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Dinner This Week: Simple Pre-Holiday Dinners

By Keith Dresser Published

This week’s menus include Garlicky Spaghetti with Lemon, Tuscan Bean Stew, and Tomato, Bacon, and Garlic Omelet for dinner in about an hour.

With only a few days left before Thanksgiving, we realize it's crunch time for many cooks. So we've put together three recipe pairings, each with an entree and a side, that don't require a lot of advanced planning or many ingredients. We've also provided ideas for subsitutions, so if you don't have an ingredient, you don't have to make a trip to a crowded supermarket. 

Dinner 1: Garlicky Spaghetti with Lemon and Leafy Green Salad

Both of the recipes in this pairing are customizable. For Garlicky Spaghetti with Lemon and Pine Nuts, the only two flavorings that we consider absolutely necessary are the garlic and extra-virgin olive oil. With those ingredients alone, you can produce a great pasta dish. The recipe works best with a long strand pasta, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. The Parmesan and pine nuts add richness and texture, but other cheeses (try Pecorino Romano) and nuts (we like slivered almonds), are good, too. The Leafy Green Salad  can also be adapted. Feel free to use any type of vinegar in the dressing, but make sure to stick with a 4:1 ratio of oil to acid. 

Shopping Lists: Garlicky Spaghetti with Lemon and Leafy Green Salad

Equipment Review Garlic Presses

Sure, you can mince garlic with a knife, but a good garlic press makes the job faster and easier. 

Dinner 2: Tuscan Bean Stew and Garlic Bread

Quick Hearty Tuscan Bean Stew is a simple, hearty, one-pot dinner fortified with garlic and rosemary. There are a couple of ingredients that can be substituted to suit what you have on hand. Pancetta may be traditional, but bacon is fine, as is Italian sausage. No cannellini beans? Most types of canned beans will work here; some of our favorites are great Northern, navy, and pinto. Parmesan and Asiago Cheese Garlic Bread starts with toasting the garlic, which helps to mellow its flavor. We like a 50:50 blend of Asiago and Parmesan, but feel free to use just one or the other or another hard grating cheese, like Pecorino Romano. A loaf of supermarket Italian bread, which has a soft, thin crust and a fine crumb, works best here.

Printable Shopping Lists: Tuscan Bean Stew and Garlic Bread

Equipment Review Rimmed Baking Sheets

A rimmed baking sheet is essential for sheet cakes and handy for cookies. But if yours is flimsy or you use it only for baking, you’re not getting your money’s worth.

Dinner 3: Omelet with Tomato and Bacon and Home Fries

Breakfast for dinner starts with our Family-Sized Tomato, Bacon, and Garlic Omelet. Feel free to change up the filling to use what you have on hand, aiming for about ½ cup filling total. We like the spicy kick provided by pepper Jack cheese, but another good melting cheese can be swapped in. Our oven-cooked Home Fries are best with russet potatoes, but other varieties of potatoes can be substituted in a pinch. No matter what type of potato you use, don’t skip the baking soda: It's critical for the best texture.

Printable Shopping Lists: Omelet with Tomato and Bacon and Home Fries


View more weeknight dinner ideas below, or check out all of the Dinner This Week menus.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.