January can be all about fresh starts and new beginnings, but one thing hasn’t changed for us: how much we cook. From cozy comfort meals to tide us through the coldest weeks to bright treats that spotlight the best of seasonal citrus, here’s the rundown of our favorite recipes we cooked this week—outside of work.
Cheesy, Garlicky Greens
I wanted a simple meal but one with a little depth. With my son still visiting from college (those winter breaks are long, but I’m not complaining!), I marinated a steak in a little soy, brown sugar, lime, olive oil, and salt and made a double helping of Chris Morocco’s Garlic-and-Parmesan-Braised Greens. You split a head of garlic, throw it cut side down in the pot with some onions, salt, and pepper. After a quick sauté, you add the greens of your choice. I used collards, but kale or chard would work too. The recipe calls for grated Parmesan at the end, but I opted for a rind, which I put in about 20 minutes after I added broth (instead of water). It added oomph without overwhelming the greens. Delish! —Dawn Davis, editor in chief
Spicy Coconut Mussels With Lemongrass
“I got almost three pounds of mussels for $12,” my boyfriend excitedly texted me on Sunday evening, reporting live from Eataly. Besides their quick cook time and the fun that comes with eating them, mussels are also perhaps the best deal at the seafood counter. Last time we made this Melissa Clark recipe, the sauce was so good that we ate the huge pot alongside a baguette. This time we threw a generous helping of cooked rice and greens into the remaining sauce and ate every last spicy, coconutty bite. As per usual, I went light on the garlic and shallots (thank you, allium-sensitive tummy) and tossed in some mint leaves for a fresh bite. —Kate Kassin, editorial operations associate
Dinner-Party-Worthy Short Ribs
A friend and I hosted a casual dinner party over the long weekend, and we built our menu around Sohui Kim’s red wine and soy–braised short ribs. After giving the massive pile of beautifully marbled, flanken-style ribs a good sear, we let them simmer all day as we cooked some apps, sides, and desserts. All the while, the intoxicating aroma swirled around us like a tease, a promise of good things to come. The recipe calls for you to add chunks of daikon to the pot an hour before it’s done, that soak up color and flavor from the sauce as they become tender; I threw in some carrots too, for good measure. By the time I was serving dinner, the meat slipped eagerly off the bone as I pulled each piece out of the pot and onto its bed of root vegetable mash. Paired with a salad of citrus and chicories, it was the perfect meal to enjoy with friends on a cold evening. —Alaina Chou, commerce producer
Sheet-Pan Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
I’m a creature of habit so all I ever cook these days are Hetty McKinnon’s Tomato and Egg Drop Noodle Soup or this Curried Lentil, Tomato, and Coconut Soup: It’s cold, everyone’s sick, and they’re fast. But this week I added Ali Slagle’s sheet-pan grilled cheese sandwiches to the table, and honestly? I don’t think I’ll ever go back to making grilled cheese on the stove. The ability to cook four sandwiches at once—and hands-off at that!—is key, and you get the crispy exterior and lacy edges that all the best grilled cheeses have. —Sonia Chopra, executive editor
Long and Slow Braised Lamb
While the controversy about gas stoves escalated this week, I turned my attention to the oven function of my range when I made Rebekah Peppler’s Seven-Hour Braised Leg of Lamb. I love how it makes the apartment smell: herbaceous and gamey, with some floral notes from the rosé in which it is braised. In time it takes to cook, I can run errands, read a book, or catch up with friends. Note: The time varies depending on the size. You’ll want a thermometer. Peppler, the author of À Table: Recipes for Cooking + Eating the French Way, entertains a lot in her Parisian apartment, which explains why this is a crowd pleaser for those lamb lovers who want every Sunday to feel like a holiday. —D.D.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
There are a lot of Reese’s lovers in my life so when I came across these cookies when flipping through the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook, I knew I had to make them ASAP. Though I was worried about the logistics (sometimes you just want an easy cookie, ya know?) these were way more simple than I’d guessed. The resulting not-too-sweet, deeply chocolaty, peanut butter–filled treats will definitely be added to my regular rotation. —S.C.
