What to Cook This Week

Do some pre-Thanksgiving housework. It will pay dividends.

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By Sam Sifton

Good morning. We’ll get to recipes in a moment, delicious ones for a week of eating, but we’ve got housework to do beforehand, in advance of this coming Thanksgiving feast. Call me bossy if you like, but the labor will pay dividends, I promise.

First, if you’ll be cooking, today’s the day to get set on your plan: the recipes you’ll make; the grocery list you’ll need to knock out; when in the next two weeks and on the day itself you’ll make each dish; how you’ll store and reheat them.

Are you buying a turkey? Fresh or frozen? Whichever, it’s time to clear out room in the refrigerator to store the thing, either to defrost it or to brine it or both. Take a look at your cabinets and pantry while you’re at it, and see what dry goods you need and whether you have room to store them.

And, last, this is an excellent day to make pie crust (or vegan pie crust) and stock for the freezer — for that last one, roast a few turkey wings in a hot oven for 45 minutes or so, and then follow the recipe as written. (Some will make whole pies for the freezer. One could be Melissa Clark’s pumpkin pie (above), which she recently baked in our studio kitchen for our YouTube channel; you can watch that video here. And maybe this salted maple pie from Lisa Ludwinski? Absolutely Julia Reed’s bourbon pecan pie.)

For dinner tonight, after all that work, you’re likely going to want to take it easy. I like this simple Jerusalem grill over hummus, with pita and a salad of diced Persian cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion and parsley, dressed with salt, olive oil and lemon juice.

Monday: vegan mapo tofu, enough of it so there are leftovers for lunch the next day.

On Tuesday, how about brown-butter salmon with scallions and lemon?

Braised chicken thighs with tomatillos for Wednesday?

I would love to eat what I call amatriciana on the fly on Thursday.

And then we can head into the weekend — the last before Thanksgiving! — with roast chicken with apricot glaze.

There are many thousands more recipes to cook this week and for Thanksgiving waiting on New York Times Cooking. It’s true that you need a subscription to access them. Subscriptions support our work! I hope, if you haven’t already, that you will subscribe today.

You can visit us, as well, on our Instagram page and our YouTube channel. And we are standing by, like docents at your favorite museum, should you find yourself lost in a recipe or confused by our technology. Just ask for help: [email protected] Someone will get back to you — though if you want to lodge a complaint or deliver a compliment, you can always write to me, too: [email protected] I read every letter sent.

Now, it’s nothing to do with spatchcocking poultry or the best way to peel a chestnut, but I think you’ll like David Wall’s letter of recommendation in The New York Times Magazine this week, “How I Found Comfort in Volunteer Firefighting.”

While you’re at it, check out this report on the confluence of illegal fishing and drug smuggling in the Gulf of Mexico, by John Burnett, in Texas Monthly.

Here’s “Harlow,” a short story by Sheila Armstrong, in The Stinging Fly.

Finally, new music to play us off: Dashboard Confessional, “Here’s to Moving On.” Teen vibes! Listen to that, and I’ll be back on Monday.

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