When I first moved in with my boyfriend this summer, one of the things I was excited about was cooking him dinner every night. I like to cook and especially love trying new recipes. So, with my cookbook and a Pinterest board filled with recipe ideas, I was anxious to start cooking.
And at first, when I wasn’t working, it was great to make more elaborate meals and sides and have them ready and waiting when he came home. But then when I started working, I quickly realized that I would have to find easier and quicker recipes so that we weren’t eating dinner super late every night.
Another thing I realized as I was making meals for us was that we were constantly throwing out a ton of leftovers. We are only two people, and many times the recipes I was going off of were meant for more like a family of four. It can be difficult to cook for just two, but there are certainly a lot of great options out there to do so. Here are my favorite ideas:
Soup and grilled cheese – especially since it’s winter now, soup and grilled cheese is a yummy and easy meal to throw together. I love just a simple cream of broccoli soup or even a can of Campbell’s tomato soup gets the job done. I try not too make too much, but enough to have some leftovers because soup is always great to bring for lunch the next day.
Crock pot meals – crock pot meals are great because I can throw them in in the morning and then have minimal to do once I get home from work. Usually, I half the recipes so that I’m not making an excessive amount of food for us. I love this sausage tortellini dish as something hearty and super easy. Also, I love Skinny Taste’s crock pot picadillo because it is versatile so you can use it for more than one meal (and it’s healthy!).
Make ahead meals – it always feels good when on Sunday, I can make something ahead of time for dinner Monday night. Even if I can just cook the meat ahead of time, it makes Monday night one hundred times easier! I love these quinoa taco bowls as a make ahead recipe. I prepare the meat the day before and stick it in the fridge, then heat it up in a skillet when I’m ready to serve it and just put out all the fixin’s. Easy!
Shredded chicken – similar to make ahead meals, meals using shredded chicken makes my life so much easier. I typically cook any extra thawed chicken that we have on the stove and then use my mixer to shred it (using my mixer is the best trick ever – goes so quick!). After that, I put it Ziploc baggies (usually 1-2 cups per baggie) and then stick them in the freezer. Then, when I want to make a meal that uses frozen chicken, all I have to do is pull it out that morning to defrost. There are so many great meal ideas out there that are delicious and easy. I love these chicken empanadas and these pesto chicken pillows. Note – if you don’t feel like shredding chicken and don’t have any in the freezer, buying a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket is another great idea.
What are your favorite easy weeknight meals and tips?
Illustration via Hennie Haworth