TODAY

TODAY   |  September 04, 2013

Try these 3 easy weeknight dinners

Now that summer is officially over, it’s time to get back to business, especially cooking regular weeknight meals, like  stove-top macaroni and cheese and a hearty short-rib stew.

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>>> back at it. a series to make your life easier now that summer is over and we're falling back into our usual routines.

>> we have three time saving recipes. gail simmons is food and wine special projects director.

>> great to be here.

>> it's officially time to get back into the routine.

>> but it's also time to get back in the kitchen. you can still grill for a little while but you also want to start kind of getting your routine back in order. kids are in school and there's a lot to do.

>> mac and cheese. how do you make it?

>> this is really easy and this is a one pot meal. usually you take your pasta, you have to make it first separately, this is all in one pot. so i have tomato paste, onions, a little bit of thyme that i sauteed in my pot and i'm going to pour in two cups of half and half . it's rich.

>> that's what i put in my coffee every morning.

>> but it's delicious and two cups of boiling water that you preboiled and then literally put the pasta right in the boil. it cooks for 8 minutes and you pour a little more water and three different cheeses, just dump them in. dump it in, mix it up. broil it, done.

>> and gain 10 pounds. i love it.

>> it looks amazing.

>> it's beautiful and it's all done in one dish so it's super easy.

>> could you do skim milk or does that take away the fun.

>> you can but it won't be as creamy and rich.

>> so if you want to ruin it.

>> sure, go ahead.

>> i'm in. i'm just asking for a friend.

>> i'm going to eat this.

>> you eat that. bring that along.

>> this is a beef stew . you can make it. it tastes better the next day or two days later. it freezes well. this is an asian ginger and soy inspired short rib stew. it made it here. takes a little while to make but if you make a large quantity you can not only eat it, like the next night for dinner, but it's easy to freeze. put it in containers for two or three portions each and it freezes for about a month and then you can warm it on the stove top adding stock if you need to and it's really easy and dinner is done.

>> i wish people could smell it. it smells so good.

>> you just put it on the stove top and let it sit.

>> you want to brown your meet, put your flavorings in and then the delicious carrots and it's really hearty.

>> okay. cool. now we have a spice rub over here. what are we using this for?

>> it's super simple and really versatile. so i have toasted them already. i'm going to pour them into my spice grinder otherwise known as a coffee grinder which is a dual purpose machine i love in the kitchen. i have chili, garlic powder and salt. that's it. put them all together. and then, buzz it for just a second. your spice rub is done. you can keep it in a sealed container. it stays for at least a week. just keep it at a cool temperature and then you can rub it on salmon, beef, pork, i'm serving it with pomegranates and mint.

>> put it on chicken?

>> it goes great on chicken. it's an all use, all purpose rub.