Easy Meals for When You Don’t Want to Cook
As the summer wears on, I find that I’m less and less inspired in the kitchen. While I actually enjoy cooking (I’m weird, I know), it’s hard to come up with ideas for dinner because I don’t want to heat up the kitchen.
To cut down on delivery/drive thru expenditures and pounds, I try to do one “cook day” a week, but let’s face it, that doesn’t always happen. So here are some easy last-minute dinner ideas for you!
Big Salad with Hummus Dressing
Let’s face it, salads are a little boring. However, they are great for easy meals and are perfect for using up leftovers. I try to have lentils and green on hand, and we each can throw in what we like. The dressing is easy as pie because it uses your favorite flavor of pre-made hummus. Okay, so maybe not the chocolate hummus, but seriously, any other kind is fine! Healthy, yummy, and easy. What more could you want?
- Leftover grilled/roasted/poached meats and vegetables
- Greens – your favorites (I love the peppery bite of arugula, while my family prefers the heft of romaine)
- Lentils, cooked according to package directions (these are great because they take only about 20 minutes to cook, and you can keep them in the fridge for up to a week) or precooked/leftover couscous, quinoa, rice, farro, or other grains
- Raw vegetables – whatever you might have on hand; spiralized vegetables/Zoodles are great for this, as are sprouts
- Hummus dressing
- To make this dressing, simply thin down pre-made hummus with lemon juice. Or if you prefer a creamy dressing, stir in some Greek yogurt along with the lemon
Choose your ingredients. Place said ingredients into a bowl. Toss with a couple of tablespoons of dressing. Eat. It’s that easy!
Smoked Salmon One-Pot Pasta
One-pot pasta dishes are great for summer – minimal cook time and easy clean up! Smoked salmon is available at most grocery stores and is perfect for easy summer meals.
- 12 oz linguine
- 1 bunch asparagus, woody stems removed, or enough green beans, topped and tailed, for four people
- 10 oz frozen peas
- 16 oz ricotta, divided
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 shallot, peeled and minced
- 1 bunch fresh dill, roughly chopped, divided
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 6 oz smoked salmon***
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the linguine and cook for 7 minutes. Add the asparagus to the pot and cook for 1 minute. Add the peas to the pot and cook for another minute. Drain the pasta and vegetables, reserving about ½ cup of the cooking liquid.
In a large bowl, toss the pasta and the vegetables with half of the ricotta, the lemon zest and juice, the shallot, and most of the fresh dill. Add the reserved cooking liquid a little at a time until you get the consistency of the sauce that you like. (Some like it drier, some like it soupy. We don’t judge!) Divide into four bowls, top with the smoked salmon and the remaining ricotta and dill. Enjoy with a green salad and some good bread.
*** You can choose either hot smoked salmon or cold smoked salmon for this. Hot smoked salmon is cooked during the smoking process and can be divided into chunks. Cold smoked salmon is cured (like gravlax or lox) before smoking at a cool temperature. To use cold smoked salmon, slice into long strips. Either is delicious!