At the end of a long day, the idea of coming home to make dinner isn’t all that appealing, never mind having to do so with a sparsely stocked fridge (because somehow the two go hand in hand). Before you subject yourself to a Chopped–esque scramble—wherein you’re throwing a random mishmash of ingredients into the roasting pan and hoping for the best—allow us to step in with a little creative guidance.
We tapped our trusty network of foodies and chefs to source the low-lift recipes they turn to when they’re too lazy to cook. Spoiler alert: The dishes are delicious and easy to prepare. See for yourself.
Flour Shop founder Amirah Kassem—author of The Power of Sprinkles and purveyor of the Insta-famous exploding sprinkle cake—knows that the key to happiness is pizza. Kassem picks up ready-made dough from a local pizzeria and bakes it at home with choice toppings.
Here’s how she does it:
Begin by preheating your oven to the highest degree possible—somewhere around 450 degrees Fahrenheit to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Stretch out your premade dough into a 10- to 12-inch pie shape and ladle tomato sauce or tomato paste evenly on top.
Garnish with cheese (or cheeses, if you’re feeling fancy) and various other accoutrements—Kassem’s go-tos are soppressata with a spicy honey drizzle or vegetables with freshly sliced avocado. Bake for 15 minutes and enjoy.
Half Baked Harvest’s Tieghan Gerard never fails to stun us with her creations, and her weeknight meal of cacio e pepe is no exception. “I always have all the ingredients on hand, and it takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish to throw together,” the foodie and cookbook author says.
All you need is pasta, butter, black pepper, parmesan cheese, and a bit of lemon and arugula for garnish.
After a long day in the kitchen at Nashville’s Chauhan Ale & Masala House, chef and Food Network star Maneet Chauhan relaxes with a toasty grilled cheese, which she elevates with a medley of spices, including ginger, cumin, and masala.
“For those nights when I just can’t be bothered to spend more than 10 minutes in the kitchen, it’s all about this super-garlicky, cheesy pasta,” says What’s Gaby Cooking’s founder Gaby Dalkin, of the aptly titled dish we’re actually drooling over. “It takes no time to whip up and makes enough for dinner and maybe even a leftover lunch.” Sounds like a pretty good plan to us.
Top Chef Canada host and cook Eden Grinshpan is all about the baked goodness of Shakshuka—a low-effort dish that can be easily scaled for a large or small group. Entertainers, take note.
“The simple, filling tomato sauce can pack a big punch when seasoned properly,” Grinshpan notes, adding “Shakshuka can be eaten at any time of the day. My husband and I love making it for an easy dinner or for brunch.”
Brown Rice and Escarole Bowl
For The Smile’s executive chef Melia Marden, weeknight meals entail something healthy that only takes five minutes to make. “I always have brown rice going in the rice cooker and I also try to have a jar of chili oil in the fridge at all times,” she says of her secret weapon for dressing up simple vegetables.
Marden’s go-to is a brown rice and escarole bowl. To make, heat oil in a saute pan for one minute and add in a head of escarole (chop the end off and wash before cooking), and then season with salt and pepper and cook for about two minutes until it wilts down.
Pair the escarole with a bowl of warm rice and top with sliced avocado. Garnish with chili oil (olive oil, Aleppo chili flakes, and garlic) and salt.
“I make a variation of this sweet potato recipe at least twice a week,” says natural food chef Jodi Moreno of What’s Cooking Good Looking. “It hits all the right notes—healthy, tasty, and filling—and it’s easy to throw together.”
“I always keep quality fresh hummus in the fridge, and when I’m too lazy to cook—especially after a long night working in the slice shop—I’ll warm up a pita and serve it alongside the hummus, mixing in some high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, Maldon sea salt flakes, and paprika,” says Noam Grossman, cofounder of NYC’s newest hot spot, Upside Pizza.
Grossman suggests topping the protein-rich hummus with fresh vegetables and herbs, which he always tries to have around, as well as with olives and pickles for an added burst of flavor.
After a jam-packed day, chef Chloe Coscarelli resorts to a simple, five-ingredient kale pasta that features a handful of essentials she always has in the pantry. Dressed in a vegan pesto—made from kale, cashews, olive oil, garlic, and lemon—it’s a light and refreshing dish that is sure to please.
Marlow Bistro’s chef Zivko Radojcic turns to an easy-to-prepare bowl of creamy polenta to satisfy his weeknight cravings. “When I’m tired, I like to add some mushrooms with a fried or poached egg for protein. I make the polenta itself with milk, water, crushed garlic, butter, and parmesan cheese.”