Despite September’s promise of fresh starts and autumnal abundance, shuffling kids back to school, commuting to an office or simply battling the end-of-summer malaise doesn’t always leave us feeling refreshed or with an abundance of time on our hands.
And yet, amid increasingly hectic schedules and compounding responsibilities, we must still find the time to prepare and eat three meals a day. It can be exhausting just to think about.
Efficiency is paramount at this juncture. Not only do I need my cooking to be streamlined, but I also need my efforts to pull double duty. Easy dinners whose leftovers make a commendable desk lunch reign supreme.
Alexa Weibel’s roasted white bean and tomato pasta certainly fits the bill. It requires little more than boiling pasta, roasting canned beans and cherry tomatoes on a sheet pan and then mixing it all together. Ready in 30 minutes, it suits this busy season, and it holds up especially well to reheating. But don’t take my word for it, take the word of Katherine, a reader:
This is our favorite make-ahead dinner when our son has soccer practice at night. It warms up beautifully! After rushing home from work, supervising homework, checking on piano practice, making sure the kid is changed and packed with cleats, ball and water, getting to practice and returning home, just take it out of the fridge and rewarm. Eat with a crisp salad. Yum.
I’m thinking, too, of Hetty Lui McKinnon’s sheet-pan tofu and brussels sprouts with hoisin-tahini sauce, a vegan five-ingredient recipe (not including salt or olive oil) that punches above its weight and yields portions so generous that many readers chose to halve it. But — hear me out — don’t! Future you, particularly around noon the next day, will be immensely grateful.
When it comes to investing in your future, there may be no greater asset than the meal that’s arguably better the second day. Ali Slagle’s zucchini salad with sizzled mint and feta checks that box, as some time in the fridge allows the squash to really soak up the za’atar-like seasoning. Serve it over farro or top it with chickpeas for a hearty meal that will bring you back to a slower, simpler time: summer.