By Rachel King //
Cooking dinner can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a pain. This is especially true when you don’t know what to make or feel like you are in a cooking rut and have been making the same recipes over and over again. We’ve all been there. To get out of this rut, here are a few of my go-to dinners when I want something easy but delicious for the night.
Thai curry sounds like it would be difficult to make, but you probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry without even knowing it. All you would really need to buy for this recipe is coconut milk and red or green Thai curry paste or powder. Once you have those more obscure ingredients, throw in whatever vegetables you have on hand, some chicken or tofu, and a little sugar or honey to sweeten it up, and you have yourself some tasty curry that tastes like it could be from a restaurant.
Stir fry is similar in its ingredients to curry, but it doesn’t require anything obscure. Simply toss into the pan any vegetables you have with some ground meat, steak, or leftover chicken. Add in some sauce to simmer everything in, such as soy sauce, oyster sauce, stir fry sauce, or, my personal favorite, peanut sauce. You can even use all of the above if you’re feeling bold. Let the flavors blend together, and your dish is ready to serve!
Pasta is a fantastic dish because it’s so versatile. With numerous pasta shapes and countless sauces and toppings, the possibilities are quite literally endless. One of my favorite pasta dishes is spaghetti topped with alfredo sauce, shredded spinach, and Italian sausage. With the only cooking involving the sauce, this meal will be ready in no time with very little tending necessary.
If you’re in a rush, nachos make for the perfect dinner. All you have to do is layer tortilla chips and cheese for the base, but feel free to go crazy with the toppings. My toppings of choice are leftover taco meat, spinach, refried beans, and more cheese, of course. Sometimes, I’ll even add barbecue sauce to give them a little kick. Pro tip: Put a layer of cheese and toppings on the bottom chips and then add chips on top of that and create another layer with cheese and toppings. This ensures the toppings are evenly distributed throughout so no chip goes dry.
Chicken and Vegetables
This is one of the simplest dinners you can make, not to mention one of the healthiest. Season some chicken with a seasoning packet or some salt and pepper and cook in a pan alongside some vegetables. Some of my favorites include green beans, sweet potatoes, and roasted broccoli. Make sure to season your vegetables so they turn out as flavorful as the chicken!
Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla
This recipe is easiest to make when you have leftover chicken, but if you don’t, simply boil some water over the stove and drop in raw chicken breast for about 10 minutes. Then, take it out and shred it using two forks to pull the chicken apart. Once you have shredded your chicken, mix it with buffalo sauce in either a bowl or a Ziploc bag. Add your buffalo chicken to a tortilla covered with mozzarella cheese and top with more cheese and another tortilla. Finally, pop into the microwave for 30 seconds, cut into triangles, and voila! Dip into ranch for optimal results.