Your Weeknight Meal Planner: T is for Tuesday—And Tomato

Get inspired for the week ahead with our top picks from this week’s menu.

Our chefs have been cooking and writing recipes for years, but even we can get caught up in the excitement of a brand-new season—whether our loved ones can admit it or not, we sometimes overdo it with the seasonal produce… Fall is often synonymous with butternut squash (it’s just so nutty-sweet and tender!). Winter tends to be all citrus everything. And by the end of spring, we might actually be ready to say goodbye to rhubarb. So this week, in our attempt to pace ourselves on summer, we’re switching things up with a fun, alliterative menu, where each dinner starts with the same letter as the day it’s slated.

This should go over well with the wordy people in your life, too. Now, on to the recipes!

Monday: Mediterranean-Stuffed Peppers

(Serves 4)

4 red bell peppers
9 ounces baby arugula
1 lemon
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
⅓ cup pine nuts
1½ pounds ground beef
3 tablespoons tomato paste
⅓ cup raisins
4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons balsamic glaze

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Rinse all produce. Halve bell peppers lengthwise, discarding seeds and stems. Pat arugula dry with paper towel. Halve lemon. Peel onion, halve, and thinly slice. Thinly slice garlic.

2. Rub bell peppers all over with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and black pepper, then place cut-side down on a baking sheet, spacing apart. Place pine nuts on a separate baking sheet, spacing apart. Roast bell peppers for 3 minutes. Then, add pine nuts and continue roasting until bell peppers are slightly softened and pine nuts are toasted, 2-4 minutes more. Meanwhile, pat beef dry with paper towel.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 3 minutes. Add beef and season with 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper as desired. Cook, breaking up, until browned, 6-8 minutes more. Remove pan from heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a large bowl.

4. To bowl with beef, add tomato paste, raisins, and half of toasted pine nuts and stir to combine. Flip bell peppers cut-side up on baking sheet and add beef filling, dividing evenly (if you have extra filling, serve alongside or save for tomorrow’s lunch). Sprinkle over mozzarella. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, 5-7 minutes.

5. While stuffed peppers bake, place arugula in a separate large bowl. Drizzle over balsamic glaze and juice of 1 lemon. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and black pepper as desired, toss to coat, and divide among serving plates.

6. Add Mediterranean stuffed peppers to serving plates with balsamic arugula salad. Garnish with remaining toasted pine nuts and dig in!

Tuesday: Tomato and Mozzarella Piadina

(Serves 4)

8 ounces fresh mozzarella
4 tomatoes
½ ounce basil, divided
1 lemon
2 cloves garlic
1 red onion
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons flour
1½ pounds pizza dough
4 ounces shredded Asiago cheese
1.5 tablespoons balsamic glaze
5 ounces baby arugula

1. Preheat grill to medium heat. Rinse all produce. Cut mozzarella and tomatoes into ¼-inch slices. Roughly chop basil leaves, discarding stems. Halve lemon. Mince garlic. Peel onion and slice into .25-inch rings, being careful not to separate layers—they’re easier to grill in 1 piece.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, juice of ½ lemon, 3 tablespoons olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired to combine. Set aside, and save remaining lemon for another use. Sprinkle flour onto a clean, dry surface. Using a rolling pin or the heels of your hands, roll and stretch doughs into a rectangular shape, about .5-inch thick.

3. If using a grill pan, place it over medium heat now. Rub onion rings on both sides with ½ tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired, keeping layers intact. When grill is just smoking, add onion rings in a single layer and cook until charred and softened, 3 minutes per side. Remove from grill, roughly chop, and add to bowl with dressing.

4. Rub pizza doughs all over with ½ tablespoon olive oil each. Transfer doughs to grill and cook until golden on bottom, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip, then sprinkle garlic and half of basil over doughs (reserve remaining basil for salad). Layer Asiago and mozzarella cheeses on top and continue grilling until cheese is melted and flatbreads are charred and cooked through, about 2 minutes more.

5. Remove flatbreads from grill and halve each crosswise. Layer 2 halves with tomatoes and drizzle over balsamic glaze. Top with remaining flatbread halves, cheese-side down, to close sandwiches.

6. Cut each piadina into 4 equal pieces (each person gets 2). Add arugula and remaining basil to bowl with grilled onions and dressing, and toss everything to coat. Serve tomato and mozzarella piadina with arugula salad, and dig in!

Wednesday: White Cheddar Cheeseburgers

(Serves 4)

¼ ounce basil
⅓ cup mayonnaise
4 hamburger buns
2 red onions
2 cloves garlic
2 russet potatoes
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire
1½ pounds ground beef
4 ounces shredded white Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Rinse all produce. Roughly chop basil leaves, discarding stems, and place in a small bowl with mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons water, and ½ teaspoon salt; whisk to combine. Slice buns open horizontally, if they arrived whole. Peel onions, halve, and thinly slice. Mince garlic.

2. Thinly slice potatoes crosswise into rounds, place on a baking sheet, and toss with paprika, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Transfer half to a separate baking sheet, arrange in a single layer, and bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown and crispy, 18–20 minutes total.

