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Food52's Managing Editor Brette Warshaw is throwing no-stress weeknight parties for anyone, anytime, and (almost) every kitchen. You're invited. Today: A new way to prep for the holidays: a decidedly normal dinner, for whenever you need it. I'm a big fan of excess. I am the girl that's still eating as Thanksgiving dinner comes to a close, and making latkes when everyone's moaning dayeinu. I order the most desserts; I eat the most cheese. I'm snacking on a ramekin of cookie dough as I write this article.
But, when the loose term "holidays" stretches across two whole months — and when "dinner" means roasts and pies and cookies and cake — sometimes, on a random Monday, you need a break. You need stuff that makes you feel good, stuff that isn't straight cookie dough or punch. So, invite your friends over for a virtuous dinner — or feed your out-of-town guests this when they just need to feel normal. The excess will come again tomorrow — and you'll be ready.
The night before: Make the salad dressing for your Bagna Cauda Salad, and the breadcrumbs for your salmon. Finish your caramelized mango; you'll warm it right before serving.
When you get home from work: Slice all the vegetables for your Bagna Cauda Salad, keeping the beets separate. Make your One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf, and keep it at room temperature.
When it's almost time to sit down: Toss your Bagna Cauda Salad, and put your salmon in its aromatic bath. While the salmon is cooking and your salad is resting, finish up your breadcrumbs. Plate everything prettily and serve!