Easy Dinner Ideas for Tonight

Oh, September. You are madness. You are back-to-school and back-to-work after August laze and Labor Day. You are crisp new notebooks and backpacks. You are closed-toe shoes. You are calendars cross-referenced, car pools arranged, nut-free lunches assembled.

Figuring out dinner every day is already a chore, but in hectic September, it can be a trial.

I write a New York Times Cooking newsletter called Five Weeknight Dishes, with five recipes for busy people who still want something good to eat. (Sign up for it here.) And so, in honor of September, I’ve picked 100 dinner recipes I think you should try this year, ideas that make it easy to eat deliciously.

All 100 recipes are straightforward, and many need only 30 minutes to make. None take more than an hour, and if they do take that long, most of the time is hands-off. I kept kids in mind when I picked these recipes, but the truth is that no matter where you are in life, September has a way of sweeping us all. I hope you find dishes here to love, and that you put them on repeat all year long.

Miso-Honey Chicken and Asparagus. These boneless chicken thighs broil instead of bake, which cuts the cooking time to about 10 minutes. That miso-honey marinade is good enough to sip from a spoon.

Sticky Coconut Chicken and Rice. In this one-pot meal, chicken and rice cook together in a coconut-milk bath.

Baked Mustard-Herb Chicken Legs. This is the chicken recipe you need to make everyone happy. Swap in mayo for the mustard if you like.

Tajín Grilled Chicken. The chile-lime jolt of Tajín is sublime sprinkled on mango and watermelon; as a rim on a margarita, it’s unsurpassed. It’s also an excellent spice mix for chicken (and seafood, too).

Chicken Katsu. Schnitzel, Milanese, katsu — all are breaded, pan-fried cutlets, and very lovable at that. Katsu is a Japanese staple, served with tonkatsu sauce.

Vegetable Pulao. Cardamom, cinnamon, cumin and turmeric flavor this cozy, simple-to-cook dinner.

Kimchi Fried Rice. There’s butter in this fried rice, which makes for particularly luscious results. I love this recipe.

Miso-Glazed Fish. This couldn’t be easier or more foolproof.

Hot-Sauce Shrimp. A stunningly simple move: Toss shrimp in a bowl with hot sauce and butter. I keep shrimp in the freezer to make it.

Salmon Croquettes. These fish cakes make use of an underrated pantry staple: tinned salmon. But you can use freshly cooked or leftover salmon if you like. Serve with tartar sauce, hot sauce or both.

Coconut Curry Fish. This staple dish leans on Jamaican curry powder for its powerful flavor and hue.

Sheet-Pan Fish Tikka With Spinach. The star of this smart recipe is vibrant tikka marinade, which flavors both fish and greens.

Vegetable Pajeon (Korean Scallion Pancakes With Vegetables). Make these crisp-rimmed pancakes with whatever vegetables you have on hand, even leftovers.

Soy-Braised Tofu With Bok Choy. This recipe is a weeknight staple at my house, a speedy and savory braise that can take any vegetable you throw at it.

Sabich Bowls. The signature elements of sabich, the Israeli sandwich made with eggplant, hummus, tahini sauce and boiled egg, are just as good funneled into bowl form. Chickpeas step in for the traditional hummus.

Bean and Cheese Burritos. For any tweens in your life who recently turned vegetarian, and for anyone else in your home who loves the salty smush of refried beans.

Plantains With Jammy Tomatoes and Eggs. Tomatoes and eggs are a popular pair the world over; this particular recipe is inspired by a version you’ll find in Lagos, Nigeria, using firm plantains.

Eggs Kejriwal. I’ve made this dish of spicy eggs on toast with many different kinds of bread (even bagels), and it always works. The combination of mustard, Cheddar and chile pops.

Gyeran Bap (Egg Rice). Now part of my regular cooking routine.

Chilaquiles. For transcendent chilaquiles, fry or bake tortillas to make the chips yourself. For fast chilaquiles, buy the chips. It’ll still be good.

Çilbir (Turkish Eggs With Yogurt). The dinner eggs of my dreams.

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The average American consumed about 14.3 pounds of yogurt in 2021. And is that any surprise? This dairy product is remarkably versatile—you can use it as a base for your morning bowl of granola, as a convenient portable snack for work, as a healthy dessert, or even as a base for a homemade salad dressing or marinade. Plus, nowadays, there are more options than ever to choose from, from Greek to Icelandic skyr, full-fat to non-fat, and high-protein to lactose-free. […]
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