Next Week's Meal Plan

5 Easy Dinners That Are Comforting and Summery at the Same Time

published Jun 13, 2020
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Credit: From Right to Left: Joe Lingeman & Jesse Szewczyk, Joe Lingeman, Faith Durand, Joe Lingeman

Like a lot of you, I’ve been having a pretty tough quarantine. A few weeks ago, my amazing and ridiculously funny father suddenly passed away. I’ve sadly learned that grieving during this pandemic is impossibly hard. My husband and I also dealt with a week-long WiFi outage, a broken oven, and a small-but-unfortunate mouse infestation in the silverware drawer. Plus, there’s the endlessly terrible news cycle, and I am shocked and saddened by the violence and racism that persists in our country.

These big and small issues have been taking up a lot of my mental headspace, and while I don’t have a lot of energy for much else, I am strangely finding solace in meal planning. It gives me a rhythm I’m craving in a time where it’s hard to have any semblance of order.

So I spent the morning planning a menu of summer-y meals that will make my husband and I feel just a little bit better. I can’t control a lot of things going on right now, but I can try to make what’s on my plate feel a little more comforting. Here is what I’m making this week, after I donate to Black Visions Collective and sign this petition.

Credit: Joe Lingeman; Jesse Szewczyk

Monday: Creamy Ricotta Pasta with Broccoli

A brighter, more seasonally appropriate take on classic mac and cheese, this pasta dish is creamy, citrusy, and oh-so-easy to pull together on a Monday night. I love it with broccoli, but I’m thinking about swapping in sliced cherry tomatoes instead. Bonus: This dish also results in lots of leftovers, which I can eat right out of the fridge for weekday lunches.

Recipe: Creamy Ricotta Pasta with Broccoli

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Tuesday: Rotisserie Chicken Tacos

Taco nights were my favorite when I was growing up. (Every so often, my dad would hold his hand over the sour cream and he’d ask, “Does this feel hot to you?” I’d hold my hand over it and he’d smash it into the bowl. I do not know why I fell for it every single time.) And my husband would eat an entire rotisserie chicken on his own if I let him, so I know this will be a “crowd” pleaser. I’ll use the leftover meat to make a bit of chicken salad for lunches.

Recipe: Rotisserie Chicken Tacos

Credit: Faith Durand

Wednesday: Grilled Weeknight Pizza

My entire life, Pizza Night has pretty much exclusively been a Friday or Saturday kind of thing. But Faith, Kitchn’s editor-in-chief, just convinced me that grilled pizza is a perfect weeknight dinner. I’m going to pick up some dough from my local pizza joint and use a jar of Rao’s sauce, and then I’m going to use every meat and cheese I can find in my fridge/fit on the pizza. It will be Wednesday, and I’ve decided that means anything goes.

Recipe: Grilled Weeknight Pizza

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Thursday: The Easiest Cheese and Vegetable Frittata

Breakfast for dinner (and breakfast for breakfast) was my dad’s specialty. (Although he thought he was a better pancake artist than he actually was.) I’m not sure he would have liked all the veggies in this, but he would have certainly added extra cheese.

Recipe: The Easiest Cheese and Vegetable Frittata

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Friday: Burger Night

It looks like we have some gorgeous weather coming our way, and my husband and I are excited to finish out the work week and head outside. These burgers have grated butter in them to make the patties extra juicy, and I can’t wait to give them a try. My pun-loving dad would have made a silly joke about how these burgers are butter than his.

Recipe: The Juiciest Burger Patties

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