Meal Planning with Plated: The Holiday Season Begins

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

Thanksgiving may be over, but the holiday season is in full swing. Hannukah starts this Sunday at sundown, and whether or not you celebrate, you’re going to want some pillowy fried potato pancakes in the form of latkes. As for the rest of the week, we’ve got everything from seasonal pasta (featuring pumpkin, of course, thanks to Food52) to a hearty, warming chicken chili to the always crowd-pleasing veg-forward mushroom burgers. Oh, and a simple and quick steak stir fry for the night where you just need to get dinner on the table.

Let’s keep that holiday spirit going! Now, on to the recipes:

Monday: Potato Latkes with Applesauce and Mixed Green Salad

(Serves 4)

4 russet potatoes
2 Gala apples, divided
⅛ ounce thyme, divided
⅛ ounce chives
2 shallots, divided
3 cloves garlic
3 packets unsalted butter
3 containers applesauce
½ cup flour
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
9 ounces mixed lettuces
⅓ cup walnuts
4 packets sour cream

You’ll need
canola oil
olive oil
3 eggs
kosher salt
black pepper
box grater
10″ medium pan
12″ large nonstick pan

Recipe tips

The secret to perfectly browned and crispy latkes is drying the potatoes as much as possible. Be sure to wring out any excess moisture before frying. Repeat if necessary with a fresh towel.

Stand back to fry the latkes in case hot oil splatters. Note that later batches might cook quicker than the first since the oil’s already hot. You should get about 16 latkes.


1. Prepare ingredients Rinse all produce. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate potatoes, then place in a strainer over a medium bowl to drain. Slice off rounded sides of apples and thinly slice, discarding cores. Cut half of apple slices lengthwise again into thin matchsticks (save remainder for salad). Strip thyme leaves, discarding stems, then mince. Thinly slice chives. Peel shallots and mince. Mince garlic.

2. Make applesauce Heat butter in a medium pan over medium-high heat. When butter is foamy, add apple matchsticks and half of shallots and cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant, 2–3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in applesauce and ¼ teaspoon salt. Set applesauce aside until ready to serve.

3. Make latke mixture Press grated potatoes down in strainer to remove excess moisture. Then, wrap potatoes in a clean kitchen towel or paper towels and squeeze to wring out as much water as possible (see recipe tip). Discard liquid and wipe bowl clean, then add flour, potatoes, garlic, remaining shallots, ¾ teaspoon thyme (save remainder), 3 eggs, 1½ teaspoons salt, and pepper as desired. Using your hands, mix well to fully combine.

4. Fry potato latkes Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, working 1 at a time, add ¼ cup latke mixture to pan and, using a spatula, flatten each to about ¼-inch thick. Fry, working in batches and adding oil as needed, until golden brown and cooked through, 3– 4 minutes per side (see recipe tip). Transfer latkes to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Sprinkle over ¼ teaspoon salt.

5. Make salad and sour cream While latkes fry, in a large bowl, whisk together Champagne vinegar, 2½ tablespoons olive oil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Pat mixed lettuces dry with paper towel and add to bowl with dressing, along with walnuts and remaining apple slices, waiting to toss until ready to serve. In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, half of chives, and up to ½ teaspoon thyme.

6. Plate potato latkes Divide potato latkes among serving plates and top with sour cream and applesauce as desired. Toss salad and serve with latkes. Garnish with remaining chives and dig in!

Tuesday: Pasta al Forno with Pumpkin and Prosciutto

(Serves 2)

⅛ ounce thyme
2 ounces prosciutto, divided
8 ounces rigatoni
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
2 ounces shredded Fontina cheese
¾ cup pumpkin purée
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 parchment paper
1 aluminum tin
8″ medium pot
baking sheet

1. Prepare ingredients
Preheat oven to 350°F (Recipe tip: Forno, Italian for oven, indicates dishes that are baked or roasted. In Step 5, the final blast helps melt the cheese, set the sauce, and brown the edges of the noodles). Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Strip thyme leaves, discarding stems (Recipe tip: For picking thyme leaves all at once: Pinch the stem near the top with 1 hand, then slide the fingers of your other hand down the length of the stem, from top to bottom. The leaves will come off easily).

2. Crisp prosciutto
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then add prosciutto slices in a single layer. Bake until beginning to crisp, 15–18 minutes (move on to Step 3, but don’t forget to come back!). Then, remove prosciutto from oven and set aside to cool—it might not look perfectly crisp when it first comes out of the oven, but will crisp up fully when cooled.

