There has to be a middle ground between preparing a seven-course meal and paying the exorbitant fees for Uber Eats or Grubhub. On nights when you’re too tired to cook but don’t want to order out, whip up one of these low-effort delicacies.
1. Grilled Chicken
While it’s technically cooking, grilling up a chicken breast and sprinkling on salt, pepper, and rosemary is hardly what you’d call meal prep. If you want a real dinner real quick, grilled chicken breast (with Chick-fil-A sauce, if you have it) does the trick.
2. Tomato Sandwiches
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. And, no matter whether it was the Internet Boom or the Great Depression, the tomato sandwich was a cheap, reliable, low-effort, delicious means to satiate your hunger. The tomato sandwich, which requires only a tomato, bread, and cheese, is as reliable as a Toyota.
3. Tuna Salad (and Sandwich)
With little more than mayo, mustard, relish, spices, and your own preferred additions, you can transform a stinky can of StarKist into a delicious tuna salad. Make a leftover-sized batch and enjoy tuna fish sandwiches for the next few days.
4. Baked Potato
Rarely is a single vegetable suitable as a meal, but the baked potato isn’t just any vegetable. A veggie robust enough to sustain an entire nation (Ireland) can certainly sustain you for a night. Whether you prefer to boil, microwave, or bake your potato, remember sour cream, chives, cheese, bacon bits, or whatever topping suits your taste-spuds.
5. Bacon and Eggs
There were few words more celebrated in our household than “breakfast for dinner.” Bacon, eggs, and perhaps even cereal are among the simplest dishes you can prepare. Crack the egg, whisk it up, break the bacon out of the package, fire up the skillet, cook briefly, and enjoy.
6. Pita and Hummus
Hummus and pita is an Arab delight that long ago made its way into American supermarkets. Having a tub of Sabra and a package of pita on hand is never a bad idea. With a toaster and a bit of olive oil, you have a delicious meal that requires no elbow grease.
7. Grilled Cheese
You have to heat up the griddle and slice the cheese (unless you’re a Kraft Singles savage), but whipping up a grilled cheese hardly qualifies as cooking. Make sure to butter up the bread. Then, enjoy the gooey golden goodness that only a grilled cheese (with tomato, if you’re a pro) can deliver.
8. Mac and Cheese
You’re never too old for a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese. While all-in-one pasta from a box is usually to be avoided, Kraft Mac is the timeless exception to the rule. Make the effort to slice up some real cheddar, sprinkle black pepper liberally, and take a bite of America’s favorite easy meal.
Ramen checks all the boxes: Cheap, delicious, easy. At a time when people are working harder than ever just to pay the bills, how can you say no to a steaming bowl of ramen? Toss in boiled eggs, sprinkle on your favorite spices, and revel in the budget-preserving deliciousness of ramen noodles.
10. Boiled Eggs
Done in a matter of minutes, boiled eggs are the egg’s simplest, most filling iteration. Seasoned egg-sperts recommend adding deli meat, pickles, cheese, and crackers to add texture and taste to your dinner-in-a-shell.
11. Pasta and Jarred Sauce
Should you dice up garlic and real tomatoes to make the sauce pop? If you had more energy, you would. Tonight, though, you only need to boil the pasta, open the jar, smother the pasta in red sauce, and sprinkle on the parm. You don’t have to be Emeril Lagasse tonight—but you can certainly use his jarred sauce if you’d like.
12. Eat Like a Hobbit
When they are in a pinch, one user prefers grazing a wide range of snacks rather than whipping up a real meal. They call this “eating like a Hobbit,” which entails “Bread or crackers. A cucumber. An apple. Some cheese. Maybe a boiled egg.” You don’t even have a trek to Mordor ahead of you, so this diet should provide ample sustenance on a night when you’re too tired to cook.
AUTHOR: Sam Mire