Bold Flavors in Fast Dishes

Hello, fellow home cooks. Genevieve here, filling in for Emily in the post-Thanksgiving, pre-holidays quiet.

Are you still sandwiching, stewing and Hot Pocket-ing turkey? The leftovers that became effortless dinners for days are pretty much gone (and I truly cannot eat anything else with that roasted bird).

But it’s nice to be back in the kitchen, right? All you have to make now is a simple meal for yourself and maybe the others you normally feed. After Thanksgiving’s creamy richness and slow bakes, it’s refreshing to chase sharp, tangy, hot flavors in fast dishes.

These meals feel as bright as the sparkling lights strung everywhere and come together quickly enough to leave time for writing cards, sending gifts and baking all the cookies.

Credit…Christopher Simpson for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.

1. Soba Noodles With Ginger Broth and Crunchy Ginger

If you still need to finish off the last of your turkey, enjoy it with this soothing noodle soup from Yotam Ottolenghi. (I like it with poached eggs.) Ginger’s fragrant spiciness seasons the broth and adds texture to the slippery noodles in a shallot-panko breadcrumb topping. Yotam recommends doubling the crumbs to sprinkle on everything for the rest of the week. It’s a great move.

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Credit…Kelly Marshall for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Roscoe Betsill. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.

2. Roasted Fish and Broccolini With Tamarind and Black Pepper

Yewande Komolafe brilliantly roasts fish — any type of fillet — over broccolini in a single skillet and punches up those subtle ingredients with a tangy, aromatic sauce. I bought tamarind purée, tart and a little fruity, from my local supermarket just to make this dish and now find endless uses for it.

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Credit…Christopher Simpson for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

3. Jerk Chicken Meatballs With BBQ-Pineapple Glaze

Take a break from roasted poultry with these chicken meatballs from Millie Peartree. Garlicky and spiced with jerk seasoning, the baked meatballs end up coated with a sticky sweet and sour pineapple glaze. Freeze any leftovers for the busy holiday nights ahead.

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Credit…Beatriz Da Costa for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Rebecca Jurkevich.

4. Warm Roasted Carrot and Barley Salad

It’s salad season in Hetty Lui McKinnon’s native Australia, but she created this hearty dish for chilly, late fall days. Honey accentuates the natural sweetness of roasted carrots, and a spiced tahini dressing brings heat and creaminess to chewy barley and crunchy almonds. This recipe makes a lot, and the leftovers are perfect for desk lunches. I pack a container with an extra handful of arugula and a fresh squeeze of lemon juice.

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Credit…Johnny Miller for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Cybelle Tondu.

5. Pork Chops With Kale and Dates

This dinner for two from Ali Slagle feels as special as a restaurant dish but comes together in one pan in half an hour. A splash of vinegar at the end gives the caramelized dates a more measured sweetness and balances the smoky char of the pork and kale. Serve it with crusty bread for swiping up the sauce.

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