Weeknight Cooking

8 Dinners for When Cooking Just Isn’t Gonna Happen

May  9, 2018

There are days where I get home, collapse on my couch, and moving seems impossible. I don’t want to touch a stove or oven, and even something as simple as scrambled eggs or pesto pasta feels out of reach. It’s a time for salads and sandwiches.

I’m not entirely sure if making a salad or sandwich constitutes cooking—okay, components of it can—but I’m certain they’re more satisfying than a bowl of cereal. From slice-and-serve caprese to dressed-up cans of chickpeas, there are dinners that don’t require that whole cooking thing. Here, I’ve collected eight of my favorites. After my night off, I’ll be ready to cook again.

This amped-up avocado toast has it all: crunchy cucumbers and tomatillo slices, creamy rounds of fresh mozzarella, and fluffy tufts of sprouts. You don’t have to Instagram it...but it is practically begging for a close-up.

You might want to wait until we hit prime tomato season, but this Italian classic should definitely be in your I’m-not-cooking weeknight rotation.

Pick up a rotisserie chicken on your way home and you’ve got the beginnings of a creamy, green-y chicken salad. You can sandwich it between slices of toast, or just eat it straight out of the bowl, like I do.

Finally, a recipe that rewards impatience. Unripe peaches get a cayenne kick before piling onto blue cheesy toast. Dinner is served.

The best part of this dish is that it comes together in minutes. The second best part? Its punchy flavor.

Pile this bold, beautiful slaw on your plate. Cold soba or leftover steak are more than welcome to join the party.

Mash up canned chickpeas with mayo and a punch of curry and turmeric for a tasty dinner tonight and a wallet-friendly lunch tomorrow.

All of the super-smart salad tricks Genius creator Kristen Miglore’s learned in one recipe. My favorite ingredient is the crispy, crunchy raw(!) beets.

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What do you eat when you don’t feel like cooking? Are you a cereal-for-dinner fan?

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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  • Hassan Laaouini
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Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


Hassan L. May 10, 2018
suzybel63 May 9, 2018
After two days of appointments, visits, long drives I was not ready to cook dinner. Especially since I spent a couple of hours on the couch watching my eyelids. We had canned split pea soup with crackers and it was one of the best meals ever. I had wine, hubs had some kind of weird tea and then he had dessert. I had more wine.