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Easy Dinners to Clear Out the Condiments in Your Fridge

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Hi! It’s Genevieve, filling in for Emily Weinstein this spring break week. This change in seasons means a mix of warming meals and lighter, fresher ones. It also inspires me to start spring cleaning.

When I’m in spring cleaning mode, I like to get my kitchen in order by finishing off as many condiments as I can. (And when I’m not doing that, I make sure I keep using them so they don’t become moldy and go to waste. Some of them are pricey!) It’s amazing what big flavors little jars of sauces and condiments can bring to a dish — and how much space they take up in the refrigerator. There are few things more satisfying than scraping out the last of that harissa paste or mustard and picking out the few remaining olives or chipotle chiles.

The easy dinners below make the most of tangy, savory and spicy flavor bombs, some of which even work in dessert. Gochujang in buttery caramel cookies? Absolutely.

It’s still brisk enough where I live to crave baked pasta, and this one feels right for spring, with its shower of fresh dill on top. Hetty Lui McKinnon stirs harissa paste into marinara sauce for a spiced smokiness and suggests trying Sriracha or sambal oelek if you don’t have harissa on hand. I do, and it’s a mild one, so I’m adding whatever is left in the jar.

Inspired by muffuletta, the beloved New Orleans sandwich, this punchy salad is a fridge clean-out dream: Throw in all the olives, the roasted hot and sweet peppers and the last of the salami. These sorts of chopped salads are all over social media right now, but Kay Chun was ahead of her time when she created this. Chickpeas and avocado aren’t traditional to the sandwich, but they help make this salad a lovely light dinner with a side of crusty bread.

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Whether you have a homemade chile crisp or a store-bought one, you’ll want to use it in this crunchy chicken dish. Christian Reynoso marinates chicken breasts with chile crisp, then ingeniously mixes the leftover marinade in the egg coating. If that’s not enough chile crisp goodness for you, you can spoon more on top before each bite.

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The toasty sesame scent and taste of fresh tahini is unbeatable, so it’s best to use it before those rich oils turn rancid. (You’ll know it’s past its prime when it smells sharp and tastes bitter.) Samin Nosrat brilliantly uses tahini both to thicken this vibrant soup and to top it with a lemony, garlicky drizzle. I double the sauce to use as a dip for bread to make this light meal more filling.

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