There's a Whole Month of Meals Between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here Are Easy Dinner Ideas For When the Leftovers Run Out. – Willamette Week
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Around this time of year, it’s easy to get tunnel vision in the kitchen.
On the one end, there’s Thanksgiving, which casts such a large shadow that it ends up eclipsing every meal that comes before it, with Christmas also looming on the other side. Often, the hope is to stretch leftovers far enough to make it from one holiday to another without the burden of having to clear brain space to think about all the dinners in between.
Of course, everyone knows that tupperware full of turkey with a small mound of turkey and stuffing plopped in the corner won’t make it longer than maybe two lunches. But year after year, we convince ourselves that Turkey Day can stretch to Turkey Month, and end up scrambling to scrape together whatever we can to satisfy either the family or ourselves—or submit to the drive-thru.
It doesn’t have to be that way. In between the season’s two big eating days, there are plenty of options for tasty, comforting winter meals that don’t require blowing up the kitchen—and no, we don’t mean frozen pizza. Here are three ideas for easy weeknight dinners, with all ingredients available via Instacart from New Seasons Market:
1. Primo pasta!
Is there an easier dinner in the culinary universe than pasta? All right, sure, you can toss a Hot Pocket in the microwave and get enough sustenance to make it through the night. But if you want a fulfilling, cheap, store-bought meal that won’t have you rethinking your life in the morning—and only requires you to know your way around the kitchen enough to turn on the stove—nothing beats good, old fashioned, Italian-style noodles and sauce. Where things can get overwhelming is choosing the right combination of noodles and sauce. New Seasons Market stocks a slew of recognizable pasta brands, including Montebello, De Lallo and De Cecco, but don’t overlook the store’s own: Made in traditional Piedmont style by Portland-based Rallenti fresh pasta (not dried), it’s gluten-free but you’d never know it. Pair it with Truff’s elegant black truffle pomodoro sauce, and you’ll have a trattoria-quality meal on your TV tray, and all you really had to do was boil water.
Even better: all dried pasta and jarred sauces at New Seasons are half off the first week of December.
2. Sensational soup!
In the grey and rainy months—which in Portland constitutes 75 percent of the year—it’s possible to live entirely on soup. It freezes easily and lasts forever, so the amount you can consume is limited only by your access to Mason jars. New Seasons Market has dozens of simple soup recipes on its website, from seafood stew to clam chowder to tom kha gai. But on a cold Tuesday, nothing hits like classic chicken noodle. This “sniffle buster” recipe couldn’t be easier to whip up: toss chicken breast, garlic, carrots, onions, kale, pasta and herbs into a large pot of chicken stock, simmer for roughly 20 minutes, and prepare to hibernate.
3. Superstar sauces!
It takes no more than a few minutes and a single skillet or pot to cook up a dinner of veggies and rice, but let’s be honest: By themselves, there’s hardly anything more boring. Thankfully, they’re just as easy to elevate from basic to bombastic—all you need is the right sauce. There are several that’ll do the job, including Maya Kaimal’s various Indian simmer sauces (like this Kashmiri Curry) and Cafe Yumm’s alternately smokey and tangy dips and dresses. Your local New Seasons also carries jars of a local classic: Nong’s world-beating khao mon ghai sauce, a knee-melting cocktail of ginger, chili and garlic WW once deemed one of the 12 Wonders of Portland Food.
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