The more often you can just cook without worrying through a recipe, the freer, easier and more relaxed dinnertime will be. Get more helpful tips and techniques from food columnist Melissa Clark:
  1. Roasted Vegetables
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    The key to roasting all kinds of vegetables is to know the right temperature for cooking them. Top them with a couple of fried eggs or a dollop of yogurt (or both), and you have a meal. A full recipe here:
  2. Meatballs With Any Meat
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    Making great meatballs is all about memorizing a basic ratio that you can adjust to suit your taste. A full recipe here:
  3. Roasted Fish
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    That old chestnut about cooking fish for 10 minutes per inch holds true for the most part, if you have the oven turned to 400 degrees. A full recipe here:
  4. Scaloppine With Any Meat
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    Cook the meat quickly in butter over high heat, then turn those buttery pan drippings into your sauce, seasoning it with garlic and a squeeze of lemon or lime. A full recipe here:
  5. Vegetarian Skillet Chili
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    If you keep canned beans, tomatoes, onion and garlic in your pantry, you can make this dish on any weeknight without having to shop. A full recipe here: