15 Fast and Easy Meals for the Girl Who Doesn't Cook
Try these oh-so-simple recipes from our favorite nutrition experts and food bloggers
Cooking at home and eating healthy often go hand in hand. But if you're not a kitchen-savvy gal, the best nutrition experts and bloggers have come to the rescue. We gathered their favorite quick and easy recipes for healthy meals that require as few ingredients as possible.
Holy Deliciousness Hummus
Even food bloggers need an occasional break from the kitchen. Caitlin of Healthy Tipping Point falls back on her creamy homemade hummus recipe when she wants a delicious, healthy snack.
"Make a big batch ahead of time and eat it all week long," she says. "It tastes great on toast, bagels, or crackers; stuffed in celery; scooped on carrots; or even as a pasta sauce alternative."
1 c. white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c. goat cheese
1 tbsp. tahini (sesame seed butter)
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove fresh garlic (or 1/4 tbsp. minced garlic)
Two heavy pinches salt
One heavy pinch pepper
Combine all ingredients in a food processor until creamy. Serve.
Makes 1.5 cups.
Recipe provided by Healthy Tipping Point
Roasted Red Pepper, Onion, and Cheese Quesadillas
Quesadillas get a fresh makeover in this easy recipe. Replace flour tortillas with corn, which contain less fat, calories, and sodium, and fill them with healthy fixings like onions and red peppers. Nonfat Greek yogurt also serves as a more nutritious topping than standard sour cream.
2 tsp. canola oil
1 small yellow onion, sliced into half moons
2 jarred roasted red peppers, sliced into strips
8 6-in. corn tortillas
1 15-oz. can no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c. shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
Salsa, for serving (optional)
Nonfat plain Greek yogurt, for serving (optional)
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion slices and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sliced peppers and saute for another couple of minutes. Remove vegetables from pan and set aside. Heat one tortilla in the pan and top with 1/4 of the vegetables, 1/4 of the beans, and 1/4 of the cheese. Cover with a second tortilla and press down with a spatula for a few minutes until the cheese starts to melt. Using a spatula and your other hand, carefully flip the quesadilla so that the top tortilla can brown for a few minutes. When the cheese is completely melted, remove the quesadilla from pan. Top with salsa and a dollop of yogurt if desired.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe provided by registered dietitian and nutrition consultant Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Nutritioulicious
Lime Mahi Mahi
Even the most novice chef will find this lime-infused fish simple to prepare. All you have to do is season a pair of mahi mahi fillets with a low-calorie marinade and toss them on a skillet. The process takes 20 minutes, but the result tastes like it must have required hours of prep work.
2 6-8 oz. mahi mahi fillets
Sea salt and pepper to taste
2 limes, juiced
3 tbsp. tamari soy sauce
2 in. fresh ginger root, grated
1 tbsp. olive oil
Lemon, cut into 4 slices
Rinse fish, season with sea salt and pepper, and place in a shallow baking dish. Combine the lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, and olive oil in a small bowl and pour over fish. Turn over the mahi mahi in the marinade and let it sit in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Preheat skillet on medium-high heat. Cook fish with marinade for 6-7 minutes per side or until fish is firm and opaque. Garnish with a slice of lemon.
Makes 2 servings.
Recipe provided by Institute for Integrative Nutrition
Loaded Baked Sweet Potato
All you need for this effortless meal is a sweet potato (packed with nutrients like beta-carotene, it's one of Mother Nature's greatest offerings), low-fat fillings like black beans, and a microwave. You'll have a healthy meal in minutes!
1 med. sweet potato
1/4 c. black beans
1/4 c. low-fat cheddar cheese
Dollop of nonfat Greek yogurt or salsa (optional)
Wash sweet potato and pierce top with fork a few times. Wrap in paper towel and microwave for 5-6 minutes (until potato is tender). Remove from microwave, place on plate, and slice potato down the center. Top with black beans, cheese, and Greek yogurt and/or salsa!
Makes 1 serving.
Recipe provided by Kristen Carlucci, RD, registered dietitian and nutrition expert for Pitney Bowes Inc.
Balsamic Tuna with Chopped Celery
Whip up this tuna recipe in seconds for a nutritious meal or side dish. By replacing the fatty mayonnaise in traditional tuna spreads with balsamic dressing (or oil and vinegar), you cut about 100 calories.
1 can tuna (or premade grilled chicken for non-fish eaters)
1 stick celery
Balsamic vinaigrette (Tip: Use Wish-Bone Salad Spritzers Balsamic Breeze Vinaigrette Dressing, which is 1 calorie per spray)
Remove the tuna from its can, put it on a dish, and moisten it with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Dice the stick of celery into small bits and distribute throughout the balsamic-glazed tuna fish to create an instant, healthy meal in less than 5 minutes.