3. While potato chips bake, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until light brown and softened, about 7 minutes. Add ⅓ cup water and cook, stirring, until onion is golden and water has evaporated, 4-5 minutes more. Season with ½ teaspoon salt, transfer to a plate, and cover with foil to keep warm. Reserve pan, off heat, for Step 5.

4. While onions cook, in a medium bowl, combine Worcestershire, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Pat beef dry with paper towel and add to bowl. Using your hands, mix well, then form into 4 equal patties, about 1 inch thick. Using your thumb, create a dimple on top of each.

5. Return pan from onions to medium-high heat with 1 teaspoon olive oil. When oil is shimmering, add burgers and sear, without flipping, until browned on bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip, top with white Cheddar, cover pan, and continue searing until cheese is melted and burgers are medium rare, 3-4 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.

6. Once baked, divide paprika potato chips among serving plates. Arrange buns cut-side down on 1 sheet and bake until toasted, 2-3 minutes. Add bun bottoms to plates with chips and top with white Cheddar cheeseburgers, then caramelized onions, then bun tops. Serve basil mayo alongside for dipping. Dig in!

Thursday: Thai Chicken Salad

(Serves 4)

4 boneless skin-on chicken breasts
2 tablespoons sesame oil
9 ounces baby arugula
4 mini sweet peppers
1 red onion
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
¼ ounce ginger
2 cloves garlic
1½ tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce
½ cup shredded red cabbage
½ cup shredded carrots

1. Pat chicken very dry with paper towel (this will help the skin crisp up in the pan); season all over with 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil (reserve remainder) in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add chicken skin-side down. Sear until skin is golden and easily lifts from pan, 6 minutes. Flip and sear until cooked through and no longer pink, 6 minutes more.

2. Remove pan from heat; transfer chicken to a cutting board and set aside to rest. Meanwhile, rinse all produce. Pat arugula dry with paper towel. Thinly slice mini peppers crosswise, discarding seeds and stems. Peel onion and finely chop enough to yield ¼ cup; thinly slice remainder. In a large bowl, stir together rice wine vinegar, sliced onion, and ¼ teaspoon salt; set aside.

3. Trim and discard skin of ginger. Mince garlic and ginger, then combine on cutting board and sprinkle over .125 teaspoon salt. Using a large knife, carefully scrape over mixture at a 45° angle, pressing down. Repeat until ginger and garlic are broken down and a paste forms. Transfer ginger-garlic paste to bowl with sliced onion and vinegar; set aside for Step 5.

4. Heat 3 tablespoons canola oil in a small pot over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add 1 piece chopped onion to pot. If it sizzles immediately, keep going; if not, try again once the oil is hotter. Fry all chopped onion pieces, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until lightly browned and crisp, 2-3 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer crispy onion to a paper towel–lined plate to drain; sprinkle over ⅛ teaspoon salt.

5. To bowl with sliced onion, add peanut butter, soy sauce, remaining sesame oil, and 3 tablespoons water; whisk until smooth. Taste dressing and add salt and black pepper as desired (you may not need to add any more seasoning depending on your preferences, so be sure to taste first). Add slaw mix, arugula, and mini peppers to bowl with dressing, waiting to toss until ready to serve.

6. Cut rested chicken into ¼-inch slices. Toss salad and divide among serving plates. Top with sliced chicken and garnish with crispy onion. Enjoy!

Friday: Fennel-Chile Flounder

(Serves 4)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 lemon, divided
½ ounce basil, divided
2 red onions
1 Thai chile
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 cloves garlic
2 cups fregola
5 ounces baby spinach
1 pint grape tomatoes
1¼ pounds flounder

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Place butter in a small bowl and set aside to soften at room temperature. Rinse all produce. Halve lemon. Tear basil leaves, discarding stems. Peel onions, halve, and thinly slice. Halve Thai chile lengthwise. Using a knife tip, discard seeds and stem, then mince. Leave fennel seeds in bag and gently crush with the bottom of a heavy pan.

2. Mince garlic and, still on cutting board, sprinkle over .125 teaspoon salt. Using a large knife, carefully scrape over mixture at a 45° angle, pressing down. Repeat until garlic is broken down and a paste forms. Add garlic paste to bowl with butter, and set aside until Step 5.

3. Season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in fregola and cook until tender, 9-10 minutes. Drain and return to pot, off heat. Then, add spinach and stir to wilt slightly. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.

4. While fregola cooks, on a foil-lined baking sheet, toss tomatoes and onions with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired, then push to edges of baking sheet. Pat flounder dry with paper towel, season all over with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired, and add to center of baking sheet, spacing apart. Roast until fish is opaque and cooked through and vegetables are tender, 8-10 minutes.

5. While fish cooks, add crushed fennel seeds, Thai chile (skip or use half for less heat), ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper to bowl with butter, and mash with a fork until fully combined. Once roasted, remove sheet with flounder from oven and dot with fennel-chile butter so it melts and coats the fish. Divide fregola among serving plates and top with flounder, leaving vegetables on sheet for next step.

6. Add juice of ½ lemon (or use half for less tang, depending on your preferences) and half of basil to vegetables on baking sheet and toss to combine. Spoon roasted tomato mixture and any melted butter from baking sheet over fish. Garnish with remaining basil and squeeze over remaining lemon, if desired. Dig in!

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