Sponsored content presented by New Seasons Market
Around this time of year, it is easy to get tunnel vision in the kitchen.
At one end there is Thanksgiving, which casts such a shadow that it ends up darkening every meal that comes before it, with Christmas also threatening on the other side. Often, the hope is to stretch leftovers far enough to get from one holiday to another without having to clear the brain space to think about all the dinners in between.
Of course, everyone knows that a refrigerator filled with leftover turkey does not make it longer than maybe two lunches. But year after year, we convince ourselves that Turkey Day can extend to Turkey Month and end up struggling to scrape what we can, to satisfy either the family or ourselves – or submit to drive-thru.
That does not have to be the case. Between the two big eating days of the season, there are plenty of options for tasty, comforting winter meals that do not require the kitchen to be blown up – and no, we do not mean frozen pizza. Here are three ideas for easy evening dinners, with all the ingredients available through Instacart from New Seasons Market:
1. First pasta!
Is there an easier dinner in the culinary universe than pasta? Okay, of course, you can throw a Hot Pocket in the microwave and get enough nourishment to get you through the night. But if you want a satisfying, inexpensive meal in the store that does not make you rethink your life in the morning – and only requires that you know your way around the kitchen enough to turn on the stove – nothing beats good, old-fashioned, noodles in Italian style and sauce. Where things can get overwhelming is choosing the right combination of noodles and sauce. New Seasons Market has a number of recognizable pasta brands, including Montebello, De Lallo and De Cecco, but do not overlook the store’s own: Made in traditional Piedmont style of Portland-based Rallenti fresh pasta (not dried), selected varieties are even gluten free, but you would never know. Pair it with Truff’s elegant black truffle-pomodoro sauce and you’ll get a trattoria-quality meal on your TV tray, and all you had to do was boil water.
Even better: All dried pasta and jar sauces at New Seasons are halved the first week of December.
2. Sensational soup!
During the gray and rainy months – which in Portland make up 75 percent of the year – it is possible to live entirely on soup. It freezes easily and lasts forever, so the amount you can consume is limited only by your access to Mason jars. New Seasons Market has dozens of simple soup recipes on its website, from seafood stew to mussel juice to tom kha gai. But on a cold Tuesday, nothing hits classic chicken noodles. This “sniffle buster” recipe couldn’t be easier to whip up: toss chicken breast, garlic, carrots, onions, kale, pasta and herbs in a large saucepan with chicken stock, simmer for about 20 minutes, and prepare to go in hibernation.
3. Superstar sauces!
It takes no more than a few minutes and a single frying pan or casserole to make a dinner with vegetables and rice, but let’s be honest: in itself, there is almost nothing more boring. Fortunately, they are just as easy to raise from basic to bombastic – all you need is the right sauce. There are several that will do the job, including Maya Kaimal’s various Indian simmer sauces (like this Kashmiri Curry) and Cafe Yumm’s alternately smoky and sour dips and dresses. Your local New Seasons also have jars of a local classic: Nong’s world-beating khao mon ghai sauce, a knee-melting cocktail of ginger, chili and garlic WW that was once considered one of Portland Foods 12 wonders.