki, like romaine lettuce, bell peppers, mint or dill, toasted walnuts or thinly sliced red onion. Eat with lemon potatoes or toasted pita.
Kung Pao Cauliflower
While kung pao chicken originated in China’s Sichuan province, it has become an iconic Chinese American dish. The popular stir-fry typically includes chicken, vegetables and peanuts tossed in a dark, salty, sweet and spicy sauce, but in this vegan take, cauliflower steps in for the chicken. Dark soy sauce is more caramel-flavoured and less salty than regular soy sauce, and it adds color and richness to the dish. If you don’t have dark soy, substitute with regular soy sauce or hoisin sauce. Make sure you have a lid for your skillet or wok on hand before you start cooking, as covering the cauliflower allows it to cook quicker and more evenly.
Tajín Grilled Chicken
Tajín is a Mexican seasoning made from dried, ground red chiles, sea salt and dehydrated lime juice. It is great sprinkled over fresh cut fruit like mango and pineapple, or rimmed on an ice cold margarita. But it is also an easy way to add chile and lime to your favourite grilled meats, rubs or sauces. In this dish, the lime in the Tajín balances out the sweetness from the agave syrup, while the red chiles complement the smoky flavour of the chipotles. Serve the chicken as is or on toasted hamburger buns with a schmear of mayonnaise, chopped grilled scallions, cilantro leaves and sliced pickled jalapeños. This Tajín sauce also would pair well with grilled bass, cod or salmon, or with shrimp skewers. —NYT