13 Women Who Hate To Cook Share Their Go-To Weeknight Meals

Illustrated by Seung Won Chun.
There are two types of people in this world: those for whom cooking is therapeutic, a creative outlet, and a way to show love, and those who simply despise the act. For people in the latter camp, it's anxiety-producing, takes too much planning, and just isn't fun. But as shocking as it may sound to die-hard foodies, people that fall into this group often come up with the best recipes. They know they gotta eat, so they create crafty ways to throw together delicious meals without too much prep, planning, or actual cooking.
To discover the hack-packed, low-lift recipes that keep the cooking-averse satisfied, we asked millennial women who hate to cook to share their go-to weeknight meals. Ahead, you'll find our favorite responses. These meals could inspire even those who enjoy cooking because, let's face it, we all have nights when we don't have the energy to spend too much time in the kitchen.
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1 of 13
Illustrated by Seung Won Chun.
Occupation: Writer
Age: 41
City: Portland

What is your go-to weeknight meal?
Spinach, sausage, mushroom, white bean sauté.

Why do you like this meal?
It's easy to prep, has a quick cook time, and contains solid protein and veg.

What is the recipe for this meal?
1 pound bulk chicken sausage
1 can cannelini beans
1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 cup mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
2+ cloves of garlic, diced
Crumble and brown chicken sausage in pan, along with onions and garlic. Add spinach and mushrooms and cook until al dente. Add beans and spices to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes before serving.

Where did this recipe come from?
It's a quick recipe my ex (a chef) threw together.
2 of 13
Illustrated by Seung Won Chun.
Occupation: Social media specialist in digital marketing
Age: 29
City: Los Angeles, CA

What is your go-to weeknight meal?
Pimped-out Top Ramen.

Why do you like this meal?
It's always good and you add whatever you have in your fridge.

What is the recipe for this meal?
Top Ramen Packet (shrimp, chicken, or really any flavor), a teaspoon of butter, cheese (sliced preferably), salt, pepper, green onion, Sriracha, spam (if you have it), seaweed flakes or seaweed, and an egg.

Where did this recipe come from?
My grandma would always add an egg to my top ramen when I was a kid, and all the other additions have been from whatever I had in the kitchen. Butter was a tip from Kylie Jenner. Cheese is my newest addition and it's sooooo good. It makes it creamy.
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3 of 13
Illustrated by Seung Won Chun.
Occupation: Graduate student
Age: 22
City: Bethlehem, PA

What is your go-to weeknight meal?
Rice, tofu, and veggies.

Why do you like this meal?
It's easy, quick, vegan, and healthy.

What is the recipe for this meal?
Frozen steam bags of any vegetables (I usually use peas, corn, carrots, green beans, and mix them together in a bigger bowl)
Frozen steam bag of brown rice (take as much as needed of rice and veggies for one meal and save the rest in the fridge)
Firm tofu, sliced into small squares, seasoned with black pepper and nutritional yeast
Mix a serving of rice, tofu, and veggies together in a bowl
Flax and sesame seeds sprinkled on top

Where did this recipe come from?
It's my own creation.
4 of 13
Illustrated by Seung Won Chun.
Occupation: Librarian
Age: 23
City: Boise, ID

What is your go-to weeknight meal?
I call it "Poor Man's Dirty Rice."

Why do you like this meal?
It's super quick, simple, and really flexible.

What is the recipe for this meal?
Cauliflower rice, ground meat, and salsa. I usually use two bags of rice and cook those in a pan. In a separate pan, I will cook some ground meat — usually turkey or beef, but it can be anything. Then, when both are cooked, I mix them in a pan and add a few tablespoons of salsa, a little salt and pepper, and maybe some garlic powder.

Where did this recipe come from?
It's a family recipe.
5 of 13
Illustrated by Seung Won Chun.
Occupation: Journalist
Age: 22
City: Davenport, IA

What is your go-to weeknight meal?
Scrambled eggs and veggies with cheese.

Why do you like this meal?
It's super cheap and reasonably healthy, especially since I go so heavy on the veggies. I'm trying to limit my meat intake and most of my attempts to meal prep vegetables have ranged from mediocre to sad, so I also appreciate that it's fast enough to make fresh each time.

What is the recipe for this meal?
Two eggs, whatever chopped vegetables you wants (I like kale and tomatoes, a Brussels sprouts slaw I buy pre-cut, or even butternut squash), fresh (or not) herbs, and cheese. If the vegetables are hard, cook those first, otherwise scramble the eggs and add the vegetables at the same time. Add the herbs or any other greens and cheese toward the end. Lately, I've been using smoked cheddar with parsley or Brie and rosemary. I usually try to have an equal amount of vegetables and eggs, but the texture is definitely better with more egg than roughage. I'll add toast or an extra egg if I'm especially hungry.

Where did this recipe come from?
It's really just scrambled eggs.
6 of 13
Illustrated by Seung Won Chun.
Occupation: Graduate student
Age: 23
City: Orange County, CA

What is your go-to weeknight meal?
Cilantro-lime rice with chicken apple sausage.

Why do you like this meal?
Super easy and lasts for about three days.

What is the recipe for this meal?
Cook cilantro lime rice packet from target, cook chicken apple sausage, then mix together!

Where did this recipe come from?
I came up with it through sheer desperation of something easy and lots of time roaming around Target.
7 of 13
Illustrated by Seung Won Chun.
Occupation: Graphic designer
Age: 22
City: Washington, D.C.

What is your go-to weeknight meal?
Soy chorizo burrito.

