Rich, creamy Alfredo sauce is one of those little kitchen miracles: a luxurious dish that tastes decadent but comes together in mere minutes. Invented in Rome during the 1920s, it’s no surprise that this Italian classic—which requires only simple, everyday ingredients—quickly became an American staple. While Alfredo sauce is most traditionally tossed with a long tender pasta, like fettuccine, it can also serve as a versatile and easy way to add a bit of creaminess to any number of dishes. Try it drizzled over pizza in place of tomato sauce, baked into a comforting lasagna or fall casserole, or even spooned over a rustic dish of roasted vegetables. Because the recipe is so simple, all of the ingredients should be chosen with care—especially the cheese. If you can afford to, splurge for a block of full-flavored imported Parmigiano-Reggiano. And remember: pre-grated Parmesan will never yield the same depth and freshness as the hand-grated version—so this is one instance where a few minutes of extra labor yields a big payoff.
Turkey Burgers With Broccoli-Cheddar “Fries”
A big, juicy burger and pile of crispy fries is a classic pairing for a reason—but delicious as they may be, when you're trying to eat healthfully, they're not exactly something you can indulge in every night. That's why we love this smart new spin on the all-American combo, which replaces the usual all-beef patty for a leaner turkey version and cleverly swaps in crispy, cheddar-crusted broccoli “fries” for their plain potato counterparts. While some turkey burgers can be bland, or suffer from dryness, our version locks in the moisture by adding a small but crucial spoonful of mayo to the burger blend. The result: every bit as rich and delicious as the real thing.
Garlicky Skirt Steak Tacos
Let's be honest: We could happily feast on tacos every night of the week and never get bored. Indeed, one of the best things about this family favorite is it's utter versatility: Almost anything you can think of can be used as a taco filling, and often, it's the simplest and most inexpensive combinations that wind up being the most delicious. Case in point: these easy garlic-perfumed tacos starring juicy skirt steak that has been seared quickly in a skillet (no grill required!) and sliced tenderly against the grain. Sauteeing a bit of shredded napa cabbage in the pan soaks up some of the meat's savory juices and lends some sweetness and crunch. The finishing touch? A crispy, bright slaw of radishes and onion and, of course, a dollop of sour cream.
Slow-Cooker Pork Ditalini Stew
Everyone knows that slow cookers can be a lifesaver on harried days, and few cuts of meat are better suited to the device than savory pork shoulder (also known as Boston butt), which turns supremely tender after a day of low and slow simmering. A handful of baby spinach adds a pop of freshness and color to the mix—but a bag of frozen spinach or kale would work in a pinch, too. Stirring some bite-size ditalini (or any petite, short pasta) into the rich tomato and chicken stock at the end of cooking gives the dish an appealing, comforting texture and transforms it into a colorful and convenient one-pot slow cooker meal that's as perfect for a weeknight family dinner as it is for a Sunday afternoon watching the big game. Trust us, this satisfying but surprisingly light dish is going to quickly become one of your new staples.
Roasted Cod with Wilted Kale
This heart-healthy dinner option is anything but boring. Each boneless, skinless cod fillet gets baked in a crispy coating of panko, chopped garlic and fresh parsley, so it tastes like a more delicious, less oily version of fried fish. Baking the fish also frees up your hands, and ensures your kitchen is free of any fishy aromas. Pairing the cod with sautéed kale makes this a well-rounded meal, and the addition of lemon makes the popular veggie shine. In fact, you’ll be so surprised by how tasty the simple side dish is that you’ll soon be pairing it with all of your favorite proteins.
Mexican Black Beans and Rice Bowl
Think of this recipe as a healthier version of nachos, dished up in bowls. These South of the Border bowls start with a base of cooked white rice, and are then loaded with black beans, halved cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and sour cream. Canned chipotle peppers take these bowls over the top with their smoky-spicy flavor (most supermarkets carry them in the international aisle next to the canned beans). Once you’ve opened a can, you can mix the leftovers into scrambled eggs, salad dressings, and stir-fries galore. And while this Mexican meal makes a family-friendly dinner, it’s also a fantastic make-ahead lunch.
Citrus Braised Drumsticks With Parsnips
Here’s an impressive, flavorful dinner that lets the stove do most of the work. Simmering the chicken over low heat for a long time, known as braising, is a foolproof technique that yields tender, perfectly cooked meat every time. Orange juice is a brilliant braising liquid because it infuses the chicken with juicy flavor, caramelizes the parsnips, and cooks down into a tangy sauce. Lemon juice and briny olives balance out the OJ’s sweetness, and fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley adds a pop of color. This dish is great for weeknight dinners, but also makes a show-stopping dinner party meal.
Squash and Corn Chowder
Squash, corn, potatoes, and whole milk star in the base of this creamy soup, which gets topped with cheddar cheese and scallions. To remove the kernels from the cobs without scattering corn everywhere, break the cobs in half before slicing down. Doing so creates flat, sturdy bases you can place on a cutting board. But don't get rid of the cobs just yet! The cobs give the chowder its intense flavor, so instead of discarding them immediately, you’ll simmer them in the soup for about 10 minutes. Doing so extracts the milky juice inside, which thickens the soup and punches up its sweetness.
Lamb Meatballs With Dilled Carrots
These are not your average spaghetti-and-meatballs meatballs. In fact, they are more like a Greek gyro in meatball form. A mix of lamb, tangy Feta cheese, and breadcrumbs create the base of the savory bites, which are served with a refreshing dill-yogurt sauce for a cooling contrast. Not up for making meatballs on a weeknight? Make them ahead of time and re-heat when cravings strike—you can refrigerate the cooked meatballs for up to two days, or freeze for one month. Just reheat and serve with the yogurt sauce, or add to a pita with chopped cucumber for a quick, Mediterranean-inspired sandwich.