January is the month of resolutions. After the holidays are over, we're apparently supposed to get our shit together start the new year off with completely revitalized and reorganized lives. But, that is often easier said than done. We like the idea of cooking more and ordering-in or eating out less, but we're
anti-cleanse and January meal prep guides tend to be complicated and expensive. So, we decided to tap our equally busy peers for their favorite cheap, time saving dinner tips. We reached out to millennial women across the country for the go-to easy weeknight meals they actually make.
Ahead we have 29 recipes from hardworking grad students, teachers, interior designers, IT specialists, and more. These are recipes that real women turn to time and again within their busy schedules — and they might just inspire you cook your way through to the end of the month. With options spanning from healthy quinoa bowls to creative slow cooker comfort foods, these fast and easy dishes will successfully curb your 2018 takeout temptations. Well, at least for the next 29 days...
Be sure to share your go-to recipes in comments, below!
Occupation: Grad Student Age: 24 Roasted Veggies With A Fried Egg On Top "It requires no work other than chopping the veggies, it tastes delicious and it is healthy — and you can use any veggies you have so it is helpful when you are cooking for one person to use all your veggies before they go bad." Ingredients Sweet potatoes (or whatever veggies you happen to have on hand), chopped Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning (or garlic salt) Fried egg Olive oil Instructions 1. Chop veggies and coat with mix of chosen seasoning and drizzle of olive oil. Place in preheated oven (475 °) for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, fry an egg in an olive oil coated pan over medium high heat. 2. Remove veggies from oven once sufficiently roasted and place in a bowl, topped with a fried egg!
Occupation: Account Manager Age: 25 Crockpot Lasagna "Easy AF — and is so warm and comforting in the winter months! Seems like a complex dish and is actually one of the easiest things to make in a crockpot!" Ingredients Lasagna noodles, uncooked Onion Ground pork, beef, or turkey Jarred marinara sauce Ricotta Parmesan Mozzarella Basil leaves Salt Instructions 1. Pour 1/4 of jarred marinara sauce into bottom of crockpot and then top with a layer of the uncooked lasagna noodles. Then top noodles with a layer of ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese — repeating with jarred marinara sauce step until sauce is completely gone and your final layer is finished with cheeses. 2. Cover and cook on high for 1-2 hours before serving.
Occupation: Librarian Age: 32 Sausage & Cabbage "It's cheap. You can use any kind of sausage or any kind of cabbage. It's high in Vitamin C and fiber. It's warm, hearty, filling, and gluten-free." Ingredients Ground sausage Cabbage, shredded Soup stock (or vinegar/beer) Smoked paprika Garlic powder Mustard powder Salt Olive oil Instructions 1. Cook ground sausage in olive oil coated pan over medium high heat until well-browned — then remove from pan and set aside (saving oil in pan). 2. Fill up oiled pan (over medium heat) with shredded cabbage and then cover with 1/4 a cup of soup stock and all spices/seasoning to taste. Cover and cook until cabbage becomes clear (about 15 minutes). 3. Once cabbage is clear, uncover and mix in cooked sausage before serving.
Occupation: Assistant Fashion/Beauty Editor Age: 24 Shrimp, Chickpea, & Avocado Bowl "It's a well-balanced meal that is tasty, quick, and satisfying. It's also very cheap (two nights of shrimp from my market is $2.80 and Goya chickpeas are like 99 cents)." Ingredients 1/2 can of chickpeas 1/2 an avocado, chopped 1/2 platter of shrimp (10-12 pieces), cooked and chopped Pepper Trader Joe's Everything But The Bagel Seasoning Arugula Lemon juice Instructions Mix chickpeas, avocado, and shrimp into bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice, pepper, and TJ's seasoning. Once well-coated, serve mixture over bed of arugula.
Occupation: Logistics Coordinator Age: 30 Breakfast For Dinner "It's quick, easy, filling, and I never get tired of it!" Ingredients Eggs Pepper, chopped Onion, chopped Bread, toasted Bacon Olive oil Instructions 1. Cook desired amount of bacon strips in a pan until crispy, then remove and set aside (saving bacon grease). Sauté chopped pepper and onion in bacon-greased pan until softened. 2. Meanwhile toast bread and scramble eggs in a separate pan (adding in pepper and onion mixture just before set). 3. Serve separately, or sandwich bacon and egg mixture together between two pieces of toast.
