Every once in a while, you may get the itch to walk on the wild side of the kitchen and—gasp—prepare a complicated recipe from scratch. You chop all your veggies to one-eighth-inch (aka a French “brunoise”), knead your own pizza dough as sweat beads on your forehead, and accidentally take out an eyebrow as you flambé. (Okay, hopefully not that last part.) Most of the time, though, it makes sense to skip the drama and opt for simple dinner recipes that cut prep time in half—and don’t equate to a HIIT workout.
For those nights when you want to keep dinner on the chill side, Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, registered dietitian and host of Well+Good’s You Versus Food, is coming in clutch with five recipes that combine fresh and healthy packaged ingredients for no-mess meals that will be on the table in minutes. From Asian-inspired noodles to riffs on Italian favorites like chicken parm, these are Beckerman’s weeknight go-to’s. They’re so easy to throw together that you don’t even need a formal recipe or instructions. Just combine the ingredients and eat up.
5 simple dinner recipes that make the most out of pre-made ingredients
Monday: Asian-style veggie noodles
Nailing the perfect Asian-inspired sauce can often require using a ton of different ingredients—which doesn’t always translate into weeknight-friendly cooking. Haven’s Kitchen’s lemongrass sauce takes that off your plate—metaphorically-speaking—so you can make the entire dish in minutes.
Plus, Beckerman says the water-dense zucchini noodles are made for bodies still recovering from any weekend festivities. “You’ll be delivering [to] the body hydrating and nutrient-rich zucchini to beat any sodium retention from the weekend,” she says. “Plus, a few tablespoons of hulled hemp seeds and peanuts pack a ton of heart-healthy plant-based protein and energy-boosting iron.”
Tuesday: Taco salad
“It may seem light, but this meal provides over 20 grams of plant-based protein,” says Beckerman. “This taco salad is the perfect mix of crunch and spice coming from the cabbage and crispy beans which will keep your palette interested. Plus, this meal is overflowing with real fiber so you’ll walk away satisfied and nourished,” she adds. The spicy roasted broad beans (a beloved healthy snack among RDs!) will also add a nice, spicy crunch with every single bite.
Recipe: Combine Organic Girl Protein Greens ($5) with Kaari Creamy Verde dressing ($9), sliced avocado, shredded purple cabbage, and scallions. Sprinkle Bada Bean Bada Boom Jalapeno Poppers Crunchy Broad Beans ($25 for 24) and Brad’s Organic Spicy Black Beans ($6 for three) on top.
Wednesday: Rice Done Nice
Because it’s made with chickpeas, Banza rice is high in protein and fiber. Plus, it cooks fast—which works to your benefit when you were ready to eat, like, two hours ago. “Nutritional yeast is overflowing with energizing vitamin B12, which will give you a good pick me up to get you through the rest of the work week,” adds Beckerman.
Thursday: Chicken Parm
Chicken parm is kind of the fancy Italian version of childhood chicken fingers—right? Regardless of whether or not you agree with me, Beckerman’s Thursday concoction will bring you childhood-like joy on Friday eve.
“Because you may be craving heartier foods towards the end of a long work week, this meal won’t disappoint. It’s a rather veggie-forward dish, providing you with fibrous cauliflower from the chicken [breading] and vitamin C from the greens,” she says.
Recipe: Layer cooked Caulipower Chicken Tenders ($8) with Otamot Essential Sauce ($20 for two) and melted Miyokos Fresh Vegan Mozzarella ($9). Serve with Olivia’s Organic Spring Mix ($3) and Primal Kitchen Balsamic Vinaigrette and Marinade ($11) on the side.
Friday: Breakfast-for-dinner tacos
Breakfast for dinner is a Friday Mood—and Beckerman’s leaning into it with her second taco-centric dish of the week. “Adding a drizzle of vitamin E rich tahini to your egg scramble will nutritionally enhance your meal with inflammation-fighting and immune-boosting properties,” says Beckerman. “The scallions are rich in stress-reducing magnesium and purple cabbage provides antioxidant-rich anthocyanins to the meal which can help protect against chronic disease.”
To pack even more nutritional punch into your tacos, add any leftover veggies from the week into your scrambled eggs.
Recipe: Stuff a few Siete Food Cassava Flour Grain Free Tortillas ($28 for two packs of 16) with scrambled Vital Farms Pasture-Raised Eggs ($7 for 12). Top off your tacos with tahini, shredded purple cabbage, chopped scallions, and sliced avocado.
Shop Beckerman’s healthy Trader Joe’s haul:
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