3. Cook rigatoni
Season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in rigatoni and cook until al dente, about 11 minutes. (Use the remaining downtime while you wait for the prosciutto to crisp to kick back and relax.) Then, drain rigatoni and return to pot, off heat.

4. Finish pasta
Once cool enough to handle, crumble half of prosciutto; break remainder into bite-size pieces for the next step. Remove and discard parchment, reserving baking sheet for the next step. To pot with cooked rigatoni, still off heat, stir in Parmesan, pumpkin purée, ⅓ cup heavy cream, thyme, crumbled prosciutto, and half of Fontina (Recipe tip: Save remaining cream for another recipe). Season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper.

5. Bake pasta
Reshape aluminum tin if bent, then place on baking sheet from prosciutto (Recipe tip: Placing the tin on a baking sheet helps stabilize the pasta for even cooking and easy transfer in and out of the oven). Transfer pumpkin pasta to tin and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle over remaining Fontina and scatter over remaining prosciutto. Transfer sheet to oven and bake until cheese is melted and pasta is warmed through, 7–9 minutes.

6. Plate pasta al forno
Let pasta al forno cool for about 5 minutes (this is a great time to set the table), then divide between serving plates. Dig in!

Wednesday: Crispy Mushroom Burger with White Cheddar and Avocado

(Serves 2)

3 ounces baby arugula
1/4 ounce chives
2 slices white Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon pesto
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 plum tomato
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 lemon
1/4 ounce thyme
2 brioche buns
1 avocado
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces cremini mushrooms

You’ll need
canola oil
olive oil
black pepper
kosher salt
blender or food processor (optional)
12″ large nonstick pan with lid


1. Prepare ingredients
Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel, place in a blender or food processor, and pulse until roughly chopped. Rinse remaining produce. Quarter tomato lengthwise, then scoop out and discard seeds. Halve lemon. Thinly slice chives. Strip and finely chop thyme leaves to yield ¼ teaspoon, discarding stems (save remainder for another recipe, like roasted potatoes).

2. Make mushroom burgers
In a large bowl, combine Parmesan, breadcrumbs, mushrooms, thyme, 1 egg, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Using your hands, mix well, then form mushroom mixture into 2 equal patties, about ½-inch thick. Place on a plate and freeze until Step 4 (this will help them hold their shape in the pan).

3. Toast buns and make dressing
While burgers chill, slice buns open horizontally, if they arrived whole, and place cut-side down in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Toast until light golden and warmed through, 2-3 minutes. Transfer buns to serving plates, reserving pan for the next step. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together juice of ½ lemon, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired to make salad dressing. Set aside.

4. Cook mushroom burgers
Heat pan from buns over medium-high heat and add 3 tablespoons canola oil. When oil is shimmering, carefully add mushroom burgers, standing back in case hot oil splatters, and sear until browned on bottom, 3-4 minutes. Flip and top with white Cheddar, then cover pan and reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking until cheese is melted and burgers are golden and crisp, 3-4 minutes more.

5. Make avocado mash
While burgers cook, halve avocado and discard pit; carefully scoop out flesh into a medium bowl, discarding skin, then mash with a fork until mostly smooth. Add pesto, half of chives, and juice of remaining lemon (or use less, as desired), and stir to combine. Set aside until ready to serve.

6. Plate mushroom burgers
Pat arugula dry with paper towel, add to bowl with dressing, and toss to coat. Place crispy mushroom burgers on bun bottoms, spread over avocado mash, then top with tomato and a handful of arugula. Finish with bun tops. Sprinkle almonds and remaining chives over remaining arugula and serve with burgers. Dig in!

Thursday: Steak Stir-Fry with Bell Pepper and Basil

(Serves 2)

1/8 ounce cilantro
1 yellow onion
1 red bell pepper
2 steaks
3/4 cup jasmine rice
1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
2 tablespoons gluten-free oyster sauce
1/8 basil
2/ teaspoons cornstarch
2 cloves garlic
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

You’ll need
kosher salt
black pepper
olive oil
6″ small pot with lid
12″ large pan


1. Cook rice
In a small pot, combine rice, 1¼ cups water, and ¼ teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir once, reduce heat to medium low, cover pot, and simmer until water is fully absorbed, 10-12 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let stand, still covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, then cover again to keep warm until ready to serve.

