5 weeknight dishes to make, from one-pot chicken thighs to Indian-ish nachos – The Denver Post

Emails poured in after last week’s newsletter, in which I asked you to tell me what you’ve been cooking and how you’ve been feeling about it.

Notes arrived from all over — Saudi Arabia, Australia, Sweden. That was amazing. Some of the loudest calls were ones you might expect: You like sheet-pan recipes. There were requests for vegetarian recipes that use less cheese and more beans, though some people want less beans and — I’m reading between the lines here — more cheese. A few readers specifically wrote in to say no more chickpeas. (I do like chickpeas.)

I also received extraordinary notes about cooking for your beloveds, and for yourselves, including an exquisite letter from a reader who ended a long-term relationship, moved into her own apartment and found love again — all during the pandemic! She cooked the whole time. It was a source of serenity, she said.

Here are five dishes for the week:

1. One-Pot Chicken Thighs With Black Beans, Rice and Chiles

This dish addresses two popular requests: It’s cooked in one pot, and kids love it, though you may want to reduce the chiles for them. If that’s not enough, the recipe is by London food writer Diana Henry, a hero to several NYT Cooking staffers, and to a reader who emailed to say she’s been cooking a lot from Diana’s superb books.

Adapted by: Margaux Laskey

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 1 hour


  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Flaky sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or peanut oil
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 2 green or red bell peppers, halved, seeded and sliced
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 red Fresno chiles or jalapeños, halved, seeded and chopped
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
  • 1/3 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed in a sieve until the water runs clear
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges, pickled chiles, sliced fresh chiles, sour cream and sliced avocado, for serving


1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet (the pan size is very important) over medium-high. Brown the chicken on both sides to give it good color, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Add the onion and bell peppers to the pan and sauté until just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

2. In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Meanwhile, add the Fresno chiles or jalapeños, cinnamon, garlic and cumin to the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes, then add the black beans and cherry tomatoes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the rice on top in an even layer. (It’s important that the black beans are beneath the rice and chicken. The rice will burn otherwise.) Add the stock and return the chicken to the pan, skin-side up.

3. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. The chicken should be lovely and golden, the stock should be absorbed and the rice should be tender. Sprinkle with the cilantro. Serve with lime wedges, pickled chiles, sliced fresh chiles, sour cream and avocado (squeeze some lime juice over the avocados in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper).

2. Cheesy Baked Orzo With Marinara

This is a kid-friendly, cheesy vegetarian recipe by Lidey Heuck that contains no beans — though it absolutely could if you wanted to throw in a can of cannellinis. The cheese, however, is nonnegotiable.