Recipe provided by Jeff Halevy, behavioral health and fitness expert and CEO of Halevy Life in New York
Microwave Eggs with Spinach and Feta
You can make this 290-calorie dish during a commercial break! Even better, since you just toss the eggs in the microwave, there's less kitchenware to clean up afterward.
2 whole eggs
2 egg whites
1/4 c. feta cheese, crumbled
1 1/2 c. fresh spinach, torn
Salt and pepper to taste
In a microwave-safe bowl, beat eggs and egg whites. Stir in cheese, torn spinach, and seasonings to taste. Cook 55 seconds on high. Stir and cook for additional 20-30 seconds until cooked but not dry.
Makes 1 serving.
Store-bought rotisserie chicken is perfect for the girl who has limited kitchen skills and time to cook. Shredding the chicken and pairing it with rice and veggies offers a satisfying, well-balanced dinner.
Shred the chicken from a store-bought rotisserie chicken and place it in a pot with your favorite jarred salsa or picante sauce. Warm thoroughly and serve over rice. Round out your meal with a bagged salad and a piece of fruit.
Recipe provided by Jill Weisenberger, MS, RD, CDE, nutrition consultant in SE Virginia
Amazingly Addictive Artichoke Squares
Keep a stock of eggs in your fridge at all times. They're the perfect go-to ingredient for nutritious meals. EA Stewart's scrumptious squares also make use of the often overlooked artichoke, which is rich in fiber, iron, and calcium.
"These squares are loaded with protein and calcium, plus provide fiber and phytonutrients from the artichoke hearts," Stewart says. "You can make a batch or two ahead of time and freeze them for later. Serve a couple with a salad and fresh fruit and you have the perfect simple and healthy meal."
2 jars artichoke hearts marinated in oil (or water)
2 tbsp. olive oil (optional if not using hearts marinated in oil)
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. fine dry bread crumbs
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
1/8 tsp. each black pepper and dried oregano
1/8tsp. hot red pepper sauce, if desired
8 oz. (or 2 c.) cheese
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Drain artichoke hearts and chop fine. If using hearts marinated in oil, reserve 2 tbsp. of the oil. Heat 2 tbsp. of the reserved oil or 2 tbsp. olive oil, in a small skillet over moderate heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the chopped artichoke hearts and saute with onion and garlic for an additional minute. Remove from heat and cool for about 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Stir in the breadcrumbs, seasonings, cheese, and artichoke mixture. Pour into greased 9 x 9 baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes, then cut in to 1 in. or 3 in. squares. Will keep, tightly covered and refrigerated, for 2 days. They can be wrapped in heavy-duty foil and frozen for up to one month.
Recipe provided by EA Stewart, MBA, RD
Quickest Black Beans and Quinoa
Jeannette Bessinger's 5-ingredient can't-go-wrong recipe is vegan-friendly, though even non-vegans will find it irresistible.
"Beans, a staple in the vegetarian protein arsenal, are high in fiber with all the accompanying benefits, including blood sugar control, digestive health, and a lowered risk of many illnesses," Bessinger says. "And quinoa, which is actually a seed even though it ‘acts' like a grain in cooking, is higher in protein than any of the cereal grains-rice, oats, or millet."
1 c. quinoa*
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. jar high-quality prepared salsa
1 large handful toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Head of red lettuce, washed, cored, and separated into leaves
In a medium saucepan, toast quinoa dry for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add 2 c. water and bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 12-15 minutes until quinoa is tender and tails have popped. When quinoa is done, add beans and salsa, stirring gently to combine well. Cover and cook for 1 minute or until dish reaches desired temperature. Fold in pepitas and serve on a bed of lettuce leaves.
Makes 4 servings.
*Optional tips for additional flavor:
-Use vegetable broth in place of water to cook the quinoa.
-Stir in a big handful of chopped fresh cilantro and/or chives when you stir in the pepitas.
-In place of the lettuce leaves, cut the tops off of 4 raw red bell peppers, tap open ends together to empty of seeds, and stuff with equal portions of the prepared quinoa and beans.
Recipe provided by Jeannette Bessinger, the Clean Food Coach and coauthor of The 150 Healthiest Slow Cooker Recipes on Earth
H-O-T Hot Boneless Wings with BBQ popchips
Crispy hot wings get wholesome with a crust made of bran cereal and all-natural popped chips. Even if you're not a pro in the kitchen, you'll find this no-fuss dish a cinch to make.