Occupation: Graduate Student Age: 29 One Pot Taco Pasta "This recipe is SO easy! It doesn't require chopping, it only dirties one pot, and once it's all in the pot, you can set a timer and walk away. But my favorite thing about this recipe is that it's made entirely of things I can keep in stock — no fresh produce required. Perfect for those hectic weeks when I'm too tired to really cook or make it to the grocery store." Ingredients Frozen chopped peppers and onions Frozen corn (or canned) Vegetable broth Taco seasoning Box of pasta Can of black beans Cheddar cheese, shredded Instructions 1. Cover frozen peppers, onions, corn, and half a box of pasta in a large pot with 4 cups of vegetable broth and 1/4 cup of taco seasoning over high heat and bring to a boil. 2. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in canned black beans and 1/4 cup of shredded cheese. Stir, serve, and enjoy!
Occupation: Associate Social Media Editor Age: 25 Easy Quesadilla "It's my go-to comfort food, especially after a long day and when it's cold outside. I love it!" Ingredients Veggies (whatever you have on hand), chopped Protein (whatever you have on hand), chopped Cheese (whatever you have on hand), shredded Tortillas Salt Olive oil Instructions 1. Sauté chopped veggies in an oiled pan over medium heat until softened and season with salt to taste before setting aside. In same pan place one tortilla and cover with a layer of cheese, sautéed veggies, chopped protein (e.g. chicken), and another layer of cheese before closing off with second tortilla. 2. Sauté on medium low heat until side down has browned (about 5 minutes) and then carefully flip for same treatment on other side. Once both sides have browned and cheese has melted, remove, slice, and serve with salsa, sour cream, or hot sauce (if desired).
Occupation: Healthcare Company Analyst Age: 30 Rice Hamburger Hotdish "It's very filling and can easily be made healthier by using ground turkey instead of beef and the addition of vegetables. My mom used to make it when I was a kid so there is a nostalgic element in it for me too." Ingredients Rice Ground beef (or turkey) Can of cream of chicken soup Cheese, shredded Frozen corn, peas, or green beans Olive oil Instructions 1. Cook desired amount of rice according to package instructions. Meanwhile, sauté ground beef (or turkey) over medium high heat in oiled pan and set aside (saving oil in pan). Then use oiled pan to sauté frozen veggies over medium heat and set aside. 2. In a larger sauce pan heat can of soup and mix in desire amount of rice, ground beef, and veggies. Top with cheese and serve.
Occupation: Social Media Manager Age: 25 Kale & Chickpeas "It's reasonably healthy, totally filling, and delicious. Feels good to eat greens and proteins." Ingredients Kale Can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed Salt Pepper Olive oil Hot sauce and fried egg (*optional) Instructions Sauté kale in an oiled pan over medium heat until wilted and then add in chickpeas. Stir together and season with salt and pepper — serving with a dash of hot sauce and a fried egg on top, if desired!
Occupation: Marketing Age: 28 Baked Chicken & Roasted Veggies "It is sooo easy to make, really fast, and pretty healthy if you're careful with how much oil you use." Ingredients Boneless chicken breast Olive oil Dijon mustard Pepper Salt Broccolini Brussel's sprouts, halved Asparagus Butternut squash, quartered Instructions 1. Preheat oven to 375 °. Meanwhile, pat chicken breast dry with paper towel and coat both sides well with olive oil, dijon mustard, and pepper — then set aside on baking sheet. 2. Toss veggies with olive oil, salt, and pepper and arrange next to chicken on baking sheet (or separately, if not enough room). Place sheet pan in oven and roast until chicken is cooked through (about 10 minutes, depending on thickness of breast) and veggies have sufficiently roasted (takes a bit longer, so remove chicken separately). Serve together and enjoy!
Occupation: Writer & Educator Age: 25 Ravioli Lasagna "Although it takes a little bit of time, it's easy, hearty, and satisfying!" Ingredients Ground beef Jarred tomato sauce Egg Cottage cheese Pre-made/refrigerated ravioli Mozzarella Olive oil Instructions 1. Cook ground beef in oiled pan over medium high heat until just browned and then cover with jarred tomato sauce and cook until slightly simmering. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk one egg with 16 oz. of cottage cheese. 2. In a 9x13 in. casserole dish, layer meat sauce, pre-made ravioli, cottage cheese-egg mix, and mozzarella cheese. 3. Cover in foil and then bake in in oven at 375° for approximately 45 minutes.
Occupation: PR Relationship Manager Age: 28 Pasta & Arugula Salad "Easy, fast, delicious." Ingredients Refrigerated pasta Olive oil Balsamic glaze Arugula Instructions Boil the refrigerated pasta to warm (according to package instructions), then coat with olive oil, balsamic glaze, and mix together (or serve atop) handful of arugula.
