Weeknight Kitchen with Melissa Clark takes on one of the biggest dilemmas of busy people: what are we going to eat? In each episode, you’ll join Melissa in her own home kitchen, working through one of her favorite recipes and offering helpful advice for both beginners and seasoned cooks. It’s a practical guide for weeknight eating, from the makers of The Splendid Table.
This dish is on regular rotation in my house, especially on nights when we don’t think we have much on hand to prepare and eat. It relies heavily on pantry staples, with the chard being the only fresh ingredient needed. Feel free to substitute the chard with cooked nettles, beet greens, mustard greens, turnip or kohlrabi greens, or a mixture of any and all.
Herby salsas are much loved in Catalan cooking, so, inspired by a recent trip to Barcelona, I’ve embellished this chicken and these rich, stock-cooked potatoes with a vibrant nutty number.
I had this soup in a market in Zanzibar. It was one of those moments that catches you off guard. A seemingly simple potato soup, but it really is much more than the sum of its parts. So understated but it really delivers. This is my memory of the version I had. You can also add fried peanuts or a hard-boiled egg. I don’t remember the soup being spicy, but you could add a chilli or two to the pot to simmer along. The roasted peanuts without salt are worth seeking out as they work really well here but are also great in salads and for general snacking.
I had yet to eat a turkey burger that didn’t taste dry—until I made these. Not only are they not dry thanks to the dark turkey meat and fat from both the oil and the feta, but they are crave-worthy, with puddles of feta, garlic, and greens throughout. And don’t worry about biting into a piece of raw kale—we cook it down with garlic and olive oil so it practically melts right in. These burgers are an easy and tasty dinner all year round, served on burger buns or over rice, or simply paired with salad or veggies.
This is my take on the classic black and blue steak salad that I enjoyed back in my steak-eating days, but I use mushrooms as a substitute. Mushrooms have this “meaty” texture going on and once they absorb whatever marinade or sauce you cook them in, it really helps to bring out their umami flavors. They become so flavorful and juicy and are perfect on top of this familiar classic. Every time Alex eats this salad, he always says “Mmm!” Which as you know is one of the biggest compliments. Mushrooms are one of his faves and he loves it when I prepare them this way.
A hearty, warming meal, the gnocchi here are baked and topped with a crunchy breadcrumb or pangratatto topping, making for a satisfying mix of creaminess and crunch. Ready-made gnocchi have become widely available, and most types are vegan, but check the ingredients just in case.
Dates add a wonderful sweetness to this simple dinner in which your protein and veggies are cooked in one pan.
This dish is the star of thickening sauces. At the end of cooking this meal you will have a mouthwatering sauce, but it will need to be thickened. Once you learn this skill, you’ll never look back.
This dish comes together very quickly, so make sure you prep everything before sautéing the chicken.
If you’ve never had red beans and rice before, let me warn you that you just might become addicted to it. When you cook this dish, the house will smell amazing, and you will be eager to dig in every minute you wait for it to be finished. Make this with Honey Jalapeño Cornbread and thank me later.
I’m a believer in low-key meals that still feel glorious and indulgent, and here each bite of cod feels more luxurious than the last, but the work is minimal. When you want to celebrate the smallest of achievements, like learning to change a tire or finishing a book, this is the meal, boos. I don’t know anyone with a pulse who doesn’t love garlic butter—a golden ticket to a surere flavorful meal. This is a great recipe to have in your back pocket if you’re hosting a small dinner party and want to save your energy for playing host. And while you wait, pour yourself a glass of wine, make a cocktail, or just kick it.