I didn't start actually preparing and cooking meals until about a year ago. Before my husband and I got married, and when we lived in the U.S., dinners consisted of frozen bagged meals or frozen pizza or frozen whatever.
There's no such thing where I live now (at least not on this part of the island), so it was either rely on my husband to prepare dinner every night or learn to cook with fresh ingredients.
I fought against it for a long time because a) I hated cooking, b) I wasn't very good at it, and c) I'm lazy. When I finally did decide to make my way into the kitchen without grimacing, I started perusing the internet for healthy, easy and fast meals. Preferably ones with five ingredients or less, and if there were more ingredients, they had to be simple.
If you're a newbie cook or lazy or would rather spend your time doing anything but making dinner, here are my go-to recipes that are fast, easy, and (mostly) fresh.
Easy Chicken Pad Thai
Although I'm sure Thai Kitchen is a good brand, I don't use it because our mom-and-pop grocery store doesn't stock it. I use whatever rice noodles and pad thai sauce is available. I love pad thai and this recipe is easy enough for me to want to make it.
- 4 oz. stir-fry rice noodles
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 lightly beaten egg
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 6 tbsp. pad thai sauce
- 2 thinly sliced green onions
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped unsalted peanuts
- fresh cilantro sprigs and lime wedges
- Bring 4 cups water to boil in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add rice noodles; let stand 8 to 10 minutes or until noodles are soft but firm. Rinse under cold water; drain well. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in large skillet or wok on medium-high heat. Add egg; scramble until set. Remove from skillet. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add chicken; stir fry until cooked through. Add rice noodles, Pad Thai sauce and green onions; stir fry 3 to 4 minutes or noodles are tender.
- Stir in bean sprouts and scrambled egg. Place noodle mixture on serving platter. Sprinkle with peanuts. Serve with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.
chicken noodle skillet
This is a one-pot meal, which means easy cleanup. It combines the best of a creamy pasta dish with chicken noodle soup.
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup broccoli cuts
- 1 cup corn or carrots
- 1 cup uncooked egg noodles (or any noodle - I use bow tie)
- 2 cups chicken broth (water works just as well if you don't have this on hand)
- 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder (I also throw in fresh onions)
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil.
- Cook chicken 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 8 minutes. Uncover and simmer 5 additional minutes, or until noodles are tender.
easy chickpea oat veggie burger
My husband and I have made several attempts at making chickpea burgers and they always fall apart...until this beauty came along. It's easy, full of yummy ingredients, and a nice alternative to beef. Also, it doesn't crumble. Yay!!
- 1-2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 small-medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 cups oats (not instant)
- 1/2 cup ground walnuts
- 1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 3/4 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. dried sage
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Heat oil in a large skillet. Once hot, add the onions and cook (and stir) for about 10 minutes until very tender and golden brown.
- Combine the oats and ground walnuts in a large bowl.
- Place the chickpeas, almond milk, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried sage in a blender and process until very smooth and creamy.
- Once smooth, pour into oats and walnuts. Add the browned onions and mix well. Allow the mixture to rest for 5-10 minutes so the oats can absorb the liquid.
- Form into 6-8 thin, flat patties. Using the same skillet, add the burgers, lower heat to medium-low, and brown them for 5-7 minutes on each side, flipping them over once.
One pan mexican quinoa
Quinoa + vegetables = lean, clean, and green! Another one-pot recipe that means it's easy to make and easy to cleanup. Also, feel free to use any vegetables you have on hand. Tonight I used red bell pepper, red onion, corn, garlic, and kidney beans.
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and jalapeno, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in quinoa, vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir in avocado, lime juice and cilantro.
baked honey garlic chicken
I serve this delicious baked chicken with rice, quinoa, or a side of veggies.
Ingredients for honey garlic sauce:
- 1/3 cup honey, or more, to taste
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. Sriracha, optional
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp. sesame seeds
Ingredients for chicken:
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup Panko
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9x13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Working in batches, dip chicken into eggs, then dredge in Panko, pressing to coat.
- Add chicken to prepared baking dish. Place into oven and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 15-20 minutes.
- In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, combine honey, garlic, soy sauce and Sriracha, if using. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and 1/3 cup water. Stir mixture into the saucepan until thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in chicken and gently toss to combine.
- Serve immediately, garnished with green onions and sesame seeds, if desired.