Each of the main-dish recipes below can be made as two separate packets, using one 12-inch-long sheet of aluminum foil for the bottom and one 11-inch sheet for the top. I used regular aluminum foil, but heavy-duty is more reliable. It is important that the packets remain completely sealed; take extra care to keep any ingredients from poking through the packets.

The packets can be assembled for baking and refrigerated up to 1 day in advance.

A word about the rub recipes: Because I use them so often as quick flavor injections for fast dishes, I make extra amounts of these rubs. They'll keep, stored in airtight containers, for up to 1 month.

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine

2 generous servings

This tagine, with its rich, deep red sauce, is set off nicely atop a mound of couscous and garnished with chopped scallions. Make sure the leek is washed and thoroughly free of grit. Serve the tagine with Easy Breezy Couscous (recipe follows).

1 medium leek, halved lengthwise, cut into 1-inch squares

1 medium red pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch squares

1 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 small yellow squash, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 carrot, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes and parboiled* for 3 minutes

1 small sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes and parboiled for 3 minutes

1 cup (4 ounces) sugar snap peas

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons finely chopped, cleaned cilantro stems

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (11/2 cups)

1 cup chick peas, drained (15-ounce can)

2 tablespoons Moroccan Rub (recipe follows)

Chopped scallions, for garnish (optional)

Set an oven rack on the middle level and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the ingredients.

Place a 22-inch-long piece of aluminum foil on the work surface. Line the vegetables down the center, leaving a 4-inch border on each end and a 2-inch border on each side. Place a 24-inch-long piece of foil on the top and mold it over the packet ingredients. Starting with one of the long sides, fold the bottom foil edge a half-inch over the top foil edge and seal firmly using your index finger. Make another 1/2-inch fold and seal firmly. Repeat until you reach the enclosed mound. Seal the other long side, and then seal the ends in the same fashion, making the packet as airtight as possible.

Place on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. (The packet will puff up during baking.) Transfer to a work surface and, being careful to avoid the escaping steam, use scissors to open a rectangle in the top of the packet. Discard the bay leaf and the packet foil. Spoon the vegetables and the sauce over the Easy Breezy Couscous and garnish with chopped scallions, if desired. Serve hot or at room temperature.

*NOTE: Parboiling is partially cooking food by briefly boiling it in water. The process ensures that multiple ingredients of different densities will complete cooking at the same time.

Per serving: 451 calories, 15 g protein, 101 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g saturated fat, 849 mg sodium, 21 g dietary fiber

Moroccan Rub

Makes enough for 2 servings

1 tablespoon Barbecue Rub (recipe follows)

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl, or store in a resealable plastic bag for up to 1 month.

Per serving: 27 calories, 1 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, mg cholesterol, 0 g saturated fat, 708 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber

Recipes tested by Hal Mehlman; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

Easy, Breezy Couscous

2 generous servings

Half a cup of toasted pine nuts and 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro are optional but excellent additions.

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 cup medium quick-cooking couscous

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup pine nuts (optional)

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro (optional)

Combine the broth, olive oil and turmeric in a 1-quart Pyrex bowl. Microwave the liquid on high uncovered and bring to a boil (2 to 3 minutes). Remove carefully, stir in the couscous and cover tightly with plastic wrap for 5 minutes.

Fluff the couscous with a fork and season with salt and pepper to taste. Fold in the toasted pine nuts and chopped parsley or cilantro, if desired.

Per serving: 426 calories, 14 g protein, 72 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 2 g saturated fat, 219 mg sodium, 5 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Jana Long; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

Barbecue Spare Ribs, Chicken Thighs or Chicken Wings

2 servings

Serve this in-house version of barbecue with cornbread and coleslaw or a green salad.

3/4 cup thick ketchup, such as Heinz

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon chipotle-flavored hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco, or more to taste

One 2-pound slab baby back ribs, rubbed on both sides with a total of 2 tablespoons Barbecue Rub (recipe follows)

OR

4 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, rubbed on both sides with a total of 2 tablespoons Barbecue Rub (recipe follows)

OR

12 chicken wings, joints separated, tips discarded, rubbed on both sides with a total of 2 tablespoons Barbecue Rub (recipe follows)

1/4 cup water

Set an oven rack on the middle level and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the ketchup, the Worcestershire sauce and chipotle-flavored hot pepper sauce and toss with the barbecue-rubbed ribs or thighs or wings. Place a 22-inch piece of aluminum foil on a work surface. Line the ribs (skin side down), thighs (skin side up), or wings (skin side up) down the center, leaving a 4-inch border on each end and 2-inch borders on the sides. Place a 24-inch-long piece of foil on the top and mold it over the packet ingredients. Starting with one of the long sides, fold the bottom foil edge 1/2 inch over the top foil edge and seal firmly using your index finger. Make another 1/2-inch fold and seal firmly. Repeat until you reach the enclosed mound. Seal the other long side. Seal the ends in the same fashion. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at one of the following times:

* 70 minutes for the pork.

* 40 minutes for the thighs.

* 30 minutes for the wings.

(The packet will puff up.) Transfer to a work surface and, being careful to avoid the escaping steam, use scissors to open a larger rectangle in the top of the packet. Return the baking sheet to the middle rack and broil for 10 to 15 minutes, until the meat has a nicely browned crust.

