My go-to food when I don't feel like cooking is flatbread. I grab leftover protein, veggies and some cheese, throw them on, stick the flatbread in the toaster oven, and dinner is done. And since I generally enjoy cooking, there are usually plenty of leftovers to choose from.
There's a difference between not feeling like cooking once in a while and not liking to cook. For starters, if you don't like to cook, you probably won't have a fridge full of leftovers.
Are there recipes out there for people who don't like to cook? I suppose that depends on how much you don't want to cook that day. If you're unwilling to put some ingredients together and dirty a pan, perhaps not. But, if you're just looking for simple recipes that don't take up a lot of time and don't create too much mess, check out these recipes, all of which use five ingredients or fewer, though we don't count salt, pepper and oil.
1. Tortellini with Pesto and Chicken: Four ingredients, 10 minutes, minimal mess. It calls for frozen tortellini, but you can use the fresh or dried versions, too. Jarred pesto, cherry tomatoes and cooked chicken are the only other ingredients. You cut up everything while the tortellini is cooking and then just throw it all together. If you want truly minimal cleanup, add the tortellini and the other ingredients into the pot you used to boil the pasta. Who says you need to dirty a clean bowl for serving?
If you don't have any cooked chicken on hand and don't want to buy a rotisserie chicken, you can take the extra (but easy) step of cooking moist chicken breasts the easy way.
2. Jalepeno-Basil Pork Chops: This sounds more complicated than it is because a jar of jalepeno pepper jelly is one of the ingredients. It's combined with white wine and fresh basil to make a marinade and then cooked on the grill. Chicken can be substituted for the pork chops if that's more your speed.
3. Shrimp with Scallions and Crispy Potatoes: This easy dish flavored with curry powder comes together in about 30 minutes and is all cooked in one skillet that you can put right on your the table (with a trivet underneath, of course). The recipe does omit the step of chopping up the scallion whites. Make sure to do that before adding them to the skillet.
4. Chickpea Egg Salad: If you already have hardboiled eggs, this takes no time to throw together. Open a can of chickpeas, add hardboiled egg halves plus a few other simple ingredients to add some flavor and you have a nutritious meal. It also stores in the refrigerator for a week so double the ingredients and you can skip cooking one night in the upcoming week.
5. Fig Caprese Salad: There's absolutely no cooking involved in this recipe, just good, quality ingredients. Figs replace tomatoes in the classic Caprese salad that can be a satisfying light meal all by itself.
6. Ravioli with Apple Chicken Sausage: You may not automatically think of pairing these ingredients together - ravioli, chicken sausage, creamed spinach, pumpkin pie spice and maple syrup. When you think about it, though, they should all complement each other. You need to boil the ravioli in a separate pot from the skillet you cook the rest in, but it can all be served right from the skillet.
Jarred pepper jelly makes this Avocado Toast with Sweet and Spicy Pepper Jelly come together very quickly. (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)
7. Avocado Toast with Sweetened Spicy Pepper Jelly: You're using the idea here, not the entire recipe because it calls for making your own pepper jelly. You'll likely have some leftover jarred jalepeno pepper jelly from the pork chops above, and you can it for this open-faced sandwich that uses crusty bread, sliced avocados, the jelly and some microgreens. By using jarred jelly it comes together as fast as it takes you to toast the bread and top it.
You'll notice that many of these recipes call for some pre-packaged foods. Remember, they were chosen for people who hate to cook. Maybe, these recipes will get some people comfortable in the kitchen and branch out even further with their culinary skills after a while.