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Take It Easy, Dinner Recipes for Early December

Here's what you should eat every night this week.

Senior Digital Food Editor

Our dinner recipes are just what you need for a delicious meal every night. The easy weeknight recipes here take less than an hour of mostly hands-off time, many cook much quicker than that but may require constant stirring. These are meals the whole family can enjoy. Yes, there will be pasta. On the weekends we like to try something different; recipes that cook long and slow, projects that get us using new ingredients and techniques, and menus to make entertaining a cinch. So join us every week for dinnertime inspiration.

Monday: Vegetarian Chow Mein

vegetarian chow mein on white plate with fork
Photography by: Justin Walker

You know how we love making better-than-takeout dinners, and this meatless version of everyone's favorite stir-fried noodle dish delivers. It's fresher and more flavorful than delivery. Dig out that bottle of black-bean sauce and make it tonight.


Get the Vegetarian Chow Mein Recipe

TUESDAY: Mixed-Bean Soup with Andouille and Celery


Smoked sausage such as andouille brings big flavor fast to this hearty soup, so it's on the table in 40 minutes. 


Get the Mixed-Bean Soup with Andouille and Celery Recipe

WEDNESDAY: Maple-Mustard Chicken Legs with Potatoes and Carrots

Photography by: Marcus Nilsson

A simple paste of maple syrup and two mustards is all the flavorings you need for this 40-minute roast dinner. Brush it on the chicken legs and add carrots, potatoes, and shallots (they all caramelize in their juices). The recipe serves two, so you’ll need to double it and use a sheet pan rather than a baking dish. 


Get the Maple-Mustard Chicken Legs with Potatoes and Carrots Recipe

THURSDAY: Seared-Tuna Taco Bowl

purple power tuna bowl
Photography by: Sidney Bensimon

And now for something different: This power-bowl dinner is not only the most colorful meal of the week, but it also might be the most economical; one tuna steak serves four when accompanied by black beans, rice, and a delicious red-cabbage slaw.


Get the Seared-Tuna Taco Bowl Recipe

FRIDAY: Pappardelle with Quick Fennel Ragu

Here's a real take-it-easy dinner. If you haven't made this recipe before, you should because it utilizes a revolutionary technique for making ragu: the ground beef is simmered in water rather than browned. The result is a tender, delicious sauce that's ready in half the time it would usually take to make ragu from scratch.


Get the Pappardelle with Quick Fennel Ragu Recipe

SATURDAY: Classic Chicken and Dumplings

test kitchen favorite chicken and dumplings
Photography by: Justin Walker

We’re going all out for comfort with this classic chicken dinner. Pillowy soft dumplings, meltingly tender chicken, and lots of rich, vegetable-filled broth. What's not to like?


See step-by-step how to make chicken and dumplings.


Get the Test Kitchen's Favorite Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

SUNDAY: Squash Lasagna with Spinach

Photography by: David Prince

Another comfort-food dinner, this rich vegetarian lasagna pairs kabocha squash with frozen spinach, three cheeses, and a lush bechamel sauce. Substitute butternut or honeynut squash if you can't find kabocha.


Get the Squash Lasagna with Spinach Recipe