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Roasted chicken and potatoes, fragrant with garlic and lemon . . . on a weeknight? Yes! The key is to butterfly the chicken so it can lie flat on the baking sheet, which helps it roast faster. The beauty of this recipe is that it only requires a few minutes of your attention.
The best thing about a crisp or crumble is that it’s a quick and easy dessert that you can toss together with any fruit you have on hand. Small berries can be thrown in whole; larger ones, like strawberries, are better cut in half. Stone fruits, like plums, peaches, and apricots, need to be pitted and sliced into bite-sized pieces. You can also use frozen fruit, as long as you thaw it first and drain the liquid. You might try adding a little vanilla, ginger, or grated citrus zest to the fruit for added zing. Or use some “pie spices” like cinnamon, allspice, and cardamom in the topping.
Dry pasta is cooked right in the sauce, a timesaving and delicious trick Italian grandmothers use to infuse the pasta with lots of flavor. Choose a favorite variety (such as shells, penne, or fusilli) that cooks in about eight to 12 minutes. After the pasta has cooked, you may choose to fold in a spoonful of pesto, top the meal with a fried egg for added protein, or drizzle it with balsamic vinegar.
A chopped salad makes everyone happy, as each bite is full of different flavors and textures. Try to cut everything the same size and use equal amounts of all the vegetables until they are humming in contented harmony — and no one veggie gets to yell too loud. You can double or triple the recipe and store it, undressed, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least four days.