Precooked lentils are a convenience item we love, saving nearly 30 minutes of simmering. Look for plain, steamed lentils (such as Melissa's), in the grain aisle. The food processor not only combines the patty ingredients; it coarsely chops the lentils so the finished cakes will hold their shape in the pan. While we love fat-free and reduced-fat Greek yogurt, go ahead and use full-fat here for a richer mouth feel and less tang in the sauce.
We leave out the anchovies for a kid-friendly take on classic Caesar salad. Instead of romaine, we use dark, bumpy lacinato kale leaves; a quick massage makes them perfectly tender. And instead of adding raw egg to the dressing, we add a soft-boiled egg to each serving so the yolk can run over all. A grill pan is a worthy addition to your kitchen for getting quick, chargrilled flavor without having to cook outdoors. Use it to toast the baguette slices and mellow the fresh red onion wedges.
Buttery, thin-skinned fingerling potatoes will cook fairly quickly in a hot oven, becoming nicely crisp outside and creamy inside. Pancetta is cured, unsmoked bacon. Look for prediced pancetta (such as Boar's Head) to save time. Serve with a simple egg and leafy green omelet or seared fish fillets.
Instead of vinegar, the dressing for this salad leans on lime juice for freshness and olive brine to enhance the flavor of the olives. Since black radishes can sometimes be a little tough, slice them as thinly as possible; use a mandoline to make this task easier. Watermelon radishes tend to be sweeter and can be cut a little thicker for heartier crunch. If you can't find these types of radishes, use classic red radishes instead.
Madras curry powder adds warmth and earthiness to the otherwise sweet butternut squash, apple, and maple syrup in the soup. It has a bit more heat than regular curry powder, though either can be used here. Frozen, precooked squash will save time; you can also roast 1 (1 1/2-lb.) peeled, diced butternut squash ahead and refrigerate for later in the week. We opt for a sweet, Golden Delicious apple to contrast the tangy Greek yogurt; you can also use a Fuji or Braeburn apple.
Stress runs high during the holidays, which could compromise digestion. Kombucha is packed with gut-friendly probiotics to help maintain healthy gut flora, in addition to compounds that fight harmful free radicals. Light and bright, rosé is a great match for effervescent grapefruit, both of which contain rich amounts of flavonoids—powerful plant antioxidants shown to help reduce blood pressure, fight inflammation, and improve vascular function.