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.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pot.
- Sauté chopped cauliflower florets, a can of rinsed garbanzo beans, a diced red pepper, leftover rice (or premade rice), a bag of spinach and any other vegetables that you desire (potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, etc.)
- Add an entire bottle of Trader Joe’s Thai Yellow Curry Sauce, Thai Red Curry Sauce, Curry Simmer Sauce or Masala Simmer Sauce.
- Cook until the vegetables are soft and everything is hot – then dig in!
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!
- 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.
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.
- 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?