Ever feel completely defeated and that making dinner is the last thing you want to do? You’re not alone.
While it’s easy to meander over to the aisle filled with instant meals or bulk packets of instant noodles for these times, sometimes it’s nice to spice it up and feel like you’ve accomplished something a little less drab.
I present to you, the easiest, no bullshit dinner options to tackle when you’re in a low mood.
Cacio e pepe
If you’re a pasta addict, you’re in luck. Forget about frying some onions and garlic, forget about getting some mince, cacio e pepe is the simplest pasta dish you’ll ever make.
First, get your pasta — spaghetti but anything long and thin will do — and chuck it in a pot of boiling water with a generous amount of olive oil and salt.
Once your pasta’s ready, save a mug of that salty, oily pasta water and drain the rest. After all, true laziness requires you don’t use real measurements.
Pop a tablespoon or two of butter in a pot over medium heat and when melts, add in some cracked pepper. Once your pepper’s soaked in (remember we don’t want to burn the butter), add in about half of that mug of reserved pasta water until it gets nice and bubbly. Then add your pasta back in, mixing it in with the salty pasta water and butter.
Grate in your favourite smelly Italian cheese — parmigiano reggiano, Grana Padano or pecorino — and stir until the pasta is coated in your basic but very tasty sauce. If it needs a bit more moisture, use that leftover pasta water.
Make a quesadilla with beans
You’ll surely have a few cans of black beans stored away in your pantry and that’s really all you need to make this super easy Mexican-inspired dish.
Using those store-bought tortillas, we’re going to make a quick quesadilla meal drawing inspiration from this BBC recipe.
Find that can of beans and whack it into a pot over medium heat. If you’ve got chipotle paste and matched spices and herbs, such as coriander, paprika, a tiny pinch of cumin and whatever else seems appropriate, pop them in too. Once the flavours are mushed together, the beans need a good mushing until they’re a tasty, spreadable paste.
Grab a tortilla and pop it onto an appropriately-sized pan over low heat. Line it with grated cheese, spring onions and your bean mush paste and slap down another tortilla. Once it’s golden brown on one side flip it over until the other side is too.
Repeat depending on how many quesadillas you feel like going in a single sitting. We don’t judge.
Omelette with whatever
Eggs — most of us have them in the fridge ready to go. Push the instant noodles to the side and make an omelette for dinner with whatever’s appropriate in the fridge, inspired by this Australian Eggs recipe.
Let’s say you have some red or spring onions, some tomato, ham and cheese to add to it in this example. Grab a mixing bowl and crack some eggs in it — usually two or three per person is a good guide but more might be needed if you’ve got a bunch of ingredients. Add about a tablespoon or two of milk per egg, as well as salt and pepper.
Melt some butter on a pan over medium heat and swirl the mixture around until it starts to cook, add the extra ingredients then fold it over so it’s in half. Once the mixture starts to set, give it a flip until both sides are cooked to your liking.
Yes, we’ve got another breakfast adjacent option but it’s damn easy. Using this Recipe Tin Eats suggestion, we’ll show how to have toast for dinner but make it fancy.
Whip out a mixing bowl and chuck in an egg, a tablespoon of milk and some salt, and whisk. Set it aside for now. Grab your sandwich slices and give them a slather of mayonnaise with a slice of ham and cheese — Gruyere is recommended but anything melt-able will do.
Dip each side of the sandwich into the milk and egg mixture and then place it on a pan over medium heat. Once the first side is golden, flip over until the other is too and your cheese should also have melted.
Remember even when we’re sad, it’s important to eat well and thankfully, it doesn’t have to take you hours to achieve it. So mix up your go-to lazy dinners with some of these options and you might be inspired to go even further.