January always takes more from me than she gives. Even in New Orleans, better known for its subtropical heat. But January or not, there's always dinner to be made, and in the winter, I'm less likely to be happy with the simple, deconstructed meals I tend to favor in the summer. I want something to ward off the chill, to light a little fire inside. I want hearty and happy, but with my feet dragging across the floor, I need something simple and quick to prepare.
Two of my favorite go-to dishes for a winter weeknight are spaghetti aglio e olio with roasted shrimp or a perfectly cooked ribeye served with mashed potatoes (or Ore-Ida Simply Olive Oil and Sea Salt Country Style Fries, if I'm feeling really lazy). I made both of these last week, back-to-back, on single parenting nights with plenty of homework. No blood or tears were shed in their creation, so I feel safe in saying they're good weeknight dishes.
I use Ina Garten's recipe for spaghetti aglio e olio, with roasted shrimp (which is even easier than pan sautéing, if that's possible). Before serving, I just toss the shrimp with the spaghetti. Even better, make extra and save the leftovers for lunch the next day. It's really good cold!
For the ribeye, I use Alton Brown's method, which has never once failed me. I reduce or increase the oven cooking time, depending on the thickness of the steak, but it's simple math. (Admittedly, I am precise with the cooking time, relying on the stopwatch feature on my phone. But when you're talking seconds rather than minutes, precision is key!)
Simple, so good. Exactly what a chilly January night requires.
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Directions for roasted shrimp:
1 pound large shrimp (26/30 count)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 °F. Toss shrimp with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them in one layer on a sheet pan and roast for 6-8 minutes, just until they're pink and cooked through.