Occupation: IT Age: 28 Crockpot Turkey Chili "Super easy and very filling. I take the left overs and separate into single servings and freeze for later in the week." Ingredients 1-2 lb. ground turkey Can of beans (black, pinto, chickpea, or white) Onion, chopped 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed Can of crushed tomatoes Hot sauce Plain Greek yogurt Cheese, shredded Salt & pepper, to taste Instructions 1. Dump ground turkey, beans, onion, garlic, crushed tomatoes, and desired amount of hot sauce into crockpot in the morning before work. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir well, and set to cook on low. 3. When home in the evening, serve into a bowl and top with a dollop of greek yogurt and a sprinkle of cheese.
Occupation: Script Coordinator Age: 25 Jazzed Up Quinoa & Veggies "Trader Joe's makes this pre-cooked frozen quinoa and veggie blend, and I swear it has changed my life. It's called "Trader Joe's Quinoa Duo with Vegetable Melange," very fancy, I know. It cooks in one pot, it's good on its own, and it's even better with the addition of just about anything you happen to have in your fridge/freezer. Honestly, I've made it with extra veggies, eggs, avocado, even topped it with rotisserie chicken. I've somehow made it work for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it's done in 15 minutes — and did I mention it's super good for you?" Ingredients Bag of frozen quinoa Garlic, minced Olive oil Broccoli, chopped Mushrooms, sliced Bacon/pancetta, chopped (*optional) Chicken or veggie stock Salt & pepper, to taste Instructions 1. Sauté garlic in an oiled pan over medium heat until just beginning to brown, then toss in veggies (and bacon) and cook until softened. 2. Add in bag of quinoa and a few tablespoons of stock, turning heat up to medium high, stirring, and cooking until full heated through (5-8 minutes). Remove from heat, cover, and serve in bowls when ready to enjoy! For extra jazzing-up, add a fried egg, dash of hot sauce, or sliced avocado on top.
Occupation: Social Media/Marketing Manager Age: 24 Burrito "I make it because it's easy, I love chimichurri, it's a warm comforting and meal, and it's protein rich." Ingredients Parsley, chopped Cilantro, chopped Garlic, minced Lemon juice Salt Red wine vinegar Can of beans Rice Veggies (whatever you have on hand), chopped Cheese, shredded Olive oil Tortillas Instructions 1. Cook rice according to package instructions. Meanwhile, sauté chopped veggies and beans in an oiled pan over medium heat until softened and cooked through and set aside. 2. Combine parsley, cilantro, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and red wine vinegar in a bowl to make chimichurri sauce. 3. Cover warmed tortilla (either in microwave, on stove, or in oven) with chimichurri sauce, sautéed veggie mixture, and cheese. Roll up, slice, and enjoy.
Occupation: Script Coordinator Age: 25 Smokey Paprika Chicken & Chickpeas Sheet Pan Dinner "Back in the early days of Pinterest, I came across a recipe for 'Smoky Paprika Chicken and Chickpeas.' After making it approximately 7,834,521 times, I've tweaked it to be a little bit easier, a little more veggie heavy, and a lot more garlic-y! The whole thing comes together in 10 minutes and cooks in 20, and doesn't take a lot of dishes so cleanup isn't terrifying. It's nice for nights when you don't want to put in a lot of effort, but want to treat yourself to something a little more exciting than frozen dumplings (not that those are EVER a bad option!). Not to mention, there's usually enough leftover for lunch. Unless you're sharing with a significant other..." Ingredients 1 package of chicken breast tenders 2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed 1 container of grape/cherry tomatoes 8-10 cloves of garlic, minced 8 tbsp olive oil 2 1/2 tbsp of paprika (smoked or sweet) 2 tsp cumin powder 1 tsp of crushed red pepper Salt and pepper, to taste Instructions 1. In a small bowl mix olive oil with garlic, paprika, cumin, crushed red pepper, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Then, separate out a few spoonfuls of the mixture for seasoning the chicken breast tenders. 2. Coat chickpeas and grape/cherry tomatoes with oil mixture and then spread them between two baking sheets. 3. Use the reserved oil mixture to coat the chicken breast tenders and then toss the seasoned chicken on the sheet pans with the veggies. Top with a sprinkle of salt and roast in the oven at 425° for 20 minutes (or until your chicken is cooked through). *"If you want to stretch the recipe further it's great served over brown rice (Trader Joe's makes easy little microwavable packets that are a godsend), and if you want to cut the spice you can always top with plain greek yogurt!"
