A Moment of Brightness

I’ve thought a lot about my children this week, as I think just about every parent in America has. They are life itself, and my life specifically.

There were moments when I didn’t have much of an appetite, and other times when I went out of my way to cook because it was nice to have a mind-clearing task. And now, heading into the long weekend, what I want is to gather up kids and family and friends and soak in the sun — a brief reprieve from the wider world and one I’m lucky to be able to take.

There will be food, of course. There always is. The recipes below are fast and bright, and while I don’t mean to suggest they’ll make all the wrong things right, I hope they deliver some happiness. Reach out to me anytime with requests at [email protected] I love to hear from you.

Credit…Armando Rafael for The New York Times

1. Tajín Grilled Chicken

Rick Martinez uses Tajín, the vivid chile-lime spice mix, in his chipotle glaze for boneless chicken thighs, which you could eat as is or sandwich between burger buns with mayo, scallions and pickled jalapeño. While you’ve got the Tajín out, sprinkle it on lush mango, use it on the rim of a watermelon margarita or blend it into a mangonada.

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Credit…Christopher Simpson for The New York Times

2. Hot-Sauce Shrimp

A reader called this Ali Slagle number a “genius little recipe” in the comments, and I agree. You sauté the shrimp and then toss them with hot sauce and butter until they’re coated in a silky sauce, for a dish that’s a spiritual sibling of New Orleans barbecue shrimp. Quick, efficient, utterly delicious.

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Credit…Christopher Testani for The New York Times

3. Creamy, Lemony Pasta

Yasmin Fahr is here to give you a 15-minute pasta recipe that is tangy and creamy from a yogurt sauce, with a jolt of sunshine from all that lemon. This is really easy and one to learn by heart.

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Credit…Christopher Simpson for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.

4. Hot Dogs With Pico de Gallo

Tanya Sichynsky loads her hot dogs with fresh, spicy pico de gallo, for results that are like Mexican hot dogs but a little simpler to put together (nice for when you’re headed to a cookout and want to travel light). These are exactly the thing to kick off summer.

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Credit…Ryan Liebe for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

5. One-Pot Rice and Beans

This recipe is for my older kid, who has developed a love of rice and beans. It’s a staple dish you’ll find in different forms the world over, though it’d be difficult to find a faster or more convenient way to make it than Ali Slagle’s method here. Serve with tortillas, maybe a fried egg, definitely hot sauce.

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