I moved into a new apartment a little over two weeks ago, and as anyone who’s ever moved knows, the process involves eating a lot of takeout—all your knives are in boxes, you don’t have any groceries, and you’re working in an unfamiliar, not-yet-home kitchen. It’s a solid excuse for the first week or so post-move, but by now, I’m more or less settled into my new place. However, I’m still finding it hard to break the ol’ Doordash habit.
So, this week, I wanted to pick recipes that would get me cooking again. The main objective? Keep the stakes as low as possible: The recipes will be easy. The ingredients will be (relatively) few. Almost everything will be cheap, vegetarian, and rely on lots of pantry staples. I know these descriptors don’t sound exciting—that’s because they’re not—but they’re the kind of recipes that are ultimately the most reliable and comforting. Here’s what I’m making.
It’s supposedly going to be rainy and 70 degrees out on Monday, which is cold enough for me to start LARP-ing autumn. And the best way to do that is, obviously, with a grilled cheese and tomato soup. Here’s my dilemma, though: Every can of tomato soup I’ve tried sucks. (Is there one that doesn’t suck? Please tell me what it is in the comments!) I guess that’s the price of ease, and if I want a really good tomato soup, I’ll have to work for it. This version looks as simple as homemade can be, and while I resent that I will have to take out my blender, I suspect it will be worth it.
As a “zillennial” whose student loan repayments are restarting next month, I can’t afford to luxuriate in fancy proteins like “fish” and “beef” on a daily basis. Instead, I make variations of what I refer to as vegetarian slop—usually some combination of alliums + legumes + vegetables, plus whatever else is floating around my kitchen. A can of crushed tomatoes? Sure. The last bit of soy chorizo from the back of my fridge? Why not. This recipe from Rebecca Firkser is like the most evolved, polished version of this formula, and I’m excited to try it with the half-full bag of Rancho Gordo beans sitting in my pantry.
Wednesday is a good night for pizza, but I never have the foresight to start my dough the day ahead (which, IMO, always yields the tastiest result). I usually just keep Trader Joe’s dough in my freezer and use that, but this recipe from Ella Quittner seems to offer a good middle ground. For toppings, I’ll probably keep it simple with tomato sauce, fresh mozz, chopped Calabrian chiles, and maybe a drizzle of honey.
I’m intrigued by this braised cabbage situation from Sohla El-Waylly, and it seems like an especially good choice for when I’m having a friend or two over for dinner. I like that the cabbage is cut into large wedges and seared like a cut of meat—it makes the meal feel like more of an occasion. If I’m feeling really ambitious, I might make a simple cake for dessert (like this lime-and-sumac olive oil cake that’s always a hit).
It’s Friday, which means my willpower is low, and whatever I make needs to be really, really easy. This dish from Ali Slagle should do the trick. It’s a true one-pot meal (you don’t even need to boil the water for the tortellini—you just sear it directly in olive oil) and comes together in 10 minutes. My one caveat is that I do not like peas (sue me), so I will be replacing them with another healthful, green ingredient. Broccoli, maybe? Kale? Who knows.
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