Finding dinner recipes that are quick and easy to cook in your first apartment can be a game-changer. If you haven’t yet learned, going out to eat or ordering in can have a negative impact on both your health and your bank account. Instead, make a commitment to learn these quick and easy recipes that you can throw together and enjoy in your apartment… trust me, it’ll be worth it.
Pasta with veggies
Quick and EASY is learning how to cook pasta. On hand in my kitchen, I always have: Whole wheat pasta, marinara/red pasta sauce and pesto. To add some veggies, I’ll include a handful of broccoli, asparagus, spinach, or tomatoes.
The “recipe?” Boil your noodles per package instructions, add the veggies when you have 2 minutes left, drain, and stir in your sauce, grate a little cheese, add a grind of pepper! One-pot, quick, easy, and easy to change up! Buy a couple different jars of sauce so you can change up the flavors from time to time.
Another easy way to use any leftover veggies is to make a frittata. Saute the vegetables with onion in a frying pan, add 2-3 beaten eggs, top with cheese and place the frying pan under the broiler until eggs are set and top is getting a little color. Or, cover the pan with lid until eggs are set and cheese is melted and throw a little parsley on top for color.
Tip: Leftover cooked potatoes in the veggie mix help make your frittata a hearty dinner.
Find your favorite frozen burger (and don’t discount veggie, chicken, and turkey options!) and keep them on hand for quick, protein-filled goodness. Shred the cooked burger over a salad or eat it along with a can of (low-sodium) veggies for a balanced and delicious meal!
This is one of my favorite ways to cook because it is extremely flexible! The staples for stir fry? Whatever you LOVE! Get a good mix of veggies (broccoli, carrots, corn, green beans, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach… you name it!) and starch (brown rice, quinoa, rice noodles) and protein.
Here is one of my favorite recipes, and once you master it, you can mix it up with different arrays of sauces. Try to make your sauce yourself as much as possible to avoid excess calories and salt!
Salads don’t have to be boring! The key is finding a dressing you love (lighter options like olive oil and balsamic vinegar are great!) and mixing up the veggies you include. Some ideas? Chopped romaine, red cabbage, kale (chopped small to start!), or arugula! Then top with broccoli, avocado, chickpeas, edamame, onion, chopped carrots, chopped peppers, corn, tomatoes, mushrooms… and THEN you can even top with cooked veggies like mushrooms or sauteed beans. Finally, throw in some leftover protein – hard boiled eggs, tuna, cheese, turkey, anything you happen to have in the fridge, and you have a substantial meal.
Salads give you tons of great options! Delicious salads may take 5 minutes of chopping veggies, but your wallet and waistline will thank you!
(Healthy) frozen meals
And finally, cooking every day may not be a reasonable goal for you. That’s fine! Instead of setting for fast food, pick up a few different frozen meals while you’re at the store. (Amy’s is one popular organic brand.) These can be a good supplement to otherwise healthy meals. Read the back of the box to understand nutrition information, watch for high sodium, and don’t be afraid to mix up a little salad or roast veggies to go along with this meal.