2. Sear steaks
While rice cooks, pat steaks dry with paper towel and season all over with ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper as desired. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add steaks and sear until browned and medium rare, 5-7 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, leaving behind any juices in pan for Step 4, and set aside to rest for about 5 minutes.

3. Prepare ingredients
While steaks sear, rinse all produce. Halve bell pepper lengthwise, discarding seeds and stem; cut lengthwise into ¼-inch strips. Halve tomatoes. Roughly chop basil and cilantro leaves, discarding stems. Peel onion, halve, and thinly slice. Thinly slice garlic. In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, oyster sauce, cornstarch, rice wine vinegar, and black pepper as desired. Set stir-fry sauce aside for Step 5.

4. Stir-fry vegetables
Heat ½ tablespoon canola oil in pan from steaks over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Add bell pepper and tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bell pepper is tender and lightly browned, 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, cut steaks against the grain into ¼-inch slices.

5. Finish steak stir-fry
Add stir-fry sauce to pan with vegetables, then increase heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, 1-2 minutes. Add sliced steak, half of basil, and half of cilantro and stir to coat with sauce. Remove pan from heat.

6. Plate steak stir-fry
Divide rice between serving plates, then top with steak stir-fry. Drizzle over any remaining stir-fry sauce from pan and garnish with remaining basil and remaining cilantro. Enjoy!

Friday: Chicken Chili with Sweet Potato, White Beans, and Pull-Apart Garlic Bread

(Serves 4)

1 can white beans
3 sweet potatoes
1⁄8 ounce parsley, divided
1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, divided
4 packets unsalted butter
2 teaspoons chili powder
11⁄2 pounds ground chicken
2 cans whole peeled tomatoes
2 demi-baguettes
2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

You’ll need
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
potato masher (optional) aluminum foil
baking sheet
10″ large pot

Recipe tips
No peeler? Using a knife, slice off and discard the ends of the potatoes, then stand them on your cutting board. Carefully cut downward, following the curve of the potatoes, to remove the peels. We like the smooth texture that this provides; if you prefer, feel free to skip the peeling.

If you don’t have a microwave, melt butter in a small pot over medium heat, then stir in garlic and salt.


1. Prepare ingredients
Preheat oven to 450oF. Drain and rinse white beans; place in a large bowl. Using a fork or potato masher, mash half of beans in bowl. Rinse all produce. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes (see recipe tip). Roughly chop parsley leaves, discarding stems. Peel onion and cut into small dice. Mince garlic. In a small heatproof bowl, combine butter and half of garlic for Step 3.

2. Roast sweet potatoes
Line a baking sheet with foil, then add sweet potatoes and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Arrange in a single layer; roast until lightly browned and beginning to soften, about 15 minutes (move on to Step 3—but don’t forget to come back!). Then, using a fork or potato masher, gently mash half of roasted sweet potatoes on sheet.

3. Cook aromatics and chicken
While sweet potatoes roast, heat 11⁄2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add chili powder, onion, remaining garlic, 3⁄4 teaspoon salt, and pepper, then add chicken. Cook, breaking up meat, until aromatics are soft and chicken is browned, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add 1⁄2 teaspoon salt to bowl with butter and garlic; microwave in 30-second intervals until melted (see recipe tip).

4. Simmer chili
Add whole peeled tomatoes and their juices to bowl with beans; using your hands, gently crush tomatoes until no large chunks remain (work slowly to avoid a messy splatter). Stir beans and tomatoes into pot with chicken, along with roasted sweet potatoes (reserve sheet) and 21⁄2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium high; simmer until flavors have melded, 10–15 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper; remove pot from heat.

5. Prepare garlic breads
While chili simmers, remove and discard foil from baking sheet, then line with new foil and drizzle with olive oil. Cut diagonal slices about halfway through baguettes, without slicing all the way through, spacing cuts about 1 inch apart. Repeat in the opposite direction to create a crosshatch pattern. Add baguettes to prepared sheet. Using your fingers, gently space apart slices; drizzle garlic butter between slices and stuff with mozzarella.

6. Plate chili and garlic bread
Drizzle tops of garlic breads with olive oil, then loosely wrap in foil from sheet and crimp edges to seal. Transfer sheet with garlic bread to oven; bake until cheese is melted, 7–9 minutes, then carefully unwrap and continue baking until golden and crisp, 2 minutes more. Divide chicken chili among serving bowls and garnish with half of parsley. Sprinkle remaining parsley over garlic bread and serve with chili. Enjoy!

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