Why do you like this meal?
It's packed full of protein, is quick to make, can be eaten warm or cool, is easy to store for later or meal prep, and contains simple ingredients.

What is the recipe for this meal?
Half a link of soy chorizo (from Trader Joe's), 1 egg, 1 flour tortilla, 1 cup of mashed avocado, olive oil, hot sauce for taste (I prefer the Mexican Valentina brand).

Where did this recipe come from?
My boyfriend is Costa Rican, and he makes burritos that are to die for. Since I don't eat a lot of meat, this is an adaptation from what he makes.
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8 of 13
Illustrated by Seung Won Chun.
Occupation: Temporary receptionist
Age: 25
City: Vancouver, British Columbia

What is your go-to weeknight meal?
Spaghetti with a green salad.

Why do you like this meal?
It is relatively easy to make and there is enough pasta for at least two other meals.

What is the recipe for this meal?
Boil water; start cooking extra lean ground beef until completely brown; add dry pasta to boiling water and cook for 8 minutes, occasionally stirring; add tomato sauce to the cooked ground beef. When the pasta is al dente, you can drain the water and put the pasta in a strainer. Prepare a green salad to go with the spaghetti dinner.

Where did this recipe come from?
It is a family recipe but I am sure there are many online recipes for spaghetti.
9 of 13
Illustrated by Seung Won Chun.
Occupation: Teacher
Age: 28
City: Dallas, TX

What is your go-to weeknight meal?
Rice and chicken with sauce.

Why do you like this meal?
It's incredibly easy to make, balanced, and fast. Almost every part can be store bought, so the only thing left to do is heat it up.

What is the recipe for this meal?
There are several options for the rice. I'm Korean, so I like a sticky rice. There are companies who sell a microwaveable bowl of rice - that's the easiest way. You can also, of course, just make rice (easy, but time-consuming). Two cups of water per one cup of rice.

The chicken can either be mixed in with the rice or eaten separately. Take some diced chicken (whenever I buy chicken I dice it and separate it into different Ziploc bags, so they're easy to freeze and thaw as needed) and put them in a pan. Optional: before putting them in a frying pan, cover with flour. This will make them crispy. I put flour in a bowl and toss the chicken around in it. I'm sure you could add egg and whatnot, but this is the easiest way. Once that's done, I heat up some oil in a frying pan and then add in the chicken (if there's flour I try to use a little more oil so it can "fry").

Once the chicken is fully cooked, I add in store-bought General Tso sauce mixed with water, about a 1:1 ratio. Target carries several kinds of General Tso sauce, as does any other grocery store I've looked into. The Panda Express brand is one of my favorites. Once the sauce and water are in there, I swirl everything around to mix and let the sauce simmer. I wait until most of the water has evaporated and the sauce is thick. At this point, you can add in the rice. Add a little more sauce as desired and serve!

Where did this recipe come from?
It mostly came from a love of Chinese takeout, rice, and easy dinners.
10 of 13
Illustrated by Seung Won Chun.
Occupation: International PR
Age: 26
City: Brooklyn, NY

What is your go-to weeknight meal?
Mashed cauliflower and tofurkey Italian sausage.

Why do you like this meal?
It's super easy, quick, and relatively healthy.

What is the recipe for this meal?
Mashed Cauliflower:
2 Tablespoons of butter
1 bag of frozen riced cauliflower or medium head of cauliflower
1 cup water
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
Directions: Add butter and finely chopped garlic gloves in a 4 quart pot over medium-high heat and add cauliflower once the butter is almost melted. Sauté cauliflower for 3-5 minutes until it becomes a little lighter in color. Add in the water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot and cook about 10 minutes. Reserve 1/8 of a cup of the cooking liquid and drain the remainder. Purée the cauliflower with food processor or hand blender.

Veggie Italian Tofurkey Sausage:
Heat one link with olive oil over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Where did this recipe come from?
I adapted the mashed cauliflower from a couple of recipes.
11 of 13
Illustrated by Seung Won Chun.
Occupation: Journalist
Age: 30
City: London, England

What is your go-to weeknight meal?
Instant noodles with all the (some) trimmings.

Why do you like this meal?
It's balanced, tastes great, and ridiculously easy.

What is the recipe for this meal?
Chop up some vegetables like peppers, broccoli, pak choi, Chinese leaf.
Boil water on the stove, add vegetables and a protein like eggs, prawns, or chicken.
Once the vegetables and protein are almost cooked, add a packet of quality, authentic instant noodles like Mama, Indomie or NongShim to the pot, with all their accompanying seasonings.
Once everything has been cooked to your desired texture (I would recommend al dente noodles over soggy noodles), you're done.
You can vary the proportions of noodles, vegetables, and protein according to your dietary needs.

Where did this recipe come from?
I learned it from family
12 of 13
Illustrated by Seung Won Chun.
Occupation: HR manager
Age: 32
City: Washington, D.C.

What is your go-to weeknight meal?
Buddha bowl

Why do you like this meal?
It's easy, customizable, and healthy.

What is the recipe for this meal?
Grain + veggies + protein + crunch + sauce/dressing and other toppings (like cheese)

Where did this recipe come from?
I adapted from other recipes.
13 of 13
Illustrated by Seung Won Chun.
Occupation: Marketing specialist
Age: 29
City: Atlanta, GA

What is your go-to weeknight meal?
Trader Joe’s Japanese Fried Rice

Why do you like this meal?
It's easy, filled with great veggies, and super tasty paired with almost any protein.

What is the recipe for this meal?
Pour the rice out of the bag and into a heated skillet with some oil. Stir until it's done. Bon appétit.

Where did this recipe come from?
Trader Joe’s
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