Do you have an arsenal of easy-to-prepare dinners you look to on busy week nights when you’re exhausted and frankly too lazy to make anything that meaningful? I definitely have my own rotation. When you’re trying to stick to at-home eating, whether for dietary reasons or budget, it’s important to recognize the barriers which will keep you from staying the course. For me, these barriers are time and effort. To combat, here are a few quick, no-recipe dinners I make to stay away from take-out and scarf down a home-cooked meal when ain’t nobody got TIME for the kitchen…
*Baked Potatoes- As soon as you get home from work, cut the top of a washed potato with a knife in a cross pattern, pop it in the oven, and go about your business for the next hour or so. Top with any combination of the following: butter, sour cream, cheese, salt & pepper, salsa, beans, avocado, chunks of deli meat, banana peppers, or capers. Note: This works for russet or sweet potatoes, though I have found sweet potatoes don’t need as much time in the oven.
*Omelettes- The key is to cook your eggs very slowly! Fill with cheese and veggies. Serve on top of greens, if you like.
*Spaghetti Bolognese- Heat up olive oil in a pan. Add garlic and onions, then carrots and celery, then ground beef and finally canned tomatoes and herbs/spices. Let this thicken for about 30 minutes while you cook some pasta.
*3 Ingredient Chili- 1 lb cooked ground beef + undrained can of beans + can of tomatoes OR jar of salsa if that’s what you have on hand and you like things with a kick = CHILI yumminess. I like to add in pasta because that’s just the sort of chili eater I am.
*Salmon and Veg- Grill a salmon filet on the George Foreman and top with a dollop of cranberry sauce. Serve with whatever vegetables you have on hand. If you’re especially famished, add some brown rice.
*Pancakes- If you use pancake mix it’s as easy as adding an egg or two and some milk to create a batter. For flair; mix in blueberries, walnuts, chocolate chip, banana or anything else your heart desires. Speaking of hearts, why not make your pancakes in the shape of a <3!
*Mexican Bagels- Toast a bagel and top with creamed cheese and sliced cheese. Stick this under the broiler to melt, then top with salsa and avocado.
*Pizzas- Buy store bought crust and top with combination of pizza sauce, cheese, and any and all leftovers you find in the fridge. Even easier? Pita pizzas! Just do the same but on pitas. They’re adorable!
*Chicken and sweet potato fries- Bake a chicken breast and serve with store-bought, frozen sweet potato fries. My favorite are the Alexia crinkle-cut kind.
And of course, ANYTHING on toast can become a meal if you believe hard enough!
What quick dinner recipes/no-recipes do you know by heart? How did they make their way into your arsenal? Trial and error? Grow up with them? Home Ec class? Share your favorites in the comments below!