Here’s what to cook when you just don’t feel like cooking!
I grew up cooking alongside my mom. I love to cook and experiment in the kitchen. A quick weeknight dinner can turn into a 2 hour experiment, and I’m happy about it! However, I understand that not everyone shares this love for cooking. In fact, many people hate spending time in the kitchen! So what do you cook when you don’t feel like cooking? I made it my mission today to round up delicious and healthy recipes to make that require minimal cooking and prep work.
In an attempt to reduce clean up time, there are a lot of “one pot” meals out there. They are a great option when you don’t feel like cooking, because a lot of times it’s not cooking that’s the problem, it’s all the dishes afterwards! This recipe capitalizes on minimizing prep work as well. Canned tomatoes and baby spinach are easy veggies that require no chopping! Throw all of your ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, and let simmer until the pasta is cooked! Stir in the spinach and cheese and then you’re good to go!
Tacos are so simple, but easily a crowd pleaser. These vegetarian tacos use black beans and canned tomatoes to create a flavorful and protein-packed filling. They are the ultimate taco option when you don’t feel like cooking. Use shredded cheese, pre-shredded lettuce, sour cream, pre-made guacamole, and salsa as no stress toppings.
Salad kits are everywhere these days, which can make dinnertime a breeze! Grab whatever salad kit strikes your fancy, and then beef it up to make it a meal! One of my favorites is the southwest salad kit. Your typical kit will have lettuce, tortilla strips, cheese, and dressing. Make it a meal by adding rotisserie chicken, canned corn and/or beans (drained), salsa, and whatever else you want! No cooking required!
It doesn’t get much easier than this. Grab a package of cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s, and toss with cucumber, tomato, and feta cheese. Finish off with a drizzle of olive oil and champagne vinegar, and fresh cracked black pepper. Voila, you have Lentil Salad! Serve over lettuce or with pita bread to complete the meal! Simple ingredients (and already steamed lentils) makes this perfect for when you don’t feel like cooking.
Chicken salad made with diced rotisserie chicken (or even canned chicken) seems simple, but finely dicing onion or celery can take some time. This honey raisin chicken salad doesn’t require chopping any veggies! Mix up the ingredients, put it between 2 slices of bread, and you’re good to go!
Stir fry can be a quick, one pan meal. Use a bag of frozen veggies and a microwaveable pack of rice to make it even easier! You can make chicken stir fry using leftover rotisserie or precooked sliced chicken. Shrimp is a favorite protein of mine to use in a pinch because you can keep it on hand in your freezer and it thaws so quickly under cold running water. 10 Minute Stir Fry is a classic stir fry, or switch things up with Shrimp Fried Rice!
Pizza is my favorite easy meal to make. I keep naan bread in the freezer so that it’s always on hand, and then use whatever sauce I can find: pesto, marinara, or even just olive oil and garlic. Throw on some veggies and whatever toppings you want, plus a sprinkle of cheese, and throw it in the oven. The nice thing about naan pizza is everyone can make their own, that way everyone is happy! Spinach and Pesto Naan Pizza is a favorite in my house!
Breakfast for Dinner (aka Brinner)
Breakfast for dinner is a staple for us when we don’t feel like cooking. I usually don’t have the energy to cook myself eggs in the morning. Instead, I usually have meal prepped something so I can grab and go. But in the evening, I actually have time to cook an omelet or mash some black beans on a tortilla and top with a fried egg and salsa (Huevos Rancheros anyone?). Not into eggs? How about breakfast hash? Chopped onion, bell pepper, potato, and sliced chicken sausage spread on a sheet pan and baked until veggies are soft!
Sheet pan meals are gaining popularity because you can cook your protein, starch, and veggie all on the same pan, and the oven does all the work! One Pan Roasted Chicken and Potatoes is not only quick, but it’s the perfect balance of protein, carbohydrate, and vegetable, and it’s delicious!
Watch Kaitlin and Klara cook Naan Pizzas and Black Bean Tacos. Two of their favorite recipes when they do not feel like cooking
Updated December 2019
An award winning recipe developer, Dietitian Kaitlin’s mission is to empower others to reach their health goals by encouraging them to get back into the kitchen. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and Cooking with Diabetes.