Last weekend I had my good friend Jaclyn over for dinner and made one of my most simple, go-to meals: baked salmon with a side of baked sweet potatoes. In my opinion, the combination is super easy to make, yet still packed with healthy ingredients. So I was surprised to hear her remark that she could, “Never do this.” And by this, she meant replicate the recipe.
Her comment made me think about how many people think cooking for themselves is more difficult than it actually is. Sure, putting together a four course meal is probably legitimately hard; but cooking for yourself doesn’t need to be. To keep my meals simple (and thus, my meal prep time short), I try to stick to recipes that require five or less ingredients.
Here are four of my favorite recipes you can make with five ingredients (or less).
Salmon + Asparagus
What you need: salmon, 1 lemon, and potatoes
How you cook it: Douse your salmon fillet in lemon juice (add salt and pepper if you wish), and bake it (skin side down) in the oven for 20 minutes or until it flakes easily with a fork. Put some olive oil and whatever spices you prefer over your asparagus, and put them in the oven for 20 minutes or until roasted. And there you have it — a meal that doesn’t suck and is pretty healthy!
The pros say: If you don’t believe me/still don’t get it, click here
Crock Pot Salsa Chicken + Veggies
What you need: chicken breasts and a jar of salsa; some/any type of vegetable
How you cook it: This recipe comes from my mom, who introduced it to me sometime last year knowing it was fool-proof enough for me to make. All you need to do is literally dump your chicken and a jar of salsa into a crock pot and cook it on the ‘low’ setting for 4 to 6 hours.
Pair this with your favorite vegetable, rice or quinoa for a healthy and filling dinner.
The pros say: Basically the same thing, but read more here.
Chicken Sausage + Kale, Onions and Potatoes
What you need: Sausage (I usually use something like chicken sausage), kale, onions and potatoes — and spices if you want them
How you cook it: If your sausages aren’t pre-cooked, cook them separately in a skillet. Then, once they are cooked through, add the kale, diced onions, and chopped up golden potatoes in a big skillet and whatever spices (garlic, basil, whatever) you want. I usually put the heat on low, and then cover it for at least 20 minutes, sometimes more. The result is, well, freakin’ delicious.
The pros say: This is the closest recipe I could find to it, but it looks delicious, as well.
Barbecue Pulled Chicken + Sweet Potatoes
What you need: Chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, chicken broth and/or a beer, and barbecue sauce
How you cook it: Put your chicken into a crock pot with either chicken broth, or a 12oz beer. Cook chicken on the ‘low’ setting for 4 to 6 hours. Cut your sweet potatoes in half, and brush them lightly with some olive oil before cooking on a baking sheet in the oven for 40 minutes.
Once your chicken is ready, pull it apart (hence, ‘pulled chicken’) and douse it with barbecue sauce. Top your sweet potatoes with the chicken, and sprinkle some cinnamon on top for a sweet garnish.
The pros say: If you don’t believe me…
If you’ve ever wondered, ‘Hey, what does Erin eat on a daily basis?’ well now you are well-informed.
Got any super simple recipes you love? Comment and share them!
*The featured image is not my photo but it’s what I pretend my meals look like.