It would be easy to pick up the phone tonight, dial up your local take-out joint and feed the family for $30 or more… again. Or, you could whip up a quick, easy and wholesome dinner yourself for a lot less dough. These dinners will get you on your way to becoming a chef while putting in the minimal, throw-together effort of a short-order cook.
Switch up a bland and boring dinner routine with super-simple fajitas. A $1 fajita flavoring packet available in the spice aisle is all you need to get a little Mexican flavor on a busy weekday. Brown your choice of chicken or beef in olive oil, then add a mix of onions and red and green peppers. Add the spice packet and stir. Mix together a few avocados, chopped cilantro, tomatoes and garlic salt in a separate bowl to make a killer accompanying guacamole.
Tuna noodle casserole
This comforting casserole is as easy as boiling spaghetti without the tired taste of canned marinara. Boil one package of egg noodles al dente, drain, then add one can condensed mushroom soup, two cans drained tuna and spices like salt, pepper and crushed garlic to taste.
Chicken noodle soup
Food is better fresh. Soup is no exception. A hearty chicken noodle soup is made as quickly as it takes to chop one carrot, two sticks celery, a few stalks of green onions and two chicken breasts. Chicken can be cooked by browning in a pan, or by simply dropping the raw chicken into the chicken broth and boiling. Add veggies, salt and pepper until you achieve the perfect flavor combination.
It’s an adult version of a kid classic. Heat a skillet on the stovetop. Gather your favorite lunch meats, cheeses and flavorings, then butter one side of two slices of bread. Arrange the sandwich on the pan, buttered sides out, and grill until golden brown. You now have your own grown-up grilled cheese. For increased flavor, try gourmet flavored breads available at your grocery store bakery.
An Italian favorite that’s surprisingly filling, Caesar salad is a tasty, budget-friendly, go-to option. Chop lettuce, then add your favorite bottled Caesar dressing. Toss in croutons, Parmesan cheese and pepper. Not hearty enough? Add chopped, browned chicken breast into the mix.
Portabellas are the steak of the mushroom world. Large and thick, portabellas are nearly as filling as steak but much healthier. On a cookie sheet, brush olive oil on each side of the portabella. Cook in the oven on a medium heat cap-down for 10 minutes, flip and cook another 10 minutes. Add canned pesto, marinara and shredded mozzarella cheese and cook until melted and hot.