What to CookWeeknight Cooking

11 Easy Meals for When You’re Too Tired to Cook

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When I’m in a foul mood, my sister will always ask me two questions: “Are you tired?” and “Are you hungry?” It’s almost always a “yes” to one or the other—and on days following the switch to Daylight Saving Time, it’s usually both. Tonight, I don’t want to mess with 15-step recipes or tons of dishes. I want a meal that requires only a handful of ingredients and minimal active cooking, like speedy grits, bubbly bakes, or done-in-a-flash fish. That way I can chow down, jump in the shower, and then into bed.

If you’re looking for your own easy dinners, check out these 11 short, simple dishes. And then get some rest.

Sabrina Ghayour's Persian "Adassi" Lentil Stew
Sabrina Ghayour's Persian "Adassi" Lentil Stew

The stew starts simple: oil, onion, lentils, tomato paste, curry powder, salt, water. And the process involves chopping one vegetable, pouring some stuff in a pot, and stirring every so often. Really, that’s it.

Sally Schneider's Slow-Roasted Salmon (or Other Fish)
Sally Schneider's Slow-Roasted Salmon (or Other Fish)

This “slow” roasted technique takes 30 minutes, tops, and results in a beautifully tender, evenly cooked, not-one-bit-dry piece of fish.

Creamy Goat Cheese Grits
Creamy Goat Cheese Grits

Goat cheese makes the dish creamy and soft and adds a bright, tangy flavor. Feel free to add fresh herbs, or top your grits with spinach, tomatoes, or leftover roasted broccoli.

Tahini Roasted Broccoli
Tahini Roasted Broccoli

Honestly, a bowl of this crispy, garlicky broccoli is all I need as a main course, but if you’re looking for a little more oomph, top it with a fried egg.

Crispy Kimchi and Cheddar Omelette
Crispy Kimchi and Cheddar Omelette

High heat browns the eggs’ exterior and crisps up the cheddar, while the kimchi helps keep the insides nice and runny. If it’s been a looong time since lunch, feel free to add another egg in there.

Tots & Cheese
Tots & Cheese

Macaroni, make way for tater tots. For this dish, you smother your tots in cheese sauce, then broil until bubbly and golden.

J. Kenji López-Alt's Butter-Basted, Pan-Seared Thick-Cut Steaks
J. Kenji López-Alt's Butter-Basted, Pan-Seared Thick-Cut Steaks

If steak’s not one of the fastest ways to improve someone’s mood, I don’t know what is.

Scamorza alla pizzaiola
Scamorza alla pizzaiola

Creamy scamorza cheese melted obligingly into tomato sauce and slathered onto toast is basically lazy (but oh-so-satisfying) pizza.

Sue Kreitzman’s Lemon Butter Angel Hair Pasta
Sue Kreitzman’s Lemon Butter Angel Hair Pasta

“This is a dinner you can fish out of your bare kitchen and cook in 10 minutes that will make you feel whole, with nothing more than modestly proportioned dry pasta, butter, chicken stock, pepper, and lemon.” —The Genius herself, Kristen Miglore

Roasted Sweet Potato with Chickpeas, Goat Cheese, and Coriander
Roasted Sweet Potato with Chickpeas, Goat Cheese, and Coriander

Creamy sweet potato and tangy goat cheese get a little help from chickpeas to make a flavorful, belly-filling meal.

Gabrielle Hamilton's Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Gabrielle Hamilton's Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Okay, maybe you want something really easy, like a sandwich. That’s fine! Make this golden grilled cheese, no regrets.

What do you make when you’re too tired to cook? Share some ideas in the comments, PLEASE.

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: 5 Ingredients or Fewer, Dinner, Faster