Occupation: Artist & Teacher Age: 24 Roasted Root Veggie Hash "Root veggies are the lazy lady vegetable. They take a while to go bad, which is great because I like to eat out a fair bit and often forget about my groceries or don't want to go shopping for more. They are super filling and perfect for the cold weather, too!" Ingredients Butternut squash, cored and cubed Onion, chopped Carrots, chopped Mushrooms, sliced Cauliflower, chopped Spinach Garlic, minced Coconut oil Salt and pepper, to taste Instructions 1. Preheat oven to 400°. Meanwhile, melt coconut oil in the microwave and use it to coat veggie mixture. 2. Place coated veggie mixture on sheet pan and cover with garlic, salt, and pepper and then place in preheated oven for 40 minutes (stir veggies at the 15-20 minute mark). *Serve with a fried egg on top, if desired!
Occupation: Manager at a 3PL Age: 28 Amish Bake "It's super easy and it lasts for days and days. It's always better the next day, too. Especially with Mexican hot sauce." Ingredients Cabbage, shredded Ground beef Onion, chopped Pepper, chopped Canned tomatoes Dried oregano Dried basil Garlic powder Red wine or balsamic vinegar Olive oil Instructions 1. Cook ground beef in a well-oiled pan over medium high heat until browned and set aside. 2. Use oiled pan to sauté chopped onions and peppers — adding in canned tomatoes herbs and vinegar once veggies have softened. Add ground beef to the mix. 3. Add in the cabbage and cover, cooking over medium heat until cabbage softens and shrinks. Mix well before serving, and enjoy!
Occupation: Digital Media Manager Age: 26 Pesto Pasta "It only required 3 ingredients and tastes delicious as left overs when cooked/fried in a skillet with butter." Ingredients Box of pasta Store-bought pesto Container of grape/cherry tomatoes, chopped Parmesan, shredded Salt and pepper, to taste Instructions 1. Boil pasta according to package instructions and then drain. 2. Place pasta in large bowl and mix in Pesto, tomatoes, Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste.
Occupation: Recruiter Age: 27 Quesadilla "It costs like 40 cents per serving!" Ingredients Tortillas Cheese, shredded Frozen black beans Frozen corn Salt and pepper, to taste Olive oil Instructions 1. Heat frozen black beans and corn in an oiled pan over medium heat until softened, season with salt and pepper and remove from pan. 2. Place one tortilla down in oiled pan over medium low heat, covered with cheese, heated veggie mixture, and more cheese before sealing off with other tortilla. 3. Let cook on each side until browned and cheese has completely melted (about 3-4 minutes). *Serve with salsa, sour cream, or hot sauce and a fried egg for extra protein.
Occupation: Interior Designer Age: 28 Pierogies & Kielbasa "It's hearty, easy, delicious, pretty inexpensive, and makes for great leftovers!" Ingredients Onion, diced Keilbasa, sliced Frozen pierogies Butter Instructions 1. Caramelize onions in a skilled with a few tbsp of butter over medium low heat. Once the onions start to darken, throw in the kielbasa slices and let the mixture brown a bit more on the bottom (about 10 mins). T 2. Finally, drop the frozen pierogies into the skillet and cover (for about 20 mins), stirring occasionally. Once cooked through, remove and serve!
Occupation: Advertising Age: 27 Tray Bake "It's EASY, relatively healthy, and is always super tasty. The prep time is pretty quick, and it feels slightly more dressed up than pasta and marinara sauce. It's also really filling — no need for late-night snacking after this meal!" Ingredients Sweet potato, diced Bell pepper, diced Onion, diced Sausages, sliced Olive oil Salt and pepper, to taste Fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, etc.), finely chopped Instructions 1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Meanwhile, toss all the veggies in olive oil until well coated and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs (to taste) and arrange mixture on a baking sheet. 2. Layer the pieces of sliced sausage on top of the veggie mixture and bake in the oven for 30 minutes (or until sausage is cooked through and sweet potatoes are tender). 3. Remove from oven and serve with sriracha-mayo and fresh greens (like spinach or arugula) — or make it into a rice bowl. *"Pro-tip: You can change up the veggies based on what's in season (beets and cauliflower for the winter, broccoli and blistered cherry tomatoes for the summer), and the kind of protein based on your taste (turkey bacon cut into small pieces is also really yummy on top of this!)."
Occupation: Logistics Age: 27 Simple Spaghetti & Sauce "Pasta is comforting and I can usually make enough to have my lunch for the next day." Ingredients Box of pasta (your choice), uncooked Onion, chopped Garlic, minced Can of diced tomatoes Can of tomato sauce Salt Pepper Sugar Butter Dried oregano Dried basil Olive oil Instructions 1. Cook pasta according to package instructions and set aside once drained — tossing to cover with a bit of butter, salt, dried oregano, and basil to taste. 2. Meanwhile, sauté the chopped onion and garlic in a well-oiled medium-sized sauce pan. Once just beginning to soften and brown, add in canned tomatoes, sauce, salt, pepper, more herbs, and sugar to taste. Simmering on low until well-melded (about 12 minutes). 3. Add in seasoned pasta to sauce (or vice versa) and serve!
