Cooking is a talent that not everyone has. *Raises own hand.* I don’t particularly like cooking, and I don’t understand how some people can pop into the kitchen, throw together bread, eggs, and spices, and emerge with a tasty and wonderful dish. It’s almost like magic.
For years, I declared myself “an idiot in the kitchen” and did my best to avoid learning any cooking skills. Big mistake. Now I’m in my late twenties, and I just learned how to fry an egg! Turns out not knowing how to cook makes your life hard. It forces you to rely on unhealthy and expensive prepared foods or meals out. We all know eating in saves money, but what to do if you can’t cook?
Everyone has to eat, so everyone should learn how to make at least a few dishes on their own. You can’t always depend on the delivery guy or gal to feed yourself.
We don’t all have to be kitchen wizards to make healthy and simple dishes. If you’re kitchen challenged like me, these three dishes should become staples in your diet.
1) An Open Faced Egg and Veggie Sandwich
I make this dish almost every day. It takes less than 10 minutes and hits all the nutrition points you need: protein, veggies, and good carbs.
- Throw a piece of whole wheat bread in your toaster or toaster oven. You can even toast bread in a traditional oven if you have to
- Put a skillet on the stove with some cooking spray or a little oil, and turn it on medium-low heat
- Let it sit there for a minute, then crack an egg directly into the pan
- Let it cook slowly for about three minutes
- In the meantime, slice up a tomato and avocado, and grab some spinach leaves
- Get the toast out of whatever device you used to cook it, and layer your veggies on it
- After 3-5 minutes, your egg will be fried (longer means a harder yolk, shorter means a runnier yolk)
- Place the egg on top of your veggies and sprinkle some salt (or pepper) on top
Viola, you just made an open faced sandwich. Feel free to mix up the vegetables that you use on this baby for added nutrition.
2) Baked Mac and Cheese
This is a great meal for a winter night and can also be a great way to sneak in some vegetables.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and cook three cups of pasta normally (If you don’t know how to make pasta I’m not sure you’re ready for this dish!)
- Chop and sauté one yellow squash until soft
- Blend the squash (if you have a blender) until it’s liquid. If you don’t have a blender, mash up the squash by hand until it’s a gooey mess
- Combine your pasta and squash in a bowl and add 3 cups of cheese and 1 cup of milk. I tend to use whatever cheese I have on hand, but ricotta, cottage cheese, parmesan, and cheddar are all popular. You generally use at least two different types of cheese for a baked mac and cheese dish
- Mix up the entire bowl, then empty everything into a baking dish, and pop it into the oven
- Let it bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove, top with some black pepper, and enjoy!
3) Homemade Pizza
This one is super easy and can be made to fit any preferences.
- Pick up tomato sauce and a pizza crust from the store
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees
- Spread the sauce on pizza crust and cover it with cheese
- Add whatever toppings you’d like. I personally love a spinach, mushroom, and black olive pizza. There’s no wrong answer here! Pizza is a great way to use up vegetables or meats you have lying around the house. Just cover the pizza in your toppings of choice
- Put in the oven for 15 minutes, pull it out, and enjoy!
As you can see, there’s an emphasis on getting vegetables into these dishes. I find that people tend to avoid vegetables, even though they’re a necessary part of any diet. Combine them with things you like or sneak them into dishes where other flavors are dominant, and you won’t even notice how many of them you end up eating.
Try making one of these meals at home tonight and consider yourself the head chef of your own kitchen.
What are some super simple meals you enjoy making at home? Do you have any go-to recipes you use when you’re in a pinch?