With the lazy days of summer quickly becoming a distant memory, everyone is adapting to new routines; no more “summer Fridays” at work, weekend trips to the beach or the carefree lifestyle of no homework to worry about. Jumping back into the swing of things after summer can be draining, and the last thing you want to be stressing over is what you’re going to eat for dinner once you get home. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy, healthy recipes for you to enjoy after a long day. You don’t need to be a culinary whiz to prepare these meals, but it will certainly taste like you are once you sit down to eat them.
1. Zillions of zoodles
With phrases like “just 5 ingredients” and “only need 20 minutes” I was immediately hooked and convinced that this could be the greatest recipe of our time. Ok, that might be a bit dramatic, but once you come home from a long day and then whip up a near gourmet meal in 20 minutes, you’ll see where I’m coming from. The only accessory you need to create this dinner is a spiralizer, aka a contraption that tricks you into thinking you’re eating pasta when you’re really eating vegetables (where was this when I was a kid?). If you’re an occasional zoodle eater or voracious fan, there is bound to be the perfect tool for you in our best spiralizers compilation.
2. Mashed potatoes, minus the potatoes
The first thing you have to mentally accept with this recipe is that while it may be delicious, it won’t taste like mashed potatoes...because a cauliflower is not a potato. Regardless, you will still get a delicious meal, sans excess carbs. To really get the smoothest possible texture, make sure to put your cauliflower into a food processor. Not sure which one is the best for your culinary skills? We have your guide on the best food processors.
3. Quick and healthy fried rice
This veggie fried rice from Lively Meals is perfect for when your cupboards are looking a little bare and you only have a few ingredients left in your fridge. Essentially any vegetable will do in this delicious bowl, throw in a couple of fried eggs and your favorite type of rice and you will be sitting down to dinner in half an hour. Want to shave even more time off of this quick meal? We tested the best rice cookers this year and found plenty of options for every type of chef.
4. An instant fiesta
These easy weeknight enchiladas from She Well have me wanting to throw a fiesta in my kitchen every night this week. This highly customizable recipe can satisfy carnivores and vegetarians alike, leaving everyone stuffed enough after dinner to avoid the late night munchies. The best part? You can whip these bad boys up in less than an hour and they’re the perfect way to sneak extra veggies into your diet.
5. Comfort in a cup
This recipe has me salivating and wishing for chilly nights to cozy up with a giant bowl of soup. One of the best parts about making this chicken soup is that once you prep it in the morning and throw it into your slow cooker, you’ll arrive home to a hot meal ready to be devoured. To make sure your veggies and chicken are cut into the perfect bite sized morsels, make sure you have a sharp kitchen knife on hand. If your blades are looking dull, check out our guide to the best chef’s knives.
6. Your least favorite childhood vegetable, all grown up
This tangy roasted cauliflower recipe from Real+Vibrant will have you asking yourself why cauliflower has been wildly under appreciated for so many years. In less than a half hour, you can whip up these delicious treats as either a full meal or a tasty accompaniment to your dinner. To make sure your florets are perfectly coated in the goodness of oil, lemon juice, garlic and spices, make sure you have a mixing bowl that is fit for the job. Not sure if yours is up to the task? Our list of best mixing bowls is sure to have a winner for your kitchen.
7. A step up from takeout
This pizza toast is the ultimate lazy dinner for adults or the perfect after school snack for kids. Regardless, it’s an all around crowd pleaser. Simply gather your favorite pizza toppings, sprinkle liberally upon bread, sauce and cheese, pop into the oven and BOOM—pizza toast complete. Honestly, it’s too simple. The only equipment you need is a baking sheet that can hold all of your slices and we’ve already done that research for you with the best baking sheets.
8. Stuffed deliciousness
These stuffed peppers from Cooking Classy take comfort food to a whole other level. In only one hour you can go from ingredients strewn about your counters to a Mexican feast on your table. Best of all, you can never really go wrong with anything you put in a stuffed pepper, so feel free to use your cooking creativity with these.
9. Edible gold
This recipe from Slap Dash Mom combines two of our most favorite things: cheesey pasta and an Instant Pot. Honestly, there is no better duo out there. In just 15-20 minutes this delicious dish could be on your table. If you don’t know which Instant Pot should be on your kitchen counter, we’ve already done the research for you. So what are you waiting for?
10. An Italian classic
This lasagna from The Cookie Rookie the definition of comfort food. Plus, all it takes is one pan to whip up this meal, so that means waaaaaay less clean up. To whip up this Italian favorite in under an hour all you need is a dutch oven and a few pantry staples. This recipe serves up to 6, perfect if you have an unexpected guest over for dinner or if you want a delicious leftover lunch the next day. Not sure what a dutch oven is and how it will forever change how you cook? We tested the best dutch ovens, so there is bound to be one that is perfect for your cooking skills.
11. A dinner that leaves you with a simple clean up
Is it me, or are you also seeing sheet pan meals ALL OVER the internet lately? This sheet pan garlic chicken and veggies creation from Eazy Peazy Mealz is the absolute essence of a simple kitchen meal. With only a cutting board and a baking sheet to clean afterwards, you’ll be glad not to return to a sink full of pots and pans after you eat. If you’re in the market for a new surface to prep your meals, check out our favorite cutting boards that won’t slide off your counter mid-chop.
12. A warm hug in a bowl
If you want to come home to the delicious scents of spices wafting throughout your kitchen, this slow cooker chili recipe from Oh, Sweet Basil is for you. Just chop your veggies and prep your meat in the morning, then throw them all together into your slow cooker of choice. While you’re hard at work for the day, your dinner is slowly simmering, waiting your arrival home. We tested the best slow cookers, so there are plenty of options out there, for amateur cooks to slow cooker connoisseurs.