Looking to add a little flavor, spice, and everything nice to jazz up your typically boring dinners? Cooking can be a quick endeavor if you discover easy meals that work for you. The following ideas for easy meals look and taste professional without taking up hours of your time!
1. Pesto Pasta
Pesto is amazing because there are so many varieties and all are delicious. The best time to make pesto is when you have a bit of extra green leaf vegetable — like spinach, kale, or basil — and you’re craving pasta. When the dish comes together, you will be feeling like a real pro chef.
Traditional pesto is made with basil, pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and garlic; however, there are so many combinations just as scrumptious. I personally recommend this recipe for kale pesto pasta with cherry tomatoes for a sparkling and nutritious meal.
2. Lemon Pepper Salmon
Surprisingly, salmon is a quick and relatively easy meal to make. It has a delicious flavor by itself, so it requires very little prep work!
For this lemon pepper salmon recipe, you will need salmon, lemons, extra virgin olive oil, salt, black pepper, and your choice of herbs — for a little extra zest. Try out the recipe here!
3. Chicken Fajitas
Chicken Fajitas are the perfect faux-fancy meal— not only are they delicious, but they require very few ingredients and will take you less than 30 minutes to prepare! You will need boneless chicken breasts, an onion (preferably red for extra flavor), red, yellow and green bell peppers, freshly-squeezed lime, corn or flour tortillas, oil for frying and nearly every variety of dried spice. You can also jazz it up with some sliced avocado, a spoonful of your favorite salsa, a scoop of sour cream, or a handful of cilantro.
Check out the full recipe here.
4. Zucchini Quiche
Have a lot of eggs taking up space in your fridge and not sure what to do with them? Well, you’re in luck because I come bearing the answer— quiche!
This recipe for zucchini quiche is made without a crust— eliminating a few unnecessary calories and saving you a few extra dollars. All you will need is zucchini, flour, shredded cheese, chives or green onions, a good amount of eggs and enough pepper and salt to suit your taste. The great thing about this recipe is a lot of the ingredients can be substituted for what you already have in your pantry—if you don’t have whole wheat flour, make it with all-purpose. If you don’t have zucchini you can try broccoli! Quiche is delicious and makes for a fancy, easy meal with little effort needed.
Get the full recipe here.
5. Vegetable Stir Fry
Stir fry is a great go-to meal idea because you can throw in random things from your fridge or frozen vegetables. I recommend using onions, garlic, bell peppers, and celery for an aromatic flavor. Other great veggies to add are broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, string beans, edamame, and mushrooms. Basically, any vegetable that can be cooked can be added.
Serve with rice and your desired sauces and enjoy!
6. Turkey Chili
Turkey chili is wonderfully mouthwatering and quite easy to make — simply toss a bunch of ingredients and spices into a pot and let it cook itself! The longer chili sits the more flavorful it becomes; so, you can make it at any point during the day and it will still be delicious when you finally sit down to eat. If you have leftovers, it also makes for a great lunch the next day.
You will need olive oil, an onion, garlic, bell peppers, ground turkey, diced tomatoes, chicken or vegetable broth, canned kidney beans, and corn; and last but certainly not least, spices. Check out the full recipe here!
7. Mini Pizzas
We’ve all tried pizza at some point right? Making your own pizza from scratch may seem intimidating, but it’s actually way easier than it sounds. I have been making pizza since the age of three— completely on my own of course! (Just kidding, I had a little help at first).
Embark on your pizza expedition by making miniature pizzas. This will allow you to try a variety of topping combinations while also testing out sauce and cheese quantities to find out what works for you. Furthermore, this will eliminate the hassle of rolling out sticky pizza dough to preposterous distances.
While you can follow a recipe, you don’t need to if you understand the basics. Just make sure you have a ready-made pizza dough from the store, a jar of tomato sauce, a bag of shredded mozzarella cheese, and your desired toppings. It is also a good idea to have fresh herbs, garlic, and spices to ensure a delectable pie.
Stretch out your dough and put together a pizza in any way you desire. Preheat the oven 20 minutes ahead of time, to 500°F, and bake your pizza on the lowest rack in the oven. Do not bake for longer than 10 minutes— this will ensure that your pizza is well-cooked, properly browned, and crispy.
If you follow these simple steps, your homemade mini pizzas are sure to be a success!
8. Burrito Bowls
Here is where you can get a little snazzy with your easy meals. If you’re craving something Chipotle-esque, make it happen with a few easy steps!
Build your own burrito bowl with a few of your favorites. For example, heat up a can of refried beans, make a pot of rice, chop up lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado, and get out your shredded cheese and salsa. If you put all these ingredients together in a bowl, you have a burrito bowl!
9. Lentil Soup
Again, you should immediately add any sort of stew or soup to your list of delicious and easy meals. Especially lentil soup which has the added benefit of being healthy and filling.
This recipe for a simple lentil soup is straightforward and scrumptious, although I recommend replacing at least two cups of the required water with chicken or vegetable broth to give it more flavor.
10. Fancy Instant Ramen
Ramen can go from good to great with just a few extra ingredients! Slice up a hard-boiled egg or sautée some spinach to give your ramen an extra flare. Check out some more ideas here!