8 oz. raw boneless skinless lean chicken breast, cut into 10 nugget-shaped pieces
1/4 c. Fiber One bran cereal (original), ground to a breadcrumb-like consistency in a blender or food processor
1 oz. (about 14 crisps) popchips in barbecue
3 tbsp. Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
Dash onion powder
Dash garlic powder
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Crush popchips completely and, in a small dish, mix with cereal crumbs. Add a dash of each of the seasonings and mix well. Place chicken pieces in a separate dish, and cover and toss with RedHot cayenne pepper. Spray a baking pan with nonstick spray. Give each chicken piece a shake (so it's not dripping with RedHot), and then coat it evenly with the crumb mixture. Lay the battered nuggets on the baking pan. Place in the oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Then flip the wings over, and return them to the oven for 10 more minutes, or until outsides are crispy and chicken is cooked throughout.
Makes 2 servings.
Recipe provided by Hungry Girl
Roasted Chicken Salad
Spice up a humdrum salad with shreds of rotisserie chicken, dried fruit, and feta or blue cheese crumbles. Nuts add a crunchy texture, making this dish palatable (and painless) to toss together.
3 c. fresh mixed lettuces or baby spinach
1/2 c. dried cranberries or cherries
1/4 c. pecan or walnut pieces
2 oz. balsamic vinaigrette, or your favorite dressing
1/2 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat sliced
1/2 c. feta or blue cheese crumbles
Put the greens, dried fruit, and nuts into a salad bowl. Top with the dressing and toss to coat evenly. Add the chicken and toss again to coat. Add the cheese and gently mix in. Serve with a crisp white wine and a crusty roll (if you choose).
Makes 2 servings.
Recipe provided by Drs. Michael and Mary Eades, authors of NY Times bestseller Protein Power and 14 other books on health, nutrition, and cooking
This recipe calls for quite a few ingredients, but it's actually a snap to make. As long as you dice the veggies and whisk everything together, you can't go wrong.
3 c. tomato juice
1 1/2 c. vegetable broth, chilled
1 tsp. hot sauce
1/2 tsp. celery salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 orange bell pepper, finely diced
1 English cucumber, seeded and finely diced
1 bunch radishes, finely diced
1 red onion, finely diced
3 ripe tomatoes, finely diced
1/2 c. fresh dill, minced
In a large bowl, whisk together the tomato juice, chilled vegetable broth, hot sauce, celery salt, and freshly ground pepper. Add all the diced veggies and the fresh dill, and stir to combine. Chill the gazpacho. Ladle into bowls and serve with your favorite crusty bread.
Makes 4-6 servings.
Recipe provided by Cookin' for Trouble by Nadia G, Cooking Channel host
When you're in the mood for dessert, shelve sugary store-bought treats in favor of a simple homemade option. Mix vanilla protein powder and cacao over frozen berries for a sweet (and much healthier) creation.
1-2 lbs. frozen berries
15-30 g. vanilla-flavored casein powder (Casein is best, use more or less water depending on the thickness you'd like. Pour it on.)
Thaw frozen berries for a few minutes in the microwave. Pour the rest of the ingredients over berries, adjusting to your taste.
Recipe provided by Martin Berkhan, nutritional consultant and personal trainer
When you're short on time, this simple and straightforward open-face burrito is ideal. Simply pile your favorite healthy ingredients, such as black beans and tomatoes, on top of a whole-wheat tortilla, then bake it in the oven. Almost zero cooking required!
1 whole-wheat tortilla (look for one that's approximately 100-120 calories)
1/2 c. black beans or fat-free refried black beans
1/2 c. romaine and iceberg lettuce, chopped
1/2 c. tomatoes, chopped
1 oz. nonfat or low-fat cheddar cheese
1 oz. avocado, mashed
1 tbsp. reduced fat sour cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread beans on top of wrap. Add mashed avocado and cheese on top of the beans. Place in the oven for approximately 15-20 minutes until cheese melts and starts to brown. Sprinkle chopped tomatoes, and lettuce on top of the burrito and add a dollop of sour cream.
Makes 1 serving.
Recipe provided by The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames, authors ofThe Secret to Skinny
PB&J Paleo Bars
When you're in need of a pick-me-up, toss these ingredients in a food processor for a healthy snack on the go. The combo of roasted peanuts and dried cherries tastes just as indulgent as a creamy peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
1/2 c. chopped medjool dates
1/2 c. unsalted roasted peanuts
1/8 tsp. salt (optional)
1/4 c. dried cherries
Combine all ingredients in the food processor and mix together for about 1 to 1.5 minutes. Add the dried cherries in the final 15 seconds of processing time. Shape into bars or balls, and wrap in plastic wrap. Store in the fridge.
Makes 2 bars.
Recipe provided by Douglas Robb of Hive Health Media