Saucy, Speedy Teriyaki Chicken
I’m trying to get better at cooking meals on weekdays, and this Supremely Easy Teriyaki Chicken lived up to its name. I made some tweaks based on how I like to eat: Cornstarch went directly onto the bite-sized raw chicken pieces for some crispiness, along with salt and a dash of white pepper instead of black. I also didn’t feel like making any other dish, so when the chicken was done and sauced up, I threw in a bunch of spinach that looked like it might be on its last day to get in some veg. Do not skip the part where the recipe says to leave the chicken undisturbed for a while. I poured the sweet and sticky result all over a bowl of rice and congratulated myself for actually getting food on the table. —Serena Dai, editorial director
Saucy, Spicy Pantry Noodles
I was having one of those evenings where my fridge was especially sparse, but I didn’t have the stamina for a full restock grocery trip. These Gochujang-Sesame Noodles were the move: All I grabbed from the store was some broccoli and basil to make it happen, and the rest of the ingredients I was lucky to already have in my pantry. I also added some medium-firm tofu for pockets of creaminess—didn’t even bother slicing them into pretty cubes, just crumbled it directly into the pan. It was exactly the spicy, saucy, accidentally vegan meal that I needed, and the leftovers carried me for days. —Antara Sinha, associate cooking editor
Sonoran-Style Potato-Cheese Soup
In my house, post-holiday season is also high soup season. This year I kicked it off with this popular Mexican-style soup from Epicurious. Mild green chiles add earthy warmth while cherry tomatoes, added at the end of cooking, lend pops of brightness. The recipe calls for summer squash, but I swapped it out for frozen okra, which is a great thickener for all kinds of vegetable soups. There’s also heft from potatoes, but the surprise star is cheese, which just warms up in the ladled-over broth. It’s the kind of cheese that doesn’t melt under heat, instead adding satisfyingly chewy bits that make this soup feel like a whole meal. —Joe Sevier, editor, SEO & cooking
Saag With Homemade Paneer
I’ve made this recipe so many times, but always with feta, Priya Krishna’s swap of choice for the classic paneer. Farokh Talati’s gorgeous guide to making paneer from scratch inspired me to switch it up. After straining and pressing, the cheese was sliceable yet tender. Bonus: You end up with lots of tangy whey. Talati always keeps this golden liquid, pouring it “in place of stock or water in cooking, particularly dals and curries.” I did just that for the saag, using it to thin out the spinach sauce. With a mountain of fluffy rice, it was a dream dinner (and even better lunch the next day). —Emma Laperruque, senior cooking editor
Cheesy White Bean-Tomato Bake
I recently moved across the country, but all of our stuff is still stuck in a truck somewhere between New York City and Salt Lake City. Womp. This means I have just one Amazon-ordered pan to cook with for the foreseeable future. Lucky for me (and you), recipe developer and cookbook author Ali Slagle gets the appeal—and necessity—of one-pot meals. Earlier this week, I spent less than 30 minutes whipping up these extremely comforting, mozzarella-blanketed baked beans from NYT Cooking. I added pearl couscous to the mix for heft and sliced green beans for health. The result was a bubbly, ugly-delicious pile of savory mush that, yes, I ate with the same disposable fork I have been fastidiously rewashing for a week. —Ali Francis, staff writer
Savory, Garlicky Eggs
To make this çilbir-inspired recipe more weekday-breakfast-friendly, I have to confess that I don’t poach, but instead frizzle the eggs until the edges are browned and lacy and the yolk is just set. Creamy Greek yogurt, brown butter, crisped garlic, and a smattering of fresh herbs—all scooped up with fried bread—make for a savory, craveable breakfast that I turn to again and again. —A.S.
Sometimes I get a craving so distinct and persuasive I have no choice but to follow through with making that fantasy a reality. That’s why I cooked Veselka’s Famous Borscht on New Year’s Day. The vinegar makes for a delightfully zingy broth, and the vibrant fuschia color is pleasing. Also you can discover what “beet water” is since making that is one step in the recipe. Definitely a project, so plan ahead—but oh baby, this project delivers. Top with a big dollop of sour cream before serving. Almost as good as being back on Second Avenue. Almost. —Jen Choi, print editor
Warming, Wholesome Lentil Soup
As a part-time vegetarian who is overly enthusiastic about (1) green curry and (2) lentils, I cannot believe I had never cooked Christina Chaey’s Green Curry Lentil Soup until last night. I’m so glad I got around to it because I have a feeling this recipe will snag a spot in my weeknight rotation. Green curry paste combined with savory veggie broth makes for richly layered flavors that could fool you into thinking it’s simmered for hours—but it takes just 30 minutes. I like my soup slightly thicker in consistency, so I used three cups of broth instead of four. The final addition of coconut milk adds a satisfying boost of richness. It’s warming; it’s wholesome; it’s January; and this soup makes me feel like a new person. —Zoe Denenberg, associate SEO editor
Easy, Weeknight-Friendly Fettuccine
With such a small ingredient list, Genevieve Ko’s Chile Crisp Fettuccine Alfredo from NYT Cooking is a recipe I know I’ll go back to again and again. I halved the quantities to feed my smaller family, but left the spinach the same so there was enough vegetable matter to skip a side dish altogether. —E.L.
Riffable One-Skillet Chicken
After traveling for the holiday and flying home during one of the busiest weekends of the year, I wanted something simple yet homemade for dinner, and a dish that wouldn’t require shopping. I decided to riff on our One-Skillet Chicken With Buttery Orzo. Using the recipe as blueprint, I improvised. First, I topped the chicken with lemon zest about halfway through roasting it, adding bright, citrusy fragrance. I used shallots instead of leeks and skipped the fennel as I didn’t have any. Instead I took a bunch of kale and roasted half for texture and threw the other half in with the orzo. This was so good—we were fighting over the toasted orzo stuck to the bottom of the pan. —D.D.
Roasted Squash Sandwich
This vibrant vegetarian sandwich inspired me to finally use the butternut squash that had been sitting on my counter, glaring at me, for weeks. Especially if you roast the squash and pickle the onion in advance, this is a no-brainer weeknight dinner. Potato chips on the side are listed as optional, but in my home they are absolutely mandatory. —E.L.