Relish in the excess of nachos for dinner, prepare for Lunar New Year and more.

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By Sam Sifton

Good morning. There are some nights — especially in midwinter — when the single best thing you can cook for the family is a platter of nachos. Place that tray on a low table in front of the television and marvel at how this simple appetizer, created in 1940 in northern Mexico, has become a tribute to excess and controlled messiness, a delicious rejoinder to a proper weekend meal.

We have loads of recipes for nachos on New York Times Cooking, of course. There’s Pati Jinich’s original recipe (above), modeled on the one that Ignacio Anaya, known as Nacho, brought to the Victory Club in Piedras Negras in the Mexican state of Coahuila, across the Rio Grande from Texas. We have Pati’s recipes for bricklayer-style nachos as well and for bean nachos with spicy salsa.

We have recipes for loaded nachos and game day nachos, for Indian-ish nachos and loaded vegan nachos. We have a recipe for mapo tofu nachos.

But the truth of the matter is that, after you’ve made a bunch of nachos a bunch of times, you don’t need a recipe any longer — just an idea of how you’d like your nachos to turn out.

The other evening I made a version of Alexa Weibel’s recipe for queso, using Velveeta and a splash of milk to help stabilize a cup of molten Colby Jack cheese. I put at least a dab of that onto every tortilla chip on my sheet pan, and stacked three layers of them over crumbled bacon and cherry tomatoes I’d marinated with pickled jalapeños and their juices. Drizzle the rest of the queso over the top, bake for 15 minutes in a hot oven, dot the result with sour cream and serve with hot sauce and lime wedges. Perfection.

Why don’t you give that a try on Saturday night? Then on Sunday, as celebrations of the Lunar New Year get underway, you can wrap pork-and-chive dumplings, prepare for a dinner of Nonya Hokkien-style stir-fried noodles or make sesame candy. And of course we have many, many more recipes for the holiday.

Alternatively — if you don’t like nachos, or you’re not celebrating this weekend — there’s herb-marinated swordfish to remind you of summer, or chicken potpie to bring warmth to a winter’s eve. And I could see my way to making this miso-maple loaf cake this weekend, and these whole-wheat buttermilk pancakes, too.

There are thousands more recipes to consider making this weekend at New York Times Cooking. You need a subscription to access them, yes. Subscriptions support our work and allow it to continue. We’re very thankful for those who have signed up already and hope if you haven’t that you will subscribe today.

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Now, let’s leave the confines of the kitchen to talk about a few things that I think you might enjoy reading, listening to, looking at or just considering.

Barbara Kingsolver’s latest novel, “Demon Copperhead”; Weyes Blood’s single, “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody”; the photography of RaMell Ross and William Christenberry, in conversation at Pace Gallery in New York.

Finally, Vegemite. Where are you on that? I’m coming around! See you on Sunday.

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