Occupation: Architect Designer Age: 24 Chicken Parm "The more I make it the easier it gets! I can work on stuff while it is cooking so I don't feel like I'm standing cooking forever. It's super filling and delicious!" Ingredients Box of pasta Chicken breasts Bread crumbs Italian seasoning Parmesan Mozzarella Olive oil Salt and pepper, to taste Instructions 1. Preheat oven to 425° and cook pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile, coat desired amount of chicken breasts in olive oil and then cover with bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan. 2. Place on sheet pan and bake in preheated oven for 20 min before removing from oven and then surrounding with cooked pasta and a layer of mozzarella cheese. Bake for five more minutes and then remove, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Occupation: Radio Producer Age: 27 4-Can Chili "It's easy, filling, delicious, and you have leftovers for the week. Also my dad used to make chili for special occasions when I was growing up. Normal weeknight dinner was canned vegetables and either pasta or fish, so chili was a treat." Ingredients Can of tomato sauce Can of red beans Can of black beans Can of chickpeas Carrots, diced Celery, diced Ground meat (turkey, beef, or pork) Cumin powder Chili powder Garlic powder Turmeric Salt and pepper to taste Olive oil Cheese, shredded Instructions 1. Sauté ground meat and diced veggies in oiled sauce pan over medium high heat until browned — season will salt and pepper to taste. 2. Add in four cans along with spices and cook over medium high heat until simmering and heated through (about 10-15 minutes). Serve in bowls topped with cheese.
Occupation: Logistics Coordinator Age: 26 Simple Spaghetti "It only requires three ingredients and tastes delicious as left overs when cooked/fried in a skillet with butter." Ingredients Box of angel hair or spaghetti noodles Ground beef or turkey Oregano Garlic powder Onion powder Salt and pepper, to taste Jarred marinara sauce Butter Olive oil Instructions 1. Cook pasta according to package instructions — when finished coat in butter, olive oil, salt and pepper, and set aside in a bowl. 2. Meanwhile, cook a pound and a half of ground beef or turkey in an oiled pan over medium high heat until browned. Season with a salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder (to taste), and then add in the jar of marinara sauce. 3. Plate the noodles and cover with desired amount of meat sauce.
Occupation: Editorial Assistant Age: 23 Quinoa Bowl "It's delicious, warm, and quick! Plus, it's flexible for when I'm going through vegan phases. I'm all about tahini. Right now, I'm into adding goat cheese or the occasional rogue spoonful of tzatziki." Ingredients Whatever vegetables you have in your fridge, chopped Quinoa Tahini Sriracha Olive oil Salt and pepper, to taste Instructions 1. Preheat oven to 375 °. Meanwhile, toss vegetables in olive oil to coat and season with salt and pepper. Place in oven to roast for 20-30 minutes (depending on veggie mix). 2. While veggies are roasting, make a pot of quinoa according to package instructions and desired amount. Remove veggies from oven when roasted, mix in with cooked quinoa, and then stir in a scoop of tahini with a drizzle of Sriracha for spice.
Occupation: PR Coordinator Age: 25 My Mother's Goulash "It's super quick and easy, great for warmth in the winter months, and reminds me of my home and family in Texas! It was the best when I was sick because when you add a ton of tomato juice it's like a soup!" Ingredients Macaroni noodles, uncooked Ground beef Onion Can of diced tomatoes Can of tomato juice Salt Olive oil Instructions 1. Cook macaroni noodles according to box instructions. Meanwhile, brown ground beef in well-oiled pan over medium high heat. 2. Once meat is browned, add in cans of diced tomatoes, juice, and salt (to taste). Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes and then add in cooked noodles before serving.
Occupation: IT Age: 28 Crockpot Chicken Enchiladas "Quick, easy, cheap ingredients, delicious, and it lasts a couple of days " Ingredients 2 large chicken breasts 1 10 oz. can red enchilada sauce 1 14 oz. can black beans rinsed and drained 1 14 oz. can corn drained 1 4-7 oz. can diced green chiles 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice 1 14 oz. can chicken broth 1 tbsp garlic, minced 1 tsp salt Instructions Throw all ingredients into your crockpot in the morning before work, set to the lowest possible heat, and leave it to cook while you're at work. Once home in the evening, ladle into a bowl and enjoy!