Even Ina Garten, America’s most trusted and beloved home cook, sometimes finds cooking stressful. To make life easy she relies on a repertoire of recipes that she knows will turn out perfectly every time. Cooking night after night during the pandemic inspired her to re-think the way she approached dinner, and the result is this collection of comforting and delicious recipes that you’ll love preparing and serving. You’ll find lots of freeze-ahead, make-ahead, prep-ahead, and simply assembled recipes so you, too, can make dinner a breeze.
In Go-To Dinners, Ina shares her strategies for making her most satisfying and uncomplicated dinners. Many, like Overnight Mac & Cheese, you can make ahead and throw in the oven right before dinner. Light dinners like Tuscan White Bean Soup can be prepped ahead and assembled at the last minute. Go-to family meals like Chicken in a Pot with Orzo and Hasselback Kielbasa will feed a crowd with very little effort. And who doesn’t want to eat Breakfast For Dinner? You’ll find recipes for Scrambled Eggs Cacio e Pepe and Roasted Vegetables with Jammy Eggs that are a snap to make and so satisfying. Ina’s “Two-Fers” guide you on how to turn leftovers from one dinner into something different and delicious the second night.
And sometimes the best dinner is one you don’t even have to cook! You’ll find Ina’s favourite boards to serve with store-bought ingredients, like an Antipasto Board and Breakfast-for-Dinner Board that are fun to assemble and so impressive to serve. Finally, because no meal can be considered dinner without dessert, there are plenty of prep-ahead and easy sweets like a Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie and Beatty’s Chocolate Cupcakes that everyone will rave about.
For Ina, “I love you, come for dinner” is more than just an invitation to share a meal, it’s a way to create a community of friends and family who love and take care of each other, and we all need that now more than ever. These go-to recipes will give you the confidence to create dinners that will bring everyone to your table.
Roast chicken with spring vegetables
A simple roast chicken is famously my go-to dinner but I like to have variations up my sleeve to make it more seasonal. This version with carrots, potatoes, and asparagus is a whole meal in a roasting pan. The pan juices drizzled over the chicken and vegetables make it even better
1 (4-pound) whole chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, quartered
6 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
6 sprigs fresh rosemary, divided
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ pound heirloom baby carrots, scrubbed (12 to 14)
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed,
1 large yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
through the stem
8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
Good olive oil
12 to 14 asparagus, woody ends removed, cut diagonally in 2-inch pieces
SERVES 3 TO 4
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and place it in a large (13 × 16-inch) roasting pan. Sprinkle the cavity generously with salt and place the lemon, 2 sprigs of thyme, and 2 sprigs of rosemary in the cavity. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wings under the body. Brush the outside with the butter and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine the carrots, potatoes, onion, garlic, ⅓ cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Transfer the vegetables to the pan with the chicken and place the remaining sprigs of thyme and rosemary on the vegetables.
Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and roast for 40 to 50 minutes, tossing the vegetables in the pan juices from time to time. Roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees in the breast and 175 degrees in the thigh. Leaving the oven on, transfer the chicken to a carving board, cover it loosely with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 12 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the asparagus to the pan, tossing them with the other vegetables. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until the asparagus are crisp-tender. Discard the herb branches, carve the chicken, and serve with the vegetables and pan juices.
TWO-FER: Shred or dice any leftover chicken and add to the Warm Vegetable & Grain Bowl (page 98) and add the bones to the pot when making Homemade Chicken Stock (page 83).
Go-To Dinners” Copyright © 2022 by Ina Garten. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.