When I was growing up, my mom made dinner almost every night. And I mean full dinner: protein, salad, vegetable, carbohydrate, and sometimes dessert. I know: I’m incredibly (incredibly!) lucky. Flash forward to today, where I struggle to cobble together a dinner/lunch-tomorrow meal in a postage-stamp-sized apartment (sans kitchen table) at 8 pm.
I love cooking, but limited time and energy usually mean I only make one recipe. Sometimes I’ll boil rice or pasta to bulk up my meal, but that means more pots to clean. The alternative is a side dish dinner. Sure, I’m full after eating a bowl of garlic-y, delicious tahini broccoli, but I’m not satisfied.
Which is why I jump on making recipes that do it all: dinners that pack protein with vegetables or pasta or grains into one bowl (or pot or sheet pan). Not only is it less clean-up, but I don’t get bored after my fifth bite. If you, too, want a meal with built-in sides, here are 26 recipes you’ll love. They’re not mom’s, but they actually feel like dinner.
How do you add variety to your dinners? Do you have staples at the ready in the freezer? Batch cook on weekends? Let us know in the comments!