To support folks who are just building their recipe bank, I wanted to share some of the recipes that got me started cooking and feeling alright about meal planning 🙂 Once you have recipes you love- and you know you don’t have to spend 3 hours in the kitchen every night to make it happen- it all becomes so much easier!
I’ve included a variety of recipes: one-pot, 30-minute , crockpot/slow cooker, meatless, and even some meals that rely heavily on frozen/canned goods so you can stretch out your groceries.
My Top 10
Click each title or photo to get the recipe!
1. Chickpea & Spinach Stew
This is a great meal you can easily adapt to have an almost non-perishable meal. You can use canned chickpeas and tomatoes, instant rice, or frozen spinach (or you can pre-cook dry ones and freeze them), and BOOM, this meal is in your back pocket for any time you need it 🙂 Also, I normally don’t use harissa because I’m lame and just use red pepper flakes.
2. Chicken Tortilla Soup
Such an easy and flexible soup! You can add corn, spinach, extra beans, or whatever you want. This is actually one of the very first meals I started cooking in college, and it’s still one I look forward to every time I plan it! Plus, I can’t complain that it takes less than 10 minutes to throw together the night before.
3. White Chicken Chili
Another Mexican soup but it is SO. GOOD. and could not be any easier! I also am a huge fan of Ali at Gimme Some Oven so do yourself a favor and spend some time looking at other recipes on her site.
4. Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu
Alright, I’m gonna let you in on a secret with this one… I don’t even make the sauce. I took this “Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu” and made it “Practically Foolproof Chicken Cordon Bleu.” I’m sure it’s awesome with the sauce, but I kind of forgot it was even part of the recipe, and it totally rocks on its own! It is amazing with some rosemary potatoes and veggies, and I still feel a little fancy every time I make it. (Is that embarrassing?)
**Bonus recipe- I also use this sauce-cheese-breadcrumb-layers method to make a spin on Chicken Parmesan and it’s a total game-changer. I roughly follow these ingredients and make my own pasta sauce using this recipe by adding water until I like the thickness. Probably not the most professional way to do it, but I’m not a food blogger 😉
5. Italian Chicken Pasta Soup
Very easy soup, although I tend to crank up the spices for flavor. You just can’t beat a good crockpot meal!
6. Caribbean Jerk Salmon Bowls
I found this more recently, and it does have a few moving parts, but it is SO fresh and very good.
7. Rustic Ratatouille
I love, love, love this recipe, and added bonus- my husband likes to make it for some reason? It is so much simpler than the perfectly-lined version, and (just to reveal how committed I am to easy recipes & easy grocery store trips) I often just use extra zucchini if I can’t get eggplant conveniently or cheaply. Sometimes we eat this over rice, pasta, or mostly just by itself!
8. Lentil Tacos
This is an incredibly simple & tasty meatless meal, which quickly became a staple around here. I’m not going to say that lentils can actually replace ground beef or turkey, but lentils are a neat and very cheap variation.
9. Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos
I know, I know- so many Mexican recipes- but this one is different! Sweet potatoes are way more versatile that given credit for, and this recipe is the perfect example.
10. Sweet Potato Fries (by Aldi!)
This isn’t a meal (although I have no judgment if you make it one) but they make an incredible side to just about anything. These are really easy to make and keep my fast-food cravings in check!
As you might have noticed, some of my absolute favorite recipes come from Gimme Some Oven, Pioneer Woman, Budget Bytes, and Damn Delicious. When in doubt, camp out on those sites!
You also can surprisingly find some great recipes if you Google the few ingredients you have on hand. One night, I had some sweet potatoes I needed to use up and some ground turkey in the freezer- a quick search later, I found a really filling, comforting meal from Primavera Kitchen.
I hope this helps as you gather recipes you love! Stick with what is easy and has ingredients you like as you start, then branch out later once you feel more confident.
What are your go-to meals?