I don’t always look forward to making dinner, but I always look forward to eating it. Dinner is a foundation, an event that marks the turn from day to evening. Such rituals can be invaluable in February’s frequently jumbled-up muck of snow days, too-early sunsets, and too-early mornings scraping icy windshields.
To spice up winter in the humble environs here at Chez Bir, we try to think of dinners we’d normally save for special occasions, then bust them out on, say, a Wednesday. There’s no occasion like the present, right? It turns out in my family, most of our favorite meals are not labor-intensive at all. So why not load them into one fabulous week?
Splurge on a steak dinner, anticipate pizza night, cook up some wings, make takeout at home—sometimes it’s the attitude that makes something special. (It helps when the recipes are great, too!)
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Spinach-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Why do foods seem fancier when they are stuffed? This is for mushroom fans only: portobello caps stuffed with minced mushrooms cooked into a meaty-yet-meatless filling and topped with melty cheese. You can refrigerate the stuffed caps for up to two days if you love make-ahead options.
Slow Cooker Honey Buffalo Chicken Wings
Tuesday nights are Wing Nite at our favorite brewpub in town, but we’ve not been there since…well, you know. So we’re doing our own wing night! It’s relaxed and fun and there’s celery and blue cheese (or ranch) dressing aplenty. Ten minutes of prep and up to four hours in the slow cooker mean you look forward to having wings all day!
Easy Broiled Steak
Steak recipes are best when simple. In the 1950s and 60s, broiling steaks was more common, and it’s a great winter option when you can’t rally to grill in the cold. Marinate the steaks up to 24 hours, and cook in about 10 minutes. Serve it with baked potatoes and sautéed spinach.
Happy Shrimp Stir Fry
This stir-fry is slightly sweet and appealingly tangy from a secret ingredient: ketchup! Buy already-peeled shrimp and this will come together in a blaze. Add steamed rice and broccoli and it’s like takeout at home, only way lighter and a fraction of the cost.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
Spicy Sausage Pizza
Pizza party! Pizza was often a Friday thing when I was growing up: There’d be a sleepover, or a celebratory we-made-it-to-the-weekend thrill. Make your own dough or use store-bought, and whip up a hot honey dipping sauce for the crust. A pizza stone makes it crispy, but a cookie sheet works just fine, too.
Weekend Baking: How to Make Homemade Chocolate Truffles
Yes, yes, we know truffles don’t count as baking, per se, but Valentine’s Day is coming up, so get a head start celebrating by making easy homemade truffles for the ones you love. These couldn’t be simpler to make, and they last in the fridge up to four days.