Sometimes when you’re making dinner, turning on the stove just isn’t an option. Maybe it’s the dog days of summer and it’s just too hot to even mention heat, or maybe the stove is on the fritz and you’re surviving repair bills. Either way, having a roster of dishes you can throw together that are delicious, as well as good for you, is a key step in becoming a super chef.
Having a few of these dishes in your back pocket almost guarantees you’ll never be forced to eat microwaved pizza pockets or boring bagged salad mix for dinner ever again.
Spice up your salads
There are tons of add-ons to a basic garden or Caesar salad that can make them super healthy, as well as filling enough for dinner. Once you’ve gotten your base (try an arugula or spinach mix instead of iceberg lettuce), add in as many different vegetables as you can think of.
The key when it comes to vegetables is to try and have as colorful a mix on your plate as possible. Chop up some bell peppers, toss in some shredded cabbage, or kick the whole thing up a notch with toppings like nuts, seeds, or berries for an added boost of flavor and fiber.
If you really miss the meat, you can buy packages of microwaveable, pre-cooked chicken slices or bacon to crumble on top.
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Ok, it’s not the healthiest meal out there, but making your own pulled pork to use in a variety of sandwiches or burritos ensures that you know exactly what went into the recipe.
If you make it at home, you’re also more likely to pile on healthy toppings like cabbage, sliced apples, lettuce, or peppers to your plate at mealtime.
Ploughman’s Lunch (or Dinner!)
A ploughman’s lunch is an English meal which consists of a variety of breads, vegetables, cheeses, and cold meats. Traditional ploughman’s lunches came with a chunk of hearty oat or wheat bread, a Branston pickle, cheese, and ale.
You can make your ploughman’s plate however you like- try using pickled beans or onions instead of the chopped pickle, or mix it up with a variety of different cheeses. To make it even healthier, add a serving or two of raw vegetables to your plate. After you’ve assembled all the ingredients, plate it on your best platter and dig in!
Salad rolls are usually served in Vietnamese restaurants as a starter, but you can make them filling enough for dinner by making sure to include at least one kind of protein, and serving them alongside a delicious peanut dipping sauce. They’re as delicious as a spring roll, but without all the oil.
Roll up your favourite kinds of vegetables with udon or soba noodles, tofu, shrimp, or chicken- the list is endless.
Even though most people think of guacamole as a topping for other things, it makes a delicious, healthy, and filling dinner all on its own if you add the right ingredients. Stir up a batch of chunky guacamole- complete with cilantro, tomatoes, and onions- and serve it alongside a big assortment of chopped crudités, pita bread, or tofu sticks.
Making zucchini noodles with a spiralizer is an easy and healthy alternative to spaghetti. First, wash 2 or 3 medium-sized zucchinis, and chop off both ends. Feed them through your spiralizer, making sure to try and get the noodles as long as possible before they break off. Toss the noodles with any sauce of your choice. Go Italian with a raw tomato sauce, or stir up a delicious and healthy Asian-inspired vinaigrette.
Making your own tacos at home doesn’t have to be time consuming. If you don’t have the use of an oven, bring home a rotisserie chicken for a time-saving and healthy alternative to the more traditional sautéed chicken strips or seasoned ground beef.
For the other ingredients, get creative! Chop up a variety of vegetables (don’t forget beans and legumes!), and have fun mixing it up with each individual taco.
Gazpacho is a soup made of pureed raw vegetables, served cold. It doesn’t seem that appetizing, but when you get your first taste of the sweet, perfectly seasoned blend of tomatoes, onion, pepper, and garlic, you’ll find it hard to believe something so simple could taste so good.
The smooth texture is traditionally achieved by adding stale bread, soaked in water, but you can choose to add a dollop of plain yogurt, crème fraiche, or sour cream.
Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Did you know that it’s super easy to bake potatoes in a microwave? It actually cuts the baking time down to less than 10 minutes, which makes throwing together a few stuffed baked potatoes a breeze.
Cook on high for 6 to 8 minutes in the microwave, then cut the potatoes in half and scrape out the flesh from the center. Mix the baked flesh with any seasoning of your choice (some popular ideas include walnuts, blue cheese, and cranberries, or broccoli and cream cheese), before stuffing it back into the skins for a delicious, healthy, and portable supper!