Transfer the packets to a work surface. (Cut the ribs, if using, into separate pieces.) Form a little pouring "lip" along the long side of the packet that is away from you. Carefully pick up the foil packet by the sides (it should be cool enough to handle; otherwise, use mitts) and slowly drain off just the orange-colored fat. Pour the remaining sauce into a 2-cup glass measuring cup and discard any remaining fat. (There should be about 1/2 cup of sauce.) Add the water and the remaining 1/4 cup of ketchup, stir and microwave for 1 minute on high. Taste for seasonings and add more chipotle-flavored hot pepper sauce, if desired, and mix well to combine. Spoon the sauce over the meat or serve on the side.

Per serving (for spare ribs): 548 calories, 59 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 21 g fat, 126 mg cholesterol, 7 g saturated fat, 952 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber

Barbecue Rub

Makes enough for 2 servings

4 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or ground chipotle powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl, or store in a resealable plastic bag for up to 1 month.

Per serving: 27 calories, 1 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g saturated fat, 1,204 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber

Recipes tested by Andy Boltax; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

Pennsylvania Dutch Pork Ribs With Apple Cabbage

2 generous servings

I like to serve something green with this dish, either a salad or some sauteed sugar snaps, snow peas or green beans.

1-pound bag coleslaw mix

2 strips uncooked bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into eighths

1 bay leaf

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1 teaspoon caraway seeds (may substitute cumin seeds)

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup dry vermouth

One 2-pound rack baby back ribs, rubbed on both sides with Pork Rub (recipe follows)

Set an oven rack on the middle level and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the coleslaw mix, pieces of bacon, carrot and apple, the bay leaf, garlic, caraway seeds, sugar, salt and vermouth. Place a 22-inch piece of aluminum foil on a work surface and line the vegetable mix down the center of the foil, leaving a 4-inch border on each end and a 2-inch borders on the sides. Top with slab of ribs. Place a 24-inch piece of foil over the ribs and mold it over the packet ingredients. Starting with one of the long sides, fold the bottom foil edge a half-inch over the top foil edge and seal firmly with index finger. Make another 1/2-inch fold and seal firmly. Repeat until you reach the enclosed mound. Seal the other long side. Seal the ends in the same fashion. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 70 minutes. (The packet will puff up.)

Transfer to a work surface and, being careful to avoid the escaping steam, use scissors to open a rectangle in the top of the packet. Using tongs, carefully move the slab over so the ribs and cabbage are side by side. Return baking sheet to oven on the middle rack and broil for 10 to 15 minutes until ribs are crusty and the cabbage, apples and bacon are browned. Remove from oven. Place slab on cutting board and cut into ribs. Spoon the cabbage onto a platter and top it with the ribs. Discard the bay leaf. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 823 calories, 65 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 43 g fat, 151 mg cholesterol, 15 g saturated fat, 1,585 mg sodium, 10 g dietary fiber

Pork Rub

Makes enough for 1 rack of baby back ribs (2 servings)

1 tablespoon Madras curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon seasoned salt, such as McCormick's

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or ground chipotle powder

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl, or store in a resealable plastic bag for up to 1 month.

Per serving: 15 calories, 1 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g saturated fat, 763 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber

Recipes tested by Michael Taylor; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

Jiffy Papillotte of Salmon, Vegetables and Herbs

2 servings

What looks like too many vegetables will cook down to just the right amount to serve with the tender salmon fillets. Be sure to use fresh herbs.

For the herb drizzle:

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

1 tablespoon basil, oregano or tarragon

1 tablespoon thyme

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 scallions, both white and light-green parts, chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

For the packet:

2 medium red bliss potatoes, 1/4 -- inch-thick slices, parboiled 5 minutes

1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored and cut into julienne (very thin strips)

1 carrot, peeled and cut into julienne

1 zucchini, cut into julienne

1 yellow squash, cut into julienne

1 medium-size leek (dark green tops removed), cleaned of sand and julienned

One 12-ounce skinless salmon fillet, sliced on the bias (like flank steak) into 8-inch-wide, 1/2-inch thick slices (any remaining pin bones should be removed)

1 large lemon, sliced into eight 1/4-inch slices

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into eighths

Chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Set an oven rack on the middle level and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

For the herb drizzle: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

For the packet: In a small bowl, toss the parboiled potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the herb drizzle. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the pieces of bell pepper, carrot, zucchini, squash and leek with two tablespoons of the herb drizzle. Set aside,

Place a 22-inch-long piece of aluminum foil on the counter. Line overlapping drizzled potato slices down the center, leaving a 4-inch border on each end and 2-inch borders on the sides. Top with remaining vegetables. Lay salmon slices over the julienned vegetables to cover them (from long side to long side of foil). The salmon slices should not quite touch each other. Spoon the remaining drizzle over the salmon slices. Place one lemon slice on top of each salmon slice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and dot each salmon slice with one bit of butter. Place a 24-inch piece of foil on the top and mold it over the packet ingredients. Starting with one of the long sides, fold the bottom foil edge a half-inch over the top foil edge and seal firmly with index finger. Make another 1/2-inch fold and seal firmly. Repeat until you reach the enclosed mound. Seal the other long side. Seal the ends in the same fashion. Place on a rimmed baking sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes. (The packet will puff up during baking.)

Transfer to a work surface and, being careful to avoid the escaping steam, use scissors to open a rectangle in the top of the packet. Carefully transfer the packet onto a plate, and, using a spatula, ease its contents onto the plate while pulling the foil away. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 692 calories, 44 g protein, 82 g carbohydrates, 26 g fat, 126 mg cholesterol, 10 g saturated fat, 1,432 mg sodium, 18 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Pam Kendrick; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

Chef and former owner of Trumpets and co-owner of David Greggory Restaurants. David Hagedorn last wrote for Food about performing a brunch makeover.

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine