Five Easy Weeknight Meals, No Recipe Required

There’s a time and a place for 20-step recipes that call for obscure ingredients like dandelion roots and dragon fruit. But that time and place is not 8 pm on a weeknight – at least, not for me.

When I get home after a full day of work and a sweat sesh at the gym, the last thing I want to do is follow a complicated recipe. Instead, I like to prepare one of these fast and easy throw-it-all-together meals using ingredients from Trader Joe’s. (If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby, you can likely find substitutions for the ingredients below at your local grocery store.)

These are my five go-to meals with no recipe required. Just follow the simple directions and you’ll be chowing down in no time.


Winter curry


Tomato basil mozzarella sandwiches

You can slap these sandwiches together in no time.

  • Layer sliced tomatoes (I like the smaller vine-ripened ones because they fit better on the bread), sliced mozzarella (I prefer the mozzarella log not packed in water to reduce sogginess) and several basil leaves on a sliced and toasted baguette.
  • Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and top with the other half of the bread. Yum!


Enchilada casserole

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Layer the bottom of a glass casserole dish with corn tortillas. You may need to break a few of them up to fully cover the bottom of the dish.
  • Spread a can of rinsed black beans on top of the tortillas, followed by several handfuls of spinach and a thick layer of shredded Mexican cheese.
  • Add another layer of corn tortillas. Dump an entire bottle of enchilada sauce on top and cook for 25 minutes or until hot.
  • Top with chopped romaine lettuce and guacamole.


easy weeknight meals

Avocado toast with eggs

  • In a saucepan over low heat, scramble three eggs.
  • While the eggs are cooking, mash two avocados in a small bowl with garlic salt, pepper and red chili flakes.
  • Slice and toast a baguette. Spread the avocado mash on the bread, then top with the cooked eggs.

So simple but so good.


Tex-Mex bowl

  • Slice a yellow onion and two yellow, orange or red peppers.
  • Sauté with a bit of vegetable oil until soft. Add a dash of taco seasoning if you wish.
  • Meanwhile, warm up leftover rice or premade rice in the microwave along with rinsed black beans or pinto beans.
  • Assemble the bowl by layering the rice and beans, then the veggies, then lettuce, a scoop of guacamole, salsa, a sprinkle of cheese and plain yogurt.

Congrats – you just made your own speedy and easy Chipotle bowl.


What other fast, easy weeknight recipes are your go-to’s? 

Eat Recipes

About Kelsey Schagemann

Kelsey is a former NCAA Division III cross country and track athlete who exchanged sneakers for spin shoes in her twenties. Hailing from the great state of Oregon (by way of St. Louis, where she spent her childhood), Kelsey has made Chicago her home since 2006. She can often be found at the helm of her daughter’s stroller, walking miles throughout the city. Her other favorite fitness activities include spinning, yoga, lifting weights and biking. As a freelance writer, Kelsey works with universities, nonprofits, websites and magazines (visit for more information). In her spare time, she enjoys trying new recipes, traveling with her family and keeping the library in business. Kelsey holds a BA in English from Kenyon College and an MA in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago.